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April 15, 2007, 8:39 PM CT

Freezing 'Dance' Of Nanoscale Drops

Freezing 'Dance' Of Nanoscale Drops
Using what is believed to be the worlds smallest pipette, two scientists at the U.S. Department of Energys Brookhaven National Laboratory have shown that tiny droplets of liquid metal freeze much differently than their larger counterparts. This study, focused on droplets just a billionth of a trillionth of a liter in size, is reported in the April 15, 2007, online edition of Nature Materials.

Our findings could advance the understanding of the freezing process, or crystallization, in a number of areas of nature and technology, said Eli Sutter, a scientist at Brookhavens Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) and the lead author of the study.

Melting and crystallization are so-called phase transformations fundamental processes by which most substances change between a disordered liquid state (such as liquid water) and an ordered solid state (e.g., ice). When a liquid droplet is cooled, the motion of its atoms gradually slows until they come to a stop, resulting in a solid. For large droplets, this crystallization commonly starts at a small impurity (e.g., a speck of dirt), from which it rapidly spreads over the entire droplet. However, very pure substances lack such crystallization centers and have difficulty starting the phase transformation.

The accepted theory of crystallization, developed in the first half of the prior century, predicts that without impurities, a small solid core generated at random in the.........

Posted by: John      Read more         Source

April 12, 2007, 6:43 PM CT

Thirty-Two Mile Cable Installed

Thirty-Two Mile Cable Installed
Oceanographers have completed an important step in constructing the first deep-sea observatory off the continental United States. Workers in the multi-institution effort laid 32 miles (52 kilometers) of cable along the Monterey Bay sea floor that will provide electrical power to scientific instruments, video cameras, and robots 3,000 feet (900 meters) below the ocean surface. The link will also carry data from the instruments back to shore, for use by researchers and engineers from around the world.

The Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS) observatory, due to be completed later this year, will provide ocean researchers with 24-hour-a-day access to instruments and experiments in the deep sea. The project is managed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Currently, almost all oceanographic instruments in the deep sea rely on batteries for power and store their data on hard disks or memory chips until they are brought back to the surface. With a continuous and uninterrupted power supply, instruments attached to the MARS observatory could remain on the sea floor for months or years.

"MARS represents the first step in a long-planned process to transform the way the oceans are studied," said Julie Morris, director of NSF's Division of Ocean Sciences. "Marine researchers will no longer be mandatory to go out to the ocean for their studies. The ocean is about to come into their offices".........

Posted by: John      Read more         Source

April 12, 2007, 6:20 PM CT

Cells Selectively Absorb Short Nanotubes

Cells Selectively Absorb Short Nanotubes Nanotube length threshold
DNA-wrapped single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) shorter than about 200 nanometers readily enter into human lung cells and so may pose an increased risk to health, as per researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The results of their laboratory studies appear in an upcoming issue of Advanced Materials.*.

Eyed for uses ranging from electronic displays to fuel cells to water filtration, SWCNTs are tiny cylinders-essentially single-sheet rolls of carbon atoms. They are a number of times stronger than steel and possess superlative thermal, optical and electronic properties, but safety and biocompatibility remain an open question.

"Published data citing in vitro (outside the body) toxicity are especially inconsistent and widely disputed," writes biomaterials scientist Matthew Becker and his NIST colleagues. Public concerns surrounding the environmental, health and safety impacts of SWCNTs could derail efforts to fast track the development of nanotubes for advanced technology applications. A significant hurdle in outlining the parameters contributing to nanotube toxicity is to prepare well-defined and characterized nanotube samples, as they typically contain a distribution of lengths, diameters, twists and impurities.

The team chose to isolate the effects of nanotube length. They first adsorbed short DNA molecules onto the nanotubes because this renders them soluble in water and allows them to be sorted and separated by length. The scientists then exposed human lung fibroblasts to solutions containing unsorted nanotubes. Regardless of the concentration levels, the cells did not absorb between about one-fourth and one-third of the SWCNTs in the solutions. Further examination of the results revealed that only short nanotubes made it into the cellular interior.........

Posted by: John      Read more         Source

April 11, 2007, 10:24 PM CT

Virus-size 'Nanolamps'

Virus-size 'Nanolamps' Craighead Research Group
An illustrated closeup of an electrospun fiber. During experimentation the organic devices gave off an orange glow
To help light up the nanoworld, a Cornell interdisciplinary team of scientists has produced microscopic "nanolamps" -- light-emitting nanofibers about the size of a virus or the tiniest of bacteria.

In a collaboration of experts in organic materials and nanofabrication, scientists have created one of the smallest organic light-emitting devices to date, made up of synthetic fibers just 200 nanometers wide (1 nanometer is one-billionth of a meter). The potential applications are in flexible electronic products, which are being made increasingly smaller.

The fibers, made of a compound based on the metallic element ruthenium, are so small that they are less than the wavelength of the light they emit. Such a localized light source could prove beneficial in applications ranging from sensing to microscopy to flat-panel displays.

The work, reported in the recent issue of Nano Letters, was a collaboration of nine Cornell researchers, including first author Jose M. Moran-Mirabal, an applied physics Ph.D. student; Hector Abruña, the E.M. Chamot Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology; George Malliaras, associate professor of materials science and engineering and director of the Cornell NanoScale Facility; and Harold Craighead, the C.W. Lake Jr. Professor of Engineering and director of the National Science Foundation-funded Nanobiotechnology Center.........

Posted by: John      Read more         Source

April 11, 2007, 10:16 PM CT

Clarifying The Behavior Of Neutrinos

Clarifying The Behavior Of Neutrinos Bonnie Fleming with a photoreceptor from the MiniBooNE experiment.
Credit: Yal
New Haven, Conn. The initial data from the 10-year long "MiniBooNE" experiment at the Department of Energy's Fermilab significantly clarifies the overall picture of how the neutrino fundamental particles behave.

The project was designed to confirm or refute surprising observations from the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory's Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND) experiments in the 1990's that were explained simply by the ability of neutrinos to transform from one type into another and back again, a process called neutrino oscillation. This research showed conclusively that there is more to the story.

A lecture by Yale Assistant Professor Bonnie Fleming, a MiniBoone project participant, will announce the results locally on Thursday, April 12 at 3:30 p.m. in room 57 of Sloane Physics Laboratories, at 217 Prospect Street. The talk is free and open to the public.

The MiniBooNE experiment mimicked the earlier Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND) experiment by looking for signs of muon neutrinos oscillating into electron neutrinos in the region indicated by the LSND observations. The team expected that the experiment would produce a distinct background and oscillation "signature".........

Posted by: John      Read more         Source

April 10, 2007, 8:43 PM CT

Nanoparticles improve delivery of medicines

Nanoparticles improve delivery of medicines
Tiny, biodegradable particles filled with medicine may also contain answers to some of the biggest human health problems, including cancer and tuberculosis. The secret is the size of the package.

Using an innovative technique they invented, a Princeton University-led research team has created particles that can deliver medicine deep into the lungs or infiltrate cancer cells while leaving normal ones alone. Only 100 to 300 nanometers wide -- more than 100 times thinner than a human hair -- the particles can be loaded with medicines or imaging agents, like gold and magnetite, that will enhance the detection capabilities of CT scans and MRIs.

"The intersection of materials science and chemistry is allowing advances that were never before possible," said Robert Prud'homme, a Princeton chemical engineering professor and the director of a National Science Foundation-funded team of researchers at Princeton, the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University. "No one had a good route to incorporate drugs and imaging agents in nanoparticles".

Prud'homme will discuss the work April 11 in a talk titled "How Size Matters in the Retention of Nanomaterials in Tissue," to be given at the National Academy of Sciences meeting on Nanomaterials in Biology and Medicine in Washington, D.C.........

Posted by: John      Read more         Source

Thu, 05 Apr 2007 04:06:43 GMT

Dot Creator: The Animator Reborn

Dot Creator: The Animator Reborn
Dot Creator is a tiny little handheld device that allows kids (or adults) to create little animations. Just looking at this toy reminded me of one of from my 80's childhood called the Animator, which essentially did the same thing.

I never had the toy, but the screen was completely monochromatic. I don't know how many "Pixels" it had, but this Dot Creator is about 21 x 21, which isn't darn much. You can only store 3 animations that are limited to 19 frames.

Fortunately, you get what you pay for. The Dot Creator is available now on for approximately $15 USD.

Via OhGizmo!

Posted by: Mark Rollins      Read more     Source

April 2, 2007, 10:12 PM CT

Increasing Effectiveness Of Tsunami Warning

Increasing Effectiveness Of Tsunami Warning
Scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno are at the forefront on a number of seismological fields, including helping the world better determine whether an earthquake is big enough to generate an ocean-wide tsunami.

Through work at the Nevada Seismological Laboratory on the Nevada campus, important data on seismological events throughout the world is compiled, including Mondays fatal occurrence in the Solomon Islands, where at least 13 people were killed. Tsunamis triggered by an undersea earthquake crashed ashore and wiped away entire villages and set off alerts from Australia to Hawaii.

A research team led by Geoffrey Blewitt of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and Seismological Laboratory has demonstrated that a large quakes true size can be determined within 15 minutes using Global Positioning System data. This swift exchange of information, which is much faster than is possible with current methods, can be critical in determining whether an earthquake might trigger a tsunami. Together with a seismometer and ocean buoy data, GPS has the potential to become an important tool in improving tsunami danger assessments, Blewitt said.

"We'll always need seismology as the first level of alert for large earthquakes, and we'll need ocean buoys to actually sense the tsunami waves," said Blewitt, whose work was originally accomplished through the NASA-funded Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Blewitts team recently was granted further funding from the U.S. Geological Surveys Natural Hazards Reduction Program to continue research and development.........

Posted by: John      Read more         Source

March 29, 2007, 10:26 PM CT

Prototype for long wavelength array

Prototype for long wavelength array Photograph of the 16-element LWDA, with a National Radio Astronomy Observatory Very Large Array (VLA) dish visible in the background.
Astronomers at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have produced the first images of the sky from a prototype of the Long Wavelength Array (LWA), a revolutionary new radio telescope to be constructed in southwestern New Mexico. The images show emissions from the center of our Galaxy, a supermassive black hole, and the remnant of a star that exploded in a supernova over 300 years ago. Not only a milestone in the development of the LWA, the images are also a first glimpse through a new window on the cosmos. "First light" is an astronomical term for the first image produced with a telescope. It is a key milestone for any telescope because it indicates that all of the individual components are working in unison as planned.

Once completed, the LWA will provide an entirely novel view of the sky, in the radio frequency range of 2080 MHz, currently one of the most poorly explored regions of the electromagnetic spectrum in astronomy. The LWA will be able to make sensitive high-resolution images, and scan the sky rapidly for new and transient sources of radio waves, which might represent the explosion of distant, massive stars, the emissions from planets outside of our own solar system or even previously unknown objects or phenomena.

"The LWA will allow us to make the sharpest images ever possible using very long wavelength radio waves. This newly opened window on the universe will help us understand the acceleration of relativistic particles in a variety of extreme astrophysical environments including from the most distant supermassive black holes. But perhaps most exciting is the promise of new source classes waiting to be discovered," says Dr. Namir Kassim, an NRL astronomer in the Remote Sensing Division and LWA Project Scientist. Dr. Tracy Clarke, of Interferometrics, Inc. in Herndon, Virginia, another astronomer on the NRL team adds, "By detecting distant clusters of galaxies the LWA may also provide new insights on the cosmological evolution of the mysterious dark matter and dark energy".........

Posted by: John      Read more         Source

March 29, 2007, 10:07 PM CT

Nanoparticles can track cells

Nanoparticles can track cells This image combines three MRI scans of a mouse: one is a typical scan showing internal organs.
To the delight of scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, living cells gobbled up fluorine-laced nanoparticles without needing any coaxing. Then, because of the unusual meal, the cells were easily located with MRI scanning after being injected into mice.

Developed in the laboratories of Samuel A. Wickline, M.D., and Gregory Lanza, M.D., Ph.D., the nanoparticles could soon allow scientists and physicians to directly track cells used in medical therapys using unique signatures from the ingested nanoparticle beacons.

In an article that will appear in the recent issue of the FASEB Journal, lead author Kathryn C. Partlow, a doctoral student in Wickline's lab, describes using perfluorocarbon nanoparticles to label endothelial progenitor cells taken from human umbilical cord blood. Such cells can be primed to help build new blood vessels when injected into the body. The scientists believe nanoparticle-labeled stem cells like these could prove useful for monitoring tumors and diagnosing and treating cardiovascular problems.

The nanoparticles contain a fluorine-based compound that can be detected by MRI scanners. Fluorine is most usually known for being an element included in fluoride toothpastes. Wickline, who heads the Siteman Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence, says this technology offers significant advantages over other cell-labeling technologies under development.........

Posted by: John      Read more         Source

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