A vaginal gel that affords both contraception and HIV protection using nanoparticles that carry bee venom is one of the bold, unconventional ideas that won a 2010 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Using a neutron beam as a probe, researchers working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have begun to reveal the crystal structure of a compound essential to technologies ranging from sonar to computer memory.
In two Federal Register notices, the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) asks for public comments on six NIST-prepared white papers outlining potential areas for research grants and, separately, requests detailed suggestions of critical national needs and associated technical needs for future TIP funding competitions.
The researchers characterize their new technique as a neat solution to the 'needle in a haystack' problem of nanoscale microscopy, but it's more like the difference between finding the coffee table in a darkened room either by walking around until you fall over it, or using a flashlight.
The National Cancer Institute recently announced two five-year awards totaling nearly $4 million for a partnership between the University of New Mexico Cancer Center and Sandia National Laboratories. One $1.95 million grant will fund the creation of a joint Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnership, and another $1.8 million grant will pay for a new Cancer Nanotechnology Training Center to train a new generation of multidisciplinary scientists.
The heat radiating off roadways has long been a factor in explaining why city temperatures are often considerably warmer than nearby suburban or rural areas. Now a team of engineering researchers from the University of Rhode Island is examining methods of harvesting that solar energy to melt ice, power streetlights, illuminate signs, heat buildings and potentially use it for many other purposes.
Laboratory researchers may have found a way to improve Raman spectroscopy as a tool for identifying substances in extremely low concentrations. Potential applications for Raman spectroscopy include medical diagnosis, drug/chemical development, forensics and highly portable detection systems for national security.
At the current pace of research and development, global oil will run out 90 years before replacement technologies are ready, says a new University of California, Davis, study based on stock market expectations.
Information coded as impulses is transferred from one neuron to its target at synapses. At these close neuron-neuron contacts the impulse opens voltage sensitive calcium channels allowing the influx of calcium ions (Ca2+) and this ion then acts as a 'second messenger' to trigger the release of neurotransmitters by the fusion of a secretory vesicle with the surface membrane. Scientists have now established that the relationship between the calcium channel and the secretory vesicle is very intimate, so much so that the fusion of a secretory vesicle can be triggered by the plume of Ca2+ entering through a very closely situated single calcium channel.
A material just one atom thick that is stronger than steel but flexes like rubber. A 'mini-submarine' that can trick the immune system and deliver a payload of chemotherapy deep inside a tumour. They sound like the fantasies of science fiction writers, but they are among the discoveries being presented at Nano Israel 2010, a nanotech conference in Tel Aviv that has attracted researchers from across the science world, united by their work with the very, very small.