Using a tool kit of lasers, tiny beads and a Lego set, Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have made the first measurement of the torsional, or twisting, elasticity of a single molecule of DNA.
The measurements reveal that DNA is significantly stiffer than previously thought and, when wound, may in fact provide enough power to be used as a sort of molecular, rubberband motor to propel nanomachines. Although that type of application may be well in the future, the studies are significant because they offer a blueprint for measuring the contortions that DNA undergoes during replication and other key processes.
The researchers, led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Carlos Bustamante, reported their research in the July 17, 2003, issue of the journal Nature. Bustamante and the papers two lead authors, graduate students Zev Bryant and Michael Stone, are at the University of California, Berkeley.
Jim Keeley | Howard Hughes Medical Institute
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Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
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