Liquor Aging, Tiny Barrels, and Next Generation Solar Cells

"You've gotta give it a taste to know!" answered the long-haired, cowboy shirt-wearing distiller dude at Madison, Wisconsin's Old Sugar Distillery. He was responding to my incessant questions about how long their liquors take to age. His answer was interesting, but I wanted numbers! After some more pointed questions, he told me that most of their liquors …

Personal Care Products, Nano, and You

Here is a picture of the REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduate) students and I sailing in Lake Michigan earlier this summer. It was slightly cold that day at 59℉ with 15 mph winds but also surprisingly sunny, which meant we needed to whip out the sunscreen. Did you know many sunscreens contain nanoparticles? Well, they …

Nanomaterials Making Their Way into Fireworks

For many people the celebration of the 4th of July is not totally complete without a good aerial fireworks show. A good firework show needs to have two essential components to deliver that thrilling experience most of us love to see—sound and color effects. Nanotechnology could make it possible for these fireworks effects to be …

What Does Sustainable Have To Do With Nano?

Sustainability is a hot topic these days, even making its way into advertisements for one of the world’s biggest companies (see below). I would guess that on this very day, you have thought about sustainability, or at least encountered the idea. Maybe you saw a commercial that told you to “go green”, or read an …

Nature’s Nanomachines Harnessed to Enable Healthier Delicious Ice Cream

To me, one of the most interesting aspects of nanotechnology is how close in size the nanoparticles we can make are to the nano-sized components of living organisms. These nano sized proteins, lipids and nucleic acids have evolved to form the network of biological machines to support the abundance of life on this planet. Just as …

In which my Mom questions the size of my nanoparticles

I was talking to my mom the other day, about nanoparticles of course, and she said: "Wait a second! Are there different sizes of nanoparticles??  I thought nano was just nano! You know?" Thanks for the question  mom!  🙂 Refresher: nanoparticles are just spherical or nearly-spherical nanomaterials. To answer my mom's question: There are LOTS of different …

Why Does Old Ice Cream Get Crunchy?

...and what does that have to do with sustainable nanotechnology? As with all good meals of information, let's start this one off with ice cream! In an effort to grow out of my "slim fit" clothes, I've begun an ice-cream-after-every-dinner diet. Even the cat likes my diet! An added bonus is that I go through …

Why are Nanomaterials so Special and What is the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology?

Now that you’ve somehow gotten to this blog, you’re probably wondering, “Where am I? What is this ‘Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology’?” Our “center” is actually a group of people who care about our environment and are doing collaborative research to help ensure that our planet will be habitable hundreds of years from now – in …

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