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Nature Nanotechnology

Nanocapsule Sobers Up Mice In Record Time, Could Lead To Pills That Stop Your Drunk Cold

Have you ever gotten that kind of drunk where all you can do is watch the room spin and wish you weren't so drunk? It's alright -- most of us have been there. But UCLA researchers may have come up with a new method of sobering up quickly -- a nanocapsule full of enzymes that help digest alcohol. It's been shown to be a promising treatment to alleviate drunkenness in mice, and could one day mean a pill that sobers you up before the hangover sets in, or at least before you start saying unpleasant things about the bouncer's mom.

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Researchers Create Transforming DNA-Based Gel That Remembers Its Shape, Returns To It

A team of researchers at Cornell University have created a gel built from synthetic DNA that remembers its own shape, and can return to that form after being reduced to a free-flowing, formless goo. Researchers are studying the gel to learn more about its potential as a drug delivery system, which, to our minds, really sells short its obvious future making those little sponge dinosaurs totally obsolete and replacing them with staggeringly detailed hydrogel statues. Get on it, science!

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Researchers Create The First Living Nanowire From Bacteria

Researchers have created what they call a "living nanowire" using an usual type of bacteria that has long filaments outside its body and conducts electrons better than some metals. This could be an important first step in merging biological systems with electronics for small organic batteries or biological superconductors that are much cheaper to produce than silicon-chip based technologies. The research was conducted by a team from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Lead author on the paper, Mark Tuominen, explains that humans and animals typically get rid of electrons through breathing, but the bacteria get rid of electrons through their pili, the long filaments that are used as the nanowire. In the bacteria these electrons are created as a byproduct of the digestive process, because bacteria living in anaerobic zones don't have oxygen molecules to carry any electrons like humans and animals do.

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Quantum Dots Make Self-Assembling Nanoantenna

Researchers from the University of Toronto have used quantum dots to develop artificial molecules that they then used to create of a new type of nanoantena that can control and direct the energy absorbed from light. Quantum dots are semiconductive particles that can absorb and emit light efficiently at chosen wavelengths. What the researchers did was develop a successful way to build higher-order structures, or complexes, out of the different types of quantum dots. Led by professors Shana Kelley and Ted Sargent, the research team brought together expertise about DNA and about semiconductors to formulate a generalized strategy about how to bind the different types of nanoparticles to each other. Published in Nature Nanotechnology the research shows that you can create a more effective nanoantenna by increasing the amount of light absorbed, and then funneling the light energy into a single site within artificial molecules made of quantum dots. But the thing that makes this research possible isn't just an understanding of semiconductors and nanomaterials. According to the researchers the high degree of specificity of DNA was key to making this research successful.

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