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Hybrid approach sheds light on crystal structure solution

December 12, 2012 8:43 am | News | Comments

Understanding the arrangement of atoms in a solid is vital to materials research—but the problem can be difficult to solve in many important situations. Now, by combining the work of two different scientific camps, Northwestern University researchers have created an algorithm that makes crystal structure solution more automated and reliable.

New model predicts movement of charged particles in complex media

November 28, 2012 12:53 pm | News | Comments

Elementary electrostatics we can calculate the force particle exert upon one another. When particles are submerged into a medium like water, however, the calculation grows more complex, and become very difficult when media become complicated. Northwestern University physicists have, after seven years of work, built a model that can predict reactions in any media.

Proving quantum computers feasible

November 27, 2012 8:12 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

With a new contribution to probability theory, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, IBM, Northwestern University, and colleagues from the Czech Republic have shown that relatively simple physical systems could yield powerful quantum computers.

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New structures self-assemble in synchronized dance

November 21, 2012 2:02 pm | News | Comments

With self-assembly guiding the steps and synchronization providing the rhythm, a new class of materials forms dynamic, moving structures in an intricate dance. Researchers from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have demonstrated tiny spheres that synchronize their movements as they self-assemble into a spinning microtube.

Catheter performs triple-duty with stretchable electronics

November 15, 2012 4:20 pm | News | Comments

A research team has used stretchable electronics to create a multipurpose medical catheter that can both monitor heart functions and perform corrections on heart tissue during surgery. The device marks the first time stretchable electronics have been applied to a surgical process known as cardiac ablation, a milestone that could lead to simpler surgeries for arrhythmia and other heart conditions.

Paper-and-scissors technique rocks the nano world

November 14, 2012 4:20 pm | News | Comments

Sometimes simplicity is best. Two Northwestern University researchers have discovered a remarkably easy way to make nanofluidic devices: using paper and scissors. And they can cut a device into any shape and size they want, adding to the method's versatility.

Researchers create laser the size of a virus particle

November 6, 2012 9:54 am | News | Comments

A Northwestern University research team has found a way to manufacture single laser devices that are the size of a virus particle and that operate at room temperature. These plasmonic nanolasers could be readily integrated into silicon-based photonic devices, all-optical circuits, and nanoscale biosensors.

Researchers make strides toward selective oxidation catalysts

November 5, 2012 11:45 am | News | Comments

Oxide catalysts play an integral role in many chemical transformations. Greener, more efficient chemical processes would benefit greatly from solid oxide catalysts that are choosier about their reactants, but achieving this has prove a challenge. Now, a team of researchers have developed a straightforward and generalizable process for making reactant-selective oxide catalysts by encapsulating the particles in a sieve-like film that blocks unwanted reactants.

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Study reveals impact of public DNS services

October 26, 2012 9:31 am | News | Comments

A new study by Northwestern University researchers has revealed that public domain name services (DNS) could actually slow down users’ web-surfing experience. As a result, researchers have developed a solution to help avoid such an impact: a tool called “namehelp” that could speed web performance by 40%.

Scientists discover that shape matters in DNA nanoparticle therapy

October 12, 2012 10:03 am | News | Comments

Researchers from Johns Hopkins and Northwestern universities have discovered how to control the shape of nanoparticles that move DNA through the body and have shown that the shapes of these carriers may make a big difference in how well they work in treating cancer and other diseases. The technique is noteworthy because it does not use a virus to carry DNA into cells.

Thermoelectric material is world's best at converting heat waste to electricity

September 19, 2012 10:21 am | News | Comments

Northwestern University scientists have developed a thermoelectric material that is, according to the university, the best in the world at converting waste heat to electricity, which is good news once one realizes nearly two-thirds of energy input is lost as waste heat. The material could signify a paradigm shift.

New nanoparticle system finds mercury in water, fish

September 13, 2012 4:33 am | by Erin White | News | Comments

The system currently being used to test for mercury and its very toxic derivative, methyl mercury, is time-intensive, costly, and can only detect quantities at already toxic levels. Researchers at Northwestern University and in Switzerland have invented a device consisting of a strip of glass with a nanoparticle film attached that can detect heavy metals in quantities more than a million times smaller than is currently possible.

Researchers set world record for highest surface area material

September 10, 2012 5:35 am | News | Comments

Northwestern University researchers have broken a world record by creating two new synthetic materials with the greatest amount of surface areas reported to date. Named NU-109 and NU-110, the materials belong to a class of crystalline nanostructure known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) that are promising vessels for natural gas storage for vehicles, catalysts, and other sustainable materials chemistry.

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Nano-velcro clasps heavy metal molecules in its grips

September 10, 2012 5:31 am | News | Comments

Mercury, when dumped in lakes and rivers, accumulates in fish, and often ends up on our plates. A Swiss-American team of researchers has devised a simple, inexpensive system based on nanoparticles, a kind of nano-velcro, to detect and trap this toxic pollutant as well as others. The particles are covered with tiny hairs that can grab onto toxic heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium.

Researchers develop simplified approach for high-power, single-mode lasers

August 24, 2012 10:12 am | News | Comments

When it comes to applications like standoff sensing the laser's strength is of the utmost importance. A stronger and purer beam means devices can sense danger more accurately from a greater distance, which translates into safer workers, soldiers, and police officers. Northwestern University researchers have developed a new resonator that creates the purest, brightest, and most powerful single-mode quantum cascade lasers yet at the 8 to 12 micron range.

Scientists create chemical “brain”

August 23, 2012 4:45 am | News | Comments

Northwestern University scientists have connected 250 years of organic chemical knowledge into one giant computer network—a chemical Google on steroids. A decade in the making, the software optimizes syntheses of drug molecules and other important compounds and combines long (and expensive) syntheses of compounds into shorter and more economical routes.

New crystalline material could bring down of cost of electronics, computers

August 23, 2012 4:06 am | by Megan Fellman | News | Comments

A team of organic chemists have discovered they can create very long crystals with desirable properties using just two small organic molecules that are extremely attracted to each other. The attraction between the two molecules causes them to self assemble into an ordered network, and, most importantly, they possess the ferroelectric properties that are useful in computing.

Toward achieving 1 million times increase in computing efficiency

July 10, 2012 10:15 am | News | Comments

Northwestern University researchers have created an entirely new family of logic circuits based on magnetic semiconductor devices. The advance could lead to logic circuits up to 1 million times more power-efficient than today's.

Complex networks, animal or computer, share similar skeletons

June 4, 2012 3:48 am | News | Comments

Northwestern University researchers are the first to discover that very different complex networks—ranging from global air traffic to neural networks—share very similar backbones. By stripping each network down to its essential nodes and links, they found each network possesses a skeleton and these skeletons share common features, much like vertebrates do.

Mystifying materials

May 24, 2012 5:39 am | News | Comments

It's not magic, but new materials designed by two Northwestern University researchers seem to exhibit magical properties. Some contract when they should expand, and others expand when they should contract.

Argonne, universities partner to design advanced materials

May 16, 2012 9:24 am | News | Comments

Argonne National Laboratory announced major new efforts with Northwestern University and the University of Chicago to advance the research and development of new materials to help solve the nation’s challenges in the fields of energy, health, and security.

New X-ray bionanoprobe enables study of cryogenically preserved samples

April 25, 2012 4:23 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Northwestern University's Department of Radiation Oncology and Argonne National Laboratory recently deployed a new non-destructive X-ray microscopy solution from Xradia to image cryogenically preserved cells and advance studies of intra-cellular biology.

Influencing stem cell fate

March 6, 2012 10:04 am | News | Comments

Northwestern University scientists have developed a powerful analytical method that they have used to direct stem cell differentiation. Out of millions of possibilities, they rapidly identified the chemical and physical structures that can cue stem cells to become osteocytes, cells found in mature bone.

Lubricant mystery solved; longer joint life possible

February 14, 2012 11:11 am | Articles | Comments

Prosthetic materials for hips, which include metals, polymers, and ceramics, have a lifetime typically exceeding 10 years. However, beyond 10 years the failure rate generally increases. Engineers and physicians have discovered that graphitic carbon is a key element in a lubricating layer that forms on metal-on-metal hip implants.

Researchers develop new method for creating tissue engineering scaffolds

February 13, 2012 5:04 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new method for creating scaffolds for tissue engineering applications, providing an alternative that is more flexible and less time-intensive than current technology.

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