Friday, September 18, 2009

Researchers in Sweden have developed a paper battery that is fabricated with cellulose from algae. This completely non-metal battery could be a solution to the environmental damage cause by traditional batteries.

Cladophora algae

Cladophora, the algae used for the novel paper battery.

How much difference can a tenth of a nanometer make? When it comes to figuring out how proteins work, an improvement in resolution of that miniscule amount can mean the difference between seeing where atoms are and understanding how they interact.

Atoms have the habit of jumping through solids – a practice that physicists have recently been able to follow for the first time using a brand new method using cutting-edge X-ray sources, known as electron synchrotrons. The work unlocks new potential for the study of material ageing processes at the atomic level.

Being able to swing through the air like Spiderman on strands of ‘spider silk’ may be one step—or swing—closer with researchers discovering a way to strengthen plastic nanofibers with one of the world’s strongest materials, carbon.

For decades, researchers have been trying to combine semiconductor materials that have different and potentially complementary characteristics into a single microchip. Now, an MIT team has finally succeeded in this effort, an advance that could point to a way of overcoming fundamental barriers of size and speed facing today's silicon chips.

Many medical conditions, such as chronic pain, cancer and diabetes, require medications that cannot be taken orally, but must be dosed intermittently, on an as-needed basis, over a long period of time. A few delivery techniques have been developed, using an implanted heat source, an implanted electronic chip or other stimuli as an "on-off" switch to release the drugs into the body but none of these methods can reliably do all that's needed: repeatedly turn dosing on and off, deliver consistent doses and adjust doses according to the patient's need. Researchers have now devised a solution that combines magnetism with nanotechnology.