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In Search of Fingerprints for Atmospheric Pollution

Research determines markers to identify those responsible for the emission of iron-rich particles in cities

The contamination of the atmosphere by gases and solid particles affects not only human health in urban centers but also the ecosystem. The management of air quality depends on several actions including the establishment of quality standards, the regulation of the release of pollutants, and the monitoring of air quality in a given region.

Programs for air quality monitoring can point out levels of pollutants in the atmosphere and assess their compliance with standards set by legislation. However, they are not able to identify the individual contribution of each source responsible for the emission.

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Porous Nanostructures Inspired in Biological Systems

Research investigates reproducing the morphology of complex biological systems in the nanoscale for technological purposes

The morphology of biological systems has fascinated both architects and scientists, and their reproduction in the nanoscale could be very useful for technological purposes. This type of structure is already considered a candidate for applications in chemical catalysis, air filters for virus elimination, and membranes for water purification and separation of proteins.

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Nano-opto-electronics with Soapstone

Research shows potential of combining mineral with graphene for the design of new devices

The development of electronic devices in the nanometric scale depends on the search for materials that have appropriate characteristics, and that are also efficient and inexpensive. This is the case of graphene, a material formed by a single layer of carbon atoms obtained from graphite. Graphene is a conductor with excellent optical and electrical properties that can be easily altered by the incidence of electric fields or light.

In addition, several other interesting structural, electronic and optical properties can be obtained by combining graphene with other materials. These new properties arise due to changes in the electronic structure in the interface of different materials when they are brought into contact. In this scenario, the search for new materials and ways of combining them becomes a natural trend.

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Nano-Fried Eggs: nanoparticles with optical and magnetic properties

Results have potential applications in the production of biomedical images and in the detection of individual molecules

Due to their extremely small size, and properties adaptable to virtually any application, nanoparticles have been attracting the interest of a wide range of science and technology fields. The characteristics of these tiny particles can be controlled by means of their composition, size and shape. Additionally, by combining different materials, it is possible to include different properties in the same nanoparticle or to make new properties emerge.

Furthermore, depending on the crystalline structure and the miscibility of the precursor materials at the nanoscale, they may segregate into different structures, such as core-shell – in which the nanoparticles’ core and surface are each composed of different materials – or Janus – in which the surface of the nanoparticles is composed of two or more materials.

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Nanotechnology in oil exploration

Research investigates use of nanoparticles for advanced oil recovery

Brazil is a pioneering country in the exploration of oil in deep waters and a great quantity of this fossil fuel is stored in the porous space of carbonate rocks, especially in the pre-salt layer. These rocks are very heterogeneous and have complex pore systems, bringing great challenges to the extraction of oil and gas.

After drilling an oil or gas reservoir, the natural pressure inside it causes the contents to flow naturally to the surface where the fluid is collected and directed to a tanker. However, a few years after the opening of the well, the amount of oil extracted daily tends to decrease due to the drop in internal well pressure.

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First report of inorganic nanoparticles activity as artificial pro-enzymes

Research opens perspective for treatment of several diseases tailored to the needs of each patient

From the biochemical point of view, we are a complex set of interconnected chemical reactions. The molecules that make up our bodies are in constant transformation, and this is what makes it possible for us to get energy from food, to regenerate damage to our tissues, and to synthesize the compounds necessary for life.

These modifications usually occur with the aid of other molecules called enzymes, which promote and accelerate chemical reactions without being consumed during the process.

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Unprecedented 3D images of neurons in healthy and epileptic brains

Results open new perspectives for the study of neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative diseases

A comprehensive understanding of the brain, its development, and eventual degeneration, depends on the assessment of neuronal number, spatial organization, and connectivity. However, the study of the brain architecture at the level of individual cells is still a major challenge in neuroscience.

In this context, Matheus de Castro Fonseca, from the Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory (LNBio), and collaborators [1] used the facilities of the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS) to obtain, for the first time, three-dimensional images in high resolution of part of the neuronal circuit, observed directly in the brain and with single cell resolution.

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New catalysts for reducing vehicular pollution

Research investigates cheaper alternatives to attenuate the emission of toxic gases

Despite the recent advances in the production of electric vehicles, and the future prospect of hydrogen-powered engines, the replacement of the fleet will take several years. In the meantime, the number of vehicles continues to grow. For that reason, not only public policies must be appropriate to this reality, but also innovative technologies to reduce the release of pollutants into the atmosphere must be developed.

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Synchrotron infrared beamline optics optimized for nano-scale vibrational spectroscopy

First experimental report of a special optical layout dedicated to correct typical aberrations derived from large extraction ports in IR beamlines

Infrared nanospectroscopy represents a major breakthrough in chemical analysis since it allows the identification of nanomaterials via their natural (label free) vibrational signatures. Classically powered by laser sources, the experiment called scattering Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy (s-SNOM) has become a standard tool for investigations of chemical and optical properties of materials beyond the diffraction limit of light.

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Breakthrough for body heat-powered technologies

New thermoelectric material shows great potential for wearable devices, embedded to clothing and accessories, and other flexible technologies

One of the biggest challenges for the advancement of wearable devices, embedded to clothing and accessories, which would be capable, for example, of continuously measuring and transmitting vital sign data, is the availability of power without the need for large batteries.

Thermoelectric materials – in which a temperature difference between two points of the material creates an electric current or vice versa – make it possible to obtain the electrical energy used by the device from the temperature difference between the surface of the human body and the ambient air.

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