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MIT Researchers discover new electricity production method utilizing carbon nanotubes March 8, 2010

Posted by HubTechInsider in green technology, Manufacturing, Nanotechnology.
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MIT Researchers discover new electricity production method utilizing carbon nanotubes. The team of researchers at MIT have announced that they have made a new breakthrough for producing electricity with carbon nanotubes, and the discovery may one day lead to a myriad of new devices such as sensors the size of dust that can be dispersed in air to monitor the environment or perhaps the technology might lead to implantable devices that produce their own power. The researchers discovered a phenomenon that was previously unknown that produces powerful waved of energy that shoots though carbon nanotubes, producing electricity.

The team of researchers called the phenomenon “thermopower waves.” MIT’s Michael Strano, the Charles and Hilda Roddey Professor of Chemical Engineering, and senior author of the paper reporting the findings said, “[Thermopower waves] opens up a new area of energy research, which is rare.”

The thermal wave is a moving pulse of heat that travels along the microscopic carbon nanotubes and drives electrons along with it creating an electrical current. The team coated carbon nanotubes with a highly reactive fuel that produces heat as it decomposes. The fuel was ignited at one end of the nanotube with a laser beam or high-voltage spark.

The resulting ignition created a fast moving thermal wave that travels about 10,000 times faster than the normal speed of the reaction according to the team. The temperature of the ring of heat reaches about 3,000 kelvins, pushing electrons along the tube creating a substantial electrical current. Strano says that the combustion waves have been mathematically studied for more than a hundred years, but he claims to be the first to predict that the combustion waves could be guided by a nanotube or nanowire and push an electrical current along the wire.

Since the discovery is so new, it is hard to predict how it could be used in practical application. The team plans to conduct more research using different kinds of reactive materials for the fuel coating and the team suspects that by using other materials for the coating the front of the wave could oscillate to produce an alternating current. The team points out that most of the power generated with the new method is given off as light and heat and work is ongoing to make the process more efficient.

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Cambridge’s Aura Biosciences pioneers the new science of nanomedicines with nanosmart particles January 25, 2010

Posted by HubTechInsider in Health Care IT, Nanotechnology, Startups, Venture Capital.
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Cambridge’s Aura Biosciences pioneers the new science of nanomedicines with nanosmart particles

Elisabeth de los Pinos is a molecular biologist and founder and President of Aura Biosciences, a startup in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In late 2007, the Barcelona native learned that a cancer research institute in Germany had created a nanoparticle with dimensions that would allow it to pass easily through blood vessels (one nanomater equals a billionth of a meter). And because nanoparticles are multifunctional, she figured they would be the perfect vehicle to carry a homing device, a technology she then located at a British research center.

De los Pinos got exclusive licenses for both technologies and then went to work. She and her team genetically modified the nanoparticle by adding a targeting peptide to it. The result was a structure that can protect, target, and deliver the drug inside it. If the drug can be restricted to the cancer site, oncologists will be able to up the dosage without inflicting the damage elsewhere. higher doses mean higher efficacy.

Anticancer nanomedicines are very hot. The hope is that this technology will provide drugs with the ability to simultanteously treat, target and be monitored in the body.

De los Pinos, who has trademarked her new technology as nanosmart particles, is part of a cadre of nanoentrepreneurs, many of whom have found particles as potential delivery vehicles but are not necessarily using new medicines. Alot is currently known about the good and bad effects of approved drugs. If a drug is effective and widely used and there is a way to make it more effective, it makes sense to promote grater effectiveness in the drug’s employment. The target is well known; It is the aiming of the drugs that is now improving.

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