Programmed Nanorobots Seek And Destroy Cancer Tumors

Nanorobots have been successfully programmed to shrink tumors by cutting off their blood supply. This major advancement came from Arizona State University (ASU) scientists, in collaboration with researchers from the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The demonstration of the technology, the first-of-its-kind study in mammals, used breast cancer, melanoma, ovarian and lung cancer mouse models. said Hao Yan, director of the ASU Biodesign Institute’s Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics and the Milton Glick Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences. [Read More]

Laser Triggered Nanoshells Deliver Drugs Inside Tumors

Researchers have developed a method for delivering cancer-killing drugs inside tumors with gold nanoparticles they can activate remotely using a laser. The researchers employed gold nanoshells to deliver toxic doses of two drugs — lapatinib and docetaxel — inside breast cancer cells, showing they could use a laser to remotely trigger the particles to release the drugs after they entered the cells. Though researchers conducted the tests with cell cultures in a lab, they designed the research to demonstrate clinical applicability: The nanoparticles are nontoxic, the drugs are widely used, and the low-power, infrared laser can non-invasively shine through tissue and reach tumors several inches below the skin. [Read More]

Nanoporous Membranes With Tunable Molecular Separation

Novel membranes with selectivity that can be switched dynamically with the help of light have been developed by researchers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Universität Hannover. Azobenzene molecules were integrated into membranes made of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Depending on the irradiation wavelength, these azobenzene units in the MOFs adopt a stretched or angular form. This makes it possible to dynamically adjust the permeability of the membrane and the separation factor of gases or liquids. [Read More]

Nanoscale Transducer Engine Is Powered By Light

A new nanoscale transducer, created by researchers at the University of Cambridge, is the world’s tiniest engine at just a few billionths of a metre in size. The engine, which uses light to power itself, could be the basis of future nano-machines that can navigate in water, sense the environment around them, or even enter living cells to fight disease. The prototype device is comprised of tiny charged particles of gold, held together with temperature-responsive polymers in the form of a gel. [Read More]

First Artificial Molecular Pump Uses Non-equilibrium Chemistry

An artificial molecular pump that uses molecules to pump other molecules has been developed by scientists at Northwestern University. The tiny machine, inspired by nature, may some day be used to power other molecular machines, such as artificial muscles. The new mechanism simulates the pumping of life-sustaining proteins which move small molecules inside living cells to metabolize and store energy from food. As its food, the artificial pump gets it’s power from chemical reactions. [Read More]

Nanostructured Infrared Semiconductor may bridge Optics and Electronics

A new semiconductor that manipulates light in the invisible infrared terahertz range has been created by researchers at UC Santa Barbara. Among the applications that this unique semiconductor will be able to support are more efficient solar cells, enhanced medical imaging, and the ability to transmit huge amounts of data at higher speeds. The use of erbium is a central part of this technology. Erbium, a rare earth metal, has the ability to absorb light in the visible as well as infrared wavelength. [Read More]

Environmentally Friendly Nanostructures made from Silk

Nanostructures can be generated from silk in an environmentally friendly process, Tufts University engineers have shown. The engineers used water as a developing agent and standard fabrication techniques to demonstrate the concept. The approach gives a green alternative to the commonly used toxic materials in nanofabrication, and delivers fabrication quality comparable to conventional synthetic polymers for the manufacture of semi-conductors and other electronic and photonic devices. Nanofabrication uses high-resolution patterning involving features so small that they have at least one dimension no larger than 100 nanometers, the size of particles filtered out by surgical masks. [Read More]