Tag Archives: nanotechnology

Stanford creates nanowire batteries with 10 times current charge

Nanowires are an exciting way to dramatically increase efficiency in exisiting silicon tech

Lithium-ion batteries, such as those used in your laptop, mobile phone or hybrid car, are extremely important in today’s world but are limited by the amount of lithium ions that the typically carbon anode can hold. Stanford announced this week they’ve developed a new method that can increase the amount of charge held by as much as 10 times.

 The new battery uses what is perhaps the technology of the next ten years – nanowires.  At large scale, the swelling of the lithium ions when they absorb positive charge breaks the structure of the silicon holding them. The researches instead used a mesh of microscopic silicon nanowires that bend and swell under the pressure but do not break. The researcher, Yi Cui, said:

Manufacturing the nanowire batteries would require “one or two different steps, but the process can certainly be scaled up,” he added. “It’s a well understood process.”

 I’ll look forward to my laptop with 25 hour battery life in a few years, then.

[via Daily Kos, image from the Stanford article, apologies for my absence this week – I’ve been wrestling with my wireless connection on Ubuntu Gutsy]

Building a better bulletproof vest

The first bulletproof vest, made by the Polish inventor Jan Szczepanik. Bullets don’t just bounce off Superman, they don’t even slow him down. Real-life police and soldiers can’t say the same, even when they’re wearing a bulletproof jacket of Kevlar or something similar. Although bullets don’t penetrate–the bulletproof material spreads their force–the force is still tranmsitted to the tissue underneath the bulletproof shell, causing severe bruising or even organ damage.

Now engineers from the Centre for Advanced Materials Technology at the University of Sydney have found a way to use carbon nanotubes to not only stop bullets penetrating material but actually rebound their force, so bullets can be repelled with "minimum or no damage to the wearer of a bullet proof vest.” (Via Science Blog.)

If they can just nail the X-ray vision, super-strength and flying stuff, they can break out the red-and-blue tights. (Image from Wikimedia Commons.)

[tags]nanotechnology, security, military, police[/tags]

Solar nanowires

Building off of Tomas’ post on nanowires and the cool stuff they can do, we see a letter to Nature discussing the possibility of nanowires that can be powered by the sun, thereby requiring no external power source.  Supposedly, these nanowires would be more efficient than a crystal in creating electricity from solar energy. 

(via Ars Technica) (image from Inexpressible is possible)

Researchers develop new nanowire computer memory 1,000 times faster than Flash


While researchers at IBM’s Zurich Research Lab have devised a way to print particles as small as 60 nanometers in diameter using conventional lithography techniques, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have used self-assembly, a process by which chemical reactants crystallize at lower temperatures mediated by nanoscale metal catalysts, to spontaneously form nanowires that were 30-50 nanometers in diameter and 10 micrometers in length.

The University of Pennsylvania scientists used germanium antimony telluride, which is a phase-changing material that switches between amorphous and crystalline structures. These phase-changes can be used to store data. The scientists were able to demonstrate a memory device that showed extremely low power consumption for data encoding (0.7mW per bit) while writing, erasing and retrieving data 1,000 times faster than conventional Flash memory. Tests also indicated the device would not lose data even after approximately 100,000 years of use. This all has the potential to realize a terabit-level nonvolatile memory device.

Nanotechnology, bioengineering combine to make cheaper, better vaccines

Dendritic_cell: A screen clip from a video included in the journal article “Environmental Dimensionality Controls the Interaction of Phagocytes with the Pathogenic Fungi Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans” So, for my first real post, how about some good news combining bioengineering and nanotechnology, making it very futurismic–er, futuristic. Whatever.

Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland have developed (and patented) a nanoparticle that, they believe, can deliver vaccines "more effectively, with fewer side effects, and at a fraction of the cost" of current vaccination methods.

Once upon a time, vaccines were made from dead-but-whole or living-but-weakened pathogens. Recently, researchers have figured out how to generate an immune response with a singe protein from a virus or bacterium. They’ve also discovered that the best way to get sustained immunity is to deliver an antigen directly to the specialized immune cells known as dendritic cells (DCs).

The trouble is, DCs aren’t all that common in skin or muscle, where injections are usually made, and in order to use them to activate the whole immune system, you also have to deliver a kind of "danger signal"–which there hasn’t been a good way to do, until now.

The new nanoparticles are so tiny they slip right through the skin and into the lymph nodes, where there are lots of DCs, and they carry a chemical coating that mimics the surface chemistry of bacterial cell walls. The result: a strong immune response without nasty side effects.

The researchers believe these nanoparticles could make it possible to vaccinate against diseases like hepatitis and malaria with a single injection, and at a cost of only a dollar a dose, far cheaper than current vaccines. The research team also plans to try using the technique to target cancer cells. And best of all, they say, the technique could be in use within five years. [Photo from Wikimedia Commons]

(Via Science Daily.)