Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

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

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

EUMINAfab Opens its Doors

Image obtained from EUMINAfab web site

Image obtained from EUMINAfab web site

EUMINAfab (European Infrastructure for Micro-and Nanofabrication and characterization) opened its virtual doors, offering scientists and scientific institutions free access to machines and knowledge related to micro and nanotechnology.

EUMINAfab is coordinated by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology through its program “NANOMICRO: Science, Technology, Systems”.

EUMINAfab enables to its users free access to 36 leading technology belonging to 10 institutions in 8 Member States of the European Union. The only condition is that users must consent to EUMINAfab publishing the results of their investigations.

The deadline for submitting project proposals via the website EUMINAfab opened on September 1.

September 25, 2009 Posted by | Nano News | | Leave a comment

Nanopigments to Improve Printing Inks

Image obtained from

Image obtained from

Instituto Tecnológico de Óptica, Color e Imagen (AIDO), in collaboration with the Universidad de Alicante, is investigating the development of nanopigments based printing inks. This development aims to create special clays based inks and organic dyes ecological, removing heavy metals and pollutants from the waste ink today.

Besides the advantages discussed the application of offset printing to nanopigments incorporates bright colours and strong by providing a high resistance to radiation, temperature, oxygen, chemicals and greater resistance to deterioration from exposure to the elements, increasing durability.

This project has been named Nanoffsetinks and has IMPIVA financing and cofinancing from the European Regional Development Fund.

September 3, 2009 Posted by | Nanomaterials | , | 2 Comments

Performance of Thin Film Nickel Anodes Investigation

Thin film nickel electrode. Image obtained from ICFO web site

Thin film nickel electrode. Image obtained from ICFO web site

A major constraint in the development of organic devices is the use of indium tin oxide as bottom electrode, because it is expensive, low, means high temperature process, polymer degradation and leads to ways to lower the optical out-coupling efficiency of the device.

To solve these problems, researchers at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) are working on the possibility of using thin nickel layer in place of indium tin oxide as anode for bottom-emitting organic light-emitting diodes.

September 2, 2009 Posted by | Nanoelectronics | , | Leave a comment

Nanoparticles for Lighter Plastics

Image obtained from Protectoplas Company web site

Image obtained from Protectoplas Company web site

The Instituto Tecnológico de Aragón (ITA), the Instituto de Nanociencia (INA) from Universidad de Zaragoza, Instituto de Investigación en Medio Ambiente y Materiales from Universidad de Pau, the Laboratorio de Ingeniería de Producción from Escuela Nacional de Ingenieros de Tarbes and the Departamento de Ingeniería de Polímeros from Universidad de Minho had launched an European research project to make plastics lighter through the use of nanotechnology and facilitate the transfer of this technology to SMEs.

The project objective is to develop suitable nanoparticles to give to plastic material the best mechanical properties with less weight.

The idea is to replace the reinforced plastic with fiberglass and part of this fiberglass with nanoparticles, and as a result of that it is obtained a lighter material that maintains or improves their properties.

The development of this material would have many industrial applications, especially in sectors such as automotive to construction machinery.

August 21, 2009 Posted by | Nanomaterials | , | Leave a comment

Quantum Dots Do Not Behave As Independent Systems

Image obtained from El Mundo web site

Image obtained from El Mundo web site

One of the most striking of nanotechnology is the quantum confinement or quantum dots: particles such as electrons are trapped in closed nano-structures, a phenomenon that generates the art optical and electronic properties with no equivalent in nature and with potential technological applications.

Until now, scientists had observed confinement isolated objects or irregular systems. An investigation, with the participation of the Centro de Investigación en Nanociencia y Nanotecnología CIN2 and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, detected for the first time the formation of a regular series of electronic confinement on a copper surface. The finding could be useful in future applications for sensors and computer.

The study has overcome the difficulties that arise when creating regular structures capable of causing the confinement. The most prominent work is that regular confinement systems do not behave as independent, but interact with each other and form a new structure of electronic bands.

This finding would control different electronic properties of the surface of matter (in the case of this investigation, copper), which, in turn, would control different electronic properties, such as resistance.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Nanoelectronics | , , | 1 Comment

Material to Prevent Magnetic Interference

Image obtained from

Image obtained from

The Instituto de Nanociencia de Aragón (INA) and the Instituto Tecnológico de Aragón (ITA) are working together on the project Nanomag for the development of a thermoplastic matrix composite material and magnetic nanoparticles. The objective of this project is to design a polymer nanocomposite that can serve as a protector of the magnetic field with the magnetic properties to be used at industrial level.

Ferrites are now used as the protective magnetic field, but the advantages of using nanocomposites are a huge weight reduction, high impact resistance and improved malleability, which extends the range of possible ways to take in the end-use applications.

One possible application of such materials would be the induction cookers.

July 27, 2009 Posted by | Nanomaterials | , | Leave a comment

Nanotechnology and Water Supply

Image obtained from

Image obtained from

The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) is investigating the development of a system of nanofilters biodigestion for debugging the water supplying, with future possibilities of obtaining drinking water.

This work is part of the IBSA nanotechnology initiative, which is a program of research and development collaboration between the departments of Science and Technology from India, Brazil and South Africa

June 25, 2009 Posted by | Nanofood | , | Leave a comment

Nanoporous Materials Able to Recognize Molecules According to their Spatial Orientation


The responsible for this development are a group of researchers at the Instituto de Tecnología Química, from the mixed centre at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. This group has synthesized the ITQ-37 zeolite, a crystalline molecular sieve having the largest pore diameter achieved thus far, approximately 20 angstrom.

This material will not only recognize molecules by their size and shape, but also for their spatial orientation. The finding opens up new applications for separation and reactivity of molecules in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry, biology and biotechnology.

June 8, 2009 Posted by | Nanobiology, Nanomedicine | , | Leave a comment