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
Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy
22.11.2017 | Lomonosov Moscow State University
Nano-watch has steady hands
23.11.2017 | University of Vienna
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
23.11.2017 | Earth Sciences
23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.11.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering