New Magnetic Shape Called “Hedgehogs” Could Store Revolutionize Digital Storage

Magnetic patterns at the atomic level that look like a hedgehog’s spikes could be the key to creating hard disks with capacities many times larger than contemporary devices can provide, according to a new study. This finding might help data centers meet the ever increasing need for video and cloud data storage space.

OSU researchers used a special microscope to visualize the patterns. They were working with an a-typical material known as manganese germanide. Unlike other, familiar magnets like iron, the magnetism in this material follows patterns of helices, quite like the structure of DNA. This discovery has led to a menagerie of new magnetic patterns with names like hedgehogs, anti-hedgehogs, merons, and skyrmions. These all can be much smaller than contemporary magnetic bits.

Researchers stated that current technology has approached the limit on the density of data media can hold due to how small the magnetic bit is that allows for storage. If materials that provide smaller bits can be discovered, more dense storage material might be created from it.

Researchers used a tunneling, scanning microscope they modified with special tips to read the shape of the magnetic patterns at an atomic resolution. This revealed the unusual shapes that spawned the names like “hedgehog” for the magnetic shapes.

They found though that the main body of the hedgehog is just 10 nanometers wide, todays magnetic storage bits are about 50 nanometers wide. A human hair is about 80k nanometers thick.

The research team found that the hedgehog patterns cold be shifted on their surfaces with electrical current and could be inverted with magnetic fields. This discovery is a precursor to the possibility of writing and reading data. And maybe even using much less energy for the task than is currently possible.


Posted in OSU

Research: Using Nanobodies to Increase Site-Specific Immune Response

New research in mice has shown that using nanotechnology to boost the immune response at the site of a cancer tumor could help enhance immune therapy treatments in advanced stages.

For various types of cancer in mouse models researchers boosted T cell activation, an important part of immune response, inside the tumors in a method that improved the use of antibody therapy which is also in clinical trials.

The method used by researchers was to inject nanobodies which carried RNA messages—these molecule turn genetic information into functional proteins—directly into the tumor so T cells would generate specific receptors on their surfaces. The experimental therapy, antibodies delivered directly to the site six hours after the nanobody injection, would bind directly to those receptors and go on their cancer killing mission.

This new technique left 60% of mice with lymphoma tumor free. It was also effective in melanoma when combined with existing drugs that super charge the immune response.

Researchers stated that T cells are essential to fighting all kinds of diseases but that it is difficult to control their function. The ability to inject disease specific RNA to fight disease onto a specific site helps direct the right kind of T cells to the disease site to help fight off the illness.

Increasing T cell activation was the main goal of the study; however, designing the right kind of RNA message for the specific disease was also important. The therapeutic strategy could also help against diseases like Covid-19, genetic disorders and sepsis.


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New Study Looks at Parental Discipline Amid Pandemic Stress

A new study of central Ohio parents and their parenting techniques during the Covid-19 Pandemic found that they were most likely to use aggressive discipline on their children when stress levels were highest, usually late in the day.

The study measured stress levels three times a day for two weeks. The data demonstrated that for each higher level of stress, rated on a 1-10 scale, parents had a 1.3 times greater chance of using corporal punishment or psychological aggression (spanking or making the child feel ashamed for example, respectively).

The authors found it wasn’t the overall levels of stress that mattered most but rather the stress parents feel in the moment that influence what kind of discipline they might choose.

More aggressive discipline was more likely between afternoon and evening. Researchers found as the stress of the day builds, they are more likely to use aggressive discipline that isn’t typically recommended for children.

Researchers intended to find out how the upheaval in family lives caused by the pandemic affected parental discipline.

Researchers explained many parents probably felt like they were in “survival mode” as they multitasked between education, childcare, work and maintaining the household.

The results were published in the “Journal of Family Violence.”


How to Sell Ugly Produce

According to a new study at OSU, explaining the value of misshapen vegetables, that is telling people they are just as healthy and buying them reduces food waste, could improve sales of “ugly” produce.

The new study measure responses from consumers to theoretical shopping scenarios with carrots. Consumers were more likely to buy a bunch of carrots including an “ugly” carrot after being exposed to marketing with both the messages about health and food waste. The study found that one or the other message alone was not enough to influence consumers to buy “ugly” carrots.

The study also demonstrated that with a small discount consumers would buy bunches of carrots that were a mix of standard and ugly with a tolerance of up to 40% ugly carrots. This evidence could persuade regulators who deal with cosmetic standards for produce that a similar real-world practice could be profitable.

According to a 2018 study in North Carolina 41% of unharvested food is edible but unsaleable because of its appearance.

Researchers are assessing ways to sell imperfect produce without a built-in discount, which is a tactic that has waxed and waned when over the years.

The new research found that there is a section of consumers who will happily buy ugly produce for full price once they understand it is just as healthy and also helping to reduce food waste.


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OSU Study Finds Franklin County Significantly Behind in Early Childhood Education Preparation

A new study that explored the early learning experiences of children from birth to 5 years old found that Franklin County falls far behind the national average for how eligible children are to enroll in formal early education. The study found that Franklin County was as much as 10% behind national averages.

Children from economically disadvantaged areas of Columbus like Linden, Southside and Hilltop had even lower enrollment than the county average.

These were just some of the findings from the seven-month long observation of the early childhood landscape of the area conducted by the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy made. The worked along side the city of Columbus and the organization Future Ready Columbus.

Study authors believe one probable cause for under-enrollment is simply lack of access to high-quality early childhood programs.

The problem is worst in three depressed areas of Columbus that were studied. 70% of parents responded that they couldn’t find the quality care they wanted for their children.

Study authors stated that this is a huge problem as we know that once children start to fall behind around age 5 the often continue to stay behind throughout their entire educational experience. So, they must find a solution to this opportunity gap.