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Holograms for molecules

27-Sep-2017

Much can be detected in blood or urine: viral illnesses, metabolic disorders or autoimmune diseases can be diagnosed with laboratory tests, for instance. But such examinations often take a few hours and are quite complex, which is why doctors hand the samples over to specialist ...

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Rapid imaging of granular matter

22-Sep-2017

Even in our modern world full of highly technological machines and devices it is still impossible to predict when rockslides, such as the recent one in Graubünden, or earthquakes will occur and how exactly they evolve. This is partly due to the fact that despite many years of research, scientists ...

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Quick and reliable 3-D imaging of curvilinear nanostructures

08-Sep-2017

Physical and biological sciences increasingly require the ability to observe nano-sized objects. This can be accomplished with transmission electron microscopy (TEM), which is generally limited to 2D images. Using TEM to reconstruct 3D images instead usually requires tilting the sample through an ...

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More inflexible than imagined

29-Aug-2017

Oligosaccharides – chains of sugar building blocks – are essential for biological cells. Scientists had thought that these molecules were freely mobile, but an international research team has now shown that such sugar molecules can form rigid structures, previously found only in DNA and ...

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Cell senescence is regulated by innate DNA sensing

02-Aug-2017

Cells in the body or in cultures eventually stop replicating. This phenomenon is called "senescence" and is triggered by shortening of telomeres, oxidative stress or genetic damage to the cells, either acute or simply due to the cell growing "old". Understanding the causes and impact of ...

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3-D imaging of surface chemistry in confinement

24-Jul-2017

EPFL researchers have developed an optical imaging tool to visualize surface chemistry in real time. They imaged the interfacial chemistry in the microscopically confined geometry of a simple glass micro-capillary. The glass is covered with hydroxyl (-OH) groups that can lose a proton - a ...

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Water is surprisingly ordered on the nanoscale

26-May-2017

Nanometric-sized water drops are everywhere - in the air as droplets or aerosols, in our bodies as medication, and in the earth, within rocks and oil fields. To understand the behavior of these drops, it is necessary to know how they interact with their hydrophobic environment. This interaction ...

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A fresh look inside the protein nano-machines

24-May-2017

Proteins perform vital functions of life, they digest food and fight infections and cancer. They are in fact nano-machines, each one of them designed to perform a specific task. But how did they evolve to match those needs, how did the genes encode the structure and function of proteins? ...

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Discovery of a key regulatory gene in cardiac valve formation

24-May-2017

Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland have identified a key regulator gene for the formation of cardiac valves - a process crucial to normal embryonic heart development. The heart is the first functional organ that develops in vertebrate embryos. In humans, it starts to beat ...

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Hydrogen bonds directly detected for the first time

16-May-2017

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are ...

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