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10-05/06 :: May/June 2010

nanotimes EU-Projects

tricity from chemical energy. Researchers from the consortium developed a cost-effective, low tempera- ture transportable device, which represents a major research challenge requiring a highly innovative approach. In addition, they investigated new low- cost proton-exchange membranes containing large numbers of proton-exchange sites and an extensive cross-linked core structure.

Modifications were made to membranes to limit permeability to methanol while maintaining proton conductivity. Laboratory test findings showed simi- lar results for the different novel membranes with a maximum power density of around 85mW/cm2 compared well to the target of 100 mW/cm2

set by

the project. The MOREPOWER team also carried out studies into multilayer membrane electrode assem- blies which were manufactured by project partners on a micro-pilot scale.

The benefits of an enhanced membrane material in- clude better proton conductivity and thermal stability while reducing the crossover rate of methanol. These improvements enable more power to be packed into a smaller space making DMFCs suitable as an energy source for stand-alone units such as auxiliary power units and security devices. Furthermore, DMFCs have no moving parts which render them more reliable and cheaper to maintain than conventional electrici- ty generators.

Contact: Antonino Salvatore Arico, CNR-ITAE Istituto di Tecnologie Avanzate per l‘Energia, Piazzale Aldo Moro 7, Roma, Italy, Phone: +39-090-624237. http://www.itae.cnr.it/

Self Assembly Nanochip Kits . This

Researchers with an EU-funded project MINT – Molecular interconnect for nanotechnology‘ – have shrunk the boundaries using a hybrid made of ge- netic material and conventional integrated circuitry. The project scientists have harnessed the unique properties of DNA‘s single strand partner, ribonucleic acid (RNA). This molecular cornerstone of the ge- netic code indulges in complementary base pairing. The upshot of this is that the RNA strand can be de- signed to bond to predictable complementary bits of another molecule, rather like a jigsaw. Big sections of RNA also have a specific folding pattern (the tertiary structure) in which large structures can be deposited.

RNA makes molecular self-assembly a reality. The resulting miniaturisation is amazing. Wiring is consi- derably below 100nm and the attached programma- ble units are as tiny as 10nm in size.

At the University of Glasgow, the MINT team has pioneered methods to quantify and control the amount of specially designed oligonucleotides immo- bilised onto the surface of electrodes. The specificity and degree of immobilisation is assessed using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) to measure the ele- ments present. Mass per unit area is also quantified using a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM).

Organic/inorganic electronic devices can be made with a high degree of reproducibility at a competitive cost.

Contact: GLIDLE, Andrew Glidle, University of Glasgow, U.K., Phone: +44-1413-306014: http://www.elec.gla.ac.uk

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