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 can graphene nanotechnology improve smart contact lenses?

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Have you ever wanted to have super-human vision? What would you do if you could record and play back video right in your contact lens? This might sound like science fiction but smart contact lens technology already exists that can do these amazing things and even more, such as medical sensing. (Figure 1). One of …

Graphene Oxide: A new tool in the war against bacteria

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Animals evolve strong defenses against predators. Predators evolve to better kill and catch their prey. Plants evolve defenses against insects. Insects evolve defenses against plants. We evolve defenses against bacteria. Bacteria evolve strategies against us. And they are better at it than we are. These rapidly reproducing organisms adapt to pharmaceuticals almost as fast as …

Ep 8. How Nanomaterials Can Build Better Bikes

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On this episode of the Sustainable Nano podcast, we talk about one example of how nanotechnology is changing something many people use every day: bikes! Margy Robinson, a graduate student in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology and a competitive cyclist, explains how carbon nanotubes and graphene are currently being incorporated into some high-end bicycles.

Nanoparticles Delivering Drugs Through the Skin

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Did you know that the skin is the body’s largest organ? It covers about 1.8 square meters!1 It serves as the body’s outermost protective layer by limiting the movement of molecules into and out of the body, holding all of the body’s organs close together, and being the first defensive barrier against foreign threats. But …

From Leap Year to Frogs to Nanotechnology

In case you hadn’t noticed, today is February 29! That means this is a leap year. Occurring once every four years, leap years have 366 days rather than the usual 365, with the additional day occurring on February 29th. The name “leap year” originates from the fact that while a fixed date in the calendar …

Nanomaterials in bicycles???? Part 2

In Tuesday's post, I told you about the impressive properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and how they can increase strength and reduce weight in bicycle frames compared to traditional designs. I also told you about the high cost and difficult handling of CNTs that seems to have stymied more widespread adoption of the nanomaterial in bikes. …

Turning Plastic Bags into Carbon Nanotubes

I was surprised to learn recently that plastic bags can be turned into a new material called carbon nanotubes. Prior to this, all I had heard about plastic bags was about the environmental threat that they potentially pose, either by accumulating in wildlife or clogging landfills with slow-to-break-down waste. Many recycling techniques have been developed …