Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category: Page 155

Sep 8, 2020

Electronically integrated, mass-manufactured, microscopic robots

Posted by in categories: chemistry, robotics/AI

Fifty years of Moore’s law scaling in microelectronics have brought remarkable opportunities for the rapidly evolving field of microscopic robotics1,2,3,4,5. Electronic, magnetic and optical systems now offer an unprecedented combination of complexity, small size and low cost6,7, and could be readily appropriated for robots that are smaller than the resolution limit of human vision (less than a hundred micrometres)8,9,10,11. However, a major roadblock exists: there is no micrometre-scale actuator system that seamlessly integrates with semiconductor processing and responds to standard electronic control signals. Here we overcome this barrier by developing a new class of voltage-controllable electrochemical actuators that operate at low voltages (200 microvolts), low power (10 nanowatts) and are completely compatible with silicon processing. To demonstrate their potential, we develop lithographic fabrication-and-release protocols to prototype sub-hundred-micrometre walking robots. Every step in this process is performed in parallel, allowing us to produce over one million robots per four-inch wafer. These results are an important advance towards mass-manufactured, silicon-based, functional robots that are too small to be resolved by the naked eye.

Sep 6, 2020

Engineers Genetically Reprogram Yeast Cells to Become Microscopic Drug Factories

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, food, genetics

Since antiquity, cultures on nearly every continent have discovered that certain plant leaves, when chewed or brewed or rubbed on the body, could relieve diverse ailments, inspire hallucinations or, in higher dosages, even cause death. Today, pharmaceutical companies import these once-rare plants from specialized farms and extract their active chemical compounds to make drugs like scopolamine for relieving motion sickness and postoperative nausea, and atropine, to curb the drooling associated with Parkinson’s disease or help maintain cardiac function when intubating COVID-19 patients and placing them on ventilators.

Now, Stanford engineers are recreating these ancient remedies in a thoroughly modern way by genetically reprogramming the cellular machinery of a special strain of yeast, effectively transforming them into microscopic factories that convert sugars and amino acids into these folkloric drugs, in much the same way that brewers’ yeast can naturally convert sugars into alcohol.

Sep 5, 2020

Molecule’s electronic structure is simulated on a quantum computer

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, quantum physics

Simulating chemical processes is one of the most promising applications of quantum computers, but problems with noise have prevented nascent quantum systems from outperforming conventional computers on such tasks. Now, researchers at Google have taken a major step towards this goal by using the most powerful quantum computer yet built to successfully implement a protocol for calculating the electronic structure of a molecule. The results may form a blueprint for complex, useful calculations on quantum computers affected by noise.

In October 2019, Google announced to great fanfare that its 53-qubit Sycamore computer had achieved quantum advantage. This means that a quantum computer can solve at least one problem much faster than any conventional supercomputer. However, Google researchers openly acknowledged that the problem Sycamore solved (sampling the outcome of a random quantum circuit) is easy for a quantum computer but difficult for a conventional supercomputer — and had little practical use.

What researchers would really like to do is use quantum computers to solve useful problems more effectively than possible with conventional computers: “Sycamore is extremely programmable and, in principle, you really can run any algorithm on it…In this sense, it’s a universal quantum computer,” explains team member Ryan Babbush of Google Research, “However, there’s a heavy caveat: there’s still noise affecting the device and as a result we’re still limited in the size of circuit we can implement.” Such noise, which results from classical sources such as thermal interference, can destroy the fragile superpositions crucial to quantum computation: “We can implement a completely universal circuit before the noise catches up and eventually destroys the computation,” says Babbush.

Sep 4, 2020

Correcting anode-free cell failure to enable higher-energy-density batteries

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, sustainability, transportation

Batteries with high energy densities could enable the creation of a wider range of electric vehicles, including flying vehicles that can transport humans in urban environments. Past studies predict that to support the operation of vehicles capable of take-off and landing, batteries require energy densities of approximately 400 Wh kg-1 at the cell level, which is approximately 30% higher than the energy density of most existing lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells.

In addition to powering flying vehicles, high-energy (i.e., single units within a battery that convert chemical into ) could increase the distance that electric cars can travel before they need to be charged again. They may also reduce overall fabrication costs for electric vehicles, as similar results could be achieved using fewer but better-performing cells.

Anode-free lithium metal cells are particularly promising for creating batteries with higher energy densities. While they use the same cathode as Li-ion cells, these cells store energy via an electroplated lithium metal instead of a graphite host, and they can have energy densities that are 60% greater than those of Li-ion cells.

Sep 4, 2020

Decades-old mystery of lithium-ion battery storage solved

Posted by in categories: chemistry, mobile phones, sustainability, transportation

For years, researchers have aimed to learn more about a group of metal oxides that show promise as key materials for the next generation of lithium-ion batteries because of their mysterious ability to store significantly more energy than should be possible. An international research team, co-led by The University of Texas at Austin, has cracked the code of this scientific anomaly, knocking down a barrier to building ultra-fast battery energy storage systems.

The team found that these possess unique ways to store energy beyond classic electrochemical mechanisms. The research, published in Nature Materials, found several types of compounds with up to three times the energy storage capability compared with materials common in today’s commercially available lithium-ion batteries.

By decoding this mystery, the researchers are helping unlock batteries with greater energy capacity. That could mean smaller, more powerful batteries able to rapidly deliver charges for everything from smartphones to electric vehicles.

Sep 4, 2020

Google’s Quantum Computer Achieves Chemistry Milestone

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, quantum physics

A downsized version of the company’s Sycamore chip performed a record-breaking simulation of a chemical reaction.

Sep 4, 2020

The moon is rusty, and it’s likely Earth’s fault

Posted by in categories: chemistry, space

The moon is turning ever so slightly red, and it’s likely Earth’s fault. Our planet’s atmosphere may be causing the moon to rust, new research finds.

Rust, also known as an iron oxide, is a reddish compound that forms when iron is exposed to water and oxygen. Rust is the result of a common chemical reaction for nails, gates, the Grand Canyon’s red rocks — and even Mars. The Red Planet is nicknamed after its reddish hue that comes from the rust it acquired long ago when iron on its surface combined with oxygen and water, according to a statement from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

Sep 3, 2020

Feeding the World with Cellular Aquaculture: Food Security and Sustainability

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, life extension

Cellular Aquaculture — Feed The World and Save the Oceans — Lou Cooperhouse, President & CEO, of BlueNalu, joins me on ideaXme ( to discuss his company’s technologies to provide the world with healthy and safe cell-based seafood products, and support the sustainability and diversity of our oceans — #Ideaxme #StemCells #Aquaculture #Oceans #Fish #Sushi #Poke #Ceviche #SustainableDevelopment #Agriculture #Health #Wellness #RegenerativeMedicine #Biotech #Longevity #Aging #IraPastor #Bioquark #Regenerage ideaXme BlueNalu Rutgers University Rich Products Sumitomo Chemical: Group Companies of the Americas KBW Investments.

Ira Pastor, ideaXme life sciences ambassador and founder of Bioquark, interviews Lou Cooperhouse, President and CEO of BlueNalu.

Continue reading “Feeding the World with Cellular Aquaculture: Food Security and Sustainability” »

Sep 2, 2020

Generation of Heart Organoids Modeling Early Human Cardiac Development Under Defined Conditions

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, health

Cardiovascular-related disorders are a significant worldwide health problem. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in developed countries, making up a third of the mortality rate in the US1. Congenital heart defects (CHD) affect ∼1% of all live births2, making it the most common birth defect in humans. Current technologies provide some insight into how these disorders originate but are limited in their ability to provide a complete overview of disease pathogenesis and progression due to their lack of physiological complexity. There is a pressing need to develop more faithful organ-like platforms recapitulating complex in vivo phenotypes to study human development and disease in vitro. Here, we report the most faithful in vitro organoid model of human cardiovascular development to date using human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). Our protocol is highly efficient, scalable, shows high reproducibility and is compatible with high-throughput approaches. Furthermore, our hPSC-based heart organoids (hHOs) showed very high similarity to human fetal hearts, both morphologically and in cell-type complexity. hHOs were differentiated using a two-step manipulation of Wnt signaling using chemical inhibitors and growth factors in completely defined media and culture conditions. Organoids were successfully derived from multiple independent hPSCs lines with very similar efficiency. hHOs started beating at ∼6 days, were mostly spherical and grew up to ∼1 mm in diameter by day 15 of differentiation. hHOs developed sophisticated, interconnected internal chambers and confocal analysis for cardiac markers revealed the presence of all major cardiac lineages, including cardiomyocytes (TNNT2+), epicardial cells (WT1+, TJP+), cardiac fibroblasts (THY1+, VIM+), endothelial cells (PECAM1+), and endocardial cells (NFATC1+). Morphologically, hHOs developed well-defined epicardial and adjacent myocardial regions and presented a distinct vascular plexus as well as endocardial-lined microchambers. RNA-seq time-course analysis of hHOs, monolayer differentiated iPSCs and fetal human hearts revealed that hHOs recapitulate human fetal heart tissue development better than previously described differentiation protocols3,4. hHOs allow higher-order interaction of distinct heart tissues for the first time and display biologically relevant physical and topographical 3D cues that closely resemble the human fetal heart. Our model constitutes a powerful novel tool for discovery and translational studies in human cardiac development and disease.

The authors have declared no competing interest.

Sep 1, 2020

A New Tool to Detect Alien Biochemistry

Posted by in categories: alien life, chemistry

A new exciting life detection toolset for exploration of an alien planet or moon.

Life detection on Mars and the icy moons of the outer Solar System looks more and more feasible.