Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Science Technology

Berkeley Scientists Develop Self-Assembling Nanorods 43

First time accepted submitter techgeek0279 writes "Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a relatively fast, easy and inexpensive technique for inducing nanorods to self-assemble into one-, two- and even three-dimensional macroscopic structures."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Berkeley Scientists Develop Self-Assembling Nanorods

Comments Filter:
  • Inevitably... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by pr100 ( 653298 )

    I for one welcome our new nanorod overlords.

  • Old (Score:5, Funny)

    by goldaryn ( 834427 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @06:20AM (#38900939) Homepage
    I've been turning a nanorod into a three dimensional structure for years.

    Haven't yet worked out how to make it visible to the naked eye, though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by macraig ( 621737 )

      Haven't yet worked out how to make it visible to the naked eye, though.

      That's what she said!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @07:21AM (#38901103)

    They scare me. Not because the gray goo idea, but because I can't help but think that it could really be a problem to stabilize them once they're in the desired shape/structure. If their curing is chemical, and we do get to see some great materials, couldn't their "self-stuff" functions be triggered once they're in place inside our objects ? I RTFA, but yeah, IANAC.

    OTOH, it would be cool if these materials were easier to recycle, maybe at room temperature.

    • It sounds to me like they are stable once removed from the substrate. They talk about using "energenic contributions" (?) to guide the assembly process. So even if it were possible to trigger self-assembly mechanism outside that environment, you'd have to re-energize them in a similar fashion, or you'd just get some random clumping of ... junk.
      • Could be wrong, but I do believe that was exactly the GP's concern... Say you (eventually) use this to construct a building -- having someone able to bath part of the substructure in a chemical and have it suddenly start un-structuring itself would be disastrous.

        That said, I'm inclined to say the GP's concern is largely moot, people can already use chemicals to destroy buildings...

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @08:15AM (#38901275)

    What's so odd about these self assembly claims is that while they do that to some extent it's rarely very reliable or significant.

    Several industries want this material for use in products but they can't get the tons of the stuff required to actually go into production.

    Why use carbon fiber when we can make nanotubes that are many times as strong when weaved appropriately? Well... because no one can get their hands on enough of it to bother making anything.

    It's very frustrating.

    I'm sure they'll crack the problem eventually, but until then I'm taking these reports with a grain of salt until I see them going into industrial production.

    • Do not forget health consequences. I am OK with waiting some more and have time to check that we are not creating the next asbestos ...

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Karmashock ( 2415832 )

        Oh please don't bring up that joke all over again.

        That stuff has to be the most over-hyped medical hazard in US history.

        Also... its likely that removing it from the space shuttle is why started to become too hazardous to fly. They were initially designed to use asbestos between the panels and the structure. That was removed and replaced with something less effective.

        Anyway... this sort of material isn't something you waste putting everywhere. It's something you use when nothing else will get the job done.


        • just curious....

          Slower than an airplane sure, but slower than air travel? Is it still slower if you add the time to check in at the airport, get x-rayed, manhandled, board, retrieve luggage, etc. ?

          I don't have good estimates on travelling with luggage by train, but medium distance commuting by train on the east coast (ie manhattan to D.C.) is usually about the same time as air travel. The manhattan to DC fight is about 1 hour but travel time is between 4 and 5 hours adding the stuff at the airports. The

          • As to airplane versus airtravel... Yep... both.

            First, the train isn't going straight from LA to SF. That would take it through park land and mountains. If we were really serious about a train them we'd do what the Swiss did when they wanted a train... Tunnel through. There are many such tunnels in the Rocky Mountains. Only way to get a freeway through them in many cases is to tunnel. Anyway, this train won't be doing any of that for a few reasons. One, it would spoil the area in the opinion of some. Cali ha

    • I admit I did not read the article, but that's what /. comments for, right?

      Question: "while they do that to some extent it's rarely very reliable or significant". How does this compare with more ordinary self-assembly of crystals from low-molecular weight units (like NaCl, etc)?

      Also, protein crystallographers were making crystals from quite large proteins since 1959, how do sizes compare? (I truly don't have any shame, may be I will read it myself after sending this)

      I am always intersted in what is really n

      • I'd just be more interested in this sort of thing if they ever made something actually useful.

        We've been hearing about this technology for years now. It should be finding its way into fabrication.

        • It's a running joke in Russian social networks about special feelings that Putin and Medvedev have towards nanotechnology and all things nano-, punchline being of course that it's yet another way to embezzle state budget.

    • Well even carbon fiber products like Kevlar are still higher than crap. If you want it really strong you have to put the panel in a press mold and then into an autoclave for hours.

      We do need the car companies to start spending some money on how to press out lightweight and strong structures that can be made as cheap as steel. It's simple power to weight. The vehicles and the batteries need to get lighter, if we are going to see a bunch of battery powered cars everywhere or maybe the highway department could

  • Self-assembling! It's a new dawn for IKEA furniture!
  • Looks we got some replicators ahead.....
    • I for one welcome our self-assembling nanorod overlords. (Gotta be better than our current idiot overlords...)
  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @10:07AM (#38901851) Homepage Journal

    mRNA = "varying .. morphology of the block copolymers "
    aminoacids = nanorods

    Sans ribosome.

  • These energetic contributions can be easily tuned by varying the supramolecular morphology, which is accomplished simply by attaching different types of small molecules to the side chains of the block copolymers.

    Sounds so easy! Why didn't I think of that?

  • Now if only we can trade them for some yamok sauce...
  • "two- and even three-dimensional macroscopic structures" = different types of uniform glass-like structures with different pattern of near-order.

    Another sophisticated supernanomonomers that can do that is hydrogen dioxide and carbon. Except environmental conditions (temperature, etc) here they use a chemical agent (block copolymer)

    Can anybody explain what the big deal is?

  • Widgets that build things out of themselves. What could possibly go wrong? Just tell me that they're working on a "disassembler ray" gizmo too.
  • We've got a lot of confusion here. If I'm interpreting their work correctly, it's a precursor technology required for industrial production of active paint. The first application to be targeted would be paint-on solar cells, followed fairly quickly by paints that change colors with the flip of a switch, and culminating in paint-on displays. The same technology would apply to textiles as well, making those color changing video clothes from the sci-fi films. Not the self-cleaning ones though. Self-cleani

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk