Testing the Limits of Superhard Rhenium/Tungsten Diboride (2/27/2017) - Superhard materials such as metal borides are in demand as structural and engineering compounds and for next-generation cutting tools. Researchers have now synthesized a "solid solution" of two different metal borides, demonstrating the accuracy of theoretical predictions and opening the door to more targeted tuning of desirable characteristics.
Multifunctional Catalyst Balances Stability and Efficiency (2/27/2017) - Scientists have found a way to engineer the atomic-scale chemical properties of a water-splitting catalyst for integration with a solar cell, and the result is a big boost to the stability and efficiency of artificial photosynthesis.
Mapping the Migration of Genetic Material (2/24/2017) - A powerful soft x-ray microscope captures tomographic images of the genetic material in the nuclei of nerve cells at different stages of maturity. The detailed 3D visualizations show an unexpected connectivity in the genetic material and provide a new understanding of a cell’s evolving architecture.
Self-Assembly of a Programmable DNA Lattice (2/14/2017) - The use of DNA for nanotechnology has gained interest because it is a highly “programmable” polymer with “sticky ends,” allowing the self-assembly of molecular scaffolds for other proteins and molecules. Their high-resolution structures will help map new routes toward the rational design of self-assembling 3D DNA crystals.
Near-Edge X-Ray Refraction Fine Structure Microscopy (2/6/2017) - Soft x-ray ptychography was used to measure the absorption and refraction of x-rays through pristine reference materials as a basis for decomposing spatially resolved spectra from a heterogeneous sample, thereby quantifying the composition at high resolution. The novel method provided a nearly five-fold improvement in spatial resolution on resonance.
Two Basic Mechanisms of Cardiovascular Drugs (1/24/2017) - The structures of proteins controlling calcium-ion transport through cell membranes have been revealed, bound to two drugs known as calcium channel blockers. The discovery might accelerate the development of safer and more effective drugs for treating cardiovascular disorders such as high blood pressure, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat.
Altered States in Graphene Heterostructures (1/24/2017) - ARPES directly reveals for the first time how electronic states are altered when epitaxial graphene is deposited on a substrate of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN). The interaction between the materials in this heterostructure greatly improves its suitability for advanced, ultralow-power device applications.
Magnetism Emerges at Wonky Interfaces (1/24/2017) - Researchers have found a new way to control magnetism at the atomic level that will serve as a model for studying emergent phenomena in other systems. The ability to engineer and tune properties on such small length scales can (eventually) enable us to design exciting new magnetic devices.
The Smectic Phase of DNA “Nano-Nunchaku” (1/24/2017) - Researchers designed DNA sequences that self-assemble into a nanoparticle about 50 nm long, composed of two double-stranded DNA duplexes linked together by a single-stranded DNA filament. The nanoparticle resembles nunchaku—a traditional weapon of several martial arts—but 30 million times smaller.
New Multiferroic Material for Ultralow-Power Electronics (12/13/2016) - Scientists paired ferroelectric and ferrimagnetic materials so that their alignment can be controlled with a small electric field at near room temperatures, a major step in the development of ultralow-power microprocessors, storage devices, and next-generation electronics.