science + technology news

New Technique That Improves The Power Of Atomic Force Microscopy

August 18, 2004

Researchers have developed a method that could vastly improve the ability of atomic force microscopes (AFM) to “see” the chemical composition of a sample on a nanometer scale, follow variations of the sample, and map its topographic structure.

To use the AFM in its new mode, the researchers attached antibodies keyed to individual proteins to the tip of an AFM’s probe. When an antibody reacts with the protein it… read more

Invention: Microscopic bio-robot slaves

November 24, 2008

University of California, Berkeley scientists say it may be possible to create a new species of “biobots” — genetically engineered specialty bacteria with the kind of microscopic features needed on microprocessors, or gene chips used to test for millions of specific DNA sequences at once.

They would be controlled using light of a specific frequency. Varying the amount of light would switch the biobots on or off by activating… read more

Xerox Develops New Way to Print Invisible Ink

May 31, 2007

Xerox scientists have perfected a new method for printing hidden fluorescent wording using standard digital printing equipment, allowing for an additional layer of security to commonly printed materials such as checks, tickets, coupons, and other high-value documents.

First practical plastic magnets created

September 1, 2004

The world’s first plastic magnet to work at room temperature has passed the elementary test of magnetism.

One of the most likely applications is magnetic coating of computer hard disks, which could lead to a new generation of high-capacity disks.

Plastic magnets could also have important medical applications, for example in dentistry or the transducers used in cochlear implants. Organic magnetic materials are less likely to be rejected… read more

Silver-nanowire filters provide clean water for the developing world

September 9, 2010

A scanning electron microscope image of the silver nanowires in which the cotton is dipped during the process of constructing a filter. The large fibers are cotton. (Yi Cui)

Stanford researchers have developed a water-purifying filter that makes the process more than 80,000 times faster than existing filters.  The key is coating the filter fabric – ordinary cotton – with nanotubes and silver nanowires, then electrifying it. The filter uses very little power, has no moving parts and could be used throughout the developing world.

Instead of physically trapping bacteria as most existing filters do, the… read more

Too Little Vitamin D Puts Heart at Risk

December 3, 2008

Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of heart disease and is linked to other, well-known heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, says researcher James H. O’Keefe, MD, director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo.

Self-assembly could simplify nanotech construction

June 8, 2007

“Molecular origami” could become the latest nanotech construction technique, thanks to a Harvard University study.

The self-assembly process might yield simpler ways to make the microscopic components required by the electronics and computing industries.

FCC: Broadband Usage Has Tripled

September 13, 2004

The number of U.S. broadband subscribers has tripled in recent years, according to an FCC report.

The report also says that the number of users of broadband services (speeds exceeding 200 kbps in both directions) soared to 28 million in December 2003 from 9.6 million in 2001.

Forty-three percent of Internet-enabled households will have high-speed connections by the end of this year, according to IDC, up from 36… read more

Spin soliton could make cell phone communication more secure

September 16, 2010

Soliton (NIST)

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have found theoretical evidence of a new way to generate the microwave transmissions used in modern communication devices such as cell phones. Their analysis, if supported by experimental evidence, could contribute to a new generation of wireless technology that would be more secure and resistant to interference than conventional devices.

The team’s findings point toward an oscillator that would… read more

Mumbai Terrorists Relied on New Technology for Attacks

December 9, 2008

The terrorists who struck Mumbai last month stunned authorities not only with their use of sophisticated weaponry but also with their comfort with modern technology, including GPS systems, satellite phones, and Internet VoIP phones.

First map of core white-matter connections of human brain developed at USC

May help better address clinical challenges such as traumatic brain injury
February 12, 2014


USC neuroscientists have systematically created the first map of the core white-matter “scaffold” (connections) of the human brain — the critical communications network that supports brain function.

Their work, published Feb. 11 in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, has major implications for understanding brain injury and disease, the researchers say.

By detailing the connections that have the greatest influence over all other connections, the researchers offer… read more

Atom trap is a step towards a quantum computer

June 18, 2007

A device that can hold hundreds of atoms in a 3D array, and image each one individually, may be an important stepping stone towards developing a quantum computer.

Glial cells supply axon nerve fibers with energy, researchers find

May 14, 2012

Electron microscope cross-section image of the nerve fibres (axons) of the optic nerve. Axons are surrounded by special glial cells, the oligodendrocytes, wrapping themselves around the axons in several layers. Between the axons, there are extensions of astrocytes, another type of glial cells

Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine researchers have discovered a possible mechanisms by which glial cells in the brain support axons and keep them alive.

Oligodendrocytes are a group of highly specialized glial cells in the central nervous system. They form the fat-rich myelin sheath that surrounds the nerve fibers as an insulating layer increases the transmission speed of the axons and also reduces ongoing… read more

Microscope Etches Ultrathin Lines

September 24, 2004

University of Sheffield researchers have shown that it is possible to achieve electron beam resolution for organic materials using an ultraviolet laser shown through a near-field optical microscope.

The researchers etched 20-nanometer features into a single layer of molecules on a gold surface using 244-nanometer ultraviolet light. The method could be used to make highly miniaturized arrays of proteins and DNA for biological sensors and analyzers.

In principle.… read more

Semantic Sense for the Desktop

December 17, 2008

A European endeavor called the Nepomuk Project plans to introduce the Semantic Web to computers in the form of a “semantic desktop.”

The software generates semantic information by using “crawlers” to go through a computer and annotate as many files as possible. These crawlers look through a user’s address book, for example, and search for files related to the people found in there. Nepomuk can then connect a file… read more

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