Special sponges that can clean toxic pollutants from waterways are being developed by Australian scientists. Continue reading Making pollution sponges out of nanoparticles
A fingernail-sized sensor with nanodots that can detect the presence of heavy metals has been developed by Victorian scientists.
It offers a cheap and simple method of testing whether water is drinkable.
Professor Mark Kendall is planning to dispatch the 160-year-old needle and syringe to history. He’s invented a new vaccine technology that’s painless, uses a fraction of the dose, puts the vaccine just under the skin, and doesn’t require a fridge.
The Nanopatch is a 1 cm square piece of silicon with 20,000 microscopic needles engineered on one side. Coat the needles with dry vaccine, push it gently but firmly against the skin, and the vaccine is delivered just under the outer layer of skin.
It’s a technology he invented in response to a call from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation seeking ideas for delivery of vaccines in developing countries—where it’s a challenge to keep conventional wet vaccines cold to the point of delivery.
Ultra-thin boron nitride outshines gold and silver when used to detect contaminants in smart sensing technology.
It is 100 times more effective at detecting dangerous materials in our food and environment than noble metals.
Traditionally, detection surfaces of these devices have been made using gold and silver. But covering these metals with a microscopically thin layer of boron nitride greatly enhances their performance.
The findings are by a team from Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials, Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science and China’s Wenzhou University. Continue reading When boron nitride outshines gold and silver
Nanoscale spikes on dragonfly wings are inspiring materials that kill bacteria, including deadly antibiotic-resistant golden staph (Staphylococcus aureus).
Elena Ivanova and her fellow researchers at Swinburne University of Technology were studying self-cleaning surfaces in nature when they discovered bacteria being killed on the wings of the clanger cicada, Psaltoda claripennis, a species mostly found in Queensland.
The secret seemed to lie in millions of tiny rounded spikes, or nanopillars, each a thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair.
Sea snails and sponges are shedding light on how to create electronic-free circuitry and environmentally friendly optical fibre, say Geelong scientists.
Inspired by the materials these sea creatures make, an Australian-US team is trying to create 3D gold nanoparticle arrays that channel light.
“Effectively we are creating circuitry without electronics,” says Tiffany Walsh, Veski Innovation Fellow and one of the researchers from Deakin University.
Tiny diamonds have been used to track single atoms and molecules inside living cells.
A University of Melbourne team has developed a device that uses nanoscale diamonds to measure the magnetic fields from a living cell’s atoms and molecules, with resolution a million times greater than current magnetic resonance imaging.
The Australian Academy of Science recognised five individuals for their career achievements in 2013.
- The search for dark matter was kicked off by Ken Freeman’s discovery that there wasn’t enough matter to hold spiral galaxies like ours together. Continue reading Academy recognition
The first microscopes gave humans the ability peer deep into the microscopic world, allowing us to see cells and microbes in unprecedented detail. Using the latest electron microscopes we are now able to see detail down to single atoms.
In fact, materials scientists can detect impurities in their latest compounds, atom by atom, using powerful electron microscopes aided by sophisticated modelling of what happens when the electron beam hits the material.
Dr Adrian D’Alfonso and a team of theoretical physicists at the University of Melbourne have developed these models and they are already helping groups around the world look at and understand nanomaterials in a way they haven’t been able to before.
Physicist Dr Amanda Barnard has been using supercomputers to find the balance between sun protection and potential toxicity in a new generation of sunscreens which employ nanoparticles.
The metal oxide nanoparticles which block solar radiation are so small they cannot be seen, so the sunscreen appears transparent. But if the particles are too small, they can produce toxic levels of free radicals.
Amanda, who heads CSIRO’s Virtual Nanoscience Laboratory, has been able to come up with a trade-off—the optimum size of particle to provide maximum UV protection for minimal toxicity while maintaining transparency—by modelling the relevant interactions on a supercomputer.
Continue reading Saving our skins