Researchers at North Carolina State Univ. have created the first coils of silicon nanowire on a substrate that can be stretched to more than double their original length, moving us closer to incorporating stretchable electronic devices into clothing, implantable health-monitoring devices, and a host of other applications.
By rethinking what happens on the surface of things, engineers at Harvard Univ. have discovered that Bacillus subtilis biofilm colonies exhibit an unmatched ability to repel a wide range of liquids—and even vapors. By studying the biofilm colonies, the researchers now suspect they know the secret to a biofilm's resiliency, which holds promise for both creating bio-inspired non-wetting materials and developing better ways to eliminate harmful biofilms.
Researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Univ. of California at Berkeley have developed a solution-based method for inducing the self-assembly of flexible polymer membranes with highly aligned subnanometer channels. Fully compatible with commercial membrane-fabrication processes, this new technique is believed to be the first example of organic nanotubes fabricated into a functional membrane over macroscopic distances.
Researchers at the Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, continue to chip away at the mysterious existence of water on the moon—this time by discovering the origin of lunar water.
A new type of mechanical hand developed by researchers at Harvard and Yale promises to solve the issue of overthinking. In a makeover inspired by cockroach legs, the engineers chose not to make their robotic hand smarter, but to redesign its form to suit a dumb robot.
Using detailed land analysis, Univ. of Illinois researchers have found that biofuel crops cultivated on available land could produce up to half of the world’s current fuel consumption. The study identified land around the globe available to produce grass crops for biofuels, with minimal impact on agriculture or the environment.
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have shown that they can deliver the cancer drug cisplatin much more effectively and safely in a form that has been encapsulated in a nanoparticle targeted to prostate tumor cells and is activated once it reaches its target.
As sensors that do things like detect touch and motion in cell phones get smaller, cheaper, and more reliable, computer manufacturers are beginning to take seriously the decade-old idea of"smart dust". In order for such networks to make collective decisions, however, they need to integrate information gathered by many devices. A team from MIT and the Israel Institute of Technology has developed a new algorithm that handles bottlenecks much more effectively than its predecessors. The algorithm is designed to work in so-called ad hoc networks overseeing the network as a whole.
Glass stronger and tougher than steel? A new type of damage-tolerant metallic glass, demonstrating a strength and toughness beyond that of any known material, has been developed and tested by a collaboration of researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology. What’s more, even better versions of this new glass may be on the way.
New research shows how light can be used to control the electrical properties of graphene, paving the way for graphene-based optoelectronic devices and highly sensitive sensors.
Although the storage of films and music on a DVD is part of our digital world, the physical basis of the storage mechanism is not understood in detail. Now, researchers from Jülich, Finland, and Japan provide insight into the read and write processes in a DVD. This knowledge should enable improved storage materials to be developed.
While most blood tests require shipping a vial of blood to a laboratory for analysis and waiting several days for the results, a new device invented by a team of engineers and students at the Univ. of Rhode Island uses just a pinprick of blood in a portable device that provides results in less than 30 minutes.
General Motors Co. and the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory announced they have reached a worldwide licensing agreement to use Argonne's patented composite cathode material to make advanced lithium-ion batteries that last longer between charges and can charge at higher voltages.
Move over silicon. There's a new electronic material in town, and it goes fast. That material is graphene. These layers, sometimes just a single atom thick, conduct electricity with virtually no resistance, very little heat generation—and less power consumption than silicon.
Nanotechnologists at The Univ. of Texas at Dallas have invented a broadly deployable technology for producing weavable, knittable, sewable, and knottable yarns containing up to 95 weight percent of otherwise unspinnable guest powders and nanofibers.
The Crab Nebula, one of our best-known and most stable neighbors in the winter sky, is shocking scientists with a propensity for fireworks—gamma-ray flares set off by the most energetic particles ever traced to a specific astronomical object. The discovery, reported today by scientists working with two orbiting telescopes, is leading researchers to rethink their ideas of how cosmic particles are accelerated.
Is the expansion of the universe accelerating for some unknown reason? This is one of the mysteries plaguing astrophysics, and somewhere in distant galaxies are yet-unseen supernovae that may hold the key. Now, thanks to a telescope calibrated by scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Harvard Univ., and the Univ. of Hawaii, astrophysicists can be more certain of one day obtaining an accurate answer.
Michael Kessler, an Iowa State Univ. associate professor of materials science and engineering and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, has worked with polymers that repair themselves when they crack. And he's worked with polymers made from vegetable oils. Now he's working to combine the two technologies. Kessler is researching and developing biorenewable polymers capable of healing themselves as they degrade and crack.
In a groundbreaking achievement that could help scientists "build" new biological systems, Princeton Univ. scientists have constructed for the first time artificial proteins that enable the growth of living cells.
The production of high quality chocolate, and the farmers who grow it, will benefit from the recent sequencing and assembly of the chocolate tree genome, according to an international team. The team sequenced the DNA of a variety of Theobroma cacao, considered to produce the world's finest chocolate.
A scientist from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute has devised a new method of analyzing and quantifying changes in proteins that result from a common chemical process. The new findings could provide new insights into the effects of a highly destructive form of stress on proteins in various disease models, particularly cancer.
A research team has settled a long-standing controversy in the field of polymer dynamics: The researchers proved once and for all that Theo Odijk was correct in proclaiming that a little flexibility goes a long way for stiff filaments in a solution.
A promising approach for making solar cells that are inexpensive, lightweight, and flexible is to use organic compounds instead of silicon. But one problem has slowed the development of such cells: Researchers have had a hard time coming up with appropriate materials for the electrodes to carry the current to and from the cells. The standard material used so far for these electrodes is indium-tin-oxide, but it is expensive and relatively rare. Now, a team of MIT researchers has come up with a practical way of using a possible substitute made from graphene.
An international team of physicists and neuroscientists has reported a breakthrough in magnetic resonance imaging that allows brain scans more than seven times faster than currently possible. A Univ. of California, Berkeley, physicist and colleagues from the Univ. of Minnesota and Oxford Univ. describe two improvements that allow full three-dimensional brain scans in less than half a second, instead of the typical 2 to 3 seconds.
In one Univ. of Illinois lab, invisibility is a matter of now you hear it, now you don’t. Illinois researchers have demonstrated an acoustic cloak, a technology that renders underwater objects invisible to sonar and other ultrasound waves.