Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nano design, just like in nature

Abstract:
Researchers at Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) are currently coordinating an EU project. They are using biological principles as the inspiration to develop a new bionic fuel cell.

Nano design, just like in nature

Vienna | Posted on June 15th, 2010

Every living cell in our body can do it: covered with a thin membrane known as a cell membrane or nanomembrane, the cells can deliberately let specific substances in and out. Although it is thousands of times thinner than a human hair, this nanomembrane has an extremely complex structure and function. Three Nobel prizes have already in recent years been awarded for improving our understanding of these nanomembranes.

Biological nanomembrane has hundreds of very tinny channels which convey water, electrical charges and nutrients around and in doing so, create an equilibrium within the cell. However, we still do not know about many of the functions and structural details, but only channels which balance the water and proton exchange have been understand in depth. "These extremely fine cell membrane channels, with the ability to selectively convey protons, function in exactly the same way as fuel cells created by humans", explains Dr Werner Brenner, "only this naturally occurring process is considerably more efficient".

Fuel cells: an alternative to oil

Today, fuel cells are seen as a serious alternative to oil, which until now has been the basis for electrical energy and mobility. However, the earth's oil reserves are rapidly running out, under economic pressure to drill ever deeper into the seabed. Oil combustion also generates CO2, soot and other pollutants. In contrary, the only waste product from a fuel cell is water.

The EU project focuses on the design of the main component of every fuel cell - i.e. the membrane - with the intention of conveying protons more efficiently than in previous solutions. "It is not easy task, but it is possible. Nature has been producing these structures for billions of years and their effectiveness can be seen in every living organism. Our task is to transfer the structure of these natural nanochannels to an artificial nanomembrane, which is itself only a few hundred nanometres thick", explains Dr Jovan Matovic.

A wide range of scientific approaches are required for this project, ranging from solid state physics and nanotechnology through to chemistry. Therefore, international cooperation with six universities, research institutes and companies is also of great importance. The EU project is being coordinated by the TU Vienna research team of Dr Werner Brenner, Dr Jovan Matovic and Dr Nadja Adamovic at the Institute of Sensor and Actuator Systems.

The University research team is confident: "The results of this project should have far-reaching significance for our society. If we succeed in creating the nanochannels exactly as planned, then completely different fields of application will open up, such as the accurately controlled delivery of medicine, water desalination or even new types of sensors", explains Dr Nadja Adamovic, "In this project, the boundaries between "artificial and "natural" are becoming even more blurred".

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Vienna University of Technology
Institute of Sensor and Actuator Systems
Floragasse 7, 1040 Vienna

Dr Werner Brenner Dipl.Ing
T : +43 (1) 58801 - 366 81


Dr Jovan Matovic Dipl.Ing
T : +43 (1) 58801 - 766 67


Dr Nadja Adamovic Dipl.Ing
T : +43 (1) 58801 - 766 48


Author:
Vienna University of Technology
Public Relations Office
Bettina Neunteufl, MAS
T : +43 (1) 58801 - 41025

Copyright © Vienna University of Technology

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

The relationship between charge density waves and superconductivity? It's complicated July 19th, 2018

Sirrus's Issued Patent Portfolio Continues To Accelerate July 18th, 2018

FEFU scientists reported on toxicity of carbon and silicon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers: Nanoparticles with a wide range of applying, including medicine, damage cells of microalgae Heterosigma akashivo badly. July 18th, 2018

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier: Rice U., Northwestern researchers make and test atom-thick boron's unique domains July 17th, 2018

Possible Futures

The relationship between charge density waves and superconductivity? It's complicated July 19th, 2018

FEFU scientists reported on toxicity of carbon and silicon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers: Nanoparticles with a wide range of applying, including medicine, damage cells of microalgae Heterosigma akashivo badly. July 18th, 2018

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier: Rice U., Northwestern researchers make and test atom-thick boron's unique domains July 17th, 2018

Tuning into quantum: Scientists unlock signal frequency control of precision atom qubits July 16th, 2018

Academic/Education

The Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Tsukuba near Tokyo in Japan uses Deben's ARM2 detector to better understand catalytic reaction mechanisms June 27th, 2018

Powering the 21st Century with Integrated Photonics: UCSB-Led Team Selected for Demonstration of a Novel Waveguide Platform Which is Transparent Throughout the MWIR and LWIR Spectral Bands June 19th, 2018

SUNY Poly Professor Eric Lifshin Selected for ‘Fellow of the Microanalysis Society’ Position for Significant Contributions to Microanalysis June 13th, 2018

Grand Opening of UC Irvine Materials Research Institute (IMRI) to Spotlight JEOL Center for Nanoscale Solutions: Renowned Materials Scientists to Present at the 1st International Symposium on Advanced Microscopy and Spectroscopy (ISAMS) April 18th, 2018

Nanomedicine

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication July 13th, 2018

UMBC researchers develop nanoparticles to reduce internal bleeding caused by blast trauma July 13th, 2018

Researchers identify cost-cutting option in treating nail fungus with nanotechnology: GW researcher Adam Friedman, M.D., studied the potential use of nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles to improve onychomycosis treatment July 11th, 2018

New sensor technology enables super-sensitive live monitoring of human biomolecules July 3rd, 2018

Sensors

Leti & Partners Launch Pilot Program to Assess New Perception Sensors for Autonomous Vehicles July 5th, 2018

New sensor technology enables super-sensitive live monitoring of human biomolecules July 3rd, 2018

A refined magnetic sense: Algorithms and hardware developed in the context of quantum computation are shown to be useful for quantum-enhanced sensing of magnetic fields July 2nd, 2018

NIST Researchers Simulate Simple Logic for Nanofluidic Computing June 30th, 2018

Energy

NIST Researchers Simulate Simple Logic for Nanofluidic Computing June 30th, 2018

Northwestern researchers achieve unprecedented control of polymer grids: Materials could find applications in water purification, solar energy storage, body armor June 22nd, 2018

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

Tripling the Energy Storage of Lithium-Ion Batteries: Scientists have synthesized a new cathode material from iron fluoride that surpasses the capacity limits of traditional lithium-ion batteries June 14th, 2018

Water

New sensor technology enables super-sensitive live monitoring of human biomolecules July 3rd, 2018

NIST Researchers Simulate Simple Logic for Nanofluidic Computing June 30th, 2018

Northwestern researchers achieve unprecedented control of polymer grids: Materials could find applications in water purification, solar energy storage, body armor June 22nd, 2018

Making quantum puddles: Physicists discover how to create the thinnest liquid films ever June 13th, 2018

Fuel Cells

Harvesting clean hydrogen fuel through artificial photosynthesis May 3rd, 2018

A new way to find better battery materials: Design principles could point to better electrolytes for next-generation lithium batteries March 29th, 2018

Rice sleuths find metal in 'metal-free' catalysts: Study of graphene catalysts finds trace of manganese, suggests better ultrathin fuel-cell components February 26th, 2018

Study boosts hope for cheaper fuel cells: Rice University researchers show how to optimize nanomaterials for fuel-cell cathodes January 6th, 2018

Nanobiotechnology

UMBC researchers develop nanoparticles to reduce internal bleeding caused by blast trauma July 13th, 2018

Researchers identify cost-cutting option in treating nail fungus with nanotechnology: GW researcher Adam Friedman, M.D., studied the potential use of nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles to improve onychomycosis treatment July 11th, 2018

New sensor technology enables super-sensitive live monitoring of human biomolecules July 3rd, 2018

Arrowhead Presents New Clinical Data on ARO-AAT at Alpha-1 National Education Conference July 1st, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project