'Digital alchemy' to reverse-engineer new materials

In work that upends materials design, researchers have demonstrated with computer simulations that they can design a crystal and work backward to the particle shape that will self-assemble to create it.

Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy ...

A new tool tidies up molecules at the nano level

Tidying up. Not an idea associated with living cells on the nanoscale. But just as a mismash of IKEA bits scattered throughout your bedroom is less useful than a neatly-assembled dresser, synthetic biologists wish to have ...

Robotic gripping mechanism mimics how sea anemones catch prey

Most robotic gripping mechanisms to date have relied on humanlike fingers or appendages, which sometimes struggle to provide the fine touch, flexibility or cost-effectiveness needed in some circumstances to hold onto objects. ...

Screw-shaped bird sperm swim faster—but it comes at a cost

A study by Ph.D. student Hanna Nyborg Støstad has investigated the peculiar spiral shape of songbird sperm. Støstad compared sperm cells of 36 bird species including house sparrows and tree swallows, and found that species ...

Smart simulations chart the behavior of surprising structures

AMOLF researchers are studying three-dimensional prismatic structures that can assume different shapes with the aim of producing metamaterials that have multiple properties. Researchers have found a new way to simulate the ...

Assembly in the air: Using sound to defy gravity

Scientists at the University of Bath have levitated particles using sound in an experiment which could have applications in so-called "soft robotics" and help reveal how planets start to form.

Glowing millipede genitalia help scientists tell species apart

Sometimes, it's really easy for scientists to tell species of animals apart—they'll be obviously different shapes or colors. Other times, different species will look nearly identical to the naked eye. In those cases, scientists ...

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