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Nanoparticles

Medical

Injected microparticles shown to greatly reduce heart attack damage

After a heart attack has occurred, inflammatory cells known as monocytes rush to the damaged tissue. This causes the heart to swell, reducing its ability to pump blood, and further damaging the tissue – a potentially lethal situation. Now, however, scientists have discovered that injectable microparticles can help stop that from happening. Read More

Science

Two-in-one nanoparticles exploit tumor cells to precisely deliver multiple drugs

A common strategy for treating tumors is combining two or more drugs, which has the effect of decreasing toxicity and increasing the synergistic effects between the drugs. However, the efficacy of this kind of cocktail treatment suffers when the drugs require access to different parts of the cell, a bit like fighting a battle by depositing all your archers on the same spot as your infantrymen. By making use of nanoparticle-based carriers, researchers at North Carolina State University are able to transport multiple drugs into cancerous cells optimally and precisely, in maneuvers that any field commander would be proud of. Read More

Medical

New nanoparticle opens doorway to oral treatment of chronic diseases

Most of us would swallow a pill before being poked by a needle, yet sufferers of chronic illnesses are regularly required to administer their medicine intravenously. A team of researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) has developed a new type of nanoparticle that could afford patients the choice – potentially making uncomfortable injections a thing of the past in the treatment of a range of chronic diseases. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Ultrasound pulses could replace daily injections for diabetics

There could be hope for diabetics who are tired of giving themselves insulin injections on a daily basis. Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are developing a system in which a single injection of nanoparticles could deliver insulin internally for days at a time – with a little help from pulses of ultrasound. Read More

Electronics

Plasmonic nanostructures could prove a boon to solar cell technology

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found a way to harvest energy from sunlight more efficiently, with the help of so-called plasmonic nanostructures. The new findings suggest that plasmonic components can enhance and direct optical scattering, creating a mechanism that is more efficient than the photoexcitation that drives solar cells. The development could therefore provide a real boost to solar cell efficiency and lead to faster optical communication.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Solar steam sterilization system could clean up in the developing world

Last year, researchers at Rice University revealed a new way to convert solar energy directly into steam using light-absorbing nanoparticles. At that time, the technology had already been used to create a solar steam-powered autoclave for sterilizing medical and dental equipment and the project had been awarded a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to turn the technology to the task of sanitizing human waste. The researchers have now put both applications to the test.Read More

Science

New material could lead to cheaper, more eco-friendly LEDs

LED light bulbs may be more energy-efficient and longer-lived than their incandescent equivalents, but they’re also considerably more expensive to purchase. This is largely because rare earth elements (REEs) are used in their phosphors. There are hazards involved in the mining and processing of REEs, plus China is responsible for almost the entire world’s supply, so they’re becoming increasingly pricey. Now, however, scientists have come up with a plentiful alternative material that they say is much more environmentally friendly, and that should drive down the price of LEDs. Read More

Science

Potentially very-useful "polymer opals" change color when stretched

Some of the most vividly colored materials in nature, including things like butterfly wings, don’t obtain their color from pigment. Instead, their internal structure reflects light at a given wavelength, producing a specific color. Opals are another example of something that utilizes this effect. In collaboration with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability, scientists from the University of Cambridge have now copied the colorful nanostructure of the opal. The result is a flexible, colorful material that won’t fade over time, that changes color when stretched, and that could have many applications. Read More

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