Podcast Ep 37. Shine Bright like a Diamond… Inside of a Worm

Sustainable Nano Podcast cover image

Zack Jones, a graduate student in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, gives diamonds to his study organism. But they're nanodiamonds, not jewelry, and after the tiny worms eat them, Zack uses their fluorescent and magnetic properties to see where the material accumulates within the worm's body. This episode of the Sustainable Nano Podcast talks about …

Can nanotechnology help make a better COVID-19 test?

Did you know that scientists have used nanotechnology to develop a test for the MERS coronavirus? The results of the test can be seen by the naked eye within 10 minutes of interacting with the viral DNA, which can shorten the analysis and interpretation time.1 Current testing for the COVID-19 virus takes hours or days.2 So, …

How do scientists determine the texture of cells?

trout gill cell AFM

This post was co-authored by Arielle Mensch & Yi Cui We recently received a very intriguing question from a 12-year old reader, Olivia, who asked, “How do scientists figure out the texture of cells?” This is a great question, and like most great questions, the answer is a bit complicated! Scientists have a variety of …

Using Gold Nanobullets for Genetic Engineering

glowing fungus

Have you seen the movie Avatar? I remember being captivated by the colorful world of Pandora, where the Na’vi lived. Some of the most picturesque scenes take place in the forest, whose floor is decorated with bioluminescent plants and fungi, much like that shown in Figure 1. They all emit their colorful glow as Jake …

Fluorescence is Awesome: New CSN Videos!

Fluorescence is a favorite topic here at Sustainable Nano - we've written about quantum dots, fluorescein in the Chicago River, glowing bacteria, and many other topics, but one of our most popular blog posts of all time is about how highlighters and blacklights work. Well, now our colleagues at ACS Reactions have made two amazing new videos …

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with Fluorescence

Our last blog post featured lighting technology powered by algae, and this week is all about a different example of green-colored water: the Chicago River. Every year since 1962, the Chicago River has been dyed green for the downtown St. Patrick’s Day parade. So how does this amazing color transformation relate to the Center for Sustainable …

Nobel 2014: What makes super-resolution microscopy so super?

The awarding of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Dr.s Betzig, Hell, and Moerner (my former research mentor) is a tremendous event! It is almost as tremendous as their scientific targets are tiny: they were awarded the prize for super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, a technique for using a light microscope to examine objects as small …

Bright Nanoparticles + Glowing Bacteria = Beautiful, Useful Pictures

One major type of output from university research labs is the publication of scientific results in scientific journals. When we write these papers, our target audience is not the general public; rather, we are writing for experts in our area to tell them what we've accomplished so that they can build on our work in …

How Some Nanoparticles are Like Chocolate Chip Cookies

Synthesizing nanoparticles is sometimes a lot like baking cookies. You start with ingredients, mix them together, and put them in the oven. After a few hours, you take them out and admire your hard work. Just like there are lots of different kinds of cookies, there are also many different kinds of nanoparticles. The easiest …