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March 21st, 2007
Nano alphabet soup gets cooking
Scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles have come up with a bowl of Alpha-Bits for the nanotechnology era.
Researchers at the university have created a technique for developing precise, uniform objects measuring microns across. A micron is a millionth of a meter--the average human hair is 60 microns wide. They've produced three-dimensional objects, triangles, crosses, doughnut shapes and billions of fluorescent letters.
Ultimately, the letters and other objects could be used by doctors to tag cells inside humans, according to Thomas G. Mason, a UCLA associate professor of chemistry and a co-author of a paper describing the breakthrough. The letters are smaller than cells and glow; thus, the letters could highlight cells for a physician but not obstruct his or her view of a cell.
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