Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

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

(Funded by the National Science Foundation)

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University; the University of Nevada, Reno; and the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada, have described a way to measure levels of a specific kind of carbon nanotube in plant tissues. The researchers grew hydroponic lettuce in the presence of carbon nanotubes and then analyzed the lettuce leaves for traces of carbon nanotubes. This is the first study to measure levels of this kind of carbon nanotube in plants by using thermal analysis.

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

Researchers at Georgia Tech have found a method to engineer membranes made from graphene oxide, a chemically resistant material based on carbon, so they can work effectively in industrial applications. Many industries that use large amounts of water in their production processes may stand to benefit from using these graphene oxide nanofiltration membranes.

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

By discovering a new printable biomaterial that can mimic properties of brain tissue, researchers at Northwestern University are close to developing a platform capable of treating neurodegenerative diseases or brain and spinal cord injuries using regenerative medicine. A key ingredient to the discovery is the ability to control the self-assembly processes of molecules within the material, enabling the researchers to modify the structure and functions of systems from the nanoscale to the scale of visible features. The researchers showed that materials can be designed to migrate over long distances and self-organize to form larger, “superstructured” bundles of nanofibers.

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

A scientific article by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos and Argonne national laboratories reviews the recent progress in colloidal-quantum-dot research and highlights the remaining challenges and opportunities in the rapidly developing field, which is poised to enable a wide array of new laser-based and LED-based technology applications. Colloidal quantum dots are assembled from semiconductor precursors suspended in a solution. They are easily synthesized without a clean room and behave like big atoms that follow the rules of quantum mechanics.

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

A team led by researchers at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering has found a new way of enhancing the performance of electrochemical micro-sensors by using a carbon nanomaterial called nano-graphitic carbon. This discovery could lead to the detection of biomolecules, such as dopamine, at lower concentrations than is possible today. Dopamine molecule activity in the brain is associated with motivation, motor control, reinforcement, and reward.

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

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, Northwestern University, and Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (South Korea) have reported a new electrode design for lithium-ion batteries that uses two low-cost materials: lead and carbon. The team's anode is not a plain slab of lead but is composed of innumerable lead nanoparticles embedded in a carbon matrix that is enclosed by a thin lead oxide shell. Tests in laboratory cells over 100 charge-discharge cycles showed that the new lead-based nanocomposite anode reached twice the energy storage capacity of current graphite anodes (normalized for the same weight).

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

Researchers North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Duke University School of Medicine have developed a new tool for addressing disseminated intravascular coagulation, a blood disorder that proves fatal in many patients. The researchers developed a technique that makes use of nanogel spheres, which are loaded with tissue-type plasminogen activator – a drug that breaks down blood clots. The spheres travel through the bloodstream until they reach a blood clot, at which point they stick to fibrin, the main protein found in blood clots.

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

The challenge with rapidly diagnosing sepsis – a potentially life-threatening medical condition triggered by blood-borne pathogens – stems from the fact that measuring only one biomarker often does not allow a clear-cut diagnosis. Now, a multi-disciplinary team at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the University of Bath, United Kingdom, has further developed the Institute's eRapid technology as an affinity-based, low-cost electrochemical diagnostic sensor platform for the detection of multiple clinically relevant biomarkers in whole blood. The device uses a novel graphene nanocomposite-based surface coating and was demonstrated to accurately detect three different sepsis biomarkers simultaneously.

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

Visible and infrared light can carry more data than radio waves, but has always been confined to a hard-wired, fiber-optic cable. Working with Facebook's Connectivity Lab, a research team at Duke University has now made a major advance toward eliminating the fiber in fiber optics by using silver nanocubes that are 60 nanometers wide and spaced about 200 nanometers apart. While working to create a free-space optical communication system for high-speed wireless internet, the researchers have also shown that speed and efficiency properties previously demonstrated on tiny, single-unit plasmonic antennas can also be achieved on larger, centimeter-scale devices.

(Funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Science Foundation)

Oil and water may not mix, but adding the right nanoparticles to the recipe can convert these two immiscible fluids into an exotic gel with uses ranging from batteries to water filters to tint-changing smart windows. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Delaware have found what appears to be a better way to create these gels, which have been an area of intense research focus for more than a decade.