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Study: Squid skin protein could improve biomedical technologies

July 16, 2014 2:24 pm | Comments

The common pencil squid may hold the key to a new generation of medical technologies that could communicate more directly with the human body. Materials science researchers in California have discovered that reflectin, a protein in the tentacled creature’s skin, can conduct positive electrical charges, or protons, making it a promising material for building biologically inspired devices.  

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Trying gene therapy to create biological pacemaker

July 16, 2014 2:22 pm | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

No batteries required: Scientists are creating a biological pacemaker by injecting a gene into the hearts of sick pigs that changed ordinary cardiac cells into a special kind that induces a steady heartbeat. The study, published Wednesday, is one step toward developing an alternative to electronic pacemakers that are implanted into 300,000 Americans a year.

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Dispersant from Deepwater Horizon spill found to persist in the environment

July 16, 2014 12:51 pm | Comments

In an attempt to prevent vast quantities of oil from fouling beaches and marshes after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP applied 1.84 million gallons of chemical dispersant. The dispersant was thought to rapidly degrade in the environment, but a new study has found that the DOSS dispersant compound remains associated with oil and can persist in the environment for up to four years.

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Bubble wrap serves as sheet of tiny test tubes in resource-limited regions

July 16, 2014 11:46 am | Comments

Popping the blisters on the bubble wrap might be the most enjoyable thing about moving. But now, researchers led by 2007 R&D Magazine Scientist of the Year George Whitesides propose a more productive way to reuse the popular packing material: as a sheet of small, test tube-like containers for medical and environmental samples. Analyses can take place right in the bubbles.

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Breakthrough in the development of stretchable optical waveguides

July 16, 2014 10:33 am | Comments

Scientists in Belgium have recently fabricated the world’s first randomly deformable optical waveguide. This innovative optical link remains functional for bending radii down to 7 mm, and can be stretched to more than a third of its length. A link like this can be used to interconnect optical components within a stretchable system, just like stretchable electrical interconnections.

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Apple, IBM team up in mobile devices, applications

July 16, 2014 10:17 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | Comments

Apple is teaming up with former nemesis IBM to work together on about 100 different mobile applications in an attempt to sell more iPhones and iPads to corporate customers and government agencies. The applications, expected to be released this fall, will feature some of data-crunching tools that IBM Corp. sells to companies trying to get a better grasp on their main markets while scouring for new money-making opportunities.  

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Self-assembling nanoparticle could improve MRI cancer scanning

July 16, 2014 8:44 am | Comments

Scientists have designed a new self-assembling nanoparticle that targets tumors, to help doctors diagnose cancer earlier. The new nanoparticle, developed by researchers in the U.K., boosts the effectiveness of magnetic resonance imaging scanning by specifically seeking out receptors that are found in cancerous cells.

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NASA’s Van Allen probes show how to accelerate electrons

July 16, 2014 7:50 am | Comments

One of the great, unanswered questions for space weather scientists is just what creates two gigantic donuts of radiation surrounding Earth, called the Van Allen radiation belts. Theories abound, but probes sent by NASA have recently provided the first really strong confirmation of what's happening. For the first time, scientists can explain how the electrons are accelerated up to nearly the speed of light.

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Powerful new sensor amplifies optical signature of single molecules by 100 billion times

July 15, 2014 5:19 pm | Comments

Scientists in Texas have created a unique sensor that amplifies the optical signature of molecules by about 100 billion times. The new imaging method uses a form of Raman spectroscopy in combination with an intricate but mass reproducible optical amplifier. Newly published tests found the device could accurately identify the composition and structure of individual molecules containing fewer than 20 atoms.

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Powerful molecular sensor boosts optical signal by 100 billion times

July 15, 2014 4:45 pm | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Scientists at Rice Univ. have created a unique sensor that amplifies the optical signature of molecules by about 100 billion times. The new imaging method uses a form of Raman spectroscopy in combination with an intricate but mass reproducible optical amplifier. Newly published tests found the device could accurately identify the composition and structure of individual molecules containing fewer than 20 atoms.

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New York invests in nanotech with General Electric

July 15, 2014 4:17 pm | by David Klepper - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

New York state is teaming with General Electric Co. and other companies on a $500 million initiative to spur high-tech manufacturing of miniature electronics, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt announced Tuesday. The state will invest $135 million for the collaborative program, which will be based out of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany.

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Directly visualizing hydrogen bonds

July 15, 2014 3:53 pm | Comments

Using a newly developed, ultrafast femtosecond infrared light source, chemists at the University of Chicago have been able to directly visualize the coordinated vibrations between hydrogen-bonded molecules. This marks the first time this sort of chemical interaction, which is found in nature everywhere at the molecular level, has been directly visualized.

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Fundamental chemistry findings could help extend Moore’s Law

July 15, 2014 3:49 pm | by Kate Greene, Berkeley Lab | Comments

The doubling of transistors on a microprocessor occurs roughly every two years, and is the outcome of what is called Moore’s Law. In a bid to continue this trend of decreasing transistor size and increasing computation and energy efficiency, chip-maker Intel has partnered with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to design an entirely new kind of photoresist, one that combines the best features of two existing types of resist.

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Drones: Next big thing in aviation is small

July 15, 2014 2:21 pm | by Danica Kirka - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

The next big thing in aviation may be really small. With some no bigger than a hummingbird, the hottest things at this week's Farnborough International Airshow are tiny compared with the titans of the sky, such as the Airbus 380 or the Boeing Dreamliner.

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Removing parts of shape-shifting protein explains how blood clots

July 15, 2014 1:54 pm | Comments

Prothrombin is an inactive precursor for thrombin, a key blood-clotting protein, and is essential for life because of its ability to coagulate blood. Using x-ray crystallography, researchers have published the first image of this important protein. By removing disordered sections of the protein’s structure, scientists have revealed its underlying molecular mechanism for the first time.

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