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A Cornell-led collaboration harnessed chemical reactions to make microscale origami machines self-fold – freeing them from the liquids in which they usually function, so they can operate in dry environments and at room temperature. The approach could one day lead to the creation of a new fleet of tiny autonomous devices that can rapidly respond to their chemical environment. The group’s paper, “Gas-Phase Microactuation Using Kinetically Controlled Surface States of Ultrathin Catalytic Sheets,” was published on May 1 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper’s co-lead authors are Nanqi Bao, Ph.D. ’22, and former postdoctoral researcher Qingkun Liu, Ph.D. ’22.
A study has found widespread mass loss of glaciers and ice caps in Greenland since the start of the 20th century. The research provides critical insights into long-term changes to the glaciers and ice caps as a result of climate change, which has contributed about one fifth to global sea-level rise in the last decade. Using historical data, scientists mapped 5,327 glaciers and ice caps that existed at the end of the Little Ice Age in 1900, a period of wide-spread cooling when average global temperatures dropped by as much as 2°C. They were then able to reveal that these fragmented into 5,467 glaciers and ice caps by 2001. The study – Mass Loss of Glaciers and Ice Caps Across Greenland Since the Little Ice Age – published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, said Greenland’s glaciers have lost at least 587 km3 of ice over the last century, accounting for 1.38 millimetres of sea-level rise.
A group of Indian scientists has made a groundbreaking discovery in the field of artificial light harvesting. Inspired by the natural process of photosynthesis, the researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata and the S N Bose National Center for Basic Sciences (SNBNCBS), Kolkata, developed a novel method using organic fluorescent molecule and a therapeutically important biopolymer. These organic nanotubes have a range of potential applications, including solar cells, photo catalysis, optical sensors, and tunable multi-color light-emitting materials. Similar to how plants use chlorophyll to convert sunlight into energy, the scientists utilized the organic nanotube to absorb artificial light and transfer the energy to a dye molecule such as Nile Red and Nile Blue. The dye molecule then emits color tuning from initial greenish-yellow to orange-red, including white light.
What would happen if a genetically engineered spider bit a human being? Could Spider-Man really do everything a spider can? The science isn’t all baloney. Spider silk is truly one of the world’s most impressive biomaterials. It’s a protein made from compounds secreted by up to seven different glands, with the average spider having at least three. Each strand is made up thousands of nanostrands, making spider silk five times stronger than steel of the same width, researchers from the US’s College of William and Mary have found. Their study was published in the journal ACS Macro Letters in 2018.
Iron-Rich Meteoritic and Volcanic Particles May Have Promoted Origin of Life Reactions on Early Earth
“The formation of reactive organic molecules to form the building blocks of life on the nascent Earth is one of the prerequisites for abiogenesis,” Professor Trapp and colleagues said. “The emergence of a stable continental crust and liquid water on the Earth at 4.4 billion years ago, and the earliest biogenic carbon isotope signatures at 3.8-4.1 billion years ago suggest that life originated only 400-700 million years after the formation of the Earth.” “This relatively short time span indicates that the major part of organic precursors has been already formed on the Hadean Earth as early as 4.4 billion years ago.”