In recent years chemists and materials scientists have enthusiastically searched for ways to make materials with nanoscale pores -- channels comparable in size to organic molecules -- that could be used, among other things, to separate proteins by size. Recently Cornell University researchers developed a method to "self-assemble" such structures by using organic polymers to guide the formation of ceramic structures.
Transmission electron micrographs show, at left, the regular pattern of hexagonal channels in the ceramic material, and at right, the smooth distribution of iron oxide particles (dark spots) within the ceramic matrix.
Now they have advanced another step by incorporating tiny magnetic particles of iron oxide into the walls of porous ceramic structures in a simple "one-pot" self-assembly. Such materials could be used to separate proteins tagged with magnetic materials, or in catalytic processes.
"This enables access, for the first time, to protein-separation technology based on a combination of size exclusion with magnetically assisted separation," explains Ulrich Wiesner, professor of materials science at Cornell, in Ithaca, N.Y., lead investigator for the research. One application could be the separation of a single protein out of the thousands found in blood serum.
Bill Steele | EurekAlert!
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Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.
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Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.
A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...
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