The DGP awards the Technology Transfer Prize 2017/2018 jointly to  Nanoscribe GmbH, as well as the Institute for Nanotechnology and Innovation and Relation Management of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). © DPG 2016

The DPG Technology Transfer Prize 2017/2018 will be awarded jointly to Nanoscribe GmbH, Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, and the Institute for Nanotechnology and Innovation and Relation Management at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The three institutions received the award for the outstanding transfer of scientific findings in the field of 3D laser lithography into commercial exploitation - in particular for the fabrication of micro- and nanostructures.

Impressions of the exhibition for nanotechnology “nano tech” 2017. IVAM

The nano tech in Tokyo, the world's largest international exhibition for nanotechnology, once again attracts nanotechnology experts around the world. From February 14-16, 2018 more than 50,000 international visitors are expected to visit the Big Sight exhibition center in Tokyo.

Focal points of the nano tech 2018 are innovative advanced materials such as graphene and fullerenes, nanoparticles, nano coatings, nano inks and nano composites, carbon nanotubes, photonic, magnetic and biocompatible materials as well as nano-based fabrication technologies and evaluation and measurement applications down to the nanometer scale.

Photo: Dominik Kopp

Arming CRISPR/Cas systems with an enzyme that also controls the translation of genetic information into protein. CRISPR/Cas systems are known as promising “gene scissors” in the genome editing of plants, animals, and microorganisms by targeting specific regions in their DNA – and perhaps they can even be used to correct genetic defects.

Monocrystalline silicon solar cell with POLO-contacts for both polarities on the solar cell rear side. In the foreground the rear side of seven solar cells processed on one wafer can be seen. ISFH

The Institute for Solar Energy Research Hameln (ISFH) and Leibniz Universität Hannover have developed a crystalline silicon solar cell with an independently confirmed efficiency of (26.10 +/- 0.31 %) under one sun. This is a world record for p-type Si material, which currently covers ~90% of the world photovoltaic market. The record cell uses a passivating electron-selective n+ type polysilicon on oxide (POLO) junction and a hole-selective p+ type POLO junction. It is the high selectivity of theses junctions that allow these high efficiencies. As an important step towards industrialization, laser ablation is used for the contact opening process.

The first 13 amino acids are characterized by very similar chemical hardness and electronic energy levels (shown in the image as a single circle). The new amino acids became increasingly softer and more individualized during evolution, which is reflected in differentiated energy levels (in the image represented as multiple concentric circles). Source: Michael Plenikowski

Publication in PNAS provides an answer to an old and fundamental question of biochemistry. Using quantum chemical methods, a team of researchers led by Dr. Matthias Granold and Professor Bernd Moosmann of the Institute of Pathobiochemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz solved one of the oldest puzzles of biochemistry.

A microfluidic system for tracking growth and gene expression of single bacteria. University of Basel, Biozentrum

Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, together with researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Dresden, have set up a novel lab-on-a-chip with accompanying automatic analysis software. As they report in Nature Communications, this integrated setup can be used to study gene regulation in single bacterial cells in response to dynamically controlled environmental changes.

Photographic images of tooth enamel samples in their initial state, after discoloration and after cleaning. The samples were cleaned with a toothpaste containing cellulose. Fraunhofer IMWS

Microplastics are still used in personal care products, although the environmental impact is well known. Tiny plastic particles from peelings and other skincare products enter the sea and ultimately our food chain via waste-water systems. In a research project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS and its partners have tested materials that can replace microplastics in cosmetic products and are biodegradable.

Sea urchin spines. University of Konstanz

Based on the nanostructure of the sea urchin spines, the research team Physical Chemistry at the University of Konstanz develops cement that is significantly more fracture-resistant. The sea urchin spines are mostly made of calcite, usually a very brittle and fragile material. In the case of the sea urchin, however, the spines are much more durable than the raw material alone. The reason for its strength is the way that nature optimises materials using a brick wall-style architecture.

Trim-Away directly and rapidly destroys a fluorescent protein in an egg cell. From left: cell before introduction of antibodies directed against the protein and 10, 30, and 60 minutes thereafter. Dean Clift / MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

In our body, proteins carry out almost all essential processes, and protein malfunction causes many diseases. To study the function of a protein, researchers remove it from the cell and subsequently analyze the consequences. The two methods typically used are genome editing by CRISPR/Cas, and RNA interference, acting on the level of DNA or RNA, respectively. However, their influence on protein amounts is indirect and takes time. Scientists now present a new method, called Trim-Away, allowing to directly and quickly deplete any protein from any cell type. As Trim-Away can distinguish between different variants of a protein, it also opens up new venues for the therapy of diseases.

Getting to know materials in detail: Fraunhofer LBF has researched the systematic structure-property relationships for functionalized polyolefins. Photo: Fraunhofer LBF

Functionalized polyolefins are of great economic importance as bonding agents between polyolefins and polar surfaces. Despite years of effort, up to now there has never been any analytic method that could provide a comprehensive understanding of these materials to enable their effectiveness to be quickly assessed, for instance as part of incoming goods controlling. Now, a chromatographic method developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF makes it possible to develop systematic structure-property relationships for these materials for the first time.

Electron microscope image of the platelet-shaped lithium cobalt phosphate crystals. Image: Katia Rodewald / TUM

Power on the go is in demand: The higher the battery capacity, the larger the range of electric cars and the longer the operating time of cell phones and laptops. Dr. Jennifer Ludwig of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed a process that allows a fast, simple, and cost-effective production of the promising cathode material lithium cobalt phosphate in high quality. The chemist was awarded the Evonik Research Prize for her work.

CRISPR-UMI relies on the addition of a high complexity barcoding system – or Unique Molecular Identifier (UMI) – that marks each single mutant clone and allows its tracking within a population. (c) Philipp Zaufel, maximcapra.com

CRISPR-UMI, a novel method developed at IMBA, facilitates extremely robust and sensitive screens by tracking single mutants within a population of cells. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is an adage that applies to many concepts in biology. For genetic screens, however, it is the individual parts, i.e. the individual cells, that are the focus of the next generation of CRISPR-Cas9 screens. Single mutants within a population reveal new findings that could revolutionise target discovery and offer fresh insights into the biological systems of cell differentiation and cancer.

Schematic view of the experimental setup of the “cryofuge”. Graphic: MPQ, Quantum Dynamics Division

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules. 

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at the same time. Scientists around Dr. Martin Zeppenfeld from the Quantum Dynamics Division of Prof. Gerhard Rempe at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching have now taken an important step in this direction by developing a new cooling method: the so-called “cryofuge” combines cryogenic buffer-gas cooling with a special kind of centrifuge in which rotating electric fields decelerate the precooled molecules down to velocities of less than 20 metres per second.

Up to eight different experiments can be simultaneously performed in this screening electrolyzer. Each small plastic cup houses two electrodes. photo/©: Carsten Siering, JGU

In the cooperative EPSYLON research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and Evonik Performance Materials GmbH have succeeded in developing a state-of-the-art and innovative electro-organic synthesis. The results of their research, presented in last week's issue of Science Advances, allow the use of electrosynthesis as a trend-setting and sustainable green chemistry for technical applications. The method developed allows the operator to react flexibly to the available supply of electricity. Moreover, the operator no longer has to rely on customized electrolysis apparatuses and can use a wide variety of different equipment.

OLED on stainless steel. © Fraunhofer FEP

Stainless steel is normally associated with kitchenware and chemical Plant pipe. However, stainless steel foil has also been utilized for several years in thin-film photovoltaics and batteries. Now stainless steel can also serve as a substrate for flexible electronic components. Fraunhofer Institute FEP will be presenting OLEDs on gauzy stainless steel foil during aimcal 2017 in Tampa/ USA, from October 15 – 18, 2017. The novel application on display in Booth 22 was developed in cooperation with the Nippon Steel & Sumikin Materials Co., Ltd. (NSMAT) and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC).

DESY's Anton Barty (left) and Henry Chapman (right), seen at the SPB/SFX instrument, were in one of the first two user groups. Photo: DESY, Lars Berg

The first users have now started experiments at the new international research facility in Schenefeld. “This is a very important event, and we are very happy that the first users have now arrived at European XFEL so we can do a full scale test of the facility” said European XFEL Managing Director Prof. Dr. Robert Feidenhans’l. ”The instruments and the supporting teams have made great progress in the recent weeks and months. Together with our first users, we will now do the first real commissioning experiments and collect valuable scientific data. At the same time, we will continue to further advance our facility and concentrate on further improving the integration and stability of the instrumentation” he added.