Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Portfolio Company, HZO, Announces Partnerships with Dell and Motorola August 1st, 2015

Advances and Applications in Biosensing, Sensor Power, and Sensor R&D to be Covered at Sensors Global Summit August 1st, 2015

Kalam: versatility personified August 1st, 2015

Possible Futures

Nanofiltration Membrane Market 2015 - Global Industry Survey, Analysis, Size, Share, Outlook and Forecast to 2020 July 31st, 2015

Nanozirconia Market 2015 - Global Industry Survey, Analysis, Size, Share, Outlook and Forecast to 2020 July 31st, 2015

Self-Healing Nano Anti-rust Coatings Market 2015 - Global Industry Survey, Analysis, Size, Share, Outlook and Forecast to 2020 July 31st, 2015

Nano Spray Instrument Market 2015 - Global Industry Survey, Analysis, Size, Share, Outlook and Forecast to 2020 July 31st, 2015

Academic/Education

Pakistani Students Who Survived Terror Attack to Attend Weeklong “NanoDiscovery Institute” at SUNY Poly CNSE in Albany July 29th, 2015

Deben reports on the use of their CT500 in the X-ray microtomography laboratory at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia July 22nd, 2015

JPK reports on the use of SPM in the Messersmith Group at UC Berkeley looking at biologically inspired polymer adhesives. July 21st, 2015

Renishaw adds Raman analysis to Scanning Electron Microscopy at the University of Sydney, Australia July 9th, 2015

Nanomedicine

Gold-diamond nanodevice for hyperlocalised cancer therapy: Gold nanorods can be used as remote controlled nanoheaters delivering the right amount of thermal treatment to cancer cells, thanks to diamond nanocrystals used as temperature sensors August 1st, 2015

Heating and cooling with light leads to ultrafast DNA diagnostics July 31st, 2015

Take a trip through the brain July 30th, 2015

Sol-gel capacitor dielectric offers record-high energy storage July 30th, 2015

Sensors

Gold-diamond nanodevice for hyperlocalised cancer therapy: Gold nanorods can be used as remote controlled nanoheaters delivering the right amount of thermal treatment to cancer cells, thanks to diamond nanocrystals used as temperature sensors August 1st, 2015

Advances and Applications in Biosensing, Sensor Power, and Sensor R&D to be Covered at Sensors Global Summit August 1st, 2015

Controlling Dynamic Behavior of Carbon Nanosheets in Structures Made Possible July 30th, 2015

Non-Enzyme Sensor Determines Level of Blood Sugar July 29th, 2015

Energy

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Springer and Tsinghua University Press present the second Nano Research Award: Paul Alivisatos of the University of California Berkeley receives the honor for outstanding contributions in nanoscience July 30th, 2015

Controlling Dynamic Behavior of Carbon Nanosheets in Structures Made Possible July 30th, 2015

March 2016; 6th Int'l Conference on Nanostructures in Iran July 29th, 2015

Water

Self-assembling, biomimetic membranes may aid water filtration August 1st, 2015

March 2016; 6th Int'l Conference on Nanostructures in Iran July 29th, 2015

Laboratorial Performance of Nanocomposite Membrane Improved in Water Purification July 28th, 2015

Nanosorbents Reduce Amount of Heavy Metals in Petrochemical Wastewater July 23rd, 2015

Fuel Cells

Ultra-thin hollow nanocages could reduce platinum use in fuel cell electrodes July 24th, 2015

Nanowires give 'solar fuel cell' efficiency a tenfold boost: Eindhoven researchers make important step towards a solar cell that generates hydrogen July 17th, 2015

Molecular fuel cell catalysts hold promise for efficient energy storage July 16th, 2015

Clay sheets stack to form proton conductors: Model system demonstrates a new material property emerging from the assembly of nanoscale building blocks July 13th, 2015

Nanobiotechnology

Heating and cooling with light leads to ultrafast DNA diagnostics July 31st, 2015

European Technology Platform for Nanomedicine and ENATRANS European Consortium Launch the 2nd edition of the Nanomedicine Award: The Award to be presented at BIO-Europe conference in Munich, November 2015 July 30th, 2015

New computer model could explain how simple molecules took first step toward life: Two Brookhaven researchers developed theoretical model to explain the origins of self-replicating molecules July 28th, 2015

Spintronics: Molecules stabilizing magnetism: Organic molecules fixing the magnetic orientation of a cobalt surface/ building block for a compact and low-cost storage technology/ publication in Nature Materials July 25th, 2015

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