Sunday, May 22, 2016

Nanotechnology + Art

Dr. Gimzewski’s lecture on nanotechnology this week was very insightful. What surprised me most was the fact that nanotech is completely commercialized and can be found in every day appliances. For example, silver nanoparticles that have anti-microbial effects can be placed in socks and underwear to destroy bacteria. Samsung has been able to utilize silver nanotechnology to generate Ag+ ions that act as a shield against growth of bacterial and other microbial organisms. The ions have the ability to kill bacteria and prevent further reproduction, leading to effective protection of food inside their refrigerators.

Samsung's Silver Nanotechnology
Another interesting topic Dr. Gimzewski covered was the adhesive properties of gecko feet. The feet of geckos are specifically nano-structured to be able to stick on to vertical surfaces and carry the entire weight of the gecko. Although scientists aren’t able to replicate the nano-structures in the lab for human trials, the potential could mean being able to climb the sides of buildings with gloves.

Self-organization at the nano level can create a variety of beautifully unique forms called diatoms. The microscopic images of diatoms seem more like art paintings than nano-structures. Artists can look towards the nano level to garner inspiration in new art works. Even architects can learn from how these diatoms can self-organize and create something much larger and more stable than by itself.

Examples of Diatoms
In Paul Rothemund’s Ted Talk: “DNA Folding, In Detail,” he was able to use fold DNA in such a way that it resembled a smiley face. He created 50 billion smiley faces in one drop of water, and took a picture of them with an atomic force microscope. This is really interesting because nano-artwork and “DNA origami” can be used for nano-circuits, which are the most basic building blocks in computers. 
Picture From Atomic Force Microscope
Works Cited
Rothemund, Paul. "DNA Folding, in Detail." Paul Rothemund:. Ted Talk, Feb. 2008. Web. 23 May 2016. <>.
Uconlineprogram. "Nanotech Jim Pt3." YouTube. YouTube, 21 May 2012. Web. 23 May 2016. <>.
Uconlineprogram. "Nanotech Jim Pt5." YouTube. YouTube, 21 May 2012. Web. 23 May 2016. <>.
"What Are Diatoms?" :: Diatoms of the United States. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2016. <>.
"What Is Silver Nano Health System in Samsung Refrigerators?" What Is Silver Nano Health System in Samsung Refrigerators? N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2016. <>.


  1. I thought that last week's topic was indeed quite insightful. What I thought was really interesting was the art that nanoscientists have compiled in their work. As you stated, Rothemund's TED talk gave an overview of the miniscule world of nanoparticles incorporating what nano-artwork he has done with his project with DNA. I actually found a website that features artworks by nanoscientists and I found one particular one that I thought was surprising. There was a "pandora flower" from zinc oxide and it reminded me of the smiley face you talked about. They are both images that we wouldn't think would be possible to be seen in materials such as DNA. Your incorporation of the materials we covered and your own take concisely summarized the abstract world of nanotechnology.

  2. I thought your inclusion of Rothemund's TED talk was extremely interesting. The manipulation of DNA on the nanoscale could prove to be one of the most revolutionary experiments to ever grace the scientific world. Similarly, I had no idea nanotechnology was already being used in refrigerators. Its interesting to think that such a new science is being so quickly incorporated into everyday life.