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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Gold Nanostars for Attacking Cancer
6 January 2012 1:40 pm
Gold stars, so tiny that it would take a thousand of them to span the diameter of a human hair, could be effective tumor-fighters. Previous studies have shown that minuscule particles of metal or other materials, directed to a tumor and then manipulated by lasers or magnetic fields, can kill off malignant cells by heating them up. Now, researchers suggest that golden particles could burn hotter if fashioned into stars. Gold is already an excellent radiator because electrons on its surface efficiently capture light, but when that surface is spiky, the energized electrons collect at the points, producing higher temperatures, as illustrated above. In a paper published this week in Optics Express, the team reported that an eight-pointed star could generate temperatures more than ten times higher than a spherical particle. Moreover, it absorbs lower-energy light, and this would make the treatment easier on healthy cells caught in the beam. A 20-pointed star might be even better, but the scientists haven't done those calculations yet.
See more ScienceShots.