• A new study shows how dangerous germs travel as stowaways from one continent to another

    Using a special culture, germs from smears can be recognized and identified. Photo: WWU/H. Dornhege

    As scientists from Münster University, in collaboration with the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, have now demonstrated, toilets at airports are also a “transfer point” for germs. These include germs against which traditional antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial infections are not, or only partially, effective.
    Münster (mfm/sm) – Everyday life at an airport: there’s still time before the jet taking passengers to faraway countries takes off – time enough for a quick visit to the toilet. What awaits passengers there is not always a pleasant sight. However, what they don’t see can be much worse. As scientists from Münster University, in collaboration with the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, have now demonstrated, toilets at airports are also a “transfer point” for germs.

  • Breakthrough in materials science: Kiel research team can bond metals with nearly all surfaces

    The targeted etching process of “nanoscale-sculpturing” roughens the upper layer of metal (here aluminium, 20 µm = 0.02 mm), thereby creating a 3D-structure with tiny hooks.   Melike Baytekin‐Gerngroß

    How metals can be used depends particularly on the characteristics of their surfaces. A research team at Kiel University has discovered how they can change the surface properties without affecting the mechanical stability of the metals or changing the metal characteristics themselves. This fundamentally new method is based on using an electro-chemical etching process, in which the uppermost layer of a metal is roughened on a micrometer scale in a tightly-controlled manner. Through this “nanoscale-sculpturing” process, metals such as aluminium, titanium, or zinc can permanently be joined with nearly all other materials, become water-repellent, or improve their biocompatibility.

  • Electron highway inside crystal

    Step edges on topological crystalline insulators may lead to electrically conducting pathways where electrons with opposite spin spin move in converse directions - any U-turn is prohibited. Picture: Thomas Bathon/Paolo Sessi/Matthias Bode

    Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science. Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was highlighted again as the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Physics to three British scientists for their research of so-called topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.

  • Fire and Flame for New Surfaces

    A flame treatment facility in operation. esse CI

    The printing, coating and bonding of plastics requires the surface to be pre-treated. Flame treatment is one way to achieve this so-called activation. It is currently being used in many industrial sectors and has considerable potential for development. The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam and the Italian company esse CI are uniting their expertise in surface chemistry and machine engineering in order to clearly expand the opportunities provided by flame treatment and to extend the range of surface properties. Interested companies can take part in the development of this technology and help advance its industrialization.

  • Humboldt Fellowship for research on tunable optical surfaces for Terahertz technology

    Dr. Corey Shemelya. Thomas Koziel/TU Kaiserslautern

    U.S. scientist Dr. Corey Shemelya has recently started a research stay at the University of Kaiserslautern in the form of a fellowship granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Dr. Shemelya is studying structured optical surfaces which hold potential applications in communication technology and Terahertz imaging, e.g. body scanning equipment for airport safety. Shemelya is working in conjunction with the Terahertz Technology Laboratory of Professor Marco Rahm at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the State Research Center for Optical and Material Sciences (OPTIMAS).

  • LZH optimizes laser-based CFRP reworking for the aircraft industry

    Repair preparation of a CFRP aircraft component through layer-by-layer laser removal of the damaged material areas. Foto: LZH

    To be able to rework aircraft components made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) more efficiently in the future, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has started the joint research project ReWork together with the INVENT GmbH, OWITA GmbH und Precitec Optronik GmbH. The aim of the project is to develop a reliable process for thin-walled and complex CFRP components. Today, many aircraft components are made of the lightweight material CFRP. Advantages of this material are the low weight and the high stability. The processing of this material, however, is still difficult. Therefore, in order to eliminate production- and operation-related defects in a faster and more cost-efficient way, the aircraft industry requires a reliable solution.

  • Molekül-Motoren mit Licht-Antrieb

    Bahnbrechende Entwicklung: Zwei Nano-Maschinen (weiß) auf einer 8x8 Nanometer großen Kupferoberfläche (grau), aufgenommen bei -267° mit einem Rastertunnelmikroskop. In Gelb die Molekül-Modelle der Maschinen. Foto: Uni Graz/Grill

    ForscherInnen der Uni Graz steuern Nano-Maschinen auf Oberflächen. Ferngesteuerte Nano-Maschinen, angetrieben von einem Lichtstrahl, reinigen Oberflächen, bringen spezielle Pharmazeutika im Körper an ihren Zielort oder bauen elektronische Strukturen aus einzelnen Atomen. Dieser Zukunftsvision ist die Arbeitsgruppe von Univ.-Prof. Dr. Leonhard Grill vom Institut für Chemie der Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz einen großen Schritt nähergekommen: Dem Team ist es gelungen, einzelne molekulare Maschinen durch Laserlicht gezielt auf einer Oberfläche zu bewegen und währenddessen zu beobachten. Die Ergebnisse der Studie werden in der nächsten Ausgabe des Magazins „ACS Nano“ publiziert und sind online bereits veröffentlicht.

  • Nanofarbriken zum Schutz vor bakterieller Besiedlung

    Prof. Dr. Sebastian Polarz.

    Forschungspreis der Dr. Karl Helmut Eberle-Stiftung vergibt 300.000 Euro Fördermittel an der Universität Konstanz für das Jahr 2016. Die Dr. Karl Helmut Eberle-Stiftung vergibt erstmals ihren Preis für herausragende wissenschaftliche Vorhaben an Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler der Universität Konstanz. Die im Jahr 2016 mit 300.000 Euro dotierte Auszeichnung erhalten der Chemiker Prof. Dr. Sebastian Polarz und der Biologe PD Dr. David Schleheck für ein gemeinsames interdisziplinäres Projekt zum Schutz vor bakterieller Besiedelung auf Oberflächen. Dazu werden sie sogenannte Nanofabriken entwickeln.

  • New Regulator of Immune Reaction Discovered

    Raster electron microscope image of human T lymphocytes. Andrea Hellwig (neurobiology)

    Calcium signal in cell nucleus regulates not only many brain functions but also defence reactions of the immune system. Cells of the immune system can distinguish between protein molecules that are "self" and "non-self". For example, if we are exposed to pathogens such as bacteria or viruses that carry foreign molecules on their surface, the body reacts with an immune response. In contrast, cells are "tolerant" of the body's own molecules. This state of unresponsiveness, or anergy, is regulated by a cellular signal, a calcium-controlled switch that was known to control also many brain functions.

  • Organische Chemie erweitert Funktionalität von Halbleitern

    Schnittstelle zwischen Halbleitertechnologie und organischer Chemie: Cyclooctin heftet sich selektiv an eine Siliziumoberfläche, so dass weitere funktionale Gruppen frei bleiben. (Abb.: Marcel Reutzel & Michael Dürr)

    Aus der Trickkiste der Organischen Chemie: Aktuelle Erkenntnisse mittelhessischer Chemiker und Physiker versprechen, die Halbleitertechnik um vielfältige Anwendungen zu erweitern. Die Forscher schafften es, organische Moleküle mit einer definierten Haftstelle auf Siliziumoberflächen zu verankern. Tragen die organischen Moleküle ausgewählte Anhänge, so bleiben diese frei, um ihre Funktion zu entfalten. Das Team des Sonderforschungsbereichs „Struktur und Dynamik innerer Grenzflächen“ (SFB 1083) berichtet in der aktuellen Ausgabe der Fachzeitschrift „Journal of Physical Chemistry“ über ihre Ergebnisse.

  • Physicists at Mainz University construct prototype for new component of the ATLAS detector

    Graphical simulation of a particle collision recorded by the prototype detector of the ATLAS Experiment. © JGU Mainz

    Mainz-based working group constructed a prototype detector for the Small Wheel of the ATLAS muon spectrometer / Results of initial tests on the ATLAS detector are highly promising. One of the largest projects being undertaken at the CERN research center near Geneva – the ATLAS Experiment – is about to be upgraded. ATLAS played a crucial role in the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012. With a length of 46 meters and a diameter of 25 meters the ATLAS detector is thus the largest device of its kind being used at a particle accelerator. It is planned to upgrade the ATLAS detector from late 2018 onwards. Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and CERN have developed an initial prototype for this endeavor, which has now been installed at the ATLAS detector.

  • Porous crystalline materials: TU Graz researcher shows method for controlled growth

    Porous cystalls called MOFs on a comparatively large surface area of one square centimetre. © Nature Materials 2016 Falcaro

    Microporous crystals (MOFs) have a great potential as functional materials of the future. Paolo Falcaro of TU Graz et al demonstrate in Nature Materials how the growth of MOFs can be precisely controlled on a large scale. Porous crystals called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) consist of metallic intersections with organic molecules as connecting elements. Thanks to their high porosity, MOFs have an extremely large surface area. A teaspoonful of MOFs has the same surface area as a football pitch. These countless pores situated in an extremely small space offer room for “guests” and can, for example, be used for gas storage or as “molecular gate” for separation of chemicals.

  • Waschen für die Mikrowelt – Potsdamer Physiker entwickeln lichtempfindliche Seife

    Initialen der Universität Potsdam, geschrieben in der Monolage von Mikropartikeln. Prof. Dr. Svetlana Santer.

    Betrachtet man das Reinigen verschmutzter Wäsche nicht unter hauswirtschaftlichem, sondern unter physikalischem Aspekt, könnte man sagen, dass bei diesem Vorgang die Staub- und Fettpartikel durch sogenannte amphiphile Moleküle umhüllt und somit aus den Textilien entfernt werden. Physiker der Universität Potsdam haben jetzt gezeigt, dass dieser alltägliche Vorgang auch in der Mikro- und Nanotechnologie auf neue Weise genutzt werden kann. Die Wissenschaftler veröffentlichten ihre Forschungsergebnisse in der aktuellen Ausgabe der Zeitschrift „Scientific Reports“.