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Nanomotors that are controlled, for the first time, inside living cells

>Penn State University chemists and engineers have, for the first time, placed tiny synthetic motors inside live human cells in a lab, propelled them with ultrasonic waves, and steered them magnetically.

>The Penn State nanomotors are the closest so far to a “Fantastic Voyage” concept (without the miniature people).
>The nanomotors, which are rocket-shaped gold rods ~300 nanometers in diameter and ~3 microns long, move around inside the cells, spinning and battering against the cell membrane.
>The ability of nanomotors to affect living cells holds promise for medicine, Mallouk said. “One dream application of ours is Fantastic Voyage-style medicine, where nanomotors would cruise around inside the body, communicating with each other and performing various kinds of diagnoses and therapy. There are lots of applications for controlling particles on this small scale, and understanding how it works is what’s driving us.”

Four new galaxy clusters discovered some 10 billion light years from Earth

>An international team of astronomers led by Imperial College London has identified four new distant galaxy clusters — more than has previously been possible — using a new way of combining data from the two European Space Agency satellites, Planck and Herschel.

>The researchers believe up to 2000 further clusters could be identified using this technique, helping to build a more detailed timeline of how clusters are formed.
>Galaxy clusters are the most massive objects in the universe, containing hundreds to thousands of galaxies, bound together by gravity. While astronomers have identified many nearby clusters, they need to go further back in time to understand how these structures are formed. This means finding clusters at greater distances from the Earth.
>The light from the most distant of the four new clusters identified by the team has taken over 10 billion years to reach us. This means the researchers are seeing what the cluster looked like when the universe was just three billion years old.

Scientists achieve fuel gain exceeding unity in confined fusion implosion

>The milestone of achieving fuel gains greater than 1 has been reached at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) — for the first time ever at any facility.

>Ignition — the process of releasing fusion energy equal to or greater than the amount of energy used to confine the fuel — has long been considered the “holy grail” of inertial confinement fusion science.
>“What’s really exciting is that we are seeing a steadily increasing contribution to the yield coming from the boot-strapping process we call alpha-particle self-heating as we push the implosion a little harder each time,” said lead author Omar Hurricane.
>Boot-strapping results when alpha particles, helium nuclei produced in the deuterium-tritium (DT) fusion process, deposit their energy in the DT fuel, rather than escaping. The alpha particles further heat the fuel, increasing the rate of fusion reactions, thus producing more alpha particles. This feedback process is the mechanism that leads to ignition.

Wearable ‘neurocam’ records scenes when it detects user interest

>Keio University scientists have developed a “neurocam” — a wearable camera system that detects emotions, based on an analysis of the user’s brainwaves.

>The hardware is a combination of Neurosky’s Mind Wave Mobile and a customized brainwave sensor.
>The users interests are quantified on a range of 0 to 100. The camera automatically records five-second clips of scenes when the interest value exceeds 60, with timestamp and location, and can be replayed later and shared socially on Facebook.


Physicists create synthetic magnetic monopoles

>Nearly 85 years after pioneering theoretical physicist Paul Dirac predicted the possibility of their existence, scientists have created, identified and photographed synthetic magnetic monopoles.

>The groundbreaking accomplishment, described by a paper in Nature, paves the way for the detection of the particles in nature, which would be a revolutionary development comparable to the discovery of the electron, according to the scientists.
>The finding may lead to the development and understanding of entirely new materials, such as higher-temperature superconductors for the lossless transmission of electricity, said Hall. He also said that the team’s discovery of the synthetic monopole provides a stronger foundation for current searches for magnetic monopoles at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Electrical ‘mind control’ shown in primates for first time

>In an update to the legendary Jose Delgado experiment, researchers Wim Vanduffel and John Arsenault (KU Leuven and Massachusetts General Hospital) changed a monkey’s preferences for an image by stimulating a part of the brain called the ventral tegmental area with electrical pulses

>The VTA is located in the midbrain and helps regulate learning and reinforcement in the brain’s reward system. It produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in positive feelings, such as receiving a reward.
>This research has already been done in rodents, using electrical microstimulation and other very advanced technologies (e.g., optogenetics),” VanDuffel explained in an email interview. “However, we showed for the first time that by activating this structure in primates, it indeed leads to changes in choice behavior. It is still important to show this result in primates since the reward circuitry differs substantially between rodents and primates.

A brain area unique to humans is linked to strategic planning/decision making/multitasking

>Oxford University researchers have identified a specific area of the human brain that appears to be unlike anything in the brains of some of our closest relatives.

>MRI imaging of 25 adult volunteers was used to identify key components in the area of the human brain called the ventrolateral frontal cortex, and how these components were connected up with other brain areas. The results were then compared with equivalent MRI data from 25 macaque monkeys.
>The ventrolateral frontal cortex area of the brain is involved in many of the highest aspects of cognition and language, and is only present in humans and other primates.
>However, one area of the human ventrolateral frontal cortex had no equivalent in the macaque — an area called the “lateral frontal pole prefrontal cortex” that has been identified with strategic planning and decision making as well as multitasking.

Using nanodiamonds to precisely detect neural signals

>A team in MIT’s Quantum Engineering Group has developed a new method to noninvasively measure how weak magnetic fields change over time, such as when neurons in the brain transmit signals to each other.

>The method uses naturally occurring defects in diamonds called nitrogen-vacancy (N-V) centers, which are sensitive to external magnetic fields, much like compasses
>One possibility would be to grow neurons on top of the diamond sensor, to allow it to measure the magnetic fields created by the “action potential,” or signal, they produce and then transmit to other nerves.
>The diamond sensors can be used at room temperature, and since they consist entirely of carbon, they could be injected into living cells without causing them any harm, Cappellaro says.
>The method could also enable researchers to more precisely measure the magnetic fields produced by novel materials such as the metamaterials used to make superlenses and “invisibility cloaks.

Bitcloud developers plan to decentralise internet

>Bitcloud aims to harness the same methods used to mine Bitcoins, to provide services currently controlled by internet service providers (ISPs) and corporations.

>Individuals would perform tasks such as storing, routing and providing bandwidth, in return for payment.
>"We will start by decentralising the current internet, and then we can create a new internet to replace it," they said.
>"Adding the profit motive to the equation gives this project a chance to succeed where many others have failed in the past," reads the group\'s white paper.
>"There are still many key decisions that need to be made in the Bitcloud protocol. We have a basic idea of how everything will work, but we need assistance from programmers and thinkers from around the world who want to help," they said.

Scalable quantum computer

>Scientists and engineers from an international collaboration led by Mark Thompson from the University of Bristol have, for the first time, generated and manipulated single photons on a silicon chip — a major step forward in the race to build a quantum computer, achieved by shrinking down key components and integrating them onto a silicon microchip, according to the researchers.

>Previous attempts have required external light sources to generate the photons; this new chip integrates components that can generate photons inside the chip.
>“Our device is the most functionally complex photonic quantum circuit to date, and was fabricated by Toshiba using exactly the same manufacturing techniques used to make conventional electronic devices. We can generate and manipulate quantum entanglement all within a single millimeter-sized microchip.”

Pushing past Moore\'s Law with nano/minaturization

>An interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers from The MITRE Corporation and Harvard University have taken key steps toward ultra-small electronic computer systems that push beyond the imminent end of Moore’s Law. They designed and assembled, from the bottom up, a functioning, ultra-tiny control computer (nanocontroller) that they say is the densest nanoelectronic system ever built.

>The “nanoelectronic finite-state machine” (“nanoFSM”) or nanocomputer measures 0.3 x 0.03 millimeters. It is composed of hundreds of nanowire transistors, each an under-20 nanometers switch. The nanowire transistors use very little power because they are “nonvolatile” — the switches remember whether they are on or off, even when no power is supplied to them.
>Together, the tiles route small electronic signals around the computer, enabling it to perform calculations and process signals that could be used to control tiny systems, such as miniscule medical therapeutic devices, other tiny sensors and actuators, or even insect-sized robots.

How to monitor drug effects in real time

>A device that can monitor the levels of specific drugs as they flow through the bloodstream may soon take the guesswork out of drug dosing and allow physicians to tailor prescriptions to their patients’ specific biology.

>“Current dosing regimens are really quite primitive,” said Plaxco, professor of chemistry and of biomolecular science and engineering. They rely on a patient’s age or body weight and are unable to account for specific responses over time. Drug levels may be influenced by individual patients’ metabolisms, or even by the foods they eat or other drugs they might be taking.
>Scientists could be one giant step closer to dispelling the uncertainty around patients’ biological responses as they receive these drugs with a device that is only a bit longer than a jumbo paperclip.
> “The measurements were highly sensitive to doses that are clinically relevant and could be maintained for several hours. Further, we demonstrated exquisite selectivity and flexibility in that the device is only sensitive to the target even when administered a cocktail of drugs.”

E-whiskers: highly sensitive tactile sensors for robotics and other applications

>Researchers with Berkeley Lab and the University of California Berkeley have created tactile sensors from composite films of carbon nanotubes and silver nanoparticles similar to the highly sensitive whiskers of cats and rats.

>The new “e-whiskers” respond to pressure as slight as a single Pascal, about the pressure exerted on a table surface by a dollar bill. Among their potential applications is giving robots new abilities to “see” and “feel” their surrounding environment.
>“Our electronic whiskers consist of high-aspect-ratio elastic fibers coated with conductive composite films of nanotubes and nanoparticles. In tests, these whiskers were ten times more sensitive to pressure than all previously reported capacitive or resistive pressure sensors.”
>In the future, e-whiskers could be used to mediate tactile sensing for the spatial mapping of nearby objects, and could also lead to wearable sensors for measuring heartbeat and pulse rate.


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New technique allows minimally invasive ‘nanobiopsies’ of living cells

>Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have developed a robotic “nanobiopsy” system that can extract tiny samples from inside a living cell without killing it.

>The single-cell nanobiopsy technique is a powerful tool for scientists working to understand the dynamic processes that occur within living cells.
>The nanobiopsy platform is the latest device his group has developed that uses nanopipettes, which are small glass tubes that taper to a fine tip with a diameter of just 50 to 100 nanometers. “We can create nanopipettes in the lab — it doesn’t require an expensive nanofabrication facility,” Pourmand said. “To go into a cell, however, the problem is that you cannot see the tip, even with a high-end microscope, so you don’t know how far away from the cell it is.”
>There are many potential uses for this technology, and Pourmand said he is eager to develop collaborations with other researchers and explore different applications. “It is a versatile platform for anyone trying to understand what is happening inside the cell, including cancer biologists, stem cell biologists, and others,” he said.

Breakthrough for information technology using Heusler materials

>It is the breakthrough that physicists and chemists around the world have long anticipated and it will play a pivotal role in information technology in coming years. Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have managed, for the first time, to directly observe the 100 percent spin polarization of a Heusler compound.

>Heusler alloys are composed of several metallic elements arranged in a lattice structure. They are among those materials that potentially can be used for ever smaller data storage components with ever greater storage capacity. However, doubts have been recently expressed as to whether Heusler materials are actually suitable for this purpose. The physicists at Mainz University have now demonstrated that the Heusler compound Co2MnSi has the necessary electronic properties.
>"It is not merely a breakthrough in the search for new spintronic materials but also in the interplay between theory and experiment," remarked Jourdan. "We were able to show that perfectly prepared materials actually have the properties that have been theoretically predicted."

On-demand vaccines possible with engineered nanoparticles

>University of Washington engineers hope a new type of vaccine they have shown to work in mice will one day make it cheaper and easy to manufacture on-demand vaccines for humans. Immunizations could be administered within minutes where and when a disease is breaking out.

>Vaccines usually are made en masse in centralized locations far removed from where they will be used. They are expensive to ship and keep refrigerated and they tend to have short shelf lives.
>The new technology makes it possible to produce a vaccine on the spot. “For instance, a field doctor could see the beginnings of an epidemic, make vaccine doses right away, and blanket vaccinate the entire population in the affected area to prevent the spread of an epidemic,” said François Baneyx, a UW professor of chemical engineering and lead author of a recent paper published online in the journal Nanomedicine.
>The vaccines could be manufactured and delivered using a disposable patch, like a bandage, which could one day lessen the use of trained personnel and hypodermic needles.”

Robots May Replace One-Fourth Of U.S. Combat Soldiers By 2030, Says General

>By the middle of this century, U.S. Army soldiers may well be fighting alongside robotic squadmates. General Robert Cone revealed the news at an Army Aviation symposium last week, noting that the Army is considering reducing the size of a Brigade Combat Team from 4,000 soldiers to 3,000, with robots and drones making up for the lost firepower.

>While not explicitly stated, a major motivation behind replacing humans with robots is that humans are expensive. Training, feeding, and supplying them while at war is pricey, and after the soldiers leave the service, there\'s a lifetime of medical care to cover. In 2012, benefits for serving and retired members of the military comprised one-quarter of the Pentagon\'s budget request.
>Moving from the adoption of new technologies to actually making doctrine that relies on the new technology would be a huge step for the military. Cone\'s comments suggest that the military is at least willing to consider a day when soldier and robot will fight alongside one another.

A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics

>Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.

>“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has been following the work.
>The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding jewel-like “amplituhedron,” which yields an equivalent one-term expression.
>“The degree of efficiency is mind-boggling,” said Jacob Bourjaily, a theoretical physicist at Harvard University and one of the researchers who developed the new idea. “You can easily do, on paper, computations that were infeasible even with a computer before.”
>The new geometric version of quantum field theory could also facilitate the search for a theory of quantum gravity that would seamlessly connect the large- and small-scale pictures of the universe.

World’s fastest organic transistor could lead to low-cost transparent electronics

>Engineers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and Stanford University have created thin-film organic transistors that could operate more than five times faster than previous examples of this experimental technology, with the potential to achieve a new generation of cheap, transparent devices such as high-resolution television screens and sensor arrays.

>For years, engineers have been trying to use inexpensive, carbon-rich molecules and plastics to create organic semiconductors capable of performing electronic operations at something approaching the speed of costlier technologies based on silicon. (The term “organic” has been extended to include synthetic substances based on carbons and includes plastics.)
>Further improvements to this experimental process could lead to the development of inexpensive, high-performance electronics built on transparent substrates such as glass and, eventually, clear and flexible plastics. Already, the researchers have shown that they can create high-performance organic electronics that are 90 percent transparent to the naked eye.

Anti-ageing compound set for human trials after turning clock back for mice

>Australian and US researchers hope an anti-ageing compound could be trialled on humans as early as next year, following a key breakthrough that saw the ageing process reversed in mice.

>The study, involving Harvard University and the University of NSW, discovered a way of restoring the efficiency of cells, completely reversing the ageing process in muscles.
>Two-year-old mice were given a compound over a week, moving back the key indicators of ageing to that of a six-month-old mouse. Researchers said this was the equivalent of making a 60-year-old person feel like a 20-year-old.

New molecular self-assembly process scales up from nanometers to millimeters

>Finnish and Italian researchers have developed a way to align molecular self-assemblies from nanometers to millimeters, an alternative to conventional top-down lithography approaches for creating electronic devices.

>Molecular self-assembly, a concept derived from biology, leads to spontaneous organization of molecules into more complex and functional supramolecular structures.
>The researchers at the Aalto University of Helsinki, the Politecnico di Milano, and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have now shown that by creating recognition elements between polymers and fluorinated small molecules, it’s possible to drive spontaneous self-assembly at macroscale (millimeters).

3D-bioprinting improved artificial blood vessels

>A Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) team has created artificial blood vessels using a three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting technique.

>“Engineers have made incredible strides in making complex artificial tissues such as those of the heart, liver and lungs,” said senior study author, Ali Khademhosseini, PhD, biomedical engineer, and director of the BWH Biomaterials Innovation Research Center. “However, creating artificial blood vessels remains a critical challenge in tissue engineering. We’ve attempted to address this challenge by offering a unique strategy for vascularization of hydrogel constructs that combine advances in 3D bioprinting technology and biomaterials.”
>“In the future, 3D printing technology may be used to develop transplantable tissues customized to each patient’s needs or be used outside the body to develop drugs that are safe and effective,” said Khademhosseini.

Scientists work on backing up human brain with computers

>A new state-of-the-art headband is being developed by Tufts University scientists that could help facilitate communication between the human brain and computers.

>The new technology – currently being crafted at the university’s Human Computer Interaction Lab – would be capable of scanning an individual’s brain activity, determining whether the person is mentally aware enough to handle the task at hand, fatigued, or even bored with what they’re doing.
>If ultimately successful, computer scientist Robert Jacob and biomedical engineer Sergio Fantini hope to embed the tech in wearable products, such as Google Glass, and pave the way towards a future in which humans communicate with computers through thoughts and not tactile commands.

How to generate new neurons in brains, spinal cords of living adult mammals

>UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have created new nerve cells in the brains and spinal cords of living mammals without the need for stem cell transplants to replenish lost cells.

> “Brain signals from a primate directly move paralyzed limbs in another primate ‘avatar,’” “Cazbot” wondered if “a sort of ‘neural jumper’ could be used to bridge damaged sections of spinal chord.”
>This new research indicates it may someday be possible to do just that — by regenerating neurons from the body’s own cells to repair traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage, or to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Making nanoelectronics last longer for medical devices and ‘cyborgs’

>Harvard scientist Charles Lieber and colleagues have developed a coating that makes nanoelectronics much more stable in conditions mimicking those in the human body.

>The advance could aid in the development of very small implanted medical devices for monitoring health and disease, and could speed up the debut of cyborgs who are part human, the researchers say.
>The researchers found that coating with a metal oxide shell allowed nanowire devices to last for several months. This was in conditions that mimicked the temperature and composition of the inside of the human body. In preliminary studies, one shell material, hafnium oxide-aluminum oxide nanolaminated shells, appeared to extend the lifespan of nanoelectronics to more than a year.

Ultra-thin capacitors could acclerate development of next-gen electronics

>Japanese researchers at the National Institute for Materials Science and Shinshu University have developed a way to shrink capacitors — key components that store energy — further, which could accelerate the development of more compact, high-performance next-gen electronic devices. The study appears in the journal ACS Nano.

>Takayoshi Sasaki and colleagues note that current technology has almost reached its limit in terms of materials and processing, which in turn limits the performance that manufacturers can achieve. In response, researchers have gone to the nanoscale, but “nanocapacitors” are not easy to make. They require harsh, difficult-to-use methods and even then, they may not work that well.
>So Sasaki’s team developed an easier way to make high-performance “ultrathin” capacitors. The researchers found that they could use gentle techniques and mild conditions to create a sandwich consisting of layers of two different types of oxide nanosheets to produce an ultrathin capacitor.
>In addition, the new capacitor has a capacitance density of as high as ∼27.5 μF (microfarads) per square centimeter, which is approximately 2000 times higher than those of currently available commercial products.


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Stretchable, bendable optical interconnections for body sensors and robotic skin

>Belgian researchers say they have created the first optical circuit that uses interconnections that are stretchable as well as bendable.The technology has applications like wearable body sensors and robotic skin.

>These new interconnections, made of a rubbery transparent material called PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane), guide light along their path even when stretched up to 30% and when bent around an object the diameter of a human finger.
>By integrating these stretchy interconnections into a circuit — with a light source on one end and a detector on the other — the researchers created a miniature stretchable, bendable “link” that could be incorporated into optical communications systems.
>Future uses for the new optical link might include building networks of wearable body sensors, machine parts in motion such as robotic limbs, and deformable consumer electronics. Meanwhile, the team plans to make their waveguide smaller, down from 50 microns (millionths of a meter) to just a few microns in diameter.

Massive \'ocean\' discovered towards Earth\'s core

>A reservoir of water three times the volume of all the oceans has been discovered deep beneath the Earth\'s surface. The finding could help explain where Earth\'s seas came from.

>The water is hidden inside a blue rock called ringwoodite that lies 700 kilometres underground in the mantle, the layer of hot rock between Earth\'s surface and its core.
>The huge size of the reservoir throws new light on the origin of Earth\'s water. Some geologists think water arrived in comets as they struck the planet, but the new discovery supports an alternative idea that the oceans gradually oozed out of the interior of the early Earth.
>"It\'s good evidence the Earth\'s water came from within," says Steven Jacobsen of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The hidden water could also act as a buffer for the oceans on the surface, explaining why they have stayed the same size for millions of years.

Ultrasonic imaging at 1,000 times times higher resolution

>A next-generation ultrasonic imaging system that could provide 1,000 times higher resolution than today’s medical ultrasound systems has been demonstrated by Berkeley Lab researchers.

>The researchers used a combination of subpicosecond laser pulses and unique nanostructures to produce acoustic phonons — quasi-particles of vibrational energy that move through an atomic lattice as sound waves — at a frequency of 10 gigahertz (10 billion cycles per second).
>By comparison, medical ultrasounds devices today typically reach a frequency of only about 20 megahertz (20 million cycles per second). The 10GHz phonons can be used to “see” subsurface structures in nanoscale systems that optical and electron microscopes cannot.
>For the material sciences, the acoustic vibrations can be used as nanoscale “hammers” to impose physical strains along different axes at ultrahigh frequencies. This strain can then be detected by observing the plasmonic response. Zhang and his research group are planning to use these nanoscale hammers to generate and detect ultrafast vibrations in other systems such as two-dimensional materials.

3D Bioprinters Could Make Enhanced, Electricity-Generating \'Superorgans\'

>Bioprinting technology is advancing so quickly that some scientists believe 3D printing an entire artificial human organ is only five to ten years off. That alone is pretty bonkers, science-wise, and could save many lives. But why stop there? Once you start talking about manufacturing body parts, the inevitable lurking question is: Can we go beyond just mimicking biology to make technologically improved humans?

>At least one scientist, Ibrahim Ozbolat from the University of Iowa, believes that 3D bioprinting will pave the road to this posthuman future. "There might be some brand new organ that doesn\'t exist in the human body, but it can be transplanted in the human body to enhance the functionality," Ozbolat said in an interview with HuffPost Live this week.
>In other words, simply replacing failed organs is thinking small. Bioprinted enhanced organs—or artificial ones that don’t exist in nature—can be engineered to perform specific, useful functions, such as treating disease.

A new way to make laser-like beams using 250x less power

>With precarious particles called polaritons that straddle the worlds of light and matter, University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated a new, practical and potentially more efficient way to make a coherent laser-like beam.

>They have made what\'s believed to be the first polariton laser that is fueled by electrical current as opposed to light, and also works at room temperature, rather than way below zero.
>This work could advance efforts to put lasers on computer circuits to replace wire connections, leading to smaller and more powerful electronics. It may also have applications in medical devices and treatments and more.

Cosmic web imaged for the first time

>Astronomers have discovered a distant quasar illuminating a vast nebula of diffuse gas, revealing, for the first time, part of the network of filaments thought to connect galaxies in a cosmic web.

>Using the 10-meter Keck I Telescope at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the researchers detected a very large, luminous nebula of gas extending about 2 million light-years across intergalactic space.
> “The light from the quasar is like a flashlight beam, and in this case we were lucky that the flashlight is pointing toward the nebula and making the gas glow. We think this is part of a filament that may be even more extended than this, but we only see the part of the filament that is illuminated by the beamed emission from the quasar.”
>The hydrogen gas illuminated by the quasar emits ultraviolet light known as Lyman alpha radiation. The distance to the quasar is so great (about 10 billion light-years) that the emitted light is “stretched” by the expansion of the universe from an invisible ultraviolet wavelength to a visible shade of violet by the time it reaches the Keck Telescope.

Discovery of quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons corroborates controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness

>A review and update of a controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness published in Elsevier’s Physics of Life Reviews (open access) claims that consciousness derives from deeper-level, finer-scale activities inside brain neurons.

>The recent discovery of quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons corroborates this theory, according to review authors Stuart Hameroff and Sir Roger Penrose. They suggest that EEG rhythms (brain waves) also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations, and that from a practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations could benefit a host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions.
>“The origin of consciousness reflects our place in the universe, the nature of our existence. Did consciousness evolve from complex computations among brain neurons, as most scientists assert? Or has consciousness, in some sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?” ask Hameroff and Penrose in the current review.

Inside The Revolutionary 3D Vision Chip At The Heart Of Google’s Project Tango

>At the core of Google’s freshly announced experimental Project Tango smartphone platform is a vision processor called the Myriad 1, manufactured by chip startup Movidius.

>Movidius has leapfrogged ahead in the 3D-sensing market by manufacturing a ready-to-wear chip that has enormously lower power consumption. It produces over 1 teraflop of processing power on only a few hundred milliwatts of power.
>>What does this mean in practical terms? A chip that allows the phone to do things like motion detection and tracking, depth mapping, recording and interpreting spatial and motion data in 3D space.


Älä viitti hei tollasta tulvaa. Yks aihe per lanka, pliis. Ei tuu mitään muute.


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Jokaiselle uutiselle oma lankansa? Parempi on olla vain yksi niin ei ole sitten pariakymmentä kuollutta lankaa viemässä tilaa täällä kryptassa.


No ei tää ole mikään uutissivusto. Ei tästä tämmösenä mitään kunnollista keskustelua voida saada, kun aiheita on miljoona.


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Keskustelua saa aikaiseksi jos sellaista haluaa. Langan luomisen tarkoituksena olikin tuoda asioita näytille niistä kiinnostuneille.

Kyllä keinoja löytyy jos mielipiteiden ja näkemysten esilletuonti ovat levittämisen arvoisia.


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‘Superradiant’ discovery opens new path to superfast quantum computing

>Washington State University researchers have used a super-cold cloud of atoms that behaves like a single atom, opening a new experimental path to potentially powerful quantum computing.

>Physicist Peter Engels and his colleagues cooled about one million atoms of rubidium to 100 billionths of a degree above absolute zero.
>There was no colder place in the universe, said Engels, unless someone was doing a similar experiment elsewhere on Earth or on another planet.
>This provides a new avenue for the study of further Dicke model-related phenomena, including quantum entanglement and quantum squeezed states, with possible applications for a next generation of atomtronic devices, quantum information storage/transmission, quantum computations and quantum precision measurements.

Self-repairing mechanism helps to preserve brain function in neurodegenerative diseases

>Neurogenesis, the self-repairing mechanism of the adult brain by creating new neurons, can help to preserve brain function in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Prion, and Parkinson’s, new research led by scientists at the University of Southampton has found.

>The progressive degeneration and death of the brain, occurring in many neurodegenerative diseases, is often seen as an unstoppable and irrevocable process.
>But now, a research team, led by Diego Gomez-Nicola, DPhil, from the Centre for Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton, has detected increased neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus (part of the brain system controlling learning and memory, the hippocampus) that partially counteracts neuronal loss.

Musk announces plans to build ‘one of the single largest solar panel production plants in the world’ and send people to Mars in ten years

>Elon Musk, chairman of SolarCity, America’s largest solar power provider, announced Tuesday with other SolarCity executives that the company plans to acquire Silevo, a solar panel technology and manufacturing company whose modules have “demonstrated a unique combination of high energy output and low cost.”

>“Our intent is to combine what we believe is fundamentally the best photovoltaic technology with massive economies of scale to achieve a breakthrough in the cost of solar power.”
>“Even if the solar industry were only to generate 40 percent of the world’s electricity with photovoltaics by 2040, that would mean installing more than 400 GW of solar capacity per year for the next 25 years.
>Meanwhile, in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Musk said that he thinks “the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years … but the thing that matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars, to make life multiplanetary.”

Targeting tumors using silver nanoparticles

>Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have designed a silver spherical nanoparticle encased in a shell coated with a peptide that enables it to target tumor cells.

>The shell is etchable so those nanoparticles that don’t hit their target can be broken down and eliminated. The research findings appear in the journal Nature Materials.
>The core of the nanoparticle employs a phenomenon called plasmonics. In plasmonics, nanostructured metals such as gold and silver resonate in light and concentrate the electromagnetic field near the surface.
>Because the nanoparticle has a core shell structure, the researchers can vary its exterior coating and compare the efficiency of tumor targeting and internalization. Switching out the surface agent enables the targeting of different diseases — or organisms in the case of bacteria — through the use of different target receptors. According to Braun, this should turn into a way to optimize drug delivery where the core is a drug-containing vehicle.

Algae can switch quantum coherence on and off

>Algae that survive in very low levels of light and are able to switch quantum coherence on and off have been discovered by a UNSW-led team of researchers.

>The function for this effect, which occurs during photosynthesis, remains a mystery. But working out its role in a living organism could lead to technological advances, such as better organic solar cells and quantum-based electronic devices.
>The research is part of an emerging field called quantum biology, in which evidence is growing that quantum phenomena are operating in nature, not just the laboratory, and may even account for how birds can navigate using the earth’s magnetic field.
>“This is a very exciting find. It means we will be able to uncover the role of quantum coherence in photosynthesis by comparing organisms with the two different types of proteins.”
>“Quantum coherence would allow the energy to test every possible pathway simultaneously before traveling via the quickest route.”

Single dose of sleeping-sickness drug reverses autism-like symptoms in mice

>An almost century-old drug approved for treating sleeping sickness also restores normal cellular signaling in a mouse model of autism, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report.

>The mice were the human biological age equivalent of 30 years old human wizard.
>The drug, Suramin, was first synthesized in 1916 and is used to treat trypanosomiasis or African sleeping sickness, a parasitic disease.
>This is a further test of a novel theory that suggests autism is the consequence of abnormal cell communication.
>“Twenty percent of the known factors associated with autism are genetic, but most are not. It’s wrong to think of genes and the environment as separate and independent factors. Genes and environmental factors interact. The net result of this interaction is metabolism.”
>“Obviously correcting abnormalities in a mouse is a long way from a cure in humans, but we think this approach — antipurinergic therapy — is a new and fresh way to think about and address the challenge of autism.

How background electrical brain noise drives our decisions

>Our ability to make choices — and sometimes mistakes — might arise from random fluctuations in the brain’s background electrical noise, according to a recent study from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis.

>The brain has a normal level of “background noise,” Bengson said, as electrical activity patterns fluctuate across the brain. In the new study, decisions could be predicted based on the pattern of brain activity immediately before a decision was made.
>The brain has a normal level of “background noise,” Bengson said, as electrical activity patterns fluctuate across the brain. The researchers found that the pattern of activity in the second or so before the cue symbol appeared — before the volunteers could know they were going to make a decision — could predict the likely outcome of the decision.
>The new results build on Libet’s finding, because they provide a model for how brain activity could precede decision, Bengson said. Additionally, Libet had to rely on when volunteers said they made their decision. In the new experiment, the random timing means that “we know people aren’t making the decision in advance,” Bengson said.
>“It inserts a random effect that allows us to be freed from simple cause and effect,” he said.

Synchronized brain waves enable rapid learning

>MIT neuroscientists have found that as monkeys learn to categorize different patterns of dots, two brain areas involved in learning — the prefrontal cortex and the striatum — synchronize their brain waves to form new communication circuits.

>“We’re seeing direct evidence for the interactions between these two systems during learning, which hasn’t been seen before,”
>There are millions of neurons in the brain, each producing its own electrical signals. These combined signals generate oscillations known as brain waves, which can be measured by electroencephalography The research team focused on EEG patterns from the prefrontal cortex — the seat of the brain’s executive control system — and the striatum, which controls habit formation.
>The phenomenon of brain-wave synchronization likely precedes the changes in synapses, or connections between neurons, believed to underlie learning and long-term memory formation, Miller says. That process, known as synaptic plasticity, is too time-consuming to account for the human mind’s flexibility, he believes.
>“The prefrontal cortex learning the categories isn’t the end of the game. The cortex is learning these new categories and then forming circuits that can send the categories down to the striatum as if it’s just brand-new material for the brain to elaborate on.”

Leukemia drug found to stimulate immunity against many cancer types

>A class of drug called p110δ inhibitors, currently being used to treat leukemia, has the unexpected side-effect of boosting immune responses against many different cancers, reports a new study led by scientists at UCL and the Babraham Institute, Cambridge.

>The drugs have shown such remarkable efficacy against certain leukemias in recent clinical trials that patients on the placebo were switched to the real drug. Until now, however, they have not been tested in other types of cancer.
>The new study, published in Nature, provides the first evidence that such drugs can significantly restrict tumor growth and spread and reduce the chances of relapse for a broad range of cancers. The researchers, together with scientists from Genentech, showed that inhibition of the p110δ enzyme helps to boost the body’s immune system to kill tumor cells.
>“If the findings hold true in cancer patients this could make a big difference to many of them. The good news is that because the drugs used in this study are already being used in the clinic, we could see rapid translation of this research into patient benefit.”

A gene that stimulates growth of new brain cells in adults

>Over-expressing a specific gene could prompt growth in adults of new neurons in the hippocampus, where learning and memory are regulated, City of Hope researchers have found.

>The study, which used an animal model, found that over-expression of the TLX gene resulted in smart, faster learners that retained information better and longer.
>Understanding the link between this gene and the growth of new neurons — or neurogenesis — is an important step in developing therapies to address impaired learning and memory associated with neurodegenerative diseases and aging.
>The discovery creates a new potential strategy for improving cognitive performance in elderly patients and those who have a neurological disease or brain injury.

Charging portable electronics will be super-fast, widely accessible

>Two innovations for on-the-go mobile-device users seeking a quick charge are in the works: Starbucks plans to install wireless charging devices in all of its stores; and a new battery design could enable rapid charging of lithium-ion batteries in ten minutes.

>Starbucks stores will have “Powermat Spots” — designated areas on tables and counters where customers can place their compatible device and charge them wirelessly. The system uses inductive coupling, which can charge nearby devices.
>Meanwhile, researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a new battery anode design for rechargeable lithium ion batteries that could allow charging in 10 minutes instead of hours.
>It uses silicon, whose total charge capacity is 10 times higher than commercial graphite-based lithium ion battery anodes. That could result in a 63 percent increase of total cell capacity and a battery that is 40 percent lighter and smaller, the US Riverside researchers say. They’re developed a novel structure consisting of cone-shaped carbon nanotube clusters decorated with 3D silicon.
>But batteries may eventually disappear when electricity is generated from an individual’s physical movements, using energy-harvesting textiles, The Conversation reports.

Graphene quantum dot flash memories look promising for data storage

>Today\'s commercial flash memories usually store data as electric charge in polysilicon layers. Because polysilicon is a single continuous material, defects in the material can interfere with the desired charge movement, which can limit data retention and density.

>To overcome this problem, researchers have recently been working on storing charge in discrete charge traps, such as nanocrystals, instead of polysilicon layers. Since discrete charge trap materials have the advantage of preventing unwanted charge movement as a result of their lower sensitivity to local defects, they offer the potential for high-density flash memories.
>Now in a new study, scientists have used graphene quantum dots instead of nanocrystals as the discrete charge trap material. The researchers, Soong Sin Joo, et al., at Kyung Hee University and Samsung Electronics, both in Yongin, South Korea, have published their paper on graphene quantum dot flash memories in a recent issue of Nanotechnology.
>"Actually, this is first successful application of graphene quantum dots in practical devices, including electronic and optical devices, as far as I know, even though there are many reports on physical and chemical characterizations of graphene quantum dots."

Success! Cassini flies by Titan, collects intel on mysterious lakes

>NASA\'s Cassini mission flew past Titan early Wednesday morning, successfully completing a complex maneuver that will help scientists better understand one of the solar system\'s most intriguing moons.

>Beginning around midnight, a team of scientists and engineers guided the spacecraft into an orbit that allowed them to bounce a radio signal off the surface of Titan toward Earth, where it was received by a land-based telescope array 1 billion miles away.
>"We are essentially using Titan as a mirror," said Essam Marouf of San Jose State University, who\'s a member of the Cassini radio science team. "And the nature of the echo can tell us about the nature of Titan\'s surface, whether it is liquid or solid, and the physical properties of the material."
>"We are essentially using Titan as a mirror," said Essam Marouf of San Jose State University, who\'s a member of the Cassini radio science team. "And the nature of the echo can tell us about the nature of Titan\'s surface, whether it is liquid or solid, and the physical properties of the material."


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One-nm-thick graphene engine mimics two-stroke engine

>It may sound impossible that a 1-nm-thick piece of graphene—made of just a single layer of carbon atoms and containing some chlorine and fluorine atoms—can function as a two-stroke combustion engine. After all, on the macroscale, two-stroke engines are often used to power devices such as chainsaws and motorcycles. Although the nanoscale version is also very powerful, its potential applications in next-generation nanodevices would of course be very different.

>Although micro/nano engine designs are often inspired by macroscopic engines, this is the first nanoscale engine that mimics an internal combustion engine, despite the widespread use of two- and four-stroke engines since the 19th century.
>"The beauty of this approach is that our engine is very simple and has practically no byproducts , neither do we need specific working conditions; therefore we believe that this is a viable engine for nanomachines for varied applications," "Similar to the one in everyday vehicles, a nano-motor or rotor which can generate directional motion at the nanoscale is essential for nanomachine or nanorobotic applications. Graphene has been known to have the highest strength among materials, which is very useful for this application. This is the first time anyone has explored graphene for such applications.

New graphene-type material created

>Scientists at the University of Liverpool have created a new material, related to graphene, which has the potential to improve transistors used in electronic devices.

>The new material, \'triazine-based graphitic carbon nitride\', or TGCN, was predicted theoretically in 1996, but this is the first time that it has been made.
>"This is an exciting result because there are relatively few ordered two-dimensional organic solids. Finding a new member of the \'graphene family\' is very significant."
>He said: "The creation and analysis of this material is just the first step. We now have a lot more work to do to scale it up and prove function in electronic devices."

La Jolla Institute Advances Research Toward World’s First Vaccine for Heart Disease

>Research toward the world’s first vaccine for heart disease continues to advance at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, with researchers demonstrating significant arterial plaque reduction in concept testing in mice.

>Ley says that the discovery was particularly exciting since it meant the immune cells had ‘memory’ of the molecule brought forth by the antigen-presenting cells. “Immune memory is the underlying basis of successful vaccines,” he explains. “This meant that conceptually it was possible to consider the development of a vaccine for heart disease.”
>The vaccine effort reflects the power of bringing top immunologists together in one institution, Ley notes. “It just shows what can happen when you have an institute like ours dedicated to immunology,” says Ley. “Sette is a world renowned expert on vaccines and I have specialized knowledge in cardiovascular immunology. It’s the combination of our two areas of expertise that is enabling this vaccine initiative to proceed. I don’t think this could have happened anywhere else.”

Invisibility cloak prevents an object from being felt

>In the past years, invisibility cloaks were developed for various senses. Objects can be hidden from light, heat or sound. However, hiding of an object from being touched still remained to be accomplished. KIT scientists have now succeeded in creating a volume in which an object can be hidden from touching similar to a pea under the mattress of a princess. The results are now presented in the journal Nature Communications.

>The invisibility cloak is based on a so-called metamaterial that consists of a polymer. Its major properties are determined by the special structure. "We build the structure around the object to be hidden. In this structure, strength depends on the location in a defined way," explains Tiemo Bückmann, KIT, the first author of the article. "The precision of the components combined with the size of the complete arrangement was one of the big obstacles to the development of the mechanical invisibility cloak." The metamaterial is a crystalline material structured with sub-micrometer accuracy. It consists of needle-shaped cones, whose tips meet.
>The mechanical invisibility cloak represents pure physical fundamental research, but might open up the door to interesting applications in a few years from now, as it allows for producing materials with freely selectable mechanical properties.


Ei näitä varmaan kukaan edes lue. En ite ainakaan jaksanut muutamaa ekaa pidemmälle, kun yhteenkään aiheeseen ei keskitytä tarkemmin niin ei ole mitään mielenkiintoa.


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Tilapäisten ongelmat koskevat vain itseään.


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An "artificial atom" makes photons behave like exotic matter

>Researchers at Princeton University have “crystallized” light. They are not shining light through crystal — they are actually transforming light into crystal, as part of an effort to develop exotic materials such as room-temperature superconductors.

>The researchers locked together photons so that they became fixed in place. “It’s something that we have never seen before,” said Andrew Houck, an associate professor of electrical engineering and one of the researchers. “This is a new behavior for light.”
>The results raise intriguing possibilities for a variety of future materials, and also address questions in condensed matter physics — the fundamental study of matter.
>To build their machine, the researchers created a structure made of superconducting materials that contains 100 billion atoms engineered to act as a single “artificial atom.” They placed the artificial atom close to a superconducting wire containing photons.

New low-cost, ultra-sensitive biosensor uses diatoms and nanoparticles

>Oregon State University researchers combined diatoms (a type of single-celled photosynthetic algae) with self-assembled plasmonic nanoparticles to create a low-cost sensor capable of detecting miniscule amounts of protein or other biomarkers.

>“It’s much lower cost, about 50 cents compared to $50,”
>The researchers found that using diatoms also increases the signal by 10 times and the sensitivity by 100 times. The current sensitivity of the OSU biosensor is 1 picogram per milliliter, which is much better than optical sensors used in clinics for detecting glucose, proteins and DNA, which have a sensitivity of 1 nanogram per milliliter.

Reprogramming your brain with transcranial magnetic stimulation

>Weak repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) applied to mice can shift abnormal neural connections to more normal locations in the brain, researchers from The University of Western Australia and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France have demonstrated.

>The discovery has implications for treatment of nervous system disorders related to abnormal brain organization, such as depression, epilepsy, and tinnitus.
>“Our findings greatly increase our understanding of the specific cellular and molecular events that occur in the brain during this therapy and have implications for how best to use it in humans to treat disease and improve brain function,” Makowiecki suggested.

Milestone reached in building replacement kidneys in the lab

>Regenerative medicine researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina have developed what they say is the most successful method to date to keep blood vessels in new human-sized pig kidney organs open and flowing with blood — a major challenge in the quest to build replacement kidneys in the lab.

>They also noted that if the new method is proven successful in the long-term, the research brings them an important step closer to the day when replacement kidneys can be built in the lab.
>“The results are a promising indicator that it is possible to produce a fully functional vascular system that can deliver nutrients and oxygen to engineered kidneys, as well as other engineered organs,”

Ultrasensitive biosensor using molybdenite semiconductor outshines graphene

>An atomically thin, two-dimensional, ultrasensitive semiconductor material for biosensing developed by University of California Santa Barbara researchers promises to push the boundaries of biosensing technology in many fields, from health care to environmental protection to forensic industries.

>Molybdenum disulfide — commonly used as a dry lubricant — surpasses graphene’s already high sensitivity, offers better scalability, and lends itself to high-volume manufacturing, the researchers say. Results of their study have been published in ACS Nano.
>“This invention has established the foundation for a new generation of ultrasensitive and low-cost biosensors that can eventually allow single-molecule detection — the holy grail of diagnostics and bioengineering research,”

How to ‘switch off’ autoimmune diseases

>University of Bristol researchers have discovered how to stop cells from attacking healthy body tissue in debilitating autoimmune diseases, where the body’s immune system destroys its own tissue by mistake.

>The cells were converted from being aggressive to actually protecting against disease.
>The researchers hope the finding will lead to widespread use of “antigen-specific immunotherapy” as a treatment for many autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes, Graves’ disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus


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Slowing down the aging process by ‘remote control’

>UCLA biologists have identified a gene that can slow the aging process throughout the entire body when activated remotely in key organ systems.

>Working with fruit flies, the life scientists activated a gene called AMPK that is a key energy sensor in cells; it gets activated when cellular energy levels are low.
>Increasing the amount of AMPK in fruit flies’ intestines increased their lifespans by about 30 percent — to roughly eight weeks from the typical six — and the flies stayed healthier longer as well.
>“Instead of studying the diseases of aging — Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes — one by one, we believe it may be possible to intervene in the aging process and delay the onset of many of these diseases,” said Walker, a member of UCLA’s Molecular Biology Institute. “We are not there yet, and it could, of course, take many years, but that is our goal and we think it is realistic.

Wiping the slate clean: Erasing cellular memory and resetting human stem cells

>Babraham Institute scientists, in collaboration with colleagues at the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute, have published findings today in the journal Cell giving hope that researchers will be able to generate base-state, naïve human stem cells for future medical applications. The study demonstrates that human stem cells can be reverted back to a base state, losing characteristics that mark them as belonging to a specific cell lineage and instead regaining the identify of a non-specialised cells with unrestricted potential (pluripotency) to develop into any cell type.

>"This research is an enormous step forward in answering questions about whether human stem cells can be reset to a ground state and the feasibility of maintaining pluripotency. It is also an excellent demonstration of the importance of collaborative research making the most of the extensive and complementary expertise that can be found in Cambridge."

Artificial membranes form bio-silicon interfaces

>A group of scientists in Chile has created* artificial biomembranes (mimicking those found in living organisms) on silicon surfaces, a step toward creating bio-silicon interfaces, where biological “sensor” molecules can be printed onto a cheap silicon chip with integrated electronic circuits.

>Described in The Journal of Chemical Physics from AIP Publishing, the artificial membranes have potential applications such as detecting bacterial contaminants in food, toxic pollution in the environment, and dangerous diseases .

Improving memory with transcranial magnetic stimulation

>Northwestern Medicine researchers have discovered that using high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to indirectly stimulate the hippocampus portion of the brain improves long-term memory.

>The discovery opens up interesting new possibilities for treating memory impairments caused by conditions such as stroke, early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and cardiac arrest — along with the memory problems that occur in aging.
>“We show for the first time that you can specifically change memory functions of the brain in adults without surgery or drugs, which have not proven effective,”
>In an upcoming trial, Voss will study the stimulation’s effect on people with early-stage memory loss.

A fully transparent solar concentrator for windows

>A cheap, emissions-free device that uses a 1.5-volt AAA battery to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis has been developed by scientists at Stanford University.

>Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in the Stanford device are made of inexpensive, abundant nickel and iron.
>“This is the first time anyone has used non-precious metal catalysts to split water at a voltage that low,” said Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford. “It’s quite remarkable, because normally you need expensive metals, like platinum or iridium, to achieve that voltage.”
>So when can we expect this innovation to be available commercially? “The catalysts can be produced at very large scale for industrial purposes,” he said. “Currently, the device could work for days, but we are still working on improving the stability of the catalysts. Once the stability is further improved to more than weeks, the device can be easily produced for commercialization, which may take several years.”

Targeted brain stimulation aids stroke recovery in mice

>Stanford University School of Medicine have found that light-driven stimulation technology called optogenetics enhances stroke* recovery in mice — even when initiated five days after stroke occurred.

>The mice showed significantly greater recovery in motor ability than mice that had experienced strokes but whose brains weren’t stimulated.
>These findings, published Aug. 18 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help identify important brain circuits involved in stroke recovery and usher in new clinical therapies for stroke, including the placement of electrical brain-stimulating devices similar to those used for treating Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain and epilepsy.


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China is set to build a particle collider twice the circumference of the LHC

>CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is by far the biggest particle collider in the world–it even has “large” in the name. However, the now famous scientific instrument buried near Geneva, Switzerland may soon be eclipsed by an even bigger collider currently being planned in China. The plan from scientists at the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing calls for a ring-shaped collider nearly twice the size of the LHC.

>The project has an estimated cost of $3 billion, which scientists believe the Chinese government might be willing to cover all on its own. However, international backers could make the larger collider a joint project of some sort. There are still larger colliders being proposed for future projects, including a US-European followup to the LHC that would be 100 kilometers (around 62.1 miles) long with collision energy of 100 TeV. However, the physics community will probably settle on just one next-generation collider, and the Chinese proposal is the furthest along.

Next-Generation Stem Cells Transplanted in Human for the First Time

>A Japanese woman in her 70s is the world\'s first recipient of cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, a technology that has created great expectations since it could offer the same advantages as embryo-derived cells but without some of the controversial aspects and safety concerns.

>In a two-hour procedure starting at 14:20 local time today, a team of three eye specialists lead by Yasuo Kurimoto of the Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital, transplanted a 1.3 by 3.0 millimeter sheet of retinal pigment epithelium cells into an eye of the Hyogo prefecture resident, who suffers from age-related macular degeneration.
>“We\'ve taken a momentous first step toward regenerative medicine using iPS cells,” Takahashi said in a statement. “With this as a starting point, I definitely want to bring [iPS cell-based regenerative medicine] to as many people as possible.”

Superconductors Notch Highest Current of 100,000 amperes

>Japan\'s National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS) has achieved an electrical current of 100,000 amperes, the highest to be generated so far in the world. This has major implications for its use in fusion reactors.

>They used state-of-the-art yttrium-based high-temperature superconducting tapes to fabricate a large-scale magnet conductor by a relatively simple technique of stacking the tapes to obtain a conductor of exceptional mechanical strength. For the conductor joints, NIFS developed low-resistance joint technology through collaborative research with Tohoku University.
>The research demonstrates the potential of high-temperature superconductors for applications in a range of fields, including flywheels for energy storage, \'magnetic separators\', which can be used in mineral refinement and pollution control, and in high-speed levitating monorail trains.

Computer Eyesight Gets a Lot More Accurate

>The improvement was visible in contest results released Monday evening by computer scientists and companies that sponsor an annual challenge to measure improvements in the state of machine vision technology.

>Accuracy almost doubled in the 2014 competition and error rates were cut in half, according to the conference organizers.
>Despite the fact that contest is based on pattern recognition software that can be “trained” to recognize objects in digital images, the contest itself is made possible by the Imagenet database, an immense collection of more than 14 million images that have been identified by humans.
>Machine vision has countless applications, including computer gaming, medical diagnosis, factory robotics and automotive safety systems, or HAL watching you shower. Recently a number of carmakers have added the ability to recognize pedestrians and bicyclists and stop automatically without driver intervention.

MIT Study Shows People Would Rather Take Orders From A Robot Than Their Boss

>Research coming out of MIT confirms that in a two-human, one-robot team working toward a common goal, the humans would rather the robot be in charge.

>Not only do human participants prefer taking robo-orders when it comes to tackling a manufacturing task, but the robot ended up leading the team in a more productive manner than the humans could. From MIT:
>The team\'s two hypotheses are confirmed: that the level of automation in a system greatly affects efficiency, and that people want to be involved without the burdens of small management decisions.


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Ultra-thin diamond nanothreads are strongest, stiffest materials

>Scientists have discovered how to produce ultra-thin “diamond nanothreads” that promise extraordinary properties, including strength and stiffness greater than that of today’s strongest nanotubes and polymers.

>A paper describing this discovery by a research team led by John V. Badding, a professor of chemistry at Penn State University, was published in the September 21, 2014 issue of the journal Nature Materials.
>“One of our wildest dreams for the nanomaterials we are developing is that they could be used to make the super-strong, lightweight cables that would make possible the construction of a “space elevator”
>The team’s discovery comes after nearly a century of failed attempts by other labs to compress separate carbon-containing molecules like liquid benzene into an ordered, diamond-like nanomaterial.

A chip that can simulate a tumor’s ‘microenvironment’

>Purdue University researchers have developed a chip capable of simulating a tumor’s “microenvironment” to test the effectiveness of nanoparticles and drugs that target cancer.

>The new tumor-microenvironment-on-chip (T-MOC) will allow researchers to study the complex environment surrounding tumors and the barriers that prevent targeted delivery of therapeutic agents, said Bumsoo Han, a Purdue associate professor of mechanical engineering.
>Future work will expand to the study of anticancer drugs. Eventually, the devices might be used to grow tumor cells from patients to gauge the effectiveness of specific drugs in those people.

Soft robotics ‘toolkit’ features everything a budding robot-maker needs

>Several Harvard University labs in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin have developed the Soft Robotics Toolkit — an online treasure trove of downloadable open-source plans, how-to videos, and case studies to assist users in the design, fabrication, modeling, characterization, and control of soft robotic devices.

>With the advent of low-cost 3D printing, laser cutters, and other advances in manufacturing technology, soft robotics is emerging as an increasingly important field.
>The kit will provide researchers with a level of detail not typically found in academic research papers, including 3D models, bills of materials, raw experimental data, multimedia step-by-step tutorials, and case studies of various soft robot designs.
>Just as open-source software has spurred far-flung innovation in computing, “open design” hardware platforms—coupled with advances in computer-aided engineering and more accessible prototyping capabilities—have the potential to foster remote collaboration on common mechanical engineering projects, unleashing crowdsourced creativity in robotics and other fields.

A nanosized, environmentally friendly hydrogen generator

>A small-scale “hydrogen generator” that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost production of hydrogen has been developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.

>Argonne’s early-stage generator, composed of many tiny assemblies, is proof that hydrogen can be produced without burning fossil fuels. The experiment was limited to nanoscale dimensions, but scaling this research up in the future may mean that we could one day replace the gasoline used in cars and generators with hydrogen — a greener option, because burning hydrogen fuel emits only water vapor.
>“Our goal is to learn from the natural world and use its materials as building blocks for innovation.”

Making quantum dots glow brighter

>Researchers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Oklahoma have found a new way to control the properties of quantum dots, those tiny chunks of semiconductor material that glow different colors depending on their size, using ultrathin layers of metal oxides.

>Quantum dots, which are so small they start to exhibit atom-like quantum properties, have a wide range of potential applications, from sensors, light-emitting diodes, and solar cells, to fluorescent tags for biomedical imaging and qubits in quantum computing.
>A key property of quantum dots that makes them so useful is their fluorescence. Scientists can “tune” quantum dots to emit a specific color of light by adjusting their size — small dots glow blue and large dots glow red. However, the dots’ ability to glow can change over time with exposure to light and air.
>“The results of these studies can serve to enhance emission efficiency of quantum dots, which is an important feature for many applications such as light emitting devices, sensors, detectors, photovoltaic devices, and the investigation of a wide range of quantum and nano-scale physical phenomena,”

Russian scientists create ultrahard ‘Fullerite’ material at room temperature and lower pressure

>A method for synthesis of an ultrahard material called Fullerite (exceeding diamond in hardness) at room temperature and lower pressure has been developed by Russian researchers from the Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials in Troitsk, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

>Fullerite is a polymer composed of fullerenes, or spherical molecules made of carbon atoms. It has become first on the list of ultra hard materials (harder than diamond), with values that range from 150 to 300 GPa.
>“The discovery will create a new research area in materials science because it substantially reduces the pressure required for synthesis and allows for manufacturing the material and its derivatives on an industrial scale,”

A long-lasting, water-based nuclear-energy-powered battery

>University of Missouri researchers have developed a prototype of an efficient nuclear-energy-powered* battery that does not require recharging and could be a reliable energy source in automobiles and space vehicles.

>Kwon’s solution is a water-based battery. As in nuclear reactors, water efficiently absorbs large amounts of nuclear energy, generating free radicals. His design uses a strontium-90 radioactive isotope, which generates electrochemical energy in water. A nanostructured titanium dioxide electrode with a platinum coating collects and converts the electrochemical energy into electrons.
>“Water acts as a buffer and surface plasmons created in the device turned out to be very useful in increasing its efficiency, the ionic solution is not easily frozen at very low temperatures and could work in a wide variety of applications, including car batteries and, if packaged properly, perhaps spacecraft.”
>In this experiment, for the Pt/nanoporous TiO2, with the given radiation source, the total number of beta particles per unit time was estimated to be 5.55 × 108s−1, and the total input power density of the beta particles at 139.238μW/cm2. Based on the maximum energy conversion efficiency (estimated to be 53.88% — very high), the output power density is 75 μW/cm2.

Capturing the motion of a single molecule in real time as it oscillates from one quantum state to another

>UC Irvine chemists have scored a scientific first: capturing moving images of a single molecule as it vibrates and shifts from one quantum state to another.

>It also moves researchers a step closer to viewing the molecular world in action — being able to see the making and breaking of bonds, which control biological processes such as enzymatic reactions and cellular dynamics.
>“Our work is the first to capture the motion of one molecule in real time,” Apkarian said. While still images of single molecules have been possible since the 1980s, recording a molecule’s extremely rapid movements had proven elusive.
>To track its activity and record measurements over the course of an hour, the researchers used precisely tuned, ultrafast lasers and microscopes and equipped the molecule with a tiny antenna consisting of two gold nanospheres to detect movements.


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Twisting radio beams to transmit ultra-high-speed data

>Building on previous research using twisted light to send data at unheard-of speeds, scientists at USC have developed a similar technique with radio waves, reaching high speeds without the problems with optical systems.

>The researchers, led by electrical engineering professor Alan Willner of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, reached data transmission rates of 32 gigabits per second across 2.5 meters of free space in a lab — “one of the fastest data transmission via radio waves that has been demonstrated,” Willner said.
>Faster data transmission rates have been achieved. Willner’s team two years ago used twisted light beams to transmit data at 2.56 terabits per second. “The advantage of radio is that it uses wider, more robust beams,” he said. “Wider beams are better able to cope with obstacles between the transmitter and the receiver, and radio is not as affected by atmospheric turbulence as optics.”
>Future research will focus on attempting to extend the transmission’s range and capabilities.

Smallest known galaxy with supermassive black hole discovered

>Astronomers have discovered that an ultracompact dwarf galaxy harbors a supermassive black hole with a mass equal to 21 million suns — the smallest galaxy known to contain such a massive black hole. The finding suggests that huge black holes may be more common than previously believed.

>“It is the smallest and lightest object that we know of that has a supermassive black hole,” says Anil Seth, lead author of an international study of the dwarf galaxy published in the Sept. 18 issue of the journal Nature. “It’s also one of the most black-hole-dominated galaxies known.”
>“We believe this once was a very big galaxy with maybe 10 billion stars in it, but then it passed very close to the center of an even larger galaxy, M60, and in that process all the stars and dark matter in the outer part of the galaxy got torn away and became part of M60,” he says. “That was maybe as much as 10 billion years ago. We don’t know.”

How to quickly convert human skin cells into immune-fighting white blood cells

>Salk Institute scientists have turned human skin cells into transplantable white blood cells capable of attacking diseased or cancerous cells or augmenting immune responses against other disorders.

>The new technique, using indirect lineage conversion, takes just two weeks, engrafts (becomes grafted and functions normally) well, and does not produce tumors.
>The researchers are now conducting toxicology studies and cell transplantation proof-of-concept studies in advance of potential preclinical and clinical studies.

Could ‘solid’ light compute previously unsolvable problems?

>Researchers at Princeton University have “crystallized” light. They are not shining light through crystal — they are actually transforming light into crystal, as part of an effort to develop exotic materials such as room-temperature superconductors.

>The researchers locked together photons so that they became fixed in place. “It’s something that we have never seen before,” said Andrew Houck, an associate professor of electrical engineering and one of the researchers. “This is a new behavior for light.”
>“We are interested in exploring — and ultimately controlling and directing — the flow of energy at the atomic level,” said Hakan Türeci, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and a member of the research team. “The goal is to better understand current materials and processes and to evaluate materials that we cannot yet create.”
>The device could also allow physicists to explore fundamental questions about the behavior of matter by mimicking materials that only exist in physicists’ imaginations.

New discovery could pave the way for spin-based computing

>Having a magnetic material that can store and process information would enable new forms of hybrid storage and processing capabilities.

>Such a material has been created by the Pitt research team led by Jeremy Levy, a Distinguished Professor of Condensed Matter Physics in Pitt\'s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and director of the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute.
>Levy, other researchers at Pitt, and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison today published their work in Nature Communications, elucidating their discovery of a form of magnetism that can be stabilized with electric fields rather than magnetic fields.
>The newly discovered magnetic properties come on the heels of a previous invention by Levy, so-called "Etch-a-Sketch Nanoelectronics" involving the same material. The discovery of magnetic properties can now be combined with ultra-small transistors, terahertz detectors, and single-electron devices previously demonstrated.

D-Wave CEO: Our Next Quantum Processor Will Make Computer Science History

>If the machines are achieving “quantum speedup” and growth curves keep pace with predictions, Jurvetson believes we could be on the precipice of a fundamental shift in computing — an exponential upon exponential leap that reshapes our assumptions about what machines can do.

>Shortly, we’re pretty confident that you’ll see results that definitely show us scaling better than the best known classical algorithms for those problem sets. We’re starting to see quantum accelerations, if you will, start to take off and cross over what classical systems can do.
>Our next-generation processor will be 1,000 qubits, actually more precisely 1,152, and that’s going to be released early next year. We already have several customers waiting for that processor and we have about four of those systems in our laboratory today undergoing development and tests.

‘Active clothing’ for soft robots

>Purdue University researchers are developing a robotic fabric that moves and contracts and is embedded with sensors, an approach that could bring “active clothing” and a new class of soft robots.

>Such an elastic technology could make possible robots that have sensory skin, stretchable robotic garments that people might wear for added strength and endurance, “g-suits” for pilots or astronauts to counteract the effects of acceleration, and lightweight, versatile robots to roam alien landscapes during space missions.
>The robotic fabric is a cotton material containing sensors made of a flexible polymer and threadlike strands of a shape-memory alloy that return to a coiled shape when heated, causing the fabric to move.
>“We will be able to design robots on the fly,” Kramer said. “Anything can be a robot because all of the robotic technology is in the fabric or skin.”

Superlattice transforms graphene into a semiconductor

>Graphene can be transformed into a new superlattice state that converts graphene — normally a metallic conductor — into a semiconductor, MIT and University of Manchester researchers have found.

>The research suggests that transistors made from graphene superlattices should consume less energy than conventional semiconductor transistors because charge carriers drift perpendicular to the electric field, which results in little energy dissipation.
>“It is quite a fascinating effect, and it hits a very soft spot in our understanding of complex, so-called topological materials,” said Geim. “It is extremely rare to come across a phenomenon that bridges materials science, particle physics, relativity and topology.”


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IBM develops a computer chip with one million \'neurons\' that \'functions like a human brain\'

>Scientists from IBM have developed the first neurosynaptic computer chip to achieve an unprecedented scale of 1 million programmable neurons, 256 million programmable synapses, and 46 billion synaptic operations per second.

>IBM\'s SyNAPSE chip has 5.4 billion transistors, is a fully functional and production sclae part, and currently one of the largest CMOS chips ever built, though it only only consumes a scant 70mW, which is orders of magnitudes less than a modern processor, the company said.
> "These brain-inspired chips could transform mobility, via sensory and intelligent applications that can fit in the palm of your hand but without the need for Wi-Fi."

An ultralight but tough new foam made from graphene

>Rice University researchers have developed a new ultralight but tough nanofoam called “GO-0.5BN” from atom-thick sheets.

>The Rice team has now actually produced and tested the material. The nanostructure’s floors and walls are made of graphene oxide that self-assembles with the assistance of hexagonal boron nitride platelets, and can be made in any size and shape.
>They also found it can handle a great deal of strain and still bounce back to its native form.
>The researchers say the structured foam could find use in supercapacitor and battery electrodes and for gas absorption, among other applications.

Using lasers and carbon nanotubes to look inside living brains

>Stanford chemists have developed an non-invasive technique using lasers and carbon nanotubes to capture an unprecedented look at blood flowing through a living brain.

>The new technique was developed for mice but could one day be applied to humans, potentially providing vital information in the study of stroke and migraines, and perhaps even Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, the researchers say.
>The technique allows scientists to view about three millimeters underneath the scalp and allows for visualizing blood coursing through single capillaries only a few microns (millionths of a meter) across, said senior author Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford.

Atomically precise self-assembling nanoscale fibers mimic living cells

>Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed a novel method for creating self-assembled protein/polymer nanostructures that resemble fibers found in living cells.

>The work offers a promising new way to fabricate materials for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications.
>Importantly, the fibers disassembled after being exposed to sound waves, and then reassembled within a few days. Systems that exhibit this type of reversible fibrous self-assembly have been long sought by scientists for use in applications such as tissue engineering, drug delivery, nanoreactors and imaging.

‘Active’ surfaces that control fluids or particles

>Imagine a treated surface that that can actively control how fluids or particles move across it.

>That’s what researchers at MIT and in Saudi Arabia have developed, using a simple microtextured surface, with bumps or ridges just a few micrometers across.
>They impregnated the surface with a fluid that can be manipulated — for example, an oil infused with tiny magnetic particles, or ferrofluid, which can be pushed and pulled by applying a magnetic field to the surface.
>Practical uses? The researchers suggested solar panels that could automatically clean themselves of dust and grit, for example. “Most surfaces are passive,”
>But at present, even in desert locations, the only way to counter this fouling is to hose the arrays down, a labor- and water-intensive method. The new approach, the researchers say, could lead to systems that make the cleaning process automatic and water-free.

New drug reverses effects of Alzheimer’s disease in mice

>Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have discovered a new drug compound that reverses the brain deficits of Alzheimer’s disease in mice. Their findings are published in the Aug. 5 issue of the journal PLoS Biology

>The compound, TC-2153, inhibits the negative effects of a protein called STtriatal-Enriched tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP) on learning and memory. These cognitive functions are impaired in Alzheimer’s.
>“Decreasing STEP levels reversed the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in mice,”
> “A single dose of the drug results in improved cognitive function in mice. Animals treated with TC compound were indistinguishable from a control group in several cognitive tasks.”

3D-bioprinting improved artificial blood vessels

>A Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) team has created artificial blood vessels using a three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting technique.

>“Engineers have made incredible strides in making complex artificial tissues such as those of the heart, liver and lungs,” said senior study author, Ali Khademhosseini, PhD, biomedical engineer, and director of the BWH Biomaterials Innovation Research Center. “However, creating artificial blood vessels remains a critical challenge in tissue engineering. We’ve attempted to address this challenge by offering a unique strategy for vascularization of hydrogel constructs that combine advances in 3D bioprinting technology and biomaterials.”
>“In the future, 3D printing technology may be used to develop transplantable tissues customized to each patient’s needs or be used outside the body to develop drugs that are safe and effective,” said Khademhosseini.


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In world first, researchers convert sunlight to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency

>UNSW Australia\'s solar researchers have converted over 40% of the sunlight hitting a solar system into electricity, the highest efficiency ever reported.

>The record efficiency was achieved in outdoor tests in Sydney, before being independently confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at their outdoor test facility in the United States.
>The work was funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and supported by the Australia-US Institute for Advanced Photovoltaics (AUSIAPV).
>"This is the highest efficiency ever reported for sunlight conversion into electricity," UNSW Scientia Professor and Director of the Advanced Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) Professor Martin Green said.

Promising compound rapidly eliminates malaria parasite

>An international research collaborative has determined that a promising anti-malarial compound tricks the immune system to rapidly destroy red blood cells infected with the malaria parasite but leave healthy cells unharmed. St. Jude Children\'s Research Hospital scientists led the study, which appears in the current online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

>The compound, (+)-SJ733, was developed from a molecule identified in a previous St. Jude-led study that helped to jumpstart worldwide anti-malarial drug development efforts. Malaria is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease remains a major health threat to more than half the world\'s population, particularly children. The World Health Organization estimates that in Africa a child dies of malaria every minute.
>In this study, researchers determined that (+)-SJ733 uses a novel mechanism to kill the parasite by recruiting the immune system to eliminate malaria-infected red blood cells. In a mouse model of malaria, a single dose of (+)-SJ733 killed 80 percent of malaria parasites within 24 hours. After 48 hours the parasite was undetectable.

Dopamine helps with math rules as well as mood

>The chemical messenger dopamine – otherwise known as the happiness hormone – is important not only for motivation and motor skills. It seems it can also help neurons with difficult cognitive tasks. Torben Ott, Simon Jacob and Professor Andreas Nieder of Tübingen’s Institute for Neurobiology have demonstrated for the first time how dopamine influences brain cells while processing rules. The research is published in the early online edition of Neuron.

>The effects of dopamine become very clear when the brain gets too little of it, as is the case with Parkinson’s disease. A dopamine imbalance leads to varied neurological disruptions – particularly movement – but also mental abilities. Our key cognitive center, the prefrontal cortex, which we use for abstract thought, rule-based decisions and logical conclusions, is intensively supplied with dopamine. Despite its major medical significance, we know little about dopamine’s effects on information processing by neurons in the healthy brain.

Barrier-breaking drug may lead to spinal cord injury treatments

>Injections of a new drug may partially relieve paralyzing spinal cord injuries, based on indications from a study in rats, which was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health

>The results demonstrate how fundamental laboratory research may lead to new therapies.
>"We\'re very excited at the possibility that millions of people could, one day, regain movements lost during spinal cord injuries," said Jerry Silver, Ph.D., professor of neurosciences, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, and a senior investigator of the study published in Nature.
>Every year, tens of thousands of people are paralyzed by spinal cord injuries. The injuries crush and sever the long axons of spinal cord nerve cells, blocking communication between the brain and the body and resulting in paralysis below the injury.
>On a hunch, Bradley Lang, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and a graduate student in Dr. Silver\'s lab, came up with the idea of designing a drug that would help axons regenerate without having to touch the healing spinal cord, as current treatments may require.

New research paves the way for nano-movies of biomolecules

>An international team, including scientists from Arizona State University, the University of Milwaukee-Madison (UMW), and Germany\'s Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), have caught a light sensitive biomolecule at work using an X-ray laser. Their new study proves that high speed X-ray lasers can capture the fast dynamics of biomolecules in ultra slow-motion, revealing subtle processes with unprecedented clarity.

>"This work paves the way for movies from the nano-world with atomic resolution," said Professor Marius Schmidt from UMW, corresponding author of the new paper, which appears in the Dec. 4 issue of the journal Science.

Human eye can see \'invisible\' infrared light

>Any science textbook will tell you we can\'t see infrared light. Like X-rays and radio waves, infrared light waves are outside the visual spectrum.

>But an international team of researchers co-led by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that under certain conditions, the retina can sense infrared light after all.
>Using cells from the retinas of mice and people, and powerful lasers that emit pulses of infrared light, the researchers found that when laser light pulses rapidly, light-sensing cells in the retina sometimes get a double hit of infrared energy. When that happens, the eye is able to detect light that falls outside the visible spectrum.
>"We\'re using what we learned in these experiments to try to develop a new tool that would allow physicians to not only examine the eye but also to stimulate specific parts of the retina to determine whether it\'s functioning properly," said senior investigator Vladimir J. Kefalov, PhD, associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Washington University. "We hope that ultimately this discovery will have some very practical applications."

New revelations on dark matter and relic neutrinos

>The Planck collaboration, which notably includes the CNRS, CEA, CNES and several French universities, has disclosed, at a conference in Ferrara, Italy, the results of four years of observations from the ESA\'s Planck satellite. The satellite aims to study relic radiation (the most ancient light in the Universe). This light has been measured precisely across the entire sky for the first time, in both intensity and polarisation1, thereby producing the oldest image of the Universe. This primordial light lets us "see" some of the most elusive particles in the Universe: dark matter and relic neutrinos.

>Between 2009 and 2013, the Planck satellite observed relic radiation, sometimes called cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. Today, with a full analysis of the data, the quality of the map is now such that the imprints left by dark matter and relic neutrinos are clearly visible.

Stem cells from deceased patients recreated to study present-day illnesses

>Research scientists have developed a novel method to re-create brain and intestinal stem cells from patients who died decades ago, using DNA from stored blood samples to study the potential causes of debilitating illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease.

>The lab research, published in the journal STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, could yield new therapies for people who suffer from aggressive motor-neuron and gut-related conditions that proved fatal to the deceased patients who long-ago volunteered their blood samples.
>"The potential implications of this research are vast," said Dhruv Sareen, PhD, the study\'s lead author, and assistant professor and director of the David and Janet Polak Foundation Stem Cell Core Laboratory in the Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute.
>By using a deceased patient\'s stored blood samples, Sareen and his colleagues found that they can develop stem cells known as iPSCs in a petri dish – essentially reanimating diseased cells from patients long after they have died.

This Software Takes Us One Step Closer to Biological Nanomachines

>Scientists at MIT have developed a computer model that allows them to create three-dimensional DNA shapes of unprecedented complexity (like 20-faced icosahedrons). Their system represents a significant step forward in the field of nanoscale biological engineering.

>One of the foremost aims of the burgeoning field of nanoscale engineering is to deepen our understanding of this relationship between structure and function. Imagine a program capable of translating a desired shape (for example: a geometric capsule that opens and closes for drug delivery) into a DNA sequence that assumes that shape when synthesized in the lab. Such a program would not only show you what your capsule looks like, helping you visualize it at a more relatable scale, but perhaps tell you about its structural properties. Imagine stress-testing a microscopic object the way you might stress-test the wing-design for a plane


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New superomniphobic texture made of nanoscopic nails repels all known liquids

>By covering a surface with thousands of microscopic flathead nails, UCLA researchers CJ Kim and Tingyi Liu have created a surface texture that can repel all known liquids. Each nail is thinner than the width of a human hair and placed just 100 micrometers apart, and each head measures in at just 20 micrometers in diameter. Every nail has a vertical overhang coming off its head, looking similar to a tablecloth hanging over the edge of a round table. The overhang buoys liquids by creating a cushion composed of about 95% air, preserving the liquid’s surface tension. The nails are fashioned out of our old friend silica — silicon dioxide; the same stuff that lays at the base of almost every computer chip ever made.

>The UCLA-engineered texture repelled all liquids thrown at it, including oils, solvents, and even a solvent that has the lowest known surface tension for a liquid, perfluorohexane. Even better, the nailed texture can be applied to a variety of surfaces, including metal, glass, and polymers. Due to the surface being made of nanostructured nails instead of, for example, a coating, it’s tough and wouldn’t degrade from harsh temperatures, biofluid, or ultraviolet light.

Wireless brain sensor-transmitter could unchain neuroscience from cables

>A team of scientists led by Brown University has developed a high-data-rate, low-power, wireless brain-sensor and transmitter system for acquiring high-fidelity neural data during animal behavior experiments.

>The new system solves a fundamental problem in neuroscience research: cables, which are needed to connect brain sensors to computers, constrain movement of subjects, limiting the kinds of research that are possible.
>“We view this as a platform device for tapping into the richness of electrical signals from the brain among animal models, where their neural circuit activity reflects entirely volitional and naturalistic behavior, not constrained to particular space,” said Arto Nurmikko, professor of engineering and physics at the Brown Institute for Brain Science and the paper’s senior and corresponding author.
>“This enables new types of neuroscience experiments with vast amounts of brain data wirelessly and continuously streamed from brain microcircuits.”

Scientists create artificial enzymes

>Researchers have created artificial enzymes in the laboratory. These enzymes are encoded by artificial genetic material and can function as biological catalysts.

>Over the past several years, researchers have begun making synthetic genetic polymers they called XNAs. These biological constructs incorporate alternative molecules in place the ribose or deoxyribose portions of RNA and DNA. Previous research has shown that these nucleic acids "can replicate and evolve" just like naturally occurring biological materials.
>Now, the same research group, led by Philipp Holliger of the U.K.’s MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, has used XNAs to encode and produce artificial enzymes. These enzymes function just as well as natural molecules, capable of constructing and breaking down other compounds.

Unusual electronic state found in new class of unconventional superconductors

>A team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy\'s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, Columbia Engineering, Columbia Physics and Kyoto University has discovered an unusual form of electronic order in a new family of unconventional superconductors. The finding, described in the journal Nature Communications, establishes an unexpected connection between this new group of titanium-oxypnictide superconductors and the more familiar cuprates and iron-pnictides, providing scientists with a whole new family of materials from which they can gain deeper insights into the mysteries of high-temperature superconductivity.

>Harnessing the power of superconductivity, or the ability of certain materials to conduct electricity with zero energy loss, is one of the most exciting possibilities for creating a more energy-efficient future. But because most superconductors only work at very low temperatures-just a few degrees above absolute zero, or -273 degrees Celsius-they are not yet useful for everyday life. The discovery in the 1980s of "high-temperature" superconductors that work at warmer temperatures (though still not room temperature) was a giant step forward, offering scientists the hope that a complete understanding of what enables these materials to carry loss-free current would help them design new materials for everyday applications. Each new discovery of a common theme among these materials is helping scientists unlock pieces of the puzzle.

Rotating nanotube motors offer glimpse of future nanodevices

>As one of the simplest and tiniest of all motors, a double-walled carbon nanotube (DWCNT) with a rotating inner tube and fixed outer tube may one day play a major role in a variety of future nanodevices. In a new study, researchers have studied the inner tube rotational behavior of a DWCNT motor whose motion is induced by a relatively high uniform temperature.

>The researchers, K. Cai, et al., at Northwest A&F University in Yangling, China, and the Australian National University in Acton, Australia, have published their paper on DWCNT rotating motors in a recent issue of Nanotechnology.
>As the scientists explain, DWCNTs have the potential to act as effective motors because of their combination of two important properties: the large strength of each individual tube due to its strong covalent bonds, and the weak interaction between the two adjacent tubes due to repulsive van der Waals interactions.

World record for compact particle accelerator: Researchers ramp up energy of laser-plasma \'tabletop\' accelerator

>Using one of the most powerful lasers in the world, researchers have accelerated subatomic particles to the highest energies ever recorded from a compact accelerator.

>The team, from the U.S. Department of Energy\'s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab), used a specialized petawatt laser and a charged-particle gas called plasma to get the particles up to speed. The setup is known as a laser-plasma accelerator, an emerging class of particle accelerators that physicists believe can shrink traditional, miles-long accelerators to machines that can fit on a table.
>The researchers sped up the particles – electrons in this case – inside a nine-centimeter long tube of plasma. The speed corresponded to an energy of 4.25 giga-electron volts. The acceleration over such a short distance corresponds to an energy gradient 1000 times greater than traditional particle accelerators and marks a world record energy for laser-plasma accelerators.

Building of World\'s Largest Telescope Is Finally a Go

>The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) will soon become the largest telescope in the world, eclipsing the 405-inch Gran Telescopio Canarias in the Canary Islands. When construction is complete, the new telescope will have a diameter of over 1,520 inches - more than 126 feet across.

>Telescopes need to be large in order to gather as much light as possible. Just as greater volumes of water can run through pipes with larger diameters, larger telescopes gather more light, allowing astronomers to see dimmer objects.
>The E-ELT telescope is designed to see objects too faint to be seen using current technologies. The massive size of the new optical instrument will allow astronomers to see objects in space 14 times dimmer than the faintest images available today. Astronomers using the E-ELT observatory will be able to view targets in both visible and infrared wavelengths.

A new low-cost way to create 3D nanostructures

>Researchers from North Carolina State University (NC State) have developed a new low-cost lithography technique that can create three-dimensional (3D) nanostructures for biomedical, electronic, and photonic applications, replacing laborious stacking of two-dimensional (2D) patterns to create 3D structures.

>“Our approach reduces the cost of nanolithography to the point where it could be done in your garage,” says Dr. Chih-Hao Chang, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper on the work.
>Most conventional lithography uses a variety of techniques to focus light on a photosensitive film to create 2D patterns. These techniques rely on specialized lenses, electron beams or lasers — all of which are extremely expensive. Other conventional techniques use mechanical probes, which are also costly.
>To create 3D structures, the 2D patterns are essentially printed on top of each other.
>The NC State researchers took a different approach, using nanoscale polystyrene spheres. The nanospheres are transparent, but bend and scatter the light that passes through them in predictable ways, according to the angle that the light takes when it hits the nanosphere.

New technique could harvest more of the sun\'s energy

>As solar panels become less expensive and capable of generating more power, solar energy is becoming a more commercially viable alternative source of electricity. However, the photovoltaic cells now used to turn sunlight into electricity can only absorb and use a small fraction of that light, and that means a significant amount of solar energy goes untapped.

>A new technology created by researchers from Caltech, and described in a paper published online in the October 30 issue of Science Express, represents a first step toward harnessing that lost energy.
>Although silicon-based photovoltaic cells can absorb light wavelengths that fall in the visible spectrum – light that is visible to the human eye – longer wavelengths such as infrared light pass through the silicon. These wavelengths of light pass right through the silicon and never get converted to electricity – and in the case of infrared, they are normally lost as unwanted heat.
>Now, Atwater and his colleagues have found a way to absorb and make use of these infrared waves with a structure composed not of silicon, but entirely of metal.
>The new technique they\'ve developed is based on a phenomenon observed in metallic structures known as plasmon resonance. Plasmons are coordinated waves, or ripples, of electrons that exist on the surfaces of metals at the point where the metal meets the air.




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Missing link in metal physics explains Earth's magnetic field

>Earth's magnetic field is crucial for our existence, as it shields the life on our planet's surface from deadly cosmic rays. It is generated by turbulent motions of liquid iron in Earth's core. Iron is a metal, which means it can easily conduct a flow of electrons that makes up an electric current. New findings from a team including Carnegie's Ronald Cohen and Peng Zhang shows that a missing piece of the traditional theory explaining why metals become less conductive when they are heated was needed to complete the puzzle that explains this field-generating process. Their work is published in Nature.

Stomach acid-powered micromotors get their first test in a living animal

>Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have shown that a micromotor fueled by stomach acid can take a bubble-powered ride inside a mouse. These tiny motors, each about one-fifth the width of a human hair, may someday offer a safer and more efficient way to deliver drugs or diagnose tumors.

>The experiment is the first to show that these micromotors can operate safely in a living animal, said Professors Joseph Wang and Liangfang Zhang of the NanoEngineering Department at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.
>Wang, Zhang and others have experimented with different designs and fuel systems for micromotors that can travel in water, blood and other body fluids in the lab. "But this is the first example of loading and releasing a cargo in vivo," said Wang. "We thought it was the logical extension of the work we have done, to see if these motors might be able to swim in stomach acid."

Chemists find a way to unboil egg whites: Ability to quickly restore molecular proteins could slash biotechnology costs

>UC Irvine and Australian chemists have figured out how to unboil egg whites – an innovation that could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments, food production and other segments of the $160 billion global biotechnology industry, according to findings published today in the journal ChemBioChem.

>"Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg," said Gregory Weiss, UCI professor of chemistry and molecular biology & biochemistry. "In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold. We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order."

Probiotic treats diabetes in rats, could lead to human remedy

>Imagine a pill that helps people control diabetes with the body’s own insulin to lower blood glucose levels.

>Cornell researchers have achieved this feat in rats by engineering human lactobacilli, a common gut bacteria, to secrete a protein that modifies intestinal cells to produce insulin..
>A 2003 study led by Atsushi Suzuki of the University of Tsukuba, Japan, first demonstrated that when exposed to a protein called Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), intestinal epithelial cells (which cover the guts) are converted into insulin-producing cells.
>But until now, it has not been possible to administer GLP-1 into a live animal without injecting it — a method of administration that is not very effective.

Functioning brain tissue grown in 3-D structure

>Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan have succeeded in inducing human embryonic stem cells to self-organize into a three-dimensional structure similar to the cerebellum, providing tantalizing clues in the quest to recreate neural structures in the laboratory. One of the primary goals of stem-cell research is to be able to replace damaged body parts with tissues grown from undifferentiated stem cells. For the nervous system, this is a particular challenge because not only do specific neurons need to be generated, but they must also be coaxed into connecting to each other in very specific ways.

Magnetic graphene created, making possible new spintronics data-storage devices

>A team of physicists at the University of California, Riverside has found an ingenious way to induce magnetism in graphene while also preserving graphene’s electronic properties (conducting electricity).

>They accomplished this by bringing a graphene sheet very close to yttrium iron garnet, a “magnetic insulator” (an electrical insulator with magnetic properties).*
>Magnetic substances like iron tend to interfere with graphene’s electrical conduction. The researchers avoided those substances and chose yttrium iron garnet because they knew it also worked as an electric insulator, which meant that it would not disrupt graphene’s electrical transport properties.
>By not doping the graphene sheet but simply placing it on the layer of yttrium iron garnet, they ensured that graphene’s excellent electrical transport properties remained unchanged.

Ripping graphene nanoribbon edges converts the material from conductive to semiconducting

>Theoretical physicists at Rice University have figured out how to custom-design graphene nanoribbons by controlling the conditions under which the nanoribbons are pulled apart to get the edges they need for specific mechanical and electrical properties, such as metallic (for chip interconnects, for example) or semiconducting (for chips).

>Perfect (pristine) graphene is conductive and looks like chicken wire, with each six-atom unit forming a hexagon, with edges that are zigzags like this: /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ .
>Turning the hexagons 30 degrees makes the edges “armchairs,” with flat tops and bottoms held together by the diagonals, making the nanoribbons both semiconducting and more stable.
>The researchers used density functional theory, a computational method to analyze the energetic input of every atom in a model system, to learn how thermodynamic and mechanical forces would accomplish the goal.

Engineering tough, resistant self-assembling amyloid fibers

>Researchers at UC Davis and Rice University have developed methods to manipulate natural proteins so that they self-assemble into amyloid fibrils.*

>“These are big proteins with lots of flat surfaces suitable for functionalization, for example to grow photovoltaics or to attach to other surfaces,” said Dan Cox, a physics professor at UC Davis and coauthor on the paper. The fibers could also be used as “scaffolding” for tissue engineering, and potentially could be programmed so that other particles or proteins could be attached in specific locations or arrays.

New fibers can deliver optogenetic signals and drugs directly into the brain while allowing simultaneous electrical readout

>MIT scientists have developed a new method of coping with the complexity of studying the brain.

>They created probes containing biocompatible multipurpose fibers about 85 micrometers in width (about the width of a human hair).
>The new fibers can deliver optogenetic signals and drugs directly into the brain, while allowing simultaneous electrical readout to continuously monitor the effects of the various inputs from freely moving mice.

Functional Human Intestine Tissue Grown In Lab: Stem Cell Research Breakthrough May Eliminate Need For Organ Transplants

>In six to eight weeks, the tiny clusters of human cells ballooned in size and developed into functional intestinal tissue, RT reported. In this specific case, the human intestinal tissue was not rejected by the mice because they had been genetically altered. The tissue was observed to perform many necessary intestinal functions, such as digesting food and absorbing nutrients. According to Michael Helmrath, the study leader and surgical director of the Intestinal Rehabilitation Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, “These studies support the concept that patient-specific cells can be used to grow intestine.”


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Team finds hydrogen production in extreme bacterium

>A researcher at Missouri University of Science and Technology has discovered a bacterium that can produce hydrogen, an element that one day could lessen the world's dependence on oil.

>Dr. Melanie Mormile, professor of biological sciences at Missouri S&T, and her team discovered the bacterium "Halanaerobium hydrogeninformans" in Soap Lake, Washington. It can "produce hydrogen under saline and alkaline conditions in amounts that rival genetically modified organisms," Mormile says.

Planck: Gravitational waves remain elusive

>Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from ESA's Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial gravitational waves.

>The Universe began about 13.8 billion years ago and evolved from an extremely hot, dense and uniform state to the rich and complex cosmos of galaxies, stars and planets we see today.
>An extraordinary source of information about the Universe's history is the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB, the legacy of light emitted only 380 000 years after the Big Bang.
>ESA's Planck satellite observed this background across the whole sky with unprecedented accuracy, and a broad variety of new findings about the early Universe has already been revealed over the past two years.
>But astronomers are still digging ever deeper in the hope of exploring even further back in time: they are searching for a particular signature of cosmic 'inflation' – a very brief accelerated expansion that, according to current theory, the Universe experienced when it was only the tiniest fraction of a second old.
>This signature would be seeded by gravitational waves, tiny perturbations in the fabric of space-time, that astronomers believe would have been generated during the inflationary phase.

Method allows for greater variation in band gap tenability

>If you can’t find the ideal material, then design a new one.

>Northwestern Univ.’s James Rondinelli uses quantum mechanical calculations to predict and design the properties of new materials by working at the atom-level. His group’s latest achievement is the discovery of a novel way to control the electronic band gap in complex oxide materials without changing the material’s overall composition. The finding could potentially lead to better electro-optical devices, such as lasers, and new energy-generation and conversion materials, including more absorbent solar cells and the improved conversion of sunlight into chemical fuels through photoelectrocatalysis.
>“There really aren’t any perfect materials to collect the sun’s light,” said Rondinelli, assistant professor of materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering. “So, as materials scientists, we’re trying to engineer one from the bottom up. We try to understand the structure of a material, the manner in which the atoms are arranged, and how that ‘genome’ supports a material’s properties and functionality.”

DNA clock helps to get measure of people's lifespans

>Scientists have identified a biological clock that provides vital clues about how long a person is likely to live.

>Researchers studied chemical changes to DNA that take place over a lifetime, and can help them predict an individual's age. By comparing individuals' actual ages with their predicted biological clock age, scientists saw a pattern emerging.
>People whose biological age was greater than their true age were more likely to die sooner than those whose biological and actual ages were the same.
>Four independent studies tracked the lives of almost 5,000 older people for up to 14 years. Each person's biological age was measured from a blood sample at the outset, and participants were followed up throughout the study.
>Researchers found that the link between having a faster-running biological clock and early death held true even after accounting for other factors such as smoking, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Magnetic sense for humans? Electronic skin with magneto-sensory system enables 'sixth sense'

>Scientists from Germany and Japan have developed a new magnetic sensor, which is thin, robust and pliable enough to be smoothly adapted to human skin, even to the most flexible part of the human palm. The achievement suggests it may be possible to equip humans with magnetic sense.

>Magnetoception is a sense which allows bacteria, insects and even vertebrates like birds and sharks to detect magnetic fields for orientation and navigation. Humans are however unable to perceive magnetic fields naturally. Dr. Denys Makarov and his team have developed an electronic skin with a magneto-sensory system that equips the recipient with a "sixth sense" able to perceive the presence of static or dynamic magnetic fields. These novel magneto-electronics are less than two micrometers thick and weights only three gram per square meter; they can even float on a soap bubble.

New technique doubles the distance of optical fiber communications

>A new way to process fibre optic signals has been demonstrated by UCL researchers, which could double the distance at which data travels error-free through transatlantic sub-marine cables.

>The new method has the potential to reduce the costs of long-distance optical fibre communications as signals wouldn't need to be electronically boosted on their journey, which is important when the cables are buried underground or at the bottom of the ocean.
>As the technique can correct the transmitted data if they are corrupted or distorted on the journey, it could also help to increase the useful capacity of fibres. This is done right at the end of the link, at the receiver, without having to introduce new components within the link itself. Increasing capacity in this way is important as optical fibres carry 99% of all data and demand is rising with increased use of the internet, which can't be matched by the fibres' current capacity, and changing the receivers is far cheaper and easier than re-laying cables.

Electronic Glasses Allow Legally Blind Woman To See Her Baby For First Time

>There’s no shortage of heartwarming videos on YouTube, and this is no exception. In the short clip, you get to see the moment when a legally blind woman sees her newborn baby boy for the first time, thanks to a pair of innovative electronic specs.

>The woman in the video, Kathy Bleitz, has been legally blind since the age of 11. She suffers from a condition called Stargardt disease, which is an inherited degenerative disease that causes a significant reduction in central vision, but peripheral vision is usually retained. The progressive loss of vision associated with the disease, which usually starts between the ages of 10 and 20, is due to the death of light-sensitive photoreceptor cells in the central portion of the retina, which is called the macula.
>Although Bleitz is not completely blind, she has a blind spot in the center of her vision which means she sees objects and faces as hazy, undefined shapes. While there are currently no treatments to help individuals like Bleitz regain their vision, this smart new invention can help visually impaired people see more of the world using cutting-edge technology.

Researchers determine how the brain controls robotic grasping tools

>University of Missouri researchers have found evidence that the cerebellum portion of the brain may play a critical role in the complex network of brain functions involved in grasping. Their findings could lead to advancements in assistive technologies benefiting the disabled.

>“For those with disabilities, assistive technologies, such as robotic arms or sensors inserted in the brain, make it possible to accomplish actions like grasping with the press of a button or directly through brain activity; however, little is known about how the human brain adapts to these technologies,” said Scott Frey, professor of psychological sciences in the College of Arts and Science and director of the Brain Imaging Center at MU.

A pump inspired by flapping bird wings

>Two New York University researchers have taken inspiration from avian locomotion strategies and created a pump that moves fluid using vibration instead of a rotor. Their results were published today (February 3) in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

>“When we use a household pump, that pump is very likely a centrifugal pump. It uses a high-speed rotor to move water by throwing it from the pump’s inlet to the outlet,” explained Benjamin Thiria, who carried out the work in collaboration with Jun Zhang.
>Instead of a rotor, Thiria and Zhang’s design has teeth. Two asymmetrically sawtoothed panels, placed with their teeth facing each other, create a channel that can rapidly open and close. Water rushes into the channel when it expands and is forced out when it contracts.

New process allows for stronger, lighter, flexible steel

>A trio of researchers with South Korea's Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology has found a way to create a new low-density steel that is stronger, lighter and more flexible than the conventional steel that is used in so many manufacturing applications. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team describes the process they used and their hopes that it might replace conventional steel in some applications sometime in the near future.

>One of the biggest applications for steel is, of course in making cars, though its dominance has been slipping in recent years as engineers seek to find lighter substitutes. At issue is weight, steel is heavy because it is made mostly out of iron. Adding other lighter metals tends to make it less flexible or weaker. In this new effort, the researchers report that they have found a mix that allows for creating a low-density steel that is stronger and more flexible than much more expensive titanium alloys.
>The secret, the team explains, lies in causing new structure shapes to be formed during the heating process and by using the right mix of ingredients. They used the traditional mix of iron, carbon, aluminum and manganese and then added some nickel. The nickel, they found reacted with the aluminum, creating nanometer sized B2 crystals that formed within and between the steel grains during the annealing process.


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High efficiency concentrating solar cells move to the rooftop

>Ultra-high efficiency solar cells similar to those used in space may now be possible on your rooftop thanks to a new microscale solar concentration technology developed by an international team of researchers.

>"Concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems leverage the cost of high efficiency multi-junction solar cells by using inexpensive optics to concentrate sunlight onto them," said Noel C. Giebink, assistant professor of electrical engineering, Penn State. "Current CPV systems are the size of billboards and have to be pointed very accurately to track the sun throughout the day. But, you can't put a system like this on your roof, which is where the majority of solar panels throughout the world are installed."

New software analyzes human genomes for disease-causing variations in 90 minutes

>Investigators at Nationwide Children’s Hospital say they have developed an optimized analysis “pipeline” that slashes the time it takes to search a person’s genome for disease-causing variations from weeks to hours.

>“It took around 13 years and $3 billion to sequence the first human genome,” says Peter White, PhD, principal investigator and director of the Biomedical Genomics Core at Nationwide Children’s and the study’s senior author.
>“Now, even the smallest research groups can complete genomic sequencing in a matter of days. However, once you’ve generated all that data, that’s the point where many groups hit a wall. … Scientists are left with billions of data points to analyze before any truly useful information can be gleaned for use in research and clinical settings.”
>To overcome the challenges of analyzing that large amount of data, White and his team developed a computational pipeline called “Churchill.” By using novel computational techniques, Churchill allows efficient analysis of a whole genome sample in as little as 90 minutes, the researchers claim.

Replacing lasers with LEDs for short-range optical communications

>Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a nano-sized optical antenna that can greatly enhance the spontaneous emission of light from atoms, molecules and semiconductor quantum dots.

>That opens the door to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that can replace lasers for short-range optical communications, including optical interconnects for microchips and a host of other potential applications.
>“Since the invention of the laser, spontaneous light emission has been looked down upon in favor of stimulated light emission” (as in lasers), says Eli Yablonovitch, an electrical engineer with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division. “However, with the proper optical antenna, spontaneous emission can actually be faster than stimulated emission.”

Earth's surprise inside: Geologists unlock mysteries of the planet's inner core

>Seismic waves are helping scientists to plumb the world's deepest mystery: the planet's inner core.

>Thanks to a novel application of earthquake-reading technology, a research team at the University of Illinois and colleagues at Nanjing University in China have found that the Earth's inner core has an inner core of its own, which has surprising properties that could reveal information about our planet.
>Led by Xiaodong Song, a professor of geology at the U. of I., and visiting postdoctoral researcher Tao Wang, the team published its work in the journal Nature Geoscience on Feb. 9.
>"Even though the inner core is small – smaller than the moon – it has some really interesting features," said Song. "It may tell us about how our planet formed, its history, and other dynamic processes of the Earth. It shapes our understanding of what's going on deep inside the Earth."
>The inner core, once thought to be a solid ball of iron, has some complex structural properties. The team found a distinct inner-inner core, about half the diameter of the whole inner core. The iron crystals in the outer layer of the inner core are aligned directionally, north-south. However, in the inner-inner core, the iron crystals point roughly east-west.
>Not only are the iron crystals in the inner-inner core aligned differently, they behave differently from their counterparts in the outer-inner core. This means that the inner-inner core could be made of a different type of crystal, or a different phase.

Evidence for dark matter in the inner Milky Way

>A new study is providing evidence for the presence of dark matter in the innermost part of the Milky Way, including in our own cosmic neighbourhood and the Earth’s location. The study demonstrates that large amounts of dark matter exist around us, and also between us and the Galactic centre. The result constitutes a fundamental step forward in the quest for the nature of dark matter.

>The existence of dark matter in the outer parts of the Milky Way is well established. But historically it has proven very difficult to establish the presence of dark matter in the innermost regions, where the Solar System is located. This is due to the difficulty of measuring the rotation of gas and stars with the needed precision from our own position in the Milky Way.
>“In our new study, we obtained for the first time a direct observational proof of the presence of dark matter in the innermost part of the Milky Way. We have created the most complete compilation so far of published measurements of the motion of gas and stars in the Milky Way, and compared the measured rotation speed with that expected under the assumption that only luminous matter exists in the Galaxy. The observed rotation cannot be explained unless large amounts of dark matter exist around us, and between us and the Galactic centre”, says Miguel Pato at the Department of Physics, Stockholm University.

Flexible 3D graphene supercapacitors may power portables and wearables

>Rice University scientists have advanced their recent development of laser-induced graphene (LIG) by producing and testing stacked, three-dimensional supercapacitors — energy-storage devices that are important for portable, flexible electronics.

>The Rice lab of chemist James Tour discovered last year that firing a laser at an inexpensive polymer burned off other elements and left a film of porous graphene, the much-studied atom-thick lattice of carbon.
>The researchers viewed the porous, conductive material as a perfect electrode for supercapacitors or electronic circuits.
>To prove it, members of the Tour group have since extended their work to make vertically aligned supercapacitors with laser-induced graphene on both sides of a polymer sheet. The sections are then stacked with solid electrolytes in between for a multilayer sandwich with multiple microsupercapacitors.

Promising peptide for traumatic brain injury, heart attack and stroke

>Strokes, heart attacks, and traumatic brain injuries are separate diseases with certain shared pathologies that achieve a common end: cell death and human injury due to hypoxia, or lack of oxygen.

>In these diseases, a lack of blood supply to affected tissues begins a signaling pathway that ultimately halts the production of energy-releasing ATP molecules — a death sentence for most cells.
>By employing derivatives of humanin, a naturally occurring peptide encoded in the genome of cellular mitochondria, researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev are working to interrupt this process, buying precious time for tissues whose cellular mechanisms have called it quits.

Another key step toward flexible electronics

>Researchers from South Korea have taken a new step toward more bendable devices by manufacturing a thin film that keeps its useful electric and magnetic properties even when highly curved.

>Flexible electronics have been hard to manufacture because many materials with useful electronic properties tend to be rigid. Researchers have addressed this problem by taking tiny bits of materials like silicon and embedding them in flexible plastics.
>A team of physicists and engineers from South Korea took the same approach with bismuth ferrite (BiFeO3) — one of the most promising materials whose electronic properties can be controlled by a magnetic field, and vice versa. Such materials are called multiferroics and attract interest for applications like energy-efficient, instant-on computing.
>The researchers synthesized nanoparticles of bismuth ferrite and mixed them into a polymer solution. The solution was dried in a series of steps at increasing temperatures to produce a thin, flexible film.
>When the researchers tested the electric and magnetic properties of the film they found that their new materials improved properties remained even as the film was curved into a cylindrical shape.

‘Virtual virus’ unfolds the flu on a CPU

>By combining experimental data from X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, cryoelectron microscopy and lipidomics (the study of cellular lipid networks), researchers at the University of Oxford have built a complete model of the outer envelope of an influenza A virion for the first time.

>The simulation may help scientists better understand how the virus survives in the wild or find new ways to combat it.
>The approach, known as a coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation, has allowed them to generate trajectories at different temperatures and lipid compositions, revealing various characteristics about the membrane components.

Open source virtual reality platform takes on 13 new partners

>An open source virtual reality platform reports 13 new partners. This is the Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) ecosystem, envisioned as the platform that can bring together companies doing work in a number of areas of virtual reality. OSVR aims to set an open standard for virtual reality input devices, games and output. Its framework offers the potential to unite developers and gamers under a single platform.

>As the platform is open-source, people working with hardware developmental kit designs or software plugins, for example, for motion control, game engines, and stereoscopic video output get complete access to what they need. An OSVR white paper makes a case for how this would be beneficial for gaming developers: OSVR "provides interfaces – pipes of data – as opposed to an API to a specific piece of hardware. If there are multiple devices that provide the same type of information (for instance: hand position), these devices can be interchanged… You can reconfigure the OSVR 'plumbing' so that the game can continue to work well regardless of how where hand position is coming from. With OSVR, game developers can focus on what they want to do with the data, as opposed to how to obtain it."
>In short, OSVR would let you mix and match hardware and software packages. "For instance, if you use an eye-tracking camera, you can use the software provided by the camera vendor to calculate gaze direction, but you can also use alternative gaze-detection packages. This means that companies that focus on a particular software or hardware component (e.g., gaze detection module or eye-tracking camera) are not left out of the VR eco-system: their expertise can be interconnected with components from others."


Kiitos AP, jänniä juttuja.


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Scientists find 'oldest human ancestor'

>They say that fossilised traces of the 540-million-year-old creature are "exquisitely well preserved".

>The researchers were unable to find any evidence that the animal had an anus, which suggests that it consumed food and excreted from the same orifice.


oikea ano löytynyt


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Ai Half-life 3?

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