blog postsPortable device can quickly determine the extent of an eye injuryDec 8, 2015 8:45 am2174 views An engineer and an ophthalmologist are working together to develop a portable sensor that can quickly and inexpensively determine whether an eye injury is mild or severe. The device, called OcuCheck, works by measuring levels of vitamin C in the fluids that coat or leak from the eye. The sensor could speed efforts to determine the extent of eye injuries at accident sites, in rural areas lacking ophthalmology specialists or on the battlefield, the researchers said.Increased number of female engineers in managerial roles brings unintended consequencesJun 5, 2017 12:45 pm2143 views Increased female representation in the managerial ranks of engineering organizations may add another layer of sex segregation on top of the one it’s intended to mitigate, says a new paper from U. of I. labor professor M. Teresa Cardador.Shape-shifting organic crystals use memory to improve plastic electronicsJan 25, 2018 9:45 am2130 views Researchers have identified a mechanism that triggers shape-memory phenomena in organic crystals used in plastic electronics. Shape-shifting structural materials are made with metal alloys, but the new generation of economical printable plastic electronics is poised to benefit from this phenomenon, too. Shape-memory materials science and plastic electronics technology, when merged, could open the door to advancements in low-power electronics, medical electronics devices and multifunctional shape-memory materials.New, highly stable catalyst may help turn water into fuelSep 28, 2018 8:30 am2112 views Breaking the bonds between oxygen and hydrogen in water could be a key to the creation of hydrogen in a sustainable manner, but finding an economically viable technique for this has proved difficult. Researchers report a new hydrogen-generating catalyst that clears many of the obstacles – abundance, stability in acid conditions and efficiency.Six Illinois faculty members elected AAAS FellowsNov 21, 2016 10:00 am2077 views Six University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty members have been elected 2016 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: Jianjun Cheng, Brian T. Cunningham, Kevin T. Pitts, Bruce L. Rhoads, Chad M. Rienstra and Josep Torrellas.Sensors detect disease markers in breathMay 18, 2017 11:45 am2074 views A small, thin square of an organic plastic that can detect disease markers in breath or toxins in a building’s air could soon be the basis of portable, disposable sensor devices. By riddling the thin plastic films with pores, University of Illinois researchers made the devices sensitive enough to detect at levels that are far too low to smell, yet are important to human health.COMPASS method points researchers to protein structuresOct 9, 2015 12:30 pm2062 views Searching for the precise, complexly folded three-dimensional structure of a protein can be like hacking through a jungle without a map: a long, intensive process with uncertain direction. University of Illinois researchers developed a new approach, dubbed COMPASS, that points directly to a protein’s likely structure using a combination of advanced molecular spectroscopy techniques, predictive protein-folding algorithms and image recognition software.Researchers use sound waves to advance optical communicationJan 22, 2018 10:00 am1992 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.Cicada wings may inspire new surface technologiesAug 2, 2017 8:00 am1967 views Researchers are looking to insects – specifically cicadas – for insight into the design of artificial surfaces with de-icing, self-cleaning and anti-fogging abilities. New microscope technique reveals internal structure of live embryosAug 8, 2017 7:00 am1956 views University of Illinois researchers have developed a way to produce 3-D images of live embryos in cattle that could help determine embryo viability before in vitro fertilization in humans.Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activityNov 17, 2017 9:45 am1935 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.Light helps the transistor laser switch fasterMar 9, 2016 8:30 am1906 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.Geography professor awarded Guggenheim FellowshipApr 5, 2018 8:45 am1866 views University of Illinois professor of geography Jesse Ribot has been awarded a 2018 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.Five Illinois faculty members named Sloan Research FellowsFeb 23, 2016 9:15 am1851 views Five University of Illinois faculty members received the 2016 Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.Study suggests ample warning of supervolcano eruptionsApr 30, 2018 8:30 am1816 views Concern over the potential imminent eruptions of Earth’s supervolcanoes, like Taupo in New Zealand or Yellowstone in the United States, may be quelled by the results of a new study suggesting that geological signs pointing to a catastrophic eruption would be clear far in advance.Electroplating delivers high-energy, high-power batteriesMay 12, 2017 2:00 pm1813 views The process that makes gold-plated jewelry or chrome car accents is now making powerful lithium-ion batteries.Can data analytics help you fill out a March Madness bracket?Mar 7, 2017 9:30 am1810 views Fill in your March Madness bracket from the center out, says bracketologist Sheldon H. Jacobson.Scientists: Expanding Brazilian sugarcane could dent global CO2 emissionsOct 23, 2017 9:45 am1802 views Vastly expanding sugarcane production in Brazil for conversion to ethanol could reduce current global carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 5.6 percent, researchers report in the journal Nature Climate Change.Study shows new forests cannot take in as much carbon as predictedSep 24, 2015 9:45 am1799 views As carbon emissions continue to rise, scientists project forests will grow faster and larger, due to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, which fuels photosynthesis. But a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom finds that these projections are overestimated.Klaus Schulten, pioneer in biophysics and computational biology, has diedNov 4, 2016 8:30 am1794 views University of Illinois physics professor Klaus Schulten, an innovator in the use of computational methods to study the chemical and biological processes driving living cells, died Monday, Oct. 31, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. He was 69.DNA enzyme shuffles cell membranes a thousand times faster than its natural counterpartJun 21, 2018 4:00 am1768 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.Study: Large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara would increase heat, rain, vegetationSep 6, 2018 9:45 am1763 views Wind and solar farms are known to have local effects on heat, humidity and other factors that may be beneficial – or detrimental – to the regions in which they are situated. A new climate-modeling study finds that a massive wind and solar installation in the Sahara Desert and neighboring Sahel would increase local temperature, precipitation and vegetation. Overall, the researchers report, the effects would likely benefit the region.Illinois researcher generates random ‘reactions’ to consider how Facebook uses our informationFeb 9, 2017 8:30 am1751 views University of Illinois researcher Ben Grosser has created a web browser extension he calls Go Rando that randomly chooses one of Facebook’s six reactions whenever you click “like.” His intention is to obfuscate your recorded feelings to Facebook.Measure of age in soil nitrogen could help precision agricultureJul 25, 2016 8:00 am1723 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 am1696 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.Regenerating plastic grows back after damageMay 8, 2014 9:00 am1693 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.New algorithm fuses quality and quantity in satellite imageryJun 4, 2018 8:30 am1688 views Using a new algorithm, University of Illinois researchers may have found the solution to an age-old dilemma plaguing satellite imagery – whether to sacrifice high spatial resolution in the interest of generating images more frequently, or vice versa. The team’s new tool eliminates this trade-off by fusing high-resolution and high-frequency satellite data into one integrated product, and can generate 30-meter daily continuous images going back to the year 2000. Study: Surge in obesity correlates with increased automobile usageMay 11, 2011 9:00 am1678 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Junk food, video games and a lack of exercise all have received their fair share of blame for the spiraling epidemic of obesity in the U.S. But according to a University of Illinois researcher, public health enemy No. 1 for our supersized nation may very well be the one staple of modern life most Americans can't seem to live without one (or more) of: the automobile.Researchers identify cheaper, greener biofuels processing catalystAug 25, 2017 8:00 am1658 views Fuels that are produced from nonpetroleum-based biological sources may become greener and more affordable, thanks to research performed at the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute that examines the use of a processing catalyst made from palladium metal and bacteria.Method opens a window on how stress and strain affect battery performanceAug 1, 2016 12:15 pm1648 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 am1577 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. Study: Kidney stones have distinct geological historiesSep 13, 2018 4:00 am1552 views A geologist, a microscopist and a doctor walk into a lab and, with their colleagues from across the nation, make a discovery that overturns centuries of thought about the nature and composition of kidney stones. The team’s key insight, reported in the journal Scientific Reports, is that kidney stones are built up in calcium-rich layers that resemble other mineralizations in nature, such as those forming coral reefs or arising in hot springs, Roman aqueducts or subsurface oil fields.Researchers tap problematic e-waste surplus to recover high-quality polymersMar 14, 2018 8:30 am1507 views Mixed-plastic electronics waste could be a valuable source of reusable polymers, a new study led by Illinois Sustainability Technology Center scientists suggests. The team has developed the first energy-efficient and environmentally friendly process that separates mixed polymers so that they can be recycled into new, high-quality plastic products.Study: Human wastewater valuable to global agriculture, economicsAug 15, 2018 12:45 pm1496 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.Muscle-powered bio-bots walk on commandJun 30, 2014 9:00 am1480 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 am1455 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 am1435 views A new study by University of Illinois researchers and collaborators in China has demonstrated that external mechanical force can directly regulate gene expression.High-power electronics keep their cool with new heat-conducting crystalsJul 5, 2018 1:00 pm1429 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.Nowhere to hide: Molecular probe illuminates elusive cancer stem cells in live miceAug 1, 2018 9:00 am1413 views After a primary tumor is treated, cancer stem cells may still lurk in the body, ready to metastasize and cause a recurrence of the cancer in a form that’s more aggressive and resistant to treatment. University of Illinois researchers have developed a molecular probe that seeks out these elusive cells and lights them up so they can be identified, tracked and studied not only in cell cultures, but in their native environment: the body. In a paper published in the journal ACS Central Science, the researchers described the probe’s effectiveness in identifying cancer stem cells in cultures of multiple human cancer cell lines as well as in live mice.Earth's surprise inside: Geologists unlock mysteries of the planet's inner coreFeb 9, 2015 9:00 am1408 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Seismic waves are helping scientists to plumb the world's deepest mystery: the planet's inner core.Can the FBI hack the iPhone?Feb 25, 2016 12:30 pm1408 views A Minute With...™ computer scientist Roy H. CampbellStudy finds possible connection between U.S. tornado activity, Arctic sea iceAug 6, 2018 8:15 am1386 views The effects of global climate change taking place in the Arctic may influence weather much closer to home for millions of Americans, researchers report.Shutdown of circulation pattern could be disastrous, researchers sayDec 13, 2004 9:00 am1372 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - If global warming shuts down the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean, the result could be catastrophic climate change. The environmental effects, models indicate, depend upon whether the shutdown is reversible or irreversible.Researchers develop microbubble scrubber to destroy dangerous biofilmsSep 19, 2018 10:15 am1364 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.Researchers develop transistors that can switch between two stable energy statesMay 9, 2017 8:30 am1361 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 am1340 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.Time-lapse cell imaging reveals dynamic activityOct 26, 2016 12:30 pm1340 views Living cells are miniature worlds bustling with activity. A new advanced imaging method can track cells over long periods of time using only light – no dye or chemicals required – to reveal dynamics and provide insight into how cells function, develop and interact.Study: Alaskan boreal forest fires release more carbon than the trees can absorbOct 19, 2015 9:30 am1339 views A new analysis of fire activity in Alaska's Yukon Flats finds that so many forest fires are occurring there that the area has become a net exporter of carbon to the atmosphere. This is worrisome, the researchers say, because arctic and subarctic boreal forests like those of the Yukon Flats contain roughly one-third of the Earth's terrestrial carbon stores.Researchers develop model to show how bacteria grow in plumbing systemsMar 29, 2018 11:45 am1322 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 buildingsNew polymer manufacturing process saves 10 orders of magnitude of energyMay 9, 2018 12:00 pm1320 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.