Nanotechnology can be a complicated topic with new advances being
made on an almost daily basis. Many people need a resource for learning
about and keeping up with changes in the field. Whether you're a
student, industry professional, or just curious about the future of our
world, you can use the articles and explanations on this site to keep up
to speed on everything nano. Focussed around the uses of
nanotechnology, UnderstandingNano also offers information about
companies and research labs involved in nanotechnology, as well as
descriptions of nanomaterials and lesson plans for teachers and
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through the nanotechnology topics introduced below.
Nanotechnology in Medicine
Researchers have determined that the surface
protein filled nanoparticles affects the ability of the
nanoparticle to stimulate immune responses. They are thinking
that these nanoparticles may be used in inhalable vaccines.
A study has shown that nanoparticles called "nanomimics" may be effective
in blocking malaria parasites from spreading to new red blood cells.
mesh containing zeolites have been shown to absorb toxins in
the bloodstream. Researchers believe this nanofiber can be used
in compact and inexpensive blood purification systems as an
alternative to dialysis.
Researchers at University of Washington have
developed a nanoparticle carrying proteins that works as a vaccine
to stimulate immune responses. The researchers believe that this type
of vaccine could be produced quickly to prevent the spread of an epidemic.
More about Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology in Electronics
Researchers at Ames Laboratory have developed
split-ring resonators made of metamaterials that can
Researchers at North Carolina State University have
developed sensors using silver
nanowires that may be useful in robots and prosthetics. The nanowire
sensors can measure strain and pressure, and are flexiable enough to
work over the range of motion required by prosthetics.
Researchers at Georgia Tech have demonstrated
antennas made of graphene.
They are working toward antennas and transceivers that would require
very little power and allow communication between nanomachines.
Nanotechnology in Electronics
Nanotechnology in Energy
Researchers at Berkely Lab have have
developed a type of Metal-Organic-Frameworks
(MOFs) that has the
store natural gas. The researchers believe this
material could be used to improve natural gas storage
tanks for vehicles and allow wider use of natural gas to
Researchers at MIT have demonstrated
a type of solar cell called a
thermophotovoltaic that could have much higher
energy conversion than other solar cells. In this cell
carbon nanotubes absorb light over a broad range of
frequencies and converts the light to heat. A photonic
crystal absorbs the heat and converts it to back to
light at a frequency that can be absorbed by the solar
Researchers at the University of
Houston have demonstrated the use of
cobalt oxide nanoparticles as a photocatalyst to
produce hydrogen and oxygen gas from water using visible
light. More work needs to be done, both to increase the
energy efficiency and the lifespan of the nanoparticles,
before this catalyst is commercially feasible.
Researchers at MIT have shown that
iron oxide nanoparticles in water can be used to
increase the amount of
heat transfer out of a system at localized hot spots.
The researchers believe this technique could be applied
to cooling a wide range of devices, from electronics
devices to fusion reactors.
Nanotechnology in Energy
Nanotechnology in Materials
Nanotechnology in Manufacturing
Researchers at Prudue University have
demonstrated a method they call laser
shock imprinting to form nanoscale shapes such as gears.
Researchers have produced yarn from
carbon nanotubes coated with
diamond. They believe this material can be used in thin saw
blades that reduce the waste produced when cutting high cost
material, such as sawing silicon ingots into wafers for the
semiconductor or solar industries.
Researchers at Northwestern University have
desktop nanofabrication tool. The desktop tool uses beam-pen
lithography arrays to create nanoscale structures.
Researchers have demonstrated a
motor that can be controlled by electrons from a scanning tunneling microscope tip.
This motor is an initial step in building molecular motors for use
in areas such as medicine.
Rolith, Inc. and Asahi Glass Company are
working to bring anti-reflective glass to the architectural glass
market. The glass uses a technique developed by Rolith to produce a
surface on the glass, which will reduce the glare seen from the
outside of buildings.
Using photocatalytic copper tungsten oxide
break down oil into biodegradable compounds. The nanoparticles
are in a grid that provides high surface area for the reaction, is
activated by sunlight and can work in water, making them useful for
cleaning up oil spills.
Using carbon nanotubes, that have been
treated with a plasma, in membranes to remove salt and organic
contamination from water. Researchers believe these membranes can be
used in small,
inexpensive water purification devices needed in developing
nanoscavengers, in which a
layer of reactive nanoparticles coat a synthetic core which is
designed to be easily magnetized. The nanoparticles, for example
silver nanoparticles if bacteria is a problem, attach to or kill the
pollutants. Then when a magnetic field is applied the nanoscavengers
are removed from the water.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati
have demonstrated a method of removing antibiotics contaminating
waterways. The method uses
nanoparticles that absorb antibiotics.
Using pellets containing nanostructured
palladium and gold as a catalyst to
breakdown chlorinated compounds contaminating groundwater. Since
palladium is very expensive the researchers formed the pellets of
nanoparticles that allow almost every atom of palladium to react
with the chlorinated compounds, reducing the cost of the treatment.
Using graphene as a membrane for low cost water
desalination. Researchers have determined that
graphene with holes the
size of a nanometer or less can be used to remove ions from
water. They believe this can be used to desalinate sea water at a
lower cost than the reverse osmosis techniques currently in use.