Recently in the Nanotechnology Category

The ultra-black Vantablack surface coating material has made its space debut in an optical instrument on board the Kent Ridge 1 satellite.

A NASA engineer has achieved yet another milestone in his quest to advance an emerging super-black nanotechnology that promises to make spacecraft instruments more sensitive without enlarging their size.

"The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced 15 Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) grants for fiscal year 2012, awarding nearly $30 million to 68 investigators at 26 institutions. During the next four years, teams of researchers will pursue transformative, fundamental research in three emerging areas: flexible electronic systems that can better interface with the body; design of self-folding materials and structures; and optimizing large-scale chemical production from photosynthesis. Results from this research promise to improve human health, engineering design and manufacturing, and energy sustainability. Four EFRI research teams will pursue biocompatible electronic systems that offer new capabilities for health care. Integrating microelectronics with conformable substrates, these flexible bioelectronics systems will interact seamlessly with the body to advance medical monitoring, detection and/or treatment in a patient-friendly form." More

"This is a close-up view of the "spectrometer-on-a-chip" technology that could dramatically reduce the size of spectrometers in the future. (Credit: NASA Goddard/Chris Gunn) - The Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) is big. It's powerful and it discovered, among other things, that Saturn's mysterious moon Enceladus was one of the very few worlds in the solar system that radiated several gigawatts of heat into space, primarily along prominent fractures dubbed "tiger stripes." If a team of technologists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., succeeds, however, scientists in the future won't observe these far-flung worlds with instruments the size of dishwashers. Rather, they will make their discoveries with dramatically smaller, more efficient models whose critical components fit onto a silicon wafer and do not require moving parts to operate -- unlike the breadbox-size components found inside the Goddard-developed CIRS, which flew on the flagship Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn. "The Holy Grail is reducing the number of moving parts, which will allow us to build lighter, smaller instruments," said team member John Allen. "The smaller the device, the better. That's where the power of our effort really begins to take off." More

NASA Partners License Nanotube Technology For Commercial Use

"A technique for synthesizing a high-tech material technology, jointly developed by NASA Langley Research Center, the U.S. Department of Energy's Jefferson Lab, and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), was recently licensed by BNNT LLC of Newport News, Va. In a signing ceremony on March 22 at the NIA, BNNT LLC acquired the intellectual property rights for making the material called fibril boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) available for scientific and commercial research, development and products."

Printing 3D Objects at Nano Scales

3D-Printer with Nano-Precision (with video), Vienna University of Technology

"Printing three dimensional objects with incredibly fine details is now possible using "two-photon lithography". With this technology, tiny structures on a nanometer scale can be fabricated. Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) have now made a major breakthrough in speeding up this printing technique: The high-precision-3D-printer at TU Vienna is orders of magnitude faster than similar devices (see video). This opens up completely new areas of application, such as in medicine."

Spacecraft Powered by Bacteria

Navy Researchers Investigate Small-Scale Autonomous Planetary Explorers

"Robotic exploration to remote regions, to include distant planetary bodies, is often limited by energy requirements to perform, in repetition, even the simplest tasks. With this in mind, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are looking into a novel approach that could some day aid scientific space and planetary research without the need for power-intense options often used today. Integrating the NRL developed technologies in microrobotics, microbial fuel cells, and low power electronics, space robotics scientist Dr. Gregory P. Scott at NRL's Spacecraft Engineering Department inspires a novel autonomous microrover, weighing in at nearly one-kilogram and powered by an advanced microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology."

NASA's Ultra Super Black Material

NASA Develops Super-Black Material That Absorbs Light Across Multiple Wavelength Bands

"NASA engineers have produced a material that absorbs on average more than 99 percent of the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared light that hits it -- a development that promises to open new frontiers in space technology. The nanotech-based coating is a thin layer of multi-walled carbon nanotubes, tiny hollow tubes made of pure carbon about 10,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair. They are positioned vertically on various substrate materials much like a shag rug."