Researchers at Purdue Univ. are part of a national effort to develop new materials having super strength and other properties by using shock waves similar to those generated by meteorites striking the Earth. A new center has been established specifically for this type of investigation, and its primary mission is to predict shock conditions under which new materials can be synthesized.
Researchers are working on a range of options to overcome a fundamental obstacle in commercializing plasmonic metamaterials that could bring advanced optical technologies for more powerful computers, new cancer treatments and other innovations. The materials could make it possible to harness clouds of electrons called "surface plasmons" to manipulate and control light.
The discovery of a gene's function in E. coli and other bacteria might lead to a probiotic to prevent the most common type of kidney stone, according to a Purdue Univ. study. Human cells can't metabolize oxalate, an acidic chemical found in nearly all plants we eat, so any oxalate we absorb from food must be excreted from the body. Calcium-oxalate urinary stones can form when oxalate reaches a high concentration in the kidneys.
Researchers have developed a concept to potentially improve delivery of drugs for cancer treatment using nanoparticles that concentrate and expand in the presence of higher acidity found in tumor cells. The concept involves using nanoparticles made of "weak polybases," compounds that expand when transported into environments mimicking tumor cells, which have a higher acidity than surrounding tissues.
A medical test previously developed to measure a toxin found in tobacco smokers has been adapted to measure the same toxin in people suffering from spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis, offering a potential tool to reduce symptoms. The toxin, called acrolein, is produced in the body after nerve cells are injured, triggering a cascade of biochemical events thought to worsen the injury's severity.
Purdue Univ. researchers have demonstrated a method for "temporal cloaking" of optical communications, representing a potential tool to thwart would-be eavesdroppers and improve security for telecommunications. While the previous research in temporal cloaking required the use of a complex, ultrafast-pulsing "femtosecond" laser, the researchers achieved the feat using off-the-shelf equipment.
Virus particles of the same type had been thought to have identical structures, like a mass-produced toy, but a new visualization technique developed by a Purdue University researcher revealed otherwise. It was found that an important viral substructure consisted of a collection of components that could be assembled in different ways, creating differences from particle to particle.
Researchers have created a new type of transparent electrode that might find uses in solar cells, flexible displays for computers and consumer electronics, and future "optoelectronic" circuits for sensors and information processing. The electrode is made of silver nanowires covered with a material called graphene, an extremely thin layer of carbon.
A new design tool interprets hand gestures, enabling designers and artists to create and modify 3D shapes using only their hands as a "natural user interface" instead of keyboard and mouse. The tool, called Shape-It-Up, uses specialized computer algorithms and a depth-sensing camera to observe and interpret hand movements and gestures.
Researchers have created a new tool to detect flaws in lithium-ion batteries as they are being manufactured, a step toward reducing defects and inconsistencies in the thickness of electrodes that affect battery life and reliability. The Purdue researchers have developed a system that uses a flashbulb-like heat source and a thermal camera to read how heat travels through the electrodes.
Researchers at Purdue University have found a way to see synthetic nanostructures and molecules using a new type of super-resolution optical microscopy that does not require fluorescent dyes. The imaging system, called saturated transient absorption microscopy, or STAM, uses a trio of laser beams, including a doughnut-shaped laser beam that selectively illuminates some molecules but not others.
Researchers have married two biological imaging technologies, creating a new way to learn how good cells go bad. Being able to study a cell's internal workings in fine detail would likely yield insights into the physical and biochemical responses to its environment. The technology, which combines an atomic force microscope and nuclear magnetic resonance system, could help researchers study individual cancer cells.
In efforts to prioritize and efficiently manage the repair of boats and stations damaged by Superstorm Sandy, the U.S. Coast Guard has accredited a system called Coast Guard Search and Rescue Visual Analytics (cgSARVA) developed in collaboration with Purdue University.
A Purdue University-led team has revealed the proton transfer pathway responsible for a majority of energy storage in photosynthesis. The team used X-ray crystallography to describe the molecular structure of the cytochrome complex isolated from cyanobacteria, the most primitive photosynthetic organism. The findings contribute to the understanding of the function of photosynthesis and that of membrane proteins.
Kevin Keener, a professor of food science at Purdue University, looks for new ways to kill harmful bacteria, and has determined that exposing packaged liquids, fruits, and vegetables to an electrical field for just minutes could remove all traces of foodborne pathogens. His method uses electricity to generate a plasma, or ionized gas, from atmospheric gases inside the food package.
Researchers are developing a new type of semiconductor technology for future computers and electronics based on "2D nanocrystals" layered in sheets less than a nanometer thick that could replace today's transistors. The layered structure is made of a material called molybdenum disulfide, which belongs to a new class of semiconductors—metal di-chalogenides—emerging as potential candidates to replace today's CMOS technology.
A Purdue University-led team of researchers discovered sunlit snow to be the major source of atmospheric bromine in the Arctic, the key to unique chemical reactions that purge pollutants and destroy ozone. The team's findings suggest the rapidly changing Arctic climate—where surface temperatures are rising three times faster than the global average—could dramatically change its atmospheric chemistry.
Through the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, several types of bacteria have become resistant to drugs that were designed to kill them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that some of these "superbugs" are linked to tens of thousands of deaths in the United States annually, including 14,000 for C. difficile and 19,000 for MRSA. Technology developed by Purdue University researchers and commercialized through a Purdue Research Park-based firm could be effective against the increased number of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria in the world.
New research findings may help scientists design drugs to treat a virus infection that causes potentially fatal brain swelling and paralysis in children. The virus, called enterovirus 71, causes hand, foot, and mouth disease and is common throughout the world. Although that disease usually is not fatal, the virus has been reported to cause fatal encephalitis in infants and young children, primarily in the Asia-Pacific region. Currently, no cure exists for the infection. However, new findings show the precise structure of the virus bound to a molecule that inhibits infection.
New optical technologies using "metasurfaces" capable of the ultra-efficient control of light are nearing commercialization. According to Alexander Kildishev, an electrical engineer and professor at Purdue University, the metasurfaces could make possible "planar photonics" devices and optical switches small enough to be integrated into computer chips for information processing and telecommunication
A new analytical theory has been developed at Purdue University that shows how to design experiments to study ways of controlling dendrite growth on electrodes in lithium-ion batteries. Using this approach, the researchers have shown theoretically how to control or eliminate the formation of these dendrites, which cause lithium-ion batteries to fail. The advance could help improve safety and might enable the batteries to be charged within a matter of minutes instead of hours.
While studying a mutant strain of yeast, Purdue University researchers may have found a new target for drugs to combat cholesterol and fungal diseases.
According to Jay Melosh, a distinguished professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences and physics and aerospace engineering at Purdue University, if the asteroid rapidly approaching us this week were to impact rather than nearly miss Earth, it would explode with a four-megaton force near what the military calls optimum height for damage. This asteroid would release only half the energy of the Siberian strike in 1917, but the 30,000-foot detonation height could cause significant property damage and loss of life.
In the midst of an unusually deadly flu season and armed with a vaccine that only offers partial protection, a Purdue University researcher is working on a flu vaccine that overcomes the need to predict which strains will hit each year and eliminates the common causes of vaccine shortages.
Researchers are improving the performance of technologies ranging from medical computed tomography scanners to digital cameras using a system of models to extract specific information from huge collections of data and then reconstructing images like a jigsaw puzzle. The new approach is called model-based iterative reconstruction, or MBIR, and it is helping to greatly reduce the noise in data, providing great clarity at lower radiation intensities.