Latest Molecular Foundry Stories

2011-07-18 15:52:59

Scientists with Berkeley Lab and Einstein College of Medicine Extend Conventional Click Chemistry to Living Cells Biomolecular imaging can reveal a great deal of information about the inner workings of cells and one of the most attractive targets for imaging are glycans "“ sugars that are ubiquitous to living organisms and abundant on cell surfaces. Imaging a glycan requires that it be tagged or labeled. One of the best techniques for doing this is a technique called click chemistry....

2011-02-04 12:07:15

In typical plasmonic devices, electromagnetic waves crowd into tiny metal structures, concentrating energy into nanoscale dimensions. Due to coupling of electronics and photonics in these metal nanostructures, plasmonic devices could be harnessed for high-speed data transmission or ultrafast detector arrays. However, studying plasmonic fields in nanoscale devices presents a real roadblock for scientists, as examining these structures inherently alters their behavior. "Whether you use a laser...

2011-01-20 15:01:59

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have coaxed polymers to braid themselves into wispy nanoscale ropes that approach the structural complexity of biological materials. Their work is the latest development in the push to develop self-assembling nanoscale materials that mimic the intricacy and functionality of nature's handiwork, but which are rugged enough to withstand harsh conditions such as heat and dryness. Although still...

2011-01-11 15:08:38

Many futurists envision a world in which polymer membranes with molecular-sized channels are used to capture carbon, produce solar-based fuels, or desalinate sea water, among many other functions. This will require methods by which such membranes can be readily fabricated in bulk quantities. A technique representing a significant first step down that road has now been successfully demonstrated. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley...

2010-10-22 07:55:51

The Terminator. The Borg. The Six Million Dollar Man. Science fiction is ripe with biological beings armed with artificial capabilities. In reality, however, the clunky connections between living and non-living worlds often lack a clear channel for communication. Now, scientists with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have designed an electrical link to living cells engineered to shuttle electrons across a cell's membrane to an external acceptor along a well-defined...

2010-04-21 08:35:06

Atomic force microscopy, a tactile-based probe technique, provides a three-dimensional nanoscale image of a material by gliding a needle-like arm across the material's surface. The core of AFM imaging workhorse is a cantilever with a sharp tip that deflects as it encounters undulations across a surface.  Due to a minimum force required for imaging, conventional AFM cantilevers can  deform or even tear apart living cells and other biological materials. While scientists have made...

2010-04-15 08:10:00

Two-dimensional, "sheet-like" nanostructures are commonly employed in biological systems such as cell membranes, and their unique properties have inspired interest in materials such as graphene. Now, Berkeley Lab scientists have made the largest two-dimensional polymer crystal self-assembled in water to date. This entirely new material mirrors the structural complexity of biological systems with the durable architecture needed for membranes or integration into functional devices. These...

2010-03-20 13:19:20

Composites are combinations of materials that produce properties inaccessible in any one material. A classic example of a composite is fiberglass "“ plastic fibers woven with glass to add strength to hockey sticks or the hull of a boat. Unlike the well-established techniques for producing fiberglass and other macroscale composites, however, there aren't general schemes available for making nanoscale composites. Now,  researchers at Berkeley Lab's Molecular Foundry, in collaboration...

2010-01-20 08:56:48

For the first time, the widely used molecular synthesis technique known as click chemistry has been safely applied to a living organism. Researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have crafted a unique copper-free version of click chemistry to create biomolecular probes for in vivo studies of live mice. Conventional click chemistry reactions require a copper catalyst that is toxic to cells and organisms. "We developed a...

2009-11-12 09:21:22

Looking sharp and looking for light - Berkeley Lab researchers have engineered a new class of bowtie-shaped devices that capture, filter and steer light at the nanoscale. These "nano-colorsorter" devices act as antennae to focus and sort light in tiny spaces, a useful technique for harvesting broadband light for color-sensitive filters and detectors. Currently, optical fibers employ light to transport data with very high bandwidth, but the technique hits a roadblock as light is squeezed into...

Word of the Day
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.