Matter & Energy 

OLEDs become brighter and more durable

Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) truly have matured enough to allow for first commercial products in form of small and large displays. In order to compete in further markets and even open new possibilities (automotive lighting, head-mounted-displays, micro displays, etc.), OLEDs need to see further improvements in device lifetime while operating at their best possible efficiency. Currently, intrinsic performance progress is solely driven by material development.

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A new guide for explorers of the submicroscopic world inside us

Researchers from the University of Virginia have established new guidelines for scientists mapping out the body molecule by molecule to help us better understand how our cells use metals such as iron and magnesium to maintain good health. The guidelines ultimately will benefit the battle against diseases such as cancer, assist in the development of new drugs and ensure scientific results are accurate and can be reproduced.

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How scientists analyse cell membranes

Exchange of material and information at the level of individual cells requires transport and signalling at level of the plasma membrane enclosing the cell. Studying mechanisms at such tiny dimensions presents researchers with enormous challenges — for example, when they want to find out how an important component of the membrane — cholesterol — behaves and is distributed. So far, cholesterol can only be labelled to a very limited extent with fluorescent dyes, which can be visualized under the microscope without damaging the membrane. Researchers at the University of Münster (Germany) have now developed a method which enables them to circumvent these difficulties. They synthesized a new type of compound which has properties similar to those of cholesterol, but which can be labelled with dyes and visualized in living cells. There, the compound realistically mimics the behaviour of natural cholesterol. “Our new approach offers enormous potential for imaging membrane dynamics in living cells,” says Prof. Volker Gerke, one of the leaders of the study and Coordinator at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence. The work is the result of an interdisciplinary study involving organic chemists, biochemists and biophysicists. The study appears in the current issue of the journal Cell Chemical Biology.

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Matter & Energy 

Microscopy advance reveals unexpected role for water in energy storage material

A material with atomically thin layers of water holds promise for energy storage technologies, and researchers have now discovered that the water is performing a different role than anyone anticipated. The finding was possible due to a new atomic force microscopy (AFM) method that measures the sub-nanoscale deformation rate in the material in response to changes in the material caused by energy storage.

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