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News overview 2020


New self-assembled monolayer is resistant to air
Posted on:20 January 2020

Organic self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) are very versatile, but also chemically unstable. Exposure of these monolayers to air will lead to oxidation and breakdown within a single day. University of Groningen scientists have now created SAMs using buckyballs functionalized with ‘tails’ of ethylene glycol which remain chemically unchanged for several weeks when exposed to air.

Scholen meten fijnstof
Posted on:29 January 2020

Science LinX zal samen met 10 basisscholen in de gemeente Westerkwartier een meetnetwerk opzetten voor het meten van fijnstof in de lucht.

Molecular motors direct the fate of stem cells
Posted on:29 January 2020

Scientists at the University of Groningen and the University Medical Center Groningen used molecular motors to manipulate the protein matrix on which bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells are grown.

Waar blijven de robots nou?
Posted on:30 January 2020

RUG-onderzoekers Davide Grosse, Jacolien van Rij en Lambert Schomaker legden het uit aan de hand van recente ontwikkelingen in de Kunstmatige Intelligentie.

First view of hydrogen at the metal-to-metal hydride interface
Posted on:31 January 2020

University of Groningen physicists have visualized hydrogen at the titanium/titanium hydride interface using a transmission electron microscope. Using a new technique, they succeeded in visualizing both the metal and the hydrogen atoms in a single image.

Science LinX newsletter February 2020
Posted on:31 January 2020

Science LinX newsletter for February 2020


Science LinX newsletter March 2020
Posted on:31 January 2020

Science LinX newsletter for March 2020

Silver sawtooth creates valley-coherent light for nanophotonics
Posted on:07 February 2020

Scientists at the University of Groningen created a plasmon-exciton hybrid device that is promising for use in integrated nanophotonics (light-based electronics) at room temperature.

First artificial enzyme created with two non-biological groups
Posted on:10 February 2020

Scientists at the University of Groningen turned a non-enzymatic protein into a new, artificial enzyme by adding two abiological catalytic components. This is the first time that an enzyme has been created using two non-biological components to create an active site.

Modified clay can remove herbicide from water
Posted on:12 February 2020

By creating neatly spaced slits in a clay mineral, University of Groningen Professor of Experimental Solid State Physics Petra Rudolf was able to filter water to remove a toxic herbicide.

Pedestrians in Zuidhorn test the computer of the future
Posted on:18 February 2020

On 14 February, researchers from the UG and the Czech Academy of Sciences, in association with the Municipality of Westerkwartier, laid a Piezo tile connected to a prototype of a new low-energy computer close to Zuidhorn railway station.

Transport protein efficiently uses three independent lifts to shuttle the goods
Posted on:21 February 2020

The structure of a transport complex used by bacteria to import aspartate has been mapped in unique detail by University of Groningen scientists. The results reveal that the transporter works very efficiently, which is interesting as a similar transporter is vital for signal transduction between human brain cells.


Simulations show fundamental interactions inside the cell
Posted on:02 March 2020

Actin filaments have several important functions inside cells. For one, they support the cell membrane by binding to it. Simulations performed at the University of Groningen, supported by experiments, provide a molecular view on this very fundamental process.

Wetenschap op de Huishoudbeurs
Posted on:03 March 2020

Op de Huishoudbeurs 2020 stonden drie containers van Expeditie NEXT-On Tour in het midden van één van de hoofdhallen vol in het zicht. In de containers worden korte experimenten en mini-colleges aangeboden, onder meer door Science LinX.

Anti-evolution drug could stop antibiotic resistance
Posted on:03 March 2020

The spread of antibiotic resistance is partly due to the ability of bacteria to pick up DNA from their surroundings. A new study, which started at the University of Groningen, showed that drugs blocking this ability (which is called ‘competence’) in the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae can indeed stop the spread of resistance in mice.

Same genes, same conditions, different transport
Posted on:05 March 2020

University of Groningen microbiologists discovered that Lactococcus lactis cells growing in a clonal population can differ in the uptake system they use. Furthermore, the choice for either system is maintained over many generations. It is the first time that such stable heterogeneity is observed in an amino acid uptake pathway.

Winnaars FameLab: resistente bacteriën en evil cloners
Posted on:10 March 2020

Het Kasteel te Groningen vormde donderdag 5 maart het decor voor de inmiddels traditionele wedstrijd in de wetenschapscommunicatie, FameLab. Elf onderzoekers stonden te popelen om hun wetenschappelijk onderzoek uit te leggen in een drie-minuten-presentatie zonder PowerPoint.

Corona-update Science LinX
Posted on:13 March 2020

An overview of measures taken by Science LinX to prevent the spread of the corona virus

Sensors inspired by seal whiskers and fish
Posted on:17 March 2020

Ajay Kottapalli is a scientist who turns to nature for inspiration to build new sensors. Two years ago, hejoined the University of Groningen as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the ENgineering and TEchnology institute Groningen (ENTEG).

Starlings sleep less during summer and full-moon nights
Posted on:19 March 2020

Researchers of the University of Groningen and the Max Planck Institute have found that starlings sleep five hours less per night during the summer. Compared to winter, the birds take more mid-day naps and live under higher sleep pressure. During full-moon nights, starlings sleep around two hours less than usual.

Tuberculosis bacterium uses sluice to import vitamins
Posted on:25 March 2020

A transport protein that is used by the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis to import vitamin B12 contains a huge water-filled cavity, in which hydrophilic substances are transported across the cell membrane. This discovery, which changes our understanding of bacterial physiology, was made by imaging the transport protein using cryo-electron microscopy.


Homecoming-cam at Zernike Campus
Posted on:01 March 2020

Homecoming-cam at Zernike Campus

Science LinX newsletter April 2020
Posted on:01 April 2020

Science LinX newsletter for April 2020

Nanopore reveals shape-shifting enzyme linked to catalysis
Posted on:06 April 2020

University of Groningen scientists observed the characteristics of a single enzyme inside a nanopore. This revealed that the enzyme can exist in four different folded states, or conformers, that play an active role in the reaction mechanism. These results will have consequences for enzyme engineering and the development of inhibitors.

X-rays reveal in situ crystal growth of lead-free perovskite solar panel materials
Posted on:06 April 2020

Lead-based perovskites are very promising materials for the production of solar panels. They efficiently turn light into electricity but they also present some major drawbacks: the most efficient materials are not very stable, while lead is a toxic element. University of Groningen scientists are studying alternatives to lead-based perovskites.

Polymer scientists cooperate with industry to create smart materials
Posted on:16 April 2020

Katja Loos, Professor of Polymer Chemistry at the University of Groningen, is conducting science while industry representatives are looking over her shoulder. Loos does not consider this scary. On the contrary, it inspires her and her colleagues from six other Dutch universities.

Simulations show how to make gene therapy more effective
Posted on:17 April 2020

A promising method for delivery of DNA for gene therapy genes involves the use of DNA/lipid complexes (lipoplexes). Scientists at the University of Groningen have now used advanced simulations to investigate how these lipoplexes deliver DNA fragments into cells. The results can be used to improve their efficiency.

Revealed: the secret life of godwits
Posted on:20 April 2020

To find out more about birds such as the black-tailed godwit, ecologists have been conducting long-term population studies using standardized information on reproductive behaviour—such as dates of egg laying or hatching. New information gathered using geolocators on godwits in the Netherlands shows that traditional observation methods can lead to inaccurate data.

Damster lyceum eindwinnaar van online 'Bèta Battle'
Posted on:20 April 2020

Normaal is de Bernoulliborg op de Zernike Campus het kloppend hart van de Bèta Battle finale, nu vond die door de omstandigheden online plaats. Vijf scholen hebben de finaleronde gespeeld. Eindwinnaar is het Rudolph Pabus Cleveringa Lyceum uit Appingedam

‘Your Future Energy’ brings solar cell practical to Cambodia
Posted on:28 April 2020

Two students from the University of Groningen traveled to Cambodia with the 'Your Future Energy' solar cell practical to make thousands of secondary school students enthusiastic about clean energy.

UG to build more detectors for ALMA radio telescope
Posted on:29 April 2020

Technicians from the Kapteyn Institute of Astronomy have been asked to build another 66 detectors for the ALMA radio telescope in Chile, together with partners in Sweden and Italy.

Leerlingen gaan digitaal de wei in
Posted on:30 April 2020

Dit voorjaar testen leerlingen van 3 en 4 vwo van het Leeuwarder Lyceum en de Lindenborg de lesmodule Voedselweb structuren in een agrarisch landschap die ontwikkeld is vanuit het Europese project over duurzame landschappen SUSTAIN.

Science LinX newsletter May 2020
Posted on:30 April 2020

Science LinX newsletter for April 2020


First simulation of a full-sized mitochondrial membrane
Posted on:08 May 2020

Scientists from the University of Groningen have developed a method that combines different resolution levels in a computer simulation of biological membranes. Their algorithm backmaps a large-scale model that includes features, such as membrane curvature, to its corresponding coarse-grained molecular model. This has allowed them to zoom in on toxin-induced membrane budding and to simulate a full-sized mitochondrial lipid membrane. Their approach, which was published in the journal Nature Communications on 8 May, opens the way to whole-cell simulations at a molecular level.

Transporting energy through a single molecular nanowire
Posted on:08 May 2020

Photosynthetic systems in nature transport energy very efficiently towards a reaction centre, where it is converted into a useful form for the organism. Inspired by Nature, Physicist Richard Hildner from the University of Groningen and his colleagues have investigated energy transport in an artificial system made from nanofibres.

Chameleon materials: the origin of colour variation in low-dimensional perovskites
Posted on:11 May 2020

Some light-emitting diodes (LEDs) created from perovskite, a class of optoelectronic materials, emit light over a broad wavelength range. Scientists from the University of Groningen have now shown that in some cases, the explanation of why this happens is incorrect.

'Nine-to-five jobs are underappreciated'
Posted on:26 May 2020

During the lockdown scientists cannot visit the university. How do they manage to keep on working? Aditya Iyer (33) shares his story with us.

Science LinX newsletter June 2020
Posted on:28 May 2020

Science LinX newsletter for june 2020


Simple explanation suffices for conduction in nickelates
Posted on:11 June 2020

Some metal oxides, such as nickelates, have a tuneable resistivity, which makes them an interesting material for adaptable electronics and cognitive computing. Scientists from the University of Groningen have studied how these materials can change their nature from metallic to insulating.

Overlooked: the role of bacterial viruses in plant health
Posted on:16 June 2020

We know how important bacteria and fungi are for the health of plants. In marine environments and in our own gut, bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) are important in regulating the microbiome. Yet, their effect on bacteria living around the roots of plants has hardly been studied

'Not enough cycling, colleagues and coffee breaks'
Posted on:23 June 2020

During the lockdown scientists cannot visit the university. How do they manage to keep on working? Melanie König (29) shares her experiences with us.

New model helps to describe defects and errors in quantum computers
Posted on:24 June 2020

A summer internship in Bilbao, Spain, has led to a paper in the prestigious journal Physical Review Letters for Jack Mayo, a Master’s student in Nanoscience at the University of Groningen. He has helped to create a universal model that can predict the number distribution of topological defects in non-equilibrium systems.

Celebratory opening: ‘Darkness of the Wadden area’
Posted on:25 June 2020

On 21 June, the longest day of the year, the online kick-off of the ‘De Donkerte van het Waddengebied’ (the darkness of the Wadden area) programme took place. The programme aims to allow residents, recreational users and tourists to experience the darkness of the Wadden area.


Test van lesmodule SUSTAIN afgesloten op scholen
Posted on:01 July 2020

Dit voorjaar zijn 3 en 4 vwo leerlingen van het Leeuwarder Lyceum en De Lindenborg aan de slag geweest met de lesmodule “voedselweb structuren in een agrarisch landschap”. Wegens de Coro-na maatregelen, hebben ze een online variant van de lesmodule gevolgd.

Science LinX newsletter summer 2020
Posted on:02 July 2020

Science LinX newsletter for summer 2020

Molecular switches regulate gas adsorption on porous polymer
Posted on:07 July 2020

Chemists from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, together with colleagues at the University of Milan (Italy) have created a soft porous aromatic framework containing light-sensitive molecular switches.


Empty labs and corridors
Posted on:11 August 2020

During the lockdown scientists cannot visit the university. How do they manage to keep on working? PhD student Chris van Ewijk shares his experiences.

Spider silk inspires new class of functional synthetic polymers
Posted on:12 August 2020

Conducting protein-based material could be used in fuel cells, batteries or act as sensor.

A stepping stone for measuring quantum gravity
Posted on:18 August 2020

A group of theoretical physicists, including two physicists from the University of Groningen, have proposed a ‘table-top’ device that could measure gravity waves. Their design could also answer one of the biggest questions in physics: is gravity a quantum phenomenon?

OntdekDag: zingende melkpakken en Gerrit de pissebed
Posted on:27 August 2020

Hoe zou je wereld eruitzien als jij een pissebed bent, of een vlinder? Dat hebben nieuwsgierige kinderen woensdag 12 augustus ontdekt tijdens de OntdekDag op het Suikerterrein.

How sticklebacks dominate perch
Posted on:27 August 2020

Ecologist Britas Klemens Eriksson from the University of Groningen and his colleagues from Stockholm University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden have now shown that stickleback domination moves like a wave through the island archipelagos, changing the ecosystem from predator-dominated to algae-dominated.

Summer science
Posted on:28 August 2020

During the summer, scientific journals continued to publish papers. In this overview we highlight a number of summer papers from FSE staff.


Science LinX newsletter September 2020
Posted on:01 September 2020

Science LinX newsletter for September 2020

Reusing tableware can reduce waste from online food deliveries
Posted on:25 September 2020

In China, approximately 10 billion online food orders were served to over 400 million customers in 2018. Together with colleagues from China and the UK, Yuli Shan, an environmental scientist at the University of Groningen, found that reusable tableware can substantially reduce packaging waste and life cycle environmental emissions.

Why disordered light-harvesting systems produce ordered outcomes
Posted on:29 September 2020

A team of physicists and biophysicists from the University of Groningen discovered that individual light-harvesting nanotubes with disordered molecular structures still transport light energy in the same way. By combining spectroscopy, molecular dynamics simulations and theoretical physics, they discovered how disorder at the molecular level is effectively averaged out at the microscopic scale.

Nieuwe lesmodule beschikbaar
Posted on:29 September 2020

Science LinX heeft in samenwerking met docenten van het Leeuwarder Lyceum en Lindenborg en de Provincie Friesland de lesmodule 'Voedselwebstructuren in agrarische landschappen' ontwikkeld, over verlies van biodiversiteit in agrarische landschappen door intensief landbouwgebruik. De module is nu beschikbaar voor scholen.

Science LinX op Eindhoven Maker Faire
Posted on:29 September 2020

Op 26 en 27 september was er in het Klokgebouw in Eindhoven weer een Maker Faire. Ook Science LinX was van de partij, met de bouw-opstelling GEN.ERATE.

Spin City: Spot de evolutie van spinnen
Posted on:30 September 2020

Science LinX gaat met scholieren en andere geïnteresseerden onderzoeken hoe spinnen zich aanpassen aan het leven in de stad.

Science LinX newsletter October 2020
Posted on:30 September 2020

Science LinX newsletter for October 2020


Gut bacteria could be responsible for side effect of Parkinson’s drug
Posted on:20 October 2020

Bacteria in the small intestine can deaminate levodopa, the main drug that is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Bacterial processing of the unabsorbed fractions of the drug results in a metabolite that reduces gut motility.

When going in circles helps you stay put: how spin-orbit coupling leads to stable spins in color centers in materials
Posted on:27 October 2020

When going in circles helps you stay put: how spin-orbit coupling leads to stable spins in color centers in materials

Infrared light antenna powers molecular motor
Posted on:28 October 2020

Chemists at the University of Groningen designed a rotary molecular motor that is efficiently powered by near-infrared light, through adding an antenna to the motor molecule. The design and functionality were presented in the journal Science Advances on 28 October.

Science LinX newsletter November 2020
Posted on:29 October 2020

Science LinX newsletter for November 2020


Science LinX newsletter December 2020
Posted on:29 October 2020

Science LinX newsletter for December 2020

RNA structures of coronavirus reveal potential drug targets
Posted on:10 November 2020

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus RNA genome structure was studied in detail by researchers from the University of Groningen, the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw, and Leiden University. The RNA structures are potential targets for the development of drugs against the virus.

Turning heat into power with efficient organic thermoelectric material
Posted on:11 November 2020

Thermoelectric materials can turn a temperature difference into electricity. Organic thermoelectric materials could be used to power wearable electronics or sensors; however, the power output is still very low. An international team led by Jan Anton Koster, Professor of Semiconductor Physics at the University of Groningen, has now produced an n-type organic semiconductor with superior properties that brings these applications a big step closer.

Dual brake on transport protein prevents cells from exploding
Posted on:18 November 2020

A high concentration of salt or sugar in the environment will dehydrate microorganisms and stop them from growing.  Scientists from the University of Groningen elucidated the structure of a transport protein OpuA, that imports glycine betaine to counter this.

Combining incipient ferroelectrics and graphene leads to new insights into memristive devices
Posted on:20 November 2020

Scientists are working on new materials to create neuromorphic computers, with a design based on the human brain. Materials scientists from the University of Groningen analysed the behaviour of strontium titanium oxide, a platform material for this type of application, and used the 2D material graphene to probe it


AI reduces computational time required to study fate of molecules exposed to light
Posted on:01 December 2020

Theoretical studies of the dynamics of photoinduced processes require numerous electronic structure calculations, which are computationally expensive. Scientists from the University of Groningen developed machine learning-based algorithms, which reduce these computations significantly.

Experiment to test quantum gravity just got a bit less complicated
Posted on:08 December 2020

Is gravity a quantum phenomenon? Together with colleagues from the UK, Anupam Mazumdar, a physicist from the University of Groningen, proposed an experiment that could settle the issue. In a new paper, which has a third-year Bachelor’s student as the first author, Mazumdar presents a way to reduce background noise to make this experiment more manageable.

Science LinX newsletter Christmas 2020
Posted on:17 December 2020

Science LinX newsletter for Christmas 2020

New discovery brings analogue spintronic devices closer
Posted on:17 December 2020

The observation of nonlinearity in electron spin-related processes in graphene makes it easier to transport, manipulate and detect spins, as well as spin-to-charge conversion.This brings spintronics to the point where regular electronics was after the introduction of the first transistors.

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