Graphic: Wilfried Weber


Scientists from the University of Freiburg have developed materials systems that are composed of biological components and polymer materials and are capable of perceiving and processing information. These biohybrid systems were engineered to perform certain functions, such as the counting signal pulses in order to release bioactive molecules or drugs at the correct time, or to detect enzymes and small molecules such as antibiotics in milk. The interdisciplinary team presented their results in some of the leading journals in the field, including Advanced Materials and Materials Today.

The graphical image used for the cover of the JCTC (see picture below). Image: Daria Kokh/HITS

HITS researchers developed tauRAMD, a tool to predict drug-target residence times from short simulations. The method is illustrated on the cover page of July 2018 issue of the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, software is freely available. The design of a drug with a desired duration of action, whether long or short, is usually a complicated and expensive trial-and-error process guided only by a mix of expert intuition and serendipity.

With the tip of the scanning tunnelling microscope, lead atoms (yellow) can be moved on a surface of iron (grey) into different magnetisation directions. Copyright: AG Berndt

Better control over the physical effect could improve data storage in future. Modern storage technology with ever-smaller and more powerful hard drives cannot function without them: the effects of so-called magnetoresistance ensure that the data stored magnetically on hard disks can be read electronically. In doing so, even a small change in the magnetic field leads to a relatively large adjustment of the electrical resistance of a material.

The intelligent sensor node-based monitoring and optimization system, for instance, improves combined systems on twin-screw extruders. Photo: Coperion

Already today modern production systems can communicate with their surroundings and manage themselves. Industry 4.0 is on the rise and cyber-physical systems (CPS) are the essential components of this development. Intelligent sensors for monitoring and controlling production processes ensure that connected work processes can run reliably.