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Researchers discover superatoms with magnetic shells

A team of Virginia Commonwealth University scientists has discovered a new class of 'superatoms' - a stable cluster of atoms that can mimic different elements of the periodic table - with unusual magnetic characteristics.

Posted: Jun 8th, 2011

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Citrate key in bone's nanostructure

Bone is one of nature's surprising "building materials." Pound-for-pound it's stronger than steel, tough yet resilient. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have identified the composition that gives bone its outstanding properties and the important role citrate plays, work that may help science better understand and treat or prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

Posted: Jun 8th, 2011

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Researchers develop biological circuit components, new microscope technique for measuring them

Electrical engineers have long been toying with the idea of designing biological molecules that can be directly integrated into electronic circuits. University of Pennsylvania researchers have developed a way to form these structures so they can operate in open-air environments, and, more important, have developed a new microscope technique that can measure the electrical properties of these and similar devices.

Posted: Jun 8th, 2011

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Water's surface not all wet

Air and water meet over most of the earth's surface, but exactly where one ends and the other begins turns out to be a surprisingly subtle question. A new study in Nature narrows the boundary to just one quarter of water molecules in the uppermost layer - those that happen to have one hydrogen atom in water and the other vibrating freely above.

Posted: Jun 8th, 2011

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Nanoparticle therapeutics might help people who suffer from hearing disorders

For millions of people hearing disorders make a negative impact on their lives. Scientists are looking into new ways of treating hearing disorders, by using different sorts of nanoparticles as original inner ear delivery devices. Their hope is that nanoparticles will be able to deliver drugs that can improve or restore hearing.

Posted: Jun 8th, 2011

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Walking microdroplets collect viruses and bacteria

A barely visible, electric-field-controlled droplet moves on an appropriately prepared surface, harvesting viruses, bacteria and protein molecules deposited thereon. This is how a novel method of collecting bioparticles looks like in real life. The method has been for the first time successfully tested.

Posted: Jun 8th, 2011

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A silicon waveguide that converts the polarization mode of light could speed up the operation of photonic circuits

Silicon is the dominant material for the fabrication of integrated circuits and is also becoming a popular material for making photonics circuits - miniaturized circuits that use light instead of electronic signals for processing information. One of the challenges in the field, however, has been silicon's intrinsic sensitivity to the polarization of light, which can limit the rate of information transmission. Jing Zhang, Tsung-Yang Liow and co-workers at the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics have now developed a novel solution to this problem.

Posted: Jun 8th, 2011

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'Catch and release' program could improve nanoparticle safety assessment

Depending on whom you ask, nanoparticles are, potentially, either one of the most promising or the most perilous creations of science. These tiny objects can deliver drugs efficiently and enhance the properties of many materials, but what if they also are hazardous to your health in some way? Now, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have found a way to manipulate nanoparticles so that questions like this can be answered.

Posted: Jun 8th, 2011

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Researchers tune 'metasurface' with fluid in new concept for sensing and chemistry

Like an opera singer hitting a note that shatters a glass, a signal at a particular resonant frequency can concentrate energy in a material and change its properties. And as with 18th century "musical glasses," adding a little water can change the critical pitch. Echoing both phenomena, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a unique fluid-tuned 'metasurface', a concept that may be useful in biomedical sensors and microwave-assisted chemistry.

Posted: Jun 8th, 2011

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Development of a FRET sensor for real-time imaging of intracellular redox dynamics

A multidisciplinary research team within the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign reports a FRET-based biosensor with defined sensitivity and dynamic range for imaging changes in the intracellular redox environment that appear to dictate cell fate. The FRET-based biosensors are a significant advance for routinely measuring oxidative stress in real-time. The sensor is most useful for monitoring intraorganellar glutathione potentials in the relatively high oxidative environments of ER, Golgi and lysosomes.

Posted: Jun 7th, 2011

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