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

The following news releases describe the results of research activities that are funded by Federal agencies that participate in the National Nanotechnology Initiative.
  • November 15, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

    Researchers at Iowa State University have used nanotechnology to develop a sensor that can detect organophosphates at levels 40 times smaller than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends. Organophosphates are certain classes of insecticides used on crops throughout the world to kill insects.

  • November 14, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology)

    Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and their colleagues have developed an optical switch that routes light from one computer chip to another in just 20 billionths of a second—faster than any other similar device. The new switch combines nanometer-scale gold and silicon optical, electrical and mechanical components, all densely packed, to channel light into and out of a miniature racetrack, alter its speed, and change its direction of travel.

  • November 14, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have combined atomic-scale experimentation with computer modeling to determine how much energy it takes to bend multilayer graphene – a question that has eluded scientists since graphene was first isolated. By draping multiple layers of graphene over a step just one to five atoms high, the researchers created a controlled and precise way of measuring how the material would bend over the step in different configurations.

  • November 14, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

    Scientists have long been puzzled by the existence of so-called "buckyballs"—complex carbon molecules with a soccer-ball-like structure—throughout interstellar space. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Arizona has proposed a mechanism for their formation. The scientists suggest that buckyballs are derived from the silicon carbide dust made by dying stars, which is then hit by high temperatures, shock waves, and high-energy particles, leeching silicon from the surface and leaving carbon behind.

  • November 13, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    Researchers at Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a new technique, called erythrocyte-leveraged chemotherapy (ELeCt), that smuggles drug-loaded nanoparticles into cancerous lung tissue by mounting them onto the body's own red blood cells (erythrocytes). When the red blood cells made it through the lungs’ tiny capillaries, the nanoparticles were taken up by lung cells with tenfold greater success than free-floating nanoparticles.

  • November 13, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Scientists at the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory, a Department of Energy Office of Science user facility, have designed and connected two different artificial cells to each other to produce molecules called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the fundamental unit that all living things use to carry and provide energy to run processes in cells. This artificial cell design uses nanorods made of silver and gold to create a biological cell wall similar to cell walls found in nature. The synthetic protocell model offers opportunities for developing alternative solar-to-chemical energy conversion systems.

  • November 13, 2019
    (Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research)

    The world of aerospace increasingly relies on carbon fiber-reinforced polymer composites to build the structures of satellites, rockets, and jet aircraft. But the life of those materials is limited by how they handle heat. A team of researchers from Florida A&M University - Florida State University College of Engineering has developed a design for a heat shield that uses carbon nanotubes and better protects those extremely fast machines.

  • November 12, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation)

    A Rutgers University-led team has created biosensor technology that may help lead to safe stem cell therapies for treating Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The technology, which features a unique graphene and gold-based platform and high-tech imaging, monitors the fate of stem cells by detecting genetic material involved in turning such cells into brain cells.

  • November 12, 2019
    (Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have developed a diagnostic platform technology that enables the detection of a broad range of biomarkers with high sensitivity and selectivity in complex biological fluids, using as little as a single drop of blood. After experimenting with a variety of recipes, the research team developed a simple, porous, 3-D matrix consisting of bovine serum albumin cross-linked with glutaraldehyde and supported by a network of conducting nanomaterials, such as gold nanowires or carbon nanotubes.

  • November 12, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have revealed that, as a coating, carbon nanotubes can both repel and hold water in place, a useful property for applications such as printing, spectroscopy, water transport, or harvesting surfaces. When water is dropped on a carbon nanotube forest, the carbon nanotubes repel the water, which forms a sphere. But when the drop of water is flipped over, it does not fall to the ground but rather clings to the surface.