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Northwestern University


— Science

Imperfect graphene may be perfect for use in better fuel cells

By - March 19, 2015 1 Picture
We already knew that graphene was a highly useful material, but just how useful is it? Well, it turns out that even defective graphene may be valuable. According to a team of mostly-American scientists, improperly-formed graphene could find use in next-generation fuel cells. Among other things, those cells might allow electric cars to be recharged in the amount of time that it currently takes to refuel a gas-burning vehicle. Read More
— Military

New catalyst material quickly neutralizes nerve gas

By - March 17, 2015 1 Picture
While the Iran-Iraq war of 1981-1988 saw the only large-scale use of chemical weapons since WWII, in a world beset by rogue states, civil wars, and terrorism, protecting against nerve agents and disposing of them remains a major problem. One bright spot is a team from Northwestern University, which has developed a new material capable of neutralizing nerve gases. The zirconium-based Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) called NU-1000 is not only useful for disposing of stockpiles of such toxins, but also for use in gas masks and protective suits for soldiers and rescue workers. Read More
— Electronics

New technique could produce the ideal light-absorbing material for solar cells

By - February 3, 2015 1 Picture
Solar cell efficiency has made significant strides in recent times, but cells are still far from their maximum theoretical efficiency, and part of the reason is that the semiconductors we use to build them don’t have ideal electrical properties. Researchers at Northwestern University have now found a way to tweak an important electrical feature of transition metal oxides, compounds commonly used as semiconductors, to build the optimal light-absorbing material for solar cells, lasers and photoelectrochemical cells. Read More
— Medical

Man-made ligament could replace ruptured ACLs

By - January 2, 2015 1 Picture
If you follow sports at all, then you've probably heard about athletes rupturing their ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament. It connects the femur to the tibia, and once it breaks, it's incapable of healing. Treatment most often involves reconstructing the ACL using grafts from the patellar tendon, which connects the patella (aka the kneecap) to the tibia – although this can present problems of its own. Now, scientists at Northwestern University in Illinois are creating a man-made replacement ACL, which could make treatment much more effective. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Non-invasive MRI technique picks up early signs of Alzheimer’s disease

By - December 22, 2014 1 Picture
The development of brain plaques are thought to correlate with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, such as memory loss. Previous research has indicated that limiting these buildups could be the key to tackling the disease, but scientists from Northwestern University are digging a little deeper. The team has devised a non-invasive MRI technique capable of tracking the specific toxins that accumulate to form plaques, potentially enabling doctors to pick up early signs of the disease before it starts to take hold. Read More
— Science

Blu-ray discs could help make better solar cells

By - November 25, 2014 1 Picture
Blu-ray discs have proven themselves superior to DVDs as storage media in light of their high capacity, high definition, and higher transfer rate. Now researchers claim that Blu-ray discs have one more advantage over DVDs: they also have the ability to help markedly improve the efficiency of solar cells, when their etched information patterns are repurposed for use as light concentrators. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Wearable skin and heart monitor changes color when there's cause for concern

By - September 25, 2014 3 Pictures
Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a health monitor capable of tracking heart and skin condition while worn discretely on the skin. Measuring around 5 cm squared (0.8 in sq), the patch is designed to be inconspicuous and alert the user to conditions ranging from dry skin to cardiovascular problems. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Blood test provides first objective diagnosis of depression in adults

By - September 22, 2014 1 Picture
Diagnosing depression can be a difficult task, currently relying on patients reporting symptoms – something those suffering depression don't always do – and doctors correctly interpreting them – which isn't easy as the symptoms are non-specific. Now researchers have developed a blood test to diagnose depression in adults, providing the first objective, scientific diagnosis for the condition. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation found to boost memory

By - September 1, 2014 2 Pictures
Failing memory is one of the (many) drawbacks of old age, but can also impact younger people suffering stroke, early-stage Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury and cardiac arrest. In a breakthrough that opens up the potential for new treatments for memory impairments in the young and old, researchers at Northwestern University have shown that electrical stimulation of the brain can improve memory, with the benefits lasting long after treatment. Read More
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