We are only a few short weeks into 2016 and we already have a number of amazing new research breakthroughs. These new discoveries will likely have major impacts in both the medical and technological industries. Here are three scientific research developments that you should know about.
1) Cornell scientists confirm atoms will not move when someone is observing them
Cornell physicists proved that a quantum system cannot change while you are watching it. This effect was considered to be one of the oddest predictions of quantum theory, and the recent experiments confirmed it.
Mukund Vegalettore, assistant professor of physics, established Cornell’s first program to study the physics of materials cooled to temperatures as low as .000000001 above absolute zero. For the experiment, a group of graduate students created and cooled a gas of about a billion Rubidium atoms inside a vacuum chamber and suspended the mass between laser beams. It was during this experiment that the team noticed the atoms would not move around as long as they were under observation. The more often the group used a laser to measure the behavior, the less movement they were able to see.
This study has some fairly big ramifications, such as showing that quantum cryptography should actually work, meaning that an intruder can’t spy on your communications without destroying the data.
2) Scientists teach bacteria to perform artificial photosynthesis
Scientists have successfully induced Moorella thermoacetica, an originally nonphotosynthetic bacterium, to undergo photosynthesis in a hybrid artificial photosynthesis system for converting sunlight. The M. thermoacetica was coaxed to perform photosynthesis, even though it is naturally non-photosynthetic; the scientists essentially trained the bacteria to perform something that it was naturally genetically programmed to not do.
“We’ve demonstrated the first self-photosensitization of a nonphotosynthetic bacterium, M. thermoacetica, with cadmium sulfide nanoparticles to produce acetic acid from carbon dioxide at efficiencies and yield that are comparable to or may even exceed the capabilities of natural photosynthesis,” stated Peidong Yang, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, who led the study.
3) Scientists develop sound wave that can manipulate stem cells without damage
A new class of sound wave has been developed for the first time in half a century. The sound wave was created by acoustics experts from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. It is set to revolutionize the way that stem cells are used in medical treatments.
The new waves are known as “surface reflected bulk waves,” which are a combination of bulk sound waves and surface sound waves. Bulk sound waves cause objects to vibrate as one, while surface sound waves only cause the surface of the material to vibrate. The combination of these two waves is far more powerful than either of these waves alone.
As for the potential uses for this new sound wave? Well, it is able to break down liquids into an inhalable spray, paving the way for a wide range of drugs that can be delivered into the body without the need for pills or injections.