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Volume 4 Issue 6, June 2009

Quantum dots defined in carbon nanotubes are attractive for exploring a wide range of phenomena in fundamental physics. For some of these experiments it is necessary to confine a single electron in a quantum dot, while controlling the height of the barriers on either side of the dot, but this has proved difficult. Now, Gary Steele, Georg Gotz and Leo Kouwenhoven have confined a single electron in a tunable double quantum dot in a nanotube for the first time, and also observed a novel type of tunnelling that is analogous to relativistic Klein tunnelling. This false-colour plot shows electric current as a function of the voltages applied to two of the gates in the system.

Letter p363; News & Views p347

Editorial

  • Changes to our policies on authorship reflect the need for greater clarity about the contributions made by different authors to research papers.

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Commentary

  • Discussions of the potential risks and hazards associated with nanomaterials and nanoparticles tend to focus on the need for further experiments. However, theoretical and computational nanoscientists could also contribute by making their calculations more relevant to research into this area.

    • Amanda S. Barnard
    Commentary
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Thesis

  • Various codes of conduct have been proposed for nanotechnology — Richard Jones examines what they mean for individual researchers.

    • Richard Jones
    Thesis
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Books & Arts

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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • A new approach to making battery electrodes with the help of genetically engineered viruses could reduce costs and improve environmental sustainability.

    • Jean-Marie Tarascon
    News & Views
  • Experiments with a new three-dimensional model of liver tissue find that the toxic effects of nanoparticles are reduced when compared with tests that use two-dimensional models.

    • Molly M. Stevens
    News & Views
  • An all-optical chip-based method has been used to actuate and detect the motion of silicon nanocantilevers. Multiplexed read-out has also been demonstrated.

    • Mark Freeman
    • Wayne Hiebert
    News & Views
  • Protein-based membranes can cope with water fluxes much higher than those that can be handled by commercial membranes with similar rejection properties.

    • Olgica Bakajin
    • Aleksandr Noy
    News & Views
    • Peter Rodgers
    News & Views
  • Electrons in ultraclean carbon nanotubes can tunnel through barriers in a way not previously observed for particles with mass in condensed-matter physics experiments.

    • Mahn-Soo Choi
    News & Views
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Letter

  • DNA nanotubes can potentially act as stiff interconnects, tracks for molecular motors and nanoscale drug carriers. Researchers have now reported a modular approach to DNA nanotube synthesis that can create geometrically well-defined triangular and square tubes. The method allows parameters such as geometry, stiffness and single- or double-stranded character to be tuned, and could provide access to designer nanotubes for a range of applications.

    • Faisal A. Aldaye
    • Pik Kwan Lo
    • Hanadi F. Sleiman
    Letter
  • Porous membranes are widely used as filters for the production of clean drinking water. A new type of filtration membrane made of crosslinked proteins can cope with water fluxes that are three orders of magnitude higher than those that can be handled by commercial filtration membranes with similar rejection properties.

    • Xinsheng Peng
    • Jian Jin
    • Izumi Ichinose
    Letter
  • The ability to create controlled patterns on carbon nanotubes could lead to nanoelectronic applications in which multiple transistors are fabricated on individual nanotubes. It has now been shown that carbon nanotubes can be decorated with alternating patterns of block copolymers and that gold nanoparticles can, in turn, be periodically attached to the tubes.

    • Bing Li
    • Lingyu Li
    • Christopher Y. Li
    Letter
  • A method for the assembly of nanoparticles into granular solids that can be continuously tuned from two dimensions to one dimension is reported. The energy barriers to electron transport in such solids increase in the one-dimensional limit, and an unexpected dependence of the electronic properties on temperature is also observed.

    • Ke Xu
    • Lidong Qin
    • James R. Heath
    Letter
  • The conductivity of a self-assembled layer of cobalt phthalocyanine molecules is measured as a function of thickness. At low thickness, the molecules lie flat on the substrate and serve only to reduce the conductivity of the substrate. At high thickness, the molecules stand up to form stacks similar to their bulk form, and conduction occurs primarily through them.

    • F. Song
    • J. W. Wells
    • Ph. Hofmann
    Letter
  • A new chip-based optical method has been used to actuate and detect the motion of nanocantilevers. This non-interferometric approach does not require a coherent light source. Multiplexed read-out of up to ten nanocantilevers is demonstrated in a silicon photonic chip.

    • Mo Li
    • W. H. P. Pernice
    • H. X. Tang
    Letter
  • The electronic properties of graphene samples containing three layers of carbon atoms are significantly different from those of single-layer and bilayer graphene. Trilayer graphene is a semimetal and, unlike other materials, the overlap between the conduction and valence bands can be electrostatically controlled.

    • M. F. Craciun
    • S. Russo
    • S. Tarucha
    Letter
  • It is known that cancerous cells have different mechanical and adhesion properties from normal cells, but the reasons for this remain unclear. Atomic force microscopy studies show that the brush layers on the surface of cancerous and normal cervical cells are different, which suggest new considerations when detecting and studying cancerous cells by mechanical methods.

    • S. Iyer
    • R. M. Gaikwad
    • Igor Sokolov
    Letter
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