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New approach to sorting cells

Microfluidic device distinguishes cells based on how they respond to acoustic vibrations

18-May-2016

Microfluidic devices hold potential to rapidly analyze cells for applications in medicine and basic research. Researchers have devised systems that can distinguish cells based on their size, deformability, and electrical properties, among other characteristics. A team of MIT researchers has now ...

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Neuroscientists discover a gene that controls worms’ behavioral state

Gene required for the control of behavioral state is also found in humans, may be linked to autism

07-Mar-2016

In a study of worms, MIT neuroscientists have discovered a gene that plays a critical role in controlling the switch between alternative behavioral states, which for humans include hunger and fullness, or sleep and wakefulness. This gene, which the researchers dubbed vps-50, helps to regulate ...

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Imaging with an 'optical brush'

16-Feb-2016

Researchers at the MIT Media Lab have developed a new imaging device that consists of a loose bundle of optical fibers, with no need for lenses or a protective housing. The fibers are connected to an array of photosensors at one end; the other ends can be left to wave free, so they could pass ...

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New device uses carbon nanotubes to snag molecules

23-Dec-2015

Engineers at MIT have devised a new technique for trapping hard-to-detect molecules, using forests of carbon nanotubes. The team modified a simple microfluidic channel with an array of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes -- rolled lattices of carbon atoms that resemble tiny tubes of chicken wire. ...

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Microscope creates near-real-time videos of nanoscale processes

16-Dec-2015

State-of-the-art atomic force microscopes (AFMs) are designed to capture images of structures as small as a fraction of a nanometer. In recent years, AFMs have produced desktop-worthy close-ups of atom-sized structures, from single strands of DNA to individual hydrogen bonds between ...

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Researchers build new fermion microscope

Instrument freezes and images 1,000 individual fermionic atoms at once

19-May-2015

Fermions are the building blocks of matter, interacting in a multitude of permutations to give rise to the elements of the periodic table. Without fermions, the physical world would not exist.Examples of fermions are electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, and atoms consisting of an odd number of ...

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New tabletop detector 'sees' single electrons

Magnet-based setup may help detect the elusive mass of neutrinos

23-Apr-2015

MIT physicists have developed a new tabletop particle detector that is able to identify single electrons in a radioactive gas.As the gas decays and gives off electrons, the detector uses a magnet to trap them in a magnetic bottle. A radio antenna then picks up very weak signals emitted by the ...

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New detector sniffs out origins of methane

Instrument identifies methane's origins in mines, deep-sea vents, and cows

09-Mar-2015

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its capacity to trap heat in Earth's atmosphere for a long time. The gas can originate from lakes and swamps, natural-gas pipelines, deep-sea vents, and livestock. Understanding the sources of methane, and how the gas is formed, ...

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Erasing a genetic mutation

01-Apr-2014

Using a new gene-editing system based on bacterial proteins, MIT researchers have cured mice of a rare liver disorder caused by a single genetic mutation. The findings, described in Nature Biotechnology, offer the first evidence that this gene-editing technique, known as CRISPR, can reverse ...

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New way to filter light

System could provide first method for filtering light waves based on direction

31-Mar-2014

Light waves can be defined by three fundamental characteristics: their color (or wavelength), polarization, and direction. While it has long been possible to selectively filter light according to its color or polarization, selectivity based on the direction of propagation has remained ...

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