Buckypapers do the strangest things

Stretch a rubber band and it gets thinner in the middle. This is what intuition leads us to expect of any elastic material. But scientists in the US and Brazil have found that the sheets of carbon nanotubes known as buckypapers can display some very odd behaviour when stretched or uniformly compressed. When a sheet […]

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ICON launches global research needs assessment

With commentators comparing the nanotech research efforts of various countries, and others criticising government agencies for complacency, the International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) has launched a global research needs assessment. Last year ICON brought together more than 70 experts from 13 countries, and convened two workshops aimed at defining a set of research needs for […]

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Nanotubes used to build nanomotors driven by heat

Researchers at the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology and the Autonomous University of Barcelona have created the world’s first nanoscale motor driven by heat gradients. The miniature shuttle device consists of a carbon nanotube covered with a shorter concentric nanotube which can move back and forth along the longer tube, and to which a metal cargo […]

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Local options for US nanotech oversight

In the absence of what it would define as adequate federal oversight of the nanotechnology industry, the Washington DC-based Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) believes that state and local authorities should step in to fill the gap. State and local governments in the US are already beginning to act when it comes to nanotech-related regulatory […]

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Silicon stretches into shape

Flexible electronic devices made from organic materials may soon make it to market, but it appears that the high-performance mainstay of the electronics industry could be given a new lease of life by materials scientists. Silicon could, the researchers claim, be used in integrated circuits that stretch and wrap around complex shapes such as spheres, […]

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Mirrors help microscope track nanoparticles in 3-D

A new microscope design by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, US, allows the motion of nanoparticles in solution to be tracked in three dimensions. A better understanding of the dynamics of nanoparticles in fluids could lead to improved process control techniques to optimise the assembly of nanotech devices. […]

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Semiconductor wire built into an optical fibre

Optoelectronics specialists at Penn State University in the US and the University of Southampton, UK, have developed a process for growing single-crystal semiconductor wires inside a hollow-core optical fibres. Optical fibres, which now form the backbone of high-speed terrestrial communications networks, are idea media for transmitting many types of signals. It therefore makes sense to […]

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Self-assembly and top-down approaches combined for organic electronics fabrication

Researchers in the US have developed a surface treatment technique that may lead to a low-cost method for producing large arrays of organic transistors on polymer sheets. Potential applications include flexible displays, ‘intelligent paper’ and biosensor arrays for field diagnostics. The process developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the University of […]

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Self-healing rubber promises products that mend themselves

A smart rubber that magically binds back together when snapped, cut or punctured has been developed by scientists in Paris in collaboration with the French chemical concern Arkema. The researchers say that the material could lead to self-healing consumer products such as shoes, protective coatings, vehicle fan belts, washing-up gloves, children’s toys and more. Conventional […]

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Polymer surfaces mimic liquids at the nanoscale

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, have found that even when the bulk of a polymer material is solid, its surface behaves like a liquid. This finding has profound implications for applications such as nanolithography in which thin polymer films are used. “The properties of polymer surfaces are very important in any […]

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