Nature has been manipulating structures on the atomic and molecular scale for millions of years, in comparison humans have only been developing these techniques over the last few decades. Molecular engineering builds structures and devices at the smallest scales imaginable, aiming to make better materials, new types of information technologies, biomedical devices and much more. In an article, `Natural strategies for the molecular engineer`, published today in the Institute of Physics` journal, Nanotechnology, Philip Ball, consultant editor of Nature, discusses how molecular engineers can learn from the designs and tricks employed by nature - in processes ranging from catalysis to mechanical motion, energy conversion, information processing and materials synthesis.
Ball said: "In several sectors of engineering, the components have been shrinking in size for many decades. Now the scale is approaching the proportions of living cells, and we can see that engineers are confronting many, if not most, of the same challenges as biological cells. They need to make materials to harness, convert and transmit energy, to store and process information and to generate motion."
However, Ball points out that nature`s solutions are often quite different to those we use. For example, leaves are essentially cheap and reasonably efficient solar cells and some of nature`s catalysts, enzymes, carry out chemical reactions of a delicacy far exceeding that of their man-made industrial counterparts.
Joanne Aslett | alfa
Further Improvement of Qubit Lifetime for Quantum Computers
09.12.2016 | Forschungszentrum Jülich
Electron highway inside crystal
09.12.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine