Understanding NSF Research: Nanoscience
Image Captions and Credits
A microlaser, roughly the diameter of a human hair, counts individual nanoparticles as they land on a ring.
Credit: J. Zhu, B. Peng, S.K. Ozdemir, L. Yang, Electrical and Systems Engineering Department, Washington University in St. Louis
The grooves in this flat-tipped nanowire result from the "wedding cake" growth mechanism. Controlling this mechanism improves nanowire design, enhancing a range of devices from sensors to batteries.
Credit: Xudong Wang, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Swabbing the Decks
Cloaked in a red blood cell, toxin-hungry nanosponges slide through the bloodstream on the prowl for poisonous material. When fully loaded, the sponges travel to the liver for disposal.
Credit: Jacobs School of Engineering, University of California, San Diego
Joining two different types of nanoribbons can yield a unique material with potential applications in quantum computers.
Credit: M.F. Crommie, UC Berkeley Physics Department and Materials Sciences Division, LBNL
The Future Is Flat
Tiny pillars of titanium dioxide focus light to produce images with the same resolution as conventional lenses 100,000 times larger or about 6 centimeters in diameter. These ultra-lightweight flat lenses are ideal for applications from wearable optics to space telescopes.
Credit: Peter Allen
Accelerating Drug Pipeline
Sensors that combine gold nanoparticles with red, blue and green glowing proteins discern drug-induced physical and chemical changes on a cell's surface. Drug companies use patterns from these changes to more rapidly screen drug compounds for effectiveness.
Credit: Vincent Rotello, Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Increasing Communications Capacity
Tiny lasers embedded in silicon transmit light packets called photons through this nanoscale photonic circuit. Ultra-small devices that harness light have the potential to transmit data at speeds and capacities unachievable with electronic devices.
Credit: Stefan Preble, Rochester Institute of Technology
Blasting polymer solution into a high electric field creates these wispy fibers which are 10 times stronger and tougher than commercial fibers. Applications include strengthening police and combat gear and improving aerospace structures.
Credit: Yuris Dzenis
New Biosensors Streamline the Detection of Diseases in Your Bloodstream
By incorporating nanostructures into small glass slides, researchers have managed to create a biosensor that could detect diseases at a patient's bedside. The crux of the technology is highly selective detection molecules, which screen samples, such as blood, for a disease of interest. Currently, this type of diagnostic testing is conducted by large, expensive instruments. Small, portable sensors would reduce testing costs, generate less waste and produce immediate results.
Credit: NSF/Jenna Schad