How Click Chemistry is Like Playing with LEGOs

LEGO blocks may be one of the simplest but most genius toys ever created, as evidenced by their popularity. Taking such simple building blocks that are modular and being able to create nearly endless different combinations of structures is liberating. On the other hand, it’s also great that LEGO can create a set of instructions …

Combining the Old With the New: using nanotechnology to enhance ancient medicines

You walk past a body products store on a weekend shopping trip and are immediately overtaken by fragrance, your nose saturated with floral, sugary and tropical scents. Intrigued by the promise of a candle sale, you venture in, perusing the soaps, mists, and candles. About ten free samples later, you find some products labeled ‘aromatherapy’ …

Nanostructures in chameleons, damselflies, and peacocks (oh my!)

My favorite rain jacket is bright blue. So bright, in fact, that my first semester chemistry professor was able to point it out in a class of 300 people to explain principles of visible light and color. As it happened, the class benefited from two examples that day, my jacket and my face which turned …

Celebrating Science at a Science Fiction Convention

I am a second-generation science fiction fan; my parents have been Star Trek fans since the ‘60s, and I grew up on PBS reruns of Doctor Who in the ‘80s. Like so many others, my appreciation for science fiction definitely played a role in developing my interests in real-world science. One of my favorite ways …

Are transistors getting too small? (How small is too small?)

Did you know that the world’s first computers filled entire rooms? Now we can carry even more computing power than those early machines in the palm of our hands, thanks to advancements in nano- and transistor technology. Transistors are the components in a computer that control the flow of electricity and therefore allow the computer …

Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Periodic Table: Nano-Style!

Did you know that 2019 is the International Year of the Periodic Table? We chemists in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology are happy to celebrate this all year long! A particularly delicious example of the Periodic Table (image from the Science History Institute) The periodic table as we know it was first published 150 years …

Life is S’more Fun with Nanoscience

It’s hard to turn down an opportunity to share how cool nanoscience is with the public, and especially with children. Back in February, a group of CSN affiliated women hosted an activity at the Science Museum of Minnesota for their Women in Science and Engineering Day. As members of the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, we …

Engineered gold nanoparticles can be like ice cream scoops covered in chocolate sprinkles

There are many ways to interrogate molecular phenomena. You might think that this is restricted to physical measurements such as direct observation with a microscope, a laser, or more seemingly arcane observation with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). But I’m happy to report that observation of computer simulations is yet another, as long as our models …