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Press Releases: Research Funded by Agencies Participating in the National Nanotechnology Initiative

(Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

A biochemistry researcher from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has found that a nanoparticle drug delivery system can reduce HIV/AIDS viral reservoirs in the brain that normally contribute to neurological problems. Nanoparticle drug delivery offers a new strategy for treating HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders, such as HIV dementia, which can be magnified by recreational drug use in HIV-positive individuals.

(Funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy)

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of Maryland, and North Dakota State University have learned how to place crystalline defects in new materials with atomic-scale precision. This innovation enables materials that can control excitons—energy carriers that are similar to subatomic particles. By precisely attaching specific chemical compounds to a carbon nanotube surface, the scientists created local energy wells that "capture" the excitons. The wells lower the excitons' energy state, which prevents the loss of their energy as heat and controls the color of the light they emit. These materials offer brighter, more controlled light emission that is closer to the infrared spectrum required for telecommunications.

(Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

Researchers from the University of Connecticut are collaborating to develop novel asthma therapeutics using gene-silencing nanocapsules in a bid to help patients who aren't benefiting from existing treatments. The nucleic acid nanocapsule is designed to selectively deliver an enzyme to silence a component of the immune response that leads to the over-expression of immune components that play a significant role in allergic asthma attacks. 

(Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation)

Researchers at North Carolina State University have studied the behavior of birnessite – a hydrated layered form of manganese oxide – to understand what happens when ions penetrate very small spaces. The adsorption of ions from the electrolyte at an electrode surface is a ubiquitous process of use for both existing and emerging electrochemical energy technologies. The researchers found that nanoconfined water in between the layers of birnessite is effectively serving as a buffer that makes capacitive behavior possible without causing significant structural change in the birnessite.

(Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense)

A team of researchers from University of Chicago, the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory, and international institutions wrote an article that gives an overview of almost three decades of research into colloidal quantum dots, assesses the technological progress for these nanometer-sized specs of semiconductor matter, and weighs the remaining challenges on the path to widespread commercialization for this promising technology, with applications in everything from TVs to highly efficient sunlight collectors.

(Funded by the National Science Foundation)

Researchers at Penn State have discovered new types of defects in two-dimensional (2D) materials, which may give insight into how to create materials without such imperfections. 2D materials are essential for developing new ultra-compact electronic devices, but producing defect-free 2D materials is a challenge.

(Funded by the National Science Foundation)

Electrical engineers at Vanderbilt University have developed an on-demand, scalable technique to manipulate nanodiamonds. These researchers are the first to introduce an approach for trapping and moving a nanomaterial, known as a single colloidal nanodiamond with nitrogen-vacancy centers using a low-power laser beam.

(Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

Researchers from Northwestern University have found that boosting the function of natural killer cells with magnetic nanoparticles could make cancer immunotherapy more efficient. This method could unlock the potential to use natural killer cells on a variety of solid tumors.

(Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

Researchers from UCLA and Cedars-Sinai have developed a new way to detect a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur during pregnancy called placenta accreta spectrum disorder. The new approach uses a technology called the NanoVelcro Chip. The chip is a postage stamp–sized device with nanowires that are 1,000 times thinner than a human hair and coated with antibodies which can recognize specific placenta cells in the mother’s blood that are linked to placenta accreta spectrum disorder. 

(Funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Energy)

A team of researchers from MIT, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, and international institutions has devised a highly efficient method for removing uranium from drinking water. Applying an electric charge to graphene oxide foam, the researchers can capture uranium in solution, which precipitates out as a condensed solid crystal. The foam may be reused up to seven times without losing its electrochemical properties.