An international team of researchers developed a novel technique to produce precise, high-performing biometric sensors — ScienceDaily

Wearable sensors are evolving from watches and electrodes to bendable devices that provide far more precise biometric measurements and comfort for users. Now, an international team of researchers has taken the evolution one step further by printing sensors directly on human skin without the use of heat.

Led by Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Professor in the Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, the team published their results in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

“In this article, we report a simple yet universally applicable fabrication technique with the use of a novel sintering aid layer to enable direct printing for on-body sensors,” said first author Ling Zhang, a researcher in the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and in Cheng’s laboratory.

Cheng and his colleagues previously developed flexible printed circuit boards for use in wearable sensors, but printing directly on skin has been hindered by

Read More

New technique breaks through a technology roadblock that limited RNA imaging for 50 years — ScienceDaily

University of Maryland scientists have developed a method to determine the structures of large RNA molecules at high resolution. The method overcomes a challenge that has limited 3D analysis and imaging of RNA to only small molecules and pieces of RNA for the past 50 years.

The new method, which expands the scope of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, will enable researchers to understand the shape and structure of RNA molecules and learn how they interact with other molecules. The insights provided by this technology could lead to targeted RNA therapeutic treatments for disease. The research paper on this work was published in the journal Science Advances on October 7, 2020.

“The field of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy has been stuck looking at things that are small, say 35 RNA building blocks or nucleotides. But most of the interesting things that are biologically and medically relevant are much bigger, 100

Read More

Technique could increase sensitivity of nasal swab tests up to tenfold through simple software updates — ScienceDaily

A multidisciplinary research team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a way to increase the sensitivity of the primary test used to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Applying their findings to computerized test equipment could improve our ability to identify people who are infected but do not exhibit symptoms.

The team’s results, published in the scientific journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, describe a mathematical technique for perceiving comparatively faint signals in diagnostic test data that indicate the presence of the virus. These signals can escape detection when the number of viral particles found in a patient’s nasal swab test sample is low. The team’s method helps a modest signal stand out more clearly.

“Applying our technique could make the swab test up to 10 times more sensitive,” said Paul Patrone, a NIST physicist and a co-author on the team’s paper. “It could

Read More

Scientists develop forecasting technique that could help advance quest for fusion energy

Scientists develop forecasting technique that could help advance quest for fusion energy
An artist’s rendition of a disrupting tokamak plasma in front of computer code Credit: Elle Starkman / PPPL Office of Communications

Bringing the power of the sun to Earth requires sound theory, good engineering, and a little finesse. The process entails trapping charged, ultra-hot gas known as plasma so its particles can fuse and release enormous amounts of energy. The most widely used facilities for this process are doughnut-shaped tokamaks that hold plasma in place with strong magnets that are precisely shaped and positioned. But errors in the shaping or placement of these magnets can lead to poor confinement and loss of plasma, shutting down fusion reactions.

Now, an international group of researchers led by physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has developed a technique that forecasts how tokamaks might respond to these unwanted magnetic errors. These forecasts could help engineers design fusion

Read More

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 Tandon School of Engineering and professor of physics at NYU, have devised a new process for the reliable self-assembly of colloids in a diamond formation that could lead to cheap, scalable fabrication of such structures. The discovery, detailed in “Colloidal Diamond,” appearing in the September 24 issue of Nature, could open the door to highly efficient optical circuits leading to advances in optical computers and lasers, light filters that

Read More

Technique permits convenient, precise optical imaging of individual proteins — ScienceDaily

Often considered the workhorses of the body, proteins are among the most important biomolecules critical to life processes. They provide structural foundation for cells and tissues and perform a dizzying array of tasks, from metabolizing energy and helping cells communicate with one another to defending the body from pathogens and guiding cell division and growth.

Because protein dysfunction is implicated in so many serious diseases, proteins are the primary targets for most therapeutic drugs.

In a new study, Shaopeng Wang and his colleagues describe a method for examining proteins in keen detail. To do this, his group makes clever use of a phenomenon known as surface plasmon resonance (SPR), incorporating it into an innovative type of microscope.

While SPR has been a powerful technique for investigating the world of the very small, including the interactions of bacteria and viruses, the study marks the first occasion when SPR has successfully been

Read More