A group of Illinois researchers, led by Centennial Chair Prof. of the Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Huimin Zhao, has demonstrated the use of an innovative DNA engineering technique to discover potentially valuable functions hidden within bacterial genomes. Their work was reported in a Nature Communications article.
An international multidisciplinary team including...
The first long-term U.S. field trials of Miscanthus x giganteus reveal that its...
Researchers have tried for decades to understand the undulations and gyrations that allow...
Univ. of Illinois researchers have developed a way to heal gaps in wires too small for even the world's tiniest soldering iron. Junctions between nanotubes have high resistance, slowing down the current and creating hotspots. The researchers use these hot spots to trigger a local chemical reaction that deposits metal that nanosolders the junctions.
An interdisciplinary team of researchers has set its sights on improving the materials that make solar energy conversion/photocatalysis possible. Together, they have developed a new form of high-performance solar photocatalyst based on the combination of the titanium dioxide and other “metallic” oxides that greatly enhance the visible light absorption and promote more efficient utilization of the solar spectrum for energy applications.
An international team of researchers has used pioneering electron microscopy techniques to discover an important mechanism behind the reaction of metallic nanoparticles with the environment. Crucially, the research led by the Univ. of York, shows that oxidation of metals proceeds much more rapidly in nanoparticles than at the macroscopic scale.
Researchers report that wood-biochar supercapacitors can produce as much power as today’s activated-carbon supercapacitors at a fraction of the cost, and with environmentally friendly byproducts. In wood-biochar supercapacitors, the wood’s natural pore structure serves as the electrode surface, eliminating the need for advanced techniques to fabricate an elaborate pore structure. Wood biochar is produced by heating wood in low oxygen.
Scientists have created a heat-resistant thermal emitter that could significantly improve the efficiency of solar cells. The novel component is designed to convert heat from the sun into infrared light, which can then be absorbed by solar cells to make electricity. Unlike earlier prototypes that fell apart at temperatures below 1,200 C, the new thermal emitter remains stable at temperatures as high as 1,400 C.
Congress should minimally modify—and not, as petroleum-related interests have increasingly lobbied for, repeal—the Renewable Fuel Standard (RSF), the most comprehensive renewable energy policy in the U.S., according to a new paper from two Univ. of Illinois researchers. In the study, the researchers argue that RFS mandates merely ought to be adjusted to reflect current and predicted biofuel commercialization realities.
Researchers have developed a new quantitative method of identifying pollen grains that is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Since the invention of the light microscopes, the classification of pollen and spores has been a highly subjective venture for those who use these tiny particles to study vegetation in their field, palynology. However, the limitations have kept researchers from classifying pollen and spores beyond a general level.
Scientists report in Nature Communications that they have engineered yeast to consume acetic acid, a previously unwanted byproduct of the process of converting plant leaves, stems and other tissues into biofuels. The innovation increases ethanol yield from lignocellulosic sources by about 10%.
Univ. of Illinois researchers have developed a new approach with applications in materials development for energy capture and storage and for optoelectronic materials. According to Charles Schroeder, an asst. prof. in the Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, the results show that peptide precursor materials can be aligned and oriented during their assembly into polypeptides using tailored flows in microfluidic devices.
Researchers report that they have created a man-made catalyst that is an “enzyme mimic.” Unlike most enzymes, which act on a single target, the new catalyst can alter the chemical profiles of numerous types of small molecules. The catalyst—and others like it—will greatly speed the process of drug discovery, the researchers say.
A team from the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern Univ. has devised a novel nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that delivers a roughly 10-nm spatial resolution. This represents a significant advance in MRI sensitivity as modern MRI techniques yield spatial resolutions on the millimeter length scale, with the highest-resolution experimental instruments giving spatial resolution of a few micrometers.
Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed arrays of tiny nanoantennas that can enable sensing of molecules that resonate in the infrared (IR) spectrum. Other nanoscale antenna systems can't be tuned to a longer light wavelength due to limitations of traditional nanoantenna materials. The team used highly doped semiconductors, grown by molecular beam epitaxy.
Farmers who grow corn and soybeans can take advantage of government price support programs and crop insurance, but similar programs are not available for those who grow biomass crops. A new study recommends a framework for contracts between growers and biorefineries to help spell out expectations and designate who will assume the risks and costs.
Like naked mole-rats, blind mole-rats live underground in low-oxygen environments, are long-lived and resistant to cancer. A new study demonstrates just how cancer-resistant they are, and suggests that the adaptations that help these rodents survive in low-oxygen environments also play a role in their longevity and cancer resistance.
An analysis of enzymes that load amino acids onto transfer RNAs, an operation at the heart of protein translation, offers new insights into the evolutionary origins of the modern genetic code, researchers report. The researchers focused on aminoacyl tRNA synthetases, enzymes that “read” the genetic information embedded in transfer RNA molecules and attach the appropriate amino acids to those tRNAs.
Afraid there may be peanuts or other allergens hiding in that cookie? Thanks to a cradle and app that turn your smartphone into a handheld biosensor, you may soon be able to run on-the-spot tests for food safety, environmental toxins, medical diagnostics and more.
Imagine this: There's no need to throw out your old cellphone, because it will self-destruct. That's the idea behind a project at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where researchers are investigating how to build electronics that vanish in water. A new video from the university explains their efforts.
The Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will receive $16 million to fund a new center that will leverage extreme-scale computing to predict how plasmas could be used to control combustion. The research may pave the way for cleaner-burning combustors and more reliable and higher performance jet engines.
Half a millennium after Johannes Gutenberg printed the Bible, researchers printed a 3-D splint that saved the life of an infant born with severe tracheobronchomalacia, a birth defect that causes the airway to collapse. While similar surgeries have been performed using tissue donations and windpipes created from stem cells, this is the first time 3-D printing has been used to treat tracheobronchomalacia—at least in a human.
Introductory chemistry students learn that oil and water repel each other. So do other hydrophobic substances, which carry no electric charge, and hydrophilic substances, which carry an electric charge that allows them to mix with water. In a recent study, a group of bioengineers have found a way to strongly adhere hydrogels to hydrophobic silicone substrates, an innovation that provides a valuable new tool for microscale biotechnology.
Ever been to a whispering gallery—a quiet, circular space underneath an old cathedral dome that captures and amplifies sounds as quiet as a whisper? Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Michigan are applying similar principles in the development optomechanical sensors that will help unlock vibrational secrets of chemical and biological samples at the nanoscale.
Current methods for particle trapping mainly rely on electrokinetic, magnetic, or optical force fields, which may not be compatible with biomolecules or biological systems. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a first-of-its-kind flow-based method for manipulating and confining single particles in free solution.
Researchers report that they have determined the precise chemical structure of the HIV capsid, a protein shell that protects the virus’s genetic material and is a key to its virulence. The capsid has become an attractive target for the development of new antiretroviral drugs. The researchers used the University of Illinois’ supercomputer Blue Waters to determine the complete HIV capsid structure.
Cells in the human body do not function in isolation. Living cells rely on communication with their environment—neighboring cells and the surrounding matrix—to activate a wide range of cellular functions. This cellular communication occurs on the molecular level and it is reciprocal. Now, for the first time, researchers have measured the molecular force required to mechanically transmit function-regulating signals within a cell.
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