Theragnostic Technologies to launch a graphene-based MRI agent next month

Theragnostic Technologies logoIn 2012, researchers from Stony Brook University established a new company called Theragnostic Technologies to develop a new efficient graphene-based MRI contrast agent that is safer and cheaper than current gadolinium-based agents.

Next month the company is set to unveil its product, the ManGraDex graphene-based MRI agent. The company says that this new contrast agent will greatly improve the MRI safety and efficacy of MRI - and will also expand the MRI market into unserved renal and cardiovascular patients.

Humidity sensor made from graphene quantum dots and bacteria

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago engineered a humidity sensor on a bacterial spore. They call it NERD, for Nano-Electro-Robotic Device. They've taken a spore from a bacteria and put graphene quantum dots on its surface, then attached two electrodes on either side of the spore. Then they change the humidity around the spore,causing the spore to shrink. As it shrinks, the quantum dots come closer together, increasing their conductivity, as measured by the electrodes.

The researchers report a very sharp reaction once the humidity is changed, around 10 times faster than a sensor made with the most advanced man-made water-absorbing polymers. There was also better sensitivity in extreme low-pressure, low-humidity situations. The researchers also said it is possible to go all the way down to a vacuum and see a response, which is important in applications where humidity must be kept low,like preventing corrosion or food spoilage and space applications, where any change in humidity could signal a leak.

DARPA helps develop graphene-based 4-atoms thick neural electrical and optical sensors

Researchers from University of Wisconsin (with support from DARPA) developed new 4-atom thick graphene-based sensors that are so thin to be virtually transparent - which allows the sensors to perform both electrical and optical brain measurements at the same time.

The graphene-based contacts are used to measure and also stimulate neural tissue. These kinds of sensors could provide new insights into relationships between brain structure and function, and how these evolve by injury or disease.

Will graphene enable biomimetic soft robots?

Researchers from China's Xi'an Jiaotong University suggest a new bio-inspired soft robot platform made from graphene composites. The graphene robot is driven by near-infrared (nIR) light as graphene has excellent photothermal conversion efficiency in the nIR light band.

The team suggests building a microfish made from graphene and polymers. The microfish is controlled by nIR light. This is bilayer (pure-PDMS and GNP-PDMS) platform that is easily produced by scraping coating and spin coating processing. The bilayer platform is a soft photoresponsive material that can work in both air and water.

Flexible transparent graphene electrodes may enable electronic tattoos

Researchesr from Korea's Ulsan, KAIST and ETRI institutes developed a process that produces flexible transparent graphene electrodes that can be attached to the skin (or any kind of delicate object). This could enable applications such as electronic tattoo-like stickers or bio-signal sensors.

A graphene metal fiber composite ise used, which lowers the resistance of the transparent electrode to approximately 1/20th of existing ones. This enables the electrodes to be used in flexible displays or sensors. The new process is similar to a widely-used semiconductor process which means that this can be scaled commercially.