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Physical Sciences

3-D printed sugar scaffolds offer sweet solution for tissue engineering, device manufacturing

University of Illinois engineers built a 3-D printer that offers a sweet solution to making detailed structures that commercial 3-D printers can’t: Rather than a layer-upon-layer solid shell, it produces a delicate network of thin ribbons of hardened isomalt, the type of sugar alcohol used to make throat lozenges. The water-soluble, biodegradable glassy sugar structures have multiple applications in biomedical engineering, cancer research and device manufacturing.

Team achieves two-electron chemical reactions using light energy, gold

Scientists report they can now drive two-electron chemical reactions, bringing them one step closer to building a carbon-recycling system that can harvest solar energy to efficiently convert CO2 and water into liquid fuels.

Engineers on a roll toward smaller, more efficient radio frequency transformers

The future of electronic devices lies partly within the “internet of things” – the network of devices, vehicles and appliances embedded within electronics to enable connectivity and data exchange. University of Illinois engineers are helping realize this future by minimizing the size of one notoriously large element of integrated circuits used for wireless communication – the transformer.

Elastic microspheres expand understanding of embryonic development and cancer cells

A new technique that uses tiny elastic balls filled with fluorescent nanoparticles aims to expand the understanding of the mechanical forces that exist between cells, researchers report. A University of Illinois-led team has demonstrated the quantification of 3-D forces within cells living in petri dishes as well as live specimens. This research may unlock some of the mysteries related to embryonic development and cancer stem cells, i.e., tumor-repopulating cells.

New polymer manufacturing process saves 10 orders of magnitude of energy

Makers of cars, planes, buses – anything that needs strong, lightweight and heat resistant parts – are poised to benefit from a new manufacturing process that requires only a quick touch from a small heat source to send a cascading hardening wave through a polymer. Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new polymer-curing process that could reduce the cost, time and energy needed, compared with the current manufacturing process.

Illinois chemist elected to National Academy of Sciences

Scott E. Denmark, a professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest professional honors a scientist can receive. Denmark is one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates recognized for distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Study suggests ample warning of supervolcano eruptions

Concern over the potential imminent eruptions of Earth’s supervolcanoes, like Taupo in New Zealand or Yellowstone in the United States, may be quelled by the results of a new study suggesting that geological signs pointing to a catastrophic eruption would be clear far in advance.

Prosthetic arms can provide controlled sensory feedback, study finds

Losing an arm doesn’t have to mean losing all sense of touch, thanks to prosthetic arms that stimulate nerves with mild electrical feedback. University of Illinois researchers have developed a control algorithm that regulates the current so a prosthetics user feels steady sensation, even when the electrodes begin to peel off or when sweat builds up. 

New camera gives surgeons a butterfly’s-eye view of cancer

Cancer lurking in tissue could be more easily found when looking through a butterfly’s eye.

Geography professor awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

University of Illinois professor of geography Jesse Ribot has been awarded a 2018 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.

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