Tiny Tech Radio Series Archive

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(Original WUFT Air Date)

#32 Focusing on Rooftop Solar Panels                                (06/07/13)          Download .mp3
If you’ve seen homes with rooftop solar panels, you might have wondered if they really save the homeowner money.  It turns out that - at today's electricity prices - they can, but only because of government subsidies and incentives... [more]

#31 Seeing Through Liquids with an Electron Microscope   (02/08/13)          Download .mp3
When scientists take pictures or movies of atom-sized objects, they often use a T.E.M.  –  a type of electron microscope that transmits an electron beam through the sample... [more]

#30 The Feat of Sticky Little Feet                                        (01/11/13)          Download .mp3
Consider the gecko, a fascinating lizard.  Geckos have the amazing ability to walk upside down even on the undersides of smooth surfaces such as glass. This ability is due to the millions of tiny flexible hairs on the undersides of their feet... [more]

#29 OLEDs on Display                                                          (12/07/12)          Download .mp3
Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, have been used in commercial products since the 1960s.  They are popular light sources for public lighting and signage, and for displays in TV’s, cell phones, and other mobile devices... [more]

#28 Windows as Solar Panels?                                            (11/09/12)          Download .mp3
It has recently become popular to place solar panels on the rooftops of houses, in order to reduce the homeowner’s electric bill.  But solar panels are too expensive for many homeowners, and impractical for those who live in high rises... [more]

#27 Molecules and the Modern-Day Sherlock Holmes        (09/28/12)          Download .mp3
The 1930s radio version of the great fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, often exclaimed “Elementary, my dear Watson!” when he reached an obvious conclusion... [more]

#26 Nanodentistry                                                                (08/24/12)          Download .mp3
Teeth make eating possible, sharks scary, and smiles pretty.  But when you have a cavity, you need to see a dentist.  For over 200 years, dentists have been filling cavities with amalgams, which are mixtures of silver, mercury, and other metals... [more]

#25 The Amazing Spider... Silk                                            (08/03/12)          Download .mp3
The plastic items we all know so well are made of polymers, materials consisting of simple repeating units of particular chemicals.  As it turns out, nature is a brilliant polymer chemist... [more]

#24 Nanowire Barcodes                                                      (07/27/12)          Download .mp3
When I’m at the grocery store, I always seem to be in the slowest checkout line.  But…it's faster than it used to be because nearly everything I buy comes with a barcode on the label... [more]

#23 Aerogels - Lighter than a Feather                                (07/13/12)          Download .mp3
In the movie Back to the Future, George McFly was a little confused when he told his future wife “I am your density.”  To a scientist, density is the weight of an object, divided by its volume.  Some solids, such as balsa wood, have very low densities... [more]

#22 Photothermal Therapy - Can You Take the Heat?       (06/22/12)          Download .mp3
If the cells in your body get hot, they get a little uncomfortable and don’t work as well. Unlike us, however, they can’t just drink some ice-cold lemonade to cool off. Your cells can only live near body temperature, and if things get too hot, they die. This is true for normal cells, and also for cancer cells...[more]

#21 Graphene - Tale of the Tape                                        (06/15/12)          Download .mp3
Remember when you were a kid, drawing all over your desk with your trusty number 2 pencil and then trying to rub off the black graphite marks with your hands?  Well, if you had tried to clean your blackened fingers with sticky tape, you might have been on your way to scientific glory... [more]

#20 Magnetic Nanoparticles in Medicine                            (06/08/12)          Download .mp3
Iron is a key nutrient and a beneficial dietary supplement.  But scientists are busily investigating new medical uses of iron.  For example, magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a common technique for visualizing the inside of a patient’s body... [more]

#19 Nanotechnology and Batteries                                    (05/18/12)          Download .mp3
Batteries are an amazing technology.  Each battery is a little chemical reactor:  when power is needed, the chemical reaction proceeds, and electricity is generated... [more]

#18 Nanotechnology and Diabetes                                    (05/11/12)          Download .mp3
There are many reasons for getting a tattoo:  personal expression, remembrance of a family member, or just for fun. But what if I told you that there could be a medical reason for getting a tattoo?... [more]

#17 Organic Solar Cells                                                     (05/04/12)          Download .mp3
Ever wonder how a solar cell works?  When sunlight strikes a solar cell, its energy is transferred to electrons, which jump out of their original locations and move through the solar cell, creating an electrical current... [more]

#16 "Green Synthesis" and Nanomaterials                        (04/13/12)       Download .mp3
Protecting the environment is a worthy goal.  Scientists in the chemical industry are investigating “green chemistry,” which is the invention of chemical manufacturing processes that consume less energy, use smaller amounts of non-toxic starting materials and solvents, and minimize... [more]

#15 Superparamagnetic Nanoparticles                             (03/16/12)          Download .mp3
The dark “mag-stripe” on your credit card is made of iron-containing particles, each of which is a magnet with a north and south pole... [more]

#14 Confocal Raman Spectroscopy                                   (03/23/12)         Download .mp3
Raman spectroscopy can yield important information about the structure and chemical composition of a material by simply shining a laser light onto the material and measuring the scattered light that returns... [more]

#13 TiO2 Nanosheets                                                        (02/25/12)          Download .mp3
In the modern world, titania (also known by its chemical formula, TiO2) can be found in a variety of products.  This is because titania is great at absorbing UV light, making it ideal for use in protective coatings like paint or sunscreen... [more]

#12 Luminescence                                                              (02/03/12)        Download .mp3
Sometimes molecules end up with excess energy.  This energy can come from many sources, including absorption of light, chemical reactions or passage of an electrical current.  This excess energy is sometimes released in the form of light, in a process called luminescence... [more]

#11 Nanostructured Catalysts                                           (01/27/12)        Download .mp3
An important way to save energy in chemical manufacturing is to use catalysts that allow the process to run at a lower temperature.  Catalysts are used in many industrial processes, such as making plastics, rubbers, gasoline and other petroleum-derived products... [more]

#10 Scanning Probe Microscopy                                       (12/09/11)        Download .mp3
Ordinary microscopes bend light with lenses so that we can see small objects.  Well, when things get really small, down to the nanometer scale, even the most powerful light microscope is useless and the scanning probe microscope becomes a necessity... [more]

#9    Quantum Dots                                                            (11/25/11)        Download .mp3
I don’t know about you, but I get crabby if my shoes are too small for my feet.  Well, electrons don’t get crabby, but they do change properties if they are confined in small spaces.  The small spaces that scientists are using to confine electrons are called quantum dots... [more]

#8    Carbon Nanotubes                                                    (11/18/11)         Download .mp3
A key ingredient in many products, from pencil leads to tennis racquets, is the chemical substance graphite.  Graphite is a form of carbon in which the atoms bond to one another in sheets that are one atom thick... [more]

#7    Viruses as Nanotechnology                                      (11/07/11)         Download .mp3
Feeling sick?  Although many illnesses are caused by microorganisms, other diseases such as cystic fibrosis and hemophilia are genetic disorders, caused by abnormalities in the DNA of our own chromosomes... [more]

#6    More on Moore's Law                                                (11/04/11)        Download .mp3
In 1965, the chemist Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors on a computer chip would double every two years, due to improvements in technology to make the individual circuit components smaller and smaller... [more]

#5    Gold Nanoparticles: Not Just Tiny!                           (10/28/11)        Download .mp3
What would happen if you were to take a gold coin and cut it into two pieces, and then into four, and kept going until you had very tiny pieces consisting of perhaps a thousand gold atoms each?... [more]

#4    Nanoelectromechanical Systems                             (10/21/11)        Download .mp3
In the 1966 movie “Fantastic Voyage”, Hollywood star Raquel Welch was part of a surgical team that was placed aboard a submarine, miniaturized to microscopic size, and injected into the bloodstream of a man... [more]

#3    The Single-Electron Transistor                                (10/14/11)         Download .mp3
Transistors are everywhere:  in computers, in cell phones, and even in those gimmicky greeting cards that play tunes when they’re opened. One reason transistors are useful is because they can be rapidly switched “on” and “off” to generate the ones and zeros that are a computer’s binary code... [more]

#2    The Impact of Nanotechnology                                (10/07/11)        Download .mp3
We live in a world of change, and the technology that surrounds us is changing especially fast.  One important contributor is something called nanotechnology.  Simply stated, nanotechnology is the manufacture of objects from parts that are almost as small as individual atoms... [more]

#1    What is Nanotechnology?                                        (9/30/11)          Download .mp3
Let’s talk small, really small.  The field of nanotechnology is making big advances toward achieving precise control of matter on the nanometer scale. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, or about the size of four adjacent atoms.... [more]