Paint your house in sunshine

Solar panels are pretty common and you find them on houses on top of building all trying to capture a bit of sunshine and make some electricity.  Now some research is suggesting that you can make paint that is able to do the same thing as solar panels---generate electricity.  The work from University of Notre Dame is just beginning and the paint is about 10 times less efficient than solar panels but it is a start. They used tiny particles of titanium dioxide (the same stuff as in most white paint) and coated them with cadmium salts that help convert the sunlight into electricity. 

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Nanooze Labs opens at Disneyland

On the West Coast and needing your Nanooze fix?  Stop by Nanooze Labs in Disneyland!  This new 1500 square foot exhibit features, RopeScope, Zoom and Touch a Molecule.  Located within Innoventions in Tomorrowland at Disneyland in Anaheim CA,  Nanooze Labs is a fun spot to hang out, explore, watch some outstanding videos and even pick up a copy of the magazine Nanooze.  Nanooze Labs is celebrating the International Year of Chemistry and will be on display till September 2012.

Your nano-Benz

NANOSLIDE coating on a Mercedes Benz engine
Sure maybe it is your grandfather's car.  But Mercedes Benz is now nano.  Not a nano car but has a nanomaterial.  NANOSLIDE technology involves spraying a thin layer of carbon and iron 'wires' on the cylinder surfaces inside of the engine.  How thin?  About 100 micrometers or 100,000 nanometers.  The NANOSLIDE surface looks shiny but it has tiny pores that trap enough oil to lubricate the surface.  The technology reduces the engine weight by 4.3 kilograms which they say saves 3% on fuel consumption. 

An answer to mankind's most pressing problem.

Odour tags made by Odegon Technology
Maybe underarm odor isn't the most pressing problem to the planet what with global warming and hunger but it isn't something to be ignored.  Especially when nanotechnology has a solution.  'Odour tags' (the British spelling) are placed in garments and supposed to stay there forever.  So where is the nano?  In the nanoporous activated carbon that is in the pads.  They soak up the stink by the stinking chemical binding to the carbon through very weak but effective bonds,  leaving you odor (or odour)-free.   The company that makes them claims they can be washed or dried so I suppose you can get one for every shirt you have.  Activated carbon isn't new, it was discovered by the British Ministry of Defence (aka Defense) in the 1940's for use in gas masks.  Maybe instead of odour tags we could all just wear gas masks.


Artificial windpipe
Well that is the most important thing. Smoking kills.  But if you are shopping for a new windpipe nanotechnology has the answer.  Doctors at University College London have developed a synthetic nanometer-scale material that can be fashioned into a windpipe.  Not to be content with making another piece of synthetic tubing, it was transplanted into a patient in Sweden.  First doctors took a 3D scans of the patient's windpipe and used that to create a new artificial one.  The nanomaterial was designed to attract cells that were taken from the patient's bone marrow.  Then the whole thing was reinserted into back into the patient.  As of about a month ago the patient was doing well returning to his home country of Eritrea.  To be honest I don't know what the cause of his cancer was, but still do not smoke.

Makes sense to me

UC tiny heavy metal sensor
Sensors, sensors everywhere and not a drop to drink.  So what good is a really rapid sensor if you have send the sample to the laboratory to be tested.  Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have developed a sensor to detect heavy metals in humans.  Why?  well heavy metals are found in the soil and other places and sometimes they find their way into your bodies.  This is a special problem in young kids where heavy metals can cause all sorts of problems.  The sensor works with just a small drop of blood and a set of electrodes.  The metal is bound to the sensor and then stripped off by changing the voltage.  It is kind of like the way we electroplate metals on to different things like car bumpers only on a nanometer-scale

Keeping the world safe

Scientists at Cornell University have developed a suitcase sized detector for anthrax.  Work done by Nate Cady who is now a professor at University of Albany began almost seven years ago when he first set out to make a lab on a chip that could extract DNA and then inspect it for different kinds of deadly bugs.  That chip was less than a postage stamp in size.  From there it was a matter of getting all the other stuff into a suitcase that you might be able to lug around to detect anthrax (or Salmonella or anything).  The biggest pain was making pumps that could move around liquids.  "while we are really good at making nanometer-scale electronics, we aren't so good at making things to pump liquids".

nano money

Gucci pocketbooks, Rolex watches and banknotes. What do they all have in common? They have value and there are a lot of fake ones around. In the US over the past couple of years, there are new banknotes that have things in them to reduce the problems of counterfeiting. Now some scientists at Simon Fraser University in Canada are trying to use nanotechnology to prevent bad guys from counterfeiting money. Their inspiration is the blue morpho butterfly which has a cool iridescent blue color. The color is produced when light reflects off the surface---a surface that has nanoscale features which diffract only a narrow spectrum of light. No color pigment that can be copied but only features that can be fabricated into the banknote. Some day these things to prevent counterfeiters could be used in a lot of different kinds of objects.