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Lipids, at first glance, seem like simple molecules. They have some degree of insolubility in water and have long hydrocarbon chains. While some types of lipids are involved in energy storage, some others self-arrange to form cellular membranes. These membranes are what enable compartmentalisation in human cells and allow them to be distinct from one […]

One of the most promising renewable energy sources available is solar power. The sun produces enough energy in an hour to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year. The ability to harness this energy to create electricity is one of the key problems facing researchers today. However, conventional solar cells aren’t working. They are […]

Some of the most remarkable material properties occur in biological materials. Bone, for example, is a phenomenal composite material with an outstanding combination of stiffness, strength and toughness. Furthermore, bone is able to heal itself and is produced from inherently environmentally substances. Taking inspiration from the biological world is perhaps not a bad place to […]

Following the ancient Chinese who fabricated magnetic needles to explore the world, we are placing magnets at the end of fine needles in a search for a new computer. Everybody is used to electricity. It powers from your watch to a skyscraper’s lift, but, what if we could make things better by using magnetism? In […]

Some of the most widespread photosynthetic organisms on our planet – blue green cyanobacteria – can be used to make solar cells. We hope that such “living solar panels” can lead to a substantial drop in solar cell cost. As part of my research I am using some of the most widespread photosynthetic organisms on […]

The hardest part about detecting cancer is that the disease emerges from our own tissues. The detectives in the clinic, the doctors, have a difficult time distinguishing between good and bad cells due to their similarities. It is as if the culprits of the crime have disguised themselves to look like innocent bystanders. Indications that […]

Objects at a very small scale behave very differently from large ones. If we take a piece of gold, with the bright yellow hue that we all find so attractive, and make it smaller and smaller, we end up with a material whose colour can be red or even green if we illuminate it the […]

In order to measure light in exquisite detail, we are pushing the efficiency and capabilities of detectors ever closer to their ultimate limit. What if we could retrieve all of the information contained in light from atoms and stars, one grain of light at a time? Rarely has such a goal, measuring single photons, or […]

The world’s energy supply is in danger, but the power of artificial photosynthesis can save it Photosynthesis sustains life on Earth by using light to drive the conversion of carbon dioxide and water into useful products such as sugars and releasing oxygen as a by-product. Artificial photosynthesis attempts to mimic this process to produce renewable […]

The remarkable performance of biological light-harvesting complexes has prompted a multidisciplinary interest in engineering biologically inspired antenna systems as a possible route to novel solar cell technologies. Analogous to origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, DNA can be folded into complex shapes via molecular self-assembly. This novel technique, known as ‘DNA origami’, has enabled […]