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Brain process takes paper shape

14-02-2014

A paper-based device that mimics the electrochemical signalling in the human brain has been created by a group of researchers from China. The thin-film transistor (TFT) has been designed to replicate the junction between two neurons, known as a biological synapse, and could become a key component ...

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First comprehensive test to detect genetic modification in food

17-01-2014

As the abundance of genetically modified (GM) foods continues to grow, so does the demand for monitoring and labeling them. The genes of GM plants used for food are tweaked to make them more healthful or pest-resistant, but some consumers are wary of such changes. To help inform shoppers and ...

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Turning waste into power with bacteria — and loofahs

06-12-2013

Loofahs, best known for their use in exfoliating skin to soft, radiant perfection, have emerged as a new potential tool to advance sustainability efforts on two fronts at the same time: energy and waste. The study describes the pairing of loofahs with bacteria to create a power-generating ...

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Marine plant replacement for platinum in solar cells

05-12-2013

An international research team has shown that that the power conversion efficiency of sea tangle extract is comparable to platinum in solar cell electrodes. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) are quickly becoming a widespread and affordable alternative to photovoltaic solar cells. The electrode ...

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Multifunctional 3D shape-memory materials

17-09-2013

Chinese scientists have found a simple way to produce multifunctional 3D materials by developing a polymer scaffold that ‘remembers’ its shape and can be used as a host for functional nanoparticles. The shape-memory polymer scaffold can host a wide range of functional nanoparticles, enabling the ...

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A polymer that could reduce supercapacitor fire risk

29-08-2013

Scientists in China have developed a temperature-responsive polymer for use in supercapacitors to prevent them from overheating. Supercapacitors have high power densities that mean they are prone to self-propagating, uncontrolled temperature increases – an effect known as thermal runaway. The ...

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Human enamel mimic restores tooth whiteness

27-06-2013

Research describes a new method for non-abrasive teeth whitening that uses a naturally-occurring mineral contained in a polymer film. Current methods for maintaining a gleaming white smile include replacing the crowns of discoloured teeth or using chemical abrasives such as hydrogen peroxide to ...

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Flexible, foldable material for self-powered photodetection

27-06-2013

Research describes the development of a micro-woven tin oxide cloth that enables the design of flexible, self-powered detectors for environmental monitoring. Chinese scientists fabricated the material, which acts as both a battery anode and a light sensor, using a sacrificial carbon cloth as a ...

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Monitoring the air they breathe in China

27-05-2013

Research describes the development of a simple, low-cost passive air sampler for monitoring indoor air pollution in China. Air quality in China is a hot topic, with air pollution rivalling food safety and clean drinking water as a key theme for Chinese lawmakers. Scientists at Tsinghua University ...

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Environmental significance of chiral persistent organic pollutants

15-05-2013

Enantioselectivity has been recognized in the fields of life science, pharmacology, modern medicine, and chemistry. The increasing release of chiral persistent organic pollutants (POPs) into the environment in recent decades has led to an increase in scientific research into their environmental ...

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