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Overview of all focus news of the innovations-report

Overview of the focus news:

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Im Focus: The smallest motor in the world

A research team from Empa and EPFL has developed a molecular motor which consists of only 16 atoms and rotates reliably in one direction. It could allow energy harvesting at the atomic level. The special feature of the motor is that it moves exactly at the boundary between classical motion and quantum tunneling - and has revealed puzzling phenomena to researchers in the quantum realm.

The smallest motor in the world - consisting of just 16 atoms: this was developed by a team of researchers from Empa and EPFL. "This brings us close to the...

Im Focus: Water bacteria have a green thumb

Research team from Friedrich Schiller University Jena discover new natural products that bacteria in water use to regulate the growth of competing organisms

The sheer endless expanses of the oceans are hostile deserts — at least from the perspective of a bacterium living in water. Tiny as it is, its chances of...

Im Focus: Potential Beginning of Life Simulated in Lab: Evolution Underground

Did life originate not on the ground but underground? Scientists at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) have substantiated their theory that first life could have begun deep in the earth's crust. In their experiments, structures that were inanimate developed survival strategies within a short time.

In the beginning there was the vesicle: A self-generated bubble similar to a soap bubble, enclosed by a membrane. It was surrounded by a liquid according to...

Im Focus: Puzzle about passivation of low-friction, hard carbon coatings solved

Diamond and diamond-like carbon (DLC) are used as extremely durable surface coatings in frictional contacts: from aerospace components to razors. They reduce friction and wear in bearings and valves by means of so-called passivation layers, which prevent other materials from bonding to the coating. Until now, it was unclear how these passivation layers should be designed to achieve minimal friction. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM, MicroTribology Centrum µTC, have now achieved a breakthrough in understanding the relationship between passivation and friction. The unexpected results have been published in the journal "ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces".

Hard carbon coatings are in use worldwide on a large industrial scale. A particularly frequent user is the automotive industry, which uses more than 100...

Im Focus: Snapshot of exploding oxygen

New experimental technique with Goethe University’s reaction microscope allows “X-ray” of individual molecules

For more than 200 years, we have been using X-rays to look inside matter, and progressing to ever smaller structures – from crystals to nanoparticles. Now,...

Im Focus: Restoring vision by gene therapy

Latest scientific findings give hope for people with incurable retinal degeneration

Humans rely dominantly on their eyesight. Losing vision means not being able to read, recognize faces or find objects. Macular degeneration is one of the major...

Im Focus: Small Protein, Big Impact

In meningococci, the RNA-binding protein ProQ plays a major role. Together with RNA molecules, it regulates processes that are important for pathogenic properties of the bacteria.

Meningococci are bacteria that can cause life-threatening meningitis and sepsis. These pathogens use a small protein with a large impact: The RNA-binding...

Im Focus: K-State study reveals asymmetry in spin directions of galaxies

Research also suggests the early universe could have been spinning

An analysis of more than 200,000 spiral galaxies has revealed unexpected links between spin directions of galaxies, and the structure formed by these links...

Im Focus: New measurement exacerbates old problem

Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.

Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

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