Ancient nano stuff

The Lycurgus cup from Rome AD 400
Think nano is new?  Think again.  The term nanotechnology is relatively new but the idea of manipulating matter at the nanometer scale isn't.  Back in the good old days, the really old days of the pyramids, Macchu Picchu and other ancient stuff, artists were doing nanotechnology without even knowing it.  The Lycurgus cup which dates back to Rome around AD 400 has glass inside which changes color when light shines through it.  The glass has gold-silver alloy (think stuff like steel) nanoparticles that reflect green light but can appear red when light shines through it.  Did those artists more than two-thousand years ago know that these nanometer-sized particles would do such tricks with light because of nanotechnology?  Nope, but probably through trial and error they figured out a heating process which when they mixed silicon dioxide, gold and silver gave them this magical material.

Nano cargo

Most of the time when we take medicine most of the medicine winds up doing not much of anything.  We take an antibiotic for an infect and only a small number of molecules wind up finding their way to the bacteria that we are trying to kill.  Imagine if we could make little containers that we could fill with medicine and then send those containers off only to where they could help fight off the disease.  Kind of like FEDEX for aspirin.  Scientists at Johns Hopkins and Brown University have made these nano cargo containers using self-assembly. That is a process where the cargo containers zip themselves up without any tools.  These 3-D structures can fold themselves up and in the process trap important medicines.  Next up is how to deliver these to where they are needed.  Stay tuned
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