Science Ahoy!

a legacy of our discomgoogolation

Posts Tagged ‘nanotechnology

Gecko Robots

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For some of us, nothing is more disgusting than watching a gecko climb a wall and go on to the ceiling and stay there without succumbing to effects of gravity.  For a few others, it is inspirational.

Adhesives that, like gecko feet, are dry, powerful, reusable, and self-cleaning could help robots climb walls or hold together electrical components, even in the harsh conditions of outer space. […]

Using a silicon substrate, he [Liming Dai, a professor of materials engineering at the University of Dayton] and his group grew arrays of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes topped with an unaligned layer of nanotubes, like rows of trees with branching tops. The adhesive force of these nanotube arrays is about 100 newtons per square centimeter–enough for a four-by-four-millimeter square of the material to hold up a 1,480-gram textbook. And its adhesive properties were the same when tested on very different surfaces, including glass plates, polymer films, and rough sandpaper.

So in future some of us are going to be paranoid about robots climbing walls too.

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Written by Elgie Shepard

October 10, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Nano Shot

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Can you fool the cell?  Apparently you can.

Stellacci and his colleagues incorporated properties of the cell-penetrating peptides into their synthetic material. They coated gold nanoparticles six nanometers in diameter with alternating stripes of hydrophobic and hydrophilic molecules, mimicking the ordered structure of the peptides researchers have tried to use in the past. They then labeled the gold nanoparticles with fluorescent dye and tested them on mouse immune cells. The group found that the nanoparticles entered the cells and distributed themselves throughout the cytosol, the cell’s internal fluid, without killing the cell. The researchers published their findings in a recent edition of Nature Materials[].

I have not read the original paper in Nature, but I wonder what the longterm impact on the cell is.  Coated or not, the nanoparticle is a foreign body, and I wonder if the cell gets a whiff of the trick soon enough.  Once cradle-to-grave studies are done, we could potentially find cure for diseases such as cancer.

Using nanoparticles for disease monitoring/detection is pretty hot in Europe –

The cost is prohibitive, I am sure.  But may be some day the technology will be perfected enough to be made accessable to all.

Written by Elgie Shepard

September 30, 2008 at 2:45 am