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

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

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a new class of quantum dots that deliver a stable stream of single, spectrally tunable infrared photons under ambient conditions and at room temperature, unlike other single-photon emitters. This discovery opens a range of practical applications, including quantum communication, quantum metrology, medical imaging and diagnostics, and clandestine labeling.

(Funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation)

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the Leibniz Institute for New Materials in Germany have demonstrated that stretching shape-memory polymers embedded with clusters of gold nanoparticles alters their plasmon coupling, giving rise to desirable optical properties. One potential application for the material is a sensor that relies on optical properties to track an object or environment's thermal history. An important application of thermal-history sensors is assuring the quality or safety of shipping or storing materials that are sensitive to significant changes in heat.

(Funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health)

An international team of researchers has developed a way to harvest energy from radio waves to power wearable devices. The system consists of two stretchable metal antennas integrated onto a conductive graphene material with a metal coating. This system is connected to a stretchable rectifying circuit, creating a rectified antenna, or "rectenna," capable of converting energy from electromagnetic waves into electricity. This electricity can then be used to power wireless devices or to charge energy storage devices, such as batteries and supercapacitors.

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

Bright semiconductor nanocrystals known as quantum dots give QLED TV screens their vibrant colors. But attempts to increase the intensity of that light generate heat instead, reducing the quantum dots' light-producing efficiency. A new study by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory explains why, and the results have broad implications for developing future quantum and photonics technologies, in which light replaces electrons in computers and fluids in refrigerators.

(Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health)

An international team of scientists has developed molecular coatings that are compatible with biological environments and can stabilize wireframed DNA origami cages. DNA origami is a nanoscience method for folding DNA to create two- and three-dimensional shapes. The DNA cages can carry an anticancer drug with a slower release of the medicine over time than possible with the non-coated counterpart.

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

Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a screening technique that is 300 times more sensitive at detecting a biomarker for colorectal cancer than current methods. The technique uses nanoparticles with nickel-rich cores and platinum-rich shells to increase the sensitivity of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), a test which measures samples for biochemicals that indicate the presence of cancer, HIV, and pregnancy.

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

Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a screening technique that is 300 times more sensitive at detecting a biomarker for colorectal cancer than current methods. The technique uses nanoparticles with nickel-rich cores and platinum-rich shells to increase the sensitivity of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), a test which measures samples for biochemicals that indicate the presence of cancer, HIV, and pregnancy.

(Funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the National Institutes of Health)

Relief for people who suffer from movement-related brain disorders, chronic depression, and pain may one day be in the form of a new treatment invented by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and four universities. This new treatment involves stimulation of neurons deep within the brain by means of injected nanoparticles that light up when exposed to X-rays and would eliminate an invasive brain surgery currently in use.

(Funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the National Institutes of Health)

Relief for people who suffer from movement-related brain disorders, chronic depression, and pain may one day be in the form of a new treatment invented by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and four universities. This new treatment involves stimulation of neurons deep within the brain by means of injected nanoparticles that light up when exposed to X-rays and would eliminate an invasive brain surgery currently in use.

(Funded by the National Science Foundation)

By offering cells a "tightrope," scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Virginia Tech have discovered a new and surprising form of cellular movement. Normally, when cells crawling in an organism come into contact, they reverse and move randomly away from one another. But when nanofiber "tightropes" coated with proteins were suspended in a three-dimensional medium for cells to explore, cells either walked past each other to avoid a collision or formed a train moving together along the length of the nanofiber. This new understanding of cellular movement helps explain why some drugs work differently in tests within petri dishes than they do in humans or animals.