A University of Delaware research team’s exploration of paramagnetic colloids—microscopic particles that are mere hundredths the diameter of a human hair—has produced the possibility that computer chips could one day build themselves in a scalable fashion. By applying a magnetic field to the colloids, the team build organized crystalline lattices from random solids.
U.K.-led scientists have made a discovery about snake venom that could lead to the development of new drugs to treat a range of life-threatening conditions. The researchers have discovered that the toxins that make snake and lizard venom deadly can evolve back into completely harmless molecules, raising the possibility that they could be developed into drugs.
Belgium-based semiconductor manufacturing firm imec announced Tuesday that it has integrated an ultra-thin, flexible chip with bendable and stretchable interconnects into a package that adapts dynamically to curving and bending surfaces. The resulting circuitry can be embedded in medical and lifestyle applications where user comfort and unobtrusiveness is key, such as wearable health monitors or smart clothing.
One of the greatest challenges in neuroscience is to identify the map, or “connectome”, of synaptic connections between neurons. The Blue Brain Project at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne has recently announced it has identified key principles that determine synapse-scale connectivity by virtually reconstructing a cortical microcircuit and comparing it to a mammalian sample.
Johns Hopkins Medicine scientists have recently reported what is believed to be the first evidence that complex, reversible behavioral patterns in bees—and presumably other animals—are linked to reversible chemical tags on genes. They say the most significant aspect of the new study is that for the first time DNA methylation “tagging” has been linked to something at the behavioral level of a whole organism.
Nano-Sharp Inc., a new company founded using technology developed at the University of California Davis, plans to use silicon wafers to make razor blades and surgical tools far more cheaply than current silicon or ceramic blades. Conventional blades are made by sharpening the edge of a silicon wafer, but the company’s patented new technique creates blades across the surface of the wafer, delivering atom-scale sharpness.
Developed by a company in San Diego, a new automated system that lets consumers trade in cell phones and mobile devices for reimbursement or recycling relies artificial intelliigence and sophisticated machine vision diagnostics. The building blocks for the ecoATM have existed for many years, but none, until now, have been applied to the particular problem of consumer recycling.
Researchers from in Zurich have literally created a “cell phone” from reprogrammed mammalian cells. Using suitable signal molecules and “devices” constructed from biological components, including genes and proteins, the researchers have achieved a synthetic two-way communication system inside a biological cell that also responds to concentration differences in the signal molecules.
With a sophisticated X-ray analysis scientists in Europe have identified why parts of the Van Gogh painting "Flowers in a blue vase" have changed color over time. A supposedly protective varnish applied after the master's death has made some bright yellow flowers turn to an orange-grey color. The cause is a hitherto unknown degradation process at the interface between the paint and the varnish.
A new study of giant viruses supports the idea that viruses are ancient living organisms and not inanimate molecular remnants run amok, as some scientists have argued. The study may reshape the universal family tree, adding a fourth major branch to the three that most scientists agree represent the fundamental domains of life.
Using non-contact atomic force microscopy, researchers at IBM have been able to differentiate the chemical bonds in individual molecules for the first time. The results push the exploration of using molecules and atoms at the smallest scale and could be important for studying graphene devices.
Needle injections are among the least popular staples of medical care. A new laser-based system, however, that blasts microscopic jets of drugs into the skin could soon make getting a shot as painless as being hit with a puff of air. The system uses an erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet laser to propel a tiny, precise stream of medicine with just the right amount of force.
A variety of processes have been developed to make miniature objects known as carbon dots or C-dots, which are valued in imaging for their optical properties. Researchers in China have now introduced a new method for making them quickly and inexpensively. These fluorescent carbon dots are made by plasma pyrolysis from egg yolk or egg white and can be used as printer ink.
After four years of work in his parent’s garage, 14-year-old Taylor Wilson built his first successful fusion reactor. Now 18 and old enough to be actually be a student at the university where he shares a laboratory, Wilson is chasing research projects of many kinds and is still fascinated by the science of the atom.
It's not a magic trick and it's not sleight of hand—scientists really are using levitation to improve the drug development process, eventually yielding more effective pharmaceuticals with fewer side effects. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a way to use sound waves to levitate individual droplets of solutions containing different pharmaceuticals.
For the first time, scientists have improved hearing in deaf animals by using human embryonic stem cells. The experiment involved an uncommon form of deafness, and the treatment wouldn't necessarily apply to all cases of that disorder. But scientists hope the approach can be expanded to help with more common forms of deafness.
A theoretical physicist from Swinburne University of Technology and colleagues from Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have discovered a specialty-engineered surface that allows liquids to boil without bubbling. To suppress bubbling while boiling, the team of researchers used a highly water-repellent surface to control the boiling state of a liquid.
Stresses arise in thin films during the manufacture of read heads in hard drives, lasers, and computer chip transistors. This can cause crystal lattice defects and eventual component failure. Researchers have recently determined that enormous stresses, up to 1,000 times atmospheric pressure, can be created in thin films by a quantum-mechanical mechanism that has been unknown until now. It is based on an effect by the name of quantum confinement.
An invisible quick response (QR) code has been created by researchers in South Dakota in an attempt to increase security on printed documents and reduce the possibility of counterfeiting, a problem which costs governments and private industries billions of dollars each year. The QR code is made of tiny nanoparticles that have been combined with blue and green fluorescence ink, which is invisible until illuminated with laser light.
Vegas, Monte Carlo, and Atlantic City draw people from around the world who are willing to throw the dice and take their chances. Researchers in Poland, however, have spotted something predictable in the seemingly random throw of the dice. By applying chaos theory and some high school level mechanics, they determined that by knowing the initial conditions it should be possible to predict the outcome when rolling the dice.
Scientists have discovered well-preserved frozen woolly mammoth fragments deep in Siberia that may contain living cells, edging a tad closer to the "Jurassic Park" possibility of cloning a prehistoric animal. Russia's North-Eastern Federal University said an international team of researchers had discovered mammoth hair, soft tissues and bone marrow some 100 m underground during a summer expedition in the northeastern province of Yakutia.
Researchers in Malaysia have developed a system that allows a computer to “read lips”. The invention involves a genetic algorithm that gets better and better with each iteration to match irregular ellipse fitting equations to the shape of the human mouth displaying different emotions. The system could improve the way we interact with computers and perhaps allow disabled people to use communications devices more effectively.
Four years ago, the federal government created a new institute encompassing top universities and institutes and gave it $300 million to spur new treatments using cell science and advanced plastic surgery. The results, which are now helping to heal war veterans, include the implantation of rebuilt tissues—such as ears and bones—and even more unusual solutions like sprayed-on skin cells.
Researchers at the University of Toronto have demonstrated that theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg was too pessimistic in 1927 when formulating his famous uncertainty principle. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is one of the cornerstones of quantum mechanics; and in its most familiar form, it says that it is impossible to measure anything without disturbing it. The principle has bedeviled quantum physicists for nearly a century, until recently, when the researchers demonstrated the ability to directly measure the disturbance.
Scientists from the University of Aberdeen's Marine Biodiscovery Center and the University of St Andrews presented their work on the components of a new type of computer chip created using molecules from a sea squirt sourced from the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef.