Table of contents

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The same old story p697


Another panel of experts in the UK has published another report calling from more research into the effects of nanomaterials on health and the environment. Will anyone listen this time?

Subject terms: Environmental, health and safety issues | Ethical, legal and other societal issues



Why nanotechnology needs better polymer chemistry pp699 - 700

Richard Jones


The self-assembly properties of block copolymers are primitive when compared with natural examples such as protein folding but, as Richard Jones reports, promising new approaches and ideas are being explored.

Subject terms: Molecular self-assembly | Nanobiotechnology


Research Highlights

Top down bottom up: Finding each other p703


Subject term: Nanobiotechnology


News and Views

Optical Materials: Variety pays off for nanotubes pp705 - 706

Werner J. Blau & Jun Wang


Carbon nanotubes are usually produced in samples that contain a mixture of different diameters and electronic properties; this is a problem for applications in nanoelectronics but is advantageous when generating ultrashort laser pulses.

Subject terms: Carbon nanotubes and fullerenes | Photonic structures and devices

See also: Letter by Wang et al.

Nanostructures: Welcome to nanobama p706

Peter Rodgers


Subject terms: Carbon nanotubes and fullerenes | Surface patterning and imaging

DNA Nanotechnology: Bacteria as factories pp707 - 708

Chuan Zhang & Chengde Mao


Producing large quantities of designer DNA nanostructures at low cost has been a long-standing challenge in nanobiotechnology. It is now possible with the aid of bacteria.

Subject terms: Nanobiotechnology | Synthesis and processing

Nanotubes: Giving catalysis the edge pp708 - 709

Daniel E. Resasco


Effective catalysts for the oxidative dehydrogenation of alkanes can be created by adding functional groups to carbon nanotubes.

Subject terms: Carbon nanotubes and fullerenes | Structural properties

Nanomaterials: The ins and outs of thermal expansion pp710 - 711

Andrew L. Goodwin


Most materials expand when they are heated, but some contract instead. A record value of this effect — known as negative thermal expansion — has now been observed in magnetic nanocrystals.

Subject terms: Nanomagnetism and spintronics | Nanoparticles

See also: Letter by Zheng et al.

Nanomechatronics: A new twist on a classic experiment pp710 - 711

Alexey A. Kovalev


The interplay between angular momentum, electron spin and magnetism at the nanoscale could have applications in spintronics, transducers and actuators, as well as fundamental research.

Subject terms: Nanomagnetism and spintronics | NEMS

See also: Letter by Zolfagharkhani et al.



Time-domain control of ultrahigh-frequency nanomechanical systems pp715 - 719

N. Liu, F. Giesen, M. Belov, J. Losby, J. Moroz, A. E. Fraser, G. McKinnon, T. J. Clement, V. Sauer, W. K. Hiebert & M. R. Freeman


Most experiments on nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) have so far been performed in the frequency domain, whereas applications in computation and information storage will require such systems to be operated in the time domain. A time-resolved optical approach to the transduction of ultrahigh-frequency NEMS that works at frequencies from less than 10 MHz to over 1 GHz has now been demonstrated.

Subject term: NEMS

Nanomechanical detection of itinerant electron spin flip pp720 - 723

Guiti Zolfagharkhani, Alexei Gaidarzhy, Pascal Degiovanni, Stefan Kettemann, Peter Fulde & Pritiraj Mohanty


When a spin-polarized current passes from a ferromagnet into a non-magnetic material, the spins of the itinerant electrons are ‘flipped’ at the interface between the two materials, producing a mechanical torque. A nanoscale torsion oscillator has now measured this torque in a metallic nanowire in which one half is ferromagnetic and the other non-magnetic. The unprecedented torque sensitivity offered by this device could have applications in spintronics and fundamental physics, chemistry and biology.

Subject terms: Nanomagnetism and spintronics | NEMS

See also: News and Views by Kovalev

Giant negative thermal expansion in magnetic nanocrystals pp724 - 726

X. G. Zheng, H. Kubozono, H. Yamada, K. Kato, Y. Ishiwata & C. N. Xu


Most solids expand when they are heated, but some non-magnetic materials expand when they are cooled. Researchers have now observed evidence for negative thermal expansion (NTE) in nanocrystals of two magnetic materials. Moreover, the NTE effect in nanocrystals of CuO is four times larger than that observed in the celebrated NTE material zirconium tungstate.

Subject terms: Nanomagnetism and spintronics | Nanoparticles

See also: News and Views by Goodwin

Detection of heating in current-carrying molecular junctions by Raman scattering pp727 - 732

Zvi Ioffe, Tamar Shamai, Ayelet Ophir, Gilad Noy, Ilan Yutsis, Kobi Kfir, Ori Cheshnovsky & Yoram Selzer


Local heating and conduction will have a major role in the stability of nanoscale devices based on molecular junctions, so reliable methods are needed to measure the temperature of such junctions. Researchers have now developed a technique to monitor the effective temperature of current-carrying molecular junctions based on surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy.

Subject term: Electronic properties and devices

Flying plasmonic lens in the near field for high-speed nanolithography pp733 - 737

Werayut Srituravanich, Liang Pan, Yuan Wang, Cheng Sun, David B. Bogy & Xiang Zhang


Maskless nanolithography is a flexible nanofabrication technique but it suffers from low throughput. By developing a new approach that involves 'flying' an array of plasmonic lenses just 20 nm above a rotating surface, it is possible to increase throughput by several orders of magnitude.

Subject terms: Photonic structures and devices | Surface patterning and imaging

Wideband-tuneable, nanotube mode-locked, fibre laser pp738 - 742

F. Wang, A. G. Rozhin, V. Scardaci, Z. Sun, F. Hennrich, I. H. White, W. I. Milne & A. C. Ferrari


Fibre lasers are used as light sources in many fields of science and technology, and the inclusion of a saturable absorber inside the laser cavity enables ultrafast pulses to be generated. It has now been demonstrated that single-wall carbon nonotubes are excellent saturable absorbers, especially in the 1.3–1.5 μm wavelength region used for optical communications, enabling the output of ultrafast fibre lasers to be tuned over wide range of wavelengths.

Subject terms: Carbon nanotubes and fullerenes | Photonic structures and devices

See also: News and Views by Blau & Wang

Carbon nanotubes as templates for polymerized lipid assemblies pp743 - 748

Cédric Thauvin, Stéphane Rickling, Patrick Schultz, Hervé Célia, Stéphane Meunier & Charles Mioskowski


Carbon nanotubes used as templates for polymerizing lipids into regular ring-shaped water-soluble assemblies that can dissolve various hydrophobic compounds and membrane proteins, could have applications in cosmetics, medicine and materials science.

Subject terms: Nanoparticles | Surface patterning and imaging



Upscaling, integration and electrical characterization of molecular junctions pp749 - 754

Paul A. Van Hal, Edsger C. P. Smits, Tom C. T. Geuns, Hylke B. Akkerman, Bianca C. De Brito, Stefano Perissinotto, Guglielmo Lanzani, Auke J. Kronemeijer, Victor Geskin, Jérôme Cornil, Paul W. M. Blom, Bert De Boer & Dago M. De Leeuw


Combining discrete molecular junctions to make integrated circuits is a major goal in molecular electronics, but problems with reliability, stability and yield have hindered progress. Researchers have now overcome some of these challenges to simultaneously fabricate 20,000 molecular junctions on a single wafer and connect 200 of them in series.

Subject terms: Electronic properties and devices | Molecular self-assembly


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