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Carbon nanotubes turn spinach plants into a living bomb detector

New Scientist

You won't notice it, but nanotech-enhanced spinach plants certainly can. A group of MIT engineers led by Michael Strano has converted ordinary spinach plants into biological bomb detectors. The engineers implanted customised carbon nanotubes into the leaves of living plants to turn them into a real-time monitoring system for explosive molecules. When the plants suck water from the ground into the leaves, the carbon nanotubes can detect the presence of any nitroaromatics – chemical compounds often found in explosives such as landmines. When the researchers shine a laser on the nanotubes, they emit a fluorescent signal if they pick up nitroaromatics.

Innovators Under 35: Pioneers

MIT Technology Review

IBM researchers devise a way to produce arrays of carbon- nanotube transistors. IBM researchers show that nanotube transistors can carry more than twice the electric current of top-performing silicon transistor prototypes. This is interpreted as the first evidence that nanotubes can outperform silicon transistors. The first integrated circuit using a single carbon nanotube is built at IBM. During his doctoral studies at the University of Illinois, Qing Cao invents a way to print circuits of nanotubes on flexible plastic substrates.


USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Where you live can affect how you decorate your house, what your favorite summer food is, and--according to a new survey--what plants you have in your home. Using data from Google, Next Day Blinds found the most popular houseplant in each of the 50 states. While the results were different in many states (like California with its succulents or New York with its crotons), there were a few trends across the country, too. Aloe vera was the number one plant in 11 states, followed by basil in five states and poinsettias in four. Below is the full list, plus where to buy both real and fake versions of your state's most popular plant.

Tesla coil zaps nanotubes into a self-assembling circuit


Carbon nanotubes have gotten fanfare for rebooting Moore's Law and possibly powering the next generation of space probes, but that's not all the versatile material can do. How about shocking nanotubes with an electricity gun until they line up into neat little rows? Scientists at Rice University are firing a force field from a tesla coil at piles of carbon nanotubes until they self-assemble in a process called "Teslaphoresis". The force field oscillates positive and negative charges in each nanotube until they line up. These chains of nanotubes can form a structure and even carry a current.

Composites with carbon nanotubes and graphene: An outlook


Composite materials with carbon nanotube and graphene additives have long been considered as exciting prospects among nanotechnology applications. However, after nearly two decades of work in the area, questions remain about the practical impact of nanotube and graphene composites. This uncertainty stems from factors that include poor load transfer, interfacial engineering, dispersion, and viscosity-related issues that lead to processing challenges in such nanocomposites. Moreover, there has been little effort to identify selection rules for the use of nanotubes or graphene in composite matrices for specific applications. This review is a critical look at the status of composites for developing high-strength, low-density, high-conductivity materials with nanotubes or graphene.