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research labs and other things of interest

Good eggs - nanomagnets offer food for thought about computer memories

Magnetics researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) colored lots of eggs recently. Bunnies and children might find the eggs a bit small - in fact, too small to see without a microscope. But these "eggcentric" nanomagnets have another practical use, suggesting strategies for making future low-power computer memories.

Posted: Apr 27th, 2011

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DNA, folded into complex shapes, could have a big impact on nanotechnology

While the primary job of DNA in cells is to carry genetic information from one generation to the next, some scientists also see the highly stable and programmable molecule as an ideal building material for nanoscale structures that could be used to deliver drugs, act as biosensors, perform artificial photosynthesis and more.

Posted: Apr 27th, 2011

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Gold(en) boost for organic solar cells

A gold plated window as the transparent electrode for organic solar cells is now a reality thanks to a team of researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK. The upshot of this development, apart from its innovation, is that it could be relatively cheap because the gold used is just 8 nanometers thick.

Posted: Apr 26th, 2011

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New nanobead approach could revolutionize sensor technology

Researchers at Oregon State University have found a way to use magnetic "nanobeads" to help detect chemical and biological agents, with possible applications in everything from bioterrorism to medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring or even water and food safety.

Posted: Apr 26th, 2011

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Water molecules characterize the structure of DNA genetic material

Water molecules surround the genetic material DNA in a very specific way. Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have discovered that, on the one hand, the texture of this hydration shell depends on the water content and, on the other hand, actually influences the structure of the genetic substance itself. These findings are not only important in understanding the biological function of DNA; they could also be used for the construction of new DNA-based materials.

Posted: Apr 26th, 2011

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Nanotechnology aids in ash analysis for volcano no-fly zones

Planes were grounded all over Europe when the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in Iceland last year. But no one knew if the no fly zone was really necessary. And the only way to find out would have been to fly a plane through the ash cloud - a potentially fatal experiment. Now a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Iceland have developed a protocol for rapidly providing air traffic authorities with the data they need for deciding whether or not to ground planes next time ash threatens airspace safety.

Posted: Apr 26th, 2011

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