How I Study Nanoparticles’ Interactions with Biological Soup

Designing non-toxic nanomaterials requires that we understand how those nanomaterials interact with biological systems. Systems such as you me, and all other organisms, contain a “biological soup” of chemical compounds, known as biomolecules. So the question becomes…how do nanomaterials transform once they come into contact with these biomolecules? This question has become increasingly important, especially …

Spying on chameleon nanoparticles inside living cells

If you are exposed to nanoparticles, you might think they would move around inside your body unchanged. However, it would be more accurate to think of them as tiny chameleons, constantly changing their properties as they move from one biological environment to another. Nanoparticles’ large surface area-to-mass ratio, which causes them to be highly reactive, …

Nuclear Proliferation & Sustainability: the History of Nanodiamonds

Half a century ago, a Soviet scientist was tucked away in a top-secret facility. The results of his experiments are critical to our work here the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. Find it hard to believe? Read on!Why We Use NanodiamondsOne of the materials that we are using in our research is nano-sized diamond. We also …

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 …

Kids Learn About Nanodiamonds and I Learn About Kids

“Hey do you guys want to see some fluorescent nanodiamond water?!” I eagerly yelled out as two little boys walked by. Honestly, they probably had no idea what I was talking about, but they still excitedly wandered over. I handed them an ultraviolet flashlight and encouraged them to take a look underneath the black drape …

Fluorescent Nanodiamonds – the movie!

Nanodiamonds are far too small to be seen by the naked eye, but everything changes if you make them glow! We at the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology have developed a new way to make nanodiamonds absorb and then release light—a property known as fluorescence (see this explainer post). I just made these fluorescent nanodiamonds and …

How do Black Lights Work, Why do Highlighters Look So Bright, and How Can You Impress Your Significant Other with Science?

Prepare to embark on a colorful and illuminating journey. Before we begin: Did you know that there is a secret world that exists right in front of your eyes? Did you know that we scientists have tapped into this secret world and are exploiting it to push the boundaries of knowledge? Do you have a …