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Disappearing carbon circuits on graphene could have security, biomedical uses

September 30, 2015 11:00 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

In the television drama “Mission Impossible,” instructions for the mission were delivered on an audio tape that destroyed itself immediately after being played. Should that series ever be revived, its producers might want to talk with Georgia Institute of Technology professor Andrei Fedorov about using his “disappearing circuits” to deliver the instructions.


Advancing freeze-drying technology through rocket science

September 30, 2015 10:00 am | by Elizabeth K. Gardner, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Purdue Univ. has created a new lyophilization consortium, LyoHUB, to improve freeze-drying technology to make food, pharmaceuticals and biotech products safer and more affordable. The center is funded by NIST through a $453,623 planning grant from its Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia, or AMTech, program.


Scientists decode structure at root of muscular disease

September 30, 2015 8:10 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Researchers at Rice Univ. and Baylor College of Medicine have unlocked the structural details of a protein seen as key to treating a neuromuscular disease. Their success at obtaining a structural map of a protein known as leiomodin 2 (Lmod2) attached to two actin subunits offers a path forward for the study of nemaline myopathy, a hereditary disorder that weakens the muscles and can sometimes be fatal.


Shedding light on metabolism

September 30, 2015 8:03 am | by Catriona Kelly, Univ. of Edinburgh | Comments

The way in which our cells convert food into fuel is shared by almost all living things and, now, scientists have discovered a likely reason why this is so widespread. Researchers examined how cells make energy from food, by digesting simple sugars such as glucose in a series of chemical reactions. This process is almost the same for every kind of cell, including animals, plants and bacteria.


Researchers disguise drugs as platelets to target cancer

September 30, 2015 7:59 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Researchers have, for the first time, developed a technique that coats anticancer drugs in membranes made from a patient's own platelets, allowing the drugs to last longer in the body and attack both primary cancer tumors and the circulating tumor cells that can cause a cancer to metastasize. The work was tested successfully in an animal model.


Making batteries with portabella mushrooms

September 30, 2015 7:52 am | by Sean Nealon, Univ. of California, Riverside | Comments

Can portabella mushrooms stop cell phone batteries from degrading over time? Researchers at the Univ. of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering think so. They have created a new type of lithium-ion battery anode using portabella mushrooms, which are inexpensive, environmentally friendly and easy to produce.


U.S. falls behind in offshore wind power

September 30, 2015 7:46 am | by Karen Roberts, Univ. of Delaware | Comments

Univ. of Delaware faculty from the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), the College of Engineering and the Alfred Lerner School of Business and Economics say that the U.S. has fallen behind in offshore wind power.


Wearable electronic health patches may be cheaper, easier to make

September 29, 2015 3:00 pm | by Sandra Zaragoza, The Univ. of Texas at Austin | Comments

A team of researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The Univ. of Texas at Austin has invented a method for producing inexpensive and high-performing wearable patches that can continuously monitor the body’s vital signs for human health and performance tracking, potentially outperforming traditional monitoring tools such as cardiac event monitors.


Physicists map the strain in a wonder material

September 29, 2015 2:02 pm | by Kurt Pfitzer, Lehigh Univ. | Comments

An international group of scientists reports a breakthrough in the effort to characterize the properties of graphene noninvasively, while acquiring information about its response to structural strain. Using Raman spectroscopy and statistical analysis, the group succeeded in taking nanoscale measurements of the strain present at each pixel on the material's surface.


Plant debris decomposition tied to manganese

September 29, 2015 12:00 pm | by Anne M Stark, LLNL | Comments

The decomposition of plant debris (litter) is a fundamental process that regulates the release of nutrients for plant growth and the formation of soil organic matter in forest ecosystems. A strong correlation has previously been observed between litter manganese (Mn) content and decomposition rates across a variety of forest ecosystems. However, the mechanisms underlying Mn's role in litter decomposition were not well understood.


Smaller is better for nanotube analysis

September 29, 2015 11:00 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

In a great example of “less is more,” Rice Univ. scientists have developed a powerful method to analyze carbon nanotubes in solution. The researchers’ variance spectroscopy technique zooms in on small regions in dilute nanotube solutions to take quick spectral snapshots.


Unique self-assembling material could lead to artificial arteries

September 29, 2015 7:56 am | by Will Hoyles, Public Relations Manager, Queen Mary Univ. of London | Comments

Researchers at Queen Mary Univ. of London have developed a way of assembling organic molecules into complex tubular tissue-like structures without the use of molds or techniques like 3-D printing. The study, which appears in Nature Chemistry, describes how peptides and proteins can be used to create materials that exhibit dynamic behaviors found in biological tissues like growth, morphogenesis and healing.


A light touch

September 29, 2015 7:48 am | by Byron Spice, Carnegie Mellon Univ. | Comments

Optical sensors may be uniquely suited for use in robotic hands, according to Carnegie Mellon Univ. researchers who have developed a three-fingered soft robotic hand with multiple embedded fiber optic sensors. They also have created a new type of stretchable optical sensor.


Goods manufactured in China aren’t good for the environment

September 29, 2015 7:44 am | by Brian Bell, Univ. of California, Irvine | Comments

In a study published in Nature Climate Change, scientists from three universities show that products made in China are associated with significantly higher carbon dioxide emissions than the same products made elsewhere.


A new single-molecule tool to observe enzymes at work

September 29, 2015 7:37 am | by James Urton, Univ. of Washington | Comments

A team of scientists at the Univ. of Washington and the biotechnology company Illumina have created an innovative tool to directly detect the delicate, single-molecule interactions between DNA and enzymatic proteins. Their approach provides a new platform to view and record these nanoscale interactions in real time.



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