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A quantum leap in nanoparticle efficiency

In an international study Univ. of Melbourne and NIST found that pairs of closely spaced nanoparticles made of gold can act as “optical antennas”. These antennae concentrate the light shining on them into tiny regions located in the gap between the nanoparticles. Researchers found the precise geometry of nanoparticle pairs that maximizes light concentration, resolving a hotly debated area of quantum physics.

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Breakthrough Points the Way for DNA-Based Computer Circuits

Scientists have announced a significant breakthrough toward developing DNA-based electrical circuits. Molecular electronics, which uses molecules as building blocks for the fabrication of electronic components, has been seen as the ultimate solution to overcoming the limits of Moore’s Law.

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First detailed picture of a cancer-related cell enzyme in action on a chromosome unit

A landmark study to be published in the October 30, 2014 print edition of the journal Nature provides new insight into the function of an enzyme related to the BRCA1 breast-cancer protein. The study by a team at Penn State University is the first to produce a detailed working image of an enzyme in the Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 (PRC1)-a group that regulates cell development and is associated with many types of cancer.

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Mars Calling

Directed and produced by JP O’Brien WEB: www.jpobrien.com.au FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/5afilms007/ TWITTER: @pushcomesto UPDATE: Featuring Dianne McGrath,…

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Spectral Signatures of Reorganised Brain Networks in Disorders of Consciousness

Author Summary What are the neural signatures of consciousness? This is an elusive yet fascinating challenge to current cognitive neuroscience, but it takes on an immediate clinical and societal significance in patients diagnosed as vegetative and minimally conscious. In these patients, it leads us to ask whether we can test for the presence of these signatures in the absence of any external signs of awareness. Recent conceptual advances suggest that consciousness requires a dynamic balance between integrated and differentiated networks of information exchange between brain regions. Here we apply this insight to study such networks in patients and compare them to healthy adults. Using the science of graph theory, we show that the rich and diversely connected networks that support awareness are characteristically impaired in patients, lacking the ability to efficiently integrate information across disparate regions via well-connected hubs. We find that the quality of patients’ networks also correlates well with their degree of behavioural responsiveness, and some vegetative patients who show signs of hidden awareness have remarkably well-preserved networks similar to healthy adults. Overall, our research highlights distinctive network signatures of pathological unconsciousness, which could improve clinical assessment and help identify patients who are aware despite being uncommunicative.

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U.S. Military Puts Up $110 Million to Fund Photonic Integrated Circuits Competition

The U.S. government is backing the next generation of photonics technology for higher-speed Internet and mobile computing

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An enzyme and synaptic plasticity

Synapses are ‘dynamic’ things: they can regulate their action in neural processes related to learning, for example, but also as a consequence of diseases. A research team — led by SISSA — has demonstrated the role of a small enzyme in synaptic plasticity. The study has just been published in the journal Nature Communications.