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Northwestern University


— Science

Hydrophobic nanostructures stay dry for months underwater

By - August 19, 2015 8 Pictures

By mimicking naturally-occurring nanostructures found in things like water striders, spiders and lotus leaves, scientists have created hydrophobic surfaces that could prove invaluable for everything from pipes to boats and submarines. Now researchers at Northwestern University have deduced the optimal texture roughness required to achieve this property and keep surfaces dry underwater for months at a time.

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— Health and Wellbeing

"Bicycle mechanism" uncovered that is said to drive our brains in and out of sleep

By - August 13, 2015 1 Picture

Jet-setters and night owls will have felt the wrath of an off-kilter body clock, by way of the physical impact it can have on immediate well being. A yearning to understand the underlying reasons for this has been the subject of much scientific interest, and has led to some rather strange products like LED light glasses and glowing pillows. But by studying the biological clock of a humble fruit fly, researchers at Northwestern University are claiming to have uncovered the precise mechanisms that bring us in and out of sleep, with their evidence suggesting these switches date back hundreds of millions of years.

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— Environment

Study claims perovskite solar cells can recoup their energy cost within three months

By - August 4, 2015 3 Pictures

Scientists at Northwestern University and the U.S. Department of Energy have found that perovskite cells, one of the most promising solar technologies of recent years, can repay their energy cost over 10 times faster than traditional silicon-based solar cells. The finding confirms that, once issues related to cell longevity are ironed out, perovskite cells could soon bring us solar energy on the cheap, and do so with less impact on the environment over their lifetime.

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— Health and Wellbeing

Smartphone usage could be analyzed to warn of depression

By - July 16, 2015 1 Picture

One of the problems with depression is that because it often forms so gradually, many people don't even realize that they're suffering from it – they just assume that normal life is pretty dreary. With that in mind, researchers from Chicago's Northwestern University have devised a method of analyzing at-risk individuals' smartphone use, to see if they're developing signs of the disorder.

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— 3D Printing

Wonder-ink could soon let you 3D print objects out of stretchy graphene

By - June 29, 2015 4 Pictures

A new 3D-printing ink being developed at Northwestern University could soon make it possible to build objects which are made of graphene for 60 percent of their volume and 75 percent of their weight. This unprecedentedly high graphene composition means that the oft-praised electric and mechanical properties of graphene might soon find their way into all kinds of macroscopic 3D-printed creations, with important consequences for the electronics and biomedical fields (among many others).

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— Science

Scientists create world's first fully-artificial molecular pump

By - May 23, 2015 4 Pictures

All living organisms – human, animal, or otherwise – continuously move molecules around their cells. It's a crucial mechanism of life, vital for feeding cells the proteins they need to function. And now scientists at Northwestern University have created a machine that mimics this pumping mechanism. Their molecular pump is the world's first such machine developed entirely through chemical engineering in the laboratory, and it could one day power artificial muscles and other molecular machines.

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— Science

The amazing technicolor liquid nanolaser

By - April 29, 2015 1 Picture
A new nanoscale plasmon laser developed at Northwestern University changes color in real time through a process as simple as swapping one liquid dye for another. The scientists responsible for the technology claim this is the world's first liquid nanoscale laser, and it could find uses in medical diagnostics as well as military or security applications. Read More
— Electronics

Inexpensive new depth-sensing camera could outperform the Kinect

By - April 27, 2015 1 Picture
Although the Microsoft Kinect was designed first and foremost for gaming, the fact that it's a cheap but reliable depth-sensing camera has led to its use in everything from navigation systems for the blind to user-following grocery carts to remote-control cyborg cockroaches. Soon, however, it may be facing some competition. The Northwestern University-designed Motion Contrast 3D Scanning (MC3D) camera should also be economical, while offering higher-quality imaging and the ability to operate in sunlight. Read More
— Computers

Scientists close in on computers that work like the human brain

By - April 9, 2015 1 Picture
Scientists have been working since 2008 to develop technology based on memristors (short for memory resistors), which promise computers that need never boot up and function more akin to the human brain – like neurons, they can retain information and perform logic operations. Now scientists at Northwestern University have made a new breakthrough that may make possible brain-like computing capabilities. Read More
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