Biomimetic Engineering: "Learning from nature" - this fundamental idea has been followed by scientists, inventors and engineers for a long time. Within 3.8 billion years of evolution nature has developed a huge number of solutions, which could be used for solving problems in various fields of engineering. The implementation of ideas from nature into engineering in a creative way is called ‘biomimetics' [1,2].
Every great structure, from the Empire State Building to the Golden Gate Bridge, depends on specific mechanical properties to remain strong and reliable. Rigidity-a material's stiffness-is of particular importance for maintaining the robust functionality of everything from colossal edifices to the tiniest of nanoscale structures. In biological nanostructures, like DNA networks, it has been difficult to measure this stiffness, which is essential to their properties and functions.
EMBL image: As spring arrives, flowers seem to bloom everywhere - even under the microscopes at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. But the ‘flowers' in this picture actually help an animal, not a plant, to pass on its genes. The image, which has been false-colored for artistic effect, shows a slice through the tails of mouse sperm. Each ‘flower' is the tail that a sperm cell wags to swim.
EMBL: In this video (click here), a protein called myomesin does its impression of Mr. Fantastic, the leader of the Fantastic Four of comic book fame, who performed incredible feats by stretching his body.
FEI and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) announced a partnership to create the OHSU/FEI Living Lab for Cell Biology that will provide researchers with several state-of-the-art electron microscopes to advance the understanding and treatment of complex diseases such as cancer and AIDS.
The OHSU/FEI Living Lab will be equipped with a variety of high-performance equipment including a Titan Krios transmission electron microscope (TEM) and a Helios NanoLab DualBeam.
Bacteria like salmonellae infect their host cells by needle-shaped extensions which they create in large numbers during an attack. A group of Vienna-based scientists headed by Thomas Marlovits employed recently developed methods of cryo-electron microscopy and have been able to clarify the structure of this infection apparatus on the near-atomic scale.
The atomic structure of individual nanoparticles was measured for the first time by scientists from Empa and ETH Zurich, in collaboration with a Dutch team. The technique, recently published in Nature, could help better understand the properties of nanoparticles in future.
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We have fabricated an instrument designed to couple both the imaging process in scanning electron microscopy and the precise positioning of scanning probe microscopy. This microscope is comprised of a metallic field emitter that generates an electron beam with a minimal impingement diameter of approximately one nanometer. In particular, the sensitivity of the field emission current to local topographic variations on the specimen surface enables the microscope to achieve atomic vertical resolution.
Tungsten carbide and tungsten carbide cobalt nanoparticles can enter cultured mammalian cells. This finding emerges from a study conducted by scientists from Dresden University, the Leipzig Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems in Dresden (IKTS). However, the results show that nanoparticles of pure tungsten carbide do not have any cytotoxic effects. These are only produced when the nanoparticles are mixed with toxic substances such as cobalt.