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Tilted acoustic tweezers separate cells gently

August 26, 2014 8:33 am | by A'ndrea Elyse Messer, Penn State Univ. | Comments

Precise, gentle and efficient cell separation from a device the size of a cell phone may be possible thanks to tilt-angle standing surface acoustic waves, according to engineers at Penn State Univ. These waves can separate cells using very small amounts of energy. Unlike conventional separation methods that centrifuge for 10 minutes at 3,000 revolutions per minute, the surface acoustic waves can separate cells in a much gentler way.

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Driving brain rhythm makes mice more sensitive to touch

August 26, 2014 8:33 am | by David Orenstein, Brown Univ. | Comments

By striking up the right rhythm in the right brain region at the right time, Brown Univ. neuroscientists report in Nature Neuroscience that they managed to endow mice with greater touch sensitivity than other mice, making hard-to-perceive vibrations suddenly more vivid to them. The findings offer the first direct evidence that “gamma” brainwaves in the cortex affect perception and attention.

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Smartphones set out to decipher a cryptographic system

August 26, 2014 8:29 am | by Sébastien Corthésy, EPFL | Comments

Researchers in Switzerland have created an Android app which lets users get together to crack a modern cryptographic code. Building on earlier work that used a network of 300 PlayStation consoles, the scientists decided to leverage the power of smartphones. By running the algorithm a very large number of times the code may be broken eventually.

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Eye implant could lead to better glaucoma treatments

August 26, 2014 8:21 am | by Bjorn Carey, Stanford News Service | Comments

For the 2.2 million Americans battling glaucoma, the main course of action for staving off blindness involves weekly visits to eye specialists who monitor increasing pressure within the eye. Now researchers have developed an eye implant that could help stave off blindness caused by glaucoma. The tiny eye implant developed at Stanford Univ. could enable patients to take more frequent readings from the comfort of home.

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Calculating conditions at the birth of the universe

August 26, 2014 8:06 am | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboraotry | Comments

Using a calculation originally proposed seven years ago to be performed on a petaflop computer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers computed conditions that simulate the birth of the universe. When the universe was less than one microsecond old and more than one trillion degrees, it transformed from a plasma of quarks and gluons into bound states of quarks.

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Process helps overcome obstacles to produce renewable fuels, chemicals

August 26, 2014 7:44 am | by National Renewable Energy Laboratory | Comments

There’s an old saying in the biofuels industry: “You can make anything from lignin except money.” But now, a new study may pave the way to challenging that adage. The study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory demonstrates a concept that provides opportunities for the successful conversion of lignin into a variety of renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials for a sustainable energy economy.

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New class of materials discovered: Protein crystalline frameworks

August 25, 2014 1:45 pm | by New class of materials discovered: Protein crystalline frameworks | Comments

Protein crystals are extremely fragile, highly sensitive and hard to handle. Scientists in China have worked around these downsides by linking a protein crystal to helper molecules from the sugar family. When fixated, the molecules arrange themselves symmetrically within the helper molecule framework, forming crystals in which the proteins achieve high stability and are intricately interconnected into a protein crystalline framework.

Scientist uncover navigation system used by cancer, nerve cells

August 25, 2014 1:35 pm | Comments

Specialized cells can break through normal tissue boundaries and burrow into other tissues and organs. This crucial step in many normal developmental processes is guided by an extracellular cue called netrin, which orients the anchor cell so that it invades in the right direction. In a new study, researchers have shown how receptors on the invasive cells rove around the cell membrane ”hunting” for a missing netrin signal.

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Razor-sharp TV pictures

August 25, 2014 1:24 pm | Comments

The future of movie, sports and concert broadcasting lies in 4K definition, which will bring cinema quality TV viewing into people’s homes. With its 3840 x 2160 resolution, 4K Ultra HD has four times as many pixels as today’s Full HD. The new HEVC video compression standard now allows broadcasters to transmit live video in the 4K digital cinema standard, and was used recently to broadcast a soccer game in Germany.

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Physicists remove outcome unpredictability of three atoms binding at ultracold temperatures

August 25, 2014 1:20 pm | Comments

Findings from a physics study by a Kansas State Univ. researcher are helping scientists accurately predict the once unpredictable. They looked at theoretically predicting and understanding chemical reactions that involve three atoms at ultracold temperatures. Their findings help explain the likely outcome of a chemical reaction and shed new light on mysterious quantum states.

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New technique for measuring nanostructures

August 25, 2014 1:17 pm | by Robert Emmerich, Julius-Maximilians-Universität | Comments

A team of scientists from Germany, Canada, and the United States has now developed a promising new measurement method that works without destroying anything yet offers nanoscale resolution. The method, an enhancement of resonant x-ray reflectometry identifies the chemical elements involved and is able to determine both the magnetic order and the electron distribution.

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Future phones to use blood, speech to monitor HIV, stress, nutrition

August 25, 2014 9:30 am | by Cornell Univ. | Comments

David Erickson, a professor at Cornell Univ., will receive a $3 million National Science Foundation grant over five years to adapt smartphones for health monitoring. The program, dubbed PHeNoM for Public Health, Nanotechnology, and Mobility, aims to deploy three systems that can have an immediate impact on personal healthcare.

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A surprising new role for natural killer T cells

August 25, 2014 9:25 am | Comments

In the past, immune cells were clearly divided into innate cells, which respond to attacks in a non-specific way, and adaptive cells, which learn to recognize new antigens and gain the ability to rapidly react to later attacks. Researchers at RIKEN in Japan have discovered that is not always the case, having found that killer T cells previously thought to be innate, and thus short-lived, can remain in the lung for up to nine months.

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Breakthrough understanding of biomolecules could lead to new, better drugs

August 25, 2014 9:09 am | by Marcia Goodrich, Michigan Technological Univ. | Comments

There’s a certain type of biomolecule built like a nano-Christmas tree. Called a glycoconjugate, it’s many branches are bedecked with sugary ornaments. It’s those ornaments that get all the glory. That’s because, according to conventional wisdom, the glycoconjugate’s lowly “tree” basically holds the sugars in place as they do the important work of reacting with other molecules.

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Biomimetic photodetector “sees” in color

August 25, 2014 7:56 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | Comments

Rice Univ. researchers have created a CMOS-compatible, biomimetic color photodetector that directly responds to red, green and blue light in much the same way the human eye does. The new device uses an aluminum grating that can be added to silicon photodetectors with the silicon microchip industry’s mainstay technology, “complementary metal-oxide semiconductor,” or CMOS.

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