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Overview of all focus news of the innovations-report

Overview of the focus news:

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Im Focus: A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.

Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...

Im Focus: Vehicle Emissions: New sensor technology to improve air quality in cities

Researchers at TU Graz are working together with European partners on new possibilities of measuring vehicle emissions.

Today, air pollution is one of the biggest challenges facing European cities. As part of the Horizon 2020 research project CARES (City Air Remote Emission...

Im Focus: Self healing robots that "feel pain"

Over the next three years, researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, University of Cambridge, École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI-Paris) and Empa will be working together with the Dutch Polymer manufacturer SupraPolix on the next generation of robots: (soft) robots that ‘feel pain’ and heal themselves. The partners can count on 3 million Euro in support from the European Commission.

Soon robots will not only be found in factories and laboratories, but will be assisting us in our immediate environment. They will help us in the household, to...

Im Focus: Scientists create the world's thinnest gold

Scientists at the University of Leeds have created a new form of gold which is just two atoms thick - the thinnest unsupported gold ever created.

The researchers measured the thickness of the gold to be 0.47 nanometres - that is one million times thinner than a human finger nail. The material is regarded...

Im Focus: Study on attosecond timescale casts new light on electron dynamics in transition metals

An international team of scientists involving the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has unraveled the light-induced electron-localization dynamics in transition metals at the attosecond timescale. The team investigated for the first time the many-body electron dynamics in transition metals before thermalization sets in. Their work has now appeared in Nature Physics.

The researchers from ETH Zurich (Switzerland), the MPSD (Germany), the Center for Computational Sciences of University of Tsukuba (Japan) and the Center for...

Im Focus: New approach in the fight against viruses

In the ViroSens project, researchers from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Sulzbach and Regensburg are working together with industrial partners on a novel analytical method to make the potency testing of vaccines more efficient and cost-effective. The method combines electrochemical sensor technology and biotechnology and, for the first time, enables a completely automated analysis of the infection status of test cells.

Most people see vaccinations as a benefit of modern medicine, as they protect against dangerous viral diseases. However, before a vaccine can enter the...

Im Focus: Antineutrino detection could help remotely monitor nuclear reactors

Technology to measure the flow of subatomic particles known as antineutrinos from nuclear reactors could allow continuous remote monitoring designed to detect fueling changes that might indicate the diversion of nuclear materials. The monitoring could be done from outside the reactor vessel, and the technology may be sensitive enough to detect substitution of a single fuel assembly.

The technique, which could be used with existing pressurized water reactors as well as future designs expected to require less frequent refueling, could...

Im Focus: Quantum light sources pave the way for optical circuits: Light in the nanoworld

An international team headed up by Alexander Holleitner and Jonathan Finley, physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), has succeeded in placing light sources in atomically thin material layers with an accuracy of just a few nanometers. The new method allows for a multitude of applications in quantum technologies, from quantum sensors and transistors in smartphones through to new encryption technologies for data transmission.

Previous circuits on chips rely on electrons as the information carriers. In the future, photons which transmit information at the speed of light will be able...

Im Focus: New research highlights similarities in the insulating states of twisted bilayer graphene and cuprates

In recent decades, enormous research efforts have been expended on the exploration and explanation of high-temperature (high-Tc) superconductors, a class of materials exhibiting zero resistance at particularly high temperatures. Now a team of scientists from the United States, Germany and Japan explain in Nature how the electronic structure in twisted bilayer graphene influences the emergence of the insulating state in these systems, which is the precursor to superconductivity in high-Tc materials.

Finding a material which superconducts at room temperature would lead to a technological revolution, alleviate the energy crisis (as nowadays most energy is...

Im Focus: Next-generation medication: where chemistry meets computation

A group of Japanese researchers mainly from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) and Hokkaido University drastically enhanced and sped up the way to skeletally diverse indole alkaloids, composed of the medicinally-relevant scaffolds. By leveraging computational and synthetic approaches, this group has successfully developed a concise and versatile synthetic process generating the densely-functionalized multicyclic complex scaffolds, which would facilitate the development of both medicine and agrochemicals.

This synthetic approach employing zing (II) reagent in place of Hg(II) or Gold-based reagents are also environmentally friendly as well as much cheaper than...

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