How To Remove Air Pollution Inside Cars

You might think sitting in your car with your windows closed keeps you safe from air pollution. The makers of a new pollution-busting filter say you’d be wrong.

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When you’re in your car you’re directly in the lanes of traffic and you’re actually taking air into the car. That’s coming from the exhaust of the cars in front of you. This means that there are greatly elevated levels of air pollution inside of a vehicle. This is both for nitrogen dioxide and for particulate matter“,  says Matthew Johnson,  Professor of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark).

Toxic air pollution passes through air inlets inside cars. Emissions from diesel vehicles are worst. The team from University of Copenhagen and start-up Airlabs has created Airbubbl, which contains two filters.
We have a chemical filter that’s removing nitrogen dioxide and ozone and odour from the air stream. We also have a high performance particle filter that’s removing soot and road dust and brake dust and these other components. We combine that inside this case. This plugs into the cigarette lighter. We have some quiet fans at the two ends of the device and we’ve used computational fluid dynamics in order to direct the airflow towards the passengers,” explains Johnson.
Independent tests in London saw nitrogen dioxide concentrations inside cars fall by 95 percent in 10 minutes. The Airbubbl is lightweight and easily attachable. A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to market the device.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/

Crowdfunding: https://www.kickstarter.com/

Acidity In Atmosphere Produced By Industries Has Vanished

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Researchers from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) have shown that human pollution of the atmosphere with acid is now almost back to the level that it was before the pollution started with industrialisation in the 1930s.  The Greenland ice sheet is a unique archive of the climate and atmospheric composition far back in time. The ice sheet is made up of snow that falls and never melts, but rather remains year after year and is gradually compressed into ice. By drilling ice cores down through the kilometre-thick ice sheet, the researchers can analyse every single annual layer, which can tell us about past climate change and concentration of greenhouse gases and pollutants in the atmosphere.

Acid in the atmosphere can come from large volcanic eruptions and manmade emissions from industry. You can measure acidity in the ice by simply passing an instrument that can measure conductivity over the ice core. If there is a high level of acidity, the measurement turns out and it works great for measuring the climate of the past all the way back to the last interglacial period 125,000 years ago. But if you want to measure atmospheric acidity for the last 100 years, it is more difficult as the annual layers are located in the uppermost 60 metres and there the ice is more porous as it has not yet been compressed into hard ice. But the last 100 years are interesting for climate researchers as it is the period where we have had massive pollution of the atmosphere from industrialisation, vehicle use and people’s energy consuming lifestyles.

banquiseWe have therefore developed a new method that can directly measure the acidity of the ice using a spectrometer. We have an ice rod that is cut along the length of the ice core. This ice core rod is slowly melted and the meltwater runs into a laboratory where they take a lot of chemical measurements. With our new method you can also measure the acidity, that is to say, we measure the pH value and this is seen when the water changes colour after the addition of a pH dye. We can directly see the fluctuations from year to year,” explains Helle Astrid Kjær, postdoc in the Centre for Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

The results come from studies of the Greenland ice sheet and are published in the scientific journal, Environmental Science and Technology.

Source: http://news.ku.dk/

Gentle Cancer Treatment Using Nanoparticles

Cancer treatments based on laser irradiation of tiny nanoparticles that are injected directly into the cancer tumor are working and can destroy the cancer from within. Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Copenhagen  (Denmark) have developed a method that kills cancer cells using nanoparticles and lasers. The treatment has been tested on mice and it has been demonstrated that the cancer tumors are considerably damaged.

mouse with cancer treatment

 
The drawing shows a mouse with a cancerous tumor on its hind leg. The nanoparticles are injected directly into the tumor, which is then flashed with near infrared laser light. Near infrared laser light penetrates through the tissue well and causes no burn damage
 

 

Traditional cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy have major side affects, because they not only affect the cancer tumors, but also the healthy parts of the body. A large interdisciplinary research project between physicists at the Niels Bohr Institute and doctors and human biologists at the Panum Institute and Rigshospitalet has developed a new treatment that only affects cancer tumors locally and therefore is much more gentle on the body. The project is called Laser Activated Nanoparticles for Tumor Elimination (LANTERN). The head of the project is Professor Lene Oddershede, a biophysicist and head of the research group Optical Tweezers at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen in collaboration with Professor Andreas Kjær, head of the Cluster for Molecular Imaging, Panum Institute.

After experimenting with biological membranes, the researchers have now tested the method on living mice. In the experiments, the mice are given cancer tumors of laboratory cultured human cancer cells“The treatment involves injecting tiny nanoparticles directly into the cancer. Then you heat up the nanoparticles from outside using lasers. There is a strong interaction between the nanoparticles and the laser light, which causes the particles to heat up. What then happens is that the heated particles damage or kill the cancer cells,” explains Lene Oddershede.

The results are published in the scientific journal, Scientific Reports.

Cannabis And The New Medecine

Revolutionary nanotechnology method could help improve the development of new medicine and reduce costs. Researchers from the Nano-Science Center and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen – Denmark – have developed a new screening method that makes it possible to study cell membrane proteins that bind drugs, such as cannabis and adrenaline, while reducing the consumption of precious samples by a billion times. About 40% of all medicines used today work through the so-called “G protein-coupled receptors”. These receptors react to changes in the cell environment, for example, to increased amounts of chemicals like cannabis, adrenaline or the medications we take and are therefore of paramount importance to the pharmaceutical industry.

cannabis
There is a lot of attention on research into “G protein-coupled receptors“, because they have a key role in recognizing and binding different substances. Our new method is of interest to the industry because it can contribute to faster and cheaper drug development”, explains Professor Dimitrios Stamou, who heads the Nanomedicine research group at the Nano-Science Center, where the method has been developed.
The new method is described in the journal Nature Methods.
Source: http://nano.ku.dk/

Toward The First Molecular Integrated Circuit

A molecular integrated circuit was created by a group of chemists and physicists from the Department of Chemistry Nano-Science Center at the University of Copenhagen – Denmark – and Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing. The breakthrough was made possible through an innovative use of the two dimensional carbon material graphene. Kasper Nørgaard is an associate professor in chemistry at the University of Copenhagen. He believes that the first advantage of the newly developed graphene chip will be to ease the testing of coming molecular electronic components. But he is also confident, that it represents a first step towards proper integrated molecular circuits.

molecular electronics

Graphene has some very interesting properties, which cannot be matched by any other material. What we have shown for the first time is that it’s possible to integrate a functional component on a graphene chip. I honestly feel this is front page news”, says Nørgaard.

The discovery “Ultrathin Reduced Graphene Oxide Films as Transparent Top-Contacts for Light Switchable Solid-State Molecular Junctions” has just been published online in the periodical Advanced Materials.
Source: http://nano.ku.dk/

Molecular Switch Burning Fat 3 Times Faster

Enzymes involved in breaking down fat can now be manipulated to work three times harder by turning on a molecular switch recently observed by chemists at the University of Copenhagen – Denmark. Being able to control this chemical on/off button could have massive implications for curing diseases related to obesity including diabetes, cardio vascular disease, stroke and even skin problems like acne. But the implications may be wider. The results suggest that the switch may be a common characteristic of many more enzymes. Since enzymes are miniscule worker-molecules that control a vast variety of functions in cells, if the switches are standard, it may well be one of the most important discoveries in enzymology.

“If many enzymes turn out to be switched on in the same way as the ones we’ve studied, this opens a door to understanding- and maybe curing, a wide range of diseases”, says professor Dimitrios Stamou who heads a multidisciplinary team of scientists at the Nanoscience Center and Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen

Source: http://news.ku.dk/all_news/2012/2012.8/fatdegrading_enzymes/