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Gizmorama - August 13, 2018

Good Morning,

New particle acceleration technology has been developed. I'm not 100% sure what that's all about, but I do know that it's a big deal when studying exotic particles.

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

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*-- New technology to power pocket-sized particle accelerator --*

New particle acceleration technology promises to shrink the amount of space required to study exotic particles.

"With this new accelerator method, we could drastically reduce the size and the cost of antimatter acceleration," physicist Aakash Sahai said in a news release. "What is now only possible by using large physics facilities at tens of million-dollar costs could soon be possible in ordinary physics labs."

The world's most powerful particle accelerators are found in vast, underground facilities. They require more than a mile of space.

Scientists at Imperial College London have developed a method for accelerating positrons to extreme speeds in a space 1,000-times smaller than the world's largest accelerators.

"The technologies used in facilities like the Large Hadron Collider or the Linac Coherent Light Source have not undergone significant advances since their invention in the 1950s," Sahai said. "They are expensive to run, and it may be that we will soon have all we can get out of them."

The method relies on a combination of lasers and plasma to generate, trap and accelerate positron beams to extreme speeds -- all within a very small space. A positron is the antimatter counterpart of the electron. The technology could be powered with lasers that are already found in many physics labs.

Though the technology is still in the experimental phase, researchers are confident that a working prototype isn't far off.

The miniature technology could even prove more efficient at producing Higgs boson particles -- through the collision of electron and positron beams -- than LHC.

Scientists described the technology in the journal Physical Review Accelerators and Beams.

"A new generation of compact, energetic and cheap accelerators of elusive particles would allow us to probe new physics -- and allow many more labs worldwide to join the effort," Sahai said.

In addition to studying exotic particles, the technology could be used to certify the structural integrity of space and aeronautics equipment. Positron beams interact with materials differently than x-rays and electron beams, providing material scientists another layer of quality control.

*-- Technique uses nanoparticles to deliver oral medication --*

Researchers believe they have figured out a way to use nanoparticles as a way to deliver oral medication, including an insulin pill to control diabetes.

Nanoparticles, which are ten thousand times smaller than the head of a pin, were studied as a way to deliver an oral dose to targeted areas. The findings at the University of Utah Health were published Wednesday in the journal ACS Nano.

"In the pharmaceutical world, this has been regarded as the holy grail," senior author Dr. You Han Bae, a professor pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical chemistry at Utah, said in a press release.

In nanomedicine, tiny particles are used to carry drugs to treat a variety of conditions, including cancer. They are commonly given intravenously, because solid nanoparticles don't absorb in a proper amount in the body.

That includes insulin, which does not survive conditions of the gastro-intestinal system and cannot easily cross the GI wall.

The Utah researchers modified the surface of nanoparticles with glycocholic acid, which is a bile acid that helps the body absorb fat in the small intestine.

The acid allows the nanoparticles to slip unrecognized through the lining of the small intestine.

In preliminary testing, this coating helped the nanoparticles bind to proteins to move into the gut lymphatic system where it can access the bloodstream.

"Nanoparticles were not expected to be absorbed through the lymphatic system," first author Dr. Kyoung Sub Kim, a post-doctoral research assistant in Bae's lab. "Lymphocyte delivery of nanoparticles allows a wide range of medicines to be applied through this method."

The researchers fed rodents oral nanoparticles in two sizes -- 100 or 250 nm -- at doses ranging from 1 to 20 mg/kg. The larger nanoparticles were not less well absorbed but did not affect the uptake of nanoparticles into the body, the researchers found.

In their study, the researchers used polystyrene nanoparticles, which that are not appropriate for clinical use because they not dissipated or excreted from the body.

It takes about one to 10 hours for the nanoparticles to appear in the bloodstream, Bae said.

Without their method, 7 percent of nanoparticles were absorbed and entered the blood stream. But with the new technique, it increased seven-fold.

"This is basic research with broad future applications," Bae said. "Our work is a stepping stone."


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