Nanotechnology – the science of manipulating the very, very tiny – could revolutionize medicine. Nanomagnets could fry tumors, for example, and an army of nanosensors within the body could detect the onset of life-threatening infections and diseases. Some of these ideas are already in clinical trials. But how far are they from becoming reality? What are the potential side effects? And what will nanotechnology mean for personalized medicine? :: Read the full article »»»»
An Australian team of physicists have created the world’s first – and smallest – functioning single-atom transistor, which could prove a critical building block toward the development of super-fast computers. In what can only be described as nanotechnology at it’s purest – the ability to control matter at the atomic scale, build devices with atomic precision, is the central definition of nanotechnology. Though several groups have attempted this amazing feat before, never has it been accomplished with such puristic accuracy. As if nonotechnology wasn’t already übercool: The transistor itself is composed of a single phosphorous-31 isotope, which has been precisely placed on a base of silicon using a Scanning Tunneling Microscope in an ultra-high vacuum chamber. What’s particularly amazing about their technique is that they were able to position the individual phosphorous atoms precisely.
The Australian teams tiny electronic device – described in a paper published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology - uses as its active component an individual phosphorus atom patterned between atomic-scale electrodes and electrostatic control gates. The Nanotechnology paper elegantly describes a brilliant process: Researchers fabricated a single-atom transistor in which a single phosphorus atom is positioned between highly doped source and drain leads with a lateral spatial accuracy of ±1 atomic lattice spacing. researchers demonstrate that they were able to register source, drain and gate contacts to the individual donor atom and observe well-controlled transitions for 0, 1 and 2 electron states, in agreement with atomistic modelling of the device. What was also amazing said Dr Fuechsle was that the electronic characteristics exactly matched theoretical predictions undertaken with Professor Gerhard Klimeck’s group - using NEMO-3D, a Nanoelectronic Modeling tool - at Purdue University in the US and Professor Hollenberg’s group at the University of Melbourne. Read the full article »»»»
Since the emergence of nanotechnology, researchers, regulators and the public have been concerned at the potential toxicity of nano-sized products, the U.S. government has an admirably large funding program for the technology, especially in it’s medical application. And though their haven’t been any large scale commercial breakthroughs, nanomedicine battles on to refine the application of molecular nanotechnology.
Much hope is placed in the forward looking researchers who are as we write, furthering their research into the delivery of drugs via nanoscale particles, macromolecules, biopharmaceuticals, flesh welding surgery utilizing gold coated nanoshells, or the visionary field of neuro-electronic interfaces. The uses of nanoparticles in medicine is seemingly endless, except of course for that handicap all foreign objects face when entering the human body; our immune system and it’s antibodies, Nanomedicine it would seem is the way of the future. At any moment a breakthrough is likely to hit the journals, ‘Nanoparticle Targeting Kills Cancer’ until that day though nonomedicine is largely restricted to diagnostic practice. Read the full article »»»»