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Tiny fibers open new windows into the brain

Three-in-one design allows genetic, chemical, optical, and electrical inputs and outputs.

24-Feb-2017

For the first time ever, a single flexible fiber no bigger than a human hair has successfully delivered a combination of optical, electrical, and chemical signals back and forth into the brain, putting into practice an idea first proposed two years ago. With some tweaking to further improve its ...

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New resource for optical chips

22-Feb-2017

The Semiconductor Industry Association has estimated that at current rates of increase, computers’ energy requirements will exceed the world’s total power output by 2040. Using light rather than electricity to move data would dramatically reduce computer chips’ energy consumption, and the past 20 ...

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A new contrast agent for MRI

New iron oxide nanoparticles could help avoid a rare side effect caused by current contrast agents

15-Feb-2017

A new, specially coated iron oxide nanoparticle developed by a team at MIT and elsewhere could provide an alternative to conventional gadolinium-based contrast agents used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures. In rare cases, the currently used gadolinium agents have been found to ...

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New sensors can detect single protein molecules

Modified carbon nanotubes could be used to track protein production by individual cells.

25-Jan-2017

For the first time, MIT engineers have designed sensors that can detect single protein molecules as they are secreted by cells or even a single cell. These sensors, which consist of chemically modified carbon nanotubes, could help scientists with any application that requires detecting very small ...

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A glimpse into the workings of the baby brain

MRI scans reveal surprising similarities in activity patterns of infant and adult visual cortex.

12-Jan-2017

In adults, certain regions of the brain’s visual cortex respond preferentially to specific types of input, such as faces or objects — but how and when those preferences arise has long puzzled neuroscientists. One way to help answer that question is to study the brains of very young infants and ...

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New Microscope Chemically Identifies Micron-Sized Particles

09-Jan-2017

Researchers have developed a microscope that can chemically identify individual micron-sized particles. The new approach could one day be used in airports or other high-security venues as a highly sensitive and low-cost way to rapidly screen people for microscopic amounts of potentially dangerous ...

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New method for analyzing crystal structure

Exotic materials called photonic crystals reveal their internal characteristics with new method

28-Nov-2016

A new technique developed by MIT researchers reveals the inner details of photonic crystals, synthetic materials whose exotic optical properties are the subject of widespread research. Photonic crystals are generally made by drilling millions of closely spaced, minuscule holes in a slab of ...

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Laser particles could provide sharper images of tissues

Imaging technique stimulates particles to emit laser light

08-Nov-2016

A new imaging technique developed by scientists at MIT, Harvard University, and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) aims to illuminate cellular structures in deep tissue and other dense and opaque materials. Their method uses tiny particles embedded in the material, that give off laser ...

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Nanobionic spinach plants can detect explosives

After sensing dangerous chemicals, the carbon-nanotube-enhanced plants send an alert.

01-Nov-2016

Spinach is no longer just a superfood: By embedding leaves with carbon nanotubes, MIT engineers have transformed spinach plants into sensors that can detect explosives and wirelessly relay that information to a handheld device similar to a smartphone. This is one of the first demonstrations of ...

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Imaging technique maps serotonin activity in living brains

Imaging technique that creates 3-D video of serotonin transport could aid antidepressant development

24-Oct-2016

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that's partly responsible for feelings of happiness and for mood regulation in humans. This makes it a common target for antidepressants, which block serotonin from being reabsorbed by neurons after it has dispatched its signal, so more of it stays floating around ...

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