Scientists can have ambitious goals: curing disease, exploring distant worlds, clean-energy revolutions. In physics and materials research, some of these ambitious goals are to make ordinary-sounding objects with extraordinary properties: wires that can transport power without any energy loss, or quantum computers that can perform complex calculations that today’s computers cannot achieve. And the emerging workbenches for the experiments that gradually move us toward these goals are 2D materials — sheets of material that are a single layer of atoms thick.
In a paper published Sept. 14 in the journal Nature Physics, a team led by the University of Washington reports that carefully constructed stacks of graphene — a 2D form of carbon — can exhibit highly correlated electron properties. The team also found evidence that this type of collective behavior likely relates to the emergence of exotic magnetic states.
“We’ve created an experimental setup that allows us to
A new study published today in the journal Current Biology suggests that star-shaped brain cells known as astrocytes could be as important to the regulation of sleep as neurons, the brain’s nerve cells.
Led by researchers at Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, the study builds new momentum toward ultimately solving the mystery of why we sleep and how sleep works in the brain. The discovery may also set the stage for potential future treatment strategies for sleep disorders and neurological diseases and other conditions associated with troubled sleep, such as PTSD, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism spectrum disorder.
“What we know about sleep has been based largely on neurons,” said lead author and postdoctoral research associate Ashley Ingiosi. Neurons, she explained, communicate through electrical signals that can be readily captured through electroencephalography (EEG). Astrocytes — a type of glial (or “glue”) cell that interacts with neurons