“The pump represents a giant leap in miniaturization,” said biology professor Greg Hampikian, who leads the team along with materials science professor Peter Müllner.
In the race for rapid DNA profiling, a large impediment has been that pump technology has not been miniaturized the way that chemical and electronic components have. The team set a goal three years ago to develop a miniature pump that had no mechanical parts, no electrical contacts and would be compatible with existing DNA profiling kits. The micro pump can be used in a “lab on a chip” to help streamline DNA gathering and testing procedures.
“Magnetic Shape Memory (MSM) technology introduces a new paradigm in engineering by replacing gears, belts and whistles with just materials that change shape,” Müllner said. “With MSM technology we can make entire machines with just two or three pieces. The material is the machine.”
The pump features a MSM crystal as its primary component. The material used to create it was invented by Kari Ullakko, a former Boise State faculty member who now works at Lappeenranta University of Technology in Savonlinna, Finland. In addition to the three researchers, Boise State students Laura Wendel and Aaron Smith also are authors on the most recent research findings.
Two State of Idaho Higher Education Research Council (HERC) grants helped fund the research for the micro pump. Its successful development has led to several university patent applications and has attracted the attention of industry.
Müllner is an expert in MSM technology and Boise State is home to one of the most productive Materials Science and Engineering programs in the Pacific Northwest. The university will host the International MSM conference in Boise on June 3-7, 2013. Learn more at http://www.icfsma.com/.
Hampikian is the volunteer director for the Idaho Innocence Project and an internationally recognized expert in DNA forensics. He played a high-profile role in the exoneration last October of Amanda Knox, the American student tried and convicted of killing her roommate in 2007 while living and studying in Perugia, Italy. Hampikian regularly trains police officers, attorneys, coroners and crime lab technicians in forensic DNA analysis.
Sherry Squires | Newswise Science News
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Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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