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Microbial ‘slime’ powered fuel cell

Biotechnology is not all ‘genetically modified foods‘ or ‘silver bullet‘ medical treatments.  At the more mucky end of biotechnology scientists have doubled the power output of a microbial fuel cell that employs an artificial biofilm. A biofilm — or ‘slime’ — coats the carbon electrodes of the microbial fuel cell and as the bacteria feed, they […]

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DNA nanorobot destroys cancer cells

Researchers  have manufactured an autonomous nanorobotic device made from DNA which delivered instructions, encoded in antibody fragments, to two different types of cancer cells — leukemia and lymphoma. This was a proof of principle experiment.  In each case, the message to the cell was to activate its “suicide switch” — a standard feature that allows […]

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Nano-scale materials make cooler, more efficient infrared detectors

Researchers have shown how infrared photodetection can be done more effectively by using certain materials arranged in specific patterns in atomic-scale structures. This significant advance was accomplished by using multiple ultrathin layers of the materials that are only several nanometers thick. Each layer is deposited by a technique called molecular beam epitaxy.  The successive layers […]

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The Emperor’s new clothes: the physics of the overhyped invisibility cloak

The art and science of being ‘unseen’ The art or ability to become invisible is a staple in myth, folklore and modern story.  My personal modern favorites are ‘the Ring’ in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the invisibility cloak in Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the ‘experiment gone wrong’ in H G Well’s The Invisible Man, […]

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