The most efficient single-molecule diode ever made

Researchers have created the most efficient single-molecule diode ever.

Diodes are common in everyday electronic devices, in which they control the current by allowing it to flow in one direction while blocking it in the opposite direction. The researchers, working at the University of Barcelona (UB) and IBEC, have created one of just 1 nanometer in size with a rectification ratio – the ratio of the current that flows in one direction compared to the other – several orders of magnitude higher than previously.

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Screening improvements for asthma and obstructive pulmonary disease patients

Some IBEC research published in PlosOne offers a step towards better screening of patients with asthma and other sufferers of obstructive pulmonary diseases.

The new integrated approach to continuous adventitious respiratory sound (CAS) analysis, developed by Raimon Jané’s Biomedical Signal Processing and Interpretation group within the framework of IBEC’s Joint Research Unit with the Institut d’Investigació Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP), improves assessment in the clinic.

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3D printing biocompatible hydrogels

IBEC researchers have laid the groundwork for faster advances in 3D bioprinting for regenerative medicine by creating a system of ink and matrices that offers a solid basis for tissue regeneration.

Due to their high water content, hydrogels are highly attractive biomaterials for 3D printing as efficient ‘surrogates’ for the extracellular matrix, onto which cells can be cultured. However, while they are relatively easy to produce using a method called extrusion printing, their stability and structural integrity can weaken when they’re in contact with biological fluids or extracellular matrices.

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How tumor cells hijack healthy cells to promote metastasis

In a study published today in Nature Cell Biology and supported by Obra Social “la Caixa”, researchers at IBEC have identified an interaction between two proteins that enables cancerous cells to use the physical forces of healthy cells to start tumor metastasis.

Metastasis, responsible for the majority of deaths in patients with cancer, is the process by which cancer cells separate from the original tumor to form new tumors in other organs or tissues of the body.

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Light-regulated drugs as analgesics

A new study involving scientists from IBEC, IQAC/CSIC and CNRS in France uses light-regulated drugs to alleviate the negative emotions associated with chronic pain.

Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than six months. Its origin can be both physiological and emotional, and it is accompanied by symptoms such as hypersensitivity, anxiety and depressive behavior. It has no cure, treatment is difficult, and current drugs don’t alleviate the symptoms.

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New DNA-based technique for depositing materials with a resolution of less than 10 nanometers

adnorigamiA study led by CSIC and involving IBEC researchers proposes a new technique using molecules ‘a la carte’ to obtain nanoscale surfaces that will have many useful applications in microelectronics and biomedicine. The work has been published in the journal Advanced Materials.

The new method means that researchers can obtain nanoscale surfaces with many molecules arranged in an ordered way.

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Using EFM to probe the secrets of bacterial endospore survival strategies

acs-nano-gabrielwebAn IBEC group has demonstrated, for the first time, that the hydration properties of a single bacterial endospore in varying environmental relative humidity can be determined with high accuracy and reproducibility, and in a non-destructive way, shedding new light on endospore survival strategies.

Endospores are recognized as the hardiest form of life on Earth, and are produced by certain bacterial cells in response to a lack of nutrients.

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Record-breaking nanojets that use safe fuel

samuelrecordIBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Samuel Sanchez’s latest nanojets have set a new world record for the smallest man-made jet engine ever.

As well as using a safe new method of propulsion, the tubular nanoscale engines are also three times smaller than the previous Guinness Book of Records entry – which was also set by Samuel, in a collaboration with colleagues at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research in Dresden.

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