Latest News

Researchers Isolate Genes for Mosquito’s Sense of Smell

New research is helping to unravel the machinery that allows a mosquito to sniff out its human quarry, which could lead to more and better ways of foiling the disease-spreading insects. A report published today in the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes four genes that appear to produce odor-sensing molecules in Africa’s Anopheles gambiae, a carrier of malaria, the number two killer in the developing world. Understanding how such genes operate could en

DNA repair could reduce sunburn

An immune system chemical may undo skin damage by sunlight.

A chemical involved in immune-system signalling may be able to reverse some types of skin damage caused by sunlight. It could reduce sunburn by activating DNA-repair mechanisms, a new study suggests, raising the possibility that the chemical might be used to prevent or treat skin cancer 1 .

High-energy ultraviolet light is thought to promote skin cancer by damaging the DNA within cells. Skin cancer,

Material bones up

Programmed molecules build themselves into a bone-mimic.

Scientists in the United States have made self-assembling synthetic bone 1 . Carefully designed building-blocks join up to mimic bone’s complex molecular-scale architecture, bringing better prosthetics a step closer.

Materials engineers are keen to emulate the strength and toughness of biominerals such as bone, tooth and shell. Mollusc shells, for example, a composite of the mineral calcium carbonate a

BSE’s epidemic proportions

While prion diseases seem to be waning in humans, they could be waxing in sheep.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) may claim only around 200 victims, a new model predicts 1 . This degenerative brain disease is thought to occur when people are exposed to misfolded prion proteins from meat infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or ’mad cow disease’).

Meanwhile, another study warns that a huge BSE epidemic could be brewing in the UK

Flower Chemicals Both Attract Friends and Deter Foes

Talk about multi-tasking. A new study reveals that in the St. John’s Wort plant, Hypericum calycinum, the same chemical not only attracts pollinating insects but also deters herbivores that pose a threat to its survival. The findings appear in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To the human eye, the flowers of H. calycinum appear as uniform yellow disks (top image). Insects with ultraviolet-sensitive eyes, however, see a dark, ultraviolet-absorbing ce

Stiff challenge to instability

The secret of a steady hand is tightening the right muscles.

Controlling the stiffness of some of our muscles lets us manage tricky feats of manipulation, such as keeping a screwdriver in a screw, researchers have found 1 . We tune the stiffness to oppose motions in the direction of instability, such as the sideways slips that would let the screwdriver slide out of the slot.

Although demanding on the brain, this is the most energy-efficient strategy, say Mitsu

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Physics and Astronomy

The powerhouse of the future: Artificial cells

Assessing how energy-generating synthetic organelles could sustain artificial cells. Energy production in nature is the responsibility of chloroplasts and mitochondria and is crucial for fabricating sustainable, synthetic cells in the…

Separated at last

Scientists at the Universities of Würzburg and Ottawa have solved the decades-old problem of distinguishing between single and multiple light excitations. They present their new method in the journal Nature….

Cooking up plasmas with microwaves

Plasma physicists from Ukraine, Germany and Japan collaborate to spark fusion power. Lead author Yurii Victorovich Kovtun, despite being forced to evacuate the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology amid…

Life Sciences and Chemistry

Labeling macrophages …

… associated with cancer progression using a selective dye. M1 and M2 are activated macrophages that protect our immune system and maintain homeostasis. Interestingly, they are characterized by distinct and…

Molecule to disrupt SARS-CoV-2 infection

A team of scientists led by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory designed a molecule that disrupts the infection mechanism of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and could be used…

A covalent organic framework

… inspired by C3N4 for photosynthesis of hydrogen peroxide with high quantum efficiency. H2O2 is not only a green oxidant that widely used in environmental remediation, industrial synthesis, and medical…

Materials Sciences

Detecting pollutants at ultra-trace levels

Material scientists develop nano-structured and reusable substrate for ultra-sensitive detection of low-concentration analytes. Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (or Spectroscopy), known as SERS, is an advanced analysis method that extends the range…

Graphene grows – and we can see it

Graphene is the strongest of all materials. On top of that, it is exceptionally good at conducting heat and electrical currents, making it one of the most special and versatile…

Looking from different perspectives!

Proper electronic structure of near-infrared absorbing functional dyes discovered. A big step toward the development of dyes with long-wavelength near-infrared absorption! Near-infrared light, whose wavelength is longer than visible light,…

Information Technology

Listen up, Material!

“Seven, one, nine, …”: A human voice pronounces digits, a physical material recognizes them with about 97 percent accuracy. This pattern recognition system was developed by physicists at the University…

New experiment translates quantum information between technologies

… in an important step for the quantum internet. Researchers have discovered a way to “translate” quantum information between different kinds of quantum technologies, with significant implications for quantum computing,…

The Industrial Metaverse at your fingertips

Hannover Messe 2023: At the booth of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (Hall 16, A12) at Hannover Messe (April 17–23, 2023), Fraunhofer FIT will provide insights into the Industrial Metaverse. The demonstrator for remote…