Scientists from the Moscow State University together with colleagues from Germany have found that a derivative of -radialene, a molecule known to the science for nearly 30 years, can be used to create organic semiconductors. Its purpose is the development of electronic devices based on organic materials.
Danish research is behind a new epoch-making discovery, which may prove decisive to future brain research.
The level of salts in the brain plays a critical role in whether we are asleep or awake. This discovery may be of great importance to research on psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and convulsive fits from lack of sleep as well as post-anaesthetization confusion, according to Professor Maiken Nedergaard.
Salts in our brain decide whether we are asleep or awake. For the first time, researchers have shown that the level of salts in our body and brain differ depending on whether we are asleep or awake. A new study from the University of Copenhagen reveals that by influencing the level of salts, it is possible to control a mouse’s sleep-wake cycle. The research has just been published in the scientific journal, SCIENCE.
“These salts play a much larger and much more decisive role than hitherto imagined. The discovery reveals a completely new layer of understanding of how the brain functions. First and foremost, we learn more about how sleep is controlled. It may, however, also open up for a better future understanding of why some people suffer convulsive fits when staying awake all through the night,” says Professor Maiken Nedergaard from the Center for Basic and Translational Neuroscience at the University of Copenhagen.
First Proof of Ferroelectricity in Simplest Amino Acid
The boundary between electronics and biology is blurring with the first detection by researchers at Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory of ferroelectric properties in an amino acid called glycine.
A multi-institutional research team led by Andrei Kholkin of the University of Aveiro, Portugal, used a combination of experiments and modeling to identify and explain the presence of ferroelectricity, a property where materials switch their polarization when an electric field is applied, in the simplest known amino acid — glycine.
“The discovery of ferroelectricity opens new pathways to novel classes of bioelectronic logic and memory devices, where polarization switching is used to record and retrieve information in the form of ferroelectric domains,” said coauthor and senior scientist at ORNL’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) Sergei Kalinin.
Although certain biological molecules like glycine are known to be piezoelectric, a phenomenon in which materials respond to pressure by producing electricity, ferroelectricity is relatively rare in the realm of biology. Thus, scientists are still unclear about the potential applications of ferroelectric biomaterials.
“This research helps paves the way toward building memory devices made of molecules that already exist in our bodies,” Kholkin said.
For example, making use of the ability to switch polarization through tiny electric fields may help build nanorobots that can swim through human blood. Kalinin cautions that such nanotechnology is still a long way in the future.