In case you missed it (ICYMI), here are some of the stories that made headlines in the world of cleanrooms and nanotechnology in the past week.
Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. has developed a portable breath sensor that can extract and quickly calculate the concentration of only specified gas components (example, ammonia) included at low concentrations in people’s breath. This sensor may help detect certain lifestyle diseases by identifying molecules that normally could only be revealed using large analysis instruments. The eventual aim is to create a sensor device that is as simple to use as a regular thermometer in screening, so that patients can undergo more detailed examinations for the early detection of specific diseases.
Researchers at Stanford University have found that DNA can be used to investigate cleaner energy sources. The scientists discovered that DNA-embedded nanoparticles can survive the harsh environments of geothermal energy systems, which allows for better mapping of cleaner energy sources. Medical researchers have experimented with medications encapsulated within nanoparticles that circulate throughout the human body and melt or open at a certain temperature. While the temperatures inside Earth are much higher, the geothermal nanotracers essentially work in the same way, allowing researchers to better map the underground heat sources.
Finally, physics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have created the world’s smallest heat engine, by developing an innovative system that operates using just one single atom. The team used a Paul trap to capture a single electrically charged calcium atom. This atom can be heated with the help of electrically-generated noise and cooled by using a laser beam. As a result, the atom is subjected to a thermodynamic cycle. This means that the particle moves back and forth within the trap, thus replicating the stroke of a typical engine. The atom not only acts in the same way as an engine but also stores the energy.