Week in Science (21 – 27 Feb 2021)

Science News related to Dark Matter Forming Supermassive Black Holes, Attachable Skin Monitor, Neurons for Regenerative Medicine, Tissue-Engineered Implants for Vocal Injuries, Microchips' Design Pushing Computing to The Edge, An Intelligent Soft Material, Comet Making a Pit Stop Near Jupiter's Asteroids, Artificial Microswimmers for Delivering Targeted Cancer Treatments, Light-Emitting Tattoo, Quantum Quirk Yielding Giant Magnetic Effect


Note: None of the news bits (and cover picture) given here are written/owned by NewAnced's authors. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. Content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.

1. New Study Suggests Supermassive Black Holes Could Form from Dark Matter


Source: Royal Astronomical Society 22 Feb 2021


A new theoretical study has proposed a novel mechanism for the creation of supermassive black holes from dark matter. The team found that rather than the conventional formation scenarios involving ‘normal’ matter, supermassive black holes could instead form directly from dark matter in high density regions in the centres of galaxies. The result has key implications for cosmology in the early Universe.

2. Attachable Skin Monitors that Wick the Sweat Away


Source: The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) 22 Feb 2021


Attachable biosensors often use a silicone-based compound called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), as it has a relatively high water vapour transmission rate compared to other materials. A new preparation technique fabricates thin, silicone-based patches that rapidly wick water away from the skin. The technique could reduce the redness and itching caused by wearable biosensors that trap sweat beneath them.

3. Superstructures Formed By ‘Walking’ Molecules Could Help Create Neurons for Regenerative Medicine


Source: Northwestern University 22 Feb 2021


By discovering a new printable biomaterial that can mimic properties of brain tissue, researchers are now closer to developing a platform capable of treating these conditions using regenerative medicine. A key ingredient to the discovery is the ability to control the self-assembly processes of molecules within the material, enabling the researchers to modify the structure and functions of the systems from the nanoscale to the scale of visible features.


Original written by: Lila Reynolds

4. Tissue-Engineered Implants Provide New Hope for Vocal Injuries


Source: Purdue University 23 Feb 2021


The larynx is a very complex human organ consisting of outer cartilage for structural support, the inner muscle that contracts to permit voicing, swallowing, and breathing, and inner vibratory lining. A collaborative team has tissue-engineered component tissue replacements that support the reconstruction of the larynx. The new technology may one day help patients who suffer devastating vocal injuries from surgery on the larynx.


Original written by: Chris Adam

5. Rethinking Microchips' Design Pushes Computing to The Edge


Source: Princeton University, Engineering School 24 Feb 2021


Responding to artificial intelligence’s exploding demands on computer networks, researchers in recent years have radically increased the speed and slashed the energy use of specialized AI systems. Now, the researchers have moved their innovation closer to widespread use by creating co-designed hardware and software that will allow designers to blend these new types of systems into their applications.


Original written by: John Sullivan

6. An Intelligent Soft Material That Curls Under Pressure or Expands When Stretched


Source: American Chemical Society 24 Feb 2021


Plants and animals can rapidly respond to changes in their environment, such as a Venus flytrap snapping shut when a fly touches it. However, replicating similar actions in soft robots requires complex mechanics and sensors. Now, researchers reporting have printed liquid metal circuits onto a single piece of soft polymer, creating an intelligent material that curls under pressure or mechanical strain.

7. Comet Makes a Pit Stop Near Jupiter's Asteroids


Source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center 25 Feb 2021


After traveling several billion miles toward the Sun, a wayward young comet-like object orbiting among the giant planets has found a temporary parking place along the way. The object has settled near a family of captured ancient asteroids, called Trojans, that are orbiting the Sun alongside Jupiter. This is the first time a comet-like object has been spotted near the Trojan population.

8. Artificial Microswimmers Uncovers A Possible Solution for Delivering Targeted Cancer Treatments


Source: George Mason University 26 Feb 2021


A team of researchers studied self-propelled half-platinum/half-gold rods that “swim” in water using hydrogen peroxide as a fuel. The more peroxide there is, the faster the swimming; without peroxide in pure water, the rods don’t swim. They set out to understand what happens when these artificial microswimmers are placed in a fluid reservoir containing a gradient of hydrogen peroxide––lots of peroxide on one side, not much on the other side.


Original written by: Nanci Hellmich

9. Light-Emitting Tattoo Engineered for The First Time


Source: University College London 26 Feb 2021


Scientists have created a temporary tattoo with light-emitting technology used in TV and smartphone screens, paving the way for a new type of “smart tattoo” with a range of potential uses. The technology, which uses organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), is applied in the same way as water transfer tattoos. That is, the OLEDs are fabricated on to temporary tattoo paper and transferred to a new surface by being pressed on to it and dabbed with water.

10. Quantum Quirk Yields Giant Magnetic Effect, Where None Should Exist


Source: Rice University 26 Feb 2021


In a twist befitting the strange nature of quantum mechanics, physicists have discovered the Hall effect — a characteristic change in the way electricity is conducted in the presence of a magnetic field — in a nonmagnetic quantum material to which no magnetic field was applied.


Original written by: Jade Boyd


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