How ironic is it that I started the very first blog talking about nanotech and possible future of treating cancer patient using nanotech drug delivery system. This nanotech drug delivery system is researched by two UCLA faculties Dr. Zink and Tamanoi and they have high hope to targeting the high water insoluble caner drugs only to the cancer cells and limit the effect of spreading the cancer cells to other rapid growing cells of the body. Last time I did not know how to attach pictures to the blog so this time I am including the pictures of the nanoparticles (silica glass) that will carry the cancer drug and it will be activated upon activation with light.
Another interesting project is the conducting nanofiber polymers from my own inorganic professor, Dr. Richard Kaner. The research lab has synthesized the facile polyaniline nanofibers that have dimension of 30 – 120 nm. These nanofibers have special photothermal effect and when attached them with gold particles it can have unique conduction and sensor capabilities. When these nanofibers have placed between two aluminum electrodes and attached to the nanoparticles of gold, it has electrical switchable bistability and it can be used for flash memory devices as well. His lab has also demonstrated the effect of thermoelectric devices where it can be quickly switched two temperature gradients driving the electrical current into the desire direction by using parallel p-type and n-type materials. These devices can be used to either cool or heat in desire direction just by switching the electrical current. This method is also used on the space shuttle to generate electricity by utilizing the temperature gradient in the outer space. This is the demonstration of the thermoelectric device on freezing and boiling the water droplet instantaneously using the reverse electrical current: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXA4I-1kbBc
So, we have advanced from using micro size materials such microchips, automobile airbags, blood pressure monitors to using nanotechnology. Another interesting idea of using nano-sized porous silicon particles that is also similar to the cancer drug delivery is the use to smart Petri dish from the research of UCSD. Smart Petri dish allows observing the changes in cellular structure in real time. This method of using Petri dish is very similar to the conventional method but give advantage in better sensitivity of toxic changes using light scattering method and able to detect the changes much faster than the conventional Petri dish. This Petri dish will also adapt similar optimal physiology environment of fluid flow rate which will more accurate for studying the behaviors and changes of the cells.
Morph concept of nanotechnology is definitely attractive technology side of nanotechnology since it can detect and response to environment and also can harvest sun light energy from the environment and it is a self efficient device that many people would like to have in the future. Morph is the concept that proposed from Nokia and Cambridge Nanoreserach Center and it actually formulate many of these features that are based on the many unique ascept of the animal such as spider silk. The project idea is featured in the MoMA exhibition of “Design and the Elastic Mind”. Here is a very cool youtube video explaining the concept of the Morph: