Notre Dame

The Future of Medical Tech Looks to Silk

More comfortable to sleep in than diamonds, silk has been an exotic, fashionable gift since humans first began to collect the stuff. With doctors always looking for better, safer ways to do things, silk is also gaining attention as a valuable piece of medical technology.

Silk appeals to medical researchers because it is biodegradable and doesn’t provoke an immune reaction. Scientists have experimented with using silk films to embed electronics in the brain. Unlike silicon, silk contours to the shape of brain, making the electronics easier to place. Scientists have also recently discovered that silk can become sticky by introducing an electric field.

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Researchers Develop Solar Paint

Imagine if a fresh coat of paint could make your business more energy efficient, or could help power the  new electric car you’re helping design. Scientists at Notre Dame have used breakthroughs in semiconductor nanocrystal research to create a paint that collects solar energy. Researchers created the one-coat paint, which they have named “Sun-Believable,” by mixing CdS, CdSe, and TiO2 semiconductor nanoparticles.

 ”We want to do something transformative, to move beyond current silicon-based solar technology. By incorporating power-producing nanoparticles, called quantum dots, into a spreadable compound, we’ve made a one-coat solar paint that can be applied to any conductive surface without special equipment.”  — Notre Dame professor Prashant Kamat.

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