science + technology news

A nanoplasmonic molecular ruler for measuring nuclease activity and DNA footprinting

October 16, 2006

Researchers have a new tool for studying interactions between proteins and nucleic acids: a nanoscale optical ruler than can detect small changes in the size of a given piece of DNA.

This work is reported in the inaugural issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

The device uses gold nanoparticles, which emit light at well-defined wavelengths of light, influenced by the exact physical and chemical environment, such as DNA… read more

A nanosized, environmentally friendly hydrogen generator

Could produce hydrogen for cars and generators in the future; we meet reduced graphene oxide (rGO) in yet another radical role
September 23, 2014

Depiction of photocatalytic hydrogen evolution using platinum/titanium oxide (Pt/TiO2) interfaced with reduced graphic oxide (rGO) and photosensitive proton pump bacteriorhodopsin (bR) (credit: Peng Wang et al./ACS Nano)

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 (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

While hydrogen is ubiquitous, it’s typically bonded with other elements, such as oxygen in H2O, where it must be separated to produce free hydrogen. The commercial separation process uses natural gas to react with superheated… read more

A ‘nanosubmarine’ that could deliver drug molecules to cells

July 31, 2014

The sequential transport of donors and acceptors across cell membranes with independent and dynamic nanocarriers enables energy transfer exclusively in the intracellular space with concomitant fluorescence activation (credit: Francisco Raymo, professor of Chemistry and director of the laboratory for molecular photonics, at the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences)

Researchers at the University of Miami and the University of Ulster have created self-assembling nanoparticles that can transport drugs and other molecules into target living cells.

The new nanocarriers are just 15 nanometers in diameter, based on building blocks called amphiphilic polymers: they have both hydrophilic (water-loving, polar) and lipophilic (fat-loving) properties). That allows the nanocarriers to hold the… read more

A Nanotech Cure for Cancer?

November 8, 2005

The National Cancer Institute, which recently announced two waves of funding for nanotech training and research, sees nanotechnology as vital to its stated goal of “eliminating suffering and death from cancer by 2015.”

The first cancer nanotech applications will likely involve detection. Nanoparticles could recognize cancer’s molecular signatures, gathering the proteins produced by cancerous cells or signaling the presence of telltale genetic changes.

A nanotech fix for nicotine dependence

July 5, 2013

nicotine_nano_vaccine

Yung Chang and her colleagues at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute have launched an ambitious new project designed to attack nicotine dependence in a radically new way.

The research effort, pursued under a new $3.3 million grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, will attempt to design a vaccine conferring immunity to nicotine, using nanoscale structures assembled from DNA.… read more

A nanotechnology biosensor for Salmonella detection

March 17, 2008

An international team of researchers has built a nanoscale biosensor that detects food-borne bacteria.

The biosensor has a mix of gold and silver nanorods with antibodies to capture Salmonella bacteria. The Salmonella bacteria then cause the dye molecules to produce an enhanced fluorescence signal, even with a small number of bacteria present.

Food-borne pathogens cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States… read more

A nanowire endoscope for imaging inside a single cell

December 22, 2011

Endoscope Sensing

An endoscope that can provide high-resolution optical images of the interior of a single living cell, or precisely deliver genes, proteins, therapeutic drugs or other cargo without injuring or damaging the cell, has been developed by researchers from Berkeley Lab and the University of California (UC) Berkeley.

The researchers  attached a tin-oxide nanowire waveguide to the tapered end of an optical fiber to create a novel endoscope system. Light… read more

A Nanowire with a Surprise

October 19, 2004

Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers have discovered that a short organic chain molecule with nanometer dimensions conducts electrons in a surprising way: it regulates the electrons’ speed erratically, without a predictable dependence on the length of the wire.

In research on oligophenyleneethynylene (OPE) nanowires, researchers found that as they increased the length of the OPE wire from one to four PE units, the electrons moved across the wire faster, slower,… read more

A Net of Control

December 13, 2003

Picture, if you will, an information infrastructure that encourages censorship, surveillance and suppression of the creative impulse. Where anonymity is outlawed and every penny spent is accounted for. Where the powers that be can smother subversive (or economically competitive) ideas in the cradle, and no one can publish even a laundry list without the imprimatur of Big Brother. Some prognosticators are saying that such a construct is nearly inevitable. And… read more

A neural device to restore memory

Intended to help military service members with traumatic brain injury (TBI), but could also help with Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy
July 11, 2014

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) will develop an implantable neural device with the ability to record and stimulate neurons within the brain to help restore memory (credit: LLNL)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) up to $2.5 million to develop an implantable neural device with the ability to record and stimulate neurons within the brain to help restore memory.

DARPA’s interest is in traumatic brain injury (TBI), which disrupts memory. DARPA says TBI has affected 270,000 military service members since 2000. It could also help… read more

A neural net that diagnoses epilepsy

April 29, 2009

Texas Tech University researchers have developed a way to automatically diagnose epilepsy with an accuracy rate of 94 percent, by training a neural network to recognize the characteristic patterns in EEG data that indicate the patient is epileptic.

A neurofeedback technique for self-motivation

fMRI visual feedback reinforces pleasurable brain sensations
March 15, 2016

thermometer

Duke University scientists have developed a “neurofeedback” technique to improve self motivation by manipulating specific neural circuits using thoughts and imagery. (Neurofeedback is a specialized form of biofeedback that can help generate strategies to overcome anxiety and stress or to cope with other medical conditions.)

“These methods show a direct route for manipulating brain networks centrally involved in healthy brain function and daily behavior,” said the study’s… read more

A neuromorphic-computing ‘roadmap’

April 22, 2014

Professor Jennifer Hasler displays a field programmable analog array (FPAA) board that includes an integrated circuit with biological-based neuron structures for power-efficient calculation.  Hasler’s research indicates that this type of board, which is programmable but has low power requirements, could play an important role in advancing neuromorphic computing. (Credit: Rob Felt)

Electrical engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have  published a roadmap that details innovative analog-based techniques that they believe could make it possible to build a practical neuromorphic (brain-inspired) computer while minimizing energy requirements.

“A configurable analog-digital system can be expected to have a power efficiency improvement of up to 10,000 times compared to an all-digital system,” said Jennifer Hasler, a professor in the Georgia… read more

A new — and reversible — cause of aging

NAD, a naturally produced compound in cells, rewinds aspects of age-related demise in mice
December 20, 2013

sirt1_protein

Researchers have discovered a cause of aging in mammals that may be reversible: a series of molecular events that enable communication inside cells between the nucleus and mitochondria.

As communication breaks down, aging accelerates. By administering a molecule naturally produced by the human body, scientists restored the communication network in older mice. Subsequent tissue samples showed key biological hallmarks that were comparable to those of much younger animals.… read more

A new 3-​​D printing method for creating patient-​​specific medical devices

Especially valuable for creating catheters for prema­ture babies
November 4, 2015

Preemie (credit: March of Dimes)

Northeastern University engineers have devel­oped a 3-D printing process that uses mag­netic fields to shape com­posite materials (mixes of plas­tics and ceramics) into patient-specific biomedical devices, such as catheters.

The devices are intended to be stronger and lighter than cur­rent models and the cus­tomized design could ensure an appro­priate fit, said Ran­dall Erb, assis­tant pro­fessor in the Depart­ment of Mechan­ical and Indus­trial Engi­neering.

The magnetic field… read more

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