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Overview of all focus news of the innovations-report

Overview of the focus news:

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Im Focus: Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires

The claim by UMass Amherst researchers that the microbe Geobacter produces tiny electrical wires has been mired in controversy for a decade, but a new collaborative study provides stronger evidence than ever to support their claims.

The claim by microbiologist Derek Lovley and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst that the microbe Geobacter produces tiny electrical wires,...

Im Focus: Drive System Saves Space and Weight in Electric Cars

Siemens has developed a solution for integrating an electric car's motor and inverter in a single housing. Until now, the motor and the inverter, which converts the battery's direct current into alternating current for the motor, were two separate components.

The new integrated drive unit saves space, reduces weight, and cuts costs. The solution's key feature is the use of a common cooling system for both...

Im Focus: NASA Begins Sixth Year of Airborne Antarctic Ice Change Study

NASA is carrying out its sixth consecutive year of Operation IceBridge research flights over Antarctica to study changes in the continent’s ice sheet, glaciers and sea ice. This year’s airborne campaign, which began its first flight Thursday morning, will revisit a section of the Antarctic ice sheet that recently was found to be in irreversible decline.

For the next several weeks, researchers will fly aboard NASA’s DC-8 research aircraft out of Punta Arenas, Chile. This year also marks the return to western...

Im Focus: Milky Way Ransacks Nearby Dwarf Galaxies, Stripping All Traces of Star-Forming Gas

Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia, along with data from other large radio telescopes, have discovered that our nearest galactic neighbors, the dwarf spheroidal galaxies, are devoid of star-forming gas, and that our Milky Way Galaxy is to blame.

These new radio observations, which are the highest sensitivity of their kind ever undertaken, reveal that within a well-defined boundary around our Galaxy,...

Im Focus: Researchers in Berlin and Bath Identify “Naïve-Like” Human Stem Cells

In their search for the earliest possible stage of development of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) that still have the potential to develop into any types of body cells and tissue, researchers from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, Germany, and the University of Bath, United Kingdom, have apparently been successful. Jichang Wang, Gangcai Xie, and Dr. Zsuzsanna Izsvák (MDC), together with Professor Laurence D. Hurst (University of Bath), report the discovery of a subtype of cells in culture dishes with hESCs and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) that resemble this very early, pluripotent or naïve state (Nature, doi:10.1038/nature13804)*.

They also discovered the mechanism that turns human ES cells into naïve-like human stem cells. While this has potential implications for medicine and for...

Im Focus: Piezohydraulic Actuator: A Powerful Midget

Researchers at Siemens have developed a small but powerful piezo­hydraulic actuator. Although it is only about nine centimeters long, it can apply a force of more than 150 newtons - equivalent to a weight of 15 kilograms. Such actuators are used to operate valves and flaps, for example, and can also be employed in robots.

The concept combines piezomechanics with hydraulics. A voltage causes tiny deflections in a piezoelectric crystal and an internal hydraulic system combines...

Im Focus: Enormous progress in ocean acidification research

New report summarises current state of knowledge

Never before have so many scientists conducted research on what impacts the declining pH value of seawater has on animals and plants in the ocean. The experts...

Im Focus: Vesicles influence the function of nerve cells

Neurons react to the transmission activity of exosomes on three fundamental levels

Tiny vesicles containing protective substances which they transmit to nerve cells apparently play an important role in the functioning of neurons. As cell...

Im Focus: Scientists develop barcoding tool for stem cells

New technology that tracks the origin of blood cells challenges scientific dogma

A 7-year-project to develop a barcoding and tracking system for tissue stem cells has revealed previously unrecognized features of normal blood production: New...

Im Focus: Slow-motion movies of tiny nanostructures: Researchers from Regensburg developed a novel microscope

Physicists from the University of Regensburg have developed a novel microscope that allows them to record slow-motion movies of tiny nanostructures with groundbreaking time resolution – faster even than a single oscillation cycle of light. With their new microscope they have directly imaged the super-fast motion of electrons, which has now been published in “Nature Photonics” (DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2014.225).

Modern nanotechnology does what nature has always been able to do: Systematic structuring on the nanometer length scale – the billionth part of a meter – to...

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