Press 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.
  • May 07, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at Texas A&M University have made mats that are strong, stable, and capable of delivering antioxidant activity for prolonged periods of time. Each mat is made of an intertwined network of ultra-fine strands of a polymer and an antioxidant found in red wine. In past studies, antioxidants were blended into synthetic mats, but the researchers said these mats have lower functionality because the surface area for antioxidant activity is limited. To increase the surface area for antioxidant activity, the researchers created an antioxidant mesh made with nanofibers of polymer and tannic acid.

  • May 07, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    Researchers at the University of Virginia are pioneering the use of focused ultrasound to defy the brain's protective barrier, so that doctors could deliver treatments directly into the brain. The approach could revolutionize treatment for brain cancer by using the focused ultrasound to deliver gene therapy via "deep-penetrating nanoparticles." The nanoparticles are engineered to penetrate the tissue, and the focused sound waves are able to open spaces between cells in the tissue.

  • May 05, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Defense)

    To clean wastewater from munitions processing and demilitarization, engineers at the University of Delaware are testing a novel technology using iron nanoparticles. Instead of being corroded by oxygen in water, forming rust, the 25-nanometer iron particles are corroded by munitions compounds in wastewater. The nanoparticles donate electrons to munitions compounds and, through electron transfer, the dissolved munitions compounds break down. Iron nanoparticles have already been used to treat groundwater, but this is its first application to munitions wastewater.

  • May 05, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    By disabling a gene in specific mouse cells, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have prevented mice from becoming obese, even after the animals had been fed a high-fat diet. In one set of experiments, the research team deleted the ASXL2 gene in the macrophages of obese mice, and in a second set of experiments, they injected the animals with nanoparticles that interfered with the activity of the ASXL2 gene. In both cases, the researchers found that despite high-fat diets, the treated animals burned 45% more calories than their obese littermates.

  • May 04, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at Rice University have created an efficient, low-cost device that splits water to produce hydrogen fuel. The device integrates catalytic electrodes made with cobalt phosphide nanorods (about 100 nanometers in diameter) and perovskite solar cells, which are crystals that produce electricity when triggered by sunlight. When the device is dropped into water and placed in sunlight, it produces hydrogen with no further input.

  • May 01, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research)

    Soft and flexible materials called halide perovskites could make solar cells more efficient at significantly less cost, but they are too unstable to use. A Purdue University-led research team has found a way to make halide perovskites stable enough by inhibiting the ion movement that makes them rapidly degrade, unlocking their use for solar panels and electronic devices. A perovskite is made up of components that an engineer can individually replace at the nanometer scale to tune the material's properties.

  • May 01, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    In regenerative medicine, an ideal treatment for patients whose muscles are damaged from lack of oxygen would be to invigorate them with an injection of their own stem cells. In a new study, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated that "nanostimulators"—nanoparticles seeded with a molecule the body naturally produces to prompt stem cells to heal wounds—can amp up stem cells' regenerative powers in a targeted limb in mice.

  • May 01, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    A team of researchers from the University of California San Diego, Columbia University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University of Calgary, and the University of California, Irvine has developed a portable, more environmentally friendly method to produce hydrogen peroxide. The method is based on a chemical reaction in which one molecule of oxygen combines with two electrons and two protons in an acidic electrolyte solution to produce hydrogen peroxide. The key to making this reaction happen is a special catalyst that the team developed that is made up of carbon nanotubes that have been partially oxidized.

  • April 30, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Engineering researchers at North Carolina State University have created an ultrathin, stretchable electronic material that contains silver nanowires and is gas-permeable, allowing the material to "breathe.” The material was designed for use in biomedical or wearable technologies because the gas permeability allows sweat and volatile organic compounds to evaporate away from the skin, making it more comfortable for users – especially for long-term wear.

  • April 30, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    People who are affected by Alzheimer's disease have a specific type of plaque, made of self-assembled molecules called beta-amyloid peptides, that build up in the brain over time. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, along with collaborators from the Korean Institute of Science and Technology and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, have developed an approach to prevent plaque formation by engineering a nano-sized device that captures beta-amyloid peptides before they can self-assemble.