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

Nanotweezers Trapping Nanoparticles

3D animation that shows the parts of a optical tweezers microscope

Since the invention of optical tweezers in the seventies, the inventors have managed to grab more and smaller objects. Until recently it was thought that the so-called diffraction limit imposed a barrier to this technology, preventing normal focus light beyond the range between 500 and 1000 nanometers.


A team of researchers from the Institute of Photonic Science led by Romain Quidant have managed to catch with light 50 nanometers length particles. The developed nanotweezers consist of a nanometric hole in a metal film. When laser light comes into contact with this structure something happens in the hole, a phenomenon known as plasmon resonance that can trap a particle placed in the area.

October 26, 2009 Posted by | Nanophotonic | , | Leave a comment

Molecular Switches Activated By Sunlight

Image obtained from Valencia

Image obtained from Valencia Nanophotonics Technology Center web site

A team of researchers from the University of La Rioja has managed to synthesize the first molecular switches activated by sunlight.

His research has been inspired by natural structures present in the retina. This work argues that when the light reaches the eyes of the person, it activates some of the proteins that make up the retina, causing a slight movement of rotation in the structure of its molecules. Inspired by this mechanism the research team has succeeded in synthesizing a new type of compounds that play such a mechanism. The incidence of sunlight makes the compost from one position to another, as if it were a tiny switch.

A big advantage over other compounds is the use of energy abundant, cheap and clean, it also does not damage the material on which it operates.

The small size of these compounds makes them particularly useful in biological and future applications of nanotechnology.

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Nanobiology, Nanophotonic | | Leave a comment