Tesla ‘Unplugged’ ~ Tesla’s new 2170 battery cell will Power the New Model 3: Video

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Published January 2017

As it turns out, Tesla, and its battery partner Panasonic, started production of cells for qualification at the plant in December, but today, it confirmed the start of “mass production” of the new battery cell, which will enable several of Tesla’s new products, including the Model 3.

The new cell is called ‘2170’ because it’s 21mm by 70mm. It’s thicker and taller than the previous cell that Tesla developed with Panasonic, which was in an ‘18650’ cell format.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been boasting about the new cell over the past few month. He said that it’s the “highest energy density cell in the world and also the cheapest”.

Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study

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A new class of carbon nanotubes could be the next-generation clean-up crew for toxic sludge and contaminated water, say researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Enhanced single-walled carbon nanotubes offer a more effective and sustainable approach to water treatment and remediation than the standard industry materials–silicon gels and activated carbon–according to a paper published in the March issue of Environmental Science Water: Research and Technology.

RIT researchers John-David Rocha and Reginald Rogers, authors of the study, demonstrate the potential of this emerging technology to clean polluted water. Their work applies carbon nanotubes to environmental problems in a specific new way that builds on a nearly two decades of nanomaterial research. Nanotubes are more commonly associated with fuel-cell research.




“This aspect is new–taking knowledge of carbon nanotubes and their properties and realizing, with new processing and characterization techniques, the advantages nanotubes can provide for removing contaminants for water,” said Rocha, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Materials Science in RIT’s College of Science.

Rocha and Rogers are advancing nanotube technology for environmental remediation and water filtration for home use.

“We have shown that we can regenerate these materials,” said Rogers, assistant professor of chemical engineering in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. “In the future, when your water filter finally gets saturated, put it in the microwave for about five minutes and the impurities will get evaporated off.”

Carbon nanotubes are storage units measuring about 50,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Carbon reduced to the nanoscale defies the rules of physics and operates in a world of quantum mechanics in which small materials become mighty.

“We know carbon as graphite for our pencils, as diamonds, as soot,” Rocha said. “We can transform that soot or graphite into a nanometer-type material known as graphene.”

A single-walled carbon nanotube is created when a sheet of graphene is rolled up. The physical change alters the material’s chemical structure and determines how it behaves. The result is “one of the most heat conductive and electrically conductive materials in the world,” Rocha said. “These are properties that only come into play because they are at the nanometer scale.”

The RIT researchers created new techniques for manipulating the tiny materials. Rocha developed a method for isolating high-quality, single-walled carbon nanotubes and for sorting them according to their semiconductive or metallic properties. Rogers redistributed the pure carbon nanotubes into thin papers akin to carbon-copy paper.

“Once the papers are formed, now we have the adsorbent–what we use to pull the contaminants out of water,” Rogers said.

The filtration process works because “carbon nanotubes dislike water,” he added. Only the organic contaminants in the water stick to the nanotube, not the water molecules.

“This type of application has not been done before,” Rogers said. “Nanotubes used in this respect is new.”


Co-authors on the paper are Ryan Capasse, RIT chemistry alumnus, and Anthony Dichiara, a former RIT post-doctoral researcher in chemical engineering now at the University of Washington.

Argonne Lab focuses on next-gen batteries

George Crabtree is director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage

Photo provided by Argonne Nation, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Just how important are cheaper batteries to boost game-changing energy technologies?

So critical, that “electric vehicles have been described as a battery with a steering wheel on it, and it’s kind of true,” said George Crabtree. They weigh 500 to 1,000 pounds more than a similar car with a gasoline engine weighs.

With an aim toward developing a battery, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research that Crabtree leads was created at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois four years ago.

Since then, the group and partner organizations around the country at national energy labs, universities and manufacturers, including Johnson Controls, have been working toward the goal of developing batteries that are five times as powerful but cost five times less than battery technology did when the center started.

And all that, with an admittedly brash goal of hitting those high fives within five years, Crabtree said. Many in the industry scoffed at the idea that those goals could be met within five years, but the energy storage center is working to do just that, he said.

The center is researching four different chemistries — such as lithium-sulfur and magnesium — and technologies with the aim of developing battery prototypes of two of them by late this year, Crabtree said in an interview. 

Crabtree is a keynote speaker at an energy storage conference hosted Wednesday on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The conference is a way to keep local companies and researchers up to speed on the latest energy storage market trends and innovations. The consortium issued a road map several years ago, said Jeff Anthony, chief operating officer at the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (MWERC), which is based in Milwaukee. 

The consortium links university researchers at Wisconsin’s four engineering schools with companies on emerging energy and power technologies.

That road map identified growth niches in the energy storage sector, with overall global sales projected to grow from $6 billion in 2015 to $26 billion in 2020.

In getting to more prevalent use of battery power, getting the cost down is paramount, Crabtree said.

“The reason a Tesla used to cost $80,000 and pretty soon is going to cost $35,000 is the battery cost,” Crabtree said. “If you could get the battery cost down by even a factor of two, that would dramatically change the automotive market.”

Technologies being researched would aim to replace lithium-ion batteries, the batteries found in everything from cell phones and laptops to Nissan Leafs, Chevrolet Volts and other electric cars.

Argonne’s also working on prototypes for next-generation batteries for the power grid. That market has emerged in areas with high energy costs or vulnerability to natural disasters. Examples include the solar and battery projects that Menomonee Falls-based EnSync Energy Systems has installed in Hawaii and the distributed storage business that’s slowly emerging at Johnson Controls.

One of the biggest signs that storage could join solar as having its day in the sun came last year when three companies with local ties combined on a large solar and battery backup storage project in northwest Ohio.

More recently, Crabtree said, California has taken the step to replace a natural gas-fired power plant with energy storage. The change resulted from a crisis — the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak in southern California that idled power plants and raised the prospect of blackouts and power shortages this year.

California is investing heavily in storage projects like a $38 million project in El Centro that features 100,000 Lithium-ion battery cells to help keep the lights on.

At EnSync, sales efforts are pushing beyond Hawaii into California and the eastern United States. The company reported Tuesday that its sales quadrupled, to $1.7 million, in its fiscal second quarter, and that it’s on track for a record year.

EnSync announced new storage projects in Hawaii on Tuesday, including one that will store excess solar power generated for Oceanic Time Warner Cable and enable the cable company to save that power generated by solar panels for use later in the day when electricity demand is higher. The energy storage system will be combined with 400 kilowatt-hours of solar power, according to EnSync.

“The system will serve office loads, as well as what is known as a ‘head-end’ facility, which is a critical operating facility that takes TV signals from satellites, processes them into cable quality and distributes them throughout networks and into homes,” said Dan Nordloh, EnSync’s executive vice president, in a statement. 

“Resiliency is often an important concern for our customers, and this system is designed so that the operation will be able to use their solar and storage in the event of a grid outage.”

Using Nano-Structured conductive Polymer Gels to Improve Lithium-Io Battery’s Performance

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The electrode in lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries is an integrated system in which both active materials and binder systems play critical roles in determining its final properties. In order to improve battery performance, a lot of research is focusing on the development of high-capacity active materials. However, without an efficient binder system, these novel materials can’t fulfill their potentials.


A group of researchers now has contributed to this field from a slight different aspect, developing a high-performance and general binder system for batteries. This entirely new binder system with a nano-architecture promotes both electron and ion transport, which enhances the energy per unit mass and volume of the electrode.This work by Guihua Yu group at University of Texas at Austin and Esther Takeuchi group at Stony Brook University, demonstrates a new generation of nanostructured conductive polymer gel based novel binder materials for fabrication of high-energy lithium-ion battery electrodes.


This gel framework could become a next-generation binder system for commercial Li-ion batteries.”Compared to conventional binder system which typically consists of conductive additive and polymer binder, our novel binder plays dual functionalities simultaneously combining conductive and adhesive features, thus greatly improving the better utility of active electrode materials,”Professor Yu tells Nanowerk.

“More importantly, owing to its unique 3D network structure, this gel binder promotes both electron and ion transport in electrode and improves the distribution of active particles, thus enhancing the rate performance and cycle life of battery electrodes.”He points out that this invention is important because it presents a new generation of powerful yet scalable binder materials for lithium ion batteries that show great potential in industrial manufacturing.This novel gel binder can overcome the drawbacks of conventional binder systems, leading to next-generation lithium ion battery with high performance.

The researchers have reported their findings in two papers in Nano Letters (“Nanostructured Conductive Polymer Gels as a General Framework Material To Improve Electrochemical Performance of Cathode Materials in Li-Ion Batteries”) and Advanced Materials (“A Tunable 3D Nanostructured Conductive Gel Framework Electrode for High-Performance Lithium Ion Batteries”).



Schematic of synthetic and structural features of commercial lithium iron phosphate (C-LFP)/cross-linked polypyrrole (C-PPy) hybrid gel framework. The conductive polymer chains can be polymerized in situ with electrode materials and cross-linked by molecules with multiple functional groups, resulting in a polymeric network connecting all active particles. (Reprinted with permission by American Chemical Society) (click on image to enlarge)

“A traditional binder system in Li-ion battery electrodes is a binary hybrid with components acting separate functionalities,” explains Yu. “In such system, polymer binders such as polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) adhere the active materials and other additives together to hold the mechanical integrity while a conductive additive (usually carbon particles) ensures the conductivity of the entire electrode.”In these electrodes, electrons transport through chains of particles while ions move through the liquid or solid electrolyte that fills the pores of the electrode.

energy_storage_2013 042216 _11-13-1However, the conductive phases are randomly distributed, which may lead to bottlenecks and poor contacts that impede effective access to parts of the battery.And both organic and inorganic components tend to aggregate, which also negatively impact electron and ion transport.The team’s novel conductive gel binder can overcome these drawbacks and thus improve the rate and cyclic performance of Li-ion batteries.

The conductive polymer gels potentially could also be used for responsive/smart electronics such as biosensors, artificial skins and soft robotics.The scientific core of this work is that three-dimensional nanostructured conductive polymer gels can be built up by tunable molecule crosslinking and this unique conductive framework material can promote the electron/ion transport within battery electrodes.

“Firstly, our work provides a new method for synthesis of conductive polymer gel,” elaborates Yu. “Traditionally, conductive polymer gels are synthesized by template-based method, which usually results in low conductivity and poor mechanical properties. The method we developed is to crosslink conductive polymer chains with functional molecules with multiple functional groups, enabling a network, interconnected structure promoting high electronic conductivity and electrochemical activity.”

“Secondly, we demonstrated that this newly developed conductive polymer gel can be used as binder system and significantly improve conventional lithium-ion battery performance owing to their advantageous structural features,” he continues. “The ease of processability and excellent chemical and physical properties of these nanostructured conductive gels enable a new class of binder materials for fabricating next-generation high-energy lithium-ion batteries.”Although the researchers’ binder gel is mechanically strong, it lacks flexibility and stretchability.

The plan is to further modify the mechanical properties by tailoring the molecular backbones of conductive polymers through the addition of side chains or other building block polymers.The scientists further intend to demonstrate the versatility of their gel binders for other important electrode materials, such as some commercial electrode materials, as well as some next-generation ultrahigh-capacity materials, such as silicon, and sulfur.

by Michael Berger @ Nanowerk

Researchers @Imperial College of London uncover secret of nanomaterial that makes harvesting sunlight easier

Sun Harvest Nano Material 12-researchersuGold nanoparticles chemically guided inside the hot-spot of a larger gold bow-tie nanoantenna. Credit: Imperial College London

Using sunlight to drive chemical reactions, such as artificial photosynthesis, could soon become much more efficient thanks to nanomaterials.


This is the conclusion of a study published today led by researchers in the Department of Physics at Imperial College London, which could ultimately help improve solar energy technologies and be used for new applications, such as using sunlight to break down harmful chemicals.

Sunlight is used to drive many processes that would not otherwise occur. For example, carbon dioxide and water do not ordinarily react, but in the process of photosynthesis, plants take these two chemicals and, using sunlight, produce oxygen and sugar.

The efficiency of this is very high, meaning much of the energy from sunlight is transferred to the chemical reaction, but so far scientists have been unable to mimic this process in manmade artificial devices.

One reason is that many molecules that can undergo with light do not efficiently absorb the light themselves. They rely on photocatalysts – materials that absorb light efficiently and then pass the energy on to the molecules to drive reactions.

In the new study, researchers have investigated an artificial photocatalyst material using nanoparticles and found out how to make it more efficient.

This could lead to better solar panels, as the energy from the Sun could be more efficiently harvested. The photocatalyst could also be used to destroy liquid or gas pollutants, such as pesticides in water, by harnessing sunlight to drive reactions that break down the chemicals into less harmful forms.

Lead author Dr Emiliano Cortés from the Department of Physics at Imperial, said: “This finding opens new opportunities for increasing the efficiency of using and storing sunlight in various technologies.

“By using these materials we can revolutionize our current capabilities for storing and using with important implications in energy conversion, as well as new uses such as destroying pollutant molecules or gases and water cleaning, among others.”

The material that the team investigated is made of metal nanoparticles – particles only billionths of a metre in diameter. Their results are published today in the Journal Nature Communications.

The team, which included researchers from the Chemistry Department at University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany led by Professor Sebastian Schlücker and theoreticians from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Harvard University at the US, showed that light-induced chemical reactions occur in certain regions over the surface of these nanomaterials.

They identified which areas of the nanomaterial would be most suitable for transferring to chemical reactions, by tracking the locations of very small gold nanoparticles (used as a markers) on the surface of the silver nanocatalytic material.

Now that they know which regions are responsible for the process of harvesting light and transferring it to chemical reactions, the team hope to be able to engineer the nanomaterial to increase these areas and make it more efficient.

Lead researcher Professor Stefan Maier said: “This is a powerful demonstration of how metallic nanostructures, which we have investigated in my group at Imperial for the last 10 years, continue to surprise us in their abilities to control light on the nanoscale.

“The new finding uncovered by Dr Cortés and his collaborators in Germany and the US opens up new possibilities for this field in the areas photocatalysis and nanochemistry.”

Explore further: Artificial leaf as mini-factory for drugs

More information: Emiliano Cortés et al. Plasmonic hot electron transport drives nano-localized chemistry, Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS14880

Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm

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Summary: The ability to deliver cargo like drugs or DNA into cells is essential for biological research and disease therapy but cell membranes are very good at defending their territory. Researchers have developed various methods to trick or force open the cell membrane but these methods are limited in the type of cargo they can deliver and aren’t particularly efficient. Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences 

The ability to deliver cargo like drugs or DNA into cells is essential for biological research and disease therapy but cell membranes are very good at defending their territory. Researchers have developed various methods to trick or force open the cell membrane but these methods are limited in the type of cargo they can deliver and aren’t particularly efficient.

Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new method using gold microstructures to deliver a variety of molecules into cells with high efficiency and no lasting damage. The research is published in ACS Nano.

“Being able to effectively deliver large and diverse cargos directly into cells will transform biomedical research,” said Nabiha Saklayen, a PhD candidate in the Mazur Lab at SEAS and first author of the paper. “However, no current single delivery system can do all the things you need to do at once. Intracellular delivery systems need to be highly efficient, scalable, and cost effective while at the same time able to carry diverse cargo and deliver it to specific cells on a surface without damage. It’s a really big challenge.”

In previous research, Saklayen and her collaborators demonstrated that gold, pyramid-shaped microstructures are very good at focusing laser energy into electromagnetic hotspots. In this research, the team used a fabrication method called template stripping to make surfaces — about the size of a quarter — with 10 million of these tiny pyramids.

“The beautiful thing about this fabrication process is how simple it is,” said Marinna Madrid, coauthor of the paper and PhD candidate in the Mazur Lab. “Template-stripping allows you to reuse silicon templates indefinitely. It takes less than a minute to make each substrate, and each substrate comes out perfectly uniform. That doesn’t happen very often in nanofabrication.”

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A scanning-electron microscope image of chemically-fixed HeLa cancer cells on the substrate. The tips of the pyramids create tiny holes in the cell membranes, allowing molecular cargo to diffuse into the cells. Credit: Harvard SEAS

The team cultured HeLa cancer cells directly on top of the pyramids and surrounded the cells with a solution containing molecular cargo.

Using nanosecond laser pulses, the team heated the pyramids until the hotspots at the tips reached a temperature of about 300 degrees Celsius. This very localized heating — which did not affect the cells — caused bubbles to form right at the tip of each pyramid. These bubbles gently pushed their way into the cell membrane, opening brief pores in the cell and allowing the surrounding molecules to diffuse into the cell.

“We found that if we made these pores very quickly, the cells would heal themselves and we could keep them alive, healthy and dividing for many days,” Saklayen said.

Each HeLa cancer cell sat atop about 50 pyramids, meaning the researchers could make about 50 tiny pores in each cell. The team could control the size of the bubbles by controlling the laser parameters and could control which side of the cell to penetrate.

The molecules delivered into the cell were about the same size as clinically relevant cargos, including proteins and antibodies.

Next, the team plans on testing the methods on different cell types, including blood cells, stem cells and T cells. Clinically, this method could be used in ex vivo therapies, where unhealthy cells are taken out of the body, given cargo like drugs or DNA, and reintroduced into the body.

“This work is really exciting because there are so many different parameters we could optimize to allow this method to work across many different cell types and cargos,” said Saklayen. “It’s a very versatile platform.”

Harvard’s Office of Technology Development has filed patent applications and is considering commercialization opportunities.

“It’s great to see how the tools of physics can greatly advance other fields, especially when it may enable new therapies for previously difficult to treat diseases,” said Eric Mazur, the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics and senior author of the paper.

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. It was coauthored by Marinus Huber, Marinna Madrid, Valeria Nuzzo, Daryl Inna Vulis, Weilu Shen, Jeffery Nelson, Arthur McClelland and Alexander Heisterkamp.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Nabiha Saklayen, Marinus Huber, Marinna Madrid, Valeria Nuzzo, Daryl I. Vulis, Weilu Shen, Jeffery Nelson, Arthur A. McClelland, Alexander Heisterkamp, Eric Mazur. Intracellular Delivery Using Nanosecond-Laser Excitation of Large-Area Plasmonic Substrates. ACS Nano, 2017; DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b08162

MIT: Making Smaller Microchip Patterns – Toward Faster More Powerful Computers

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Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns.

For the last few decades, microchip manufacturers have been on a quest to find ways to make the patterns of wires and components in their microchips ever smaller, in order to fit more of them onto a single chip and thus continue the relentless progress toward faster and more powerful computers. That progress has become more difficult recently, as manufacturing processes bump up against fundamental limits involving, for example, the wavelengths of the light used to create the patterns.

Now, a team of researchers at MIT and in Chicago has found an approach that could break through some of those limits and make it possible to produce some of the narrowest wires yet, using a process with the potential to be economically viable for mass manufacturing with standard types of equipment.

The new findings are reported this week in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, in a paper by postdoc Do Han Kim, graduate student Priya Moni, and Professor Karen Gleason, all at MIT, and by postdoc Hyo Seon Suh, Professor Paul Nealey, and three others at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. While there are other methods that can achieve such fine lines, the team says, none of them are cost-effective for large-scale manufacturing.

The new approach includes a technique in which polymer thin films are formed on a surface, first by heating precursurs so they vaporize, and then by allowing them to condense and polymerize on a cooler surface, much as water condenses on the outside of a cold drinking glass on a hot day.


These scanning electron microscope images show the sequence of fabrication of fine lines by the team’s new method. First, an array of lines is produced by a conventional electron beam process (top). The addition of a block copolymer material and a topcoat result in a quadrupling of the number of lines (center). Then the topcoat is etched away, leaving the new pattern of fine lines exposed (bottom). Courtesy of the researchers

“People always want smaller and smaller patterns, but achieving that has been getting more and more expensive,” says Gleason, who is MIT’s associate provost as well as the Alexander and I. Michael Kasser (1960) Professor of Chemical Engineering. Today’s methods for producing features smaller than about 22 nanometers (billionths of a meter) across generally require either extreme ultraviolet light with very expensive optics or building up an image line by line, by scanning a beam of electrons or ions across the chip surface — a very slow process and therefore expensive to implement at large scale.

The new process uses a novel integration of three existing methods. First, a pattern of lines is produced on the chip surface using well-established lithographic techniques, in which an electron beam is used to “write” the pattern on the chip.

Then, a layer of material known as a block copolymer — a mix of two different polymer materials that naturally segregate themselves into alternating layers or other predictable patterns — is formed by spin coating a solution. The block copolymers are made up of chain-like molecules, each consisting of two different polymer materials connected end-to-end.

“One half is friendly with oil, the other half is friendly with water,” Kim explains. “But because they are completely bonded, they’re kind of stuck with each other.” The dimensions of the two blocks predetermine the sizes of periodic layers or other patterns they will assemble themselves into when they are deposited.

Finally, a top, protective polymer layer is deposited on top of the others using initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD). This top coat, it turns out, is a key to the process: It constrains the way the block copolymers self-assemble, forcing them to form into vertical layers rather than horizontal ones, like a layer cake on its side.

The underlying lithographic pattern guides the positioning of these layers, but the natural tendencies of the copolymers cause their width to be much smaller than that of the base lines. The result is that there are now four (or more, depending on the chemistry) lines, each of them a fourth as wide, in place of each original one. The combination of the lithographed layer and topcoat “controls both the orientation and the alignment” of the resulting finer lines, explains Moni.

Because the top polymer layer can additionally be patterned, the system can be used to build up any kind of complex patterning, as needed for the interconnections of a microchip.

Most microchip manufacturing facilities use the existing lithographic method, and the CVD process itself is a well-understood additional step that could be added relatively easily. Thus, implementing the new method could be much more straightforward than other proposed methods of making finer lines. With the new method, Gleason says, “you wouldn’t need to change all those machines. And everything that’s involved are well-known materials.”

“Being able to create sub-10-nanometer features with polymers is major progress in the area of nanofabrication,” says Joerg Lahann, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Michigan, who was not involved in this work. “The quality and robustness of this process will open an entirely new area of applications, from nanopatterning to nanotribology.”

Lahann adds, “This work is an ingenious extension of previous research by these researchers. The fact that they can demonstrate arbitrary structures highlights the quality and versatility of this novel technology.”

The team also included Shisheng Xiong at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, and Leonidas Ocola and Nestor Zaluzec at Argonne. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Army Research Office, through MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies.

Scientists discover mechanism that causes cancer cells to self-destruct

Many cancer patients struggle with the adverse effects of chemotherapy, still the most prescribed cancer treatment. For patients with pancreatic cancer and other aggressive cancers, the forecast is more grim: there is no known effective therapy.

A new Tel Aviv University study published last month in Oncotarget discloses the role of three proteins in killing fast-duplicating cancer cells while they’re dividing. The research, led by Prof. Malka Cohen-Armon of TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine, finds that these proteins can be specifically modified during the division process—mitosis—to unleash an inherent “death mechanism” that self-eradicates duplicating cancer cells.

“The discovery of an exclusive mechanism that kills cancer cells without impairing healthy cells, and the fact that this mechanism works on a variety of rapidly proliferating human cancer cells, is very exciting,” Prof. Cohen-Armon said. 
“According to the mechanism we discovered, the faster cancer cells proliferate, the faster and more efficiently they will be eradicated. The mechanism unleashed during mitosis may be suitable for treating aggressive cancers that are unaffected by traditional chemotherapy.

“Our experiments in cell cultures tested a variety of incurable human cancer types—breast, lung, ovary, colon, pancreas, blood, brain,” Prof. Cohen-Armon continued. “This discovery impacts existing cancer research by identifying a new specific target mechanism that exclusively and rapidly eradicates cancer cells without damaging normally proliferating human cells.”

The research was conducted in collaboration with Prof. Shai Izraeli and Dr. Talia Golan of the Cancer Research Center at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, and Prof. Tamar Peretz, head of the Sharett Institute of Oncology at Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem.

A new target for cancer research

The newly-discovered mechanism involves the modification of specific proteins that affect the construction and stability of the spindle, the microtubular structure that prepares duplicated chromosomes for segregation into “daughter” cells during cell division.

The researchers found that certain compounds called Phenanthridine derivatives were able to impair the activity of these proteins, which can distort the spindle structure and prevent the segregation of chromosomes. Once the proteins were modified, the cell was prevented from splitting, and this induced the cell’s rapid self-destruction.

“The mechanism we identified during the mitosis of cancer cells is specifically targeted by the Phenanthridine derivatives we tested,” Prof. Cohen-Armon said. “However, a variety of additional drugs that also modify these specific proteins may now be developed for cancer cell self-destruction during cell division. The faster the cancer cells proliferate, the more quickly they are expected to die.”

Research was conducted using both cancer cell cultures and mice transplanted with human cancer cells. The scientists harnessed biochemical, molecular biology and imaging technologies to observe the mechanism in real time. In addition, mice transplanted with triple negative breast cancer cells, currently resistant to available therapies, revealed the arrest of tumor growth.

“Identifying the mechanism and showing its relevance in treating developed tumors opens new avenues for the eradication of rapidly developing aggressive cancers without damaging healthy tissues,” said Prof. Cohen-Armon.
The researchers are currently investigating the potential of one of the Phenanthridine derivatives to treat two aggressive cancers known to be unresponsive to current chemotherapy: pancreatic cancer and triple negative breast cancer.

More information: Leonid Visochek et al, Exclusive destruction of mitotic spindles in human cancer cells, Oncotarget (2017). DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.15343

Provided by: Tel Aviv University

Will Nanotechnology be the Answer for the Next Generation of Lithium-Ion Batteries?

Great Things from Small Things .. Nanotechnology Innovation

Nano LI Batt usc-lithium-ion-batteryDespite the recently reported battery-flaming problem of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners and laptops (in 2006), LIBs are now successfully being used in many sectors. Consumer gadgets, electric cars, medical devices, space and military sectors use LIBs as portable power sources and in the future, spacecraft like James Webb Space Telescope are expected to use LIBs.

The main reason for this rapid domination of LIB technology in various sectors is that it has the highest electrical storage capacity with respect to its weight (one unit of LIB can replace two nickel-hydrogen battery units). Also, LIBs are suitable for applications where both high energy density and power density are required, and in this respect, they are superior to other types of rechargeable batteries such as lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, nickel-metal batteries, etc.

However, LIBs are required to improve in the following aspects: (i) store more energy and deliver higher…

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Supercapacitors and Li-ion Batteries in one Tidy Device

Great Things from Small Things .. Nanotechnology Innovation

Electronics-research-001A team of researchers at Rice University in the US has fabricated 3D nanostructured thin-film electrodes using tantalum oxide nanotubes and “carbon-onion”-coated iron oxide nanoparticles. The thin films appear to be excellent lithium-ion batteries while being good supercapacitors too. The devices might be ideal in next-generation hybrid energy-storage applications, including wearable “smart textiles”.

Electrochemical energy-storage devices such as Li-ion batteries (LIBs) and electrochemical supercapacitors (ECs) are currently the best option for powering portable electronics. Even better would be to combine the two types of device into one multifunctional electrode that combines the high energy density and capacity of Li-ion batteries with the high power density of supercapacitors. Capacitors are devices that store electric charge but ECs can store much more charge thanks to the double layer formed at an electrolyte-electrode interface when voltage is applied.

Until now, researchers have mainly studied carbon materials such as nanotubes and…

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