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Northwestern University

Dissolving polyphenols found in green tea in a saline solution instantly produces transpar...

Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered new ways of utilizing the properties of naturally occurring polyphenols found in green tea, red wine and dark chocolate. Dissolving polyphenol powders in water with a small amount of salt instantly produces transparent coatings that kill bacteria on contact, have antioxidant qualities and are non-toxic. The sticky nature of polyphenols and the low cost of materials could open the door to a wide range of uses for these coatings.  Read More

The love hormone has a dark side (Photo: Shutterstock)

Often called the love hormone, oxytocin has shown the ability to enhance social bonding, decrease anxiety and encourage an overall feeling of satisfaction with life. A new study out of Northwestern University, however, finds that this ancient hormone has a dark side, and is capable of strengthening unpleasant memories, fear, and anxiety. This Jeckyll and Hyde behavior results from the fact that oxytocin has a general strengthening effect on social memories, without regard to their polarity.  Read More

A normal nerve cell, with the myelin (brown) intact (Image: Shutterstock)

In multiple sclerosis, the body’s immune system attacks and damages myelin, which is the insulating layer on nerves in the spinal cord, brain and optic nerve. Just as would happen with an electrical cord with compromised insulation, this causes the nerves to short-circuit and cease functioning properly. An international team of scientists, however, have recently reported success in the first phase of clinical trials in which MS victims’ immune systems were conditioned to become much more tolerant of myelin.  Read More

Scientist have created inkjet-printable graphene-based ink, that could be used to create e...

While we hear a lot about flexible electronics that can be gently bent, how about ones that could actually be folded up? Things like the recently-developed graphite-based paper circuits definitely show promise, but now researchers from Illinois-based Northwestern University have taken another step forward – they’ve created graphene-based inkjet-printable ink.  Read More

A newly-developed process gives gold mines an alternative to using cyanide for extracting ...

In the gold-mining process, the precious metal is often extracted from low-grade ore in a technique known as gold cyanidation. As its name suggests, the process utilizes highly-poisonous cyanide, some of which ends up entering the environment in the mines’ tailings. That’s not so good. Scientists at Illinois’ Northwestern University, however, recently announced their discovery of a new gold recovery process that’s based on a non-toxic component of corn starch.  Read More

FlipperBot makes its way through a bed of poppy seeds (Video still: Institute of Physics)

US researches have developed a robot that gets about with a pair of flipper-like arms. By recording FlipperBot's adventures using a high-speed camera, the researchers are gaining understanding about the mechanics of traversing "complex surfaces" such as sand.  Read More

Scientists have developed a stretchable lithium-ion battery, that could be used to power s...

Thanks to the advent of stretchable electronics, we’re currently witnessing the development of things like smart fabrics, bendable displays, and even pressure-sensitive skin for robots. In many potential applications, however, the usefulness of such electronics would be limited if they still had to be hooked up to a rigid battery. In response to that problem, a team of scientists have recently created – you guessed it – a stretchable lithium-ion battery.  Read More

A 750x view of the Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles used in the study (Image: Lonn...

Good news may be on the way for sufferers of multiple sclerosis – a team of scientists from Illinois-based Northwestern University, the University of Sydney, and the Myelin Repair Foundation in California have succeeded in halting the effects of the disease in lab mice. It all comes down to using nanoparticles to trick the immune system.  Read More

A rather larger laser (Photo: Andrea Pacelli)

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a laser the size of a virus particle that can operate at room temperature. The "nanolaser," which uses gold nanoparticles instead of mirrors, is claimed to be the first demonstration to make use of a so-called bowtie arrangement of metal nanoparticles, though nano-scale lasers have been previously demonstrated.  Read More

A biodegradable integrated circuit during dissolution in water (Photo: Beckman Institute, ...

We’ve certainly been hearing a lot lately about tiny electronic devices that can do things such as delivering medication after being implanted in the body, measuring structural stress upon being attached to a bridge, or monitoring pollution after being placed in the environment. In all of these cases, the device has to be retrieved once it’s served its purpose, or just left in place indefinitely. Now, however, an interdisciplinary team of researchers have demonstrated “transient electronics,” which dissolve into nothing after a pre-determined amount of time.  Read More

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