What ammonites ate

Ancient cousins of squid, octopus and cuttlefish, the ammonites died out at the same time as the dinosaurs. French and American researchers used synchrotron x-ray microtomography at the ESRF to obtain 3D images of fossilised ammonite mouthparts that provide new insights into ammonite feeding habits and their position in the Mesozoic marine food web.


Study reveals clear view of asthma

The Monash Institute of Medical Research is using a synchrotron in Japan to create video images of how air moves through a mouse’s lungs when a breath is taken. This capability will be used to help improve the effectiveness of asthma treatments. The researchers plan to do similar work on the extended Australian Synchrotron medical and imaging beamline when construction is complete.


Cleavage reveals new electronic layer

French researchers cleaved a piece of strontium titanate, a transparent insulating material, to create a conductive layer just two nanometres thick. The two-dimensional metallic electron gas layer (which part of that did you not understand?) opens up new possibilities for microelectronic applications that combine properties such as superconductivity, magnetism and thermoelectricity.


Two-step enzyme clue to golden staph

Using a US synchrotron, researchers have revealed key details of an enzyme involved in creating the golden-coloured coating that helps ‘golden staph’ bacteria to resist antibiotics. The findings could lead to more-effective new drugs against this problem bacterium.


Synchrotron aims to produce medical isotopes

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan are planning to use the Canadian synchrotron to develop medical isotopes without a nuclear reactor.