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New sensor can transmit information on hazardous chemicals or food spoilage to a smartphone.MIT chemists have devised a new way to wirelessly detect hazardous gases and environmental pollutants, using a simple sensor that can be read by a smartphone. These inexpensive sensors could be widely deployed, making it easier to monitor public spaces or detect food spoilage in warehouses. Using this system, the researchers have demonstrated that they can detect gaseous ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and cyclohexanone, among other gases. The beauty of these sensors is that they are really cheap. You put them up, they sit there, and then you come around and read them. Theres no wiring involved. Theres no power, says Timothy Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry at MIT. You can get quite imaginative as to what you might want to do with a technology like this. Swager is the senior author of a paper describing the new sensors in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Dec. 8. Chemistry graduate student Joseph Azzarelli is the papers lead author; other authors are postdoc Katherine Mirica and former MIT postdoc Jens Ravnsbaek. Versatile gas detection For several years, Swagers lab has been developing gas-detecting sensors based on devices known as chemiresistors, which consist of simple electrical circuits modified so that their resistance changes when exposed to a particular chemical. Measuring that change in resistance reveals whether the target gas is present. Unlike commercially available chemiresistors, the sensors developed in Swagers lab require almost no energy and can function at ambient temperatures. This would allow us to put sensors in many different environments or in many different devices, Swager says. The new sensors are made from modified near-field communication (NFC) tags. These tags, which receive the little power they need from the device reading them, function as wirelessly addressable barcodes and are mainly used for tracking products such as cars or pharmaceuticals as they move through a supply chain, such as in a manufacturing plant or warehouse. NFC tags can be read by any smartphone that has near-field communication capability, which is included in many newer smartphone models. These phones can send out short pulses of magnetic fields at radio frequency (13.56 megahertz), inducing an electric current in the circuit on the tag, which relays information to the phone. To adapt these tags for their own purposes, the MIT team first disrupted the electronic circuit by punching a hole in it. Then, they reconnected the circuit with a linker made of carbon nanotubes that are specialized to detect a particular gas. In this case, the researchers added the carbon nanotubes by drawing them onto the tag with a mechanical pencil they first created in 2012 (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2012/drawing-with-a-carbon-nanotube-pencil-1009), in which the usual pencil lead is replaced with a compressed powder of carbon nanotubes. The team refers to the modified tags as CARDs: chemically actuated resonant devices. When carbon nanotubes bind to the target gas, their ability to conduct electricity changes, which shifts the radio frequencies at which power can be transferred to the device. When a smartphone pings the CARD, the CARD responds only if it can receive sufficient power at the smartphone-transmitted radio frequencies, allowing the phone to determine whether the circuit has been altered and the gas is present. Current versions of the CARDs can each detect only one type of gas, but a phone can read multiple CARDs to get input on many different gases, down to concentrations of parts per million. With the current version of the technology, the phone must be within 5 centimeters of the CARD to get a reading, but Azzarelli is currently working with Bluetooth technology to expand the range. Widespread deployment The researchers have filed for a patent on the sensing technology and are now looking into possible applications. Because these devices are so inexpensive and can be read by smartphones, they could be deployed nearly anywhere: indoors to detect explosives and other harmful gases, or outdoors to monitor environmental pollutants. Once an individual phone gathers data, the information could be uploaded to wireless networks and combined with sensor data from other phones, allowing coverage of very large areas, Swager says. The researchers are also pursuing the possibility of integrating the CARDs into smart packaging that would allow people to detect possible food spoilage or contamination of products. Swagers lab has previously developed sensors (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2012/fruit-spoilage-sensor-0430) that can detect ethylene, a gas that signals ripeness in fruit. Avoiding food waste currently is a very hot topic; however, it requires cheap, easy-to-use, and reliable sensors for chemicals, e.g., metabolites such as ammonia that could indicate the quality of raw food or the status of prepared meals, says Wolfgang Knoll, a managing director of the Austrian Institute of Technology, who was not part of the research team. The concept presented in this paper could lead to a solution for a long-lasting need in food quality control. The CARDs could also be incorporated into dosimeters to help monitor worker safety in manufacturing plants by measuring how much gas the workers are exposed to. Since its low-cost, disposable, and can easily interface with a phone, we think it could be the type of device that someone could wear as a badge, and they could ping it when they check in in the morning and then ping it again when they check out at night, Azzarelli says. The research was funded by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the U.S. Army Research Office through the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies; the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation; and the National Cancer Institute. Source: MIT News Office (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/wireless-chemical-sensor-for-smartphone-1208)
Nanoporous metals foam-like materials that have some degree of air vacuum in their structure have a wide range of applications because of their superior qualities. They posses a high surface area for better electron transfer, which can lead to the improved performance of an electrode in an electric double capacitor or battery. Nanoporous metals offer an increased number of available sites for the adsorption of analytes, a highly desirable feature for sensors. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) researchers have developed a cost-effective and more efficient way to manufacture nanoporous metals over many scales, from nanoscale to macroscale, which is visible to the naked eye. The process begins with a four-inch silicon wafer. A coating of metal is added and sputtered across the wafer. Gold, silver and aluminum were used for this research project. However, the manufacturing process is not limited to these metals. Next, a mixture of two polymers is added to the metal substrate to create patterns, a process known as diblock copolymer lithography (BCP). The pattern is transformed in a single polymer mask with nanometer-size features. Last, a technique known as anisotropic ion beam milling (IBM) is used to etch through the mask to make an array of holes, creating the nanoporous metal. During the fabrication process, the roughness of the metal is continuously examined to ensure that the finished product has good porosity, which is key to creating the unique properties that make nanoporous materials work. The rougher the metal is, the less evenly porous it becomes. During fabrication, our team achieved 92 percent pore coverage with 99 percent uniformity over a 4-in silicon wafer, which means the metal was smooth and evenly porous, said Tiziana Bond, an LLNL engineer who is a member of the joint research team. The team has defined a metric based on a parametrized correlation between BCP pore coverage and metal surface roughness by which the fabrication of nanoporous metals should be stopped when uneven porosity is the known outcome, saving processing time and costs. The real breakthrough is that we created a new technique to manufacture nanoporous metals that is cheap and can be done over many scales avoiding the lift-off technique to remove metals, with real-time quality control, Bond said. These metals open the application space to areas such as energy harvesting, sensing and electrochemical studies. The lift-off technique is a method of patterning target materials on the surface of a substrate by using a sacrificial material. One of the biggest problems with this technique is that the metal layer cannot be peeled off uniformly (or at all) at the nanoscale. Other applications of nanoporous metals include supporting the development of new metamaterials (engineered materials) for radiation-enhanced filtering and manipulation, including deep ultraviolet light. These applications are possible because nanoporous materials facilitate anomalous enhancement of transmitted (or reflected) light through the tunneling of surface plasmons, a feature widely usable by light-emitting devices, plasmonic lithography, refractive-index-based sensing and all-optical switching. The other team members include ETH researcher Ali Ozhan Altun and professor Hyung Gyu Park. The teams findings were reported in an article titled Manufacturing over many scales: High fidelity macroscale coverage of nanoporous metal arrays via lift-off-free nanofrabication. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/admi.201400084/abstract) It was the cover story in a recent issue of Advanced Materials Interfaces. Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (https://www.llnl.gov/news/lawrence-livermore-researchers-develop-efficient-method-produce-nanoporous-metals)
New device can sense strain, pressure, temperature and humidity, and might be used in prosthetics and in robotics applications.
Graphene has received a great deal of attention for its promising potential applications in electronics, biomedical and energy storage devices, sensors and other cutting-edge technological fields, mainly because of its fascinating properties such as an extremely high electron mobility, a good thermal conductivity and a high elasticity.The successful implementation of graphene-based devices invariably requires the precise patterning of graphene sheets at both the micrometer and nanometer scale. Finding the ideal technique to achieve the desired graphene patterning remains a major challenge. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is becoming a viable alternative to conventional manufacturing processes in an increasing number of applications ranging from children toys to cars, fashion, architecture, military, biomedical science, and aerospace, to name a few. For the first time, researchers have now demonstrated 3D printed nanostructures composed entirely of graphene using a new 3D printing technique. The research team, led by Professor Seung Kwon Seol from Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI), has published their findings in the November 13, 2014 online edition of Advanced Materials ("3D Printing of Reduced Graphene Oxide Nanowires" (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1002/adma.201404380)) "We developed a nanoscale 3D printing approach that exploits a size-controllable liquid meniscus to fabricate 3D reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanowires," Seol explains. "Different from typical 3D printing approaches which use filaments or powders as printing materials, our method uses the stretched liquid meniscus of ink. This enables us to realize finer printed structures than a nozzle aperture, resulting in the manufacturing of nanotructures." The researchers note that their novel solution-based approach is quite effective in 3D printing of graphene nanostructures as well as in multiple-materials 3D nanoprinting. "We are convinced that this approach will present a new paradigm for implementing 3D patterns in printed electronics," says Seol. For their technique, the team grew graphene oxide (GO) wires at room temperature using the meniscus formed at the tip of a micropipette filled with a colloidal dispersion of GO sheets, then reduced it by thermal or chemical treatment (with hydrazine). The deposition of GO was obtained by pulling the micropipette as the solvent rapidly evaporated, thus enabling the growth of GO wires. The researchers were able to accurately control the radius of the rGO wires by tuning the pulling rate of the pipette; they managed to reach a minimum value of ca. 150 nm. Using this technique, they were able to produce arrays of different freestanding rGO architectures, grown directly at chosen sites and in different directions: straight wires, bridges, suspended junctions, and woven structures. "So far, to the best of our knowledge, nobody has reported 3D printed nanostructures composed entirely of graphene," says Seol. "Several results reported the 3D printing (millimeter- or centimeter-scale) of graphene or carbon nanotube/plastic composite materials by using a conventional 3D printer. In such composite system, the graphene (or CNT) plays an important role for improving the properties of plastic materials currently used in 3D printers. However, the plastic materials used for producing the composite structures deteriorate the intrinsic properties of graphene (or CNT)." He points out that this 3D nanoprinting approach can be used for manufacturing 2D patterns and 3D architectures in diverse devices such as printed circuit boards, transistors, light emitting devices, solar cells, sensors and so on. Reducing the 3D printable size to below 10 nm and increasing the production yield still remain challenges, though. Source: Nanowerk (http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=38253.php)
The Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology (BJNANO, http://www.beilstein-journals.org/bjnano (http://www.beilstein-journals.org/bjnano)) invites you to submit papers on any aspect of Nanoinformatics to a Thematic Issue of BJNANO. BJNANO is a High Impact (SCI: 2.3) Open Access journal with No Publication Fees in the broad areas of Nanosciences and Nanotechnology. The BJNANO Thematic issue on Nanoinformatics will include, but are not limited to, the following topics: Data management and database development for nanomaterialsOntology and meta-data design for nanomaterial data Nanomaterial data standards and interoperation/sharing protocols Nanomaterial characterization (i.e., physicochemical/structural properties) Text/Literature mining for nanomaterial data collection and integrationAnalysis/Quantification for nano-images (e.g., TEM images of nanomaterials, images generated from in-vivo high-throughput screening of nano-bioactivity)Assessment of the value of information in nanomaterial dataData mining/Machine learning for nanomaterial data, particularly the development of (quantitative) structure-activity relationships for nanomaterialsSimulation for nanomaterial fate transport, nano-bio interactionsComputing applications for nanomedicine (e.g., drug delivery systems (nano-excipient), diagnosis and prevention, and safe disposal of nanomedicine as household goods)Visualization of nanomaterials dataEnvironmental and health risk assessment, life-cycle analysis, and regulatory decision making for nanomaterialsAssessment of ethical and social issues of nanotechnologyInfrastructure (frameworks/software/tools/resources) for nanoinformatics If you're interested in submitting papers to the thematic issue on Nanoinformtics, the deadline for the submission is: March 31, 2015. Submission instructions can be found at: http://www.beilstein-journals.org/bjnano/submission/submissionOverview.htm (http://www.beilstein-journals.org/bjnano/submission/submissionOverview.htm). When submitting, please also indicate in your cover letter that your paper is submitted for consideration by the thematic issue on Nanoinformatics. For further information regarding the thematic issue on nanoinformatics please contact Dr. Rong Liu (email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)).
The PETA International Science Consortium, Ltd., will present at the annual meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis on a framework for optimizing nonanimal testing methods for nanomaterials. This pre...
Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS) today introduced the next-generation of BenchVue, an intuitive, easy-to-use PC software application that provides multiple-instrument measurement visibility an...
As solar panels become less expensive and capable of generating more power, solar energy is becoming a more commercially viable alternative source of electricity. However, the photovoltaic cells now u...
Precious elements such as platinum work well as catalysts in chemical reactions, but require large amounts of metal and can be expensive. However, computational modeling below the nanoscale level may...
In this research, biodegradable polymers have been used in the production of nanocarrier, which enable the release of drug by controlling changes in temperature. The production and characterization of...
Iranian researchers from Mashhad University of Medical Sciences proposed a simple, cost-effective and fast method to produce metal oxide nanoparticles, which is in agreement with the basics of green c...
Metallic-based film could be a real alternative to conventional warm gel and thermal packs for alleviating the pain caused by everyday sprains and strains, and might even help patients suffering from arthritis.
2500 nm wavelength IR beam separates out semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes from a mix of both semiconducting and metallic thanks to a phenomenon called thermocapillary flow.
Detecting gases wirelessly and cheaply: New sensor can transmit information on hazardous chemicals or food spoilage to a smartphone
MIT chemists have devised a new way to wirelessly detect hazardous gases and environmental pollutants, using a simple sensor that can be read by a smartphone.
Unusual Electronic State Found in New Class of Unconventional Superconductors: Finding gives scientists a new group of materials to explore to unlock secrets of some materials' ability to carry current with no energy loss
A team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, Columbia Engineering, Columbia Physics and Kyoto University has discovered an unusual form of electronic...
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new lithography technique that uses nanoscale spheres to create three-dimensional (3-D) structures with biomedical, electronic and pho...
Two-dimensional (2D) layered materials are now attracting a lot of interest due to their unique optoelectronic properties at atomic thicknesses. Among them, graphene has been mostly investigated, but...
Biomimetic dew harvesters: Understanding how a desert beetle harvests water from dew could improve drinking water collection in dew condensers
Insects are full of marvels - and this is certainly the case with a beetle from the Tenebrionind family, found in the extreme conditions of the Namib desert. Now, a team of scientists has demonstrated...
Iranian researchers from Shiraz University produced a nanosensor during a laboratorial research which can be used in measuring naproxen drug.
Membrane nano-tomography in living cells: Label-free evanescent microscopy enables full-field and real-time tracking of membrane processes without signal fading and cell perturbation
Membranes play a pivotal role in numerous cell mechanisms, in particular for internalization, adhesion and motility studies. In terms of optical imaging of the membrane, special configurations are nee...