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Cells' 'molecular muscles' help them sense and respond to their environments

Johns Hopkins researchers used suction to learn that individual "molecular muscles" within cells respond to different types of force, a finding that may explain how cells "feel" the environment and appropriately adapt their shapes and activities. A computer model the researchers developed also lets them predict what a cell will do in response to altered levels of those "muscles," a common occurrence in a variety of cancers.

Posted: Oct 21st, 2013

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Controlled arrangement of nanoparticles for improved electrical conductivity

Flexible displays, cost-efficient solar cells for a new era of energy production, futuristic lighting at home - all require thin layers with specific properties. Scientists at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials are exploring new routes to such coatings in NanoSPEKT, a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Posted: Oct 21st, 2013

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Why lithium-ion-batteries fail

Materials in lithium ion battery electrodes expand and contract during charge and discharge. These volume changes drive particle fracture, which shortens battery lifetime. A group of ETH and PSI scientists have quantified this effect for the first time using high-resolution 3D movies recorded using x-ray tomography at the Swiss Light Source.

Posted: Oct 17th, 2013

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Advanced Light Source provides a new look at vanadium dioxide

Graphene may command the lion's share of attention but it is not the only material generating buzz in the electronics world. Vanadium dioxide is one of the few known materials that acts like an insulator at low temperatures but like a metal at warmer temperatures starting around 67 degrees Celsius. This temperature-driven metal-insulator transition, the origin of which is still intensely debated, in principle can be induced by the application of an external electric field. That could yield faster and much more energy efficient electronic devices.

Posted: Oct 17th, 2013

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