Nanoparticles in the blood: The stealth cap prevents blood components from adhering. The surface has been cross-linked by UV radiation and is therefore stable in biological systems. HZDR/Sahneweiß/istockphoto.com/Thomas-Soellner/Molekuul

A team of scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), in collaboration with the Monash University Australia, has succeeded in significantly increasing the stability and biocompatibility of special light-transducing nanoparticles. The team has developed so-called “upconverting” nanoparticles that not only convert infrared light into UV-visible light, but also are water-soluble, remain stable in complex body fluids such as blood serum, and can be used to store medications. They have created a tool that could potentially make the fight against cancer significantly more effective. The results were published in the journal "Angewandte Chemie" (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201811003).

Like the earthworm: The new INM breathing system lubricates itself when pressure is applied to the material. Source: Iris Maurer; free within this press release

Earthworms are always clean, even if they come from moist, sticky soil. They owe this to a dirt-repellent, lubricating layer, which forms itself again and again on its skin. Researchers at INM have now artificially recreated this system of nature: They developed a material with a surface structure that provides itself with lubricant whenever pressure is applied. Because the lubricated material reduces friction and prevents the growth of microbes, scientists can envision numerous applications in industry and biomedicine.

Superlattices under the microscope (white light illumination). Empa

Excited photo-emitters can cooperate and radiate simultaneously, a phenomenon called superfluorescence. Researchers from Empa and ETH Zurich, together with colleagues from IBM Research Zurich, have recently been able to create this effect with long-range ordered nanocrystal superlattices. This discovery could enable future developments in LED lighting, quantum sensing, quantum communication and future quantum computing. The study has just been published in the renowned journal "Nature".

Nanorobots injected into the eye on their way towards the retina. Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.

In the Laboratory a structured silicon carbide crystal is heated in a preparation chamber of a scanning tunneling microscope, so that small graphene structures can be formed. Photo: TU Chemnitz/Jacob Müller

For the first time, the targeted functionalization of carbon-based nanostructures allows the direct mapping of current paths, thereby paving the way for novel quantum devices. Computers are getting faster and increasingly powerful. However, at the same time computing requires noticeably more energy, which is almost completely converted to wasted heat. This is not only harmful to the environment, but also limits further miniaturization of electronic components and increase of clock rates. A way out of this dilemma are conductors with no electrical resistance.

The watch springs are electroplated on a gold plated silicon wafer, coated with a light-sensitive paint. Empa

What happens when something keeps getting smaller and smaller? This is the type of question Empa researcher Johann Michler and his team are investigating. As a by-product of their research completely novel watch springs could soon be used in Swiss timepieces. Applied research is not always initiated by industry – but oftentimes it yields results that can swiftly be implemented by companies. A prime example can be seen on the Empa campus in Thun: Tiny watch springs are on display at the Laboratory for Mechanics of Materials and Nanostructures.

The international research team is working on a treatment on dementia like Alzheimer, which leads to a death of neuronal cells. © shutterstock.com/Naeblys

About 29 million people around the world are affected by the disease "Alzheimer". In an international collaboration, scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz together with teams from Italy, Great Britain, Belgium and the USA are now working together on an approach for a therapy. On the one hand, the goal is to understand the processes occurring in the brain that lead to the disease; on the other hand the development of a method for targeted drug delivery.

Concept of the Sens-o-Spheres with power receiver, microcontroller and signal processing, battery as well as encapsulation. (c) TU Dresden

The COMPAMED, which takes place annually co-located to the MEDICA in Dusseldorf, Germany, is an established and world-wide well-known marketplace for medical components and technologies. Every year, the COMPAMED asserts itself as the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing.

Especially in the field of medical devices for mobile diagnostics, therapy and laboratory equipment increasingly powerful, smart and reliable high-tech solutions are needed. This is why the demand for miniaturization of medical components continues to grow steadily.

Schematic illustration of the visible-light-controlled reconfigurable surface functions. © MPI-P

The functionalization of surfaces with different physical or chemical properties is a key challenge for many applications. For example, the defined structuring of a surface with hydrophobic and hydrophilic areas can be used for the separation of emulsions, like water and oil. However, the creation of user-defined surface properties is a challenge. Researches from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz (MPI-P), the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei and the University of Electronic Science and Technology in Chengdu (China) have now developed surfaces that can easily be patterned with different functionalities using visible light.

Markus Koch (3rd from left), Bernhard Thaler (4th fro left), head of institute Wolfgang Ernst (far right) and team in the "Femtosecond-Laser-Lab" at the Institute of Experimental Physics at TU Graz. ©Lunghammer - TU Graz

Researchers from Graz University of Technology have described for the first time the dynamics which takes place within a trillionth of a second after photoexcitation of a single atom inside a superfluid helium nanodroplet. In his research, Markus Koch, Associate Professor at the Institute of Experimental Physics of Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), concentrates on processes in molecules and clusters which take place on time scales of picoseconds (10⁻¹² seconds) and femtoseconds (10⁻¹⁵ seconds). Now Koch and his team have achieved a breakthrough in the research on completely novel molecular systems.

The framework of DUT-60 holds a pore volume of 5.02 cm3g-1 – the highest specific pore volume one has ever measured among all crystalline framework materials so far. Dr. I. Senkovska, TU Dresden

World Record of Cavities. Porosity is the key to high-performance materials for energy storage systems, environmental technologies or catalysts: The more porous a solid state material is, the more liquids and gases it is able to store. However, a multitude of pores destabilizes the material. In search of the stability limits of such frameworks, researchers of the TU Dresden’s Faculty of Chemistry broke a world record: DUT-60 is a new crystalline framework with the world’s highest specific surface and the highest specific pore volume (5.02 cm3g-1) measured so far among all known crystalline framework materials.

In neuronal cells, the protein SSNA1 (pink) accumulates at branching sites in axons (top). The SSNA1 fibrils attach to the microtubules (green) and trigger branching (bottom). © Naoko Mizuno, MPI of Biochemistry

Our brain is a complex network with innumerable connections between cells. Neuronal cells have long thin extensions, so-called axons, which are branched to increase the number of interactions. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have collaborated with researchers from Portugal and France to study cellular branching processes. They demonstrated a novel mechanism that induces branching of microtubules, an intracellular support system. The newly discovered dynamics of microtubules has a key role in neuronal development. The results were recently published in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

Schematic of a hydrogen filling station as an application scenario for pressure sensors with insulation layers. © metamorworks / Shutterstock

Scientists at the Fraunhofer FEP have investigated new approaches for depositing low-defect insulating layers, part of the joint project “NaFuSS“ (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research/BMBF promotional reference number 13N13171). The aim is to increase the reliability and durability of pressure sensors for hydrogen technology, an area that is becoming increasingly important.

O-BUTTON, customer-specific OLED elements for textile integration. © Fraunhofer FEP, Photograph: Jan Hesse

Organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) are mainly known from televisions and smartphone displays. They can be used as lighting objects in car tail lights or lights. The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP as a partner for customer-specific OLED development and production is now presenting OLED elements that can be integrated into textiles at the Electronics System Integration Technology Conference ESTC 2018 from September 18 - 21, 2018 in Dresden at booth no. 29.

Boosting the energy output by storing and bundling the energy of many spontaneous enzyme reactions. Alejandro Posada

In chemistry, a reaction is spontaneous when it does not need the addition of an external energy input. How much energy is released in a reaction is dictated by the laws of thermodynamics. In the case of the spontaneous reactions that occur in the human body this is often not enough to power medical implants. Now, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international team of researchers, found a way to boost the energy output by storing and bundling the energy of many spontaneous enzyme reactions. The work is published in the journal Nature Communications.

From wood waste to high-performance polymers: Terpenes from turpentine are converted to bio-based, transparent and heat-stable polyamides under application of a new catalytic process. Fraunhofer IGB

The natural substance 3-carene is a component of turpentine oil, a waste stream of the production of cellulose from wood. Up to now, this by-product has been incinerated for the most part. Fraunhofer researchers are using new catalytic processes to convert 3-carene into building blocks for biobased plastics. The new polyamides are not only transparent, but also have a high thermal stability.