Engineered spinach detects explosives

By embedding plant leaves with carbon nanotubes, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have transformed a plant into a living sensor that can detect chemicals like explosives and then wirelessly relay this information to a handheld device like a smartphone. Engineering electronics into plants is a new and upcoming field of research called nanobionics […]

Collagenous tissue stiffens on the nanoscale

All animals have collagenous tissue, but only echinoderms (for example, sea cucumbers and starfish) have “mutable collagenous tissue” (MCT) that can rapidly change its stiffness on receiving the appropriate neuronal signals. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble have now studied MCT using synchrotron small-angle X-ray diffraction […]

How to toughen up nanocrystalline metals

Brittle nanocrystalline metals can be made ultrastrong and tough by firing them at extremely high speeds onto a hard target, according to new experiments on silver microcubes by researchers at Rice University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The impact produces an extreme gradient-nano-grained (GNG) structure in the microcubes that has a grain size […]

‘Movies’ of electron motion in solar cell made using femtosecond laser

“Movies” of electrons as they move across a semiconductor junction have been made by researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan using a new imaging technique. Combining photoemission electron microscopy with femtosecond laser pump-probe methods, the technique tracks the motion of electrons on timescales shorter than 1 ps. The researchers say it […]

Gold nanogap electrodes trap tiny particles

Researchers at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis have invented a new ultralow power technique to trap nanoparticles in the sub-10 nm gaps between two gold electrodes. The technique, which overcomes many of the problems encountered in traditional dielectrophoresis experiments, could help make portable biosensors….. Making nanogap electrodes

Vacancy defects toughen up 2D materials

Researchers at the University of Oxford in the UK and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US are the first to combine experimental and theoretical approaches at the atomic level to study how monolayer molybdenum sulphide (a typical 2D material) fractures. Thanks to transmission electron microscopy observations, backed up with large-scale molecular dynamics simulations, […]

Polyphenol helps superstructure nano-objects

By functionalizing the surface of a variety of nano-objects (such as nanowires, nanosheets, nanocubes and even biological cells) with polyphenols, researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia say that they can turn them into superstructured assemblies. The technique, which literally transforms the nanobject into a LEGO brick-like structure with stubs, could be used to […]

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