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Nanoparticles


— Medical

Nanoparticles used to take on late-stage liver cancer

Treating late-stage liver cancer can be extremely difficult, with drugs that prove effective in healthy organs causing high levels of toxicity when introduced to cirrhotic livers. A newly-developed nanoparticle delivery system could improve the situation, with early tests showing it to be effective as a non-toxic treatment in experiments with laboratory mice.

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— Medical

Light-activated quantum dots successfully combat drug-resistant bacteria

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are an increasingly big problem for global health. They kill in excess of 23,000 people in the US every year, with their ability to rapidly develop an immunity to antibiotic treatments making them extremely difficult to eradicate. Now, new research being conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder has found that tiny light-activated particles known as quantum dots might be useful in tackling the infections.

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— Materials

Magnesium and silicon carbide recipe results in lightweight metal with record strength

Magnesium has a number of potential advantages when it comes to engineering. It is considered the lightest of structural metals and it is the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust. On the flipside, however, it is not as strong and durable as some of its counterparts. Scientists are now reporting to have overcome its main limitations by infusing it with silicon carbide nanoparticles to form a new type of super-strong composite material, which they claim may lead to lighter and more efficient airplanes, spacecraft and cars.

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— Science

Oscillating electric field used to remove nanoparticles from blood

Nanoparticles as a vehicle for delivering drugs precisely where they are needed promise to be a major revolution in medical science. Unfortunately, retrieving those particles from the body for detailed study is a long and involved process. But that may soon change with a team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego developing a technique that uses an oscillating electric field to separate nanoparticles from blood plasma in a way that may one day make it a routine procedure.

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— Environment

Sunlight-activated nanoparticles could clean up oil sands pollution on the cheap

Last year around 2.3 million barrels of oil were pulled each day from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, the third largest oil reserve in the world. This mining process is hugely water-intensive, and though much of it is recycled, it still results in massive pools of polluted wastewater which are difficult to treat and pose a threat to the environment. Canadian researchers have developed a new approach to removing the contaminants using sunlight and nanoparticles, an approach they say will prove much more effective and cheaper than existing methods.

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— Environment

Conductive ink significiantly improves the efficiency of solar water heating

Researchers at the Technological Institute of the Lagoon (ITL), Mexico, have created a nanoparticle-rich, superconducting ink that they have used to coat pipes of solar water heaters to increase their efficiency by up to 70 percent. The new coating was recently proven on the solar heating of a Mexican city sports complex swimming pool, where 2 million cubic meters (70.6 million cubic feet) of water were heated from 26 °C to 37 °C (79 °F to 98°F).

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— Environment

Nanotech could rid cattle of ticks, with less collateral damage

If you've ever used tick medicine on your dog, then you're probably aware of how toxic the stuff is. Well, it's used on cows too, and it can end up in their meat, milk, or the surrounding environment. Fortunately, however, scientists at the National University of Mexico have developed a new type of tick treatment for cattle that is reportedly much less toxic than what's currently used.

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— Good Thinking

The Drinkable Book has water-purifying pages

For people in developing nations or rural locations, getting clean water may soon be as simple as opening a book … and ripping a page out. That’s the idea behind The Drinkable Book, developed by Carnegie Mellon University postdoc Theresa Dankovich. Each of its pages is made from a thick sheet of paper impregnated with silver and copper nanoparticles, that kill 99.9 percent of microbes in tainted water that’s filtered through it.

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— Medical

New material helps diabetic wounds heal faster

Because they often have weakened immune systems and/or blood flow restrictions, diabetics run a heightened risk of serious infection from even the smallest of open wounds. That's why a team of scientists from Egypt's Alexandria University have developed a means of getting those wounds to heal faster – silver-impregnated dressings.

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