Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

IBM Research Creates World’s Smallest 3D Map; Brings Low-Cost, Ease of Use to Creation of Nanoscale Objects


3D rendered image showing a heated nanoscale silicon tip, borrowed from atomic force microscopy that is chiselling away material from a substrate to create a nanoscale 3D map of the world. In the relief, one thousand meters of altitude correspond to roughly eight nanometers (nm). It is composed of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 nm2 and was created in only 2 minutes and 23 seconds. (Credit: Image courtesy of Advanced Materials)

IBM scientists have created a 3D map of the earth so small that 1,000 of them could fit on one grain of salt.* The scientists accomplished this through a new, breakthrough technique that uses a tiny, silicon tip with a sharp apex — 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil — to create patterns and structures as small as 15 nanometers at greatly reduced cost and complexity. This patterning technique opens new prospects for developing nanosized objects in fields such as electronics, future chip technology, medicine, life sciences, and optoelectronics.

You can read the full article here.


April 28, 2010 Posted by | Nano News | Leave a comment

Nanowire cantilever for enhancing the efficiency of Atomic Force Microscopy


The conventional atomic force microscope cantilever is a sharp tip that is used for obtaining three-dimensional image of the material. As the force required for imaging is minimum, even then on this force, the cantilever can tear apart the tissues or cells and biological materials. Although there is a continuous effort to make smaller and smaller cantilever, however the force required for imaging is still enough to rupture the biological cells. 

Recently, researchers Molecular Foundary at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory / U.S. Department of Energy, have developed nano-sized cantilevers whose gentle touch could help discern the workings of living cells and other soft materials in their natural, liquid environment. Used in combination with a revolutionary detection mechanism, this new imaging tool is sensitive enough to investigate soft materials without the limitations present in other cantilevers.. The system is gentle enough to obtain images without rupturing the minute biological materials or other living cells in the natural liquid environment. Further the whole detection system has been made revolutionary so that the limitations present in the conventional system are overcome. 

The Molecular Foundry is one of the best Research Centre of Department of Energy. It is known for interdisciplinary research for nanotechnology is among the five NSRCs and is engaged in fabricating, processing and characterizing the nanomaterials. It has state of the art facilities for creating excellence in the field of nanotechnology and got investments from National Nanotechnology Initiative.

The article has the name “High sensitivity deflection detection of nanowires,” was published by Babak Sanii and Paul D. Ashby and is available in Physical Review Letters online.

(Illustration by Flavio Robles, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs)

 More information about this could be found here.

April 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New study on carbon nanotubes gives hope for medical applications

A study led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet, the University of Pittsburgh and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has shown for the first time that carbon nanotubes can be broken down by an enzyme – myeloperoxidase (MPO) – found in white blood cells.

Their discoveries are presented in Nature Nanotechnology and contradict what was previously believed, that carbon nanotubes are not broken down in the body or in nature.

“Previous studies have shown that carbon nanotubes could be used for introducing drugs or other substances into human cells,” says Bengt Fadeel, associate professor from Karolinska Institutet. “The problem has been not knowing how to control the breakdown of the nanotubes, which can caused unwanted toxicity and tissue damage.

Carbon nanotubes are a material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms rolled into a tube with a diameter of only a couple of nanometres and a length that can range from tens of nanometres up to several micrometers.

Carbon nanotubes were once considered biopersistent in that they did not break down in body tissue or in nature. In recent years, research has shown that laboratory animals exposed to carbon nanotubes via inhalation or through injection into the abdominal cavity develop severe inflammation, impaired lung function and perhaps even to cancer.

The scientists hope that this new understanding of how MPO converts carbon nanotubes into water and carbon dioxide can be of significance to medicine.

 You can read the press release here and the full article in Nature Nanotechnology here.

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Floating Nanosheets Could Be the Plywood of Nanotechnology

A synthetic, free-floating nanosheet just two molecules thick may provide the perfect substrate for creating future electronic devices.

The biologically inspired sheet is made of polymers, or long molecules with repeating units, that mimic the precision and order seen in proteins and crystal structures. But these synthetic sheets are made of molecular building blocks that are more durable than their natural counterparts.

“We’re making molecular plywood — a flat piece of building material that you can build nanoscale structures with,” said chemist Ronald Zuckermann of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, coauthor of a study April 11 in Nature Materials. “This study will open people’s eyes and make them talk about proteins and plastics in the same sentence.”

Zuckermann’s team made the discovery by stumbling upon a particular sequence of repeating units that formed perfectly aligned two-dimensional crystals.

You can read the full article here. 

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment