It is estimated that at least one tenth of the population have some form of needle phobia. That is the arrant fear of injections and the associated hypodermic syringes to the point where it seriously hampers medical procedures. There have even been reported cases of people actually dying of fright (more accurately drop in blood pressure) as the physiological result of their fear. One solution which may help, though not particularly designed with this problem in mind, is the microneedle.
Aerosol is a word that many people are familiar with. In many countries some items described commonly as aerosols have been banned as they themselves emit what is really the aerosol. The most technical definition of an aerosol is very similar to that of colloid, a suspension of particles in a fluid (normally air). Aerosols are notorious for their ability to rise into the upper atmosphere and interfere with incoming light from the Sun. It is for this reason, as well as chemical reasons related to chlorine’s catalytic abilities, that some man made aerosols have been made illegal. Of course not all of these particles necessarily have to come from a human source and even if they do they can be more advanced than simple molecules. Organic aerosols have their role to play as well with a great number of aerosols falling into the organic category.
The El Niño southern oscillation is a an oscillation in wind and seas surface temperatures of the Pacific Ocean. The ups and downs of temperature come in intervals although they are highly sporadic and so the periods can be quite irregular with random amplitudes when it comes the to the temperature peaks and troughs. The warm sections are given the name El Niño and the cold sections, La Niña, literally meaning the boy and the girl if my Spanish hasn’t failed me. Both periods typically last only a couple of months each being split by periods just known as neutral with no major temperature fluctuations. It is widely accepted that this oscillation is caused by a positive feedback loop called the Bjerknes loop where a rise in sea surface temperature in the central pacific weakens the easterly wind which in turn lets more warm water disperse east which leads to more warm water being brought up from the deeper sea which all together raises the temperature of the central pacific and so on.
Optomechanical systems are nothing if not delicate. When the driving force (very literally) in a system is the pressure of incident light it is no surprise that forces being examined are on a minute scale. On a relevant diversion: the Nobel prize for physics has recently been announced to be for the discovery of gravitational waves which was where the development of optomechanics came from. The effects of optomechanics on the interferometric gravitational wave detectors had to be accounted for to analyse when the disturbance was actually caused by a gravitational wave. Now back to pure optomechanics. The sensitivity of electromechanical systems, which makes them so hard to set up, can actually be used as an advantage. All the best measuring equipment is delicate purely because it needs to be delicate to pick up the change its supposed to be measuring and this is where optomechancial systems can shine.
It is a well known fact that materials acquire completely new properties when they are reduced to the nanoscale. Some notable examples include nanoparticles of silver gaining antibacterial properties; zinc oxide nanoparticles being able to absorb ultraviolet light, a property not seen in the bulk zinc oxide; and gold nanoparticles having an absorption band which turns them red (although citation may be needed as I can’t remember where I learnt this fact). Many of these properties derive from the fact that on a nanoscale the surface to volume of these particles is such an extreme with a corresponding higher surface energy (easier to stick to things). Of course the shape of nanoparticles is very important as this one of the main ways of changing the surface area to volume ratio.