Magnet-making bacteria (Magnetospirillum) may be building biological computers of the future, researchers have said. A team from the UK's University of Leeds (Dr. Sarah Staniland) and Japan's Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (Dr. Masayoshi Tanaka) have used microbes that eat iron to perfect the magnetic particles that make up future hard drives.
Furthermore, the researchers also managed to create tiny electrical wires from living organisms. They created nano-scale tubes made from the membrane of artificial cells, grown in a lab-controlled environment with the help of a protein present in human lipid molecules. "These biological wires can have electrical resistance and can transfer information from one set of cells inside a bio-computer to all the other cells." Besides computers, such biological wires could even be used in future for human surgery because they are highly biocompatible.
In its meeting on April 26th 2012 the senate of DFG has established a new priority programme on “Field controlled particle matrix interaction: synthesis, multi-scale modelling and application of magnetic hybrid-materials”. This programme - coordinated by Prof. Odenbach - has been developed during the last summer and received its final touch during a meeting of the programme board - Prof. Sabine Klapp, TU Berlin, Prof. Annette Schmidt, Uni Düsseldorf, Prof. Klaus Zimmermann, TU Ilmenau, and Stefan Odenbach - in late autumn last year.
Within the frame of the initiative new multifunctional hybrid materials with a possibility for magnetic control will be in focus for the research activities. Such materials, consisting of a particulate magnetic component in a complex matrix exhibit a controllable material behaviour due to the interaction between particles and matrix. It will be the core interest of the programme to synthesise and understand the magnetic control of the material properties on the basis of a detailed understanding of the particle matrix interaction. Moreover the experimental analysis and multi scale modelling of the material will provide a basis to develop new applications for sensors and actors and to increase the efficiency of the biomedical application of magnetic nanoparticles by an enhanced knowledge about the interaction between tissue and functionalised particles.
Thus the programme will be borne by a highly interdisciplinary approach ranging from chemistry and physics towards engineering and medicine.
On March 15th and 16th 2012 the “2nd International Workshop on Magnetic Particle Imaging” (www.iwmpi.uni-luebeck.de) was held at the University of Lübeck in Germany. This international meeting was chaired by Prof. Thorsten M. Buzug (University of Lübeck) and Dr. Jörn Borgert (Philips Research Hamburg). The workshop aimed at covering the status and recent developments of both, the instrumentation and the tracer material used in Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI), as each of them is equally important.
The meeting was a huge success, with 162 scientists attending from 12 countries!
Mingliang Ma, Qiuyu Zhang et al. prepared small polymer-coated nanochains of magnetic nanoparticles that might be useful for many different things. The length of the peapod-like nanochains can be controlled by magnetic field intensity, and the thickness of polymer shell can be tuned by the amount of monomers.
Check the details of this preprint in the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science here.
This is a very exciting news item. Lucia Gutiérrez from the University of Western Australia and the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid ICMM-CSIC in Spain just finished the first magnetic nanoalphabet (or "Nanoalfabeto", as she calls it). All the magnetic nanoparticles spelling out the letters of the alphabet were imaged in different transmission electron microscopes (TEM). Most pictures are from Lucia, but M. Puerto Morales in Madrid, Spain, Alex G. Roca in York, UK, and Mounir Ibrahim in Perth, Australia also contributed pictures to complete the alphabet.
Please go ahead, download the file, and send it to all your friends. It makes a great poster for anybody interested in magnetic nanoparticles or electron microscopy! Get the file here.
Kannan M. Krishnan, an engineer who has applied his expertise in biomedical nanomagnetics to provide a much-needed paper detailing the advances and challenges in using magnetic nanoparticles for medical applications, is being honored by IEEE with the 2012 IEEE Donald G. Fink Prize Paper Award. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional association.
The award, sponsored by the IEEE Life Members Committee and given to an outstanding survey, review or tutorial paper appearing in any of the IEEE Transactions, Proceedings of the IEEE, journals or magazines, recognizes Krishnan for his paper “Biomedical Nanomagnetics: A Spin Through Possibilities in Imaging, Diagnostics and Therapy”. Check it out here. The award will be presented on May 20, 2012 at the IEEE International Magnetics Conference in Vancouver, Canada.
If you come to our next Magnetic Carrier Meeting, then you will have a chance to meet Kannan yourself, as he is going to give an invited talk about the magnetic particles that are best suited for Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI).
Olefins with up to four carbon atoms are key building blocks for synthesis of polymers, cosmetics, drugs, solvents, and other commercial products. The lightweight compounds are typically produced by the petroleum industry by steam cracking naphtha, which is derived from crude oil. Cracking converts long-chain hydrocarbons to short ones and introduces unsaturation. That process has been carried out on a global scale for decades, but the associated environmental consequences and limited petroleum supplies have driven researchers to seek alternative routes to C 2 –C 4 olefins.
Hirsa M. Torres Galvis and Krijn P. de Jong of Utrecht University and coworkers have formulated iron catalysts that sidestep some of those limitations. The team found that supporting iron oxide nanoparticles on high-surface-area materials that interact weakly with the particles leads to stable, active, and fairly selective
catalysts. Specifically, they found that depending on reaction conditions, catalysts
consisting of sodium and sulfur-doped iron oxide nanoparticles supported
on carbon nanofibers and other samples supported on α-alumina convert syngas to C 2 –C 4 olefins with roughly 60% selectivity. Many of the catalyst samples remained stable throughout a 60-hour test period, the team reports.
Check out the details for yourself here.
Polystyrene nanoparticles are generally considered nontoxic, but a new study by Michael Shuler, Gretchen Mahler et al now suggests that ingesting them can influence iron uptake and transport. There might be a mechanism by which ingested nanoparticles exert a subtle yet harmful effect. The researchers examined how carboxylated polystyrene particles just 50 nm in diameter behaved in an in vitro model of the human intestinal epithelium and in tests with live chickens given doses that mimic potential human exposure. Intestinal cells in the in vitro model showed increased iron transport because of disruptions to the cell membrane. Chickens with acute nanoparticle exposure had lower iron absorption than either unexposed or chronically exposed chickens. The researchers found that the villi—tiny projections in the intestinal walls—of chickens subjected to
chronic exposure remodeled themselves to increase the surface area for iron absorption.
Although people do not normally eat polystyrene nanoparticles, other nanoparticles commonly used as food additives (e.g., titanium dioxide and
silicates) might have similar effects.
Check out the details here.
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