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Overview of all focus news of the innovations-report

Overview of the focus news:

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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...

Im Focus: Dynamics in quantum dots: Smallest measurable processes recorded individually

Colloquially, the term “quantum jump” is used to describe a tremendous development. In fact, it is the smallest change of state that can still be traced. Physicists from the Collaborative Research Center 1242 at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) have now succeeded in measuring every single jump by optical means and drawing conclusions about the dynamics of the electrons inside a quantum dot. The journal Physical Review Letters reports on this in its 122nd issue.

The experimental setup included a quantum dot – i.e. a solid structure of only about 10,000 atoms – next to a reservoir with electrons. About 100 times per...

Im Focus: On the way to robust quantum computers

Researchers at the University of Hamburg have for the first time detected Majorana states at the edges of iron islands on superconducting rhenium. Majoranas are exotic quasiparticles and are regarded as promising quantum bits for future quantum computers. The results have now been published in the journal "Science Advances".

The development of quantum computers is the major goal of industrial and university research efforts worldwide. The main problem in the realization of a...

Im Focus: AddSteel project: new steel materials for 3D printing

North Rhine-Westphalia has launched the NRW Leitmarkt project AddSteel, which is aimed at digitalizing the steel industry. Coordinated by SMS group GmbH, a plant engineering company based in Mönchengladbach, this project will develop new function-adapted steel materials for additive manufacturing. One of the project’s key areas of focus is the qualification of the developed materials for laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), a metallic 3D printing process, at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen. One of the AddSteel project team’s first successes was the development of the first case-hardening and heat-treatable steel powders designed specifically for LPBF applications.

A major challenge facing steelmakers in Germany, and especially those in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, is the continuing decline in sales. Previously,...

Im Focus: How neuromuscular connections are maintained after nerve lesions

After nerve injury, the protein complex mTORC1 takes over an important function in skeletal muscle to maintain the neuromuscular junction, the synapse between the nerve and muscle fiber. Researchers at the University of Basel’s Biozentrum have now shown that the activation of mTORC1 must be tightly balanced for a proper response of the muscle to nerve injury. The study published in «Nature Communications» opens new insights into muscle weakness related to neuromuscular diseases or caused by ageing.

The protein complex mTORC1 promotes muscle growth and is important for the self-cleaning process of the muscle cells. The role of mTORC1 in skeletal muscle...

Im Focus: Self-organizing molecules: Nanorings with two sides

The tiny rings that chemists at the Center for Nanointegration (CENIDE) at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) create in the laboratory are as small as a bacterium. Self-organized, individual polymer chains form the flexible structures that can even squeeze themselves through cell membranes. This would enable them to deliver active substances in a very targeted manner. The renowned scientific journal ACS Nano reports on this in its current issue.

Take some chloroform, a few milligrams of polymer and mingle this solution with a soap mixture. This results in an emulsion from which chloroform slowly...

Im Focus: MOF@SAW: Nanoquakes and molecular sponges for weighing and separating tiny masses

Augsburg chemists and physicists report how they have succeeded in the extremely difficult separation of hydrogen and deuterium in a gas mixture.

Thanks to the Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) technology developed here and already widely used, the University of Augsburg is internationally recognized as the...

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