Ringing in the New Year with Nano-Technology

Hi everyone and Happy New Year! A new year means new posts and twists on similar and new topics. I’m encouraged by the advances we saw this last year and I’m sure this year will be no different. One very encouraging aspect for smaller and better things (that’s a nano joke) is that smaller universities or those universities not in the traditional limelight are starting to offer courses in nanotechnology or developing areas of study in the nano-sphere.  Everyone imagines the big universities to be on board with their billion dollar endowment funds but recently smaller universities have begun to do the same. Just awesome in my book. Oakton Community College in Skokie, Illinois just started hands-on nanotechnology courses this month. That’s just awesome. You can read the entire article here.

We look forward to great advances in nano technology, nano materials, and nano applications this year as well as sharing them with you!  Happy New Year!


Not just a “Deck”…it’s Nanotechnology!

A company called AERT (Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies Inc.) has teamed up with a local nanotechnology company, NanoMech Inc., in developing a new decking material that is expressly revolutionary.

Let’s face it, cold winters wreak havoc on house decks and they either fall apart or fade…or both. The new nanotechnology that AERT is using for its decks will enable their decks to be stronger, more fade resistant, and a better lifetime value for their customers. It’s stressed that they don’t just put on nanomaterials to coat their products but rather they use nanotechnology in the creation of the product. It’s not just a coating. Although AERT doesn’t specify what the nano materials used we feel it’s great they are utilizing technology and creating better products for the marketplace and innovation. Here is the entire article/press release if you would like to read it.

MIT & Rice Develop Paper Thin Bullet Proof Armor

OK, so I talked about James Bond the other day and spy gear so in keeping with that topic Scientists from MIT look as if they developed bullet proof material made from paper thin composite nanomaterials. Here’s the “but”…they haven’t been able to reliably test such materials against projectile impacts. MIT and Rice are working together so here’s what I don’t understand. We are in Houston, just like Rice, and there is no end to the supply of guns and shooting ranges here.  We are literally tripping over them.  So to say they can’t find any means they haven’t been out of their Ivory Towers lately to get on the World Wide Web to find any.

That aside…they have tested on smaller objects that can theoretically be scaled up to do the same as a bullet or larger. Just phenomenal work as I can see this application for presidents, diplomats, soldiers, etc.  Limitless. They haven’t figured out how to stop the blunt trauma a bullet or other object would cause but I don’t think that’s their problem. Solutions will be found.  The main job of something like they have produced is to stop the bullet from penetrating vital organs and it looks they are on the path to accomplish that. Here is the entire article:


The Science of Spy

James Bond’s new action thriller, Skyfall, is now out and reported to do over $500 million at the box office already. The spy game is not only interesting on the big screen but also by the people who actually use it. Scientists recently have been able to see through walls. Using laser beams to scatter light and computers to re-model it scientists in the Netherlands have been able to “see” through frosted glass, paper, and other thin, solid material where little light emits through. They feel with advances in technology perhaps thicker and more robust materials will be able to see through as well in the next 20 years.

This type of current technology is useful for non-invasive medical imaging and in nanotechnology. Areas where diffused light is emitted but not recognizable. But, in the future, the spies might have a more powerful weapon that helps them in their craft based off of the current technology. Or, you might see it in the next James Bond move.

Nanotechnology and nanomaterials are the backbone of our company. Check us out when  you have a chance at www.ssnan.com.

Monday Morning Solar Cells

They have Monday Morning Quarterback so I felt it was apt to have Monday Morning Solar Cells. What I mean by that is if a sport can be analyzed with 20/20 hindsight why can’t the world of elements, particles, and materials be as well?

So let’s start with the discussions on Polysilicon Prices. What is going on there?  According to www.pvinsights.com the price of Polysilicon is being sold at an average of $32.20 as of 11/30/2011. While that is not shocking what is shocking is what I’ve heard of prices are actually much lower than that. More like the $24 range in some parts of China. Here is where it gets interesting. Not many people are selling or buying at that but that in itself is telling me people are hurting enough to sell at that price.  The prices have come down so much that the cost to produce 1 watt of solar power from the manufacturer in China is now near $1. That means a 5kw solar system could be had for $5,000. Except for installation and integration with the grid that is a very nice price. In layman’s terms, that’ll cover the 72% of the electricity needs for the average US home. Not a bad investment.

Sound good, right? Here’s the bad part…if China produces this and floods the US market with inexpensive solar that could essentially wipe out the US manufacturers pretty quickly. The reason is that you can’t compete with the low pricing models they have. The USA must be seriously thinking of instituting tarrifs on China for these types of products. But, since the USA exports so much production equipment to China you could expect the same in retaliation. That, in itself, would stifle the solar movement even though affordability would surely move it to save on emissions and oil dependancy, let alone long-term savings for many American families.

Will it be a catch22?  Only time will tell…

Remember, you can always get your elements, compounds, CIGS, and other high purity materials at www.ssnano.com

What business are we in???

At SkySpring Nanomaterials we are in the service business. If we don’t give great service and products to our customers we don’t get repeat customers.. If our customers don’t buy from us we can’t turn the lights on. So although some might feel we are in the element, metal, or rare earth type of business….we are not. We are in the service business.

I’m making an assumption here and typically these do not turn out well for me but I’m a slow learner so here goes….the assumption is that our customers don’t want to spend a lot of time buying elements, compounds, or rare earth materials. What they want is the solution for their situation. If they need the product to manufacture, or polish, or coat they need the product at a fair price in a certain amount of time. Once they experience that with us they expect the same the next time. After a while, they know they can count on us.

The point I wish to stress is that even though we are a manufacture of certain powders, metals and elements we are actually on the other end of that email, phone, or computer. Our success is dependent on your success. So if we can be that value add to your business and one of those aspects of your business that you don’t need to worry about, we appreciate that. I guess all of us have favorite suppliers for whatever reason and we just hope we are or can compete to be one of your favorite suppliers.

So while many in our industry consider themselves in the element or metal business, we consider ourselves in the service business. It just happens we also manufacture and sell powders, compounds and rare earth materials.

Diamonds are High Purity Elements

High purity elements are much different than their lower purity counterparts. Let’s put it this way…imagine you are buying a diamond ring. What’s important to you with this diamond ring?

1. Size
2. Clarity
3. Cut
4. Color

All facets of the diamond are determined first and foremost by the quality, or purity of it. If a diamond has a lot of impurities, you will see that in the clarity. If it impure the color will be off. The price paid for a 1 carat great looking diamond from Tiffany’s is a lot different than what is purchased for industrial use for that same 1 carat.

The same holds true for the high level purity of elements. If you are testing, researching, or making great products you need the highest quality elements. If not, those impurities might be devalue your product, cloud your research results, or ruin your tests.

You can get high purity elements always at www.ssnano.com and for diamond nanoparticles  you can find here.

Silver Nanoparticles and how they may help clean water

Silver Nanoparticles have unique optical, electrical and thermal properties and have been incorporated into products that range from photovolaics to the tube sock. So what are silver nanoparticles,  what do they do, and what does the future hold for them?

What are Silver Nanomaterials?
Silver Nanoparticles are by definition a small particle between 1 nm and 100nm in size. They are frequently described as being silver although some are composed of a large percentage of silver oxide due to their large ratio of surface-to-bulk silver atoms.

What do they do?
The unique properties of silver nanoparticles make them ideal for numerous technologies including biomedical, materials, optical and anticrobial applications. Below are many of the applications of Silver Nanomaterials.

Some Silver Nanoparticle Applications
Diagnostic: Surgical instruments and biosensors where those materials can be used as biological tags for quantitative detection.
Antibacterial: s Incorporated in apparel, footwear, paints, wound dressings, appliances, cosmetics, and plastics for their antibacterial properties.
Conductive: Used in conductive inks and integrated into composites to enhance thermal and electrical conductivity.
Optical: Used to efficiently harvest light and for enhanced optical spectroscopies including metal-enhanced fluorescence (MEF) and surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS).
Bone Cement: Used to successfully anchor artificial joints.
Clean Water: Portable filter paper laced with silver nanoparticles. Used to filter foul water of such as cholera and giardiasis, for example, that are associated with foul drinking water.

Water Purification: Using silver to kill water based bacteria is not a new idea. People have been using silver to preserve potable water for centuries. I believe that advances in portable filters are one way to go to help bring potable water sources to over 1 billion people according to the World Health Organization not currently having access to clean water. Once the drawbacks have been eliminated this kind of water purification could help areas like Haiti in 2010 when the earthquake devastated basic drinking water. Many died because of water related disease and Silver Nanomaterials may be the solution.

The idea is to have filters that are lined with Silver Nanomaterials and when E-Coli or other bacterial try to go through the filter the Silver Nanomaterials essentially kill them off. Some early experiments show that when polluted water was filtrated, the filtrated water was 100 times better for bacteria ppm than the government recommendations/regulations call for.