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

A big nano boost for solar cells: Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies January 21st, 2017

A toolkit for transformable materials: How to design materials with reprogrammable shape and function January 20th, 2017

Explaining how 2-D materials break at the atomic level January 20th, 2017

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology: Research helps to make the most of nanoscale catalytic effects for nanotechnology January 20th, 2017

Possible Futures

A big nano boost for solar cells: Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies January 21st, 2017

A toolkit for transformable materials: How to design materials with reprogrammable shape and function January 20th, 2017

Explaining how 2-D materials break at the atomic level January 20th, 2017

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology: Research helps to make the most of nanoscale catalytic effects for nanotechnology January 20th, 2017

Academic/Education

Oxford Nanoimaging report on how the Nanoimager, a desktop microscope delivering single molecule, super-resolution performance, is being applied at the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology & Infection November 22nd, 2016

The University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria uses Deben tensile stages as an integral part of their computed tomography research and testing facility October 18th, 2016

Enterprise In Space Partners with Sketchfab and 3D Hubs for NewSpace Education October 13th, 2016

New Agricultural Research Center Debuts at UCF October 12th, 2016

Nanomedicine

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology: Research helps to make the most of nanoscale catalytic effects for nanotechnology January 20th, 2017

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

New active filaments mimic biology to transport nano-cargo: A new design for a fully biocompatible motility engine transports colloidal particles faster than diffusion with active filaments January 11th, 2017

Sensors

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology: Research helps to make the most of nanoscale catalytic effects for nanotechnology January 20th, 2017

Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale January 20th, 2017

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

Energy

A big nano boost for solar cells: Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies January 21st, 2017

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

Stability challenge in perovskite solar cell technology: New research reveals intrinsic instability issues of iodine-containing perovskite solar cells December 26th, 2016

Water

Scientists have discovered a new state of matter for water January 2nd, 2017

PCATDES Starts Field Testing of Photocatalytic Reactors in South East Asia December 28th, 2016

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Water, water -- the two types of liquid water: Understanding water's behavior could help with Alzheimer's research November 11th, 2016

Fuel Cells

Scientists boost catalytic activity for key chemical reaction in fuel cells: New platinum-based catalysts with tensile surface strain could improve fuel cell efficiency December 19th, 2016

It's basic: Alternative fuel cell technology reduces cost: Study sets performance targets for metal-free fuel cell membrane December 13th, 2016

Keeping electric car design on the right road: A closer look at the life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells December 9th, 2016

Water vapor sets some oxides aflutter: Newly discovered phenomenon could affect materials in batteries and water-splitting devices October 3rd, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology: Research helps to make the most of nanoscale catalytic effects for nanotechnology January 20th, 2017

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

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




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project