One of the promises of nanomedicine is the design of tiny particles that can home in on diseased cells and get inside them. Nanoparticles can carry drugs into cells and tag cells for MRI and other diagnostic tests; and they may eventually even enter a cell's nucleus to repair damaged genes. Unfortunately, designing them involves as much luck as engineering.
A team of engineers from the University of Pennsylvania has transformed simple nanowires into reconfigurable materials and circuits, demonstrating a novel, self-assembling method for chemically creating nanoscale structures that are not possible to grow or obtain otherwise.
Every hour, the sun floods Earth with more energy than the entire world consumes in a year. Yet solar power accounts for less than 0.002 percent of all electricity generated in the United States, primarily because photovoltaic cells remain expensive and relatively inefficient.
But solar may not be such a marginal power source for long. Chemists at Idaho National Laboratory and Idaho State University have invented a way to manufacture highly precise, uniform nanoparticles to order. The technology, Precision Nanoparticles, has the potential to vastly improve the solar cell and further spur the growing nanotech revolution.
A scientific gold rush
"It is the first luminescent nanoparticle that was purposely designed to minimize toxic side effects," said Michael Sailor, a chemistry professor at the University of California, San Diego who led the study.