Posted tagged ‘nanotechnology’

Glowing trees may soon replace street lights

November 30, 2010


Biologically based LEDs could be used to make trees illuminate city sidewalks. Grant Faint/Getty Images

Scientists from the Academia Sinica and the National Cheng Kung University in Taipei and Tainan have implanted glowing gold nanoparticles, known as bio light emitting diodes, or bio LEDs, inside the leaves of a plant. These  nanoparticles will hopefully one day replace electricity powered street lights with biologically powered light that removes CO2 from the atmosphere 24 hours a days.


“In the future, bio-LED could be used to make roadside trees luminescent at night,” said Yen-Hsun Su in an interview with Chemistry World. “This will save energy and absorb CO2 as the bio-LED luminescence will cause the chloroplast to conduct photosynthesis.”

The gold nanoparticles are the key to turning a material that normal absorbs light into one that emits it. When shorter wavelengths of light hit the gold nanoparticles, they get excited and start to glow violet. That violet light strikes the nearby chlorophyll molecules, excites them, and the chlorophyll then produces red light.


RNAi May Work in Humans

March 23, 2010
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A paper recently published in Nature offers evidence from a new study that nanotechnology may be successfully used in humans to target proteins associated with cancer, deliver medication, and turn off those proteins.  This study, using a mechanism called RNA interference (RNAi), is the first to use humans as subjects.  By targeting cancer at this level and avoiding healthy cells, negative side-effects as seen in chemotherapy would be significantly reduced.

New Way To Make Electricity?

March 16, 2010

Types of Carbon Nanotubes. Image credit: Michael Ströck/Wikipedia

Researchers at MIT have potentially discovered a new way to create electricity.  Using carbon nanotubes, which are only billionths of a meter across, the research team was able to create thermopower waves, a process they say could produce 100 times more energy than a lithium-ion battery.  To produce this wave, the team coated the nanotubes with a fuel. Using a laser or high-voltage spark, the fuel was ignited at one end of the tube.  The result was a fast-moving thermal wave that traveled along the length of the carbon nanotube.  The wave traveled about 10,000 times the typical speed of this chemical reaction and carried electrons with it, creating a voltage peak that was significantly higher than expected.

Science Cafe Tomorrow

February 22, 2010

Science Cafe on Nanotechnology, February 23rd @7pm

February 9, 2010