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.
  • December 17, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation)

    A multidisciplinary group of engineers and scientists has discovered a new method for water filtration that could have implications for a variety of technologies, such as desalination plants, breathable and protective fabrics, and carbon capture in gas separations. The artificial water channels developed by the researchers enable fast and selective water permeation through water-wire networks, which are synthetic nanoarchitectures that mimic the function of proteins that serve as water channels in cell membranes.

  • December 17, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation)

    Scientists have developed a new gene-therapy technique by transforming human cells into mass producers of nano-sized particles full of genetic material that has the potential to reverse disease processes. Though the research was intended as a proof of concept, the experimental therapy slowed tumor growth and prolonged survival in mice with gliomas, which constitute about 80 percent of malignant brain tumors in humans.

  • December 16, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Researchers at Wake Forest University have created a new, carbon-neutral process that uses silver diphosphide nanocrystals as a novel catalyst to convert carbon dioxide pollution from manufacturing plants to a material called syngas, from which liquid fuel is made. The new catalyst allows the conversion of carbon dioxide into fuel with minimal energy loss, compared to the current state-of-the-art process.

  • December 16, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Researchers have unlocked the secret to one of the most useful nanostructures: the five-fold twin. Nanomaterials with this structure – the cross-section of which looks like a pie sliced into five symmetrical pieces – are used in medical research for imaging and tracking cancerous tumors and in electronics, where they are valued for their mechanical strength. The researchers discovered two different mechanisms for forming five-fold twinned nanostructures, both of which are shaped by the accumulation and elimination of strain toward an ideal shape that eliminates all strain.

  • December 12, 2019
    (Funded by the National Institutes of Health)

    Researchers from Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are working together to develop and test what they think could be a better way to fight the flu. They have loaded synthesized influenza proteins into nanoparticles made from biodegradable polymers. The nanoparticles are then incorporated into a nasal spray and delivered with a sniff. Preliminary studies have shown that the nanovaccine could activate both kinds of immune cells (T cells and B cells) and provide protection in the nose, throat, voice box, windpipe, and lungs.

  • December 11, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

    Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have shown that heat energy can leap across a few hundred nanometers of a complete vacuum, thanks to a quantum mechanical phenomenon called the Casimir interaction. This interaction could have profound implications for the design of computer chips and nanoscale electronic components, where heat dissipation is key.

  • December 11, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    An international team co-led by an Oregon State University chemistry researcher has uncovered a better way to scrub carbon dioxide from smokestack emissions, which could be a key to mitigating global climate change. The researchers used data mining to deal with the water portion of smokestack gases, which greatly complicates removing the carbon dioxide. The data mining involved hundreds of thousands of nanomaterials known as metal organic frameworks, which can intercept carbon dioxide molecules as the flue gases make their way out of the smokestack.

  • December 11, 2019
    (Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the US Army Research Office, and the National Science Foundation)

    Scientists have presented a general framework for incorporating and correcting for nonclassical electromagnetic phenomena in nanoscale systems. The framework extends the validity of the macroscopic electromagnetism into the nanoscale regime, bridging the scale gap.

  • December 09, 2019
    (Funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health)

    Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine report that they have created a tiny, nano-size container that can slip inside cells and deliver protein-based medicines and gene therapies of any size — even hefty ones attached to a gene-editing tool called CRISPR. If their creation — constructed of a biodegradable polymer — passes more laboratory testing, it could offer a way to efficiently ferry larger medical compounds into specifically selected target cells.

  • December 05, 2019
    (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have adapted a cryogenic electron microscope to visualize a soft material's atomic structure while keeping it intact. The researchers made nanosheets in solution from short protein-like molecules, called peptoids, that could advance a number of applications, such as synthetic, disease-specific antibodies and self-repairing membranes or tissue.