Nanoscience is well on its way to establishing itself as one of the critical technologies of the 21st Century. Just as semiconductors gave rise to computers, smart phones, the Internet, medical devices, and an endless stream of consumer products, nanoscience is enabling the development of new technologies in fields as diverse as electronics, medicine, photonics, energy, and quantum physics. Nanoscale constructions provide this flexibility for two reasons. First, they are small and precise enough to interact with molecules in entirely new ways. Nanomedicines, for example, often encapsulate drugs in molecular packages decorated with segments of molecules that enable them to target specific organs and diseases, and, once there, convince those cells to ingest the medication. Metal-organic frameworks, complex molecules engineered to reduce energy use in chemical reactions and capture carbon emissions from combustion, are another example. Second, and more intriguingly, nanoscale devices are closer in size to electrons and photons, and may interact with them in ways that are fundamentally different from the behavior of larger objects. For example, metamaterials, arrays of nanoscale structures, can bend light around an object to make it appear invisible. Nanoscale electronics can exploit quantum phenomena, like electron spin, energy waves, and quantum states to capture, store, and process information. As these technologies and other emerging applications reach commercialization, they are certain to change nearly every sphere of life.
To understand the language of the brain, we will need to monitor thousands and then tens and even hundreds of thousands of neurons networked across the brain. Nanotechnology promises to make this – and more – possible.
In 2011, neuroscientists and nanoscientists had an idea for revolutionizing our understanding the brain. Now that idea is a national challenge, as President Obama's BRAIN Initiative seeks to decipher the neural code that gives rise to our perceptions and experience.
Solar power seems poised for a breakthrough. Over the past four years, prices for solar panels declined 75 percent. Recently, four experts discuss how we move solar technology from the lab to commercial reality.
Mildred Dresselhaus, this year's winner of the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience, has had a long and illustrious career in physics. Dubbed "The Queen of Carbon" by her peers, she was instrumental in unlocking the secrets of carbon's electronic structure and the mysterious forms it takes on in nature.
Seventeen prominent researchers gathered in Ilulissat, Greenland — a town where dogsleds are common and townspeople sail in a fjord filled with enormous icebergs — to discuss what would happen as nanoscience and biology blended together at the level of cells and molecules.
Computers are the workhorses of science. Without their power to crunch numbers, control instruments, turn raw data into intelligible patterns or pictures and test theories with simulations, most of what we now know about ourselves and the universe might still be a mystery.
Why is there excitement about nanoparticle medicine (nanomedicines) for fighting cancer? In this video, Dr. Mark E. Davis presents the current understandings of why these engineered, nanosized medicines may provide game-changing ways to treat cancer.
A TEDxBigApple video presentation of KIBST Co-Director Joanna Aizenberg, describing the full breadth of her bio-inspired research, which draws on the genius of nature to create the materials of the future.
Will advances in nanotechnology be a game changer for the treatment and diagnosis of cancer? Four pioneers in the field — Drs. Anna Barker, Mark E. Davis, James Heath and Michael Phelps — discuss where things stand and what the future holds.