Micromotors that are biofilm- killing. The observation and investigation of nature is how art is born. In this edition of " This month in pictures ", we gathered beautiful image published in our journals, which help us better connect with the creative side of science.
These pictures offer snapshots of months or even years of labor, capturing innovative technologies and innovations that will hopefully one day change the world for the better. Creating the structure of living tissue is one of the major hurdles in the field of synthetic biology and biological engineering. Protocells can be used to build free-standing structures with complex architecture, one way to overcome this.
Pierangelo Gobbo and his colleagues are doing that at the University of Bristol. The team has found a way to create water-stable Protocells using a mold, which can then be used to build tissue of any shape or size. Their work was published in the journal Advanced Materials.
The ability of a new patterning technique developed by John de Mello, Sihai Luo and their team is shown in the image. They were able to control the gap-width of metallic nanogaps from 30nanometers down to 3nanometers through the use of self-assembly and physical peeling. This work extends the range of metallic nanostructures that can be fabricated over large areas with the hope that it will find application in the fields of plasmonics and biosensing.
Liquid crystals can be used to help robots understand their environment. Yong Geng and colleagues show how liquid crystals molded into spheres can be used to communicate with machines in a new study. The footprint of the retroreflectors is invisible to the human eye.
The researchers suggest that the reflectors can be used to help robots navigate densely populated environments without being aesthetically distractive. Genes for happiness, you are on camera! An atomic force microscopy image.
The work of Jonathan Burns at University College London was published in Small, which has functionalized DNA fibers with self-made DNA-origami smileys. The interaction of specific DNA base pairs with one another makes it an ideal material for folding into structures on the small scale. This construction method has exploded in recent years and promises potential in materials, physical, and biological sciences.
In a surgical context, bone defects can be treated with bone grafts. Donor tissue availability and the risk of rejection are limiting the practice. Building new tissue with a patient's own cells would help to address these problems.
A scanning electron microscope image shows the formation of hydroxyapatite microstructures in a scaffold that consists of cells that are specialized for assisting bone formation. The shape of these bone scaffolds, reported by Ruei-Zeng Lin, Juan Melero-Martin, and their co-workers, can be tailored to meet the requirements of specific bone defects. A team of scientists led by Martin Pumera have created a cost-effective way to destroy bacterial biofilms by using light-driven, self-propelled micromotors.
Both silver-doped zinc oxide and the self-propelling capabilities of the system enhances their dispersal to reach morebacteria, as both materials possess known antibacterial activity. The researchers demonstrated their ability to eliminate both gram-positive and gram-negativebacteria from the solid surfaces, paving the way for improvements in everything from healthcare to utilities. Injecting light is a type of light that can be used for more targeted and guided light penetration into the body.
Microneedles are becoming more and more important in the field of drug delivery, whilst phototherapy is a burgeoning field of research. Combining these two fields of research, this microneedle array to help guide UV light deeper into the skin for treatment of dermatological conditions is the ingenious work of Shuai Xu, Bethany Perez White, John Rogers, and their co-workers, and is featured in Advanced Functional Materials. One day, this Wearable device could be used to treat difficult skin conditions.
Some of us may feel a little flash in the doctor's office one day. In native biological settings, cell development and behavior is driven by mechanical signals applied to the cells' surface. It has been difficult to reproduce this in a lab because of the variability in materials used in the screening process.
A team led by Victor Cadarso, Jessica Frith, and Nicolas Voelcker developed a new approach to imprinting micro and nanoscale topographical features into the base of conventional cell culture-ware. Single-crystalline Silicon is used in consumer electronics. The most common form of this material is the "Silicon wafer", a material that is rigid, brittle and non- transparent.
An elegant single-crystalline Si framework, imaged here using scanning electron microscopy, is flexible, lightweight, tailorable, and highly transparent to address these drawbacks. Their findings were published in a journal. The Science in pictures series has more to offer.