CNB at its best!

The CNB (Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Spain) has made a collection of short videos to explain some of their research: from plants that decontaminate our environment to cancer inmunotherapies. They’ll be publishing them weekly. Here you have some examples:

The films where beautifully directed by Filmociencia. We helped them with the infography.

Amino acids in your fingerprints!

Fingermark evidence has been, and still is, extensively used in criminal investigations. But it is not about its shape and marks anymore. Chemistry and biology joined the game. At Prof. Marcel de Puit lab (Netherlands Forensic Institute), they are studying amino acid profiles obtained from fingerprints. They have come up with a method for the separation and quantification of amino acids from fingerprint.

With the help of Ward van Helmond, first author of the article, we designed this image, that made it to the cover of Analytical Methods.

Excitons in Graphene

Today, in “is there something graphene is not capable of“, excitons in graphene. The team lead by professor Paul McEuen (at Cornell University) is studying the optical properties of single-atom-thick layers of graphene. And they have just reported the observation of excitons in a graphene bylayer. These electrically neutral quasiparticles, make graphene of possible interest in the development of optoelectronic devices.

Closely directed by Long Ju, co-lead author of the paper, we made this image to illustrate this finding.

Uni Nova research magazine

Uni Nova is the research magazine of the University of Basel. Together with the head of communications of the university, Reto Caluori, we made a few images that happened to be published in Uni Nova’s November issue. In particular in articles about quantum sensors, the use of silicon for quantum computing and Qubits.

 

At Basel University, they are not only making high quality research. They are also succeeding at communicating it. And they also happen to be amazingly charming people. So much, that they sent a paper copy of the magazine.

How cool is to have it in physical format.

200 Projects, 5 Years and 1Tb

I don’t celebrate anniversaries for one simple reason: I don’t want to jinx it. But several facts of some significance have happened altogether. We’ve reached our fifth year, made it to 200 projects and we’ve filled our first 1Tb hard drive… so I thought it would be nice to say thanks to all our clients. So there you have it.

News on Parkinson

It is reassuring to know that there are people working so we don’t have smallpox or polio. At Rosario Moratalla’s lab they are trying to crack Parkinson’s disease. In one of their latter works, directed by Dr. Patricia García-Sanz and Prof. Rosario Moratalla, they explore how certain mutations in the GBA1 gene, increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Actually they show a possible connection between the loss of β-glucocerebrosidase-1 function, cholesterol accumulation, and the disruption of cellular homeostasis in GBA1-PD. This work has appeared in the cover of Movement Disorders Journal.

We made this picture showing the effect of the mutation with the close supervision of Dr. Patricia García-Sanz.

Mapping stress at the nanoscale

Stress is the main cause of failure in mechanical and electronic devices incorporating thin films. At the same time, our knowledge of stress at the nanoscale, happens to be very limited and one of the reasons is that we have no access to the measurement of stress at this tiny scale.

And this is what Celia Polop, Enrique Vasco, Alma P. Perrino and Ricardo García (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Material Science Institute of Madrid-CSIC) have solved. They’ve just presented a novel method to map stress on surfaces with a sub 10nm resolution. This method, supported by finite element simulations, has allowed them to map stress on polycrystalline gold films.

We made this image (featured in Nanoscale) illustrating their work, strongly supported by Enrique Vasco and Celia Polop.

Hidden magnetic spirals

At Quantum Sensing Lab (University of Basel) they are real experts at sensing magnetic fields. To prove it, and together with the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay they’ve just reported in Nature the visualization (in real space) of non-collinear antiferromagnetic order in a magnetic thin film at room temperature with nanometer resolution.

In particular, they’ve scanned Bismuth ferrite showing that exhibits a spiral magnetic ordering, with two superimposed electron spins. This might be particularly suitable for data storage devices because these materials magnetic fields can be easily modified using electric fields.

We did this image with the help of Prof. Patrick Maletinsky.

Light memories

Simply put, professors Philipp Treutlein, Richard Warburton et al (University of Basel), had built a memory that stores photons. That’s it. They’ve just proved that it is possible to “write” by storing the photons in an atomic vapor and also to “read” them out, without dramatically changing their quantum state.

If you know something about quantum physics, you’ll understand how amazingly challenging this is. And if you don’t, let’s just say that the event has received some attention

A quantum photon-based memory is one of the pillars of future quantum network technology. Such a device will bring faster and safer communications. And interestingly, the novel Basel approach is particularly simple, not requiring cooling devices or complex vacuum systems. This research has been published in Physical Review Letters.

 

Really honored to be contacted by them (again) we did this picture, closely advised both technically and artistically by Dr. Janik Wolters, first author of the paper.

We demand more and better photons!

The development of quantum technologies requires the regular use of weird quantum effects such as quantum entanglement. And the regular use of entanglement requires the use of coherent spins and coherent photons. Maybe the best host of coherent spins are nitrogen vacancy (NV) centers in diamond. However, these NV centers are pretty inefficient at generating single coherent photons: only 3% of the generated emission is usable.

 

 

And then doctoral student Daniel Riedel appeared to break the storyline by dramatically increasing the efficiency of the NV centers in a 46%, also doubling the photons emission rate.  Riedel et al (Quantum Sensing Lab and Nanophotonics Group, University of Basel) have reached this achievement by placing a tiny high-quality diamond between two mirrors, spaced only a few micrometers. They also prove a 10 years old theoretical prediction… quite some stuff for a single paper… It’s difficult to predict how much impact this achievement will have eventually, but it has surely brought the implementation of quantum systems (as quantum internet) much closer.

Together we made this image to illustrate the device.