Mass spectrometers that are as small as a smartphone and require as little as one volt — a 3,000-time reduction in potential — to create an electric field which would turn a sample into ions for identification of composition may soon become a reality.
The feat of shrinking the ion source that requires very little voltage was achieved by a team led by Professor T. Pradeep of the Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. The results were published last week in the Angewandte Chemie International journal.
Conventionally, a solution of the sample is electrosprayed at 3,000 volts to create charged droplets that become ions. The massive reduction in voltage requirement became possible by using carbon nanotube-impregnated paper to act as a substrate on which the sample was deposited. If the conventional method uses very high voltage to create a strong electric field, the sharp protrusions of the carbon nanotubes help in creating the high electric field by using very low voltage.
The researchers are yet to decipher where the samples get charged — along the entire length of the nanotube or just at the tip. It is also not clear why molecules present in the air don’t get ionised and create their own signals (technically called as noise). Read more for a detailed report.
Suman Kapur, professor of biological sciences at Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, has developed a new cell-phone-sized blood sugar testing machine that could cost just Rs 2, take about 10 seconds and require 1,000 times less blood than the existing glucose meters.
The new blood sugar testing machine will undergo final evaluation by July 15 and is expected to be ready for mass production by December. Instead of strips, the device uses a capillary (narrow pipe) worth Rs 2 through which the blood is transmitted to the reading device. Kapur has used nano particles to intensify the colour code response using the ‘Colour to Frequency Censor’ technology.
The innovation could have a large social impact in India, the diabetes capital of the world. This is an excerpt from Kounteya Sinha’s news report featuring the Indian innovation. Read full article
Food waste is a growing problem in many parts of the world, but discarded fruit peel, in the case of pomegranates, could be put to good use in the burgeoning field of nanotechnology, according to botanist Naheed Ahmad of Patna University and physicist Seema Sharma of AN College, Patna, in Bihar, India, who are working together to exploit the skin of pomegranates as a reducing agent for making silver nanoparticles. Their results appear in the International Journal of Nanoparticles (Source: Ahmad N., Sharma S. 2012. Biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles from biowaste pomegranate peels. Int. J. Nanoparticles 5, 185-195).
The pomegranate, Punica granatum, is native in northern India and has been cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region since ancient times. The fruit extract is a rich source of highly potent antioxidants.
The team says their approach to these widely researched and technologically invaluable nanoparticles represents a more environmentally benign method than the use of “chemical” reducing agents and industrial solvents. Read more