How Do Nanoparticles Stick to Bacteria? Or, How Are Cell Membranes Like Velcro?

Scientists have known for some time that nanomaterials can stick to cell membranes and, in some cases, damage the membrane in the process. But what exactly do nanomaterials stick to on the cell membrane? A particular type of molecule called lipopolysaccharides (LPS) may provide a key to answering this question.1 Many of us take notice …

How do Scientists Study Complex Chemical Systems?

Much of our work in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology lies in the realm of chemistry. That is to say, our work seeks to understand phenomena at the molecular level. For example, we want to know what molecules we can add to the surface of a nanoparticle to control how stable it is and how …

Dumping Nanoparticles into a Fjord: How to Think About the Potential Environmental Impacts

Nanoparticles and the Environment Series, Part II  (click here for Part I) Let’s dive in to a real-world nanotechnology problem raised by one of our readers: should waste composed of nanoparticles, let’s call it “nanowaste”, be disposed of differently than regular waste? There are many types of nanowaste that we could discuss, but today we’ll …

Zooming in on the Nano World: Limitations and Breakthroughs in Light Microscopy

The idea that an image is worth a thousand words applies just as much in science as it does in other contexts. Using images, scientists can convey complex information more quickly and often more clearly than is possible using words—which do you prefer: words (left) or a picture (right)? Today I want to talk about …

What Does Sustainable Have To Do With Nano?

Sustainability is a hot topic these days, even making its way into advertisements for one of the world’s biggest companies (see below). I would guess that on this very day, you have thought about sustainability, or at least encountered the idea. Maybe you saw a commercial that told you to “go green”, or read an …