Nanotechnology and the Future of Fuel Cells

Fuel cells are a technology for transforming the chemical energy of a fuel into electricity using redox reactions (usually combining hydrogen fuel with oxygen from the air). They are different from most batteries, because they require a constant source of oxygen and fuel to sustain the chemical reaction. In batteries, the energy comes from metals …

How do we measure the size of nanoparticles in a solution?

The size of the materials in nanotechnology is one of the most important factors that power and define the properties of the nanomaterials. But there are many different techniques for measuring that size, and depending on the measurement methods, the results may vary! It doesn’t mean the actual lengths or diameters of the materials change: …

Pokémon Carbon Chemistry: Carbink and Diancie

For our Halloween blog post back in 2017, I used chemistry to figure out how many moles of gas are in a Gastly, a gaseous ghost/poison-type Pokémon. (Because Pokémon are fantastical creatures, it’s no surprise than many are either inspired by chemistry or can be understood through the lens of chemistry.) Today, as the world’s foremost writer on …

Entertaining and Informing: The Art of Fun Science Abbreviations

Have you ever had to read a paragraph or a sentence several times to understand it? I know I have. I often take 3-4 passes to understand particularly complex sentences, and it goes like this: the first pass, I just power through to see if I can get the overall gist of it. The second …

Why should YOU apply for the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology summer program?

Are you looking for the summer research program that will give you the experience you need to consider a career in nanotechnology? Are you interested in chemistry AND sustainability? If so, the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURE) might be for you! To give you insight into the program, we made a …

How is a shopping cart like a nanoparticle? What coarse-grained molecular models can show us about nano-bio interactions

Imagine you work at a grocery store and you need to figure out how many shopping carts will fit in a certain space. You know that each shopping cart is 33 inches long, but you might decide to round that up to 36 inches (3 feet) for your estimation: That rounding is just one example …

It’s December – time to apply for summer research!

Are you an undergraduate student, or do you know any undergraduate students? If the answer is yes, this blog post is for you! Believe it or not, many summer research programs have application deadlines in January or February, which means that winter break is the perfect time for undergrads to be thinking and planning for …

What gives gold nanoparticles their color?

In a previous post, Can gold melt at room temperature? Melting temperature depression!, we talked about how the color of gold changes from shiny yellow to dark red when it is shrunk down to the nanoscale. We know that lots of materials have interesting properties when they get that small, but why do gold nanoparticles have …