Home > Biotechnology > Nanobots To Swim In Blood Stream To Make Repairs, Rare Earth Replacements Found

Nanobots To Swim In Blood Stream To Make Repairs, Rare Earth Replacements Found

July 14, 2011

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Nanoscale robots that can flow through blood or repair complex electronics may yet be a possibility with the help of a new strategy developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Although devices such as computer processors can effectively handle electrical signals at the length scale of 10 nanometers, achieving motion at the nanoscale has remained elusive.

“If we want to conquer the nanoscale, we need efficient ways to convert electrical signals to mechanical signals on comparable length scales,” said ORNL’s Sergei Kalinin, co-author of a paper published in Nano Letters. The paper outlines an approach for nanoscale motion that takes advantage of the metal insulator transition in vanadium dioxide.
In the work led by ORNL’s Alexander Tselev, the researchers elicited mechanical motion in their system by applying current to vanadium dioxide nanowires to observe the interplay between current flow, phase transformations and mechanical motion.

In another material development, rare earth elements vital to electric and hybrid vehicles and numerous other energy technologies could one day be replaced at least in part by compounds of heavy transition elements, a team of researchers has discovered.

This finding goes against conventional wisdom that high performance magnets require rare earth elements mixed with “first row” light transition elements.
“We found that two second row compounds have extraordinary unanticipated high magnetic ordering temperatures, in one case in excess of 750 degrees Celsius, based solely on heavy second row transition element technetium,” said co-author David Singh of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Theoretical work done at ORNL explains this as band magnetism. These findings have been published in Physical Review Letters and the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
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