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Nanoscience and nanotechnology

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The Boston Globe

LiquiGlide, an MIT startup, has announced several new partnerships aimed at developing sustainable, zero-waste packaging solutions, reports Janelle Nanos for The Boston Globe. “LiquiGlide wants to fix one of life’s longstanding frustrations: trying to squeeze out the end of a toothpaste tube,” writes Nanos. “Since it’s often difficult to empty out sticky pastes, gels, and creams, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of those substances are discarded annually, still stuck to the insides of their containers.”

Boston 25 News

Prof. Kripa Varanasi speaks with Boston 25 reporter Jim Morelli about a food-safe coating, called LiquiGlide, that makes it possible to squeeze every drop out of containers of items like ketchup and toothpaste. “It’s a universal kind of a problem,” Varanasi says. “The interface between the liquid and the solid is what makes these products stick to containers.”

HuffPost

Gizmodo reporter Andrew Liszewski writes that LiquiGlide, an MIT startup, is working with Colgate to introduce a “new recyclable toothpaste container that leverages LiquiGlide so that every last drop of the product can be squeezed out with minimal effort.”

HealthCare Asia Daily

Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) researchers have developed a new lab-free immune profiling assay that can be used “to better profile aggressive, rapidly changing host immune response in cases of infection, for example COVID-19,” reports HealthCare Asia Daily.

Scientific Inquirer

A new assay developed by researchers from the Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine (CAMP), an Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), can profile the “rapidly changing host immune response in case of infection, in a departure from existing methods that focus on detecting the pathogens themselves,” reports the Scientific Inquirer.

Axios

Axios reporter Bryan Walsh spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a new way for chemical signals in spinach leaves to transmit emails. “The system could help provide an early warning system for explosives or pollution, but really, we just want to know what the spinach are thinking,” writes Walsh.

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Adele Peters spotlights Prof. Michael Strano’s work exploring how to embed nanoparticles into plant leaves, as part of an effort to see if they could serve as sensors. “We started asking the question, can we make living plants to do some of the functions that humans do by stamping things out of plastic and circuit boards—things that go into landfills?” says Strano.

Guardian

MIT researchers have developed a way to embed spinach leaves with sensors, which would allow them to serve as sensors that could monitor groundwater for contaminates, reports The Guardian. “Plants are very environmentally responsive,” explains Prof. Michael Strano. “If we tap into those chemical signaling pathways, there is a wealth of information to access.”

Stat

Prof. Sangeeta Bhatia and senior postdoctoral associate Leslie Chan discuss their work developing a synthetic biosensor to diagnose lung disease. Chan explains that “instead of relying on naturally occurring breath volatiles, we wanted to be able to engineer the breath signal that we could use to monitor lung disease.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Hiawatha Bray writes that MIT startup DUST Identity has developed a technique that uses diamond dust to identify counterfeit products. The diamond dust is sprayed onto a product to tag it, and “because the bits of diamond are distributed at random inside the material, no two tags will ever be the same,” Bray explains.

Forbes

Forbes reporter Amy Feldman spotlights MIT startup Ginkgo Bioworks, which aims to “design, modify and manufacture organisms to make existing industrial processes cheaper and entirely new processes possible.” Feldman notes that the promise of synthetic biology is “not just a proliferation of new products, but also a reduction of the environmental harm that comes from our heavy reliance on petrochemicals.”

PBS NewsHour

John Yang reports for PBS NewsHour about technologies to harvest fog to secure the world’s water supply, including one system designed by Prof. Kripa Varanasi to collect water from power plant cooling towers. Varanasi and his team “discovered that zapping air rich in fog with a beam of electrically charged particles draws the droplets toward the mesh, dramatically increasing its ability to collect water,” says Yang.

IEEE Spectrum

Prof. Max Shulaker has fabricated the first foundry-built silicon wafer, a monolithic 3D carbon nanotube integrated circuit, reports Samuel K. Moore for IEEE Spectrum. “We’ve completely reinvented how we manufacture this technology,” explains Shulaker, “transforming it from a technology that only worked in our academic labs to a technology that can and is already today working inside a commercial fabrication facility within a U.S. foundry.”

BBC

The BBC series “Follow the Food” spotlights how MIT researchers are tackling the issue of runoff pesticide pollution by developing a technology that helps pesticide better adhere to plant leaves. “What we are trying to do is come up with a technology that can help farmers and significantly reduce the amount [of pesticide] sprayed,” explains Prof. Kripa Varanasi.

Scientific American

MIT researchers have developed artificial muscles that can stretch more than 1,000 percent of their size and lift more than 650 times their weight, reports Sid Perkins for Scientific American. The new fibers could have applications in robotics and prosthetic devices, Perkins explains, and “work more like real muscles: they do work by pulling on or lifting objects.”