Graphene.jpgBy fabricating graphene structures atop nanometer-scale “steps” etched into silicon carbide, researchers have for the first time created a substantial electronic bandgap in the material suitable for room-temperature electronics. Use of nanoscale topography to control the properties of graphene could facilitate fabrication of transistors and other devices, potentially opening the door for developing all-carbon integrated circuits.

Researchers have measured a bandgap of approximately 0.5 electron-volts in 1.4-nanometer bent sections of graphene nanoribbons. The development could provide new direction to the field of graphene electronics, which has struggled with the challenge of creating bandgap necessary for operation of electronic devices.

NanoResistor.jpgUsing a new method for precisely controlling the deposition of carbon, researchers have demonstrated a technique for connecting multi-walled carbon nanotubes to the metallic pads of integrated circuits without the high interface resistance produced by traditional fabrication techniques.

Based on electron beam-induced deposition (EBID), the work is believed to be the first to connect multiple shells of a multi-walled carbon nanotube to metal terminals on a semiconducting substrate, which is relevant to integrated circuit fabrication. Using this three-dimensional fabrication technique, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology developed graphitic nanojoints on both ends of the multi-walled carbon nanotubes, which yielded a 10-fold decrease in resistivity in its connection to metal junctions.

thinbatteries.jpg

Rechargeable Li-ion batteries are the industry standard for mobile phones, laptop and tablet computers, electric cars, and a range of other devices. While Li-ion batteries have a high energy density and can store large amounts of energy, they suffer from a low power density and are unable to quickly accept or discharge energy. This low power density is why it takes about an hour to charge your mobile phone or laptop battery, and why electric automobile engines cannot rely on batteries alone and require a supercapacitor for high-power functions such as acceleration and braking.

rna to turn off cancer.jpg  By sequencing cancer-cell genomes, scientists have discovered vast numbers of genes that are mutated, deleted or copied in cancer cells. This treasure trove is a boon for researchers seeking new drug targets, but it is nearly impossible to test them all in a timely fashion.


    To help speed up the process, MIT researchers have developed RNA-delivering nanoparticles that allow for rapid screening of new drug targets in mice. In their first mouse study, done with researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute, they showed that nanoparticles that target a protein known as ID4 can shrink ovarian tumors.

The nanoparticle system, described in the Aug. 15 online edition of Science Translational Medicine, could relieve a significant bottleneck in cancer-drug development, says Sangeeta Bhatia, the John and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a member of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.

by Fay Nolan-Neylan

Scientists in the US have developed a microdevice that investigates how bacteria communicate with each other to enhance their resistance to drugs. 

Bacteria communicate in a process called quorum sensing, in which they secrete small signalling molecules called autoinducers. When bacteria produce a quorum, their resistance to drugs is enhanced. William Bentley and co-workers from the University of Maryland have developed bio-inspired nanoscale factories that capture bacteria, deliver a drug right on the surface of the bacteria and test their responses. 

by Lewis Brindley

A light-activated switch to turn nanomachines on and off has been developed by Japanese researchers. The team showed how tiny tweezers made with DNA could be triggered to open and close in response to UV and visible light. The clever mechanism is hoped to find useful roles in designing future nano-robots.  

DNA is a versatile building block to construct nanomachinery that is small enough to interact with single molecules. But these nanomachines usually require a source of 'fuel' to trigger activity: typically small DNA fragments that are added each cycle. The problems associated with this process are delays in activating and deactivating systems, and the build up of waste products that can inhibit movement. 

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