Monday, August 31, 2015

Slower melting ice cream in pipeline, thanks to new ingredient

Childhood memories of sticky hands from melting ice cream cones could soon become obsolete, thanks to a new food ingredient.

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New material science research may advance tech tools

Hard, complex materials with many components are used to fabricate some of today's most advanced technology tools. However, little is still known about how the properties of these materials change under specific temperatures, magnetic fields and pressures. New research advances the understanding of how materials can be manipulated.

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Skimming uranium from the sea

Researchers have developed a new, protein-based system that can mine certain types of uranium from sea water with exceedingly high affinity and selectivity.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Combustion’s Mysterious 'QOOH' Radicals Exposed

Good news for those interested in accurately modeling combustion engines, scientists can now discriminate between previously unidentified radicals found in the early stages of the combustion process from similar compounds.

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The importance of hydration

In all organisms, water's pH has a profound effect. Because the interaction of carbon dioxide and water explains the natural acidity of water and all accompanying reactions, it is considered a vital reaction by scientists. Researchers recently made a discovery about how dissolved dioxide bonds.

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One in a million: Analyzing metabolites in a single cell

With detection limits down to the zeptomolar range (about 600 molecules in a sample), a new technology can analyze the metabolic composition of individual microbial cells, as well as detect the presence of extremely low levels of environmental contaminants.

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Capturing and converting carbon dioxide in a single step

Turning carbon dioxide from certain power plants into a more valuable chemical would reduce emissions while creating a revenue return. Scientists have now derived a metal-free catalyst that does the trick without the need for expensive, extreme conditions.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Keeping the ions close: A new activity

Building better batteries means understanding the chemistry of acids and bases. Now, scientists found that when a strong acid is mixed with water, the negatively and positively charged parts create an unexpected structure.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Artificial leaf harnesses sunlight for efficient fuel production

A new solar fuel generation system, or artificial leaf, safely creates fuel from sunlight and water with record-setting efficiency and stability.

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Fungi tweaked to boost industrial enzymes

Mutants of a common fungus produce endoxylanase enzymes twice as potent as the original strain.

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DNA 'clews' used to shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells

Researchers have for the first time created and used a nanoscale vehicle made of DNA to deliver a CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells in both cell culture and an animal model.

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New technique could enable design of hybrid glasses and revolutionize gas storage

A new method of manufacturing glass could lead to the production of 'designer glasses' with applications in advanced photonics, whilst also facilitating industrial scale carbon capture and storage. Researchers report how they have managed to use a relatively new family of sponge-like porous materials to develop new hybrid glasses.

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Cheaper, better LED technology

An engineering professor has developed a new highly efficient and low cost light emitting diode that could help spur more widespread adoption of the technology.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

A new technique to make drugs more soluble

Before Ibuprofen can relieve your headache, it has to dissolve in your bloodstream. The problem is Ibuprofen, in its native form, isn't particularly soluble.  Its rigid, crystalline structures -- the molecules are lined up like soldiers at roll call -- make it hard to dissolve in the bloodstream. To overcome this, manufacturers use chemical additives to increase the solubility of Ibuprofen and many other drugs, but those additives also increase cost and complexity.

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Soaking up carbon dioxide and turning it into valuable products

Researchers have incorporated molecules of porphyrin CO2 catalysts into the sponge-like crystals of covalent organic frameworks (COFs) to create a molecular system that not only absorbs carbon dioxide, but also selectively reduces it to CO, a primary building block for a wide range of chemical products.

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Chemistry professor discovers color sensor compound for anions

A chemistry professor has uncovered a major development in the study of anions, negatively-charged molecules such as chloride, bromide and nitrate, which have strategic roles within the human body. These molecules can also act as pollutants, some of which are vital to our health whilst others might actually harm us. The chemistry behind the detection of anions is still in its infancy and an easy, reliable and robust method of detection has eluded chemists... until now.

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Taking a cue from nature: Turning alcohols into alkylating agents

Researchers have developed a dual catalyst system that directly installs alkyl groups -- fragments containing singly bonded carbon and hydrogen atoms that have extremely useful properties for drug discovery -- onto compounds called heteroarenes. The reported transformation is the first to successfully use alcohols as reagents in the so-called alkylation reaction.

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Successful boron-doping of graphene nanoribbon

Physicists have succeeded in synthesizing boron-doped graphene nanoribbons and characterizing their structural, electronic and chemical properties. The modified material could potentially be used as a sensor for the ecologically damaging nitrogen oxides, scientists report.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Chemical sampling interface features simplicity, speed

In mere seconds, a device that can identify and characterize a solid or liquid sample.

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Cellular contamination pathway for plutonium, other heavy elements, identified

Scientists have reported a major advance in understanding the biological chemistry of radioactive metals, opening up new avenues of research into strategies for remedial action in the event of possible human exposure to nuclear contaminants.

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Millions of plastic particles exist in cosmetic products

Everyday cosmetic and cleaning products contain huge quantities of plastic particles, which are released to the environment and could be harmful to marine life, according to a new study.

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New graphene-based catalysts for the energy industry

Researchers have developed materials based on graphene that can catalyze reactions for the conversion and storage of energy. The technology combines graphene and organometallic compounds in a single material without altering the most interesting properties of graphene, such as its electrical conductivity.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Scientists find new way to detect ortho–para conversion in water

New research has found that water molecules react differently to electric fields, which could provide a new way to study spin isomers at the single-molecule level. Water molecules exist in two forms or 'isomers', ortho and para, that have different nuclear spin states. In ortho-water, the nuclear spins are parallel to one another, and in para water, the spins are antiparallel. The conversion of ortho water into para-water and vice-versa is relevant to a broad range of scientific fields from nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to astrophysics.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Another milestone in hybrid artificial photosynthesis

Researchers using a bioinorganic hybrid approach to artificial photosynthesis have combined semiconducting nanowires with select microbes to create a system that produces renewable molecular hydrogen and uses it to synthesize carbon dioxide into methane, the primary constituent of natural gas.

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Record high pressure squeezes secrets out of osmium

An international team of scientists has created the highest static pressure ever achieved in a lab: Using a special high pressure device, the researchers investigated the behavior of the metal osmium at pressures of up to 770 Gigapascals -- more than twice the pressure in the inner core of the Earth. Surprisingly, osmium does not change its crystal structure, but the core electrons of the atoms come so close to each other that they can interact.

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Smooth robot movements reduce energy consumption by up to 40 percent

By minimizing the acceleration of industrial robots, energy consumption can be reduced by up to 40 percent -- while retaining the given production time. This is the result of a new optimization algorithm.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Graphene oxide's secret properties revealed at atomic level

Scientists have found that graphene oxide's inherent defects give rise to a surprising mechanical property caused by an unusual mechanochemical reaction.

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Scientists turn oily soil into fertile ground

Scientists are cleaning soil contaminated by oil spills in a way that saves energy and reclaims the soil's fertility, using a process known as pyrolysis, which involves heating contaminated soils in the absence of oxygen.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Laser-burned graphene gains metallic powers

Chemists embed metallic nanoparticles into laser-induced graphene, turning it into a useful catalyst for fuel cell and other applications.

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Electrospray solves longstanding problem in Langmuir-Blodgett assembly

By dispersing nanoparticles with an electrospray, scientists have found a more efficient and safer way to use water-soluble solvents to create monolayer nanoparticle films.

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Sepsis therapeutic device improved by researchers

An improved spleen-mimicking device has been developed that synergizes with conventional antibiotic therapies and that has been streamlined for near-term translation to the clinic.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

'Quantum dot' technology may help light the future

Advances in manufacturing technology for 'quantum dots' may soon lead to a new generation of LED lighting that produces a more user-friendly white light, while using less toxic materials and low-cost manufacturing processes that take advantage of simple microwave heating. It could help the nation cut its lighting bill in half.

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Possible test for liver cancer using technology for analyzing rocks, minerals

Clinicians and geochemists are working to develop a test for the most common form of primary liver cancer, HCC (Hepatocellular Carcinoma), which kills over 600,000 people worldwide every year. This first biochemical test is based on methods used to measure the stable isotope compositions of rocks and minerals.

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Hydrogen sulfide loses its electrical resistance under high pressure at minus 70 degrees Celsius

Hydrogen sulfide becomes superconductive at minus 70 degree Celsius -- when the substance is placed under a pressure of 1.5 million bar -- researchers have observed. This corresponds to half of the pressure of Earth's core. With their high-pressure experiments the researchers have thus not only set a new record for superconductivity, their findings have also highlighted a potential new way to transport current at room temperature with no loss.

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Warm, pleasant, LED lighting developed: LEDs cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions

Highly efficient, light-emitting diodes could slash the world's electricity consumption. They are already sold in stores, but are expensive, and many of them give off 'harsh' light. But researchers have now developed a less expensive, more sustainable white LED with a warm glow.

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'Diamonds from the sky' approach turns CO2 into valuable products

Finding a technology to shift carbon dioxide, the most abundant anthropogenic greenhouse gas, from a climate change problem to a valuable commodity has long been a dream. Now, a team of chemists says they have developed a technology to economically convert atmospheric CO2 directly into highly valued carbon nanofibers for industrial and consumer products.

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Book detectives solve puzzles of yesteryear

Fragile pieces of parchment can be difficult to study because of their age, rarity and susceptibility to contamination. Researchers are developing new high-tech tools to unlock the secrets hidden in old parchment.

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Challenge to classic theory of 'organic' solar cells could improve efficiency

New research findings contradict a fundamental assumption about the functioning of 'organic' solar cells made of low-cost plastics, suggesting a new strategy for creating inexpensive solar technology.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Solar cell efficiency could double with novel 'green' antenna

The use of solar energy in the US is growing, but panels on rooftops are still a rare sight. They cost thousands of dollars, and homeowners don't recoup costs for years. But scientists may have a solution. Researchers report the development of a unique, 'green' antenna that could potentially double efficiencies of certain solar cells and make them more affordable. These antennas are made with biological and non-toxic materials that are edible in theory, one researcher said.

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Engineers identify how to keep surfaces dry underwater for months

Imagine staying dry underwater for months. Engineers have examined a variety of surfaces that can do just that -- and they know why. They have identified the ideal 'roughness' needed in a surface's texture to keep it dry for a long time when submerged in water. The valleys in the surface roughness typically need to be less than one micron in width. That's really small -- but these nanoscopic valleys have macroscopic impact.

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Unique technology for creating microdroplets developed

Scientists have devised a unique technology for creating microdroplets suitable for portable automatic analytical devices in various fields from internal security to environmental monitoring and space research.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

New approach could reduce human health impacts of electric power generation

By combining information about power plant operation with real-time air quality predictions, researchers have created a new capability to minimize the human health effects of air pollution resulting from electric power generating facilities.

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Futuristic electronics one step nearer

When researchers dream about electronics of the future, they more or less dream of pouring liquids into a beaker, stirring them together and decanting a computer out onto the table. This field of research is known as self-assembling molecular electronics. But, getting chemical substances to self-assemble into electronic components is just as complicated as it sounds. The secret behind the breakthrough is... Soap.

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Major innovation in molecular imaging delivers spatial and spectral info simultaneously

Using physical chemistry methods to look at biology at the nanoscale, a researcher has invented a new technology to image single molecules with unprecedented spectral and spatial resolution, thus leading to the first 'true-color' super-resolution microscope.

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Eliminating water-borne bacteria with pages from The Drinkable Book could save lives

Human consumption of bacterially contaminated water causes millions of deaths each year throughout the world -- primarily among children. An inexpensive, simple and easily transportable nanotechnology-based method to purify drinking water has just been developed. Researchers call it The Drinkable Book, and each page is impregnated with bacteria-killing metal nanoparticles.

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Charge transport in hybrid silicon solar cells

A surprising discovery has been made about hybrid organic/inorganic solar cells. Contrary to expectations, a diode composed of the conductive organic PEDOT:PSS and an n-type silicon absorber material behaves more like a pn junction between two semiconductors than like a metal-semiconductor contact (Schottky diode).

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Urban grime releases air pollutants when exposed to sunlight

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have determined that natural sunlight triggers the release of smog-forming nitrogen oxide compounds from the grime that typically coats buildings, statues and other outdoor surfaces in urban areas. The finding confirms previous laboratory work using simulated sunlight and upends the long-held notion that nitrates in urban grime are 'locked' in place.

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Glass paint could keep metal roofs and other structures cool even on sunny days

Sunlight can be brutal. It wears down even the strongest structures, including rooftops and naval ships, and it heats up metal slides and bleachers until they're too hot to use. To fend off damage and heat, scientists have developed an environmentally friendly paint out of glass that bounces sunlight off metal surfaces -- keeping them cool and durable.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Unlikely element turns up in enzyme; commercial renewable fuels might ultimately result

Tungsten is exceptionally rare in biological systems. Thus, it came as a huge surprise to researchers when they discovered it in what appeared to be a novel enzyme in the hot spring-inhabiting bacterium, Caldicellulosiruptor bescii. This discovery could ultimately lead to commercially viable conversion of cellulosic (woody) biomass to fuels and chemical feedstocks, which could substantially reduce greenhouse emissions.

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Engineers 'sandwich' atomic layers to make new materials for energy storage

Using a method they invented for joining disparate elemental layers into a stable material with uniform, predictable properties, researchers are testing an array of new combinations that may vastly expand the options available to create faster, smaller, more efficient energy storage, advanced electronics and wear-resistant materials.

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