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.
  • January 13, 2020
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Research Office and the National Institutes of Health)

    Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara have been able to use a combination of gold nanorods and near-infrared light to destroy multidrug-resistant bacteria without antibiotics. These "phanorods" were applied to bacteria on in-vitro cultures of mammalian cells and then exposed to near-infrared light. The heat killed bacteria such as E. coli, P. aeruginosa, and V. cholerae.

  • January 10, 2020
    (Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Department of Defense)

    Scientists led by Rice University engineers have created light-powered nanoparticles to produce synthesis gas (syngas), a valuable chemical feedstock used in making fuels and fertilizer. The nanoparticles, tiny spheres of copper dotted with single atoms of ruthenium, are the key component in a low-energy, low-temperature photocatalytic process that could slash the carbon footprint for a major segment of the chemical industry.

  • January 09, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    Biomedical and optics researchers at the University of Rochester are working to better understand the prevalence of microplastics in drinking water and their potential impacts on human health. They are collaborating with SiMPore, a company that uses nanomembrane technology, which was initially developed at the University, to devise ways to quickly filter and identify particles of plastic that are 5 millimeters or smaller in size in drinking water samples.

  • January 08, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found that a type of vaccine called a nucleoside-modified mRNA encapsulated in lipid nanoparticles (mRNA-LNP) vaccine, which was developed at Penn, successfully protected young mice against infections in the presence of maternal antibodies. The study suggests that this protection occurred because the vaccine programs cells to constantly churn out new antigens for a prolonged period of time, rather than delivering a one-time shot of a viral protein.

  • January 08, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have demonstrated that a type of biodegradable, lab-engineered nanoparticle they fashioned can successfully deliver a "suicide gene" to pediatric brain tumor cells implanted in the brains of mice. The researchers found that a combination of the suicide gene and ganciclovir delivered by intraperitoneal injection to mice killed more than 65% of two types of pediatric brain tumor cells.

  • January 06, 2020
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Researchers at Columbia University and the University of California San Diego have, for the first time, combined an optical nano-probe with magnetic nano-imaging to simultaneously examine electrical, magnetic, and optical properties of quantum materials.

  • January 06, 2020
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a way to prop up a struggling immune system to enable its fight against sepsis, a deadly condition resulting from the body's extreme reaction to infection. This work combined two primary types of technology: using vitamins as the main component in making lipid nanoparticles, and using those nanoparticles to capitalize on natural cell processes in the creation of a new antibacterial drug.

  • December 31, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the Army Research Office)

    Researchers at Iowa State University have developed new nanoscale technology to image and measure more of the stresses and strains on materials under high pressures. The technology consists of a series of nanoscale sensors inserted into diamonds, which are used to exert high pressures on tiny material samples. The technology allows researchers to image, measure, and calculate six different stresses – a more comprehensive and realistic measure of the effects of high pressure on materials.

  • December 23, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at Penn State and New York University have developed a device to quickly capture and identify various strains of viruses. The device uses arrays of nanotubes that capture different viruses according to their size and uses Raman spectroscopy to identify the viruses based on their individual vibrations. Because of its size and cheapness, such a device could be useful in a doctor’s office and in locations where disease outbreaks occur.

  • December 18, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health)

    Every year, a lack of vaccination leads to about 1.5 million preventable deaths, primarily in developing nations. One factor that makes vaccination campaigns in those nations more difficult is that there is little infrastructure for storing medical records, so there is often no easy way to determine who needs a particular vaccine. MIT researchers have now developed a novel way to record a patient’s vaccination history: storing the data in a pattern of dye, invisible to the naked eye, that is delivered under the skin at the same time as the vaccine. The researchers showed that their new dye, which consists of nanocrystals called quantum dots, can remain for at least five years under the skin, where it emits near-infrared light that can be detected by a specially equipped smartphone.