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Nanopores that can recognize, separate proteins and small molecules

Nanopores, holes less than one-thousand the width of a human hair, are capable of isolating strands of DNA or therapeutic drugs from a solution, based mostly on the size of the pores. Now, a chemist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has created nanopores that can recognize and interact with certain molecules, actively controlling their movement across synthetic membranes.

Posted: Feb 25th, 2008

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Silica smart bombs deliver knock-out to bacteria

Bacteria mutate for a living, evading antibiotic drugs while killing tens of thousands of people in the United States each year. But as concern about drug-resistant bacteria grows, one novel approach under way at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill seeks to thwart the bug without a drug by taking a cue from nature.

Posted: Feb 25th, 2008

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Nanotechnology: yay or nay?

The LA Times will run a daily piece in its opinion section this week discussing nanotechnology. All week, Aatish Salvi and George Kimbrell debate the promises, ethical concerns and applications of nanotechnology.

Posted: Feb 25th, 2008

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Engineers demonstrate a new type of optical tweezer

Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) demonstrated a new type of optical tweezer with the potential to make biological and microfluidic force measurements in integrated systems such as microfluidic chips. The tweezer, consisting of a Fresnel Zone Plate microfabricated on a glass slide, has the ability to trap particles without the need for high performance objective lenses.

Posted: Feb 25th, 2008

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Novel materials research nets physicist NSF CAREER award

A University of Arkansas physics professor will create and explore novel interface-controlled materials at the nanoscale to explore their physical properties, many of which are not attainable in bulk materials. His research in this area earned him a $410,735 CAREER award from the National Science Foundation to continue the research, which was cited by Science magazine as one of the top 10 breakthroughs of 2007.

Posted: Feb 25th, 2008

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Position sensors: magnets know their place

Non-contact position sensors are small but important parts of many modern machines. Researchers have used a phenomenon known as magnetoresistance to develop a practical, low-cost position sensor that performs better than existing designs. Commercial production will follow this year.

Posted: Feb 22nd, 2008

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Special coating greatly improves solar cell performance

The energy from sunlight falling on only 9 percent of California's Mojave Desert could power all of the United Statesā?? electricity needs if the energy could be efficiently harvested, according to some estimates. Unfortunately, current-generation solar cell technologies are too expensive and inefficient for wide-scale commercial applications. A team of Northwestern University researchers has developed a new anode coating strategy that significantly enhances the efficiency of solar energy power conversion.

Posted: Feb 22nd, 2008

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