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Nanoknives To Be Used to Cut Cells 78

Roland Piquepaille writes "American researchers have built a carbon nanotube knife. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), this nanoknife will be used to cut and study cells. With this new tool, scientists and biologists will be able to make 3D images of cells and tissues for electron tomography, which requires samples less than 300 nanometers thick. And as cells are usually stored in wax for dissection, the researchers plan to test their nanoknives on a block of wax later this year. But read more for additional references and a picture of this nanoknife."

Laser Turns All Metals Black 333

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at the University of Rochester have found a way to change the properties of almost any metal by using a femtosecond laser pulse. This ultra-intense laser blast creates true 'black metal' from copper, gold or zinc by forming nanostructures at the surface of the metal. As these nanostructures capture radiation, the metals turn black. And as the process needs surprisingly low power, it could soon be used for a variety of applications, such as stealth planes, black jewels or car paintings. But read more for additional references and a picture of this femtosecond laser system."

Listening for Cancer Cells 74

Roland Piquepaille writes "According to researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia, it's now possible to detect skin cancer cells present in blood samples by listening to the sound of melanoma cells. The scientists have used a method named photoacoustic detection, which uses a laser to make cells vibrate and ultrasound techniques to pick the sound of cancerous cells. This technique is so precise that it's possible to identify the spread of cancer even if there are only ten melanoma cells in a blood sample. Still, large clinical tests must be done before this method can be widely used."

Fly Eyes for Spying Cameras 47

Roland Piquepaille writes "Even with sophisticated cameras, we can sometimes get poor pictures. This usually happens because cameras use an average light setting to control brightness. When parts of a scene are much brighter than others, the result is that you don't catch accurately all the parts. According to National Geographic News, by mimicking how flies see, Australian researchers can now produce digital videos in which you can see every detail. This technique could be used to develop better video cameras, military target-detection systems and surveillance equipment. Read more for additional pictures and references about these future surveillance cameras."

Nanocosmetics Used Since Ancient Egypt 252

Roland Piquepaille writes "French researchers have found that Egyptians, Greek and Romans were using nanotechnology to dye their hair several thousands years ago. Nanowerk Spotlight reports they were using lead compounds which generated lead sulfide (PbS) nanocrystals with a diameter of only 5 nanometers. At a moment where many people wonder if the use of nanoparticles is safe, it's good to know that nanotechnology has been widely used for a very long time."

A Gallery of Unusual Chinese Robots 80

Roland Piquepaille writes "Chinese engineers have unveiled a series of robots lately — without releasing lots of technical details about them. In the past two months, I've gathered pictures of robots which can act as waiters in restaurants in Hong Kong or pull rickshaws near Beijing. I've also found a four-finger robotic hand able to play organ, a female robot greeting tourists visiting the Sichuan Science Museum with 'ni hao' ('How are you?' in Mandarin — if my sources are correct), and even a robotic chimpanzee."

Mixing brain cells and nanodots 73

Roland Piquepaille writes "It's not the first time that animal brain cells have been used in conjunction with nanoparticles. But now, a team of Israeli researchers have grown self-organizing networks of rat brain cells by binding them to carbon nanotubes. In a short article, New Scientist reports that these neural networks are remarkably stable, surviving for almost three months in the lab. These hybrid networks could be used in future biological sensors. For example, they could identify a poison by measuring its effect on such a network of brain cells."

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