Nano-level lubricant tuning improves material for electronic devices and surface coatings

Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), which is ubiquitously used as a solid lubricant, has recently been shown to have a two-dimensional (2D) form that is similar to graphene. But, when thinned down to less than a nanometer thick, MoS2 demonstrates properties with great promise as a functional material for electronic devices and surface coatings. Researchers at the … Read more

Sensors embedded in sports equipment could provide real-time analytics to your smartphone

Sports analytics—tracking how fast the ball is moving or how players move across the field—is becoming a key component of how coaches make decisions and fans view games. Data for these analytics is currently sourced through cameras in stadiums and courts and is incredibly expensive to acquire. In an effort to make big data analytics … Read more

Dual-function nanorod LEDs could make multifunctional displays

Cellphones and other devices could soon be controlled with touchless gestures and charge themselves using ambient light, thanks to new LED arrays that can both emit and detect light. Made of tiny nanorods arrayed in a thin film, the LEDs could enable new interactive functions and multitasking devices. Researchers at the University of Illinois at … Read more

New brush polymers catalyze their own formation

Researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Connecticut have developed new brush polymers – synthetic protein-like molecules that catalyze their own formation – that could provide insight into enzyme behavior and self-replicating systems. The polymers have potential applications in catalyst development, nanomaterials and medicine. As reported in the journal Nature Chemistry, the … Read more

Advanced robotic bat’s flight characteristics simulates the real thing

Engineers create demonstration of self-contained autonomous flight by mimicking morphological properties of flexible bat wings. Bats have long captured the imaginations of scientists and engineers with their unrivaled agility and maneuvering characteristics, achieved by functionally versatile dynamic wing conformations as well as more than forty active and passive joints on the wings. However, their wing … Read more

Tiny exports signal big shifts in cancer tissue, researchers find

Microscopic shifts in metabolism and increases in tiny transport vesicles out of tumor cells preface larger changes to the tumor environment and could prepare the way for cancerous cells to spread and metastasize, University of Illinois researchers report. They saw cancer-causing biological events at both the molecular and tissue scales as they happened, imaging the … Read more

Novel buffer-layer design results in room-temperature mid-IR InAs laser made on InP

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated the first room-temperature lattice-mismatched indium arsenide (InAs) quantum-well laser grown on an indium phosphide (InP) substrate. Their laser emits light at a wavelength (2.75µm) that is typically only achievable using the more expensive substrate gallium antimonide (GaSb). In order to build their laser on InP, … Read more

Tool to map gene’s ‘social network’ sheds light on function, interactions and drug efficacy

Although the human genome has been mapped, many questions remain about how genes are regulated, how they interact with one another, and what function some genes serve. A new tool developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology distills the huge amount of genomic data into gene … Read more

Curiosity, communication, and collaboration key to new LabEscape “Escape Room”

It’s up to you and your team to save the free world from evil forces plotting its destruction, and you have precisely 60 minutes to do it. You must find out what happened to Professor Schrödenberg, a University of Illinois physicist who disappeared after developing a top-secret quantum computer that can crack any digital-security encryption … Read more