Feature articles

Feature articles

We have appointed Kelly Oakes as a science writer for NTNU Nano. Kelly is a freelance writer who specialises in science, health, environment, and technology. Her work has been published in New Scientist, BBC Future, Nature, BuzzFeed, and many other publications. She has a degree in physics and a master's in science communication from Imperial College London. 


Using real neural networks to pinpoint the start of brain disease

Using real neural networks to pinpoint the start of brain disease

Ioanna Sandvig, photo: Angella Niarou“In theory, if you can pinpoint the onset of the disease, you might be able to stop it or reverse some of its effects,” says Ioanna Sandvig, co-leader of the integrative neuroscience group at NTNU’s Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science. 

Sandvig and her colleagues are growing interconnected brain cells in the lab, to study how these neural networks evolve and what happens when things go wrong. 

Read more about their research here.

 

 

 


A new way to look at the inner workings of tiny magnets

A new way to look at the inner workings of tiny magnets

Picture of Erik Folven, photo: Terje Trobe

Researchers at NTNU are shedding light on magnetic materials at small scales by creating movies with the help of some extremely bright x-rays.

Erik Folven, co-director of the oxide electronics group at NTNU’s Department of Electronic Systems, and colleagues from NTNU and Ghent University in Belgium set out to see how thin-film micromagnets change when disturbed by an outside magnetic field. 

Read more about their results here.
 


Capturing energy from sunlight with dyes inspired by nature

Capturing energy from sunlight with dyes inspired by nature

As sunlight filters through a forest canopy, chlorophyll is hard at work capturing the energy of photons. Inspired by nature, researchers at NTNU are working on light-capturing dyes for solar cells to generate electricity.

PhD candidate David Moe Almenningen and colleagues, Odd Reidar Gautun, Bård Helge Hoff and Svein Sunde have shown that adding a particular molecule to the dyes can increase its light harvesting properties – though so far the additional light comes at a cost.

Read more about their findings here.


How researchers solved a decade-long puzzle about friction

How researchers solved a decade-long puzzle about friction

Photo Astrid de Wijn

Sometimes, when it comes to friction, less is more – at least that’s what several experiments over the last decade seem to have shown in the case of friction caused by layered materials. But it wasn’t until recently that researchers at NTNU figured out what was actually going on.

The cause of friction in 2D layered materials has always been a bit of a theoretical sticking point, but research by David Andersson and Astrid de Wijn might just have got things moving again.

Read more about their findings here.
 


Moving towards an ‘artificial pancreas’ for people with diabetes

Moving towards an ‘artificial pancreas’ for people with diabetes

Living with diabetes often means having to prick your finger to test blood glucose levels several times a day.

That’s why a group of researchers in Trondheim are working on creating an “artificial pancreas” to take over this responsibility. The work is still in its early stages, but the ultimate aim is for the device to automatically measure glucose levels, and administer insulin according to the results, doing away with regular manual testing.

Read the whole article here.


“Appealing” nanogap devices

“Appealing” nanogap devices

Photo: Sihai LouAs demand for faster and more powerful electronics grows, the size of individual components must shrink. Making these tiny components usually requires complicated techniques carried out in clean rooms with expensive equipment – but John de Mello, Bård Hoff and Sihai Luo from the Department of Chemistry at NTNU are working on a decidedly lower tech approach to making what will hopefully become high performance devices.

Read the whole article here.


Creating a miniature brain-on-a-chip

Creating a miniature brain-on-a-chip

Growing a brain in the lab might still be a far-fetched idea, but perhaps it just got one step closer.

Øyvind Halaas, a professor of medicine at NTNU, in collaboration with neuroscientists Ioanna and Axel Sandvig and others, has created a mini-“brain-on-a-chip”.

Read the whole article here.


Using the piezoelectric effect to make better implants

Using the piezoelectric effect to make better implants

Imagine a bone implant that actively stimulates the recovery of the damaged tissue slowly dissolves inside your body as it’s taken over by your own bone.

This new kind of implant is not a reality – yet. But, if Julia Glaum and her colleagues have anything to do with it, it could exist one day.

Read the whole article here.


Cracking the problem of ice build-up

Cracking the problem of ice build-up

Photo - Professor Jianying He at NTNUIf you’ve ever set foot on an icy pavement you’ll understand the importance of a good de-icer. But ice doesn’t just get in the way of people’s daily lives. Infrastructure like aircraft, transmission cables, and offshore oil platforms can all be disrupted by ice, with potentially disastrous consequences.

That’s why Jianying He, a professor of nanomechanics at NTNU, and her colleagues are coming up with new ways to crack the problem of ice build-up.

Read the whole article here.


Joined up thinking to make materials greener

Joined up thinking to make materials greener

Photo of MiMaC's Atom Probe
Photo: Geir Mogen/NTNU

A new research centre is about to give Norway a window into how its rich mineral resources can be turned into useful – and more environmentally-friendly – materials.

The Norwegian national centre for minerals and materials characterisation, known as MiMaC for short, promises to look at every step of the process of turning minerals into materials. The centre is a joint project of NTNU, the Geological Survey of Norway and research company SINTEF.

Read the whole article here.


Creating a new kind of electronics

Creating a new kind of electronics

At the border between physics and material science, Dennis Meier and his colleagues are searching for a new kind of electronics.

They hope to make circuits that are smaller, faster, and better for the environment than today’s electronics, by taking advantage of defects that already exist within materials.

Read the whole article here.