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Oct 28, 2010

How Long Should DNA Strands Be?

This is not a purely abstract question (pun intended). Complementary strands of DNA are drawn to one another like magnets and iron filings – a trait that has created the emerging field of DNA self-assembly. But research, and industrial application, in this area has been hampered by a lack of reliability in how the DNA… 

Sep 22, 2010

Introducing the Superman of Aluminums

It can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound or stop a speeding bullet, but new aluminum material studied at NC State is as strong as steel. NC State’s Dr. Yuntian Zhu, a materials science and engineering professor, worked with a team of researchers across the globe to create an aluminum alloy – a mixture of aluminum… 

Aug 25, 2010

The Microneedle And (Diagnosing) The Damage Done

A forthcoming paper from Faraday Discussions shows that scientists have been able to create hollow microneedles that can be used to inject quantum dots into skin. Quantum dots are emerging as powerful diagnostic tools for cancers (among other diseases), so this could be a significant advance in medical technology used to diagnose medical conditions. In… 

Jun 1, 2010

Thunderstruck: AC/DC Rocks Sintering

When I say ceramics, you think of bowls and plates, right? But ceramics are also used in body armor, fuel cells, spark plugs, nuclear rods, space shuttles, superconductors and hundreds of other things you probably didn’t know about and would think are really important. New research is now showing that manufacturers can make and shape… 

May 20, 2010

To The Point

Those things that look like artillery shells are actually biodegradable microneedles. These needles are much smaller than conventional hypodermic needles, and cause less pain, tissue damage and skin inflammation for patients. Because they are biodegradable, they dissolve on the skin surface and can be used for single-use drug delivery situations such as vaccine delivery. 

Apr 28, 2010

Connecting The Nanodots

Picture a really big library. Imagine that it contains 2.5 million books, and that each of those books is 400 pages long. Now imagine that you could fit ALL of those books onto a computer chip the size of your thumbnail. Researchers just figured out how to do exactly that. The trick is to use… 

Apr 20, 2010

Get Smart

Agent 86 would be proud. Dr. Jay Narayan led the way in the development of “smart sensors,” integrating a sensor material called vanadium oxide with silicon chips to create sensors that can manipulate and respond to information (it has to do with something called “domain matching epitaxy”). These sensors are used in a variety of… 

Apr 19, 2010

Little Things Mean A Lot

It is widely thought that advances in the use of engineered nanoscale materials will have significant impacts on fields ranging from medicine to electronics – but how do we get there from here? We are talking about manufacturing and manipulating things so small it’s difficult to conceptualize what we’re talking about. After all, William Powell…