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Nanoscience Discoveries

NSF's public investment in science, engineering, education and technology helps to create knowledge and sustain prosperity. Read here about the Internet, microbursts, Web browsers, extrasolar planets, and more... a panoply of discoveries and innovations that began with NSF support.

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Illustration showing one sphere being repelled from a plate and the other sphere being attracted. Nanoscale Repulsion
Tiny quantum force, measured for the first time, could be an aid to nanodevice designers
Released  February 19, 2009
Image showing ball and stick model of two crossing carbon nanotubes on a graphite surface. Measuring Excitement for Carbon Nanotubes
Studying light pulses in nanoscale molecules brings scientists closer to understanding properties that may lead to a multitude of applications
Released  February 10, 2009
Illustration of heads with brains. Synthetic Brains
Researchers study the feasibility of brains made from carbon nanotubes
Released  January 27, 2009
Photo of Ayusman Sen's laboratory team in 2008. Nanoparticles Taught to Swim
NSF-supported research team at Penn State creates nanoscale motors powered by catalytic reactions that convert chemical energy into motion
Released  November 20, 2008
Photo of a gecko, which has a unique ability to scamper across shear surfaces and vertical walls. How to Make Adhesive as Good as a Gecko
Materials scientist Ali Dhinojwala and his team use nanotechnology to develop adhesive tapes that stick better than a gecko’s foot
Released  October 16, 2008
Illustration of a bioparticle (left) ready to bind antigens (yellow) from tumor cells. Natural Bio-Army Trained to Fight Cancer
Bioengineer Tarek Fahmy and colleagues are engineering new nanoscopic and microscopic biomaterials to stimulate the body’s production of killer T-cells to fight infectious diseases
Released  August 8, 2008
John Chmiola holds an electrochemical capacitor's electrode. Supercapacitors Could Be Key to a Green Energy Future
John Chmiola, a doctoral student at Drexel University, is doing groundbreaking work on supercapacitors
Released  July 30, 2008
Illustration of photocathode gun. Brightest X-ray Vision at the Nano-scale
Superconducting 'universal toolkit' for scientists, engineers will conserve energy, too
Released  June 6, 2008
Photo of Professor Israel Wachs with the combined Raman-Infrared spectrometer/microscope. Scientist Explores Invisible Environmental Helpers
Researcher uses his expertise in catalysis to impact major environmental issues
Released  April 25, 2008
2007 In Review 2007: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported advances and activities reported last year
Released  January 30, 2008
2006 in Review 2006: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported activities highlighted last year
Released  January 9, 2007
Electrons hitting an iron-carbide filled carbon nanotube cause it to contract and extrude material. Nanotubes Not for Toothpaste . . . Yet
Researchers Squeeze Even Rock-Hard Materials Through Minuscule Carbon Tubes
Released  July 25, 2006
With strong magnetic fields and cold temperatures, magnetic order in barium-copper silicate emerges. Purple Haze
Ancient pigment reveals secrets about unusual state of matter
Released  July 11, 2006
Vesicle membranes that collapse when cooled may someday deliver minute payloads of medicines. Micro Pills Could Deliver Drugs on Demand
Temperature-sensitive capsules release chemicals at tightly controlled rates
Released  March 27, 2006
The new nanofountain probe produced these patterns; features are as thin as 40 nanometers The World’s Smallest Fountain Pen?
New microscope tips use capillary action to print patterns tens of nanometers across
Released  October 5, 2005
Illustration shows how a tiny needle full of carbon nanotubes could work as glucose sensor. The Tiniest Test Kits: A Medical Future for Carbon Nanotubes?
Imagine if diabetics could read blood-glucose levels by reading a watch. Or if researchers could monitor hormone levels, in real-time, in their subjects. What sounds like science fiction today could be reality soon, thanks to carbon nanotubes.
Released  May 20, 2005
Vault cross section Vaults: From Biological Mystery to Nanotech Workhorse?
Natural nano-capsules show promise for drug delivery, electrical switches and circuits
Released  May 11, 2005
FAST-ACT crystals Nano-engineered Powders Tackle Toxic Chemicals
Thirsty grains act fast to clean up messes
Released  April 28, 2005
spherical dendrimers Molecular Self-Assembly Technique May Mimic How Cells Assemble Themselves
Researchers have created tree-like molecules that assemble themselves into precisely structured building blocks of a quarter-million atoms. Such structures may help build nanostructures for molecular electronics or photonics materials.
Released  July 30, 2004
electron microscope image of a colloidosome Researchers Solve 100-Year-Old Puzzle of How Layer of Particles Coats the Surface of a Sphere
Researchers have discovered how nature arranges charged particles in a thin layer around a sphere. Understanding this theoretical problem may help reveal chinks in the armor of viruses and bacteria and guide engineers designing new molecules.
Released  July 30, 2004
Raman scattering images of carbon nanotubes Shining Light on the Nanoscale
In 2003 researchers created the highest-resolution optical image up to that point, revealing structures as small as nanotubes just a few billionths of an inch across. The new method should shed light on objects as small as proteins in a cell membrane.
Released  May 17, 2004

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