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Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category: Page 8

Oct 3, 2020

Scientists Made a Super-Enzyme That Absolutely Ravages Plastic Bottles

Posted by in categories: chemistry, food, military, sustainability

The bacteria cocktail eats plastic six times faster than any other bug.


A newly discovered “super-enzyme” could finally mean effective recycling of plastic bottles and other materials, scientists say. The plastic-eating bacteria can digest plastic six times faster than current methods of chemically breaking it down.

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Oct 2, 2020

New nanotechology design provides hope for personalized vaccination for treating cancer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, nanotechnology

One of the key challenges in developing effective, targeted cancer treatments is the heterogeneity of the cancer cells themselves. This variation makes it difficult for the immune system to recognize, respond to and actively fight against tumors. Now, however, new advances in nanotechnology are making it possible to deliver targeted, personalized “vaccines” to treat cancer.

A new study, published on October 2, 2020 in Science Advances, demonstrates the use of charged nanoscale metal-organic frameworks for generating free radicals using X-rays within tumor tissue to kill directly. Furthermore, the same frameworks can be used for delivering immune signaling molecules known as PAMPs to activate the immune response against . By combining these two approaches into one easily administered “vaccine,” this new technology may provide the key to better local and systemic treatment of difficult-to-treat cancers.

In a collaboration between the Lin Group in the University of Chicago Department of Chemistry and the Weichselbaum Lab at University of Chicago Medicine, the research team combined expertise from inorganic chemistry and to tackle the challenging problem of properly targeting and activating an innate immune response against . This work leveraged the unique properties of nanoscale metal-organic frameworks, or nMOFs —nanoscale structures built of repeating units in a lattice formation that are capable of infiltrating tumors.

Oct 2, 2020

Tunable free-electron X-ray radiation from van der Waals materials

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, engineering, nanotechnology, quantum physics, security

Technion researchers have developed accurate radiation sources that are expected to lead to breakthroughs in medical imaging and other areas. They have developed precise radiation sources that may replace the expensive and cumbersome facilities currently used for such tasks. The suggested apparatus produces controlled radiation with a narrow spectrum that can be tuned with high resolution, at a relatively low energy investment. The findings are likely to lead to breakthroughs in a variety of fields, including the analysis of chemicals and biological materials, medical imaging, X-ray equipment for security screening, and other uses of accurate X-ray sources.

Published in the journal Nature Photonics, the study was led by Professor Ido Kaminer and his master’s student Michael Shentcis as part of a collaboration with several research institutes at the Technion: the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering, the Solid State Institute, the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute (RBNI), and the Helen Diller Center for Quantum Science, Matter and Engineering.

The researchers’ paper shows an experimental observation that provides the first proof-of-concept for theoretical models developed over the last decade in a series of constitutive articles. The first article on the subject also appeared in Nature Photonics. Written by Prof. Kaminer during his postdoc at MIT, under the supervision of Prof. Marin Soljacic and Prof. John Joannopoulos, that paper presented theoretically how two-dimensional materials can create X-rays. According to Prof. Kaminer, “that article marked the beginning of a journey towards sources based on the unique physics of two-dimensional materials and their various combinations—heterostructures. We have built on the theoretical breakthrough from that article to develop a series of follow-up articles, and now, we are excited to announce the first experimental observation on the creation of X-ray radiation from such materials, while precisely controlling the radiation parameters.”

Oct 2, 2020

Novel Role of Microglia as Modulators of Neurons in the Brain Is Discovered

Posted by in categories: chemistry, neuroscience

Researchers have identified a bio-chemical circuit that supports neuron-microglia communication. When neurons are active, they release ATP. Microglia sense extracellular ATP and the compound draws the immune cell toward the neuron.circuit that supports neuron-microglia communication. When neurons are active, they release ATP. Microglia sense extracellular ATP and the compound draws the immune cell toward the neuron.circuit that supports neuron-microglia communication. When neurons are active, they release ATP. Microglia sense extracellular ATP and the compound draws the immune cell toward the neuron.

Sep 29, 2020

Why disordered light-harvesting systems produce ordered outcomes

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, nanotechnology, physics

Scientists typically prefer to work with ordered systems. However, a diverse team of physicists and biophysicists from the University of Groningen found that individual light-harvesting nanotubes with disordered molecular structures still transport light energy in the same way. By combining spectroscopy, molecular dynamics simulations and theoretical physics, they discovered how disorder at the molecular level is effectively averaged out at the microscopic scale. The results were published on 28 September in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The double-walled light-harvesting nanotubes self-assemble from molecular building blocks. They are inspired by the multi-walled tubular antenna network of photosynthetic bacteria found in nature. The nanotubes absorb and transport light energy, although it was not entirely clear how. “The nanotubes have similar sizes but they are all different at the with the molecules arranged in a disordered way,” explains Maxim Pshenichnikov, Professor of Ultrafast Spectroscopy at the University of Groningen.

Sep 28, 2020

Sediment Discovered in Texas Cave Upends Meteorite Explanation for Global Cooling

Posted by in categories: chemistry, climatology

Researchers say cooling 13,000 years ago is coincident with major volcanic eruption.

Texas researchers from the University of Houston, Baylor University and Texas A&M University have discovered evidence for why the earth cooled dramatically 13,000 years ago, dropping temperatures by about 3 degrees Centigrade.

The evidence is buried in a Central Texas cave, where horizons of sediment have preserved unique geochemical signatures from ancient volcanic eruptions — signatures previously mistaken for extraterrestrial impacts, researchers say.

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Sep 27, 2020

Invention Using Terahertz Radiation Could Make Particle Accelerators 10 Times Smaller

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry

SLAC invention uses terahertz radiation to power a miniscule copper accelerator structure.

Particle accelerators generate high-energy beams of electrons, protons and ions for a wide range of applications, including particle colliders that shed light on nature’s subatomic components, X-ray lasers that film atoms and molecules during chemical reactions and medical devices for treating cancer.

As a rule of thumb, the longer the accelerator, the more powerful it is. Now, a team led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has invented a new type of accelerator structure that delivers a 10 times larger energy gain over a given distance than conventional ones. This could make accelerators used for a given application 10 times shorter.

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Sep 27, 2020

Astrophysicists Prove That Water Ice Is Trapped in Star Dust

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics, space travel

Astrophysicists at the University of Jena (Germany) prove that dust particles in space are mixed with ice.

The matter between the stars in a galaxy – called the interstellar medium – consists not only of gas, but also of a great deal of dust. At some point in time, stars and planets originated in such an environment, because the dust particles can clump together and merge into celestial bodies. Important chemical processes also take place on these particles, from which complex organic – possibly even prebiotic – molecules emerge. However, for these processes to be possible, there has to be water. In particularly cold cosmic environments, water occurs in the form of ice. Until now, however, the connection between ice and dust in these regions of space was unclear. A research team from Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy has now proven that the dust particles and the ice are mixed. They report their findings in the current issue of the research journal Nature Astronomy.

Better modelling of physico-chemical processes in space.

Sep 26, 2020

Physicists Play With the Laws of Nature: Controlling Ultrastrong Light-Matter Coupling at Room Temperature

Posted by in categories: chemistry, nanotechnology, quantum physics

Physicists at Chalmers, together with colleagues in Russia and Poland, have managed to achieve ultrastrong coupling between light and matter at room temperature. The discovery is of importance for fundamental research and might pave the way for advances within, for example, light sources, nanomachinery, and quantum technology.

A set of two coupled oscillators is one of the most fundamental and abundant systems in physics. It is a very general toy model that describes a plethora of systems ranging from guitar strings, acoustic resonators, and the physics of children’s swings, to molecules and chemical reactions, from gravitationally bound systems to quantum cavity electrodynamics. The degree of coupling between the two oscillators is an important parameter that mostly determines the behavior of the coupled system. However, the question is rarely asked about the upper limit by which two pendula can couple to each other – and what consequences such coupling can have.

The newly presented results, published in Nature Communications, offer a glimpse into the domain of the so-called ultrastrong coupling, wherein the coupling strength becomes comparable to the resonant frequency of the oscillators. The coupling in this work is realized through interaction between light and electrons in a tiny system consisting of two gold mirrors separated by a small distance and plasmonic gold nanorods. On a surface that is a hundred times smaller than the end of a human hair, the researchers have shown that it is possible to create controllable ultrastrong interaction between light and matter at ambient conditions – that is, at room temperature and atmospheric pressure.

Continue reading “Physicists Play With the Laws of Nature: Controlling Ultrastrong Light-Matter Coupling at Room Temperature” »

Sep 26, 2020

Humans live much longer than chimps due to a slower epigenetic ‘clock’

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, genetics, life extension

Lil bits of info on DNA methylation, clocks.


Breakthrough advances in medicine and better nutrition have dramatically improved the longevity of the average human over the past two centuries. But that’s not to say that some couldn’t go on to live a long life even before the advent of modern medicine. As long as they were spared by disease, wars, and other risks that can bring an untimely death, humans could live to see their 70s, 80s, and even reach 100 years old as far back as ancient Rome.

The longevity of humans is somewhat exceptional among primates. Chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, rarely make it past age 50, despite them sharing over 99% of our DNA. In a new study, researchers think they’ve found our secret: chemical changes along our genome that occurred around 7–8 million years ago when our ancestors branched away from the lineage of chimps.

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