Podcast Ep 35. Photographing the Unphotographable

How do you photograph the unphotographable? In this podcast episode we interview MIT research scientist Felice Frankel, who specializes in visualizing science, using pictures to draw audiences in and help scientists more deeply examine their own work, including nanoscale materials that are smaller than wavelengths of light! We also have a mini-interview with graduate student …

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, …

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 …

It’s National Chemistry Week! What do Marvelous Metals have to do with nanotechnology?

Happy Mole Day! On October 23 we celebrate Avogadro's Number (6.02 x 1023), an important unit of measurement in chemistry. Every year, the American Chemical Society promotes the week that includes Mole Day as National Chemistry Week (NCW). This year, NCW is October 20-26, and the theme is Marvelous Metals. There are local events being …

Can We Make Nanoparticles More Sustainable?

DonOwens

Most of us are familiar with the concept of “side effects.” This is when something that is designed to be helpful ends up having some harm that goes along with it. For patients with cancer, anti-cancer drugs can be life-savers – literally. The benefits of using these drugs are apparent to anyone whose cancer has …

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 …

What is Aqua Regia, and what makes it royal?

Aqua regia, latin for “royal water”, is a fascinating, dangerous, and useful liquid that some of us in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology use on a regular basis. As I learned how to use this powerful material for my research, I started to wonder: What makes it royal? It turns out that aqua regia can …