Testing for banned substances in athletes ups its game

ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY

Just as athletes commit to becoming faster and stronger than ever, so too do the authorities testing these competitors for banned substances. For just that reason, the World Anti-Doping Agency has supported the work of chemist Janusz Pawliszyn of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, who has shown how to make the organization’s testing regime more efficient than ever before.

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Creating the ideal 3D environment for cellular research

ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY

Scientists around the world study cell cultures laid out in flat, two-dimensional (2D) arrays — a highly practical but ultimately limited way of understanding how those cells behave. “Everyone — and I mean everyone — can agree that three-dimensional (3D) tissue models are far superior...

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Concrete Solutions

MATERIALS

Our modern world continues to be built on physical foundations that would have been all too familiar to the ancient Romans: cement and concrete. These products loom large across the entire spectrum of civil engineering, which annually consumes twice as much concrete and cement as all other building materials combined. Their production has consequently assumed...

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Superconductors hang 10 riding the charge waves

FUNDAMENTALS

The extraordinary properties of superconductivity have regularly frustrated researchers, who have successfully identified it in many different materials, but always at temperatures too low for a widespread technological impact. The search for superconducting materials — which lack any resistance to electrical flow — has regularly frustrated researchers; while many such materials have been discovered, they only work at temperatures too low for widespread application.

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Water testing for E. coli gets smart treatment

ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY

A handheld system developed through an India-Canada research network promises to provide on-the-spot testing of drinking water sources in more remote locations, immediately confirming the absence or presence of harmful E. coli bacteria and transmitting the results electronically to all interested parties. This approach represents a significant improvement over standard...

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Nanoparticles deliver the goods against cancer, then go

HEALTH

The best way of applying medicines powerful enough to kill cancerous tumours is to ensure that they wind up in those tumours and nowhere else in the body. In a recent Nature Nanotechnology paper, researchers at the University of Toronto point the way to just this kind of targeted delivery, which takes advantage of the properties of gold nanoparticles.

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Shedding light on the secrets of plant photosynthesis

ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY

While untold numbers of plants have carried out photosynthesis for hundreds of millions of years, the nature of this subtle process continues to elude us. Scientists are, however, focusing increasingly sophisticated tools on this problem, raising hopes that this fundamental biological activity will eventually reveal its secrets.

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Glass toughens up with lessons from mother nature

MATERIALS SCIENCE

Mollusc shells consist largely of chalk, the same soft stuff that comes apart so easily on blackboards. Yet this material provides aquatic life with protection tougher than advanced engineering ceramics. The difference can be seen at the microscopic level, where the shell is revealed as an interlocking series of small tablets, intricately connected to provide remarkable resilience.

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Small publication means big exposure for collaborators

NANOTECHNOLOGY

Three researchers at Polytechnique Montréal have published a paper that was featured as the cover story for the Wiley publication Small, which has an impact factor that puts it among the world’s leading publications covering topics in nano-scale and micro-scale chemistry, physics, materials science, engineering, medicine and biology.

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Making the most of minerals

MINERAL PROCESSING

This past fall, the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) opened the Mineral Processing Pilot Plant to enhance the Canadian mining industry’s capabilities in Western Canada and beyond.

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