The interaction between gold nanorods and HeLa cells in an acoustic field. Credit: Pennsylvania State Univ.; YouTube.
For the first time, a team of chemists and engineers at Penn State University have placed tiny synthetic motors inside live human cells, propelled them with ultrasonic waves and steered them magnetically. The nanomotors, which are rocket-shaped metal particles, move around inside the cells, spinning and battering against the cell membrane. For their experiments, the team uses HeLa cells, an immortal line of human cervical cancer cells that typically is used in research studies. These cells ingest the nanomotors, which then move around within the cell tissue, powered by ultrasonic waves. At low ultrasonic power the nanomotors have little effect on the cells. But when the power is increased, the nanomotors spring into action, moving around and bumping into organelles—structures within a cell that perform specific functions. The nanomotors can act as egg beaters to essentially homogenize the cell’s contents, or they can act as battering rams to actually puncture the cell membrane.
Functional biomaterials made of natural building blocks can offer significant advantages over purely synthetic systems, and the use of human proteins, functional peptides or nucleic acids as the precursor materials is common for the minimization of the immunogenicity of the delivery materials. However, the biocompatibility and biodegradability of functional structures with desired properties is affected by the biomaterials’ structural characteristics and building block assembly pathways. Moreover, the elevated sensitivity of natural building blocks to environmental changes makes structural analysis of such biomaterial systems challenging. This webinar will discuss the use of noninvasive optical techniques (fluorescent and optical microscopy) to characterize structural aspects of biomaterials, towards improving the understanding of the relationship between the biomaterials structural properties and its functionality.
3DP materials are primarily used as raw materials to manufacture any object with the use of a 3D printer. The choice of a 3DP material is quite technical and depends on the 3D printer being used to print objects. 3DP materials exhibit high sensitivity, stability, flexibility, durability, and high strength properties. The 3DP materials market is driven by the consumer, aerospace, defense, medical and automotive industries and a range of applications, which increases the R&D efforts to make 3DP materials highly resourceful, along with the huge demand from the electronics and bio-medical industry. Globally, the North American region dominated the 3DP materials market revenue in 2012. U.S., Japan, China, U.K., and Germany are the major countries with a huge demand for 3DP materials. Asia-Pacific’s 3DP materials market for end-use applications is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27.6% from 2013 to 2018, which is far higher than that of North America. The report analyzes the market on the basis of material types, penetration of each material in each major region, and every end-user market.
The same physics that gives tornadoes their ferocious stability lies at the heart of new University of Washington research, and could lead to a better understanding of nuclear dynamics in studying fission, superconductors and the workings of neutron stars. The work seeks to clarify what Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers witnessed when in 2013 they named a mysterious phenomenon—an unusual long-lived wave traveling much more slowly than expected through a gas of cold atoms. They called this wave a “heavy soliton” and claimed it defied theoretical description. But in one of the largest supercomputing calculations ever performed, UW physicists Aurel Bulgac and Michael Forbes and co-authors have found this to be a case of mistaken identity: The heavy solitons observed in the earlier experiment are likely vortex rings—a sort of quantum equivalent of smoke rings.
(Nanowerk Spotlight) Everyone agrees that the future of electronics is flexible and transparent. There are two basic approaches: develop new substrates and techniques such as inkjet-printing of graphene or other semiconductor inks on flexible substrates; or develop low-cost generic batch process using a state-of-the-art CMOS process to transform conventional silicon electronics into flexible and transparent electronics while retaining its high-performance, ultra-large-scale-integration density and cost. Using the second approach, researchers at the Integrated Nanotechnology Lab at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, led by Muhammad Mustafa Hussain, an associate professor of Electrical Engineering report in a new paper in ACS Nano on a generic low-cost batch fabrication process based on standard microfabrication techniques to fabricate thin (>5 µm), mechanically flexible, optically semitransparent silicon fabric with pre- or post-released devices without any thermal budget limitation. The team’s main motivation is to offer the possibility of developing flexible systems in a cost effective way to leverage the implementation of thrilling applications and to advance the flexible electronics field. (The full story includes video.)