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Next generation anode to improve lithium-ion batteries: Silicon-tin nanocomposite developed at UCR could lead to low cost, long lasting rechargeable batteries for electronic devices and electric vehicles
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have created a new silicon-tin nanocomposite anode that could lead to lithium-ion batteries that can be charged and discharged more times before...
In work that aims to protect soldiers from biological and chemical threats, a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists has created a material that is highly breathable yet protective...
Solar cells based on cadmium and tellurium could move closer to theoretical levels of efficiency because of some sleuthing by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Perpetual 'ice water': Stable solid-liquid state revealed in nanoparticles: Gallium nanoparticles that are both solid and liquid are stable over a range of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit
Imagine pouring a glass of ice water and having the ice cubes remain unchanged hours later, even under a broiler's heat or in the very back corner of the freezer.
Scientists at the University of Basel have developed nanoparticles which can serve as efficient contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging. This new type of nanoparticles produce around ten times...
Cancer treatments based on laser irridation of tiny nanoparticles that are injected directly into the cancer tumor are working and can destroy the cancer from within. Researchers from the Niels Bohr I...
Soft electronic devices, such as a smartphone on your wrist and a folding screen in your pocket, are looking to much improve your lifestyle in the not-too-distant future. That is, if we could find way...
Anne M Stark, Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryIn work that aims to protect soldiers from biological and chemical threats, a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists has created a material that is highly breathable yet protecti
Categories: National Nanomanufacturing Network
University of Toronto chemists create vitamin-driven battery: Environmentally friendly battery is long-lasting and high voltage
A team of University of Toronto chemists has created a battery that stores energy in a biologically derived unit, paving the way for cheaper consumer electronics that are easier on the environment.
Programmable ions set the stage for general-purpose quantum computers: A new quantum computer module combines proven techniques with advances in hardware and software
Quantum computers promise speedy solutions to some difficult problems, but building large-scale, general-purpose quantum devices is a problem fraught with technical challenges.
'Liquid fingerprinting' technique instantly identifies unknown liquids: Ability to instantly identify unknown liquids in the field could aid first responders, improve plant safety
A new company will commercialize sensing technology invented at Harvard University that can perform instant, in-field characterization of the chemical make-up and material properties of unknown liquid...
Cal State LA has been awarded a grant to educate tomorrows leaders in the interdisciplinary field of paper microfluidics.
Towards the T-1000: Liquid metals propel future electronics: Self-propelling liquid metals a critical step to future elastic electronics
Science fiction is inching closer to reality with the development of revolutionary self-propelling liquid metals -- a critical step towards future elastic electronics.
Carbon nanotube 'stitches' make stronger, lighter composites: Method to reinforce these materials could help make airplane frames lighter, more damage-resistant
The newest Airbus and Boeing passenger jets flying today are made primarily from advanced composite materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic -- extremely light, durable materials that reduce...
In the quantum world, physicists study the tiny particles that make up our classical world - neutrons, electrons, photons - either one at a time or in small numbers because the behaviour of the partic...
Lucintel identifies and prioritizes opportunities for alumina trihydrate (ATH) fillers in the global composites industry
According to a new market report published by Lucintel, the future of the alumina trihydrate (ATH) fillers market looks good with opportunities in the electrical and electronics and transportation app...
Micro-robotic manipulators with the ability to move in increments far smaller than the width of a human hair might be enlisted for a range of applications in research, manufacturing, medicine and home...
Park Systems Launches Park NX20 300mm Research Atomic Force Microscope with Full 300 mm Semiconductor Wafer Scan - Vastly Improving Productivity
Park Systems, world leading manufacturer of Atomic Force Microscopes (AFM) today announced Park NX20 300mm, the first and only research AFM on the market capable of scanning the entire sample area...
MIT researchers have developed low-cost chemical sensors, made from chemically altered carbon nanotubes, that enable smartphones or other wireless devices to detect trace amounts of toxic gases. Using the sensors, the researchers hope to design lightweight, inexpensive radio-frequency identification (RFID) badges to be used for personal safety and security. Such badges could be worn by soldiers on the battlefield to rapidly detect the presence of chemical weapons — such as nerve gas or choking agents — and by people who work around hazardous chemicals prone to leakage. “Soldiers have all this extra equipment that ends up weighing way too much and they can’t sustain it,” says Timothy Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry and lead author on a paper describing the sensors that was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. “We have something that would weigh less than a credit card. And [soldiers] already have wireless technologies with them, so it’s something that can be readily integrated into a soldier’s uniform that can give them a protective capacity.” The sensor is a circuit loaded with carbon nanotubes, which are normally highly conductive but have been wrapped in an insulating material that keeps them in a highly resistive state. When exposed to certain toxic gases, the insulating material breaks apart, and the nanotubes become significantly more conductive. This sends a signal that’s readable by a smartphone with near-field communication (NFC) technology, which allows devices to transmit data over short distances. The sensors are sensitive enough to detect less than 10 parts per million of target toxic gases in about five seconds. “We are matching what you could do with benchtop laboratory equipment, such as gas chromatographs and spectrometers, that is far more expensive and requires skilled operators to use,” Swager says. Moreover, the sensors each cost about a nickel to make; roughly 4 million can be made from about 1 gram of the carbon nanotube materials. “You really can’t make anything cheaper,” Swager says. “That’s a way of getting distributed sensing into many people’s hands.” The paper’s other co-authors are from Swager’s lab: Shinsuke Ishihara, a postdoc who is also a member of the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics at the National Institute for Materials Science, in Japan; and PhD students Joseph Azzarelli and Markrete Krikorian. Wrapping nanotubes In recent years, Swager’s lab has developed other inexpensive, wireless sensors, called chemiresistors, that have detected spoiled meat and the ripeness of fruit, among other things. All are designed similarly, with carbon nanotubes that are chemically modified, so their ability to carry an electric current changes when exposed to a target chemical. This time, the researchers designed sensors highly sensitive to “electrophilic,” or electron-loving, chemical substances, which are often toxic and used for chemical weapons. To do so, they created a new type of metallo-supramolecular polymer, a material made of metals binding to polymer chains. The polymer acts as an insulation, wrapping around each of the sensor’s tens of thousands of single-walled carbon nanotubes, separating them and keeping them highly resistant to electricity. But electrophilic substances trigger the polymer to disassemble, allowing the carbon nanotubes to once again come together, which leads to an increase in conductivity. In their study, the researchers drop-cast the nanotube/polymer material onto gold electrodes, and exposed the electrodes to diethyl chlorophosphate, a skin irritant and reactive simulant of nerve gas. Using a device that measures electric current, they observed a 2,000 percent increase in electrical conductivity after five seconds of exposure. Similar conductivity increases were observed for trace amounts of numerous other electrophilic substances, such as thionyl chloride (SOCl2), a reactive simulant in choking agents. Conductivity was significantly lower in response to common volatile organic compounds, and exposure to most nontarget chemicals actually increased resistivity. Creating the polymer was a delicate balancing act but critical to the design, Swager says. As a polymer, the material needs to hold the carbon nanotubes apart. But as it disassembles, its individual monomers need to interact more weakly, letting the nanotubes regroup. “We hit this sweet spot where it only works when it’s all hooked together,” Swager says. Resistance is readable To build their wireless system, the researchers created an NFC tag that turns on when its electrical resistance dips below a certain threshold. Smartphones send out short pulses of electromagnetic fields that resonate with an NFC tag at radio frequency, inducing an electric current, which relays information to the phone. But smartphones can’t resonate with tags that have a resistance higher than 1 ohm. The researchers applied their nanotube/polymer material to the NFC tag’s antenna. When exposed to 10 parts per million of SOCl2 for five seconds, the material’s resistance dropped to the point that the smartphone could ping the tag. Basically, it’s an “on/off indicator” to determine if toxic gas is present, Swager says. According to the researchers, such a wireless system could be used to detect leaks in Li-SOCl2 (lithium thionyl chloride) batteries, which are used in medical instruments, fire alarms, and military systems. Alexander Star, a professor of chemistry and bioengineering and clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh, says the researchers’ design for a wireless sensor (or dosimeter) for electrophilic substances could improve soldier safety. “The authors were able to synthesize a [carbon nanotube] composite sensitive to … a class of chemicals of high interest for sensing,” Star says. “This type of device architecture is important for real-life application, due to the fact that a chemical weapon dosimeter worn by military and security personnel requires rapid reading.” The next step, Swager says, is to test the sensors on live chemical agents, outside of the lab, which are more dispersed and harder to detect, especially at trace levels. In the future, there’s also hope for developing a mobile app that could make more sophisticated measurements of the signal strength of an NFC tag: Differences in the signal will mean higher or lower concentrations of a toxic gas. “But creating new cell phone apps is a little beyond us right now,” Swager says. “We’re chemists.” The work was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Categories: Nanotechnology News