Friday, August 29, 2014

Biofilm shatters serious skin infections

Cross section of skin layers shows topical application of an ionic liquid for combating a skin-borne bacterial infection. UCSB illustration.

Biofilms are the first line of defense for harmful bacteria and make the treatment of skin infections especially difficult because microorganisms protected in a biofilm have antibiotic resistance and recalcitrance to treatment.

“In essence, we may have stumbled onto a magic bullet,” said David Fox, a Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher. “Through a robust screening strategy, our research team has identified a unique class of materials.” (Full Story)

Antibacterial approach could resolve skin infections

Like a protective tent over a colony of harmful bacteria, biofilms make the treatment of skin infections especially difficult. Microorganisms protected in a biofilm pose a significant health risk due to their antibiotic resistance and recalcitrance to treatment, and biofilm-protected bacteria account for some 80 percent of total bacterial infections in humans and are 50 to 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics than simpler bacterial infections. (Full Story)

Also from Medical Design Technology

Los Alamos National Lab’s R&D fueling new quantum-crypto firm

Quantum Key encryption device developed at LANL. LANL photo.

Technology development firm AlliedMinds says it has set up a new company, Whitewood Encryption Systems, to develop quantum-crypto technology under an R&D licensing arrangement with Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Photon-based quantum crypto has been known to face some technical difficulties, such as geographical distance limitations, but it offers considerable promise due to ways it can be used to generate what are believed to be unique unbreakable keys, among other attributes. (Full Story)

Particle physics to aid nuclear cleanup

Postdoc Elena Guardincerri, right, and undergraduate research assistant Shelby Fellows prepare a lead hemisphere for muon tomography. LANL photo.

An international team of physicists and engineers plans to use these particles to peek inside Fukushima Daiichi’s reactor cores. The team hopes that with muon-vision, the exact level of destruction inside—and consequently the best method of decommissioning the site—will become clear.

Since the early 2000s, a small team at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico has developed technology that uses muons to examine fragile or otherwise inaccessible nuclear materials. (Full Story)

Ion beams simulate nuclear-reactor damage

Three accelerators at the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory. U. Mich. photo.

Damage to nuclear-reactor components caused by neutron irradiation across several years can be simulated with ion beams in just a few days. That is the finding of researchers in the US, who have used ions to create the same fabric of tiny structural defects found in long-running reactors.

Microstructural damage to the duct had already been studied extensively by researchers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory using atom probe microscopy, electron microscopy and other techniques. (Full Story)

Robots come out in full force

Several robotics teams from Los Alamos gathered at the Bradbury Science Museum on Friday to show off their handmade robots. In attendance were Project Y from Los Alamos High School, FIRST Robotics team from UNM-LA, FIRST Lego Atomic Phoenixes, FIRST Tech Challenge from Los Alamos Middle School and the Radioactive Fireflies. (Full Story)

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