How can nanotechnology preserve stone cultural heritage sites?

Note: There has been much public discussion recently around preservation of public monuments. This blog post is about how science can play an important role in preserving historical monuments. Although people, including scientists, must make judgments about historical preservation, nothing in this post is intended to express any opinion on recent public discussions about those …

Nano-enabled Recovery of Scarce Metals: From benchtop to startup

In these days of social distancing, everyday electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops are more crucial than ever. But many of these devices, ubiquitous as they are, contain materials that are difficult to come by, called scarce rare earth and specialty elements (RESEs). For example, audio equipment such as speakers, headphones and microphones, …

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 …

Nanostructures in butterfly wings

A few weeks ago (before it started snowing!) I went on a walk in the garden across the street from the University of Wisconsin chemistry building and saw an abundance of beautiful butterflies. I noticed that the butterflies were iridescent in the sunlight as they fluttered from flower to flower. I wondered: does the iridescence …

Ep. 32 An Electronic Circuit on Every Seed?

Sustainable Nano Podcast cover image

What if every seed you planted could include a sensor to monitor moisture and nutrients? What if every tissue had nanoscale electronics to check for viruses when you blew your nose? Our fourth season of the Sustainable Nano Podcast launches with an interview about the future of nanotransistor technology with Professor Mike Filler from Georgia …

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 …

How Click Chemistry is Like Playing with LEGOs

LEGO blocks may be one of the simplest but most genius toys ever created, as evidenced by their popularity. Taking such simple building blocks that are modular and being able to create nearly endless different combinations of structures is liberating. On the other hand, it’s also great that LEGO can create a set of instructions …

Combining the Old With the New: using nanotechnology to enhance ancient medicines

You walk past a body products store on a weekend shopping trip and are immediately overtaken by fragrance, your nose saturated with floral, sugary and tropical scents. Intrigued by the promise of a candle sale, you venture in, perusing the soaps, mists, and candles. About ten free samples later, you find some products labeled ‘aromatherapy’ …

Are transistors getting too small? (How small is too small?)

Did you know that the world’s first computers filled entire rooms? Now we can carry even more computing power than those early machines in the palm of our hands, thanks to advancements in nano- and transistor technology. Transistors are the components in a computer that control the flow of electricity and therefore allow the computer …