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The catalyst that removes CO2 and produces hydrocarbons
12 February 2020 8:50
Enrique Sacristán

Water is split into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis, but if CO2 is also added to the mixture, compounds can be generated to make textiles, diapers and even spirits. American scientists, led by a Spaniard, have developed a catalyst that accelerates this reaction, while also removing a greenhouse gas.

The electronic cigarette is not free from toxic elements
23 October 2018 9:00
Adeline Marcos

Tobacco is one of the main sources of toxic substances in the human body. Many people opt for the alternative, the electronic cigarette, to avoid health risks. But a new study reveals that vaping entails the inhalation of inorganic elements, especially rare earth elements, whose toxicity is still unknown.

The advantages of fluorographene
An ultra-thin 'Teflon' for reactivating graphene
17 September 2018 10:11

The extraordinary mechanical and electronic properties of graphene endow this material with features suitable for a multitude of potential applications. They can be even more extended by covalent graphene functionalization but graphene presents a challenge: low reactivity. One of the solutions is to manufacture graphene derivatives from fluorographene, which, with new solvents and techniques for eliminating or replacing its fluorine atoms, can produce graphene equipped with new functionalities.

An exceptional compound with two sides
Ammonia synthesis: the greatest innovation of the 20th century
1 August 2018 13:28

In addition to being a well-known cleaning product, ammonia is essential in the manufacture of fertilizers that, equally, are necessary to produce food for livestock and mankind. The chemical process to synthesize this nitrogenous compound has hardly changed in 100 years and is still essential for our society, although scientists do not know how to mitigate its negative consequences on the environment.

A new ink prints electronic circuits
27 April 2016 10:00

Imagine a pen that 'writes' real electronic circuits capable of conducting electricity and lighting up LEDs. This breakthrough, presented this week at the international fair in Hannover, was achieved by researchers from the Leibniz Institute for New Materials (Germany) with the collaboration of a scientist from Spain. The secret is a hybrid ink formed by gold nanoparticles and a conductive organic polymer.

First 3-D structure of the enzymatic role of DNA
1 March 2016 10:00

DNA does not always adopt the form of the double helix which is associated with the genetic code; it can also form intricate folds and act as an enzyme: a deoxyribozyme. A researcher from Spain and other scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Germany) have solved the first three-dimensional structure of this biomolecule that has proved much more flexible than previously thought.

Doughnut-shaped holes of killer proteins observed for the first time
16 February 2016 11:00

Spanish and German researchers have successfully seen for the first time the pores, shaped like rings and crescent moons, that the Bax protein perforates in mitochondrial membranes. This advance has been achieved thanks to super-resolution microscopy and may help find the “holy grail” of cell suicide, a crucial process in preventing cancer.

Light and manganese to discover the source of submerged Roman marble
8 February 2016 10:30

The Roman Emperors used to spend their summers in the city of Baia, near Naples. With the passage of time, however, the majority of their luxury villas became immersed under water. Italian and Spanish researchers have now applied microscopic and geochemical techniques to confirm that the marble used to cover these ancient Roman buildings came from Carrara and other marble quarries in Turkey and Greece - valuable information for archaeologists and historians.

A giant fullerene system inhibits the infection by an artificial ebola virus
9 November 2015 17:00

Using an artificial ebola virus model, an european team coordinated by researchers of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid/IMDEA-Nanociencia has proved how a supermolecule – constituted by thirteen fullerenes – has been able of inhibiting the virus infection by blocking a receptor implied in its expansion. The model, tested in vitro, highlights the potential of this biotechnology to eradicate the infection.

Sweet nanoparticles target stroke
10 March 2015 9:25

Materials resulting from chemical bonding of glucosamine, a type of sugar, with fullerenes, kind of nanoparticles known as buckyballs, might help to reduce cell damage and inflammation occurring after stroke. A team from the Max Planck Institute in Germany has tested this on mice, opening the door to potential new drugs for the cerebrovascular accident.