blog postsIllinois scientist named Packard FellowOct 18, 2017 12:30 pm2159 views Pinshane Huang, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is among 18 early career researchers to receive 2017 Packard Fellowships from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.Color-changing sensor detects signs of eye damage in tearsAug 31, 2018 8:00 am2050 views A new point-of-care rapid-sensing device can detect a key marker of eye injury in minutes – a time frame crucial to treating eye trauma. University of Illinois researchers developed a gel laden with gold nanoparticles that changes color when it reacts with a teardrop containing ascorbic acid, released from a wound to the eye. In a new study published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics, the researchers used the sensor, called OjoGel, to measure ascorbic acid levels in artificial tears and in clinical samples of fluid from patients’ eyes. Researchers use sound waves to advance optical communicationJan 22, 2018 10:00 am2047 views Illinois researchers have demonstrated that sound waves can be used to produce ultraminiature optical diodes that are tiny enough to fit onto a computer chip. These devices, called optical isolators, may help solve major data capacity and system size challenges for photonic integrated circuits, the light-based equivalent of electronic circuits, which are used for computing and communications.Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activityNov 17, 2017 9:45 am1955 views Specially tailored, ultrafast pulses of light can trigger neurons to fire and could one day help patients with light-sensitive circadian or mood problems, according to a new study in mice at the University of Illinois.AmpliMy project to give a voice to those who have trouble being heardSep 15, 2015 9:45 am1932 views Alexis Wernsing, a University of Illinois student majoring in art history, has cerebral palsy, and her voice is not powerful. She is working with industrial design professor Deana McDonagh and Skot Wiedmann, a graduate of the School of Art and Design and a technician in electrical and computer engineering, who will design and build a voice amplifier called AmpliMy.Light helps the transistor laser switch fasterMar 9, 2016 8:30 am1913 views Light and electrons interact in a complex dance within fiber optic devices. A new study by University of Illinois engineers found that in the transistor laser, a device for next-generation high-speed computing, the light and electrons spur one another on to faster switching speeds than any devices available.Electroplating delivers high-energy, high-power batteriesMay 12, 2017 2:00 pm1875 views The process that makes gold-plated jewelry or chrome car accents is now making powerful lithium-ion batteries.Stem cells from muscle could address diabetes-related circulation problemsNov 6, 2017 10:45 am1822 views Stem cells taken from muscle tissue could promote better blood flow in patients with diabetes who develop peripheral artery disease, a painful complication that can require surgery or lead to amputation.DNA enzyme shuffles cell membranes a thousand times faster than its natural counterpartJun 21, 2018 4:00 am1812 views A new synthetic enzyme, crafted from DNA rather than protein, flips lipid molecules within the cell membrane, triggering a signal pathway that could be harnessed to induce cell death in cancer cells. It is the first such synthetic enzyme to outperform its natural counterparts.Regenerating plastic grows back after damageMay 8, 2014 9:00 am1782 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Looking at a smooth sheet of plastic in one University of Illinois laboratory, no one would guess that an impact had recently blasted a hole through it.Illinois technician combines engineering and creativity in a DIY synthesizerJan 27, 2017 8:45 am1759 views Skot Wiedmann, an electronics technician and art instructor at the University of Illinois, built his Hyve Touch Synthesizer to inspire interdisciplinary work between engineers and musicians, and to allow people to explore music in a creative and fun way.Measure of age in soil nitrogen could help precision agricultureJul 25, 2016 8:00 am1738 views University of Illinois engineers developed a model to calculate the age of nitrogen in corn and soybean fields, which could lead to improved fertilizer application techniques to promote crop growth while reducing leaching.Nanostructured metal coatings let the light through for electrical devicesDec 8, 2015 9:15 am1703 views Light and electricity dance a complicated tango in devices like LEDs, solar cells and sensors. A new anti-reflection coating developed by engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, lets light through without hampering the flow of electricity, a step that could increase efficiency in such devices.Ultrathin LEDs create new classes of lighting and display systemsAug 20, 2009 9:00 am1667 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new process for creating ultrathin, ultrasmall inorganic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and assembling them into large arrays offers new classes of lighting and display systems with interesting properties, such as see-through construction and mechanical flexibility, that would be impossible to achieve with existing technologies.Method opens a window on how stress and strain affect battery performanceAug 1, 2016 12:15 pm1662 views Batteries that charge faster and have greater capacity could boost portable electronic devices and electric cars. A new method to simultaneously test stress and strain in battery electrodes gives researchers a window into the mechanical, electrical and chemical forces within lithium-ion batteries. The method revealed an unexpected point of stress in the charging cycle, which could guide development of better batteries.Chemicals that keep drinking water flowing may also cause foulingJul 25, 2018 7:30 am1649 views Many city drinking water systems add softening agents to keep plumbing free of pipe-clogging mineral buildup. According to new research, these additives may amplify the risk of pathogen release into drinking water by weakening the grip that bacteria – like those responsible for Legionnaires’ disease – have on pipe interiors. New aircraft-scheduling models may ease air travel frustrationsJun 11, 2018 8:30 am1554 views Flight schedules that allow for a little carefully designed wiggle room could prevent the frustration of cascading airport delays and cancellations. By focusing on the early phases of flight schedule planning and delays at various scales, researchers have developed models to help create schedules that are less susceptible to delays and easier to fix once disrupted.Study: Human wastewater valuable to global agriculture, economicsAug 15, 2018 12:45 pm1533 views It may seem off-putting to some, but human waste is full of nutrients that can be recycled into valuable products that could promote agricultural sustainability and better economic independence for some developing countries.High-power electronics keep their cool with new heat-conducting crystalsJul 5, 2018 1:00 pm1524 views The inner workings of high-power electronic devices must remain cool to operate reliably. High internal temperatures can make programs run slower, freeze or shut down. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and The University of Texas, Dallas have collaborated to optimize the crystal-growing process of boron arsenide – a material that has excellent thermal properties and can effectively dissipate the heat generated in electronic devices.Researchers develop microbubble scrubber to destroy dangerous biofilmsSep 19, 2018 10:15 am1516 views Stiff microbial films often coat medical devices, household items and infrastructure such as the inside of water supply pipes, and can lead to dangerous infections. Researchers have developed a system that harnesses the power of bubbles to propel tiny particles through the surfaces of these tough films and deliver an antiseptic deathblow to the microbes living inside.Muscle-powered bio-bots walk on commandJun 30, 2014 9:00 am1499 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new generation of miniature biological robots is flexing its muscle.Self-healing tech charges up performance for silicon-containing battery anodesMay 15, 2017 8:30 am1476 views Researchers at the University of Illinois have found a way to apply self-healing technology to lithium-ion batteries to make them more reliable and last longer.Force triggers gene expression by stretching chromatinAug 22, 2016 10:00 am1460 views A new study by University of Illinois researchers and collaborators in China has demonstrated that external mechanical force can directly regulate gene expression.New polymer manufacturing process saves 10 orders of magnitude of energyMay 9, 2018 12:00 pm1373 views Makers of cars, planes, buses – anything that needs strong, lightweight and heat resistant parts – are poised to benefit from a new manufacturing process that requires only a quick touch from a small heat source to send a cascading hardening wave through a polymer. Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new polymer-curing process that could reduce the cost, time and energy needed, compared with the current manufacturing process.Researchers develop transistors that can switch between two stable energy statesMay 9, 2017 8:30 am1371 views Engineers are unveiling an upgrade to the transistor laser that could be used to boost computer processor speeds – the formation of two stable energy states and the ability to switch between them quickly. Engineers on a roll toward smaller, more efficient radio frequency transformersMay 14, 2018 10:00 am1357 views The future of electronic devices lies partly within the “internet of things” – the network of devices, vehicles and appliances embedded within electronics to enable connectivity and data exchange. University of Illinois engineers are helping realize this future by minimizing the size of one notoriously large element of integrated circuits used for wireless communication – the transformer.Shrimp-inspired camera may enable underwater navigationApr 4, 2018 1:00 pm1348 views The underwater environment may appear to the human eye as a dull-blue, featureless space. However, a vast landscape of polarization patterns appear when viewed through a camera that is designed to see the world through the eyes of many of the animals that inhabit the water. Researchers develop model to show how bacteria grow in plumbing systemsMar 29, 2018 11:45 am1347 views Bacteria in tap water can multiply when a faucet isn’t used for a few days, such as when a house is vacant over a week’s vacation, a new study from University of Illinois engineers found. The study suggests a new method to show how microbial communities, including those responsible for illnesses like Legionnaires’ disease, may assemble inside the plumbing systems of homes and public buildingsCRISPR mines bacterial genome for hidden pharmaceutical treasureApr 10, 2017 10:00 am1340 views In the fight against disease, many weapons in the medicinal arsenal have been plundered from bacteria themselves. Using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology, researchers have now uncovered even more potential treasure hidden in silent genes.Tiny aquariums put nanoparticle self-assembly on displayOct 2, 2017 8:15 am1336 views Seeing is believing when it comes to nanoparticle self-assembly. A team of University of Illinois engineers is observing the interactions of colloidal gold nanoparticles inside tiny aquariumlike sample containers to gain more control over the self-assembly process of engineered materials.New methods tackle a perplexing engineering conceptOct 9, 2017 2:00 pm1328 views Researchers at the University of Illinois are working to turn a complex materials design problem into an intuitive concept, understandable to engineers from novice to advanced experience levels. The group developed guidelines to help understand materials engineered to become thicker when stretched. This highly useful property, which is not commonly found in nature, has applications for protective sports equipment, body armor and biomedical devices.A little support from their online friends calms test-anxious studentsApr 27, 2017 10:00 am1315 views Reading supportive comments, “likes” and private messages from social media friends prior to taking a test may help college students who have high levels of test-anxiety reduce their nervousness by 21 percent and improve their scores, researchers at the University of Illinois found.Tiny drug-delivering capsules could sustain transplanted insulin-producing cells for diabeticsFeb 12, 2018 9:15 am1306 views A drug-carrying microsphere within a cell-bearing microcapsule could be the key to transplanting insulin-secreting pig pancreas cells into human patients whose own cells have been destroyed by type I diabetes.Science at Illinois feeds the world, furthers health, protects the planetApr 17, 2017 8:30 am1271 views Illinois scientists are helping power plants run more efficiently, designing better, longer-lasting batteries, finding new ways to target cancerous tumors, and developing robots that can aid in construction, in agricultural fields and even inside the human body.Shape-shifting agent targets harmful bacteria in the stomachNov 13, 2017 2:00 pm1269 views A new shape-shifting polymer can target and kill Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the stomach without killing helpful bacteria in the gut.Nanopores could map small changes in DNA that signal big shifts in cancerApr 12, 2017 10:00 am1263 views Detecting cancer early, just as changes are beginning in DNA, could enhance diagnosis and treatment as well as further our understanding of the disease. A new study by University of Illinois researchers describes a method to detect, count and map tiny additions to DNA called methylations, which can be a warning sign of cancer, with unprecedented resolution.Chemical etching method helps transistors stand tallJul 25, 2016 10:15 am1261 views University of Illinois researchers have developed a way to etch very tall, narrow finFETs, a type of transistor that forms a tall semiconductor “fin” for the current to travel over.Tiny exports signal big shifts in cancer tissue, researchers findJan 25, 2017 1:30 pm1244 views Microscopic shifts in metabolism and increases in tiny transport vesicles out of tumor cells preface larger changes to the tumor environment and could prepare the way for cancerous cells to spread and metastasize, University of Illinois researchers report.Researchers look to patterns to envision new engineering fieldOct 26, 2017 8:00 am1212 views The phenomenon that forms interference patterns on television displays when a camera focuses on a pattern like a person wearing stripes has inspired a new way to conceptualize electronic devices. Researchers at the University of Illinois are showing how the atomic-scale version of this phenomenon may hold the secrets to help advance electronics design to the limits of size and speed. Researchers make headway in desalination technologyOct 12, 2017 2:00 pm1107 views Engineers at the University of Illinois have taken a step forward in developing a saltwater desalination process that is potentially cheaper than reverse osmosis and borrows from battery technology. In their study, the researchers are focusing on new materials that could make desalination of brackish waters economically desirable and energy efficient.Andreas C. Cangellaris to lead U. of I. College of EngineeringJun 20, 2013 9:00 am1106 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill - Andreas C. Cangellaris, the head of the department of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been chosen to be the next dean of the College of Engineering. Industrial designer will help make wearable health-monitoring electronics comfortable, easy to useSep 15, 2015 9:30 am1065 views University of Illinois researchers are taking the skin-mounted electronics developed on campus and making a wearable health-monitoring device that could measure a person’s vital signs and provide information to help his or her doctor better monitor the patient’s health.Changes in nonextreme precipitation may have not-so-subtle consequencesSep 18, 2017 7:45 am1065 views Major floods and droughts receive a lot of attention in the context of climate change, but University of Illinois researchers analyzed over five decades of precipitation data from North America to find that changes in nonextreme precipitation are more significant than previously realized and larger than those in extreme precipitation. These changes can have a strong effect on ecosystems, agriculture, infrastructure design and resource management, and point to a need to examine precipitation in a more nuanced, multifaceted way.Cradle turns smartphone into handheld biosensorMay 23, 2013 9:00 am1061 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers and physicians in the field could soon run on-the-spot tests for environmental toxins, medical diagnostics, food safety and more with their smartphones.New CRISPR technology ‘knocks out’ yeast genes with single-point precisionMay 7, 2018 10:00 am997 views The CRISPR-Cas9 system has given researchers the power to precisely edit selected genes. Now, researchers have used it to develop a technology that can target any gene in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and turn it off by deleting single letters from its DNA sequence.Electrostatic force takes charge in bioinspired polymersNov 2, 2017 7:00 am964 views Researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst have taken the first steps toward gaining control over the self-assembly of synthetic materials in the same way that biology forms natural polymers. This advance could prove useful in designing new bioinspired, smart materials for applications ranging from drug delivery to sensing to remediation of environmental contaminants.Genome-editing proteins ride a DNA zip lineAug 15, 2016 1:30 pm961 views For gene-editing proteins to be useful in clinical applications, they need to be able to find the specific site they’re supposed to edit among billions of DNA sequences. Using advanced imaging techniques, University of Illinois researchers have found that one class of genome-editing proteins rapidly travels along a strand of DNA like a rider on a zip line – a unique behavior among documented DNA-binding proteins.Particle-free silver ink prints small, high-performance electronicsJan 12, 2012 9:00 am955 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois materials scientists have developed a new reactive silver ink for printing high-performance electronics on ubiquitous, low-cost materials such as flexible plastic, paper or fabric substrates.Diagnostic tool helps engineers to design better global infrastructure solutionsNov 15, 2018 7:45 am949 views Designing safe bridges and water systems for low-income communities is not always easy for engineers coming from highly industrialized places. A new discipline called contextual engineering helps engineers think beyond personal values, expectations and definitions of project success when tackling global infrastructure problems.Biomedical breakthrough: Carbon nanoparticles you can make at homeJun 18, 2015 10:30 am944 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers have found an easy way to produce carbon nanoparticles that are small enough to evade the body’s immune system, reflect light in the near-infrared range for easy detection, and carry payloads of pharmaceutical drugs to targeted tissues.