Category Archives: Nanotechnology

Bacteria Killing Fabric

fabric

An antibacterial fabric with an ability to kill off two of the most infectious and lethal pathogens, E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus has been developed by researchers in Australia. Both the pathogens were shown to die off within 10 minutes of contact with this newly created fabric, which utilises the antibacterial properties of silver.

The study was conducted by the Australia based university RMIT in collaboration with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and a paper on the new material was recently published in the prestigious journal Advanced Functional Materials.

It has been known for the last hundred years that silver is anti-bacterial. Silver metal, when it comes into contact with body fluids, releases silver ions and these ions are actually toxic and have anti-microbial and antibacterial properties. Instead of using silver metals, they developed a new material called Silver-TCNQ nano-structure (Silver-tetra-cyano-quinodimethane) which releases these silver ions quite slowly so the antibacterial effect is long term. Ordinary fabric is dipped into a special solution to give it the desired antibacterial properties.

Potential applications of this fabric include band-aids and wound dressings, surgical gowns and bed sheets as means to reduce hospital-acquired infections.

Nano-particle & Laser based new Meningitis test

chemist

A new silver-nano-particle and laser-based test has been developed by scientists at University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, UK) for the rapid diagnosis of bacterial meningitis. The test uses nanoparticles and lasers to fingerprint more than one bacterium at a time as quickly as possible, making it easier to treat.

The new process is called Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS). It scatters laser light from a sample that has been combined with silver nanoparticles.

The great advantage of the SERS technique is that it gives sharp, recognisable signals and with other diagnostic methods it can measure the amount of bacteria in a sample whilst simultaneously identifying the bacteria.

Meningitis

Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known as the meninges. The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms. Meningitis can be life-threatening because of the inflammation’s proximity to the brain and spinal cord.

The most common symptoms of meningitis are headache and neck stiffness associated with fever, confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting, etc. Children often exhibit only nonspecific symptoms, such as irritability and drowsiness. Meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria may be accompanied by a characteristic rash.

Phase-II of Nano-Mission Approved

nano-technology

Nano Technology is a ‘knowledge-intensive & enabling technology’ which is expected to influence a wide range of products and processes with far-reaching implications for the national economy and development.

Nano-Science & Technology Initiative (NSTI)

To create the background and infrastructure for R&D in nano-science & technology, Nano-Science & Technology Initiative (NSTI) have been rolled out in the time period of 2001 to 2006 by Department of Science and Technology (DST). Across India, 19 Centres of Excellence have been established for research, development and applications of nanotechnology.

Nano-Science & Technology Mission (NSTM)

In 2007 DST started Nano-Science & Technology Mission (NSTM) with a budget of 1000 Cr. This ‘nano-mission’ has been working to help scientists, institutions and the industry in terms of promoting basic research, development of adequate manpower resources, international collaborations, augmentation the infrastructure for research and generation of socially useful products.

The nano-mission has resulted in about 5000 research papers and some useful products like nano hydrogel based eye drops, pesticide removal technology for drinking water, water filters for arsenic and fluoride removal and nano silver based antimicrobial textile coating.

Approval for the Second Phase of NSTM

The Union Cabinet on 20 Feb 2014 gave its clearance for the continuation of the NSTM in its second phase in the 12th plan period at a cost of Rs. 650 crores. Announcing the Cabinet decision, an official statement noted that as a result of the efforts led by the mission, India has moved from the fourth to the third position in the world in terms of scientific publications in nano-science and technology.

The Nano mission, in this new phase, will make greater effort to promote application-oriented R&D so that some useful products, processes and technologies also emerge. It will be steered by a ‘Nano Mission Council’ chaired by an eminent scientist.

Nanotube Solar Cell

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are developing a new type of solar panel that has a thin layer of carbon nanotubes. This new technology improves performance of solar panel as it takes advantage of infrared that ordinarily go to waste. It also make it easier to store the energy for later use.

The researchers at MIT say that the carbon nanotubes have an increase in temperature after being heated by the sun. Once heated the nanotubes heat a photonic crystal layer that generates light. That light emitted can then be turned into electricity using photovoltaic systems. The new process is described in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

The researchers believe that using the carbon nanotubes will greatly improve the efficiency of panels over 80%; current panels have an efficiency of 33.7%.

Cancer Killing Nano-machine

CancerNanotech

Biomedical engineers at Cornell University (US) have developed a “cancer-killing machines” made up of sticky nanoparticles, to prevent cancer cells from spreading throughout the body. These are made by attaching two proteins, E-selectin and TRAIL, on the surface of nanoscale liposome or nano-particles.

E-selectin is an adhesive molecule that can bind to other cells. TRAIL is a therapeutic protein made by immune cells that can program cancer cells to die upon contact, a process called apoptosis (i.e., cell death). Together they make a tag-team effort: one protein to stick, one to kill.

These sticky nanoparticles are injected into blood stream which attaches themselves with the white blood cells (WBCs). As soon as sticky nanoparticles came in contact with cancel tumour cells which had broken off the main tumour and were trying to spread, it kills them. It thus prevent tumour from spreading into other organs or tissues. The test results are significant in human blood and mice.

The research team, which recently published its findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is led by biomedical engineer Michael King. This ground-breaking research could one day pave the way for eliminating 90 percent of cancer deaths.

 [Photo Courtesy – My New York Minute]