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Engineering

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  • Metal-ion catalysts and hydrogen peroxide could green up plastics production

    Researchers at the University of Illinois are contributing to the development of more environmentally friendly catalysts for the production of plastic and resin precursors that are often derived from fossil fuels. The key to their technique comes from recognizing the unique physical and chemical properties of certain metals and how they react with hydrogen peroxide.

  • Silver pen has the write stuff for flexible electronics

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The pen may have bested the sword long ago, but now it's challenging wires and soldering irons.

  • Researchers put new spin on old technique to engineer better absorptive materials

    A team of University of Illinois bioengineers has taken a new look at an old tool to help characterize a class of materials called metal organic frameworks – MOFs for short. MOFs are used to detect, purify and store gases, and could help solve some of the worlds most challenging energy, environmental and pharmaceutical challenges – they can even pull water molecules straight from the air to provide relief from droughts.

  • What's in your landscape? Plants can alter West Nile virus risk

    A new study looks at how leaf litter in water influences the abundance of Culex pipiens mosquitoes, which can transmit West Nile virus to humans, domestic animals, birds and other wildlife.

  • Batteries charge very quickly and retain capacity, thanks to new structure

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The batteries in Illinois professor Paul Braun's lab look like any others, but they pack a surprise inside.

  • Self-healing electronics could work longer and reduce waste

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When one tiny circuit within an integrated chip cracks or fails, the whole chip - or even the whole device - is a loss. But what if it could fix itself, and fix itself so fast that the user never knew there was a problem?

  • Research: Graphene grows better on certain copper crystals

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - New observations could improve industrial production of high-quality graphene, hastening the era of graphene-based consumer electronics, thanks to University of Illinois engineers.

  • Elastic microspheres expand understanding of embryonic development and cancer cells

    A new technique that uses tiny elastic balls filled with fluorescent nanoparticles aims to expand the understanding of the mechanical forces that exist between cells, researchers report. A University of Illinois-led team has demonstrated the quantification of 3-D forces within cells living in petri dishes as well as live specimens. This research may unlock some of the mysteries related to embryonic development and cancer stem cells, i.e., tumor-repopulating cells.

  • Bioenergy crops could store more carbon in soil

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In addition to providing renewable energy, grass crops like switchgrass and miscanthus could store some of the carbon they pull from the atmosphere in the soil, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.

  • Tiny swimming bio-bots boldly go where no bot has swum before

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The alien world of aquatic micro-organisms just got new residents: synthetic self-propelled swimming bio-bots.

  • Nowhere to hide: New device sees bacteria behind the eardrum

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Doctors can now get a peek behind the eardrum to better diagnose and treat chronic ear infections, thanks to a new medical imaging device invented by University of Illinois researchers. The device could usher in a new suite of non-invasive, 3-D diagnostic imaging tools for primary-care physicians.

  • These bots were made for walking: Cells power biological machines

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - They're soft, biocompatible, about 7 millimeters long - and, incredibly, able to walk by themselves. Miniature "bio-bots" developed at the University of Illinois are making tracks in synthetic biology.

  • The dark side of kerosene lamps: High black carbon emissions

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The small kerosene lamps that light millions of homes in developing countries have a dark side: black carbon - fine particles of soot released into the atmosphere.

  • Using a little science in your March Madness picks

    A Minute With...bracketology expert Sheldon Jacobson

  • A bright idea: Tiny injectable LEDs help neuroscientists study the brain

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new class of tiny, injectable LEDs is illuminating the deep mysteries of the brain.

  • Genomics to surpass the biggest data producers, experts warn

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Each cell in the body contains a whole genome, yet the data packed into a few DNA molecules could fill a hard drive. As more people have their DNA sequenced, that data will require massive computational and storage capabilities beyond anything previously anticipated, says a new assessment from computational biologists and computer scientists at the University of Illinois and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

  • Model developed to track eggs of Asian carp, an invasive species

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Asian carp are knocking on the door of the Great Lakes, but managers now can better pinpoint strategies to control their rapidly increasing population, according to a new model for tracking carp eggs developed by researchers at the University of Illinois and the United States Geological Survey.

  • A glucose meter of a different color provides continuous monitoring

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois engineers are bringing a touch of color to glucose monitoring.

  • Team finds a better way to grow motor neurons from stem cells

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers report they can generate human motor neurons from stem cells much more quickly and efficiently than previous methods allowed. The finding, described in Nature Communications, will aid efforts to model human motor neuron development, and to understand and treat spinal cord injuries and motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

  • Study: Groundwater from aquifers important factor in food security

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Thirsty cities, fields and livestock drink deeply from aquifers, natural sources of groundwater. But a study of three of the most-tapped aquifers in the United States shows that overdrawing from these resources could lead to difficult choices affecting not only domestic food security but also international markets.

  • Illinois engineer wins MacArthur fellowship

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tami Bond, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been awarded a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as a "genius grant," from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

  • Is backscatter X-ray a safe tool for airport security?

    A Minute With...™ Sheldon Jacobson, expert on airport security

  • New technology looks into the eye and brings cells into focus

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Eye doctors soon could use computing power to help them see individual cells in the back of a patient’s eye, thanks to imaging technology developed by engineers at the University of Illinois. Such detailed pictures of the cells, blood vessels and nerves at the back of the eye could enable earlier diagnosis and better treatment for degenerative eye and neurological diseases.

  • For the first time in the lab, researchers see stem cells take initial step toward development

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The gap between stem cell research and regenerative medicine just became a lot narrower, thanks to a new technique that coaxes stem cells, with potential to become any tissue type, to take the first step to specialization. It is the first time this critical step has been demonstrated in a laboratory.

  • Stretchable balloon electronics get to the heart of cardiac medicine

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Cardiologists may soon be able to place sensitive electronics inside their patients' hearts with minimal invasiveness, enabling more sophisticated and efficient diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias.

  • New look at cell membrane reveals surprising organization

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Sight would dramatically alter a blind man's understanding of an elephant, according to the old story. Now, a look directly at a cell surface is changing our understanding of cell membrane organization.

  • New life for EBICS project will create bio-machines to improve health

    By studying the behavior of living cells and combining them with synthetic tissue, researchers are creating “biological machines” to deliver drugs more effectively, function as internal diagnostic tools or serve as contaminant sensors in the field.

  • Software teaches computers to translate words to math

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - If Johnny has five apples and seven oranges, and he wants to share them with three of his friends, can a computer understand the text to figure out how many pieces of fruit each person gets?

  • Self-cooling observed in graphene electronics

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - With the first observation of thermoelectric effects at graphene contacts, University of Illinois researchers found that graphene transistors have a nanoscale cooling effect that reduces their temperature.

  • 3-D imaging provides window into living cells, no dye required

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Living cells are ready for their close-ups, thanks to a new imaging technique that needs no dyes or other chemicals, yet renders high-resolution, three-dimensional, quantitative imagery of cells and their internal structures - all with conventional microscopes and white light.

  • Microtubes create cozy space for neurons to grow, and grow fast

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tiny, thin microtubes could provide a scaffold for neuron cultures to grow so that researchers can study neural networks, their growth and repair, yielding insights into treatment for degenerative neurological conditions or restoring nerve connections after injury.

  • Nanotubes can solder themselves, markedly improving device performance

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois researchers have developed a way to heal gaps in wires too small for even the world's tiniest soldering iron.

  • Illinois professor elected to National Academy of Engineering

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - J. Gary Eden, the Gilmore Family Professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering.

  • Ionic liquid catalyst helps turn emissions into fuel

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - An Illinois research team has succeeded in overcoming one major obstacle to a promising technology that simultaneously reduces atmospheric carbon dioxide and produces fuel.

  • Packaging expert sees a social revolution in the evolving barcode

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - What if you could trace the history of everything you buy back to its origins? Using your smart phone camera, you could learn what factory made the ingredients in your heart medication, what country grew the corn in your breakfast cereal, or even how to recycle the phone. You could follow the whole life cycle of a product and everyone who handled it along the way to ensure that the medicine you're taking isn't counterfeit and the food you're eating is safe.

  • Genome-editing proteins seek and find with a slide and a hop

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Searching a whole genome for one particular sequence is like trying to fish a specific piece from the box of a billion-piece puzzle. Using advanced imaging techniques, University of Illinois researchers have observed how one set of genome-editing proteins finds its specific targets, which could help them design better gene therapies to treat disease.

  • Vascular composites enable dynamic structural materials

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Taking their cue from biological circulatory systems, University of Illinois researchers have developed vascularized structural composites, creating materials that are lightweight and strong with potential for self-healing, self-cooling, metamaterials and more.

  • Study: Cell-phone bans while driving have more impact in dense, urban areas

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new study analyzing the impact of hand-held cell phone legislation on driving safety concludes that usage-ban laws had more of an impact in densely populated urban areas with a higher number of licensed drivers than in rural areas where there are fewer licensed drivers, according to a University of Illinois researcher.

  • Cell mechanics may hold key to how cancer spreads and recurs

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Cancer cells that break away from tumors to go looking for a new home may prefer to settle into a soft bed, according to new findings from researchers at the University of Illinois.

  • Study estimates land available for biofuel crops

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Using detailed land analysis, Illinois researchers have found that biofuel crops cultivated on available land could produce up to half of the world's current fuel consumption - without affecting food crops or pastureland.

  • Microscope probe-sharpening technique improves resolution, durability

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A simple new improvement to an essential microscope component could greatly improve imaging for researchers who study the very small, from cells to computer chips.

  • Nanowires grown on graphene have surprising structure

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When a team of University of Illinois engineers set out to grow nanowires of a compound semiconductor on top of a sheet of graphene, they did not expect to discover a new paradigm of epitaxy.

  • New technique paints tissue samples with light

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - One infrared scan can give pathologists a window into the structures and molecules inside tissues and cells, enabling fast and broad diagnostic assessments, thanks to an imaging technique developed by University of Illinois researchers and clinical partners.

  • Banked blood grows stiffer with age, study finds

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - It may look like fresh blood and flow like fresh blood, but the longer blood is stored, the less it can carry oxygen into the tiny microcapillaries of the body, says a new study from University of Illinois researchers.

  • Electronic device performance enhanced with new transistor encasing method

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A more effective method for closing gaps in atomically small wires has been developed by University of Illinois researchers, further opening the doors to a new transistor technology.

  • Illinois LED pioneers receive Draper Prize

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A University of Illinois professor and two of his former students are among the five pioneers of LED technology honored with the 2015 Draper Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in engineering.

  • New technique makes it easier to etch semiconductors

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Creating semiconductor structures for high-end optoelectronic devices just got easier, thanks to University of Illinois researchers.

  • Charged graphene gives DNA a stage to perform molecular gymnastics

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When Illinois researchers set out to investigate a method to control how DNA moves through a tiny sequencing device, they did not know they were about to witness a display of molecular gymnastics.

  • New polymer coatings prevent corrosion, even when scratched

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Imagine tiny cracks in your patio table healing by themselves, or the first small scratch on your new car disappearing by itself. This and more may be possible with self-healing coatings being developed at the University of Illinois.

  • U. of I. Engineering Open House to take place March 10-11

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Wild and wacky Rube Goldberg machines, "robot wars," and more than 160 fun-filled exhibits await visitors to "Beyond Imagination," the 86th annual Engineering Open House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.