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sexta-feira, 30 de março de 2012

NASA Puts Nanotechnology Swarm Patents Up for Auction

Technicians at the Goddard Space Flight Center earlier this month.
A dozen Goddard patents are going up for auction Thursday. 
Photo: NASA
Psst. If you’re thinking of getting into the intelligent smoke-detector business or building a swarm of nano-bots, NASA has a few patents for you.
In fact, you might even get them at a bargain price. They’re up for auction Thursday in Los Angeles, at an event run by the patent-selling company ICAP Patent Brokerage. NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is listing them as part of a pilot program that has been running for the past four years, trying to make its space-aged technology available to the public.
Who wouldn’t want a crack at the NASA patent, “Swarm Autonomic Agents with Self-Destruct Capability?”
That’s included in one of the three patent lots that will be auctioned Tuesday. Two of the lots cover autonomic computing, including techniques that help large numbers of tiny devices — NASA calls them “autonomous nanotechnology swarms” — figure out whether or not they’re working properly, share information and even self destruct for “self protection of the entire system,” according to NASA.
Another of the autonomic patents describes a way of reporting a broken smoke detector, a technique that appears to be much more carefully thought-out than the industry-standard 2 a.m. beeping noise.
“These are interesting: they are generally about the way these independent networked devices interact with one another,” says Brian Way, Director of Intellectual Property Law at chip-maker Altera.
All told, there are 12 NASA patents up for auction in the three lots. The third group of patents is less sexy, covering software development techniques. All of the patents were developed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Unlike others at the ICAP auction, NASA isn’t selling its patents outright. Instead, it’s offering exclusive licenses. Three years ago, a company called DynaDX bought licenses to 10 NASA patents covering a complicated set of algorithms for analyzing signals. It’s now using them to build brain-pressure-measuring devices that can help diagnose whether someone has had a stroke and monitor treatment in dementia patients.
The patent auctions are an experiment in making NASA’s work useful to a wider audience, says Daniel Lockney, a Technology Transfer Program Executive with NASA. “We’re not making a lot off of this. It’s one of the agency’s goals to transfer as much of this technology to the public as possible.”
Lockney couldn’t say how much the patents are expected to fetch if they sell Thursday.
NASA researchers have filed more than 6,000 patents over the years. Most of them have expired by now, but the agency still has about 1,250 it can license out, he says.
And starting this summer, it will be looking for new ways to do this, beyond the ICAP auction. Lockney says that NASA will put out a request for proposals, asking for some new patent ideas. “We’re asking for no-cost-to-the-government contracts for IP brokerage services and then the brokers who would come in would determine a way to monetize their contribution,” he says.

Iranian Scientists Produce New Non-Toxic Pigment for Textile, Ceramic Industries

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian researchers succeeded in the production of hematite nano-capsule as a non-toxic red pigment to be used in textile and ceramic industries.

In association with the Institute for Color Science and Technology, Iranian researchers at Tarbiat Modarres University managed to produce hematite nano-capsule as a non-toxic red pigment to be used in textile and ceramic industries.
"Cadmium sulphoselenide-zirconium inclusion red pigments were produced as the commercial red color due to the extreme need of textile industries. However, cadmium sulphoselenide is very toxic and harmful. Results of international studies show that hematite is the best option. Therefore, our goal in this research was to synthesize hematite nano-capsule as a non-toxic ceramic pigment," Maryam Hosseini Zari, a member of the Scientific Board of Institute for Color Science and Technology, told the INIC.

Nano-capsule or inclusion red pigments are new generation of pigments. These pigments, also known as non-similar or occluded pigments, are formed by placing the known and unstable pigments in a bed of stable phases.

Dr. Hosseini explained how the nano-capsules were synthesized, and said, "We used co-precipitation synthesis method and also available industrial raw materials. We firstly determined the formulation and the weight, produced solutions containing the desirable ions with appropriate concentrations, and finally, we produced the precipitator solution. Next, the solution containing iron ion reacted with the precipitator solution within the solution containing silisium ion under the controlled temperature and other operational parameters. Mineralisers and additives play key role in the production of the product."

The complementary research was carried out in Modena University, Italy. The industrial test took place in INCO, one of the famous and credible companies in the field of ceramic paints.

Fonte: FARS

Vietnam, India ink multiple cooperation deals

Vietnam and India signed nine memoranda of understanding on cooperation in the application of biotechnology in agriculture, nanotechnology and ICT research and India studies and Vietnam studies during a visit by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan from March 26-30.

The visit is the first by a high-level Vietnamese leader in the Vietnam-India Friendship Year 2012 commemorating the 40 th anniversary of diplomatic ties and five years of establishment of strategic partnership between the two nations. 

During the visit, Deputy PM Nhan had discussions with leaders of Indian ministries, universities and institutes, including Minister of Human Resources Development, and Communication and Information Technology Kapil Sibal, Minister of Science and Technology Vilasrao Deshmukh and Minister of Defence Aracjaparambil Kurien Antony. 

He also visited the Jawarharlal Nehru University , the University of Delhi and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing in New Delhi , and the Indian Institute of Management, the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Infosys Group in Bangalore . 

He attended the Conference on Information Technology in New Delhi and met with leaders of the Indo-Vietnam Solidarity Association. 

At the meetings, the two sides expressed satisfaction at the positive developments in the bilateral ties in recent years and agreed to strengthen and further enhance the traditional friendship and strategic partnership, particularly in the fields of education-training and science-technology. 

Deputy PM Nhan affirmed Vietnam ’s support for India 's "Look East" Policy and its bid to be a permanent member of the reformed UN Security Council. 

In politics, the two sides agreed to further strengthen exchanges and contacts at all levels, intensify the existing cooperation mechanisms between the two countries to better implement activities in the Vietnam - India Friendship Year 2012. 

Both sides agreed to establish a joint working group in the field of education and training. India pledged to help Vietnam train researchers, university instructors and officials with doctoral degrees in areas where India has strengths.

They also agreed to set up a Bangalore excellent training and research centre for information and communication technology (ICT) in Vietnam . 

Regarding science and technology, both sides pledged to promote the implementation of the four joint research projects in the fields of biotechnology, information and telecommunication technology, nanotechnology and oceanography.

Fonte: VietnamNetd

Ministro Raupp assina acordos com o governo indiano nesta sexta-feira

Clique para ver todas as fotos de Ministro Raupp assina acordos com o governo indiano nesta sexta-feira

O ministro da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação, Marco Antonio Raupp, assina nesta sexta-feira (30), em Nova Delhi, três acordos de cooperação com a Índia. 

Será firmada uma parceria envolvendo o Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação (MCTI), o Ministério da Educação (MEC) e o governo indiano sobre o Programa Ciência sem Fronteiras, para o envio de alunos e pesquisadores brasileiros para universidades e centros avançados de pesquisa da Índia. 

O segundo acordo se refere a um programa de colaboração entre o MCTI e o governo daquele país para o desenvolvimento de projetos de pesquisa conjuntos em várias áreas, como biotecnologia; ciência da computação; ciências da terra, incluindo estudos dos oceanos e mudanças climáticas; nanotecnologia; saúde e ciências biomédicas; matemática; ciências naturais; e tecnologias voltadas para energia renovável, eficiência enérgica e de baixa produção de carbono. 

O terceiro será um acordo de colaboração na área de biotecnologia, nas especialidades de biomedicina e saúde, especialmente voltado para produtos de base biotecnológica. 


Nesta quinta-feira, o ministro, que integra a comitiva da presidenta Dilma Rousseff na viagem à Índia, reúne-se com o ministro indiano de Planejamento, Ciência e Tecnologia, Ashwani Kumar, para ampliar a colaboração científica entre os dois países. Ficou acertado que, ainda neste ano, serão elaborados editais conjuntos para financiar projetos nas áreas. 

No lado brasileiro, os editais deverão ser implementados pelo Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq/MCTI). Serão projetos com prazo de dois anos, tendo possibilidade de extensão por mais um ano. Os valores totais de financiamento ainda não foram definidos. 

Na área de produção científica, a Índia se destaca em fármacos, química, engenharia química e ciência dos materiais. Há um grande interesse daquele país pelas pesquisas brasileiras nas áreas de energia, biodiversidade, agricultura. A tecnologia da informação é uma área em que ambos os países têm interesse conjunto. 


A parceria entre Brasil e Índia na área de ciência e tecnologia foi iniciada na década de 80. Em 2001, foi estabelecido o Programa de Cooperação Científica e Tecnológica entre os dois países, e, um ano depois, o conselho científico. Além disso, o processo de aproximação política Brasil-Índia, empreendido a partir dos anos 90, influenciou positivamente as atividades de cooperação científica, sobretudo após a criação do Ibas (Índia, Brasil, África Sul), em 2003, e do G-4 (Brasil, Índia, Alemanha e Japão), em 2004. 

Cimento com nanotecnologia

A iniciativa Baskrete (Iniciativa País Basco para Pesquisa em Cimento e Concreto), cujo objetivo é promover a implementação das nanotecnologias na indústria de cimento e concreto, organizou um seminário especial (13 e 14 de março de 2012), em San Sebastien (Espanha), onde as maiores empresas mundiais do setor, tais como Cemex, Lafarge, Italcementi e Grupo Bozzeto estiveram presentes.

O evento contou com a participação de empresas espanholas e internacionais da indústria de cimento e empresas de setores que consomem o produto, inclusive petrolíferas.

A Baskrete, uma iniciativa que surge do Programa Estratégico de Pesquisa Etortek, do Departamento do Governo Basco da Indústria e da Inovação, do Comércio e Turismo, é um projeto de colaboração desenvolvido pela Universidade do País Basco (UPV/EHU), o Centro Internacional de Física Donostia, o Centro de Física de Materiais (CFM) e Tecnalia Pesquisa & Inovação, dentro do Campus de Excelência Internacional Euskampus.

O objetivo da Baskrete é fazer do País Basco um ponto central de pesquisa e de negócios internacionais da indústria do cimento e concreto, uma vez que a estrutura científica basca já é uma referência internacional, no que diz respeito a esses tipos de materiais.

Essa iniciativa se propõe a coordenar a pesquisa de nanociências e nanotecnologias desenvolvidas no País Basco com relação ao cimento e transferir o conhecimento tecnológico para empresas do setor.

Atualmente, a pesquisa na indústria do cimento foca uma produção com menos emissões de 
CO2 na atmosfera, assim como a obtenção de materiais mais duráveis, com propriedades incrementadas.

Baskrete. (tradução-MIA)

Saiba mais:
Quer aumentar o tempo de vida do cimento? Use nanotecnolgia
Concreto de alta qualidade, mesmo com cimento "nem tanto"
Nanotubos de carbono promentem concreto mais durável e barato

ABDI - NanoEmFoco

Filtros Swach TATA com nanoprata: água potável barata

O Grupo TATA da Índia vendeu mais de meio milhão de filtros de água. Denominado Swach TATA, os filtros usam nanoprata para manter o mecanismo de filtragem livre de bactérias. O Swach é destinado àquelas comunidades que não contam com água potável, segundo funcionários da empresa

O bulbo Swach é o coponente principal.
A purificação se dá quando a água flui através do bulto, o qual consiste de carvão feito da quiema de palha de arroz, contendo nanopartículas de prata, que pode remover micróbios, incluindo o da célera, E.Coli rotavírus.

O bulbo pode purificar até 3 mil litros de água, deixando de funcionar quando não mais for eficaz. Essa é a indicação de que o bulbo deve ser substituído, diferentemente de outros filtros que não podem mais processar a água, a menos que estejam funcionando corretamente. O filtro também pode indicar a aproximação do fim de sua vida útil, permitindo, assim, que o usuário tenha tempo de sobra para comprar outro bulbo.

O bulto tem também um indicador antifalsificação. Isso garante aos consumidores estarem usando o bulbo verdadeiro, não uma falsificação que não pode produzir água potável.

O custo do sistema de filtragem é de US$20. Os bulbos de reposição custam US$7.

Trade-IndiaMart (tradução-MIA)

Saiba mais:

Nanotecnologia versus água insalubre, resultado : água potável ! 
Nanopartículas para uma água pura.    

ABDI - NanoEmFoco

Industriais franceses têm que declarar a utilização de nanopartículas

As nanotecnologias ressurgiram no debate na França. Dois textos, bastantes aguardados, acabam de ser publicados sobre esse setor científico e econômico, que repousa sobre objetos medindo na ordem do bilionésimo do metro.

Os produtos deles derivados, mais de mil, hoje, se encontram na alimentação, vestuário, saúde   eletrônica.

O primeiro desses textos é um decreto que, em conformidade com os compromissos da Lei do Meio Ambiente da França, denominada Grenelle de l'Environnement, estabelece as condições de declaração obrigatória, pelos fabricantes, de substâncias nanoparticuladas, a fim de assegurar o inventário, hoje pouco conhecido, e o rastreamento.

O segundo é a resposta dos sete ministros envolvidos no debate público sobre as nanotecnologias, realizado de outubro de 2009 a fevereiro de 2010.

A partir de 1° de janeiro de 2013, todo produtor, distribuidor ou importador de mais de 100 gramas de produtos "nano" deverá fazer a declaração ao Ministério da Ecologia, sob pena de sanção financeira.

A Agência Nacional de Segurança Sanitária da Alimentação, do Ambiente e do Trabalho (ANSES) está encarregada da gestão desses dados, que serão públicos, salvo uma exceção no caso de "violação de segredo industrial e comercial".

A decisão francesa, a primeira na Europa, vai além da legislação europeia Reach sobre as substâncias químicas, que se aplica a volume de produção de pelo menos uma tonelada. Não serão todos os nanoprodutos afetados. 

Uma resolução a ser publicada precisa que a decisão valha para os produtos contendo pelo menos 50% de partículas, de tamanho compreendido entre 1 a 100 nanômetros.

Para Rose Frayssinet, da ONG Amigos da Terra, que reclama uma moratória para as nanotecnologias -, e esses critérios são "ilusórios e aberrantes". As nanopartículas, segundo ela, podem ser nocivas em tamanhos superiores a 100 nanômetros e em concentrações inferiores a 50% de produto acabado.
" A noção de solubilidade, contida em uma norma internacional, não é levada em conta, ainda que isso seja importante para se avaliar a biopersistência de um produto no ambiente", sublinha por sua vez Eric Gaffet, diretor de pesquisa no CNRS.

"Mas o principal obstáculo à realização desse regulamentação será a dificuldade de se medir precisamente as nanopartículas. A caracterização é muito difícil. À cada partícula, sua técnica. A metrologia está ainda em construção", diz o AFNOR, o Organismo Nacional Francês de Normalização.

Veja o restante aqui.

Noxious nanotech: Water-borne nanomaterials promote multidrug-resistance gene transfer

Noxious nanotech: Water-borne nanomaterials promote multidrug-resistance gene transfer
TEM detection of E. coli in ultrafine slices and elemental analysis. (A) In the control group, the cell membranes are distinct and the cytoplasm is compact. There were no highly dense particles in these cells. (B and C) The cell membranes of bacteria that were treated with different concentrations of bulk alumina (B, 5 mmol/L; C, 50 mmol/L) are distinguishable, and the cytoplasm is compact. There are no highly dense particles in these cells. (D and E) The cell membranes of bacteria that were treated with different concentrations of nanoalumina (D, 5 mmol/L; E, 50 mmol/L) were damaged, and the extent of damage increased with increasing concentration of nanoalumina. There were also many highly dense particles in the cells (indicated by arrows), and the number of highly dense particles increased with increasing concentration of nanoalumina. (Scale bars, 100 nm.) (F) The composition of chemical elements in the bacteria from D. Elemental aluminum (from nanoalumina) gave the highest counts; elemental copper originated from the copper net, whereas lead, arsenic, and other elements came from dye liquid or bacteria. Image Copyright © PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1107254109

( -- The arms race between effective antibiotic prophylaxis and closely related strains or species of bacteria is continually escalating. Bacteria can quickly develop genetic resistance to a range of antibiotic treatments – genes that can spread though horizontal conjugative transfer due to antibiotics used in medicine and animal feed, as well as increasing presence in the environment (for example, water supplies and wastewater seepage). Moreover, this pattern can reach global levels in the emergence of so-called superbugs that can be extremely difficult to treat.

scientists at the Key Laboratory of Risk Assessment and Control for Environment and Food Safety, at the Institute of Health and Environmental Medicine in Tianjin, China investigated the role of nanomaterials in conjugative gene transfer between bacteria. In addition, they studied the mechanisms associated with related morphological, biochemical, and molecular biological changes. They found that nanoalumina (a form of aluminum) in water promotes such transfer of multidrug-resistant genes. They concluded that their findings are important in assessing the environment risk of nanomaterials in the manufacture and deployment.

Jun-Wen Li, Zhigang Qiu, and other researchers told
 PhysOrg that the main challenges in determining the role of nanoalumina in promoting the transfer of multidrug-resistance genes had to do with the construction of their multidrug-resistance genes transfer model – specifically, determining how to exclude the effects of all variables except for the nanostructure of the materials and how to evaluate the main aspects of conjugative transfer. “We designed an orthogonal experimental design to evaluate the main factors on the conjugative transfer, and this protocol reduced the number of experiments we needed to perform.” says Qiu. Orthogonal design allows the reliable evaluation of multiple variables in a single experiment.

“We constructed the resistance genes transfer model using resistance plasmid with conjugative transfer functions,” he continues, “and acquired many receptors which contained specific antibiotic resistance by mutation induction.” In order to exclude the effects of other factors except the nanostructure of the materials, they set a number of control experiments.
Further innovations are possible, Li adds. “It’s possible to quantitatively analyze the transconjugant occurrence in regards to time using kinetics, including mass-action forms. This would provide simultaneous treatment of these processes in a more rigorous data interpretation. Moreover, notes Qiu, there are two aspects in our team's next research step. “Firstly, we’ll investigate the effect of more nanomaterials, including different kinds, crystal types and sizes, on the conjugative transfer of resistance gene to improve the data on the impact of nanomaterials on gene transfer. Secondly,” he continues, “we’ll carry out the experiments to evaluate the effects of nanomaterials on the naked plasmid transfer into living cells by transmission and transduction.” (Transmission and transduction are the other two pathways for plasmid-mediated .) Finally, they agree that it’s possible to transition to in silico modeling.
As to how their findings might impact the development of medical, healthcare and environmental technology and practices, Li and Qiu point out that “Despite the fact that nanotechnology is often described as a future technology, few realize that nanomaterials are actually already being used in a wide variety of consumer products – and many new nanotechnologies and nanomaterials are being investigated to be applied to medicine, healthcare and the environment. Many people have concerned about the exposure of nanomaterials, and our work is only a small part in all the work to evaluate the effect of nanoparticles.” However, they emphasize that their findings are directly related to medical, healthcare and environmental factors.
For example,” they illustrate, “many new materials were investigated to be used as drug carriers. We must evaluate the effects of these nanomaterials on the antibiotic-resistant  in our body before the practical application of these nanomaterials. 
Also,” they continue, “the nanomaterials used as antiseptic or antibacterial agents in healthcare, and as adsorbents and oxidants in environmental technology and practices, must be evaluated completely. We believe that our findings dramatically improve the development of medical, healthcare and environmental technology and practices, and make nanomaterial applications more secure.”
Further afield, Qiu and Li conclude that important technologies and applications to transfer exogenous genes into cells, which have been widely used in the field of molecular biology – such as conjugative transfer, transmission, transduction and transfection – might benefit from their findings. “Nanomaterials might promote those processes and enhance transfer efficiency of exogenous genes.”
More information: Nanoalumina promotes the horizontal transfer of multiresistance genes mediated by plasmids across generaPNASPublished online before print March 12, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1107254109

Fonte: PhysOrg

Nano-arithmetic - illustrating the gigantic surface of nanoparticles

Nanomaterial provides a large number of surface atomsfor the interaction with its environment. This is the basis of most nano-effects. Materials that are normally almost inactive increase their active surface by a factor of millions when used on the nano-scale.
The following estimation gives an impression of nanomaterial surface areas at the example of silver which is used in medical applications due to its antibacterial activity. American Silver EagleThe American Silver Eagle, a silver bullion coin, has a surface area of 3,300 mm² (based on a diameter of 40.6 mm and a ridged edge of 3 mm). Our first consideration refers to a silver “nano-coating” that is sometimes sputtered onto components to make these anti-infective. When we use the material of one coin to generate a homogeneous 10 nm thin silver layer, this would be enough to coat an area of 770 square meters - which is almost three tennis courts (8,424 square feet).
Our second consideration refers to silver nanoparticles. If the material of one silver bullion coin was fragmented into spherical particles that are 10 nm in diameter, this would correspond to 5.66 billion billions of nanoparticles (5.66E18). The total surface area (the surface that can interact with the environment) would now measure more than 7,100 square meters (75,000 square feet). This is exactly the size of a soccer field of 7,140 m² (which is even larger than an American Football field of 5,350 m²).
In practice, this means that antibacterial applications require far less than the silver amount of one coin. Very small amounts of nanoparticles with a large surface activity are dispersed into fluids, applied to surfaces, or embedded into solid material. By embedding few micrograms of silver nanoparticles into a polymer, the slow emission of silver ions from the particle surfaces is enough to provide a material with antibacterial properties for months or even years.
The same principles apply to the surface activity of other types of nanomaterial: For example, small nanoparticles from platinum, palladium, or ruthenium can unfold hugecatalytic activity to flows of chemicals. Even the simple physical adjustment of viscosities of pastes and lotions is often realized by an addition of nanomaterial (nano-scaled powders like “Aerosil”) and is based on their strong surface interaction.

Plant-based technology helps biofuels, fights cancer

By Robert H. Wells,
University of Florida

For the first time, University of Florida researchers have developed plant-based technology that could reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and may also help treat cancer.
Known as lignin nanotubes, these cylindrical containers are smaller than viruses and tiny enough to travel through the body, carrying cancer patients' medicine. They can be created in biorefineries from lignin, a plant substance that is a byproduct of bioethanol production.
Bioethanol is a renewable alternative to fossil fuel created by fermenting sugar—such as that from sugarcane and sweet sorghum juices, stalks, and stems.
"We're looking at biomedical applications whereby these nanotubes are injected in the body," said Wilfred Vermerris, an associate professor in UF's agronomy department and Genetics Institute who was part of the team that developed the nanotubes. The team's work is described inNanotechnology.
Carbon-based nanotubes, which are the kind used today, cost around $500 a gram, and nanotechnology drug delivery has been projected to be a $220 billion market by 2015.
Nanotubes offer an advantage over radiation or traditional chemotherapy because they have a protective shell that keeps the drugs they contain from affecting healthy parts of the body, such as hair or intestinal lining, said Vermerris, a member of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
As with current carbon nanotubes, cancer-fighting drugs can be enclosed in the plant-based nanotubes and sent to target specific tumors, he said.
But, the researcher said, unlike currently used carbon nanotubes, lignin nanotubes are flexible and lack sharp edges. That means they’re expected to have fewer, if any, of the toxicity issues associated with current varieties.
"It is also much easier to chemically modify the lignin nanotubes so that they can locate their intended targets like homing devices," he said.
Vermerris envisions nanotubes as a way to reduce the cost of biofuel production.
"By selling the nanotubes for biomedical applications, an additional revenue stream is generated for the biorefinery that can offset some of the processing costs," he said. "That essentially reduces the price of the fuels and makes them more competitive with petroleum-based fuel."
Luisa Amelia Dempere, an associate engineer and director of the Major Analytical Instrumentation Center in UF's College of Engineering, guided the analysis and characterization of the lignin nanotubes as part of the research team.
She called the development of the lignin nanotubes "quite significant" and noted their ability to break down in the environment as another advantage over current nanotubes.
"They are taking something from the waste stream, like lignin is for a lot of industries, and making it into something that can be useful and then can degrade back into the environment," Dempere said. "This is probably a material that can be called green and sustainable because it comes from nature and goes back to nature."
UF has applied for a patent on the technology.
Vermerris said his research is now testing the technology in living cells in the lab as a first step toward tests in humans in the near future.
Fonte: R&D

Plano estratégico para avaliação dos riscos ligados às nanotecnologias

Nas últimas décadas, as nanotecnologias não cessam de se desenvolver e de mobilizar pesquisadores e engenheiros, em áreas e disciplinas científicas bastantes variadas. De fato, a possibilidade de controlar e manipular a matéria, na escala nanométrica, abre novas perespectivas revolucionárias em diversos setores. As áreas da saúde, da energia e da eletrônica contam, assim, entre aquelas que deverão ser as mais tocadas por essas novas tecnologias.

Não obstante, as nanotecnologias estão também no coração de debates da sociedade: os problemas e riscos potenciais, engendrados por sua utilização, do ponto de vista da saúde, da segurança e do ambiente, de fato até o presente, desconhecidos e suscitam inquietudes. Ora, numeroasos produtos já estão no mercado nos países industrializados: estão presentes em vários medicamentos, produtos cosméticos e pomadas, têxteis, células solares ou ainda em aditivos alimentares. Além disso, a expansão das nanotecnologias nos próximos anos se revela consequente, com o desenvolvimento de novas tecnologias com novas possibilidades. 

Em 2009, as indústrias conseguiram mais de US$ 1 bilhão com a venda de nanomateriais. Esse número deverá alcançar os US$ 3 trilhões, daqui a 2015.

A exposição aos nanomateriais no ambiente industrial e pelos consumidores vai, portanto, continuar aumentando. Logo, é urgente superar as lacunas da pesquisa sobre a compreensão global das propriedades dos nanomateriais, a fim de se avaliar os riscos para a sociedade como um todo.

Veja o restante aqui.

Fonte: ABDI - NanoEmFoco

New PVC material coming up

The composite materials are developed through the synthesis and treatment of nanoclays that are inserted into matrix of the polymer. 

Aitziber Lasa
Elhuyar Foundation
Zelai Haundi 3, Osinalde Industrialdea 
20170 Usurbil 
Tel: +34 943 363040 
Fax: +34 943 363144

Researchers at the Public University of Navarre (UPNA) are working on a project to design and manufacture composite PVC materials based on nanofillings and intended for multi-sectoral applications. The ultimate aim of the Vinilclay project is to control and optimize the properties of the plastic material; specifically, its photostability, thermal resistance and gas permeation. 

The company Compuestos y Granzas, S. A. (CYGSA), which is acting as the co-ordinator, and the L’Urederra R+D Centre are also involved in the project. The researchers from the Public University of Navarre are Antonio Gil-Bravo and Sophia A. Korili, lecturers from the Department of Applied Chemistry, and Saioa Albeniz, the project assistant. They all belong to the Environmental Technologies and Applications Research Group. 

The nanofilled polymer composite materials are developed through the synthesis and treatment of nanoclays inserted into the matrix of the polymer. According to Antonio Gil, “the main aim is to improve their photostability properties: ultraviolet rays, responsible for the accelerated degradation of the polymers, cause discolouration and loss of performance of the materials, thus shortening their useful life. Inserting molecules capable of absorbing light radiation increases the composite’s resistance to UV radiation.” 

The molecules tend to be of an ionic type and can be inserted using various methods, such as ion-exchange. Depending on the chosen option, the photoresistance properties and the range of absorption in the UV-visible region may be altered, which means that each method can be adapted to the two main groups of material synthesis applications: opaque plastic nanocomposites, and coloured products. In the latter group, the desired colour in the final product will determine the type of colouring molecule used. 

Enhancement of refractory properties 

The second objective is to enhance the refractory properties relating to the capacity of the nanofillers to act simultaneously as mechanical and flame-retardant reinforcements. “The flame retardants used are currently based on aluminium or magnesium hydroxides or on flame-retardant plasticisers and high loading percentages need to be used, which leads to a deterioration in the mechanical properties of the final composite,” says Prof. Gil. 

The new nanofillers being developed can increase the thermal stability of the material, reduce smoke emission in the case of combustion, and halt the deterioration of mechanical properties caused by other fire retardants. “Thanks to the synergy effect between the nanofilling and the flame retardant material, it is even possible to reduce the proportion of the conventional flame retardant materials used in the standard formulations.” 

Finally, the improvement in the permeation properties of the materials can pave the way, thanks to the addition of the nanofillers, for the development of new formulations with barrier properties against gases and volatile organic molecules with low molecular weight. This way, an attempt will be made to reduce the diffusion of gases through the modified polymers. 

The Vinilclay project is receiving funding from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation within the framework of the INNPACTO programme, and is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER); it is scheduled to continue until the end of this year. 

Fonte: Cordis Wire

Discovery provides a boost to nanotechnology

Stanford Plasmons
Artist Kate Nichols creates structurally colored artwork using Surface
Plasmon Resonances, the same phenomenon described by Scholl and Dionne.
Image: Donald Felton/Almac Carmera

Stanford University scientists have shown that a phenomenon known as plasmon resonance occurs at very small scales, offering a new understanding of quantum physics that could lead to improved solar catalysis and targeted cancer treatments.
The new discovery by Stanford engineers was reported in Nature.
When light hits a metal, electrons on the surface collectively oscillate in waves, called plasmons, that travel out like ripples on a pond. The new research shows that plasmons exist in smaller particles than had been shown before. The research reveals the presence and clear quantum-influenced nature of plasmons in individual metal particles as small as 1 nm in diameter, about 100 atoms in total.
"Particles of this size are valuable in engineering. They are more sensitive and more reactive than bulk materials and could prove very useful in nanotechnology," said Jennifer Dionne, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford and the study's senior author.
Plasmons are an area of intense research focus and a key driver of engineering at the nanoscale. However, as metals become smaller, obtaining experimental data about the nature of plasmons becomes extremely challenging. For over five decades, scientists have debated the nature of plasmons at these smallest of scales.
"Until now, however, we hadn't been able to take full advantage of the optical and electronic properties of these tiny particles because we didn't have a complete picture of the science," said Jonathan Scholl, a doctoral candidate in Dionne's laboratory and first author of the paper. "This paper provides the foundation for nanoengineering a new class of metal particles made up of between 100 and 10,000 atoms."
Plasmon resonances in relatively small metal particles are not new. They are visible in the vibrant hues of the great stained-glass windows of the world. More recently, engineers have used them to develop new, light-activated cancer treatments and to enhance light absorption in photovoltaics and photocatalysis.
Stained-glass windows
"The windows of Notre Dame Cathedral and Stanford Chapel derive their color from metal nanoparticles embedded in the glass. When the windows are illuminated, the nanoparticles scatter specific colors of light. The color depends on the size and geometry of the metal particles," said Dionne.
"While scientists have found a number of applications for larger nanoparticles, quantum-sized metal particles have remained largely under-utilized," said Scholl.
Science has a solid understanding of plasmons in larger metal particles based mostly on classical physics. Below a threshold of about 10 nm in diameter, however, at what is described as the quantum scale, the classical physics breaks down and quantum mechanics takes over.
At this scale, the particles begin to demonstrate unique physical and chemical properties that larger counterparts of the very same materials do not. Additional and important physical properties can occur when plasmons are constrained in extremely small spaces, at the scale of the nanoparticles Dionne and Scholl studied.
A nanoparticle of silver measuring just a few atoms across, for instance, will respond to photons and electrons in ways profoundly different from a larger particle or slab of silver. By clearly illustrating the details of this classical-to-quantum transition, Scholl and Dionne have pushed the study of plasmons, a field known as plasmonics, into a new realm.
"Our study allows researchers, for the first time, to directly correlate a quantum-sized particle's geometry—its shape and size—with its plasmon resonances," said Dionne.
Interesting applications
Exploring the size-dependent nature of plasmons at the extreme nanoscale could open up some interesting applications.
"We might discover novel electronic or photonic devices based on excitation and detection of plasmons. Or, there could be opportunities in quantum optics, bioimaging, and therapeutics," said Dionne.
Medical science, for instance, has devised a way to use nanoparticles excited by light to burn away cancer cells, a process known as photothermal ablation. Metal nanoparticles are affixed with molecular appendages that attach exclusively to cancerous cells in the body. When irradiated with infrared light, the plasmons in the metal begin to vibrate and the nanoparticles heat up, burning away the cancer while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue unaffected.
The metal particles used in these applications today, however, are relatively large. The use of smaller particles like those described in this research could prove more easily integrated into cells and might therefore improve the accuracy and the effectiveness of these technologies.
In a similar vein, the greater surface-area-to-volume ratios offered by atomic-scale nanoparticles could improve rates and efficiencies in catalytic processes like water-splitting and artificial photosynthesis, yielding clean and renewable sources of energy from artificial fuels.
Elegant and versatile
The researchers concluded by explaining the physics of their discovery through an elegant and versatile analytical model based on well-known quantum mechanical principles.
"Technically speaking, we've created a relatively simple, computationally light model that describes plasmonic systems where classical theories have failed," said Scholl.
The researchers' ability to observe plasmons in particles of such small size was abetted by the powerful, multimillion-dollar environmental scanning transmission electron microscope (E-STEM) installed recently at Stanford's Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, one of just a few such microscopes in the world.
E-STEM imaging was used in conjunction with electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS)—a research technique that measures the change of an electron's energy as it passes through a material—to determine the shape and behavior of individual nanoparticles. Combined, STEM and EELS allowed the team to address many of the ambiguities of previous investigations.
Fonte: R&D

Fingerprints tell all thanks to gold nanoparticles

It has long been well established that fingerprints can be used to identify people or help convict them of crimes. Things have gone a lot further now: fingerprints can be used to show that a suspect is a smoker, takes drugs, or has handled explosives, among other things

In the journalAngewandte Chemie ("Advances in Fingerprint Analysis"), Pompi Hazarika and David Russell describe the noteworthy progress that has recently been made.

When a finger touches a surface, sweat and oil-containing substances like sebum leave behind a print that is invisible to the naked eye. There are several ways to make it visible, like dusting with powder or spraying with reagents or "superglue". 

A new technique that improves sensitivity involves the deposition of gold nanoparticles attached to cage-like molecules filled with dyes or other luminescent makers that cause the fingerprint pattern to glow. Gold nanoparticles attached to antibodies against amino acids are better at revealing older, dried fingerprints.

If a person has taken drugs, traces are released in his or her sweat. A team working with Russell at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK) has recently developed a method by which magnetic particles are equipped with antibodies that bind specifically to certain drug or nicotine metabolites. In a second step, they apply a fluorescent antibody, which binds to the first antibody and indicates the presence of the corresponding drug by glowing under a fluorescence microscope. By using this method, the researchers were able to simultaneously detect several different narcotics in a single fingerprint.

Other innovative approaches use chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques to identify the components of sweat and their decomposition products in fingerprints. One exciting development is the use of desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (DESI). 

Charged droplets of solvent are sprayed onto the surface, forming a film that dissolves materials out of the fingerprint. Additional solvent droplets impact the film and release the dissolved analytes from the surface so that they can be analyzed by mass spectrometry. An image of the fingerprint is then computed. Traces of drugs and explosives can also be shown.

Another interesting technique is infrared spectroscopy, which has been used to separate overlapping fingerprints from two individuals by means of their different sebum contents to produce two separate images. It is also possible to detect traces of explosive. Raman spectroscopy can be used to identify pharmaceuticals like aspirin and paracetamol (acetaminophen), as well as caffeine and starch in fingerprints.

The goal is to develop a cost-effective, rapid, portable, miniature system that can detect fingerprints and the chemical components in them. This would not only be useful for criminologists, but also for doping tests and diagnostics.

Fonte: NanoWerk

The 'living' micro-robot that could detect diseases in humans

close up of Sea Lamprey mouth
A Sea Lamprey mouth, close up

A tiny prototype robot that functions like a living creature is being developed which one day could be safely used to pinpoint diseases within the human body.
Called ‘Cyberplasm’, it will combine advanced microelectronics with latest research in biomimicry (technology inspired by nature). The aim is for Cyberplasm to have an electronic nervous system, ‘eye’ and ‘nose’ sensors derived from mammalian cells, as well as artificial muscles that use glucose as an energy source to propel it.
The intention is to engineer and integrate robot components that respond to light and chemicals in the same way as biological systems. This is a completely innovative way of pushing robotics forward.
Cyberplasm is being developed over the next few years as part of an international collaboration funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the UK and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the USA. The UK-based work is taking place at Newcastle University. The project originated from a ‘sandpit’ (idea gathering session) on synthetic biology jointly funded by the two organisations.
Cyberplasm will be designed to mimic key functions of the sea lamprey, a creature found mainly in the Atlantic Ocean. It is believed this approach will enable the micro-robot to be extremely sensitive and responsive to the environment it is put into. Future uses could include the ability to swim unobtrusively through the human body to detect a whole range of diseases.
The sea lamprey has a very primitive nervous system, which is easier to mimic than more sophisticated nervous systems. This, together with the fact that it swims, made the sea lamprey the best candidate for the project team to base Cyberplasm on.
7 Sea Lampreys showing their mouths
Sea Lamprey mouths
Once it is developed the Cyberplasm prototype will be less than 1cm long. Future versions could potentially be less than 1mm long or even built on a nanoscale.
“Nothing matches a living creature’s natural ability to see and smell its environment and therefore to collect data on what’s going on around it,” says bioengineer Dr Daniel Frankel of Newcastle University, who is leading the UK-based work.
Cyberplasm’s sensors are being developed to respond to external stimuli by converting them into electronic impulses that are sent to an electronic ‘brain’ equipped with sophisticated microchips. This brain will then send electronic messages to artificial muscles telling them how to contract and relax, enabling the robot to navigate its way safely using an undulating motion.
Similarly, data on the chemical make-up of the robot’s surroundings can be collected and stored via these systems for later recovery by the robot’s operators.
Cyberplasm could also represent the first step on the road to important advances in, for example, advanced prosthetics where living muscle tissue might be engineered to contract and relax in response to stimulation from light waves or electronic signals.
“We’re currently developing and testing Cyberplasm’s individual components,” says Daniel Frankel. “We hope to get to the assembly stage within a couple of years. We believe Cyberplasm could start being used in real-world situations within five years”.

Notes for Editors

The UK element of the Cyberplasm project is a three-year initiative that is receiving EPSRC funding of just over £298,000.
The Cyberplasm team includes:
  • Professor Joseph Ayers, Northeastern University, USA (animal robots expert)
  • Professor Vlad Parpura, University of Alabama, USA (neuroscientist)
  • Professor Chris Voigt, MIT, USA (synthetic biologist)
  • Dr Daniel Frankel, Newcastle University (bioengineer).
For more information on the synthetic biology sandpit that led to this collaboration between EPSRC and NSF read the 2009 news item: Synthetic biology sandpit: collaboration between EPSRC and US NSF


EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £800 million a year in a broad range of subjects – from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF is an independent federal agency created by the US Congress in 1950. With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), it is the funding source for approximately 20 per cent of all federally-supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields, such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

For more information, contact:

Dr Daniel Frankel, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, Newcastle University, Tel: 0191 222 6782

Images are available from the EPSRC Press Office. Contact 01793 444404

Fonte: EPSRC - Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council