January 22/29, 2007


Particles gang up on tumors

A type of nanoparticle made of peptides homes in on cancer tumors and recruits other nanoparticles to gather there, mimicking the way platelets accumulate at wounds. This self-amplifying accumulation could be used to concentrate contrast agents and anti-cancer drugs to improve imaging and treatment of cancer tumors. (Biomimetic Amplification of Nanoparticle Homing to Tumors, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 16, 2007)

Cell takes in more sun

An early prototype shows that intermediate-band solar cells should be able to double the 25 to 30 percent efficiency of today's best commercial solar cells. The prototype is made of nanoscale bits of semiconductor material and achieved a power conversion efficiency of 45 percent. (Intermediate-Band Solar Cells Employing Quantum Dots Embedded in an Energy Fence Barrier, Nano Letters, January 10, 2007)

Nanotubes sport nanowire ends

Growing carbon nanotubes fused end-to-end with metal nanowires opens a route to making nanoscale interconnections between nanotube circuits. The work could help make nanoelectronics more practical, which could lead to future generations of low-power, high-speed computer chips. (Multisegmented One-dimensional Hybrid Structures of Carbon Nanotubes and Metal Nanowires, Applied Physics Letters, December 11, 2006)

Nano spot welding

A copper-filled carbon nanotube attached to an electron microscope makes a handy spot welder for joining nanotubes and other nanoscale objects. The device is the nanoscale equivalent of the robotic welders used to assemble automobiles. (Nanorobotic Spot Welding: Controlled Metal Deposition with Attogram Precision from Copper-Filled Carbon Nanotubes, Nano Letters, January 10, 2007)

Nanotubes ID DNA electronically

A method of measuring electronic interactions between DNA and carbon nanotubes could lead to ways of electronically identifying DNA sequences. Electronic DNA identification has the potential to be much faster than today's chemical methods. (DNA Nucleoside Interaction and Identification with Carbon Nanotubes, Nano Letters, January 10, 2007)

DNA does multi-sensing

Two-dimensional arrays of DNA nanotiles can identify multiple types of nucleic acids, proteins and other biological molecules in a single sample. The arrays could be used for rapid medical diagnostics and drug discovery. (Self-Assembled Combinatorial Encoding Nanoarrays for Multiplexed Biosensing, Nano Letters, published online January 18, 2007)


View from the High Ground: ICL's John Pendry
Physics as machine tool, negative refractive index, metamaterials, shattered wine glasses, higher capacity DVDs, scientific backwaters, risk perception and practice, practice, practice.

How It Works: Quantum computing: qubits
Photons, electrons and atoms, oh my! These particles are the raw materials for qubits, the basic building blocks of quantum computers.

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January 23, 2007
Collectively simpleminded
Collaborative tagging sites like del.icio.us are examples of systems that harvest crowd intelligence. The collective behavior of thousands of people acting independently produces a solution. It turns out that even though people are acting intelligently ...

December 18, 2006
Subliminally impaired

December 13, 2006
Cross-species cooperation

December 7, 2006
Plankton peril


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"Physics is to the rest of science what machine tools are to engineering. A corollary is that science places power in our hands which can be used for good or ill. Technology has been abused in this way throughout the ages from gunpowder to atomic bombs."
- John Pendry, Imperial College London

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