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Enjin Launches Crypto SDK for Godot Game Engine

Godot, a popular open-source game engine, has gained an SDK developed by Enjin that will allow game developers to easily integrate with the company’s blockchain technology. The SDK was announced last week via Twitter. 

The announcement of the SDK notes that the two companies have been working together on integration for some time. Enjin chose to work with Godot based on the company’s history of game developer support. Ariel Manzur, Godot Co-founder noted the potential of the partnership:

“The Enjin SDK has transformative potential for the games market. Godot developers are inventive and progressive. I believe they will embrace this technology given the unique opportunities it presents for persistent game design and safe, fair virtual economies.”

Additionally, the Enjin SDK includes a demo game called EnjinRun. More than just a simple game, EnjinRun is meant to highlight the SDKs three core functions:

  • Wallet linking: A secure, private way to connect a user’s blockchain inventory with their game account.
  • Asset distribution: Claiming and receiving in-game items to a user’s blockchain wallet in real time.
  • Asset implementation: Using blockchain inventory in-game.

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Author: <a href="https://www.programmableweb.com/user/%5Buid%5D">KevinSundstrom</a>

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In search of the lighting material of the future

At the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, researchers have gained insights into a promising material for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). The substance enables high light yields and would be inexpensive to produce on a large scale — that means it is practically made for use in large-area room lighting. Researchers have been searching for such materials for a long time. The newly generated understanding will facilitate the rapid and cost-efficient development of new lighting appliances in the future. The study appears today in the journal Nature Communications.

The compound is a yellowish solid. If you dissolve it in a liquid or place a thin layer of it on an electrode and then apply an electric current, it gives off an intense green glow. The reason: The molecules absorb the energy supplied to them and gradually emit it again in the form of light. This process is called electroluminescence. Light-emitting diodes are based on this principle.

This green luminescent substance is a hot candidate for producing OLEDs, organic light-emitting diodes. For about three years now, OLEDs have been found in the displays of smartphones, for example. In the meantime, the first flexible television screens with these materials have also come onto the market.

In addition, OLEDs make cost-efficient room lighting with a large surface area possible. First, however, the materials best suited to this application need to be found. That’s because many substances under consideration for OLEDs contain expensive materials such as iridium, and this impedes their application on a large scale and on extensive surfaces. Without such additives, the materials can actually emit only a small part of the energy supplied to them as light; the rest is lost, for example as vibrational energy.

The goal of current research is to find more efficient materials for cheaper and more environmentally friendly displays and large-area lighting. Here, inexpensive and readily available metals such as copper promise progress.

Under close examination

Researchers have now made a more precise examination of the copper-containing compound CuPCP. There are four copper atoms in the middle of each molecule, surrounded by carbon and phosphorus atoms. Copper is a relatively inexpensive metal, and the compound itself can be easily produced in large quantities — ideal preconditions for use over large extensive surfaces.

“We wanted to understand what the excited state of the compound looks like,” says Grigory Smolentsev, a physicist in the operando spectroscopy research group. That is: How does the substance change when it absorbs energy? For example, does the structure of the molecule change? How is the charge distributed over the individual atoms after excitation? “This reveals how high the losses of energy that will not be released as light are likely to be,” added Smolentsev, “and it shows us how we can possibly minimise these losses.”

Using two large research facilities at PSI — the Swiss Light Source SLS and the X-ray free-electron laser SwissFEL — as well as the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, Smolentsev and his collaborators took a closer look at the short-lived excited states of the copper compound.

The measurements confirmed that the substance is a good candidate for OLEDs due to its chemical structure. The compound’s quantum chemical properties make it possible to achieve a high light yield. One reason for this is that the molecule is relatively stiff, and its 3D structure changes only slightly when excited. Now researchers can start to further optimise this substance for use in OLEDs.

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Materials provided by Paul Scherrer Institute. Original written by Brigitte Osterath. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Deadly ‘superbugs’ destroyed by molecular drills

Molecular drills have gained the ability to target and destroy deadly bacteria that have evolved resistance to nearly all antibiotics. In some cases, the drills make the antibiotics effective once again.

Researchers at Rice University, Texas A&M University, Biola University and Durham (U.K.) University showed that motorized molecules developed in the Rice lab of chemist James Tour are effective at killing antibiotic-resistant microbes within minutes.

“These superbugs could kill 10 million people a year by 2050, way overtaking cancer,” Tour said. “These are nightmare bacteria; they don’t respond to anything.”

The motors target the bacteria and, once activated with light, burrow through their exteriors.

While bacteria can evolve to resist antibiotics by locking the antibiotics out, the bacteria have no defense against molecular drills. Antibiotics able to get through openings made by the drills are once again lethal to the bacteria.

The researchers reported their results in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano.

Tour and Robert Pal, a Royal Society University Research Fellow at Durham and co-author of the new paper, introduced the molecular drills for boring through cells in 2017. The drills are paddlelike molecules that can be prompted to spin at 3 million rotations per second when activated with light.

Tests by the Texas A&M lab of lead scientist Jeffrey Cirillo and former Rice researcher Richard Gunasekera, now at at Biola, effectively killed Klebsiella pneumoniae within minutes. Microscopic images of targeted bacteria showed where motors had drilled through cell walls.

“Bacteria don’t just have a lipid bilayer,” Tour said. “They have two bilayers and proteins with sugars that interlink them, so things don’t normally get through these very robust cell walls. That’s why these bacteria are so hard to kill. But they have no way to defend against a machine like these molecular drills, since this is a mechanical action and not a chemical effect.”

The motors also increased the susceptibility of K. pneumonia to meropenem, an antibacterial drug to which the bacteria had developed resistance. “Sometimes, when the bacteria figures out a drug, it doesn’t let it in,” Tour said. “Other times, bacteria defeat the drug by letting it in and deactivating it.”

He said meropenem is an example of the former. “Now we can get it through the cell wall,” Tour said. “This can breathe new life into ineffective antibiotics by using them in combination with the molecular drills.”

Gunasekera said bacterial colonies targeted with a small concentration of nanomachines alone killed up to 17% of cells, but that increased to 65% with the addition of meropenem. After further balancing motors and the antibiotic, the researchers were able to kill 94% of the pneumonia-causing pathogen.

Tour said the nanomachines may see their most immediate impact in treating skin, wound, catheter or implant infections caused by bacteria — like staphylococcus aureus MRSA, klebsiella or pseudomonas — and intestinal infections. “On the skin, in the lungs or in the GI tract, wherever we can introduce a light source, we can attack these bacteria,” he said. “Or one could have the blood flow through a light-containing external box and then back into the body to kill blood-borne bacteria.”

“We are very much interested in treating wound and implant infections initially,” Cirillo said. “But we have ways to deliver these wavelengths of light to lung infections that cause numerous mortalities from pneumonia, cystic fibrosis and tuberculosis, so we will also be developing respiratory infection treatments.”

Gunasekera noted bladder-borne bacteria that cause urinary tract infections may also be targeted.

The paper is one of two published by the Tour lab this week that advance the ability of microscopic nanomachines to treat disease. In the other, which appears in ACS Applied Materials Interfaces, researchers at Rice and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center targeted and attacked lab samples of pancreatic cancer cells with machines that respond to visible rather than the previously used ultraviolet light. “This is another big advance, since visible light will not cause as much damage to the surrounding cells,” Tour said.

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Materials provided by Rice University. Original written by Mike Williams. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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New weapon in fight against lethal fungi

Researchers at Monash University have gained insights into how nanoparticles could be used to identify the presence of invasive and sometimes deadly microbes, and deliver targeted treatments more effectively.

This study was conducted as an interdisciplinary collaboration between microbiologists, immunologists and engineers led by Dr Simon Corrie from Monash University’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Professor Ana Traven from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI). It was recently published in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Applied Interfaces and Material.

Candida albicans, a commonly found microbe, can turn deadly when it colonises on devices such as catheters implanted in the human body. While commonly found in healthy people, this microbe can become a serious problem for those who are seriously ill or immune-suppressed.

The microbe forms a biofilm when it colonises using, for example, a catheter as a source of infection. It then spreads into the bloodstream to infect internal organs.

“The mortality rate in some patient populations can be as high as 30 to 40 per cent even if you treat people. When it colonises, it’s highly resistant to anti-fungal treatments,” Professor Traven said.

“The idea is that if you can diagnose this infection early, then you can have a much bigger chance of treating it successfully with current anti-fungal drugs and stopping a full-blown systemic infection, but our current diagnostic methods are lacking. A biosensor to detect early stages of colonisation would be highly beneficial.”

The researchers investigated the effects of organosilica nanoparticles of different sizes, concentrations and surface coatings to see whether and how they interacted with both C. albicans and with immune cells in the blood.

They found that the nanoparticles bound to fungal cells, but were non-toxic to them.

“They don’t kill the microbe, but we can make an anti-fungal particle by binding them to a known anti-fungal drug,” Professor Traven said.

The researchers also demonstrated that the particles associate with neutrophils — human white blood cells — in a similar way as they did with C. albicans, remaining noncytotoxic towards them.

“We’ve identified that these nanoparticles, and by inference a number of different types of nanoparticles, can be made to be interactive with cells of interest,” Dr Corrie said.

“We can actually change the surface properties by attaching different things; thereby we can really change the interactions they have with these cells — that’s quite significant.”

Dr Corrie said while nanoparticles were being investigated in the treatment of cancer, the use of nanoparticle-based technologies in infectious diseases lags behind the cancer nanomedicine field, despite the great potential for new treatments and diagnostics.

“The other unique thing in this study is that rather than using cells grown in culture, we’re also looking at how particles act in whole human blood and with neutrophils extracted from fresh human blood,” he said.

Professor Traven said the study had benefited greatly from interdisciplinary collaboration.

“We’ve brought together labs with expertise in infection, microbiology and immunology with a lab that has expertise in engineering, to do state-of-the-art experiments,” she said.

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Materials provided by Monash University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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How two water molecules dance together

An international research team has gained new insights into how water molecules interact. For the first time, the researchers were able to completely observe all of the movements between the water molecules, known as intermolecular vibrations. A certain movement of individual water molecules against each other, called hindered rotations, is particularly important. Among other things, the findings help to better determine the intermolecular energy landscape between water molecules and thus to better understand the strange properties of water.

The team led by Professor Martina Havenith from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Professor Joel Bowman from Emory University in Atlanta, together with colleagues from Radboud University in Nijmegen and Université de Montpellier, describe the work in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition on 27 July 2019.

Unknown interactions

Water is the most important solvent in chemistry and biology and possesses an array of strange properties — for instance, it reaches its highest density at four degrees Celsius. This is due to the special interactions between the water molecules. “Describing these interactions has posed a challenge for research for decades,” says Martina Havenith, head of the Bochum-based Chair of Physical Chemistry II and spokesperson for the Ruhr Explores Solvation (Resolv) Cluster of Excellence.

Experiments at extremely low temperatures

The team investigated the simplest conceivable interaction, namely between precisely two individual water molecules, using terahertz spectroscopy. The researchers send short pulses of radiation in the terahertz range through the sample, which absorbs part of the radiation. The absorption pattern reveals information about the attractive interactions between the molecules. A laser with especially high brightness, as is available in Nijmegen, was needed for the experiments. The researchers analysed the water molecules at extremely low temperatures. To do this, they successively stored individual water molecules in a tiny droplet of superfluid helium, which is as cold as 0.4 Kelvin. The droplets work like a vacuum cleaner that captures individual water molecules. Due to the low temperature, a stable bond occurs between two water molecules, which would not be stable at room temperature.

This experimental setup allowed the group to record a spectrum of the hindered rotations of two water molecules for the first time. “Water molecules are moving constantly,” explains Martina Havenith. “They rotate, open and close.” However, a water molecule that has a second water molecule in its vicinity cannot rotate freely — this is why it is referred to as a hindered rotation.

A multidimensional energy map

The interaction of the water molecules can also be represented in the form of what is known as water potential. “This is a kind of multidimensional map that notes how the energy of the water molecules changes when the distances or angles between the molecules change,” explains Martina Havenith. All the properties, such as density, conductivity or evaporation temperature, can be derived from the water potential. “Our measurements now allow the best possible test of all potentials developed to date,” summarises the researcher.

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Materials provided by Ruhr-University Bochum. Original written by Julia Weiler; translated by Lund Languages. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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