Sandia National Laboratories researchers are ready to commercialize tiny, gold antennas to help cameras and sensors deliver clearer pictures of thermal infrared radiation for everything from stars and galaxies to people, buildings and items requiring security, lab officials announced today. In a Laboratory Directed Research and Development project, a team of researchers developed a nanoantenna-enabled detector that can boost the signal of a thermal infrared camera by up to 3 times and improve image quality by reducing dark current, a major component of image noise, by 10 to 100 times.
If the pursuit of DNA-based data storage is a race, it is probably more of a long, arduous, challenge-laden Tough Mudder than a quick, straightforward 50-yard dash. Or it may be a tortoise and hare situation with data growing at an extraordinary pace while science moves steadily along in hopes of gaining the lead.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a new type of tiny 3D-printed robot that moves by harnessing the vibration from piezoelectric actuators, ultrasound sources or even tiny speakers.
The size of the world’s smallest ant, these “micro-bristle-bots” could sense changes in the environment and swarm together to move materials—or perhaps one day repair injuries inside the human body.
Nanosized robots capable of crawling around on a person’s brain or underneath the skin may sound like a nightmare to some, but researchers suggest the mini machines could serve medical purposes such as gathering data on the brain or the spinal column.
A research team at the University of Texas at Arlington may one day cover robots and prosthetic devices with nanotechnology skin to provide them with a sense of touch far superior to humans.
A sense of touch could allow for greater precision and control. A robot needs to know, for example, how much pressure to apply when picking up an elderly patient from a bed, an airplane engine from a factory floor, or a glass of champagne from a tabletop.
The exciting advent of nanotechnology that has inspired disruptive and lifesaving medical advances is plagued by cybersecurity issues that could result in the deaths of people that these very same breakthroughs seek to heal. Unfortunately, nanorobotic technology has suffered from the same security oversights that afflict most other research and development programs. Nanorobots, or small machines, are vulnerable to exploitation just like other devices.
But the others are not implanted in human bodies.
The phenomenal transformation of computer networks from limited and simple to vast and complex has contributed to such great advances. Great but susceptible advances.
Alion Science and Technology Corp., Burr Ridge, Illinois, has been awarded a $10,027,721 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order (0067) on the AMMTIAC indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity cost-plus-fixed-fee sole-source (FA4600-06-D-0003) for nanotechnology development and technology transfer. AMMTIAC will provide technical, engineering, and expertise in nanotechnology applications in materials, manufacturing and testing of interest to the military. Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is the contracting activity.
Engineers at UC Berkeley have created a system of sensors on flexible plastic that reacts to pressure by lighting up. The new "e-skin" recognizes the amount of pressure and responds with a brighter or dimmer light accordingly.
The technology can be used to give robots a more precise sense of touch and also might be used to create interactive wallpapers or automobile dashboards.
Researchers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and Johns Hopkins University have discovered methods to control folding pathways and enable sequential folding on a millimeter scale using a low-intensity laser beam. Lasers at a low intensity worked as a trigger for tagging applications. Developers are fabricating sheets of millimeter-size structures that serve as battery-free wireless actuators that fold when exposed to a laser operating at eye-safe infrared wavelengths. The metallic structures may respond even to high-powered LED lighting.
Materials researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories have developed a new class of nanoporous materials that could lead to more effective and less costly radiation detectors for homeland security inspectors. The new material works with plastic scintillators to make them glow brightly in the presence of charged particles or high-energy photons. Sandia officials say though more work is needed, they are currently seeking commercial partners to license the technology.
That's the idea, anyway, and it encompasses all manpack equipment across the board. A dismounted soldier now carries approximately 140 pounds of equipment or more, and that's still not enough to handle the tasks at hand or to protect him in combat. In this month's issue of SIGNAL Magazine, George I. Seffers turns his focus on the U.S.
The University of Notre Dame and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) are each being awarded cost reimbursement contracts for the NV Logic program, which will enable a completely new computing paradigm based on nano-magnetic devices that will achieve 100 times better computing performance relative to that attainable with current technology. Notre Dame is receiving a nearly $10 million contract, UCLA more than $8 million. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is the contracting activity.
The NNI was launched in 2001 to coordinate the U.S. federal government's nanotechnology research and development. Its mission is to provide a guiding vision for the long term opportunities and benefits of nanotechnology and to serve as a center for communication, cooperation and collaboration between all the participating government agencies. The NNI's home page provides information about federal advisory groups such as the National Science and Technology Council and its Nanoscale Science Engineering and Technology subcommittee. Visitors can download the NNI's fiscal year 2009 budget documents and a variety of papers, brochures and reports from the initiative's home page.
A longtime leader in computer and electronics research, IBM is committed to furthering nanotechnology research. The goal of the company's work is to develop new atomic and molecular-scale structures and devices to enhance information technologies. The IBM home page offers links highlighting a number of projects such as bionanotechnology, materials characterization and tools, nanoelectronics, nanomaterials and self-assembly, nanomechanics, and quantum coherent systems. Two examples of the firm's research are self-organizing nanocrystals that can be formed into thin-films and organic thin-film transistors that can be used in applications such as electronic paper, print circuitry and displays.
This academic institution is heavily involved in nanotechnology research and hosts the National Science Foundation's Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center on its campus. The Institute is especially active with carbon nanotubes-tiny tubelike structures that possess unique physical, thermal and electrical properties. Visitors can learn about integrating nanotubes into electronics, incorporating nanotubes into composite materials for enhanced strength and forming nanotubes into tiny springs, rods and beams for nanomachines.
Visit the site at
Nanostructures have a range of applications in electronics and materials research, but before they can be mass-produced, the processes to grow them consistently and accurately must be understood. A part of the Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Materials Science, this research group focuses its work on the physical and chemical processes in nanomaterials growth, the unique properties of nanosystems, new measurement techniques and new applications for nanoscale objects. The group's home page features its research on a range of nanostructures such as nanogenerators, nanobows, nanopropellor arrays, nanowire bundles, nanosaws and nanorods. Information about these projects can be downloaded from the site.
Scientists need tools to study, measure and manipulate nanoscale objects. NSRG, a collection of research groups associated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is poised to develop these tools. The NSRG's work explores three areas: nanoscale sciences, biomedical research and tools research. Information is available on a number of the group's projects, such as work on carbon nanotube paddle oscillators-extremely small actuators for optical switching and sensing technologies. The group's biomedical work seeks to develop tiny tools capable of studying and manipulating individual viruses and bacteria. Researchers are also studying biomotors for use in nanostructures.
The United Nations is running an Asia-Pacific technology transfer program that puts necessary capabilities in the hands of developing countries while improving international relations in the region. Efforts assist large and small states to harness the potential of technology to create a better future for their citizens.
The U.S. Army is preparing—for the first time—to develop and field micro robotic systems under programs of record, indicating confidence that the technology has matured and years of research are paying off. The small systems will provide individual soldiers and squads with critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data in jungles, buildings and caves that larger systems can’t reach. Ideally, they will become valued combat team members.
Scientists and engineers from MITRE Corporation and Harvard University published a paper this week revealing the development of what they call the most dense nanoelectronic system ever built. The ultra-small, ultra-low-power processor could be used for tiny robotics, unmanned vehicles and a broad range of commercial applications, including medical sensors.
A prototype nanotechnology-based sensor offers the possibility for ubiquitous, networked, real-time chemical agent detection and tracking. By using easily produced super-small components, the devices potentially can be installed in a variety of devices, such as smartphones, robots or commercial appliances.
A new printing technology could move the production of nano-sized electronic components from multibillion-dollar facilities into the hands of users, including military users in the field. The device, which is about the size of a desktop printer, will allow rapid prototyping of nanomaterials, contribute to stem cell and other medical research, offer a range of commercial uses and save potentially billions of dollars. Furthermore, because the product builds upon already widely available technology, it could be fielded within two years, researchers say.
Physical movement stored as memory in a microchip could lead to advances in touch screens, robot control devices and medical implants. Researchers are arraying nanowires on a microchip to form a write-read memory cell as part of ongoing work that could convert motions, such as a hand in a glove or pressing a display, into memory. Moving or putting pressure on the nanowires creates an electrical current that can be read and recorded as memory. Arrays of such cells offer the potential for a variety of user interface applications and for new ways to convert mechanical or biological actions into electronic data.
Nanotechnology is the new cyber, according to several major leaders in the field. Just as cyber is entrenched across global society now, nano is poised to be the major capabilities enabler of the next decades. Expert members from the National Nanotechnology Initiative representing government and science disciplines say nano has great significance for the military and the general public.
Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory intend to launch two additional pathfinder nanosatellites later this year. The goal is to develop a constellation of inexpensive satellites to avoid collisions in space.
U.S. Army researchers have developed micro materials that fold when hit with a low-intensity laser. The advance may eliminate the need for relatively bulky power systems—such as battery packs—on tiny robotic systems. It also could enable robotic microthrusters, unattended ground sensors, or even—theoretically—programmable, easily changeable camouflage patterns.
The microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are shaped like stars with four, six or eight legs. The legs fold—like origami—when heated slightly with light from a low-level laser. That folding action is accomplished without the materials being tethered to batteries, wires or other any other power supply.
Academic, research and industry teams join forces to improve uniform materials.
New fabrics now under development will one day relieve troops from the burden of wearing additional garments to protect from chemical and biological attack. The effort, dubbed Second Skin, is being led by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Chemical and Biological Technologies Department. The goal is to weave a new generation of multifunctional materials that can be manufactured into everyday military uniforms but use molecular-level technologies to protect against such attacks as soon as the wearer enters a contaminated area. The program is budgeted for $30 million over the next five years.
West 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 2
Quote of the Day: “How can you help me make the least-dumb decisions quicker?”—Terry Halvorsen, chief information officer (CIO) for the Department of the Navy, requesting cyber security solutions from industry
Nanotechnology could lead to next arms race; experts debate how to prepare.
Art and science combine to create a representation of a desktop-scale molecular manufacturing appliance. As envisioned, tiny machines would join molecules then larger and larger parts in a convergent assembly process that makes products such as computers with a billion processors.
Longtime telecommunications scientists join forces with academia to push the state of the art.
This microscopic mirror lies at the heart of many nanotechnology-driven devices. These mirrors can tilt in various directions to steer light to act as optical switches for information in the form of photons.
Photo-activated porphyrin nanotubes offer potential energy, manufacturing solutions.
The porphyrin nanotubes developed by Sandia National Laboratory researchers John Shelnutt (l) and Zhongchun Wang use light to assemble themselves. These structures have a variety of potential applications in electronics, fuel cells and optics.