Fundamental Research Health Industrial Applications Science Highlights

Revolution in imaging with neutrons

An international research team at the Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed a new imaging technology. In the future, this technology could not only improve the resolution of neutron measurements by many times, but could also reduce the radiation dose for medical x-ray imaging.

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Health Industrial Applications Science Highlights

Skin-like material developed for wearables

Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich and Donghua University in Shanghai, China, have demonstrated a skin-like synthetic material intended to advance the development of so-called “wearables”, as well as smart clothing and artificial skin for robots. Neutrons from the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz research neutron source helped them to study the new material in detail.

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Health Industrial Applications Science Highlights

Metals with memory

When metallic objects change their shape seemingly without any external influence and only according to the will of their owners, this at first sounds like something only comic superheroes like Magneto and Ironman could do. However, the idea from those comics has a real-world manifestation in existing materials called magnetic shape memory alloys (MSMAs). Moreover, they have potential applications e.g. in robotics or medical devices.

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Health Science Highlights

Neutron reflectometry reveals SARS-CoV-2 spike protein induces lipid stripping from cell membrane

Scientists at the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), in collaboration with the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI), the Institut de Biologie Structurale (IBS) and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), have published new data on how the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein interacts with mammalian lung cell membranes allowing the viral RNA to enter human cells.

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Climate and environment Food & Water Health Science Highlights

Nanomaterial fights back against resistant bacteria

Significant amounts of antibiotic residues and pathogens enter the environment via our wastewater. A German Italian team of researchers has now investigated a novel nanomaterial that has an antibacterial effect and can bind antibiotics at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum. Wastewater could thus be treated more effectively and safely.

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Health Science Highlights

Making the gray cells happy

Depressive disorders are among the most frequent illnesses worldwide. The causes are complex and to date only partially understood. The trace element lithium appears to play a role. Using neutrons of the research neutron source at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), a research team has now proved that the distribution of lithium in the brains of depressive people is different from the distribution found in healthy humans.

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Health Science Highlights

From Contrast Agents to Drug Delivery: Research with Neutrons Enables Advances in Biomedical Research

Biocompatible iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) offer great potential for biomedical applications, both in terms of imaging and therapy. More rapid progress in researching IONPs now looks promising by using a new method combination developed by a team of Jülich researchers using neutrons as a probe.

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Health Science Highlights

Research with neutrons for better mRNA vaccines

In December 2020, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use across the EU, marking a crucial step forward in the fight against coronavirus. The development of this COVID-19 vaccine built on important research that was undertaken by Mainz-based biotechnology company, BioNTech, in collaboration with the Jülich Center for Neutron Science (JCNS). Using neutron scattering instruments operated by the JCNS at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Center in Garching, researchers investigated new approaches for the packaging and delivery of the mRNA. Such experiments provide important insights into the relationship between structural properties, biological activity and the vaccine production process, which will help to advance the development of RNA therapeutics and vaccines.

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