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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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Fast synthesis could boost drug development

20-Mar-2014

Small protein fragments, also called peptides, are promising as drugs because they can be designed for very specific functions inside living cells. Insulin and the HIV drug Fuzeon are some of the earliest successful examples, and peptide drugs are expected to become a $25 billion market by ...

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A new wrinkle in the control of waves

Flexible materials could provide new ways to control sound and light

27-Jan-2014

Flexible, layered materials textured with nanoscale wrinkles could provide a new way of controlling the wavelengths and distribution of waves, whether of sound or light. The new method, developed by researchers at MIT, could eventually find applications from nondestructive testing of materials to ...

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Weighing particles at the attogram scale

15-Jan-2014

MIT engineers have devised a way to measure the mass of particles with a resolution better than an attogram — one millionth of a trillionth of a gram. Weighing these tiny particles, including both synthetic nanoparticles and biological components of cells, could help researchers better understand ...

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