Laser Triggered Nanoshells Deliver Drugs Inside Tumors

Researchers have developed a method for delivering cancer-killing drugs inside tumors with gold nanoparticles they can activate remotely using a laser. The researchers employed gold nanoshells to deliver toxic doses of two drugs — lapatinib and docetaxel — inside breast cancer cells, showing they could use a laser to remotely trigger the particles to release the drugs after they entered the cells. Though researchers conducted the tests with cell cultures in a lab, they designed the research to demonstrate clinical applicability: The nanoparticles are nontoxic, the drugs are widely used, and the low-power, infrared laser can non-invasively shine through tissue and reach tumors several inches below the skin. [Read More]

Improving Magnesium Borohydride For Solid-state Hydrogen Storage

The key mechanism by which magnesium diboride (MgB2) absorbs hydrogen has been discovered by scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The work, through theory and experimentation, also provides important insights into the reaction pathway that converts MgB2 to its highest hydrogen capacity form, magnesium borohydride (Mg(BH4)2). Mg(BH4)2 is a particularly promising hydrogen storage material because of its high hydrogen content and attractive thermodynamics. said Keith Ray, LLNL physicist and the paper’s lead author. [Read More]

Dark Exoplanet WASP-12b Devours 94 Percent Of Visible Starlight

An exoplanet located beyond our solar system observed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope appears as black as asphalt because it “eats” light rather than reflecting it back into space, new research suggests. This light-eating ability is due to the planet’s unique prowess at trapping at least 94 percent of the visible starlight falling into its atmosphere. The oddball exoplanet, called WASP-12b, is one of a class of so-called “hot Jupiters,” gigantic, gaseous planets that orbit very close to their host star and are heated to extreme temperatures. [Read More]

DNA Nanorobots Pick Up And Sort Molecules

An autonomous molecular machine, made of a single strand of DNA, that can autonomously “walk” around a surface, pick up certain molecules and drop them off in designated locations has been developed by scientists at California Institute of Technology. Lulu Qian, assistant professor of bioengineering, explains: The researchers constructed three basic building blocks that could be used to assemble a DNA robot: a “leg” with two “feet” for walking, an “arm” and “hand” for picking up cargo, and a segment that can recognize a specific drop-off point and signal to the hand to release its cargo. [Read More]

Why Are So Many Farmed Salmon Partially Deaf?

Researchers have found out the reason that so many farm-raised salmon are partially deaf, pointing to a deformity in their ears caused by accelerated growth in aquaculture. The findings raise significant welfare issues and may also explain the poor survival of farmed hatchlings in conservation programs. University of Melbourne scientists looked at salmon farmed in Norway, Chile, Scotland, Canada, and Australia and found the deformity was widespread. The study’s lead author, Tormey Reimer, a master’s graduate from the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne, says when they went looking for the cause of the deformity they found that the fastest-growing fish were three times more likely to be afflicted than the slowest, even at the same age. [Read More]

Carbon Dioxide Absorption By Boron Nitride Foam

A light foam created from two-dimensional sheets of hexagonal boron nitride by materials scientists at Rice University absorbs carbon dioxide. They discovered freeze-drying hexagonal-boron nitride (h-BN) transformed it into a macro-scale foam that disintegrates in liquids. But adding a bit of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) into the mix turned it into a far more robust and useful material. [caption id="attachment_4124” align="alignleft” width="300”]Blocks of hexagonal-boron nitride foam treated with polyvinyl alcohol proved able to adsorb more than three times its weight in carbon dioxide. [Read More]

A Huge Hydrogen Halo Envelops The Milky Way

Gazing on 732,225 galaxies with the 2.5-meter telescope of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has revealed the veil of diffuse hydrogen gas enshrouding the Milky Way. After combining this staggering number of spectra — recorded patterns of wavelengths revealing clues about the nature of a cosmic target — astronomers Huanian Zhang and Dennis Zaritsky report the first detections of diffuse hydrogen wafting about in a vast halo surrounding the Milky Way. [Read More]

Multi-color Electron Microscopy For Biomolecules

An added detector on an electron microscope can aid in determining which molecules are found in which parts of a cell, scientists at the UMCG and Delft University of Technology report. Ben Giepmans, the team leader from Groningen, explains: Electron microscopes can zoom in minute detail, making the tiniest structures in a cell visible. They are therefore much more precise than optical microscopes, which have been around for much longer. [Read More]

Testing Hyper-complex Quantum Theories With An Exotic Metamaterial

Physicists have looked for deviations from standard quantum mechanics, testing whether quantum mechanics requires a more complex set of mathematical rules. A research team led by Philip Walther at the University of Vienna designed a photonic experiment using exotic metamaterials, which were fabricated at the University of California Berkeley. Their experiment supports standard quantum mechanics and allows the scientists to place bounds on alternative quantum theories. The results could help to guide theoretical work in a search for a more general version of quantum mechanics. [Read More]

Climate Predictions And Reality Are Beginning To Converge

Scientists studying climate change have long debated just how much hotter Earth will become with given levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Models predicting this “climate sensitivity” number may be closer to the observed reality than some previously thought, according to a new University of Washington study. Observations in the past decade appeared to suggest a value lower than predicted by models. But the new study shows that two leading methods for calculating how hot the planet will get are not as far apart as they have appeared. [Read More]