Limited availability of tests to diagnose cancer in its early stages has contributed to an unfortunate prevalence of late-stage diagnoses and metastatic spread. For this reason, emerging technologies that promise early diagnosis constitute a key focus of research. Mid-infrared imaging (MIR), with its ability to enable in vivo medical diagnosis, is particularly interesting. Read more

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University of Leeds (UK)-led chemists have developed a new method for making fluorescing quantum dots (QDs) coated with a key biological sugar molecule, and using them to study how viruses like Ebola and HIV attach to proteins on the surface of healthy cells… Read more

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Engineering researchers at Harvard University, USA, have devised an electromechanical approach to creating windows whose opacity can be tuned with the proverbial flick of a switch. The approach—which involves the electrostatic deformation of nanowire-coated elastomer layers—is color neutral, and could prove much cheaper to manufacture than previous, largely electrochemical techniques. Read more

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Two research groups, using very different materials and approaches, have recently fashioned optical and photonic components that they claim are far thinner than previously demonstrated devices. In one study, the authors report creating “the thinnest and lightest solar cells demonstrated to date”, using a flexible organic substrate…. Read more

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A team of researchers turned to Raman spectroscopy to rapidly screen for and identify novel psychoactive substances (NPS), known commonly as “legal highs.” The approach will now enable statutory agencies to identify the actual substances contained within legal highs more quickly, thereby enabling more prompt public health messages to be issued out to communities. Read [..]

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Defense and security applications typically require positive and non-destructive detection or identification of samples to enable the responder to make effective decisions and preserve potential evidence. Over the past 30 years, Raman spectroscopy has continued to prove the effectiveness of vibrational spectroscopy as an analytical technique in defense research and applications… Read more

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In computer-generated holography, images are produced from digitally generated holographic interference patterns. The hologram can then be printed onto a mask or film for illumination by a coherent light source. Computer-generated holograms (CGHs) have a wide range of applications… Read more

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A technique for producing nanoparticles that relies on microfluidics — the manipulation of tiny fluid droplets in narrow channels — shows promise for transforming expensive, batch-by-batch nanoparticle production into large-scale automated assembly. Read more

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The blood-brain barrier (BBB) prevents harmful substances and bacteria from leaving blood vessels and entering the brain—but it also prevents potentially helpful drugs, like cancer therapeutics, from reaching their targets. Now, researchers from the United States report promising pilot trial results using laser ablation…. Read more

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A stretchable nanoscale device that can filter specific colors while remaining transparent may one day be used in smart contact lenses to filter harmful optical radiation, transmit data and gather information. Read more

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Hyperspectral imaging benefits many fields of research, from medical imaging to environmental monitoring, but acquiring and transmitting the large amounts of raw data generated by the imaging technique can be cumbersome in practice, and data-compression algorithms can require lengthy reconstruction procedures at the other end of the pipeline. Read more

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Researchers from Germany, Greece and the United States have found a way to use the “noise” from X-ray crystallography of imperfect crystals to produce sharp, 3-D images of large protein complexes without the usual need for molecular phase data. Read more

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The 1970s witnessed both the initial miniaturization of devices (i.e., toward the nanoscale) and the simultaneous birth of heterostructures. In nanoscale materials, radical changes in the characteristics of particles are observed as they move from classical to quantum behavior. Read more

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A light-based method for measuring blood glucose may give diabetes patients the daily monitoring they need without the pain and infection risk of conventional metering. Researchers from Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, led by professor Yuji Matsuura, have developed a noninvasive method of measuring blood glucose using far-infrared (FIR) light. Read more

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Using a portable device developed at Drexel University, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have identified differences in brain activation patterns associated with postural stability in people with Parkinsonian syndromes and healthy adults. Read more

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Freeform optics technology allows telescope mirrors to take almost any shape, potentially improving image quality over a larger field of view. Prompted by advances in computer-controlled fabrication and testing, NASA engineers are now using freeform optics to explore cost-effective alternatives to more traditional space telescope missions… Read more

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Tracking how molecules move, form shapes, and interact within neurons and other cells offers a powerful view of biological processes that impact health. Now, work at Stanford University (CA), led by Nobel Laureate W. E. Moerner, demonstrates a marked improvement in the accuracy of such tracking — and of super-resolution microscopy in general. Read more

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