Category archives: Materials

Carnivorous plants inspire novel liquid repellent surfaces

Carnivorous plants inspire novel liquid repellent surfaces

ChemistryMaterialsPhysics

By Mireia Altimira

Natural non-wetting structures, particularly lotus leaves (Fig. 1a), have inspired the development of synthetic liquid-repellent surfaces. These surfaces rely on the formation of a stable air–liquid interface, but present limited repellency to oils with high contact angle hysteresis, failure under pressure and inability to self-heal. The paper by Wong et al. presents a novel approach […]

Melodies of proteins

Melodies of proteins

BiochemistryMaterials

By Silvia Román

The way in which nature manages to create functional diversity in matter is probably the wisest guide for biomaterials engineers, who are always looking for new creative processes to come up with new materials. The conventional way of designing complex materials with new functionalities is explained by the so-called top-down approach, in which a new […]

Highly sensitive holographic polymers

Highly sensitive holographic polymers

Materials

By Silvia Román

Nowadays, there is a growing demand for new biosensors capable of detecting specific molecules, contaminants or toxic substances in food, drinking water, air, blood and so forth, with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity. Furthermore, we preferably want these biosensors to be inexpensive, easily reproducible and with a rapid and accurate response. This demand […]

Carbon nanotubes to study neuron activity

Carbon nanotubes to study neuron activity

BiomedicineMaterialsNeurobiologyPhysicsPhysiology

By Francisco R. Villatoro

Human brain has about 85 billion neurons. Each neuron forms thousands of chemical and electrical synapses with other neurons. To record the synaptic activity of each neuron in the brain an intracellular probe with a millivolt scale is required. Glass electrodes are widely used, but they are fragile and they have high impedance. An intracellular […]

The coffee-ring effect

The coffee-ring effect

MaterialsPhysics

By Mireia Altimira

Have you ever observed how a drop of coffee dries? As water evaporates, its suspended particles are deposited in a ring-like fashion in a phenomenon known as the coffee-ring effect. Obviously, this effect is undesirable in the numerous practical applications that require a uniform coating. However, the way to avoid it has remained unknown. The […]

Nanohazards

Nanohazards

Materials

By Silvia Román

Just a few years ago, nanoparticles broke into almost every laboratory in the world in one way or another. It marked a boom in nanoscience and nanotechnology. The demand for these new ultrafine particles, halfway between the bulk scale and the molecule scale, increased in such a way that sometimes there was even a shortage […]