University of Illinois

Turn Your iPhone Into a Biomed Lab

Bored with your iPhone? Try turning it into a low-cost spectrophotometer. Some researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come up with a an iPhone app and a cradle packed with biosensor technology that will let users detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other biological material.

The sensors could allow people to run field tests to spot poisons, measure food safety, and even make medical diagnoses using an iPhone.

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Uniform Platinum Nanoparticles

University of Illinois researchers have come up with a way to create uniform nanoparticles that could impact fuel cell technology.

The team developed a way to synthesize highly uniform icosahedral nanoparticles made of platinum. An icosahedron crystal is a polyhedron with 20 identical equilateral triangular faces, 30 edges, and 12 vertices. The research was published earlier this month in the journal NANO Letters. Continue reading

Oak Ridge Hosts Supercomputing Symposium

Hybrid supercomputers are opening new possibilities in research across the fields of science and engineering, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has launched a new conference to discuss the advances made possible by extreme-scale hybrid supercomputers. The Accelerating Computational Science Symposium 2012 will take place March 28-30 in Washington, D.C. Continue reading

The Future of Medical Tech Looks to Silk

More comfortable to sleep in than diamonds, silk has been an exotic, fashionable gift since humans first began to collect the stuff. With doctors always looking for better, safer ways to do things, silk is also gaining attention as a valuable piece of medical technology.

Silk appeals to medical researchers because it is biodegradable and doesn’t provoke an immune reaction. Scientists have experimented with using silk films to embed electronics in the brain. Unlike silicon, silk contours to the shape of brain, making the electronics easier to place. Scientists have also recently discovered that silk can become sticky by introducing an electric field.

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University of Illinois Tests Self-repairing Chips

Everyone who’s watched movies has probably wished their own electronic gizmos could self-repair like the T-1000 from Terminator 2. Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a system of self-repairing circuits that functions in a similar fashion as that metallic killing machine.

Building on their previous work of self-repairing polymers, the team placed microcapsules—some no larger than 10 microns—on a gold line that acted like a circuit for the purposes of their experiment. The circuit was then intentionally cracked, which caused the microcapsules to break and disperse the liquid metal contained within. The liquid metal slid into the crack, sealing it, allowing the circuit to continue functioning.

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