Chinese scientists announced they have built a facility that can generate the world's brightest extreme ultraviolet (EUV) free electron laser.
The facility in Dalian, a coastal city in northeast China's Liaoning Province, can generate 140 trillion photons per laser pulse in one picosecond.
The Dalian Coherent Light Source (DCLS) facility was jointly built by the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics and Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) with a total investment of about 140 million yuan (about 20 million U.S. dollars).
The flashes of light will illuminate new aspects of the microscopic world. "EUV light sources are especially useful for sensitive detection of atoms, molecules and clusters," said Yang Xueming, a CAS academician and deputy director of the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics.
Brightness and pulse duration of the light source are key to such detection. "The brighter the light source, the more clearly we can see the small number of atoms or molecules," said Yang.
"Since many physical, chemical and biological reactions happen on a time scale of femtoseconds or picoseconds, we need high-speed 'flashlight' to capture those moments to study the process," Yang said.
The DCLS will play a unique and important role in exploring the unknown material world and promoting technological progress, said Yang.
"EUV free electron laser light sources have wide applications in the study of basic energy science, chemistry, physics and atmospheric sciences. We expect that the facility will become a new tool for important scientific discoveries and international scientific collaboration," Yang said.
Among all the applications, research on the formation and growth mechanism of smog is likely to gain the most attention in China.
"The facility can help us study how small molecules grow into clusters, and then into smog. Better understanding the formation mechanism of smog is important to finding solutions to air pollution," the scientist said.
Zhang Weiqing, a researcher with the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, said the DCLS will also be used to study the chemical mechanism of burning, which will help improve the efficiency of energy utilization and reduce pollution emissions.
The facility is also expected to play an important role in developing the next generation of semiconductor chips, as well as investigating the structure and function of biomolecules, said Zhang.
Wang Enge, vice president of the CAS, said 90 percent of DCLS devices were independently developed in China, and its construction has laid the foundation for developing next generation free electron laser.
New Technology Measures Fat in Blood Without Drawing Blood
Japanese researchers developed a technology to measure the amounts of blood components such as fat without taking a blood sample anytime, anywhere.
The technology, which is expected to be used to prevent metabolic syndrome, etc, was co-developed by Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and Fuji Electric Co Ltd. They exhibited a prototype of a measurement device using the new technology at InterOpto 2014, a trade show on optical technologies and products, which took place from Oct 15 to 17, 2014, in Yokohama City, Japan.
This time, the Optical Sensing Group of AIST's Electronics and Photonics Research Institute and Fuji Electric developed a portable spectral instrument that is capable of high-speed spectroscopic measurement of near-infrared light transmitted through a living body with a high sensitivity and can be used for analysis of blood components.
Because the instrument can detect the successive fluctuations of light transmitted through a living body, it becomes possible, for example, to continuously monitor the amount of fat in the blood without taking a blood sample. When used for calorie management at home, work, etc, it will contribute to the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases such as metabolic syndrome, the researchers said.
Bioinspired coating for medical devices repels blood and bacteria
From joint replacements to cardiac implants and dialysis machines, medical devices enhance or save lives on a daily basis. However, any device implanted in the body or in contact with flowing blood faces two critical challenges that can threaten the life of the patient the device is meant to help: blood clotting and bacterial infection.
A team of Harvard scientists and engineers may have a solution. They developed a new surface coating for medical devices using materials already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The coating repelled blood from more than 20 medically relevant substrates the team tested — made of plastic to glass and metal — and also suppressed biofilm formation in a study reported in Nature Biotechnology. But that's not all.
The team implanted medical–grade tubing and catheters coated with the material in large blood vessels in pigs, and it prevented blood from clotting for at least eight hours without the use of blood thinners such as heparin. Heparin is notorious for causing potentially lethal side–effects like excessive bleeding but is often a necessary evil in medical treatments where clotting is a risk.
"Devising a way to prevent blood clotting without using anticoagulants is one of the holy grails in medicine," said Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., Founding Director of Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and senior author of the study. Ingber is also the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital, as well as professor of bioengineering at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).
The idea for the coating evolved from SLIPS, a pioneering surface technology developed by coauthor Joanna Aizenberg, Ph.D., who is a Wyss Institute Core Faculty member and the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science at Harvard SEAS. SLIPS stands for Slippery Liquid–Infused Porous Surfaces. Inspired by the slippery surface of the carnivorous pitcher plant, which enables the plant to capture insects, SLIPS repels nearly any material it contacts. The liquid layer on the surface provides a barrier to everything from ice to crude oil and blood.