Researchers develop microbubble scrubber to destroy dangerous biofilms

Stiff microbial films often coat medical devices, household items and infrastructure such as the inside of water supply pipes, and can lead to dangerous infections. Researchers have developed a system that harnesses the power of bubbles to propel tiny particles through the surfaces of these tough films and deliver an antiseptic deathblow to the microbes living inside.

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Optical detection of picomolar concentrations of RNA using switches in plasmonic chirality

Even tiny amounts of viruses can have disastrous consequences. RNA identification can reveal the type of virus present. A fast and sensitive technique based on optical detection has now been outlined in the journal Angewandte Chemie. Scientists from Germany and Finland have demonstrated the binding of an RNA target to a probe made of gold nanorods and a DNA origami structure. Chirality switches triggered by binding can be measured by circular dichroism spectroscopy.

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Mineral weathering from thawing permafrost can release substantial CO2

The amount of carbon dioxide released from thawing permafrost might be greater than previously thought, according to a new study by ecologists. The research is the first to document the potential for substantial contributions of CO2 from thawing permafrost to the atmosphere through an inorganic process called mineral weathering.

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Scientists examine variations in a cell’s protein factory

You can think of a cell in your body like a miniature factory, creating a final product called proteins, which carry out various tasks and functions. In this cellular factory, genes control the series of sequential steps needed to create proteins, much like an assembly line moving a product along to completion. This process is known as gene expression.

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Fiber optic sensor measures tiny magnetic fields

Researchers have developed a light-based technique for measuring very weak magnetic fields, such as those produced when neurons fire in the brain. The inexpensive and compact sensors could offer an alternative to the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems currently used to map brain activity without the expensive cooling or electromagnetic shielding required by MRI machines.

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Going viral: Investors pay more attention to social media stocks

What is a social media firm worth? Following how retail investors pay attention to company tickers is one piece of the puzzle. In a new study published this week in International Journal of Economics and Finance, a finance scholar from Michigan Technological University delves into the pricing behavior of social media firms. The study found that investors pay attention to social media stocks over other company stocks.

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Origami inspires highly efficient solar steam generator

Water covers most of the globe, yet many regions still suffer from a lack of clean drinking water. If scientists could efficiently and sustainably turn seawater into clean water, a looming global water crisis might be averted. Now, inspired by origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, researchers have devised a solar steam generator that approaches 100 percent efficiency for the production of clean water. They report their results in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

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