Researchers at PSI and the University of Barcelona have managed to explain the strange behaviour of microgels. Their measurements using neutron beams have pushed this measuring technique to its limits. The results open up opportunities for new applications in materials and pharmaceutical research.
Smart molecules can change their shape and properties depending on temperature or other parameters such as macromolecular architecture. In pharmaceutic applications, they release active ingredients in a targeted manner at the desired locations. Neutrons at the MLZ reveal these nanostructures and help specifically design new molecules with desired properties.
Aggregates of amyloid beta- (Aβ-)peptide, known as fibrils, are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease and play a key role in the sequence of events leading to dementia symptoms. Using small-angle neutron and X-ray scattering, researchers from Lund University and the Paul Scherrer Institut have determined the detailed structure of Aβ42-fibril, obtaining important information to design future therapeutics.
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.
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.
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.
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.