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Tag: c2017

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 […]

Traditionally, the core materials inside all of the electronics driving the modern world have been made from elements that must be mined from the Earth’s crust: silicon, germanium, gallium and indium. Mining and then processing these ‘inorganic’ materials can be expensive and is also destructive to the environment. New types of materials for electronics have […]

The natural world is full of dazzling colours, from the ever-changing camouflage of the octopus to the vivid mating displays of tropical birds. The way these creatures look depends on what happens to white light when it shines on them. Colour often arises from pigments  – special chemicals in the skin or feathers that absorb […]

You started off as a single, yet not so simple, building block called a cell. This one cell divided into two cells, then these two cells became four, and approximately 9 months later you were born:  a masterpiece of around 15 trillion cells, all connected in a specific way. This entire process is called development, […]

For decades, computers have become exponentially more powerful, so much so that today’s mobile phones are millions of times more powerful that the room-sized multi-million-dollar computer systems that guided man to the moon 50 years ago. But soon the rapid advances of computers, often described by Moore’s law, is coming to halt, thus prompting us […]

Batteries play an important role in our lives, storing electricity to allow us to use our devices all around the world. Commercial lithium ion batteries use a liquid electrolyte to transport lithium ions between the cathode and anode of the battery. This liquid is often an organic solvent which is highly flammable and can cause […]

Living systems have evolved over the course of millions of years, which is why they work so efficiently in promoting life: they uptake and use of nutrients, adapt to their environment, reproduce, etc. Across living species, the basics are prevalent: the instructions for life are encoded in the form of genes, more formally known as […]

Batteries are everywhere these days: from your cell phone, laptop, through power tools all the way to electric vehicles and grid storage systems. At the moment, the most prominent type of a battery is the Li-ion battery, which has been first proposed in 1970s and commercially used in 1991. Scientists and engineers have worked hard […]

Our society is heavily reliant on carbon-containing fuels that release greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change. The UK government aim to be carbon-neutral by 2050, but this will prove a challenge for some industries – such as transport, steel production and chemicals manufacture – where environmentally-friendly alternatives to carbon-containing fuels are difficult to find. […]

A nanorobot travels through a blood vessel searching for something. TARGET IDENTIFIED. The robot picks up its cargo, a pill, using its robotic arms. It makes its way to its destination somewhere in the human body and deposits its payload. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Sound like science fiction? Well, it is! This was the backstory, as I […]