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Archive for the ‘engineering’ category: Page 7

Jul 21, 2020

CRISPR C-to-G base editors for inducing targeted DNA transversions in human cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering

CRISPR-guided DNA cytosine and adenine base editors are widely used for many applications1,2,3,4 but primarily create DNA base transitions (that is, pyrimidine-to-pyrimidine or purine-to-purine). Here we describe the engineering of two base editor architectures that can efficiently induce targeted C-to-G base transversions, with reduced levels of unwanted C-to-W (W = A or T) and indel mutations. One of these C-to-G base editors (CGBE1), consists of an RNA-guided Cas9 nickase, an Escherichia coli –derived uracil DNA N-glycosylase (eUNG) and a rat APOBEC1 cytidine deaminase variant (R33A) previously shown to have reduced off-target RNA and DNA editing activities5,6. We show that CGBE1 can efficiently induce C-to-G edits, particularly in AT-rich sequence contexts in human cells. We also removed the eUNG domain to yield miniCGBE1, which reduced indel frequencies but only modestly decreased editing efficiency. CGBE1 and miniCGBE1 enable C-to-G edits and will serve as a basis for optimizing C-to-G base editors for research and therapeutic applications.

Jul 20, 2020

Improved Advanced Energy Storage Using New Nano-Engineering Strategy

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering, nanotechnology, sustainability

New types of cathodes, suitable for advanced energy storage, can be developed using beyond-lithium ion batteries.

The rapid development of renewable energy resources has triggered tremendous demands in large-scale, cost-efficient and high-energy-density stationary energy storage systems.

Lithium ion batteries (LIBs) have many advantages but there are much more abundant metallic elements available such as sodium, potassium, zinc and aluminum.

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Jul 17, 2020

Scientists achieve major breakthrough in preserving integrity of sound waves

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering, physics

In a breakthrough for physics and engineering, researchers from the Photonics Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY (CUNY ASRC) and from Georgia Tech have presented the first demonstration of topological order based on time modulations. This advancement allows the researchers to propagate sound waves along the boundaries of topological metamaterials without the risk of waves traveling backwards or being thwarted by material defects.

The new findings, which appear in the journal Science Advances, will pave the way for cheaper, lighter devices that use less battery power, and which can function in harsh or hazardous environments. Andrea Alù, founding director of the CUNY ASRC Photonics Initiative and Professor of Physics at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and postdoctoral research associate Xiang Ni were authors on the paper, together with Amir Ardabi and Michael Leamy from Georgia Tech.

The field of topology examines properties of an object that are not affected by continuous deformations. In a topological insulator, electrical currents can flow along the object’s boundaries, and this flow is resistant to being interrupted by the object’s imperfections. Recent progress in the field of metamaterials has extended these features to control the propagation of sound and light following similar principles.

Jul 17, 2020

More Details On NASA’s VERITAS Mission, Which Could Go to Venus

Posted by in categories: alien life, engineering, satellites

Venus has always been a bit of the odd stepchild in the solar system. It’s similarities to Earth are uncanny: roughly the same size, mass, and distance from the sun. But the development paths the two planets ended up taking were very different, with one being the birthplace of all life as we know it, and the other becoming a cloud-covered, highly pressurized version of hell. That cloud cover, which is partially made up of sulfuric acid, has also given the planet an air of mystery. So much so that astronomers in the early 20th century speculated that there could be dinosaurs roaming about on the surface.

Some of that mystery will melt away if a team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory gets a chance to launch their newest idea for a mission to the planet, the Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topograph, and Spectroscopy (or VERITAS) mission.

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Jul 17, 2020

Neuroscientists at Vanderbilt identify the brain cells that help humans adapt to change

Posted by in categories: engineering, neuroscience

A team of researchers with interdisciplinary expertise in psychology, informatics (the application of information science to solve problems with data) and engineering along with the Vanderbilt Brain Institute (VBI) gained critical insights into one of the biggest mysteries in neuroscience, identifying the location and critical nature of these neurons.”


New research on cognitive flexibility points to a small class of brain cells that support switching attention strategies when old strategies fail.

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Jul 16, 2020

Neuroscientists identify the brain cells that help humans adapt to change

Posted by in categories: engineering, neuroscience

There are 86 billion neurons, or cells, in the human brain. Of these, an infinitely small portion of them handle cognitive flexibility—our ability to adjust to new environments and concepts.

A team of researchers with interdisciplinary expertise in psychology, informatics (the application of information science to solve problems with data) and engineering along with the Vanderbilt Brain Institute (VBI) gained critical insights into one of the biggest mysteries in neuroscience, identifying the location and critical nature of these neurons.

The article was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) on July 13. The discovery presents an opportunity to enhance researchers’ understanding and treatment of mental illnesses rooted in cognitive flexibility.

Jul 15, 2020

The solar panel made from a particle collider

Posted by in categories: engineering, particle physics, solar power, sustainability

Circa 2012


Big science meets applied engineering. CERN, renowned for smashing protons, culling antimatter and the like, has put its accelerating processes to use making and commercializing solar panels.

Jul 13, 2020

Tiny bubbles make a quantum leap

Posted by in categories: computing, encryption, engineering, quantum physics

July 13, 2020—Researchers at Columbia Engineering and Montana State University report today that they have found that placing sufficient strain in a 2-D material—tungsten diselenide (WSe2)—creates localized states that can yield single-photon emitters. Using sophisticated optical microscopy techniques developed at Columbia over the past three years, the team was able to directly image these states for the first time, revealing that even at room temperature they are highly tunable and act as quantum dots, tightly confined pieces of semiconductors that emit light.

“Our discovery is very exciting, because it means we can now position a emitter wherever we want, and tune its properties, such as the color of the emitted photon, simply by bending or straining the material at a specific location,” says James Schuck, associate professor of mechanical engineering, who co-led the study published today by Nature Nanotechnology. “Knowing just where and how to tune the single-photon is essential to creating quantum optical circuitry for use in quantum computers, or even in so-called ‘quantum’ simulators that mimic physical phenomena far too complex to model with today’s computers.”

Developing such as quantum computers and quantum sensors is a rapidly developing field of research as researchers figure out how to use the unique properties of quantum physics to create devices that can be much more efficient, faster, and more sensitive than existing technologies. For instance, quantum information—think encrypted messages—would be much more secure.

Jul 12, 2020

Liquid crystals create easy-to-read, color-changing sensors

Posted by in categories: engineering, wearables

Chameleons are famous for their color-changing abilities. Depending on their body temperature or mood, their nervous system directs skin tissue that contains nanocrystals to expand or contract, changing how the nanocrystals reflect light and turning the reptile’s skin a rainbow of colors.

Inspired by this, scientists at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at the University of Chicago have developed a way to stretch and strain liquid crystals to generate different colors.

By creating a thin film of polymer filled with liquid crystal droplets and then manipulating it, they have determined the fundamentals for a color-changing sensing system that could be used for smart coatings, sensors, and even wearable electronics.

Jul 9, 2020

Observation of the Quantum Spin Liquid State in Novel Material Advances Spintronics

Posted by in categories: engineering, particle physics, quantum physics

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices.

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a technological revolution by leveraging this newfound knowledge in engineering applications. Spintronics is an emerging field that aims to surpass the limits of traditional electronics by using the spin of electrons, which can be roughly seen as their angular rotation, as a means to transmit information.

But the design of devices that can operate using spin is extremely challenging and requires the use of new materials in exotic states–even some that scientists do not fully understand and have not experimentally observed yet. In a recent study published in Nature Communications, scientists from the Department of Applied Physics at Tokyo University of Science, Japan, describe a newly synthesized compound with the formula KCu6AlBiO4(SO4)5Cl that may be key in understanding the elusive “quantum spin liquid (QSL)” state. Lead scientist Dr Masayoshi Fujihala explains his motivation: “Observation of a QSL state is one of the most important goals in condensed-matter physics as well as the development of new spintronic devices. However, the QSL state in two-dimensional (2D) systems has not been clearly observed in real materials owing to the presence of disorder or deviations from ideal models.”

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