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Translation of DNA Signals into Polymer Assembly Instructions

December 20, 2004

Researchers have built a DNA nanomechanical device that mimics the translational capabilities of the ribosome.

In response to a DNA signal, it aligns a series of molecules in specific positions; these molecules are then fused together in a specific order.

Its potential applications include designer polymer synthesis, encryption of information, and as the basis for a finite-state machine with variable input, whose output can be used for DNA-based… read more

Building Programmable Jigsaw Puzzles with RNA

December 20, 2004

Researchers have achieved reliable prediction and design of the three-dimensional structure of artificial RNA building blocks to generate molecular jigsaw puzzle units called tectosquares.

This shows that small RNA structural motifs can code the precise topology of large molecular architectures. With its underlying modular and hierarchical construction displaying a minimal set of primitive operations, the tectosquare system could possibly be a Turing-universal computing molecular system.

The tectosquares can… read more

Silicon Device Scaling to the Sub-10-nm Regime

December 20, 2004

In the next decade, advances in complementary metal-oxide semiconductor fabrication will lead to devices with gate lengths below 10 nanometers (current gate lengths in chips are about 50 nm).

Technologies being pursued include device geometries such as ultrathin channel structures to control capacitive losses and multiple gates to better control leakage pathways; improvement in device speed by enhancing the mobility of charge carriers; using strain engineering; and different crystal… read more

‘Polymeal’ could reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 75%

December 20, 2004

Researchers suggest that a diet heavy in the “Polymeal” — a set of foods known to reduce cardiovascular disease events or modify risk factors — could lower cardiovascular disease by 75% or more.

The combination of the components of the Polymeal — wine, fish, dark chocolate, fruits and vegetables, almonds, and garlic — would reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease events by 76%. For men, taking the Polymeal daily… read more

Pliable solar cells are on a roll

December 20, 2004

Researchers have built a light, flexible solar panel that is a little thicker than photographic film and can be applied to everyday fabrics.

Their H-Alpha Solar (H-AS) cells are currently only about 7% efficient. They hope to reach 10% efficiency, priced about 1 euro per watt.

Molecular Chains Line Up to Form a New Chemical State, a ‘Protopolymer’

December 17, 2004

Penn State researchers have observed a new chemical state, designated a “protopolymer,” in chains of phenylene molecules on a crystalline copper surface at low temperature.

Protopolymers form when monomers, small molecules that link together chemically to form long chains, align and interact without forming chemical bonds. This type of alignment could be used to control growth and assembly of molecules and for manipulation of nanostructured materials.… read more

Nanodiamond technology could yield better flat panel displays

December 17, 2004

A research collaboration between the University of Bristol and Advance Nanotech to develop new display technology made from Bristol’s nanodiamond technology could lead to cheaper and more power efficient flat panel displays for use in wide screen digital TVs and other applications.

University of Bristol news release

UAlbany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Awards First Ph.D. Degrees in Nanoscale Science

December 17, 2004

The world’s first Ph.D. degrees in nanoscience from a college devoted exclusively to the study of nanoscale scientific concepts were awarded to Drs. Spyridon Skordas and Wanxue Zeng at College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany – State University of New York.

Skordas’s Ph.D. dissertation examined metal organic chemical vapor deposition of aluminum oxide ultra-thin films for advanced transistor applications. Zeng explored plasma- assisted… read more

Rapid Progress Reported in Molecular Electronics

December 17, 2004

Progress toward incorporating molecules as the active components in electronic circuitry has advanced rapidly over the past five years. Caltech professor James Heath describes the progress as “real and rapid” in the Dec. 17 issue of the journal Science.

“We have published 64-bit random access memory circuits using bistable rotaxane molecules as the memory elements, and we are in the process of fabricating a 16-kilobit memory circuit at a… read more

Bipedal robot learns to run

December 17, 2004

The latest version of Honda’s humanoid robot Asimo can perform several new tricks, including the ability to run where during each stride both its feet are in the air at the same time.

Sony’s Qrio robot was the first biped bot to demonstrate the ability to run, in December 2003. It is also capable of mimicking human dance maneuvers with remarkable skill.

Walking on two legs has some… read more

Caltech computer scientists embed computation in a DNA crystal

December 17, 2004

California Institute of Technology computer scientists have succeeded in building a DNA crystal that computes as it grows.

This is the first time that a computation has been embedded in the growth of any crystal, and the first time that computation has been used to create a complex microscopic pattern.

The scientists showed that DNA “tiles” can be programmed to self-assemble into a crystal, using DNA “sticky ends”… read more

Snapshot of an electron orbital

December 16, 2004

Researchers have announced a technique to record a three-dimensional image of the orbitals of electrons in molecules.

The imaging technique uses extremely short laser pulses to briefly ionize an electron away from a molecule of nitrogen. As they spring back, the electrons emit light that can interfere with the laser pulse in different ways depending on the electron’s position and where the laser pulse hit the molecule.

The… read more

Chemical Reactions One Molecule at a Time

December 15, 2004

University of California at Riverside researchers used the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) as a nanoscale actuator to individually guide molecules one at a time and step-by-step through a chemical reaction.

Their technique fine-tunes the reactivity of groups of molecules, offering a way to optimize atomic-scale construction of complex molecules on surfaces.

In 2000, researchers found that the STM could assemble individual biphenyl molecules from elementary… read more

Test tube method analyzes and reconstitutes DNA-repair mechanism

December 15, 2004

One of five known DNA-repair mechanisms in cells has been completely analyzed and reconstituted in a test tube by an international collaboration of researchers led by scientists from the Keck School of Medicine.

The team is the first to reconstitute this pathway, known as the nonhomologous end joining pathway, or NHEJ, and NHEJ is only the third repair pathway to be reconstituted in the laboratory.

The ability to… read more

Stressed Mice Quicker To Get Skin Cancer

December 15, 2004

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists have found that stress can speed up the onset of skin cancer in mice.

Their study shows that mice exposed to stressful conditions and cancer-causing UV light developed skin cancers in less than half the time it took for non-stressed mice to grow tumors.

The investigators say that if what they are seeing in mice has relevance in man, stress-reducing programs like… read more

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