Experimental cancer treatment destroys cancer cells without using any drugs

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One of the latest methods pioneered by scientists to treat cancer uses a Trojan horse sneak attack to prompt cancer cells to self-destruct – all without using any drugs.

Key to the technique is the use of a nanoparticle coated in a specific amino acid called L-phenylalanine, one of several such acids that cancer cells rely on to grow. L-phenylalanine isn’t made by the body, but absorbed from meat and dairy products.

In tests on mice, the nanoparticle – called Nano-pPAAM or Nanoscopic phenylalanine Porous Amino Acid Mimic – killed cancer cells specifically and effectively, posing as a friendly amino acid before causing the cells to destroy themselves.

The self-destruction mode is triggered as the nanoparticle puts production of certain chemicals known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) into overdrive. It’s enough to bring down the cancer cells while leaving neighbouring, healthy cells intact.

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Self-learning robot autonomously moves molecules, setting stage for molecular 3D printing

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If you know even just a little bit about science, you probably already know that molecules are often referred to as “the building blocks of life.” Made of a group of atoms that have bonded together, molecules make up all kinds of materials, but behave totally differently in regards to macroscopic objects than atoms do. Picture how a LEGO model is made of many teeny tiny bricks—it’s easy for us to move these bricks around, but if you think of molecules as these bricks, it’s much more difficult to do so, as each one basically requires its own separate set of instructions.

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Scientists create a robot made entirely of living cells

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A Xenobot, 650-750 microns in diameter. The “legs” help it shuffle around in the petri dish.

 ‘Xenobots’ could be used to clean up microplastics or deliver medication in the body

Scientists have unveiled the first ever “living robot,” an organism made up of living cells, which can move around, carry payloads, and even heal itself.

“All of the computational people on the project, myself included, were flabbergasted,” said Joshua Bongard, a computer scientist at the University of Vermont.

“We didn’t realize that this was possible.”

Teams from the University of Vermont and Tufts University worked together to build what they’re calling “xenobots,” which are about the size of a grain of salt and are made up of the heart and skin cells from frogs.

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Army of a million microscopic robots created to explore on tiny scale

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Artist’s rendition of an array of microscopic robots

 A troop of a million walking robots could enable scientific exploration at a microscopic level.

Researchers have developed microscopic robots before, but they weren’t able to move by themselves, says Marc Miskin at the University of Pennsylvania. That is partly because of a lack of micrometre-scale actuators – components required for movement, such as the bending of a robot’s legs.

Miskin and his colleagues overcame this by developing a new type of actuator made of an extremely thin layer of platinum. Each robot uses four of these tiny actuators as legs, connected to solar cells on its back that enable the legs to bend in response to laser light and propel their square metallic bodies forwards.

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Atom-by-atom assembly makes for cheap, tuneable graphene nanoribbons

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Graphene nanoribbons could serve a variety of purposes, and a new way to produce then could help unleash this potential

The wonder material graphene can take many forms for many different purposes, from transparent films that repel mosquitoes to crumpled balls that could boost the safety of batteries. One that has scientists particularly excited is nanoribbons for applications in energy storage and computing, but producing these ultra-thin strips of graphene has proven a difficult undertaking. Scientists are claiming a breakthrough in this area, devising a method that has enabled them to efficiently produce graphene nanoribbons directly on the surface of semiconductors for the first time.

The wonder material graphene can take many forms for many different purposes, from transparent films that repel mosquitoes to crumpled balls that could boost the safety of batteries. One that has scientists particularly excited is nanoribbons for applications in energy storage and computing, but producing these ultra-thin strips of graphene has proven a difficult undertaking. Scientists are claiming a breakthrough in this area, devising a method that has enabled them to efficiently produce graphene nanoribbons directly on the surface of semiconductors for the first time.

As opposed to the sheets of carbon atoms arranged in honeycomb patterns that make up traditional graphene, graphene nanoribbons consist of thin strips just a handful of atoms wide. This material has great potential as a cheaper and smaller alternative to silicon transistors that would also run faster and use less power, or as electrodes for batteries that can charge in as little as five minutes.

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New graphene battery recharges blazingly fast, and it’s already on the market

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Faster charging, longer lasting, and lower temperatures. These are the three major benefits from a lithium battery that has been infused with wonder-material graphene. Thing is, we’ve all heard about the benefits of graphene before, but despite all the hype, we’ve yet to really see it used in devices and products that you can actually buy.

That’s about to change according to Real Graphene, a Los Angeles-based technology company working on graphene-enhanced battery cells. Digital Trends spoke to CEO Samuel Gong about what benefits integrating graphene into a lithium battery will bring, and they’re extremely compelling. Even better news is that the tech is almost ready for mainstream use.

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Researchers demonstrate chip-to-chip quantum teleportation

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Llewellyn et al realize an array of microring resonators (MRRs) to generate multiple high-quality single photons, which are monolithically integrated with linear-optic circuits that process multiple qubits with high fidelity and low noise.

A research team led by University of Bristol scientists has successfully demonstrated quantum teleportation of information between two programmable micrometer-scale silicon chips. The team’s work, published in the journal Nature Physics, lays the groundwork for large-scale integrated photonic quantum technologies for communications and computations.

Quantum teleportation offers quantum state transfer of a quantum particle from one place to another by utilizing entanglement.

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A nanotube material conducts heat in just one direction

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Photograph of nanotubes being created

 Asymmetric conductors could revolutionize cooling systems for computers and other devices.

Heat is something of a nuisance for electrical engineers. It reduces the reliability of electronic devices and even causes them to fail completely. That’s why computer components are liberally smeared with thermal paste and connected to heat pipes, fans, and even water cooling systems.

The goal is to channel the heat away from sensitive components so that it can dissipate into the environment. But as devices get smaller, the challenge becomes more acute—and modern transistors, for example, are measured in nanometers.

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The world’s most advanced nanotube computer may keep Moore’s Law alive

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Up close photograph of nanotube

 MIT researchers have found new ways to cure headaches in manufacturing carbon nanotube processors, which are faster and less power hungry than silicon chips.

A team of academics at MIT has unveiled the world’s most advanced chip yet that’s made from carbon nanotubes—cylinders with walls the width of a single carbon atom. The new microprocessor, which is capable of running a conventional software program, could be an important milestone on the road to finding silicon alternatives.

The electronics industry is struggling with a slowdown in Moore’s Law, which holds that the number of transistors that can be packed on a silicon processor doubles roughly every couple of years. This trend is facing its physical limits: as the sizes of the devices shrink to a few atoms, electrical current is starting to leak from the metallic channels that shuttle it through transistors. The heat that’s released saps semiconductors’ energy efficiency—and may even cause them to fail.

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Scientists forge ahead with electron microscopy to build quantum materials atom by atom

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With a STEM microscope, ORNL’s Ondrej Dyck brought two, three and four silicon atoms together to build clusters and make them rotate within a layer of graphene, a two-dimensional layer of carbon atoms that exhibits unprecedented strength and high electrical conductivity. Credit: Ondrej Dyck/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A novel technique that nudges single atoms to switch places within an atomically thin material could bring scientists another step closer to realizing theoretical physicist Richard Feynman’s vision of building tiny machines from the atom up.

A significant push to develop materials that harness the quantum nature of atoms is driving the need for methods to build atomically precise electronics and sensors. Fabricating nanoscale devices atom by atom requires delicacy and precision, which has been demonstrated by a microscopy team at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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Genetically engineered bacteria paint microscopic masterpieces

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Scientists have used genetically engineered bacteria to recreate a masterpiece at a microscopic scale. By engineering E. coli bacteria to respond to light, they’ve guided the bacteria like tiny drones toward patterns that depict Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. It’s not artistic recognition they’re after. Rather, the researchers want to show that these engineered organisms may someday be used as “microbricks” and living propellors.

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German researchers have built a quantum transistor using just a single atom

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A team of researchers at Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have developed a quantum transistor using just a single atom, and capable of operating at room temperature.

The device points toward major new frontiers in computing power and efficiency. Transistors, which control the flow of electronic signals, are the basis of modern electronics. The steady reduction in the size and energy consumption of transistors has been the fundamental driver of advances in computing power for more than half a century.

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