Currently browsing the Nanotechnology Category

NSF Summer Institute on Nano Mechanics and Materials

NSF Summer Institute on Nano Mechanics and Materials is offering short courses this summer, one at Northwestern and one at UCLA. NSF fellowships are available to professors, high-school science teachers, post-docs and Ph.D. candidates from US universities. The fellowship consists of full tuition plus a travel allowance, if applicable. Apply by April 1, 2007. I really like that the NSF provides funds to help people attend this type of thing.

The objectives of the NSF Summer Institute on Nano Mechanics and Materials are:

* To identify and promote important areas of nanotechnology, and to create new areas o focus which will augment current nanotechnology research and development by universities, industries and government.
* To train future and practicing engineers, scientists and educators in the emerging areas of nanotechnology, nano-mechanics, and nano-materials.
* To exchange new ideas, disseminate knowledge and provide valuable networking opportunities for researchers and leaders in the field.

The short courses offered by the Institute provide fundamentals and recent new developments in selected areas of nanotechnology. The material is presented at a level accessible to BS graduates of science and engineering programs. Emphasis is on techniques and theory recently developed that are not available in texts or standard university courses.

Atom-thick Carbon Transistor

Atom-thick carbon transistor could succeed silicon by Tom Simonite:

Transistors more than four times smaller than the tiniest silicon ones – and potentially more efficient – can be made using sheets of carbon just one-tenth of a nanometre thick, research shows. Unlike other experimental nanoscopic transistors, the new components require neither complex manufacturing nor cryogenic cooling.

The transistors are made of graphene, a sheet of carbon atoms in a flat honeycomb arrangement. Graphene makes graphite when stacked in layers, and carbon nanotubes when rolled into a tube. Graphene also conducts electricity faster than most materials since electrons can travel through in straight lines between atoms without being scattered. This could ultimately mean faster, more efficient electronic components that also require less power.

Bionanotechnology Future

Commercialization and Future Developments in Bionanotechnology by Marcel P. Bruchez:

The lack of specifiability of our modules was a key challenge to commercialization. Specification will require detailed basic investigations of the properties and chemistry of nanoparticle materials in biological systems. In addition, we will have to establish analytical tools and quantitative descriptors to detail the distribution of properties present in a population of nanoparticles. This is categorically different from specification for organic molecules and proteins, in which properties can be effectively described by an average. In nanomaterials, performance properties may be dominated by a relatively small population of particles, so averaging cannot always be used.

Interesting paper, from The Bridge, an open-access publication of the National Academy of Engineering. This issue includes papers from the 12th U.S. Frontiers of Engineering including: New Mobility: The Next Generation of Sustainable Urban Transportation and Creating Intelligent Agents in Games.

Nanotech Engine Research

Tiny engine boosts nanotech hopes:

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have created a tiny engine powered by light that can be made to sort molecules. The device may one day find a role in nano-scale machines. It emerged from research into similar tiny machines in nature that power well known processes such as photosynthesis.

“We have a new motor mechanism for a nanomachine,” said Prof Leigh. “It is a machine mechanism that is going to take molecular machines a step forward to the realisation of the future world of nanotechnology,” he said. Because the rotaxane can be made to do useful work in a predictable fashion, ie sort particles, it could become a key component for anyone designing nano-scale device.

Nanoscale Universe Experience

Riding Snowflakes is a production exploring the nanoscale universe projected on digital-domes (planetariums) funded by NSF and created by RPI. A teacher’s guide provides experiments and activity-based lessons for to introduce, reinforce and expand upon key concepts presented in the show.

Generating the molecular worlds described in the screenplay entailed a wide range of challenges in statistical mechanics, molecular modeling, and simulation. To create a truly immersive portal into the nanoscale universe required simulations of a massive scale and complexity – an entirely unusual request for the chemical and biological engineers and scientists involved in the project. The creation of a believable and cinematic molecular landscape to visualize the plot twists and dramatic tension of the story posed a host of new creative challenges for the collaborating scientists. Their involvement in this work has brought about insights that will hopefully spark a breakthrough in the very real worlds of energy, environment, and health.

Related: MoleculariumNanoscale Science and Engineering EducationNanotechnology EducationNanotech and other science webcasts

3 “Moore Generations” of Chips at Once

HP nanotech design could be leap forward for chips by Therese Poletti

The scientists said their advance would equal a leap of three generations of Moore’s Law, a prediction formulated in 1964 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that forecast chip makers could double the number of transistors on a chip every couple of years. “This is three generations of Moore’s Law, without having to do all the research and development to shrink the transistors,” said Stan Williams, a senior fellow at HP in Palo Alto. “If in some sense we can leapfrog three generations, that is something like five years of R&D. That is the potential of this breakthrough.”

HP researchers plan to start manufacturing prototypes of their chip design later this year. They also said they expect to see a high rate of defects in the finished products, but that the greater amount of defects will be compensated for by the ability of the circuitry to quickly route around the failed circuits. The model for their chip design is based on a 45-nanometer chip, but with much smaller wiring in the chicken-wire crossbars of 4.5 nanometers.

“Hopefully, by the middle of this year, we will have a real working chip that we have run through an HP fab,” Williams said. “Our goal is that by 2010, we will have something that we can give our customers to play with.”

Smallest Known Living Organisms Found – 200 nanometers

Shotgun sequencing finds nanoorganisms by Robert Sanders:

Once Baker had found gene segments (ribosomal RNA) from three Archaea, he was able to fish the microbes out of the slime soup and found that they were extremely small, around 200 nanometers in diameter, the size of large viruses. Bacteria average about five times this diameter. These therefore could be the smallest organisms ever found, though Baker needs to culture them before confirming this. Because they’re so small, however, they may not be free-living.

“We’re not sure they can live independently, whether they have enough genes to fend for themselves, but instead are symbiotic with another organism or are feeding off another organism,” Baker said. Baker now is trying to find the right conditions for these Archaea to thrive in a culture dish. For now, he has dubbed them ARMAN-1, -2 and -3, for Archaeal Richmond Mine Acidophilic Nanoorganisms.

Related: Microbe Types (Archaea, Bacteria, Fungi, Protista and VirusesLife Untouched by the SunWhat is an Extremophile?

Nanotechnology Education

Teaching the Notion of Nanotechnology

Scientist Robert P.H. Chang of Northwestern University had no trouble persuading education officials in Mexico to introduce the burgeoning field of nanotechnology to schools there, but it’s been a far tougher sell in the United States. In Mexico, Chang said he had only to speak about the subject to top government officials, who then simply ordered school officials to teach it.

Nanotechnology presents an especially difficult challenge in education. It is not a traditional discipline but rather a combination involving physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, engineering and technology.

That’s what Chang has been developing as he directs Northwestern’s new national center for the university’s Materials World Modules program, charged with creating materials on nanotechnology for students in grades seven through 12.

Related: Nanoscale Science and Engineering EducationMexican Engineering Graduatesk-12 Engineering EducationExcellence in K-12 Mathematics and Science Teaching

Nanotechnology Experiment Accidentally Discovers Forger Fix

Security that is small and imperfectly formed by Michael Pollitt:

“One day the chip fell off the paper backing that it was being tested on and the laser just hit the paper instead. Whereas we would have expected to have got no signal, we actually got a signal that had all of the right characteristics for a security device. That was enormously surprising,” says Cowburn.

Rather than reaching for the glue, Cowburn investigated further and found that ordinary paper gave robust security signatures. The random pattern of the paper fibres scattered back the laser beam to detectors, giving far better results than the microchip.

After tuning the laser system, he also discovered that the probability of two pieces of paper producing an identical reading was unimaginably remote.

Related: Discoveries by AccidentStatistics for Experimenters

Nanoscale Images Using an X-ray Laser

Scientists capture nanoscale images with short and intense X-ray laser

Using the free-electron laser at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, Livermore scientists, as part of an international collaboration led by LLNL’s Henry Chapman and Janos Hajdu of Uppsala University, were able to record a single diffraction pattern of a nanostructured object before the laser destroyed the sample. A Livermore-developed computer algorithm was then used to recreate an image of the object based on the recorded diffraction pattern. This “lensless” imaging technique could be applied to atomic-resolution imaging because it is not limited by the need to build a high-resolution lens. The flash images could resolve features 50 nanometers in size, which is about 10 times smaller than what is achievable with an optical microscope.

Medical Buckyballs

Secret’s in the stuffing – Researchers fill ‘buckyballs’ with metals in hopes they’ll have medical applications

Virginia Tech has been stuffing hollow buckyballs, or fullerenes, with metals in hopes they could someday be used as contrast agents for imaging or tracing cancer cells.

Nobel laureate and co-discoverer Harold Kroto of Florida State University, who worked out the structural rule that the buckyegg violates, learned of Virginia Tech’s pursuit of buckyballs for pharmaceutical and medical applications during a visit to Blacksburg this month.

“It’s very exciting,” he said, joking that he’d been about ready to give back his Nobel because no one had found humanitarian uses for buckyballs until now.

The buckyegg is the latest from Virginia Tech, where in 1999 Harry Dorn and a team of chemists created the first buckyballs made with a shell of 80 carbon atoms and three metal atoms stuffed inside.