Oct 26, 2014

This Week in Nano (Week 43: 20th-26th October)

A great resource from the American Institute of Physics has been created on the 20th October. It is a list of the oral history interviews from the Niels Bohr Library & Archives. Find it here, it includes a lot of Feynman interviews as well as audio clips. 

Results published this week in the Journal of Biomacromolecules describes the fabrication of engineered microfibre proteins ("Engineered Coiled-Coil Protein Microfibers pay walled). The group at NYU report the fabrication of proteins that can self-assemble on the nano- meso-length scales. This is important in the development of biomaterials in the nano field. The group also reports that these fibres can also can bind hydrophobic small molecules (curcumin). They suggest that this can be useful for encapsulation and delivery of other substances. 

Sunshine may increase nanoparticle toxicity. This is the latest headline from the UBA (Umweltbundesamt the German environmental agency). They investigated the ecotoxicological hazard of 2 types of nano (15-25nm) Ti02  and one non nano version ( 200-220nm). It is interesting to note they also recommend guidance with regard to the standard criteria for the test composition.  This is a point ecotoxicologists have been making for some time now.  Read the report here

Oct 19, 2014

This Week in Nano: (Week 42: 13th-19th October)

A rather exciting story was circulating around the web this week with catchy headlines such as 'Optimal Particle Size for Anticancer Nanomedicines Discovered'. The paper ‘Investigating the optimal size of anticancer nanomedicine’ (PNAS - paywalled) explores the relationship between particle size and biological response (or in this case particle size and tumour retention time). It is a study of 3 drug–silica nanoconjugates (200nm, 50nm and 20nm). The 50nm particle was found to have the highest tumour tissue retention integrated over time.  Interesting paper and still even more interesting is how science papers are reported on social media versus the reality of what the article is. 

A new nanotube material made of titanium dioxide and sodium hydroxide has been recently reported in the Advanced Materials Journal looks like it may open up some new opportunities for energy storage devices. It may go a long way in solving some of the issues with energy storage (battery life and charging time). More info on the research group here.  

Nanowires, Cantilevers and Nanoshells - want to learn more about nanotechnology in cancer? Check out the videojournal here at the NCI alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer. 

Magic nano:  An interesting phenomenon has been reported in NatureNanotechnology (paywalled) for silver metal nanoparticles by a researchers at MIT in collaboration with colleagues from China and Japan and the USA. They investigate particles that appear, from the outside to be liquid droplets while their interiors retain a perfectly stable crystal configuration. More info here: http://www.rdmag.com/news/2014/10/solid-nanoparticles-can-deform-liquid. 

NanoSafety: Up to date information on nanosafety related databases worldwide. See the latest report from the EU NanoSaferty Cluster here:

Oct 12, 2014

This week in Nano (Week 41: 6th - 12th October)

Nanoscopy: This week saw the Nobel prize for Chemistry go to Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner "for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy". Traditional light microscopy is governed by the law of optics and cannot differentiate objects smaller than half the wavelength of visible light. Fluorescence microscopy circumnavigates this problem to produce amazing images at the nanoscale. Read more about this here.

Nanoparticle Toxicity Studies: A recent article in Small (paywalled) reports the penetration of NPs through different layers of skin. This adds to our growing body of knowledge on how NPs are adsorbed via the skin. Recent news articles such as this one and this one proposing NP as drug carriers via the skin that are trending on social media- all stem from this article.

More Nanotoxicology: Reporting in Nanotechnology this week researchers systematically investigated the cyctotoxicity of Iron Oxide nanoparticles and they report particle size and surface coating play a key role in particle genotoxicity. And even more nanotoxicology: Coating carbon nanotubes with aluminum oxide reduces the risk of lung scarring, or pulmonary fibrosis, in mice.

Ebola and Silver Nanoparticles: As Ebola is still trending online this week is a good time to revisit the story of Ebola and the silver nanoparticle issue. This article is a good overview of the topic.

More from the Wonderful World of Graphene:
This week Nature Nanotechnology (online) brings together all the articles on different aspects of graphene that have been published in Nature Nanotechnology.

Forensic Science meet Nanotechnology: As reported in Nanotechnology this week a new precise fingerprinting method. The paper also argues electrostatic interaction is not the driving force behind fingerprint detection, they put forward a theory that it is caused by compounds on the surface of nanoparticles bonding with a complex cocktail of compounds present in fingermark residue. They go on to say that ‘a more fundamental understanding of the interactions between nanoparticles and fingermarks will promote the development of more precise targeting methods and increase the chances of detecting previously undetectable fingermarks’.

Remotely controlling brain cells with nanoparticle based ‘radiogenetics’: So this story is only in the proposal stage but sounds too good to leave out! The Obama BRAIN initiative have provided funding for research into a technique (radiogenetics)that combines the use of radio waves or magnetic fields with nanoparticles to turn neurons on or off!

Oct 5, 2014

This week in Nano (Week 40: 29th-05th September/October)

It was a week dominated by Ebola updates on twitter: So to start with this week’s blog a piece about the ongoing work by researchers at Bostons University College - an easily transportable nanodevice that has the potential to diagnose Ebola quickly and cheaply. The device is effectively antibodies bound to a silicon chip upon which the patient’s blood is distributed. By shining light on the chip the resulting light spectrum that bounces from the chip will have a different spectra for patients with and without Ebola. More here .

The wonderful world of Graphene: Research from MIT show that crumpling pieces of graphene ‘paper’ can yield a versatile material with properties useful for creating stretchable superconductors and store energy for flexible electronics More here in Science Reports
Nanopinion: What European Country knows the most about NanoTech? Check out the latest results from a questionnaire (sample size 8330) by Nanopinion http://results.nanopinion.eu/).

Photon Shuttling: Researchers have developed a nanoscale device that can capture, measure and transport particles of light (photons). More information here

NanoEcotoxicology: New research from Duke University have shown the tendency of CNT to accumulate in sediment. This was tested not in the laboratory setting but in an experimental wetland setting- they suggest these results show that CNT could indirectly impact the aquatic food chain. Read the paper here.

Silver Nanoparticles: Are always in the spotlight- a new study on their impact on Haemolysis, Platelet function and Coagulation has just been published in Nanobiomedicine. The study demonstrates that Ag NP do induce haemolysis and increase platelet adhesion. No observed effect concentration was reported to be 5Ug/ml. More here.  

To end a lovely picture of TiO2 from the cover of Nano Today was synthesized at Thin Film Materials Laboratory, Department of Physics India. It resulted from a Ph. D. work of Mr. Sachin A. Pawar. The TiO2 produced has solar cell applications.