Mimicking Nature’s Nanotechnology: From a butterfly wing to anti-counterfeit technologies

Have you ever wondered where the inspiration behind new technologies comes from? We don’t have to go too far to find out; it is enough to just look out the window! Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. -Albert Einstein Yes, nature is out there, standing as a giant laboratory of …

Not Your Daddy’s Sunblock – Why Thick, White Sunblock is a Thing of the Past

As a child, I spent many summer days at the beach in southern California. I remember playing in the surf, collecting shells, watching sea lions, and seeing the white noses of the lifeguards. In those days, lifeguards smeared thick, white zinc oxide paste on their noses to protect themselves from getting sunburned When my kids …

Liposuction and Gold Nanoparticles

Scientists have discovered that tiny particles of gold injected into fat tissues can offer a new and potentially safer way to carry out liposuction procedures. Liposuction by definition is the process of removing excess fat found underneath the skin by suction. Although liposuction has a reputation as a low risk cosmetic surgery, this procedure is …

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 …

Solar Roads: the Science, Potential, and Lingering Questions

There are many ways to reduce our carbon footprint and move towards protecting the environment, but what if we could do this while also preventing automobile accidents, clearing snow without salt and plows, providing electricity, TV, and internet to businesses and homes, and providing clean water all with one new technology? Sounds like something too …

What is Color and How Can It Help Kill Cancer Cells?

Spring is officially here and I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to welcome back COLOR: the bright rays of sunshine, the baby blue sky, the lively green grass, and of course, the plethora of vibrantly colored flowers.   But have you ever wondered what is color?  To understand the marvels of color and how …

The Atomic Difference Between Diamonds and Graphite

Everything is made of atoms. Usually these atoms are strongly connected to one another, in an amazing variety of configurations. But atoms are so tiny, how can we possibly understand the structure of matter at the atomic level? You probably have seen pictures of molecules or materials, zoomed in to the atomic level, which show …

What’s the Difference between Magnification and Resolution? Dog of Science Demonstrates.

Seeing small objects is no simple task, but it is an essential one for scientists from fields as diverse as astronomy and nanotechnology.  In order to see tiny things, we need to both magnify them and keep their fine details apparent. Which is more important, raw enlarging power or precise detail?To help me explain, I …

Nature’s nanotechnology, bio-mimicry, and making the superpowers of your dreams a reality

Only over the past 20 years have we begun to harness the unique properties of nano-scale materials, while nature has been using nano- “technology” since the beginning of time to prevent infections, repel water, create colors, and climb vertical surfaces.  Inspired by nature’s advances, scientists and engineers are generating biomimetic applications for nanotechnology in today’s …