Identifying fraudulent paintings based on electrochemical data, highlighting cancerous cells in a sea of healthy ones, and identifying different strains of bacteria in samples of food are all examples of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), a sensor system that has only become more in-demand as our desire for precise, instantaneous information has increased. However, the technology has largely failed commercialization because the chips used are difficult and expensive to create, have limited uses for a particular known substance, and are consumed upon use. Researchers led by a team from the University of Buffalo (UB) aim to change nanoscale sensors with an almost-universal substrate that's also low-cost, opening up more opportunities for powerful analysis of our environment.
Currently, recipients of arm or leg transplants need to take
immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives, in order to keep
the donated parts from being rejected. If we could grow our own
replacement limbs, however, that wouldn't be necessary. And while we do
already possess the progenitor cells needed to grow such parts, what's
been lacking is a method of assembling them into the form of the desired
limb. Now, however, scientists have created a shortcut of sorts –
they've stripped the cells from one rat's forelimb and replaced them
with live cells from another rat, creating a functioning limb that the
second rat's immune system won't reject.
Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope in the Western Australia
desert, a Sydney University student, Cleo Loi, has discovered enormous plasma pipes in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Thought to be responsible
for possible radio interference with satellite navigation systems, the presence of these objects has been predicted for over 60 years, but never before seen. By imaginatively using the radio telescope to observe
in 3D, Loi was able to image large areas of the
sky using the fast photography capabilities of the MWA to produce a movie
that shows the motions of the plasma in real-time.
Passwords are the bane of many a computer user's existence. Experts recommend long strings of characters containing a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols that may be difficult to crack, but can also be difficult to remember. Despite there being simple techniques for creating difficult-to-crack passwords that are easy to remember and horror stories of identify theft abound, the top two most common passwords remain "12345" and "password". But a study out of Binghampton University in New York suggests brainwaves could be a promising alternative to verify a user's identity.
Although many retailers already display the tenderness of meat cuts on
their packaging, Norwegian research group SINTEF has developed what it
believes is a better system. Instead of relying on human interpretations
of tenderness, it uses x-rays to give a less subjective and more
Research conducted by a team of MIT scientists suggests that applying a layer of graphene to power plant condensers could significantly improve efficiency. Early testing indicates that use of the material is vastly superior to current methods, and its application could lead to huge monetary savings, as well as a positive impact on the climate.
Wood pulp-derived nanocellulose is turning out to be pretty useful
stuff. Previously, we'd heard how it could be used in things like high-strength lightweight composites, oil-absorbing sponges and biodegradable computer chips.
Now, researchers from Sweden and the US have used the material to build
soft-bodied batteries that are more shock- and stress-resistant than
their traditional hard counterparts.
Scientific curiosity around how air interacts with the ocean in the event of powerful storms has inspired a number of wind-emulating facilities around the world, from a high-speed wind-wave tank at Kyoto University to the Hydrodynamics Laboratory at Imperial College London. But just as hurricane season kicks off in the US, a team at the University of Miami is looking to step things up a notch. A freshly built indoor tank designed to study category five storms is now open for business, and as the only one of its kind in the world, is hoped to offer a new understanding of these destructive superstorms.
MIT researchers claim to have created a method to better observe fermions – the sub-atomic building blocks of matter – by constructing a microscope capable of viewing them in groups of a thousand at a time. A laser technique is used to herd the fermions into a viewing area and then freeze them in place so all of the captured particles can be imaged simultaneously.
As mobile technology progresses, we're seeing more and more examples of low-cost diagnostic systems
being created for use in developing nations and remote locations. One
of the latest incorporates little more than a smartphone, tablet,
polarizer and box to test body fluid samples for diseases such as
arthritis, cystic fibrosis and acute pancreatitis.