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Interdisciplinary Research Centre

Editing without 'cutting': Molecular mechanisms of new gene-editing tool revealed

New research has determined the spatial structure of various processes of a novel gene-editing tool called 'prime editor.' Functional analysis based on these structures also revealed how a 'prime editor' could achieve reverse transcription, synthesizing DNA from RNA, without 'cutting' both strands of the double helix. Clarifying these molecular mechanisms contributes greatly to designing gene-editing tools accurate enough for gene therapy treatments.

Electrochromic films -- like sunglasses for your windows?

Advances in electrochromic coatings may bring us closer to environmentally friendly ways to keep inside spaces cool. Like eyeglasses that darken to provide sun protection, the optical properties of these transparent films can be tuned with electricity to block out solar heat and light. Now, researchers report demonstrating a new electrochromic film design based on metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) that quickly and reliably switch from transparent to glare-diminishing green to thermal-insulating red.

Researchers create materials with unique combo of stiffness, thermal insulation

Researchers have demonstrated the ability to engineer materials that are both stiff and capable of insulating against heat. This combination of properties is extremely unusual and holds promise for a range of applications, such as the development of new thermal insulation coatings for electronic devices.

New technique offers more precise maps of the Moon's surface

A new study may help redefine how scientists map the surface of the Moon, making the process more streamlined and precise than ever before.

Public have no difficulty getting to grips with an extra thumb, study finds

Researchers have shown that members of the public have little trouble in learning very quickly how to use a third thumb -- a controllable, prosthetic extra thumb -- to pick up and manipulate objects. The team tested the robotic device on a diverse range of participants, which they say is essential for ensuring new technologies are inclusive and can work for everyone.

Performance of eco-friendly cooling applications enhanced

Researchers have developed a sustainable and controllable strategy to manipulate interfacial heat transfer, paving the way for improving the performance of eco-friendly cooling in various applications such as electronics, buildings and solar panels.

Wind farms are cheaper than you think -- and could have prevented Fukushima, says global review

Offshore wind could have prevented the Fukushima disaster, according to a review of wind energy.

What are the risks of hydrogen vehicles in tunnels?

A team has analyzed the risk and damage potential of hydrogen vehicles in tunnels and derived recommendations. Their conclusion? Any damage would be extensive, but its occurrence is unlikely.

'The magic of making electricity from metals and air' The vexing carbonate has achieved it!

Team develops a high-energy, high-efficiency all-solid-state Na-air battery platform.

Inexpensive microplastic monitoring through porous materials and machine learning

Optical analysis and machine learning techniques can now readily detect microplastics in marine and freshwater environments using inexpensive porous metal substrates.

Harnessing green energy from plants depends on their circadian rhythms

Plant hydraulics drive the biological process that moves fluids from roots to plant stems and leaves, creating streaming electric potential, or voltage, in the process. A study closely examined the differences in voltage caused by the concentrations of ions, types of ions, and pH of the fluid plants transport, tying the voltage changes to the plant's circadian rhythm that causes adjustments day and night. According to the authors, this consistent, cyclic voltage creation could be harnessed as an energy source.

Close to 1 in 2 surveyed say they would use air taxis in the future

Through a study of 1,002 participants, scientists have found that almost half (45.7 per cent) say they intend to use air taxis when they become available, with over one-third (36.2 per cent) planning to do so regularly. According to the findings, the intention to take autonomous air taxis is associated with factors such as trust in the AI technology deployed in air taxis, hedonic motivation (the fun or pleasure derived from using technology), performance expectancy (the degree to which users expect that using the system will benefit them), and news media attention (the amount of attention paid to news about air taxis).

Apple versus donut: How the shape of a tokamak impacts the limits of the edge of the plasma

A new model for ballooning instabilities in apple-shaped fusion vessels considers the height and width of the plasma's edge.

Combating carbon footprint: Novel reactor system converts carbon dioxide into usable fuel

Boilers are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. In a recent study, researchers developed a method to convert CO2 emissions from small boilers into methane, which makes use of an optimized reactor design that evenly distributes the CO2 feed. This, in turn, results in significantly lower temperature increments and a boost in methane production. This innovative technique could pave the way for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Charge your laptop in a minute or your EV in 10? Supercapacitors can help

Imagine if your dead laptop or phone could charge in a minute or if an electric car could be fully powered in 10 minutes. New research could lead to such advances.

Theory and experiment combine to shine a new light on proton spin

Nuclear physicists have long been working to reveal how the proton gets its spin. Now, a new method that combines experimental data with state-of-the-art calculations has revealed a more detailed picture of spin contributions from the very glue that holds protons together.

'Invisible tweezers' use robotics and acoustic energy to achieve what human hands cannot

Undergoing surgery is seldom a pleasant experience, and it can sometimes be highly invasive. Surgical procedures have evolved steadily over the centuries, growing with the knowledge of anatomy and biology. Innovative methods have also been bolstered with new tools, and a growth in the use of robotics since the 1980s has moved health care forward significantly.

Controlling water, transforming greenhouse gases

Researchers have outlined a way to manipulate water molecules to make CO2R more efficient, with the ultimate goal of creating a clean energy loop. Through their new method, the team was able to perform CO2R with nearly 100% efficiency under mildly acidic conditions, using either gold or zinc as catalysts.

Observing mammalian cells with superfast soft X-rays

Researchers have developed a new technique to view living mammalian cells. The team used a powerful laser, called a soft X-ray free electron laser, to emit ultrafast pulses of illumination at the speed of femtoseconds, or quadrillionths of a second. With this they could capture images of carbon-based structures in living cells for the first time, before the soft X-ray radiation damaged them.

More than spins: Exploring uncharted territory in quantum devices

Many of today's quantum devices rely on collections of qubits, also called spins. These quantum bits have only two energy levels, the '0' and the '1'. However, spins in real devices also interact with light and vibrations known as bosons, greatly complicating calculations. Researchers now demonstrate a way to describe spin-boson systems and use this to efficiently configure quantum devices in a desired state.