Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Apple iPhone apps put Nanotechnology in your pocket

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN), established in April 2005 as a partnership between the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Pew Charitable Trusts (Washington) has developed findNano, an application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch that lets users discover and determine whether consumer products are nanotechnology-enabled ranging more than 1,000 different products from consumer electronics, toys or food to improved drug delivery systems.

This application takes as base, the PEN’s “Consumer Products Inventory”, which is one of the leading sources of information on manufacturer-identified nanotechnology consumer products around the world and through this new application becomes more accessible for today’s consumers.

Patrick Polischuk, Research Associate at PEN says: “This innovative tool satisfies the needs of citizen, scientists, tech-savvy consumers, and those who are merely curious about whether products contain nanomaterials.”

To help develop better estimates of the number of nano-based products in commerce, the iPhone app allows users to submit information on new products, including product name and where the product can be purchased. Using the built-in camera, iPhone users can even submit new nanotech product to be included in future inventory updates. This feature will help consumers, researchers, etc to determine how and where nanotechnologies are entering the marketplace.

findNano is available as a free download for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and can be found in the iTunes App Store.


April 20, 2011 Posted by | Nanobiology, Nanoelectronics, Nanofood, Nanomaterials, Nanomedicine, Nanooptics, Nanopackaging, Nanophotonic, Nanoproduction, Nanotester, Nanotextile | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Biomaterials used to repair liver

Biocompatible materials that emulate living tissues can be used for tissue repair and regeneration. Polymer scaffolds, for example, mimic the network that connects cells and stimulates cell adhesion. They can also transport various cell types. Now, stem cells differentiated into liver-like cells from bone marrow stem cells can be delivered to the liver using a fibrous polymer scaffold containing the peptide RGD, thanks to a technique developed by a team led by Dr Andrew Wan at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. You can read the full article here.

The photo by Benjamin Tai shows a fluorescence microscopy image of the scaffold-embedded cells showing the integration of the fibers (yellow-green) with differentiated cells after implantation. Cell nuclei are stained blue.

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Nanobiology, Nanomaterials, Nanomedicine, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sensing Hormones with printed Nanocircuits

Just as glucose meters have revolutionized the treatment of diabetes, researchers at a startup called Aneeve Nanotechnologies believe they’re building hormone sensors that could revolutionize the understanding and treatment of infertility, menopause, and other conditions related to hormone fluctuation.

Aneeve is part of a new technology incubator program at the University of California at Los Angeles. The company is working to create low-cost sensors that can be made with off-the-shelf ink-jet printers and carbon-nanotube ink. The printers lay down nanotube circuits that, upon binding to the estrogen protein estradiol, undergo a change to their resistance and optical properties and transmit that change via radio waves to another device. The company’s chief operating officer, Kosmas Galatsis says he hopes the result will be a system as convenient as glucose meters.

The image shows that the carbon nanotubes were laid down using an ink-jet printer. Researchers hope to use the technology to print sensors that detect levels of estrogen and other hormones in a drop of blood (Credit: Aneeve Nanotechnologies).

 The UCLA on-campus Technology Incubation Program at CNSI is an innovative resource with a mission to help accelerate the growth of entrepreneurial start-up companies and early stage technology research projects that originate at UCLA. Proposals/ applications for incubation space are now being considered for the Incubation space opening in March 2009


January 27, 2010 Posted by | Nanobiology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Identification of DNA Bases Without Fluorescent Tags

Illumina and Oxford Nanopore Technologies have made a strategic alliance in which Illumina will market exclusively BASETM technology products developed by Oxford Nanopore for the DNA sequencing. These sequencing systems use protein nanopores coupled with a processive enzyme.

The system developed by the spin-out of the University of Oxford, Oxford Nanopore, is designed for the electric identification of DNA bases at the molecular level, without the need for fluorescent labels.

November 18, 2009 Posted by | Nanobiology | , , | Leave a comment

Antimicrobial and Flame Retardant Agent

Images obtained from Nanoparticle BioChem web site

Images obtained from Nanoparticle BioChem web site

Nanoparticle BioChem Inc., a University of Missouri spin-off  has developed antimicrobial and flame retardant agent, called NUL/FL-Mikrobe-I. This agent can provide antimicrobial and flame retardant properties for textiles. According to the company, the staff developed an antimicrobial action has proved 100% against several important microbes both gram-positive and gram-negative.

Antimicrobial Research conducted by the company focuses on a number of microbial agents with applications for the production of antimicrobial textiles earmarked to military and health and hygiene industries.

November 17, 2009 Posted by | Nanobiology, Nanomaterials, Nanomedicine | , | Leave a comment

Biological Parts Assembly

Mushroom Coral, origin of the fluorescent protein dsRED. Image obtained from Ginkgo BioWorks web site.

Mushroom Coral, origin of the fluorescent protein dsRED. Image obtained from Ginkgo BioWorks web site.

A new synthetic biology startup, called Ginkgo BioWorks offers assembly of biological parts such as chains of specific genes.

The company relies on technology developed at MIT by one of its founders called standard BioBricks, a standard way of placing pieces of DNA.

October 19, 2009 Posted by | Nanobiology | , | Leave a comment

Nanoscale Butterfly Wings

Image obtained from

Image obtained from

Scientists from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and the Pennsylvania State University have developed a technique that allows butterfly wings replicas at the nanoscale.

From materials such as germanium, selenium, antimony and a solution of chitin in an aqueous solution of phosphoric acid and using a technique called CEFR (conformal-evaporated-film-byrotation), the research team has developed a new biomaterial.

According to the authors, the resultant nanostructures could be used to produce optically active structures such as optical nozzles or coatings to maximize light absorption of solar cells.

The technique could allow copying of other biological structures enabling the development of miniature cameras and optical sensors.

October 15, 2009 Posted by | Nanobiology, Nanomaterials | , | Leave a comment

Biosensor Nanoparticle

Image obtained from

Image obtained from

The Astrobiology Center has filed a patent for a process for the synthesis of a nanoparticle composed of three layers that can be used as sensitive to magnetic fields biosensors. This nanoparticle consists of a magnetic core, an intermediate layer to ensure adhesion and an outer layer of gold.

The patent applied has been the result of interdisciplinary work involving the Astrobiology Center, the Instituto de Ciencia de los Materiales and the Instituto de Catálisis y Petroleoquímica.

In the survey, composite nanoparticles have been synthesized by a magnetic core, a layer of silica and a final layer of metal on which are immobilized biosensor molecules of natural or artificial with a wide range of applications.

October 9, 2009 Posted by | Nanobiology, Nanomaterials | , | Leave a comment

Lab-on-a-chip Device for Detection of Proteins in the Blood

Images obtained from NEMOSLAB site

Images obtained from NEMOSLAB site

A spin-off from the Nanoworld Institute called Technobiochip participates in a European consortium that is developing a lab-on-a-chip device to execute quickly and cheaply diagnostics with. The device integrates in single chip sensitive optical detectors with microfluidics for the samples processing.

The optical methods are more sensitive than those based on electrical resistance changes, but need complex and expensive instruments. This problem has been solved in the development of this device.

The sensors are placed in a microfluidic channel carved into a silicon chip. The channel has nine corners, and each is aligned with a waveguide of silicon nitride which carries light through the chip. This light comes from nine different diodes and goes to a single light detector. Each waveguide has different binding molecules, either an antibody or a DNA strain selected for its ability to bind to a particular blood biomolecule, such as a hormone. When a sample of blood is placed in the canal passes through the waveguides, and binding molecules cling to their goal. When biomolecules are attached to the surface of the waveguide, the speed of light moving through the waveguide switches creates a detectable change in the signal that is picked up by the light sensor, which is converted into an electrical signal that can be read. The prototype of this device is capable of detecting new biomolecules at the same time in blood serum.

Currently the device developed in this project, called NEMOSLAB, is being tested for the detection of fertility hormones and the BRCA1 gene, whose variations are implicated in some cancers types, including breast cancer.

NEMOSLAB project developers, which are also involved in the NCSRD, FhG/IBMT, STMicroelectronics, Nano-Science Center of the University of Copenhagen, UKM, Biomedica L.S., IMTEK and Dortmund IVF, hope that the chips can be produced in a silicon foundry and its price, less than a dollar.

September 15, 2009 Posted by | Nanobiology, Nanomedicine | , , | Leave a comment

Optical and Electrochemical Nanosensors

Image obtained from

Image obtained from

A group of researchers from the Basque technological centre CIDETEC-IK4, the Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and University of Berkeley have developed highly sensitive electrochemical sensors to detect possible mutations in the DNA faster than it was to moment.

These nanosensors use a single nanotransistor which cable is a simply carbon nanotube and allow the development of optical and electrochemical nanosensors, enabling the detection of DNA probes without the need for modification to increase the sensitivity of the system.

In the future, these nanosensors could be used to detect other molecules, and for studies of genetic diseases.

September 7, 2009 Posted by | Nanobiology, Nanoelectronics, Nanomedicine | , , | Leave a comment