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Category: Chemical Engineering

The long-awaited photonic technique could change the way optical technologies are developed and used over the next decade — ScienceDaily

The colloidal diamond has been a dream of researchers since the 1990s. These structures — stable, self-assembled formations of miniscule materials — have the potential to make light waves as useful as electrons in computing, and hold promise for a host of other applications. But while the idea of colloidal diamonds was developed decades ago, no one was able to reliably produce the structures. Until now. Researchers led by David Pine, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the NYU…

Inducing plasma in biomass could make biogas easier to produce — ScienceDaily

Producing biogas from the bacterial breakdown of biomass presents options for a greener energy future, but the complex composition of biomass comes with a long list of challenges. Cellulose and woody lignocellulose in biomass are especially hard for bacteria to digest, making the process inefficient. Chemical, physical, or mechanical processes, or several of them combined, can be used for pretreatment to make biomass easier to digest, but many of the current solutions are expensive or inefficient or rely on corrosive…

How psychedelics bind to key brain cell receptor — ScienceDaily

Psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline cause severe and often long-lasting hallucinations, but they show great potential in treating serious psychiatric conditions, such as major depressive disorder. To fully investigate this potential, scientists need to know how these drugs interact with brain cells at the molecular level to cause their dramatic biological effects. Scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill and Stanford have just taken a big step in that direction. For the first time, scientists in the UNC lab of…

Medical robotic hand? Rubbery semiconductor makes it possible

A medical robotic hand is just one potential application for the rubbery electronics reported by researchers. Credit: University of Houston A medical robotic hand could allow doctors to more accurately diagnose and treat people from halfway around the world, but currently available technologies aren’t good enough to match the in-person experience. Researchers report in Science Advances that they have designed and produced a smart electronic skin and a medical robotic hand capable of assessing vital diagnostic data by using a…

An electronic nose for wine

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain Researchers in China have applied an array of sensors—an electronic nose—that can sniff bouquet of rice wine and offer an estimate of the vintage. Writing in the International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology, the scientists explain how their artificial olfactory system takes data from sensors sampling a rice wine and uses a computer to carry out a statistical analysis of the signals to give an essentially 100 percent accurate age for the wine. Wei Ding,…

Portable COVID-19 Test Gives Results in 30 Minutes

A research team at Columbia University’s School of Engineering did a little out-of-the-box thinking and turned the laser upside down inside an SLS 3D printer so that it points up. The team also replaced the conventional tray of powder material with a borosilicate glass plate. To make a test part, the researchers put down a measured amount of polymer powder on top of the glass pane. A substrate is pressed down on top of it, then a blue laser traces…

Food scientists with the UT Institute of Agriculture tackle the science of flavor — ScienceDaily

More than a century has passed since the last scientific analyses of the famed “Lincoln County [Tennessee] process” was published, but the secrets of the famous Tennessee whiskey flavor are starting to unravel at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. The latest research promises advancements in the field of flavor science as well as marketing. Conducted John P. Munafo, Jr., assistant professor of flavor science and natural products, and his graduate student, Trenton Kerley, the study “Changes in Tennessee…

Common class of drugs linked to increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease — ScienceDaily

A team of scientists, led by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, report that a class of drugs used for a broad array of conditions, from allergies and colds to hypertension and urinary incontinence, may be associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline, particularly in older adults at greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The findings were published in the September 2, 2020 online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of…

Tiny photonic chip could fit comfortably within the tip of a finger — ScienceDaily

As new infectious diseases emerge and spread, one of the best shots against novel pathogens is finding new medicines or vaccines. But before drugs can be used as potential cures, they have to be painstakingly screened for composition, safety and purity, among other things. Thus, there is an increasing demand for technologies that can characterize chemical compounds quickly and in real time. Addressing this unmet need, researchers at Texas A&M University have now invented a new technology that can drastically…

Light-responsive top layer of plastic film induces movement — ScienceDaily

Azobenzene-containing plastic film is a peculiar material; its surface can change shape when exposed to light, making it a valuable component in modern technologies/devices like TV screens and solar cells. Scientists now show that only a thin, topmost layer of the light-dependent azobenzene-containing plastic film needs to be light-sensitive, rather than the entire film, opening up new ways to potentially reduce production costs and revolutionize its use. So far, it had been widely accepted that the light-sensitive nature of this…