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Aug 2, 2019

Two-dimensional (2-D) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy with a microfluidic diamond quantum sensor

Posted by in categories: biological, quantum physics, space

Quantum sensors based on nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers in diamond are a promising detection mode for nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy due to their micron-scale detection volume and noninductive-based sample detection requirements. A challenge that exists is to sufficiently realize high spectral resolution coupled with concentration sensitivity for multidimensional NMR analysis of picolitre sample volumes. In a new report now on Science Advances, Janis Smits and an interdisciplinary research team in the departments of High Technology Materials, Physics and Astronomy in the U.S. and Latvia addressed the challenge by spatially separating the polarization and detection phases of the experiment in a microfluidic platform.

They realized a of 0.65±0.05 Hz, an order-of-magnitude improvement compared with previous diamond NMR studies. Using the platform, they performed 2-D correlation spectroscopy of liquid analytes with an effective detection volume of ~40 picoliters. The research team used diamond as in-line microfluidic NMR detectors in a major step forward for applications in mass-limited chemical analysis and single-cell biology.

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is a powerful and well-established technique for compositional, structural and functional analysis in a variety of scientific disciplines. In conventional NMR spectrometry the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is strongly dependent on the external field strength (B0). As the spectral resolution increased, the B0 increased as well, motivating the development of increasingly large and expensive superconducting magnets for improved resolution and SNR, resulting in a two-fold increase in field strength within the past 25 years.

Aug 2, 2019

Technique uses magnets, light to control and reconfigure soft robots

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, robotics/AI

Researchers from North Carolina State University and Elon University have developed a technique that allows them to remotely control the movement of soft robots, lock them into position for as long as needed and later reconfigure the robots into new shapes. The technique relies on light and magnetic fields.

“We’re particularly excited about the reconfigurability,” says Joe Tracy, a professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and corresponding author of a paper on the work. “By engineering the properties of the material, we can control the ’s movement remotely; we can get it to hold a given shape; we can then return the robot to its original shape or further modify its movement; and we can do this repeatedly. All of those things are valuable, in terms of this technology’s utility in biomedical or aerospace applications.”

For this work, the researchers used soft robots made of a embedded with magnetic iron microparticles. Under normal conditions, the material is relatively stiff and holds its shape. However, researchers can heat up the material using light from a light-emitting diode (LED), which makes the polymer pliable. Once pliable, researchers demonstrated that they could control the shape of the robot remotely by applying a . After forming the desired shape, researchers could remove the LED light, allowing the robot to resume its original stiffness—effectively locking the shape in place.

Aug 2, 2019

The incredible science exploring how to edit our memories

Posted by in category: science

Two remarkable new studies are suggesting sci-fi stories of memory manipulation may not be so far-fetched. The research describes early proof-of-concept experiments showing how negative emotional associations with traumatic memories can potentially be weakened or even entirely edited out.

Aug 2, 2019

3D printing the human heart

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, bioengineering, bioprinting, biotech/medical

Over 4000 patients in the United States alone are waiting for a heart transplant, while millions of others worldwide need hearts but are ineligible for the waitlist. The need for replacement organs is immense, and new approaches are needed to engineer artificial organs that are capable of repairing, supplementing, or replacing long-term organ function.

A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University has published a paper in Science that details a new technique allowing anyone to 3D bioprint tissue scaffolds out of collagen, the major structural protein in the human body. This first-of-its-kind method brings the field of tissue engineering one step closer to being able to 3D print a full-sized, adult human heart.

The technique, known as Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels (FRESH), has allowed the researchers to overcome many challenges associated with existing 3D bioprinting methods, and to achieve unprecedented resolution and fidelity using soft and living materials.

Continue reading “3D printing the human heart” »

Aug 2, 2019

5 Animals & 1 Superbug That Can Freeze, Thaw & Live

Posted by in category: futurism

As an Earth Touch crew leaves sunny South Africa behind to do some serious chilling out in Antarctica (check out their journey to the bottom of the world!), we’ve been thinking about some of the extreme adaptations necessary for survival when temperatures plummet below zero. From powerful antifreeze to crazy cryogenics and dehydration verging on death, these animals (and one amazing bacterium) have evolved some impressive tactics for sub-zero survival.

2013 02 21 Freeze Thaw Live 01

Image credit: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, Flickr.

Aug 2, 2019

A 3D map of stars reveals the Milky Way’s warped shape

Posted by in categories: computing, space travel

Like a misshapen potato chip, our home galaxy is warped. A new 3D map brings the contorted structure of the Milky Way’s disk into better view, thanks to measurements of special stars called Cepheids, scientists report in the Aug. 2 Science.

Making 3D measurements of the galaxy requires estimating how far away stars are from Earth, typically a matter of guesswork. But unlike other stars, Cepheids vary in brightness over time in a particular way that can be used to determine a precise distance to each star.

Continue reading “A 3D map of stars reveals the Milky Way’s warped shape” »

Aug 2, 2019

An Interview With Dr. Daniel Ives of Shift Bioscience

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, life extension

Shift Bioscience is a company aiming to solve the problem of mitochondrial dysfunction, one of the hallmarks of aging, by repairing the aging mitochondria in our cells so that they work as if they were younger.

Mitochondrial dysfunction is at the heart of aging

The mitochondria are often called the powerhouses of cells, and they convert the food we eat into usable energy in the form of a chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP supplies energy for many cellular processes, such as muscle contraction, nerve impulse propagation, and protein synthesis. ATP is found in all forms of life and is often referred to as the “molecular unit of currency” of intracellular energy transfer.

Aug 2, 2019

Scientists Built a Ball of Plasma They Call a “Mini-Sun”

Posted by in category: futurism

It’s letting them study the Sun in a more “hands-on” way.

Aug 2, 2019

Pentagon pauses $10 billion cloud contract over Amazon concerns

Posted by in categories: computing, government, military

The Pentagon is hitting pause on awarding its $10 billion cloud computing contract until the Defense Department examines whether the process was rigged in favor of Amazon, according to Business Insider.

“Keeping his promise to Members of Congress and the American public, Secretary Esper is looking at the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program,” a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement Thursday. “No decision will be made on the program until he has completed his examination.”

The contract was supposed to be awarded sometime this month.

Aug 2, 2019

NASA –Faster-than-Speed-of-Light Space Travel? “Will ‘Warp Bubbles’ Enable Dreams of Interstellar Voyages?”

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, space travel

A number of NASA scientists are currently researching the feasibility of warp drive (and EMdrive and a number of other modes of faster than light travel); however, most scientists think that such forms of space travel simply aren’t viable, thanks to the fundamental physics of our universe.

“Routine travel among the stars is impossible without new discoveries regarding the fabric of space and time, or capability to manipulate it for our needs,” says Neil deGrasse Tyson, the “Cosmos famous” astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, said “By my read, the idea of a functioning warp drive remains far-fetched, but the real take-away is that people are thinking about it — reminding us all that the urge to explore continues to run deep in our species.”

There have been hints the past few years that NASA may be on the path to discovering warp bubbles that could make the local universe accessible for human exploration. NASA scientists may be close announcing they may have broken the speed of light. According to state-of-the art theory, a warp drive could cut the travel time between stars from tens of thousands of years to weeks or months.