Making Powerful, Lightweight Batteries From Nothing But Nanotube Ink and Paper

Reading the electronic-media narrative as it plays out in many popular tech and news blogs, one would think we are hurtling toward a future where paper is all but unnecessary. But a new development in battery technology could bring paper right back around to its former place of prominence, using it to power the very digital devices -- smartphones, Kindles, laptops, etc. -- that are increasingly replacing print.

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Nanoparticles Can Damage DNA Without Crossing Cellular Barrier

Metal nanoparticles use a newly observed cell signal process to wreak havoc indirectly

Scientists know that nanoparticles can damage DNA in cells through direct interaction. Now, though, it appears that nanoparticles can also mess with DNA on the far side of a cellular barrier, by creating signaling molecules -- a never-before-seen phenomenon.

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Yeast Cells Armored in Silica Could Herald Future Nanotech Experiments

Korean researchers encapsulate living yeast cells in synthetic silica armor and watch what happens

In an interesting experiment, researchers sheathed living yeast cells in armor of silica. The cells survived, and emerged as unusual armored versions of themselves that could become building blocks for nanotech applications.

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Singularity Summit 2009: The Singularity Is Near

We'll be blogging live from the Singularity Summit this weekend

Ray Kurzweil wasn't like the other nice, Jewish boys he grew up with in Queens. While they were putting baseball cards in the spokes of their bikes, Ray was writing computer programs and shaking hands with the President. Now, those other kids from the neighborhood are doctors and lawyers, and Kurzweil is a techno-prophet whose book, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, changed our discourse on technology with its bold predictions about the coming merger between man and machine.

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Nanotech an environmental threat

Could this be the robot Armageddon we’ve all been afraid of?

The growing use of nanoparticles is causing a new form of uncontrollable and unregulated pollution that has the potential to harm the environment, a leading scientist warned the CleanUp 09 conference in Adelaide.

Their extremely small size – only billionths of a metre – makes them ideal for use in a growing range of industries and products, but it also allows them to escape through filters and into our rivers, oceans and even to penetrate our bodies.

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Carbon Nanotubes Shown to Boost Plant Growth, Could Spawn Super-Fertilizers

Carbon nanotubes have improved existing technologies in fields ranging from electrical circuitry to architecture to materials science. So is it any surprise that when researchers in Arkansas applied the miraculous microscopic structures to tomato seeds, the plants grew faster, stronger, and more plentifully?

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Magnetic Nanoparticles Provide Targeted Drug Release

For patients with conditions like cancer, diabetes and chronic pain, taking drugs orally is often insufficient; a more precise and flexible on/off dosing schedule controlled by an implanted device can provide better treatment based on day-to-day--or minute-by-minute--conditions.

While various methods for regulating drug-dispensing implants exist (including implanted heat sources and electronic chips), a new device with a membrane of magnetic nanoparticles can be controlled simply by applying a magnetic field.

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Australia to get cutting-edge nanotechnology

War and Peace can now be written on an area the size of a pin head

The Australian research community will soon have access to one of the most powerful nanotechnology instruments in the world, able to write and etch data on particles ten thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair.

The electron beam lithography instrument is designed to write or mark nano-sized objects and has the capabilities of writing the novel War and Peace on a surface as small as a pin-head.

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IBM Scientists Take First Close-Up Image of a Single Molecule

Pentacene, Up Close:  IBM Research - Zurich

As part of a greater effort to someday build computing elements at an atomic scale, IBM scientists in Zurich have taken the highest-resolution image ever of an individual molecule using non-contact atomic force microscopy. Performed in an ultrahigh vacuum at 5 degrees Kelvin, scientists were able to "to look through the electron cloud and see the atomic backbone of an individual molecule for the first time," a feat necessary for the further development of atomic scale electronic building blocks.

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China Reports the First Human Nano-Fatalities

Two women in China have achieved the dubious honor of being the first humans to be killed by nanotechnology. The women, who worked in a poorly ventilated factory spraying a paint that contained nanoparticles, reportedly inhaled the particles over a period of months. The tiny compounds infiltrated the workers' lungs and skin, causing lung damage, fluid buildup, and eventual respiratory failure.

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First Ever Nanoscale Mass Spectrometer

When I was taking chemistry in college, the mass spectrometer was a desk-mounted machine about twice the size of a PC. Oh, how times do change. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have created the first nanoscale mass spectrometer. Only four micrometers across, the device can measure the mass of single molecules in an entirely novel way.

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Scientists Design Versatile Self-Assembling Nanogears

For years, creating the gears and sprockets needed to make a microscopic robot has required the expensive and time-consuming process of silicon etching. Carving out each individual piece with a laser has made producing more than a couple of pieces prohibitively difficult and costly.

A team at Columbia University now seems to have found a way around that problem. By laying a thin sheet of metal over a special layer of polymer, the team has created nanogears that assemble themselves, opening the possibility of much faster, cheaper, widespread production.

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World’s First Controllable Molecular Gear At Nanoscale Created

The smallest cog ever created is an incredibly big deal for nanotechnology

Scientists from the A*STAR’s Institue of Material Research and Engineering in Singapore have made a paradigm leap in the field of Nanotechnology by successfully producing the first controllable molecular gear. Measuring in at an impressively tiny 1.2nm across (1 billionth of a metre), this diminutive little cog should pave the way for countless theoretical designs that have been shelved due to the limitations of manufacturing at the required scale.

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Will the First Elevator to Space Be Inflatable?

Latest space news: A new approach moves away from nanotubes in favor of readily available pneumatic modules inflated with helium

For a few years now, we’ve been excited about the possibility of a cable-based space elevator as an alternative to expensive rocket launchers. To date, though, the various attempts to make it happen–including annual contests and Japan’s recent initiative–have come up short. The problem? Space elevators have one major hang-up: most designs call for braided cords of extremely strong nanotubes, which unfortunately don't exist yet.

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A Photon-Powered Nanomotor Made Out of DNA

The beauty of the latest, teeniest motor is its simplicity: easy to build, runs on light, no moving parts

Nanomotors hold the promise of one day powering tiny robots that could do everything from fighting viruses to cleaning up toxic waste. Thanks to some scientists at the University of Florida, that day is getting rapidly closer; and some of these robots might end up solar-powered.

A new paper published in the journal Nano Letters details how the researchers created the first light-powered nanomotor out of a photoreactive chemical and a short length -- only 31 base pairs -- of DNA.

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