Seeing the Invisible

Human beings have been trying to figure out the elementary composition of the universe since the era of ancient Greece. Democritus, an ancient Greek philosopher, created atomic theory. In the atomic theory, everything is composed of “atoms” (from the Greek meaning “can’t be cut”) and these atoms are physically indivisible.1 The ancient Greeks speculated on …

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 Science at a Science Fiction Convention

I am a second-generation science fiction fan; my parents have been Star Trek fans since the ‘60s, and I grew up on PBS reruns of Doctor Who in the ‘80s. Like so many others, my appreciation for science fiction definitely played a role in developing my interests in real-world science. One of my favorite ways …

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 …

A Holiday Sustainable Nano Riddle: How does a polymer wrap around a nanoparticle? Like a ball of yarn, or like a bow on a gift box?

Holiday nanoparticle

The title of this post presents a riddle similar to the one that I solved along with my advisor, Professor Rigoberto Hernandez, in a recent article published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C.1 Nanoparticles are often made of a core (for example gold, silver, quantum dots, etc.) coated with molecules called ligands or polymers …

Quantum Dots and Lipid Rafts: Analytical Chemistry Solves a Nanoscale Mystery

Remember all those great Black Friday deals on QLED televisions? You may not realize it, but they were all about nanotechnology! The Q in QLED stands for quantum dots, which are not only being used to enhance the displays of TVs, but also are used in solar cells, medical imaging, and sensing.1-3 However, the disposal …

Ep 27. The Constant Loop: How Nanoparticles and the Environment Affect Each Other

Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO) is an important nanomaterial used in batteries, but little is known about what happens when it gets exposed to the environment. In this episode we interview Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology graduate student Liz Laudadio, who was the first author on a recent paper about what happens to LCO when it gets …

Charged Chains and How They Interact with Model Biological Interfaces

chocolates

Have you ever heard the phrase “walking on eggshells”? The phrase is usually meant to convey the message that you should take care in not disrupting or offending someone. It turns out, though, that you can actually walk on eggshells without breaking them. This is achievable because the person’s weight is equally distributed over the …

How Natural Organic Matter May Change How Nanoparticles Affect Bacteria

Almost 4 years ago now (wow I’m getting old) I wrote a blog post about the Invisible Remnants of Dead Stuff Hiding in the Water called natural organic matter, or NOM. Well, some colleagues and I recently published a new paper entitled “Natural organic matter concentration impacts the interaction of functionalized diamond nanoparticles with model …