Tissue Engineers Creating Complex Tissue They Call Living Legos

Tissue Engineers Creating Complex Tissue They Call Living Legos

 Living Legos: Polymer building blocks whose complexity mimics that of human tissues.

Tissue engineers are ambitious. If they had their way, a dialysis patient could receive a new kidney made in the lab from his own cells, instead of waiting for a donor organ that his immune system might reject. Likewise, a diabetic could, with grafts of lab-made pancreatic tissue, be given the ability to make insulin again. But tissue engineering has stalled in part because bioengineers haven’t been able to replicate the structural complexity of human tissues. Now researchers have taken an important first step toward building complex tissues from the bottom up by creating what they call living Legos. These building blocks, biofriendly gels of various shapes studded with cells, can self-assemble into complex structures resembling those found in tissues.

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Super Powered Solar Cells

1366 Super Powered Solar Cells

Light (here from a red laser) hits the Light-Capturing Ribbon,
then reflects back off the surface of the glass and illuminates the silicon matrix.

An MIT researcher has found a way to significantly improve the efficiently of an important type of silicon solar cells while keeping costs about the same. The technology is being commercialized by a startup in Lexington, MA, called 1366 Technologies, which today announced its first round of funding. Venture capitalists invested $12.8 million in the company.

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Quantum Dot Solar Cells to Capture Broader Spectrum of Sunlight

 Quantum Dot Solar Cells to Capture Broader Spectrum of Sunlight

For the first time, researchers have created solar cells made of different-sized quantum dots, each tuned to a specific wavelength of light. By arranging these quantum dots in an ordered pattern, the scientists hope that they can one day fabricate “rainbow” solar cells, which can efficiently harvest a large part of the useful spectrum of sunlight.

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