science + technology news

Smallest Electronic Component: Researchers Create Molecular Diode

October 19, 2009

(Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University)

Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute researchers and collaborators have found a way to make single-molecule diodes, which could surpass silicon limits.

Smallest known galaxy with supermassive black hole discovered

Black holes may be more common than we thought
September 18, 2014

This Hubble Space telescope image shows the gargantuan galaxy M60 on the left and the ultracompact dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1 below it and to the right, and also enlarged as an inset. A new international study found that M60-UCD1 is the smallest known galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its center, suggesting that the dwarf galaxy originally was much larger but was stripped of its outer layers by gravity from galaxy M60 over billions of years. M60’s gravity also is pulling galaxy NGC4647, upper right, and the two eventually will collide. (Credit: NASA/Space Telescope Science Institute/European Space Agency)

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… read more

Smallest superconductor promises cool electronics

March 31, 2010

Ohio University researchers have made four-molecule-long nanowires — the smallest superconducting structure yet reported.

The nanowires achieve two objectives of engineers trying to maintain exponential growth in the power of electronics: making components smaller and making them produce less waste heat.

The nanoscopic wires were made by placing a mixture of a large organic molecule and a salt of the metal gallium. The molecules in the mixture then… read more

Smallest Swiss cross made of 20 single atoms

A step towards next-generation atomic-scale storage devices
July 17, 2014

20 bromine atoms positioned on a sodium chloride surface using the tip of an atomic force microscope at room temperature, creating a Swiss cross with the size of 5.6nm. The structure is stable at room temperature and was achieved by exchanging chlorine with bromine atoms. (Credit: Department of Physics, University of Basel)

University of Basel physicists with teams from Finland and Japan were able to place 20 single bromine atoms on a fully insulated surface at room temperature to form the smallest “Swiss cross,” taking a step towards next-generation atomic-scale storage devices.

Nature Communications has published their results.

Ever since the 1990s, physicists have been able to directly control surface structures by moving and positioning single atoms to… read more

Smallest ‘test tube’ scoops world record

November 24, 2004

Scientists at the University of Oxford and the University of Nottingham created the world’s smallest test tubes out of carbon nanotubes: each nanotube has an inner diameter of 1.2 nm and is roughly 2000 nm long

They used the tubes to polymerize fullerene oxide molecules in an ordered way as a result of the tube’s shape. However, there is not yet a way to extract the polymerized material from… read more

Smart Airline Seat Detects Shifty Passengers

June 11, 2003

Intelligent airline seats could automatically alert busy cabin crew to nervous, shifty passengers, who might be terrorists or air-ragers. The seats will contain pressure sensors that will relay signals to a central computer to assess the seat occupant’s behavior, which can then be used to assess whether the passenger presents a risk.

Smart algorithm automatically adjusts exoskeletons for best walking performance

"Human-in-the-loop optimization" assistance method could increase walking or running endurance, help stroke patients walk again sooner
June 25, 2017

exoskeleton leg ft

Researchers at the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have developed a new automated feedback system for personalizing exoskeletons to achieve optimal performance.

Exoskeletons can be used to augment human abilities. For example, they can provide more endurance while walking, help lift a heavy load, improve athletic performance, and help a stroke patient walk again.

But current one-size-fits-all exoskeleton devices, despite their potential, “have not improved… read more

Smart amoebas reveal origins of primitive intelligence

October 30, 2008

University of California, San Diego researchers have developed a simple circuit based on a memristor (a resistor that remembers earlier voltages or currents and adjust its resistance) that models an amoeba’s “learning,” based on its predictive response to temperature changes.

Smart assistant will cut driver distraction

December 8, 2003

A smart assistant is being developed to help drivers cope with the increasing number of electronic devices in cars. It will decide — based on road conditions, car performance, and other factors — when it is too dangerous for a driver to be disturbed and will divert phone calls to voicemail, hide arriving emails, and lock the controls of the satellite navigation system, radio, CD player, and other devices.

Smart bacteria

May 28, 2001

Genetically engineered bacteria that function like microchip components are being developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Researchers modified Pseudomonas putida cells to produce AND and OR gates. For the AND gate, they used chemical “inducers” as inputs. One causes a gene to make a protein that the second input inducer must have to express the output enzyme.

In theory, a single cell could do massively parallel computations.

‘Smart’ bandage glows to measure oxygenation

October 8, 2014

The transparent liquid bandage displays a quantitative, oxygenation-sensitive colormap that can be easily acquired using a simple camera or smartphone (Credit: Li/Wellman Center for Photomedicine)

Inspired by a desire to help wounded soldiers, a team of researchers has created a paint-on, see-through, “smart” bandage that glows to indicate a wound’s tissue oxygenation concentration.

Oxygen plays a critical role in healing, so mapping these levels in severe wounds and burns can help to significantly improve the success of surgeries to restore limbs and physical functions.

The development was led by Assistant Professor Conor L.… read more

‘Smart Bomb’ delivery destroys tumors in mice

January 6, 2004

Weizmann Institute scientists have destroyed malignant tumors in mice using allicin, a chemical that occurs naturally in garlic.

To zero in on the targeted tumor, scientists took advantage of the fact that most types of cancer cells exhibit distinctive receptors on their surfaces. An antibody that is “programmed” to recognize the tumor’s characteristic receptor is chemically bound to the enzyme alliinase. Injected into the bloodstream, the antibody seeks out… read more

‘Smart bomb’ nanoparticle strategy to stop metastasis

July 8, 2008

Researchers at University of California, San Diego have developed a nanoparticles/anti-cancer-drug combination that acts as a “smart bomb” to target metastasis (spreading) in mouse pancreatic and kidney cancer.

The 100-nm. nanoparticle comprises (unnamed) lipid polymers that deliver the drug doxorubcin, selectively targeting blood vessels that feed cancerous lesions by homing in on the protein marker integrin alpha-nu-beta-3 found on the surface of those blood vessels. It has a strong… read more

Smart bombs to blast tumors

January 6, 2005

Exploding capsules could one day be used to deliver cancer drugs with pinpoint accuracy, New Scientist reports in its January 8 issue.

The capsules, being developed by University of Melbourne researchers, would rupture when heated by a low-energy laser pulse. Anti-cancer drugs would be more effective, and the side effects less severe, if they could home in on a tumor and be delivered in a single burst. This would… read more

Smart Bricks to Monitor Buildings of the Future

June 15, 2003

A “smart brick” that can monitor a building’s health and report its conditions wirelessly has been developed.

They could monitor a building’s temperature, vibration and movement, which could be vital to firefighters battling a blazing skyscraper, or to rescue workers ascertaining the soundness of an earthquake-damaged structure. They could also help monitoring nurseries, daycares and senior homes.

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