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  • An N95 mask in a multicooker with a towel.

    Electric cooker an easy, efficient way to sanitize N95 masks, study finds

    Owners of electric multicookers may be able to add another use to its list of functions, a new study suggests: sanitization of N95 respirator masks.

    The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign study found that 50 minutes of dry heat in an electric cooker, such as a rice cooker or Instant Pot, decontaminated N95 respirators inside and out while maintaining their filtration and fit. This could enable wearers to safely reuse limited supplies of the respirators, originally intended to be one-time-use items. 

  • Mechanical science and engineering professor Taher Saif, right, and students Onur Aydin, left, and Bashar Emon test common household fabrics used to make face masks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

    Making a homemade COVID mask? Study explains best fabric choices

    Health authorities believe COVID-19 spreads by the transmission of respiratory droplets, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends homemade cloth face coverings for use in public spaces. Starting today, Illinois joins many other states in requiring people to wear masks while out. However, initial uncertainty regarding the masks’ effectiveness in reducing exhaled droplets leaves some people unsure or skeptical of their usefulness during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Mechanical science and engineering professor Taher Saif spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about a study that he and his graduate students, Onur Aydin and Bashar Emon, performed on the effectiveness of common household fabrics for use in homemade masks.

  • New research reveals that the bacterium Sulfurihydrogenibium yellowstonense thrives in harsh environments with conditions like those expected on Mars.

    'Fettuccine' may be most obvious sign of life on Mars, researchers report

    A rover scanning the surface of Mars for evidence of life might want to check for rocks that look like pasta, researchers report in the journal Astrobiology.

    The bacterium that controls the formation of such rocks on Earth is ancient and thrives in harsh environments that are similar to conditions on Mars, said University of Illinois geology professor Bruce Fouke, who led the new, NASA-funded study.

  • Shutdown of circulation pattern could be disastrous, researchers say

    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.

  • Georgia Tech professor Glaucio Paulino and University of Illinois graduate researcher Evgueni Filipov developed an origami zippered tube folding pattern that allows them to build structures with much greater stiffness than a single sheet of paper. They collaborated with University of Tokyo professor Tomohiro Tachi (not pictured).

    Paper tubes make stiff origami structures

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – From shipping and construction to outer space, origami could put a folded twist on structural engineering.

  • Chemistry professor Prashant Jain is one of eleven Illinois faculty members on the Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list, 2018.

    Eleven Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

    Eleven faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2018 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list.

  • The graphic illustrates a high power battery technology from the University of Illinois.  Ions flow between three-dimensional micro-electrodes in a lithium ion battery.

    Small in size, big on power: New microbatteries a boost for electronics

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Though they be but little, they are fierce. The most powerful batteries on the planet are only a few millimeters in size, yet they pack such a punch that a driver could use a cellphone powered by these batteries to jump-start a dead car battery - and then recharge the phone in the blink of an eye.

  • A new study of Earth’s inner core used seismic data from repeating earthquakes, called doublets, to find that refracted waves, blue, rather than reflected waves, purple, change over time – providing the best evidence yet that Earth’s inner core is rotating

    Growing mountains or shifting ground: What is going on in Earth’s inner core?

    Exhaustive seismic data from repeating earthquakes and new data-processing methods have yielded the best evidence yet that the Earth’s inner core is rotating – revealing a better understanding of the hotly debated processes that control the planet’s magnetic field.

  • Illinois physics professor and Nobel Laureate Anthony Leggett talks about the 1938 discovery of superfluidity and its significance to low-temperature physics.

    Superfluidity: what is it and why does it matter?

    2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the landmark physics discovery of superfluidity. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian asked University of Illinois physics professor and 2003 Nobel Prize winner Anthony Leggett about the significance of the historic finding.

  • Event Horizon Telescope Project theoretical working group leader Charles Gammie, center, and graduate students Ben Prather, left, and Charles Wong helped interpret the massive amounts of data used to produce the first image of a black hole.

    How is Illinois contributing to the Event Horizon Telescope Project?

    The Event Horizon Telescope Project announced that it has captured the first image of a black hole. The feature is located at the center of Messier 87 – a giant elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian spoke with University of Illinois physics and astronomy professor Charles Gammie, who heads up the theory working group for the large, multi-institutional collaboration.

  • Researchers Christopher Lehmann, left, and David Gay completed a 25-year study of acidic pollutants in rainwater collected across the U.S. and found that both frequency and concentration of acid rainfall has decreased.

    Long-term study shows acid pollution in rain decreases with emissions

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Emissions regulations do have an environmental impact, according to a long-term study of acidic rainfall by researchers at the University of Illinois.

  • Three U. of I. professors are recipients of Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships this year.

    Three Illinois professors named Sloan Research Fellows

    Three Illinois scientists are among 126 recipients of the 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. According to the foundation, the awards “honor early career scholars whose achievements mark them as among the very best scientific minds working today.” Winners receive a two-year $65,000 fellowship to further their research.

  • University of Illinois physics professor Mats Selen was awarded a national Professor of the Year award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

    Illinois physics professor named national Professor of the Year

    Mats Selen, professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been named Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

  • Plant biology professor Donald Ort is one of seven U. of I. researchers on the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list for 2015.

    Seven Illinois researchers rank among the world’s most influential

    Seven University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list for 2015. The list includes “some of the world’s most influential scientific minds,” according to a statement from Thomson Reuters.

  • Illinois professor Narayana Aluru led a team that found that tiny pores in thin sheets of the material molybdenum disulfide could be very good at removing salt from seawater to yield drinkable water.

    Nanopores could take the salt out of seawater

    University of Illinois engineers have found an energy-efficient material for removing salt from seawater that could provide a rebuttal to poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s lament, “Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink.”

  • Aerial view of the U. of I. campus.

    U of I to lead two of seven new national artificial intelligence institutes

    The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture are announcing an investment of more than $140 million to establish seven artificial intelligence institutes in the U.S. Two of the seven will be led by teams at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

    The USDA-NIFA will fund the AI Institute for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management and Sustainability at the U. of I. Illinois computer science professor Vikram Adve will lead the AIFARMS Institute.

    The NSF will fund the AI Institute for Molecular Discovery, Synthetic Strategy and Manufacturing, also known as the Molecule Maker Lab Institute. Huimin Zhao, a U. of I. professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry, will lead this institute.

  • Top and bottom views of a microfluidic cartridge

    Study: Portable, point-of-care COVID-19 test could bypass the lab

    In a new study, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign researchers have demonstrated a prototype of a rapid COVID-19 molecular test and a simple-to-use, portable instrument for reading the results with a smartphone in 30 minutes, which could enable point-of-care diagnosis without needing to send samples to a lab.

  • The small sensor connects to an embeddable wireless transmitter that lies on top of the skull.

    Tiny electronic implants monitor brain injury, then melt away

    A new class of small, thin electronic sensors can monitor temperature and pressure within the skull – crucial health parameters after a brain injury or surgery – then melt away when they are no longer needed, eliminating the need for additional surgery to remove the monitors and reducing the risk of infection and hemorrhage.

  • People with cystic fibrosis are missing a protein in the lining of the lung that releases bicarbonate, a key infection-fighting agent. The drug amphotericin can form channels to release bicarbonate in lung tissue, restoring the airway surface liquid’s antibiotic properties.

    Potential new cystic fibrosis treatment uses 'molecular prosthetic' for missing lung protein

    An approved drug normally used to treat fungal infections could also do the job of a protein channel that is missing or defective in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis, operating as a prosthesis on the molecular scale, says new research from the University of Illinois and the University of Iowa.

    Cystic fibrosis is a lifelong disease that makes patients vulnerable to lung infections. There are treatments for some but not all patients, and there is no cure. The drug restored infection-fighting properties in lung tissue donated by human patients as well as in pigs with cystic fibrosis. It has potential to become the first treatment to address all types of cystic fibrosis, regardless of the genetic mutation that causes the protein deficiency.

  • Plant biology professor Lisa Ainsworth is one of eight Illinois faculty members on the Clarivate Analytics / Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list, 2016.

    Eight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

    Eight University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters / Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for 2016. The list identifies scientists “whose research has had significant global impact within their respective fields of study."

  • Adam Aaronson with some of his crossword puzzles

    Illinois student's puzzle to appear in The New York Times

    Computer science student Adam Aaronson loves puzzles, and a crossword puzzle he created will be published in The New York Times.

  • University of Illinois engineers developed fiber-optic technology that can transmit data at a blazing-fast 57 gigabits per second, without errors. Pictured are graduate students Curtis Wang and Michael Liu with professor Milton Feng.

    Record-speed data transmission could make big data more accessible

    With record-breaking speeds for fiber-optic data transmission, University of Illinois engineers have paved a fast lane on the information superhighway – creating on-ramps for big data in the process.

  • Researchers tested 11 household fabrics that are commonly used for homemade masks and found that all are effective at curbing the small and large respiratory droplets that are released when we speak, cough or sneeze.

    Most homemade masks are doing a great job, even when we sneeze, study finds

    Studies indicate that homemade masks help combat the spread of viruses like COVID-19 when combined with frequent hand-washing and physical distancing. Many of these studies focus on the transfer of tiny aerosol particles; however, researchers say that speaking, coughing and sneezing generates larger droplets that carry virus particles. Because of this, mechanical engineer Taher Saif said the established knowledge may not be enough to determine how the effectiveness of some fabrics used in homemade masks.

  • Illinois researchers found that the shape of a tumor may play a role in how cancer cells become primed to spread. From left: materials science and engineering professor Kristopher Kilian, graduate student Junmin Lee and veterinary medicine professor Timothy Fan.

    Shape of tumor may affect whether cells can metastasize

    Only a few cells in a cancerous tumor are able to break away and spread to other parts of the body, but the curve along the edge of the tumor may play a large role in activating these tumor-seeding cells, according to a new University of Illinois study.

  • Thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin incorporate commercial, off-the-shelf chip-based electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring. The new device was developed by John A. Rogers of Illinois and Yonggang Huang of Northwestern University.

    Off the shelf, on the skin: Stick-on electronic patches for health monitoring

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Wearing a fitness tracker on your wrist or clipped to your belt is so 2013. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University have demonstrated thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin and incorporate commercial, off-the-shelf chip-based electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring.

  • Kumar_Richardson

    Corn better used as food than biofuel, study finds

    Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs.

  • Scott R. White, a pioneer of self-healing materials, died May 28 at age 55.

    Scott R. White, pioneer of self-healing materials, has died

    University of Illinois aerospace engineering professor Scott R. White, an innovator of self-healing and self-regulating materials, died Monday of cancer at age 55.

  • An artist rendering of a new generation of bio-bots – soft robotic devices powered by skeletal muscle tissue stimulated by on-board motor neurons.

    Researchers build microscopic biohybrid robots propelled by muscles, nerves

    Researchers have developed soft robotic devices driven by neuromuscular tissue that triggers when stimulated by light – bringing mechanical engineering one step closer to developing autonomous biobots.

  • Illinois electrical and computer engineering professor Viktor Gruev, right, and graduate student Missael Garcia have developed a camera capable of sensing both color and polarization by mimicking the eye of the mantis shrimp that may improve early cancer detection and provide new understanding of underwater phenomena.

    Mantis shrimp-inspired camera enables glimpse into hidden world

    By mimicking the eye of the mantis shrimp, Illinois researchers have developed an ultra-sensitive camera capable of sensing both color and polarization. The bioinspired imager can potentially improve early cancer detection and help provide a new understanding of underwater phenomena, the researchers said.

  • An ultrathin, electronic patch with the mechanics of skin, applied to the wrist for EMG and other measurements.

    Smart skin: Electronics that stick and stretch like a temporary tattoo

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Engineers have developed a device platform that combines electronic components for sensing, medical diagnostics, communications and human-machine interfaces, all on an ultrathin skin-like patch that mounts directly onto the skin with the ease, flexibility and comfort of a temporary tattoo.

  • Masks are an important tool for fighting COVID-19 but wearing one can make it difficult for others to hear us speak. Using a unique laboratory setup, Illinois researcher Ryan Corey tested how different types of masks affect the acoustics of speech.

    Disposable surgical masks best for being heard clearly when speaking, study finds

    Researcher Ryan Corey recently heard from a friend who teaches at a school where some of the students have hearing loss. The friend wanted to know if he had any ideas to help her communicate with these students while wearing a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19. Corey, who also has hearing loss, did not know what to tell her. So, he headed to the Illinois Augmented Listening Laboratory to look for solutions.

  • Carl Bernacchi is one of six faculty members from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign named as AAAS Fellows this year.

    Six Illinois faculty members elected AAAS Fellows

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Six professors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2020 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Evolution, ecology and behavior professor Alison Bell; plant biology professor Carl Bernacchi; bioengineering professor Rohit Bhargava; materials science and engineering professor Paul Braun; chemistry professor Prashant Jain; and materials science and engineering professor Nancy Sottos are among the 489 scientists to be awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow this year.

  • Freeform printing allows the researchers to make intricate structures, such as this model of a heart, that could not be made with traditional layer-by-layer 3-D printing. The structures could be used as scaffolds for tissue engineering or device manufacturing.

    3-D printed sugar scaffolds offer sweet solution for tissue engineering, device manufacturing

    University of Illinois engineers built a 3-D printer that offers a sweet solution to making detailed structures that commercial 3-D printers can’t: Rather than a layer-upon-layer solid shell, it produces a delicate network of thin ribbons of hardened isomalt, the type of sugar alcohol used to make throat lozenges.

    The water-soluble, biodegradable glassy sugar structures have multiple applications in biomedical engineering, cancer research and device manufacturing.

  • Psychology professor Brent Roberts is one of five Illinois faculty members on the 2017 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list.

    Five Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

    Five faculty members have been named to the 2017 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list (previously known as the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list). The list recognizes “leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world."

  • A team of researchers led by professor Brian Fields hypothesizes that a supernova about 65 light-years away may have contributed to the ozone depletion and subsequent mass extinction of the late Devonian Period, 359 million years ago. Pictured is a simulation of a nearby supernova colliding with and compressing the solar wind. Earth’s orbit, the blue dashed circle, and the Sun, red dot, are shown for scale.

    Exploding stars may have caused mass extinction on Earth, study shows

    Imagine reading by the light of an exploded star, brighter than a full moon – it might be fun to think about, but this scene is the prelude to a disaster when the radiation devastates life as we know it. Killer cosmic rays from nearby supernovae could be the culprit behind at least one mass extinction event, researchers said, and finding certain radioactive isotopes in Earth’s rock record could confirm this scenario.

  • Illinois Sustainable Technology Center researcher John Scott is part of a team of researchers who are among the first to explore microplastic contamination in groundwater systems.

    Microplastic contamination found in common source of groundwater, researchers report

    Microplastics contaminate the world's surface waters, yet scientists have only just begun to explore their presence in groundwater systems. A new study is the first to report microplastics in fractured limestone aquifers – a groundwater source that accounts for 25 percent of the global drinking water supply.

  • Mechanical science and engineering professor Andrew Alleyne is one of eight recipients from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to be elected as AAAS Fellows this year.

    Eight Illinois faculty members elected AAAS Fellows

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Eight professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2019 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  • Two Illinois professors are recipients of Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships this year: from left, physics professor Barry Bradlyn and electrical and computer engineering professor Zhizhen Zhao.

    Two Illinois professors named Sloan Research Fellows

    Two University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign scientists are among 126 recipients of the 2020 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This honor is one of the most competitive and prestigious awards available to early career researchers. 

  • Chemistry professor Prashant Jain, left, and postdoctoral researcher Sungju Yu have developed an artificial photosynthesis process that converts excess CO2 into valuable fuels, bringing green technology one step closer to large-scale solar energy storage.

    Artificial photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide into liquefiable fuels

    Chemists at the University of Illinois have successfully produced fuels using water, carbon dioxide and visible light through artificial photosynthesis. By converting carbon dioxide into more complex molecules like propane, green energy technology is now one step closer to using excess CO2 to store solar energy – in the form of chemical bonds – for use when the sun is not shining and in times of peak demand.

  • From left, geology graduate students Jiashun Hu and Quan Zhou and professor Lijun Liu challenge traditional theories about western U.S. volcanism with new evidence from supercomputer modeling.

    Heat from below Pacific Ocean fuels Yellowstone, study finds

    Recent stories in the national media are magnifying fears of a catastrophic eruption of the Yellowstone volcanic area, but scientists remain uncertain about the likelihood of such an event. To better understand the region’s subsurface geology, University of Illinois geologists have rewound and played back a portion of its geologic history, finding that Yellowstone volcanism is more far more complex and dynamic than previously thought. 

  • Electrical and computer engineering professor Brian Cunningham co-led a multi-institutional team to demonstrate an inexpensive and rapid smartphone-based pathogen testing device designed to ease pressure on testing laboratories during pandemics such as COVID-19.

    Inexpensive, portable detector identifies pathogens in minutes

    Most viral test kits rely on labor- and time-intensive laboratory preparation and analysis techniques; for example, tests for the novel coronavirus can take days to detect the virus from nasal swabs. Now, researchers have demonstrated an inexpensive yet sensitive smartphone-based testing device for viral and bacterial pathogens that takes about 30 minutes to complete. The roughly $50 smartphone accessory could reduce the pressure on testing laboratories during a pandemic such as COVID-19.

  • Materials science and engineering professor Christopher Evans, right, and graduate student Brian Jing have developed a solid battery electrolyte that is both self-healing and recyclable.

    New polymer material may help batteries become self-healing, recyclable

    Lithium-ion batteries are notorious for developing internal electrical shorts that can ignite a battery’s liquid electrolytes, leading to explosions and fires. Engineers at the University of Illinois have developed a solid polymer-based electrolyte that can self-heal after damage – and the material can also be recycled without the use of harsh chemicals or high temperatures.

  • A team of researchers developed a new broad-spectrum antibiotic that kills bacteria by punching holes in their membranes. Front row, from left: materials science and engineering professor Jianjun and postdoctoral researcher Yan Bao. Back row, from left: postdoctoral researcher Menghau Xiong, graduate students Ziyuan Song and Rachael Mansbach, materials science and engineering professor Andrew Ferguson, and biochemistry professor Lin-Feng Cheng.

    Bacterial hole puncher could be new broad-spectrum antibiotic

    Bacteria have many methods of adapting to resist antibiotics, but a new class of spiral polypeptides developed at the University of Illinois targets one thing no bacterium can live without: an outer membrane.

  • A single circuit board, foreground, that when joined with others forms the experimental array of the quadrupole topological insulator.

    Researchers demonstrate existence of new form of electronic matter

    Researchers have produced a “human scale” demonstration of a new phase of matter called quadrupole topological insulators that was recently predicted using theoretical physics. These are the first experimental findings to validate this theory.

  • Inspired by the eye of the morpho butterfly, a new camera that can see both visible and infrared light could help surgeons more easily identify cancerous tissue.

    New camera gives surgeons a butterfly’s-eye view of cancer

    Cancer lurking in tissue could be more easily found when looking through a butterfly’s eye.

  • Illinois researchers developed a tissue-imaging microscope that can image living tissue in real time and molecular detail, allowing them to monitor tumors and their environments as cancer progresses.

    New tissue-imaging technology could enable real-time diagnostics, map cancer progression

    A new microscope system can image living tissue in real time and in molecular detail, without any chemicals or dyes, report researchers at the University of Illinois.

  • Illinois professor Ashlynn Stillwell found that, in the Chicago area, it would be more efficient to use reclaimed water instead of river water to cool thermoelectric power plants.

    Reclaimed water could help power plants run more efficiently, study finds

    The water going down the drain could help keep the lights on, according to a new study showing that reclaimed water – municipal wastewater that has been treated or cleaned – could be more efficient for cooling power plants than water taken from the local environment.

  • Physics professor Nadya Mason is one of five Urbana-Champaign faculty members named as University Scholars.

    Five professors named University Scholars for Urbana-Champaign campus

    Five Urbana-Champaign campus professors have been named University Scholars in recognition of their excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.

  • ying diao template group

    Researchers develop dynamic templates critical to printable electronics technology

    When it comes to efficiency, sometimes it helps to look to Mother Nature for advice – even in technology as advanced as printable, flexible electronics.

    Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed bio-inspired dynamic templates used to manufacture organic semiconductor materials that produce printable electronics. It uses a process similar to biomineralization – the way that bones and teeth form. This technique is also eco-friendly compared with how conventional electronics are made, which gives the researchers the chance to return the favor to nature.  

  • Click beetles can jump without the aid of their limbs when they are tipped onto their backsides. A team of University of Illinois researchers are examining this mechanism to engineer self-righting robots.

    Click beetles inspire design of self-righting robots

    Robots perform many tasks that humans can’t or don’t want to perform, getting around on intricately designed wheels and limbs. If they tip over, however, they are rendered almost useless. A team of University of Illinois mechanical engineers and entomologists are looking to click beetles, who can right themselves without the use of their legs, to solve this robotics challenge.