New sensor could reveal nitric oxide's role in living cells

Source: "The rational design of nitric oxide selectivity in single-walled carbon nanotube near infrared fluorescence sensors for biological detection"
Jong-Ho Kim et al
Nature Chemistry 

Results: A new carbon nanotube sensor developed at MIT is the first sensor that can reversibly detect nitric oxide, a gas that cells commonly use to communicate with each other. Because the nitric oxide-carbon nanotube binding is reversible, the sensor can be used multiple times.

DO YOU remember as a child producing paper cubes by folding up a flat cross shape? Now two researchers have applied the same technique to the nanoscale, in the process creating the first nanoparticles with precisely patterned surfaces. These patterns could form the basis of electronic nano-circuits or provide docking stations on targeted drug-delivery particles. 

"At the macroscale, everything can easily be patterned in three dimensions," lead researcher David Gracias at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, Maryland, told New Scientist. "However, nanoparticles with precisely patterned 3D surfaces simply do not exist."

by David Orenstein

The first few times that scientists mapped out all the DNA in a human being in 2001, each effort cost hundreds of millions of dollars and involved more than 250 people. Even last year, when the lowest reported cost was $250,000, genome sequencing still required almost 200 people. In a paper published online Aug. 9 by Nature Biotechnology, a Stanford University professor reports sequencing his entire genome for less than $50,000 and with a team of just two other people. 

In other words, a task that used to cost as much as a Boeing 747 airplane and required a team of people that would fill half the plane, now costs as much as a mid-priced luxury sedan and the personnel would fill only half of that car.

As a result of a major inter-laboratory study, the standards body ASTM International has been able to update its guidelines for a commonly used technique for measuring the size of nanoparticles in solutions. 

The study, which was organized principally by researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory of the National Cancer Institute, enabled updated guidelines that now include statistically evaluated data on the measurement precisions achieved by a wide variety of laboratories applying the ASTM guide.

Nanoparticles are being developed to perform a wide range of medical uses -- imaging tumors, carrying drugs, delivering pulses of heat. Rather than settling for just one of these, researchers at the University of Washington have combined two nanoparticles in one tiny package. 

The result is the first structure that creates a multipurpose nanotechnology tool for medical imaging and therapy. The structure is described in a paper published online this week in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Researchers at TU Delft have succeeded in measuring the influence of a single electron on a vibrating carbon nanotube. This research can be important for work such as the development of ultra-small measuring instruments.  The scientists have published their results on Thursday 23 July in the online version of the scientific journal Science.

The scientists of the Kavli Institute for Nanoscience at TU Delft based their project on a suspended vibrating carbon nanotube, comparable to an ultra-small violin string. They then applied an alternating electric field to the nanotube using an antenna.

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