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University of California Santa Barbara

Medical

Drugs that mistake placenta for tumors to help avoid premature births

The placenta is vital for a growing fetus, providing it with the nourishment needed to develop as it prepares to enter the world. But a poorly functioning placenta is problematic as doctors are unable to treat it with drugs and are instead forced to induce labor early, inviting a range of health risks for the prematurely born baby. But scientists have now found a way in by using existing cancer drugs that mistake the placenta for a tumor, selectively targeting the organ and boosting its health.Read More

Space Feature

Reaching for the stars: How lasers could propel spacecraft to relativistic speeds

How do you send man-made probes to a nearby star? According to NASA-funded research at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), the answer is simple: assemble a laser array the size of Manhattan in low Earth orbit, and use it to push tiny probes to 26 percent the speed of light. Though the endeavour may raise a few eyebrows, it relies on well-established science – and recent technological breakthroughs have put it within our reach.Read More

Environment

Giant clams could inspire better color displays and solar cells

Researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara have discovered that giant clams may hold the key to improving solar cells and color displays. The new findings indicate that at least two species of giant clams produce a white coloration by combining red, green and blue light, in a manner similar to what occurs in television and smartphone displays.Read More

Materials

Researchers develop high-performance underwater glue inspired by mussels

UC Santa Barbara scientists have replicated the uncanny underwater adhesive capacity of mussels – which has previously inspired a surgical glue – in a versatile and strong synthetic material. The ultra-thin material boasts up to 10 times the effectiveness of prior wet/underwater adhesives, and its low molecular weight and functional properties means that it can be used to boost the performance of existing bulk adhesives, as well as in such varied applications as dentistry, nanofabrication, and underwater repair.Read More

Medical

Insulin releasing patch draws oral diabetes treatments closer

Of the hundreds of million people around the world that suffer from diabetes, a sizeable portion need to subject themselves to daily insulin injections. But a more palatable way of keeping blood glucose levels in check may be on the way, with scientists developing a patch that attaches to the intestinal wall and releases the hormone after being swallowed in the form of a capsule. Read More

Electronics

Electronic memory may bring bionic brain one step closer

Using a matrix of nano-sized memristors, researchers working at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and the University of California, Santa Barbara claim to have constructed the world’s first electronic memory cell that effectively mimics the analog process of the human brain. By storing memories as multiple threads of varying information, rather than a collection of ones and zeroes, scientists believe that this device may prove to be the first step towards creating a completely artificial, bionic brain. Read More

Physics

First-ever quantum device that detects and corrects its own errors

Before the dream of quantum computing is realized, a number of inherent problems must first be solved. One of these is the ability to maintain a stable memory system that overcomes the intrinsic instability of the basic unit of information in quantum computing – the quantum bit or "qubit". To address this problem, Physicists working at the University of California Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara) claim to have created breakthrough circuitry that continuously self-checks for inaccuracies to consistently maintain the error-free status of the quantum memory.Read More

Science

Scientists propose destroying asteroids with sun-powered laser array

This past Friday was not a good day for asteroid-human relations with asteroid 2012 DA14 passing a mere 27,700 km (17,200 miles) from the Earth just a few hours after a meteor exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, damaging hundreds of buildings and injuring thousands. Scientists have been quick to point out that both of these events – a meteor exploding over a populated area and a large asteroid passing through Earth's geosynchronous orbit – are quite rare, but when the worst case scenario is the complete annihilation of all life on Earth, it's probably best to be prepared. That's why researchers in California recently proposed DE-STAR – a system which could potentially harness the sun's energy to dissolve wayward space rocks up to ten times larger than 2012 DA14 with a vaporizing laser.Read More

Electronics

Quantum computer with separate CPU and memory represents significant breakthrough

John Martinis’ research group at the University of California at Santa Barbara has created the first quantum computer with the quantum equivalent of conventional Von Neumann architecture. This general-purpose programmable quantum computer is realized using superconducting circuits and offers greater potential for large-scale quantum computing than the one-problem devices that have been demonstrated in this emerging field to date.Read More

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