Toggle light / dark theme

Researchers from ETH Zurich and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a new 3D printing technique capable of producing nanoscale metal parts.

Based on an electrochemical approach, the process can be used to fabricate copper objects as small as 25 nanometers in diameter. For reference, an average human hair is around 3000x thicker at 75 microns.

According to the research team led by Dr Dmitry Momotenko, the new 3D printing technique has potential applications in microelectronics, sensor technology, and battery technology.

Honda Research Institute USA (HRI-US) is doing some pretty interesting things in the field of quantum electronics. Scientists from HRI-US were able to successfully synthesize atomically thin nanoribbons. HRI noted that these are materials with atomic-scale thickness and a ribbon shape. These nanoribbons have broad implications for the future of quantum electronics, which is an area of physics that focuses on the effects of quantum mechanics on the behavior of electrons in matter.

According to the press release, “HRI-US’s synthesis of an ultra-narrow two-dimensional material built of a single or double layer of atoms demonstrated the ability to control the width of these two-dimensional materials to sub-10 nanometer (10-9 meter) that results in quantum transport behavior at much higher temperatures compared to those grown using current methods.”

The scientists along with collaborations from both Columbia University and Rice University as well as Oak Ridge National Laboratory co-authored a new paper on this topic and published it in Science Advances.

Experimental realization of cluster crystals-periodic structures with lattice sites occupied by several, overlapping building blocks, has been elusive. Here, the authors show the existence of well-controlled soft matter cluster crystals composed of a thermosensitive water-soluble polymer and nanometer-scale all-DNA dendrons.

Amprius Technologies announced that its lithium-ion battery cells with silicon anode (Si-Nanowire platform) achieved a breakthrough fast charging capability of 0–80% state-of-charge (SOC) in just 6 minutes (10C current).

The capability of extreme fast charging has been validated and confirmed by Mobile Power Solutions for three 2.75 Ah sample pouch cells (see report here). It actually took less than 6 minutes to achieve 80% SOC.

0–70% charging takes less than 5 minutes, and 0–90% is usually above 8 minutes. Then, the charging rate is much slower, so 100% is achieved after 25–27 minutes (90–100% takes 17–19 minutes).

Researchers in China have developed a new three-pronged method to fight liver cancer that shows promise in tests in mice. The technique combines drugs and CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing into lipid nanoparticles, then activates them with ultrasound.

One emerging treatment against cancer is known as sonodynamic therapy (SDT), which involves delivering drugs to the tumor and then activating them with ultrasound pulses. That produces reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can induce oxidative stress on the cancer cells to kill them. Unfortunately, cancer can counter this attack with antioxidant enzymes, reducing the method’s efficiency.

So for the new study, the researchers investigated a way to remove that defense system. The team suspected that they could use CRISPR to switch off a gene called NFE2L2, which cancer cells use to set off their antioxidant defenses. The team packaged both the CRISPR machinery and the ROS-producing drugs into lipid nanoparticles, which could be activated with ultrasound pulses.

Many intractable diseases are the result of a genetic mutation. Genome editing technology promises to correct the mutation and thus new treatments for patients. However, getting the technology to the cells that need the correction remains a major challenge. A new study led by CiRA Junior Associate Professor Akitsu Hotta and in collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited as part of the T-CiRA Joint Research Program reports how lipid nanoparticles provide an effective means for the delivery to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) in mice.

Last year’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry to the discoverers of CRISPR-Cas9 cemented the impact of genome editing technology. While CRISPR-Cas9 can be applied to agriculture and livestock for more nutritious food and robust crops, most media attention is on its medical potential. DMD is just one of the many diseases that researchers foresee a treatment using CRISPR-Cas9.

“Oligonucleotide drugs are now available for DMD, but their effects are transient, so the patient has to undergo weekly treatments. On the other hand, CRISPR-Cas9 effects are long lasting,” said Hotta.


In a paper published today in the scientific journal Science, DeepMind demonstrates how neural networks can be used to describe electron interactions in chemical systems more accurately than existing methods.

Density Functional Theory, established in the 1960s, describes the mapping between electron density and interaction energy. For more than 50 years, the exact nature of mapping between and interaction energy—the so-called density functional—has remained unknown. In a significant advancement for the field, DeepMind has shown that can be used to build a more accurate map of the and interaction between electrons than was previously attainable.

By expressing the functional as a neural network and incorporating exact properties into the , DeepMind was able to train the model to learn functionals free from two important systematic errors—the delocalisation error and spin symmetry breaking—resulting in a better description of a broad class of chemical reactions.

Graphene consists of a planar structure, with carbon atoms connected in a hexagonal shape that resembles a beehive. When graphene is reduced to several nanometers (nm) in size, it becomes a graphene quantum dot that exhibits fluorescent and semiconductor properties. Graphene quantum dots can be used in various applications as a novel material, including display screens, solar cells, secondary batteries, bioimaging, lighting, photocatalysis, and sensors. Interest in graphene quantum dots is growing, because recent research has demonstrated that controlling the proportion of heteroatoms (such as nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorous) within the carbon structures of certain materials enhances their optical, electrical, and catalytic properties.

The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST, President Seok-Jin Yoon) reported that the research team led by Dr. Byung-Joon Moon and Dr. Sukang Bae of the Functional Composite Materials Research Center have developed a technique to precisely control the bonding structure of single heteroatoms in the graphene quantum dot, which is a zero-dimensional carbon nanomaterial, through simple chemical reaction control; and that they identified the relevant reaction mechanisms.

With the aim of controlling heteroatom incorporation within the graphene quantum dot, researchers have previously investigated using additives that introduce the heteroatom into the dot after the dot itself has already been synthesized. The dot then had to be purified further, so this method added several steps to the overall fabrication process. Another method that was studied involved the simultaneous use of multiple organic precursors (which are the main ingredients for dot synthesis), along with the additives that contain the heteroatom. However, these methods had significant disadvantages, including reduced crystallinity in the final product and lower overall reaction yield, since several additional purification steps had to be implemented. Furthermore, in order to obtain quantum dots with the chemical compositions desired by manufacturers, various reaction conditions, such as the proportion of additives, would have to be optimized.

The involvement between electron transfer (ET) and catalytic reaction at electrocatalyst surface makes electrochemical process challenging to understand and control. How to experimentally determine ET process occurring at nanoscale is important to understand the overall electrochemical reaction process at active sites.

Recently, a research group led by Prof. LI Can and Prof. FAN Fengtao from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) captured the electron transfer imaging in electrocatalysis process.

This study was recently published in the journal Nano Letters.

A common strategy to make vaccines more powerful is to deliver them along with an adjuvant — a compound that stimulates the immune system to produce a stronger response.

Researchers from MIT, the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, and other institutions have now designed a new nanoparticle adjuvant that may be more potent than others now in use. Studies in mice showed that it significantly improved antibody production following vaccination against HIV, diphtheria, and influenza.

“We started looking at this particular formulation and found that it was incredibly potent, better than almost anything else we had tried,” says Darrell Irvine, the Underwood-Prescott Professor with appointments in MIT’s departments of Biological Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering; an associate director of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research; and a member of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard.