‘Soft’ nanoparticles give plasmons new potential

Bigger is not always better, but here’s something that starts small and gets better as it gets bigger.

Just light it up and see.

A team led by Rice University chemists Christy Landes and Stephan Link, both associated with the Smalley-Curl Institute, have made hybrid particles that combine the unbeatable light-harvesting properties of plasmonic nanoparticles with the flexibility of catalytic polymer coatings. Their work could help power long-pursued plasmonic applications in electronics, imaging, sensing and medicine.

Rice University scientists coupled gold nanoparticles with soft polymers that pull energy from the gold’s plasmonic response to light. That energy can

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Get ready for the cleantech race!

Looking back, Schmidt believes the diplomatic fiasco in Copenhagen was primarily driven by the fear of economic losses. Earlier that year, management consultants McKinsey & Company had published the second of its much-cited marginal abatement cost curves. This predicted what the cost of avoiding 1 tonne of CO2 equivalent would be in 2030 on the basis of various technologies. “Some of the forecasts were far more pessimistic than what actually ended up happening,” says Schmidt.

For example, the authors assumed that e-​mobility would remain a niche market until at least 2030. Since then, however, over 8.5 million electric vehicles

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Social bacteria build shelters using the physics of fingerprints

Forest-dwelling bacteria known for forming slimy swarms that prey on other microbes can also cooperate to construct mushroom-like survival shelters known as fruiting bodies when food is scarce.

Now, a team at Princeton University has discovered the physics behind how these rod-shaped bacteria, which align in patterns like those on fingerprint whorls and liquid crystal displays, build the layers of these fruiting bodies. Results of the U.S. National Science Foundation-funded study were published in Nature Physics.

When food is scarce, forest-dwelling bacteria come together to build structures called fruiting bodies. Image credit: Cassidy Yang/Princeton University

“In some ways,

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Protective Potency | Technology Org

Understanding the body’s immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is key to developing effective treatments and long-lasting vaccines.

Of particular interest are neutralizing antibodies, which can block the virus from entering and infecting human cells, helping the immune system clear the virus and prevent future infections.

In a new study in Cell, Harvard Medical School scientists at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard show that the potency of neutralizing antibodies that developed in COVID-19 patients was significantly reduced in those with severe or fatal disease compared to patients with milder infections.

“Potent neutralizing antibodies were

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Researchers report quantum-limit-approaching chemical sensing chip

University at Buffalo researchers are reporting an advancement of a chemical sensing chip that could lead to handheld devices that detect trace chemicals —  everything from illicit drugs to pollution —  as quickly as a breathalyzer identifies alcohol.

The chip, which also may have uses in food safety monitoring, anti-counterfeiting and other fields where trace chemicals are analyzed, is described in a study that appears on the cover in the edition of the journal Advanced Optical Materials.

The chip, which also may have uses in food safety monitoring, anti-counterfeiting and other fields where trace chemicals are analyzed. Image credit:

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Physicists in China challenge Google’s ‘quantum advantage’

Lots of researchers are working to demonstrate quantum advantage, that is, to perform calculations on quantum computers that would be impossible using classical ones.

Last year, Google announced to have achieved this task. However, other researchers claim that the same calculation is achievable using classical algorithms.

Image credit: TheDigitalArtist via Pixabay, free licence

A recent article describes a computation by a photonics-based quantum computer. It is used to calculate the probability distribution of many bosons (a category of particles that includes photons).

The result may be calculated from an equation in many unknowns, but a quantum computer can simulate

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