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Blog Category: National Institute of Standards and Technology

NIST: Small Nanoparticles Bring Big Improvement to Medical Imaging

Human red blood cells, in which membrane proteins are targeted and labeled with quantum dots, reveal the clustering behavior of the proteins. The number of purple features, which indicate the nuclei of malaria parasites, increases as malaria development progresses. The NIST logo at bottom was made by a photo lithography technique on a thin film of quantum dots, taking advantage of the property that clustered dots exhibit increased photoluminescence. (White bars: 1 μm; red: 10 μm.)

Credit: H. Kang / NIST and F. Tokumasu / NIAID

Click for larger image.

A joint research team, working at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has discovered a method of using nanoparticles to illuminate the cellular interior to reveal these slow processes. Nanoparticles, thousands of times smaller than a cell, have a variety of applications. One type of nanoparticle called a quantum dot glows when exposed to light. These semiconductor particles can be coated with organic materials, which are tailored to be attracted to specific proteins within the part of a cell a scientist wishes to examine. (More)

Senate Confirms Dr. Patrick Gallagher as 14th NIST Director

Portrait of Gallagher

The U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Patrick D. Gallagher by unanimous consent last evening as the 14th director of the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Gallagher has worked at NIST since 1993 as a scientist and as a laboratory director. He has carried out the functions of the director in his current position as deputy director since September 2008. President Obama nominated Gallagher, 46, to his new post on September 10, 2009. (More) (Bio)

NIST Test Proves 'The Eyes Have It' for ID Verification

Image of human eye.

The eyes may be the mirror to the soul, but the iris reveals a person’s true identity—its intricate structure constitutes a powerful biometric. A new report by computer scientists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) demonstrates that iris recognition algorithms can maintain their accuracy and interoperability with compact images, affirming their potential for large-scale identity management applications such as the federal Personal Identity Verification program, cyber security and counterterrorism. (More)

Commerce Supports President Obama's Smart Grid Announcement through Accelerated Standards Effort

Image of solar panels. Click for larger image.

© Tobias Machhaus/Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Commerce is engaged in expedited efforts to support President Barack Obama’s announcement today of federal grants to 49 states for investments in a nationwide Smart Grid. A draft set of accelerated Smart Grid standards—recently unveiled by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and currently open for public comment—will help ensure that smart meters, sensors and other devices funded through the grants program work together seamlessly for a robust and reliable nationwide electricity system that saves energy and allows greater use of clean-energy technologies. (White House release)

NIST Signs U.S.-China Cooperative Agreement on Earthquake and Volcano Sciences

NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher and Yin Chaomin, the vice administrator of the Chinese Earthquake Administration, shaking hands while seated at signing table.

In the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake that occurred in China this past year and its high number of casualties, the U.S. and China have signed a protocol for cooperation on earthquake and volcano sciences. The protocol was signed by the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Science Foundation and Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S., and the Chinese Earthquake Administration and the National Natural Science Foundation of the People’s Republic of China. Shown are NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher and Yin Chaomin, vice administrator of the Chinese Earthquake Administration. (More) (Protocol)

New Computer Security Guide Can Help Safeguard Small Businesses

Image of video player. Click to watch a new NIST video explaining the reasons why small businesses should be concerned about safeguarding the information on their computers.

Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published a guide to help small businesses and organizations understand how to provide basic security for their information, systems and networks. Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals,by Richard Kissel, teaches computer security to groups of small business owners ranging from tow truck operators to managers of hospitals, small manufacturers and nonprofit organizations. The 20-page guide uses simple, clear language to walk small business owners through the steps necessary to secure their computer systems and data. (More) (Video page) (Guide)

Secretary Locke Unveils Plan for "Smart Grid" Interoperability

NASA Satellite Photo

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke unveiled an accelerated plan for developing standards to transform the U.S. power distribution system into a secure, more efficient and environmentally-friendly “Smart Grid” and create clean-energy jobs. Produced by Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the document identifies approximately 80 initial standards that will enable the vast number of interconnected devices and systems that will make up the nationwide “Smart Grid” to communicate and work with each other. The draft report, the first phase of NIST’s three-phase approach to develop Smart Grid standards, will be available for public comment and review for 30 days. (More) (Report) (Remarks)

Therapeutic Nanoparticles Offer Potential as Cancer-Killers

NIST logo. Click for image: An iron-centered nanoparticle (left) has a coating of the sugar dextran, whose tendrils prevent groups of the particles from clumping. When tumor cells ingest them (right), the particles still congregate closely enough to share heat when stimulated by a magnetic field, killing the cells. White arrow indicates a red blood cell.

A research team at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) studying sugar-coated nanoparticles for use as a possible cancer therapy, has uncovered a delicate balancing act that makes the particles more effective than conventional thinking says they should be. In cooperation with The Johns Hopkins University, Dartmouth College, the University of Manitoba and two biopharmaceutical companies, the NIST team has demonstrated that the particles are potent cancer-killers because they interact with one another in ways that smaller nanoparticles do not. Click on NIST logo above for image and description or here. (More)

Secretary Locke Breaks Ground on Major San Diego-Area Recovery Act Project

Shown with shovels in their hands: NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Directo Director Tony Haymet, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, NOAA Chief of Staff Margaret Spring. Click for larger image.

Photo: Robert Monroe/Scripps

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Mayor Jerry Sanders led a groundbreaking ceremony in La Jolla, Calif., for two new buildings dedicated to ocean science on the campus of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. The project is a major groundbreaking in California under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The buildings are supported by two federal agencies—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)—and will feature state-of-the-art marine life tanks and cutting-edge science labs. (More) (Remarks)

NIST Submits Master Plan for Gaithersburg Campus

View of Gaithersburg campus. Click for larger image.

Courtesy HDR Architecture, Inc./Steve Hall
© Hedrich Blessing

Planned and potential expansions and new facilities across campus, the addition of 400-500 kilowatts in power from solar panels, and increasing already-heavy employee use of alternative transportation to a daily rate of 40 percent are among the highlights of an updated Master Plan for the Gaithersburg, Md., campus of the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST has delivered its plan to the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), the central planning agency for federal land and buildings in the National Capital Region. (More)