Is it possible to make components out of organic polymers (plastics) whose structure is such that severed nerves can grow right into them and connect with electrodes in a prosthetic hand, for example? This is one of the research fields for Tobias Nyberg at the Section for Biomolecular and Organic Electronics at Linköping University, Sweden.
Part of Tobias Nyberg’s dissertation is based on collaboration with cell biologist Helena Jerregård. Her task is to find ways to get tangled nerves to sort themselves out into nerve threads and tactile threads respectively. Tobias Nyberg’s job is to produce the structures in which the sorted nerves can connect with the electrodes from a future prosthesis. The materials he has used are plastics etched with patterns of tiny channels 20 millionths of a meter in size, covered both by an electrically conductive polymer and a protein that the nerves can grow on.
Another section of the dissertation treats nano- and micrometer-sized structures for solar cells and light diodes. In these contexts it is important that as much light as possible be absorbed by the material, despite the fact that, for other reasons, the material should also be a thin as possible. Tobias Nyberg has therefore found a way to create light-refracting patterns less than a thousandth of a millimeter in size, patterns that prevent light from going straight through, bending it instead so that more light is absorbed.
Ingela Björck | alphagalileo
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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