Taming terahertz waves signals next generation of security sensors

A new generation of sensors for detecting explosives and poisons could result from research into terahertz radiation published recently by Bath University chemist Christopher Williams, together with a team of British and Spanish researchers. Terahertz waves lie in the far-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and their frequencies correspond to important energy level transitions in […]

Read More →
Optical alchemy turns base metals gold

Using a tabletop laser rather than the fabled philosopher’s stone, physicists at the University of Rochester in New York have turned aluminium and other metals gold, along with blue, grey and many other colours. The breakthrough achieved by Chunlei Guo and Anatoliy Vorobyev follows their previous discovery that randomly organised nanoscale pits burned into a […]

Read More →
Multi-modal sensing of molecules

A team of physicists and engineers in the US has demonstrated a way of simultaneously making optical and electronic measurements on the same molecule. The researchers claim that the advance could lay the foundation for mass-produced single-molecule sensors. The study led by Douglas Natelson at Rice University in Houston, Texas, was performed on a device […]

Read More →
UK organic food lobby bans nanoparticles

The Soil Association, which represents Britain’s organic food producers, has banned the use of manufactured nanoparticles as ingredients in all products it certifies. While the Soil Association recognises the positive potential of nanotechnology, it is particularly concerned about the use of engineered nanomaterials in cosmetics and health products. The association also cites studies that appear […]

Read More →
Fibrils for reinforced plastics and packaging materials

Naturally-occurring nanofibres known as fibrils could be used to create a new generation of reinforced plastics and packaging materials, say Norwegian researchers. Fibrils are 50-nm thick strings of cellulose that, when gathered into bundles, give stiffness to tree trunks and other plant stems. These tough fibres could, in principle, be used to reinforce plastics to […]

Read More →
Practical technique shows promise for carbon-based electronics

Engineers at Princeton University in New Jersey, US, have developed what they describe as a practical way of replacing silicon in computer chips with the single atom thick sheets of carbon known as graphene. Graphene outperforms silicon in terms of electronic properties, but the largest single-crystal graphene sheets made to date are no wider than […]

Read More →
US nanotech initiative releases new strategic plan

A US federal body charged with coordinating the nation’s nanotechnology efforts recently published a new strategic plan that outlines its vision, goals and priorities for the next few years. The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was established to coordinate the work of some 26 federal agencies with interests in nanoscience and technology. It provides funds for […]

Read More →
Mechanical annealing: why smaller means stronger

It has been known for some 50 years that as metal structures approach the micrometre scale and smaller, they get stronger. But the reason why has until now remained little understood. Various hypotheses have been put forward to explain the phenomenon, but only now with advanced imaging systems such as electron microscopes can we see […]

Read More →
Pushing photolithography to the limit

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, US, have made the first direct measurements of the swelling and collapse of thin polymer films used in photolithography. The results of the experiments provide important new insight into the complex chemistry involved in the production of nanoscale electronic circuits. In order to […]

Read More →
Plastic transistors improve with age

‘Vintage’ and ‘electronics’ are words not normally seen or heard together, but a group of materials scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich has found that plastic transistors improve in performance if simply left to sit for a week at room temperature. Cheap to produce, and comparable in electronic performance with amorphous […]

Read More →