Computer Chips Get Smaller .. Cost Less .. with Nanotechnology


Printing Graphene Chips(Nanowerk News) Not so long ago, a computer filled a  whole room and radio receivers were as big as washing machines. In recent  decades, electronic devices have shrunk considerably in size and this trend is  expected to continue, leading to enormous cost and energy savings, as well as  increasing speed.
Key to shrinking devices is Terascale computing, involving  ultrafast technology supported by single microchips that can perform trillions  of operations per second.
Using Terascale technology, semiconductor components commonly  used to make integrated circuits for all kinds of appliances could measure less  than 10 nanometres within several years. Keeping in mind that a nanometre is  less than 1 billionth of a metre, electronic devices have the potential to  become phenomenally smaller and require significantly less energy than today – a  development that will revolutionise the electronics industry.
Despite progress, the technology for producing these ultra-small  devices has a long way to go before being reliable. To advance the work, the  EU-funded project TRAMS (‘Terascale reliable adaptive memory  systems’) sought to improve reliability by improving chip design.
The TRAMS team conducted in-depth variability and reliability  analyses to develop chip circuits that are much less prone to errors. These  circuits feature new designs that yield reliable memory systems from currently  unreliable nanodevices.
The main challenge was to develop reliable, energy efficient and  cost effective computing using a variety of new technologies with individual  transistors potentially measuring below five nanometres in size.
The team investigated a number of technologies and materials  with potential to make Terascale computing a reality. These included:
  • carbon  nanotubes;
  • new  transistor geometries, such as FinFETs;
  • state-of-the-art  nanowires, which offer very advanced transistor capabilities for use in a new  generation of electronic devices.
Using models, the researchers analysed reliability – from the  technology to the circuit level.
These advances are expected to redefine today’s standard  ‘complementary metal-oxide semiconductors’ (CMOS). The team’s results would help  Europe’s manufacturers develop CMOS devices below the 16 nanometre range. The  biggest challenge will lie in reducing CMOS devices to below five nanometres – a  development that now starts to look possible.
From communication and security to transport and industry,  CMOS-based devices of the future promise to redesign the technology we use,  introducing radical energy and cost savings.
The TRAMS consortium includes universities and companies from  Spain, Belgium and the UK. The project was coordinated by Spain’s Universitat  Politècnica de Catalunya, and received almost EUR 2.5 million in EU funding. The  team concluded its work in December 2012.
Source: Cordis

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Innovative medical nanotechnology textiles eliminates bacteria


Posted: Nov 12th, 2012

Innovative medical nanotechnology textiles eliminates bacteria

(Nanowerk News) Scientists at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya BarcelonaTech (UPC) in Spain have succeeded in eliminating infectious bacteria from medical textiles by using an enzymatic pre-treatment combined with simultaneous deposition of nanoparticles and biopolymers under ultrasonic irradiation. This was an outcome of the SONO (‘A pilot line of antibacterial and antifungal medical textiles based on a sonochemical process’) project, which is funded under the ‘Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies’ (NMP) Theme of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to the tune of EUR 8.3 million. SONO is targeting the improvement of antimicrobial properties on medical textiles through the use of the state-of-the-art technique.
The researchers said the technique creates fully sterile antimicrobial textiles that help keep hospital-acquired infections at bay. One of the biggest challenges facing hospitals are nosocomial infections, which are infections not present and without evidence of incubation at the time of admission. These types of infections include bacterial and fungal infections, and they are aggravated by the reduced resistance of patients.
The SONO consortium, headed up by Bar-Ilan University in Israel and made up of 17 European partners, used enzymes that improve adhesion of the antimicrobial nanoparticles to the fabric under ultrasonic irradiation. The application of the enzymes allowed them to boost the durability of the nanoparticles on the fabric to a level that ensured their presence even after 70 laundry cycles.
Thanks to the results of this study, production of textiles with antimicrobial properties that are 100 % effective is possible. Another winning factor for the antimicrobial treatment’s effectiveness is to incorporate hybrid materials into the fabric. These materials are based on organic and inorganic components, including zinc and chitosan nanoparticles. So not only do these materials eradicate the bacteria that are present, they also hinder the growth of new microbes.
The researchers are already collaborating with producers to make hospital gowns and linens; two prototype machines are being used to accomplish this, with one at the facilities of the Italian firm Klopman International and the other at the Davo Clothing group in Romania. A hospital in Sofia, Bulgaria is testing the fabrics, and the results are positive so far.
The growing rate of nosocomial infections are due to various factors, including the appearance of resistant microorganisms, an increased number of immunocompromised patients, more complex medical interventions and the performance of invasive procedures.
Studies have shown that infections acquired in hospitals are strong triggers of mortality and increased morbidity in in-patients. Between 3 % and 10 % of in-patients become infected while at hospital and the mortality rate for nosocomial infections is 1 %. But this problem also puts a great deal of pressure on the health system. These infections lead to longer hospital stays, up to 10 days, thus exacerbating this growing problem.
Source: Cordis

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Innovative Medical Nanotechnology Textiles Eliminates Bacteria


Innovative medical nanotechnology textiles eliminates bacteria
(Nanowerk News) Scientists at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya BarcelonaTech (UPC) in Spain have succeeded in eliminating infectious bacteria from medical textiles by using an enzymatic pre-treatment combined with simultaneous deposition of nanoparticles and biopolymers under ultrasonic irradiation. This was an outcome of the SONO (‘A pilot line of antibacterial and antifungal medical textiles based on a sonochemical process’) project, which is funded under the ‘Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies’ (NMP) Theme of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to the tune of EUR 8.3 million. SONO is targeting the improvement of antimicrobial properties on medical textiles through the use of the state-of-the-art technique.
The researchers said the technique creates fully sterile antimicrobial textiles that help keep hospital-acquired infections at bay. One of the biggest challenges facing hospitals are nosocomial infections, which are infections not present and without evidence of incubation at the time of admission. These types of infections include bacterial and fungal infections, and they are aggravated by the reduced resistance of patients.
The SONO consortium, headed up by Bar-Ilan University in Israel and made up of 17 European partners, used enzymes that improve adhesion of the antimicrobial nanoparticles to the fabric under ultrasonic irradiation. The application of the enzymes allowed them to boost the durability of the nanoparticles on the fabric to a level that ensured their presence even after 70 laundry cycles.
Thanks to the results of this study, production of textiles with antimicrobial properties that are 100 % effective is possible. Another winning factor for the antimicrobial treatment’s effectiveness is to incorporate hybrid materials into the fabric. These materials are based on organic and inorganic components, including zinc and chitosan nanoparticles. So not only do these materials eradicate the bacteria that are present, they also hinder the growth of new microbes.
The researchers are already collaborating with producers to make hospital gowns and linens; two prototype machines are being used to accomplish this, with one at the facilities of the Italian firm Klopman International and the other at the Davo Clothing group in Romania. A hospital in Sofia, Bulgaria is testing the fabrics, and the results are positive so far.
The growing rate of nosocomial infections are due to various factors, including the appearance of resistant microorganisms, an increased number of immunocompromised patients, more complex medical interventions and the performance of invasive procedures.
Studies have shown that infections acquired in hospitals are strong triggers of mortality and increased morbidity in in-patients. Between 3 % and 10 % of in-patients become infected while at hospital and the mortality rate for nosocomial infections is 1 %. But this problem also puts a great deal of pressure on the health system. These infections lead to longer hospital stays, up to 10 days, thus exacerbating this growing problem.