Thursday, June 30, 2016

Wireless, wearable toxic-gas detector

Wearable, wireless sensors have now been developed by researchers, based on carbon nanotubes, that can detect toxic gases and can be worn by soldiers to detect hazardous chemical agents.

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Brilliant hard drive quality with magnetic field sensors made of diamond

Quantum mechanics is not only of high interest in fundamental research. The current progress in quantum technologies promises numerous innovations of industrial relevance, which will be transferred into the economy within the next five to ten years. Researchers are now developing highly sensitive diamond probes as a basis for novel quantum sensors. These are able to characterize smallest magnetic fields with a spatial resolution in the nanometer range.

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Role played by solvents at extreme pressure

Researchers investigated the behavior of the small molecule TMAO in water from normal conditions up to ten kilobars. Experiment and simulation showed that some bands in the infrared spectrum shift to higher frequencies at high pressure and also change their shape due to a change in the hydrogen bond network. Such findings open up the prospect of helping to understand how organisms have adapted at the molecular level to life under extreme pressures.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Some surfaces are wetted by water, others are water-repellent: A new material can be both

Scientists have discovered a robust surface whose adhesive and wetting properties can be switched using electricity.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Engineers to use cyborg insects as biorobotic sensing machines

A team of engineers is looking to capitalize on the sense of smell in locusts to create new biorobotic sensing systems that could be used in homeland security applications.

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New model predicts once-mysterious chemical reactions

A team of researchers has developed a theoretical model to forecast the fundamental chemical reactions involving molecular hydrogen.

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One giant leap for the future of safe drug delivery

By using an innovative 3-D inkjet printing method, researchers have taken the biggest step yet in producing microscopic silk swimming devices that are biodegradable and harmless to a biological system.

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Researchers discover a new method to boost oil recovery

As oil producers struggle to adapt to lower prices, getting as much oil as possible out of every well has become even more important, despite concerns from nearby residents that some chemicals used to boost production may pollute underground water resources. Researchers have reported the discovery of a nanotechnology-based solution that could address both issues -- achieving 15 percent tertiary oil recovery at low cost, without the large volume of chemicals used in most commercial fluids.

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Trees with altered lignin are better for biofuels, study shows

By engineering a novel enzyme involved in lignin synthesis, scientists have altered the lignin in plant cell walls in a way that increases access to biofuel building blocks without inhibiting plant growth. Lignin is a natural component of plant cell walls, the scaffolding that surrounds each cell and plays a pivotal role in plants' ability to grow against gravity and reach heights ranging from stubbly grasses to the sky-scraping splendor of redwoods.

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Synthesized microporous 3D graphene-like carbons

Zeolites' nanoporous systems are an ideal template for the synthesis of three-dimensional (3D) graphene architecture, but the high temperatures required for their synthesis cause the reactions to occur non-selectively. The research team lowered the temperature required for the carbonization by embedding lanthanum ions (La3+), a silvery-white metal element, in zeolite pores.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Huge helium discovery 'a life-saving find'

A new approach to gas exploration has discovered a huge helium gas field, which could address the increasingly critical shortage of this vital yet rare element.

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Building a smart cardiac patch

Researchers have created nanoscale electronic scaffolds that can be seeded with cardiac cells to produce a 'bionic' cardiac patch.

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Shampoo bottle that empties completely, every last drop

Researchers have found a way to create the perfect texture inside plastic bottles to let soap products flow freely. The technique involves lining a plastic bottle with microscopic y-shaped structures that cradle the droplets of soap aloft above tiny air pockets, so that the soap never actually touches the inside of the bottle. The "y" structures are built up using much smaller nanoparticles made of silica, or quartz -- an ingredient in glass -- which, when treated further, won't stick to soap.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

This message will self-destruct

In movies and television shows, audio tapes or other devices self-destruct after delivering the details of impossible missions. Scientists have taken it to a new level.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Diamond-based resonators might become highly sensitive detectors

A comprehensive study of acoustic waves in piezoelectric layered structures has led to a number of interesting discoveries. In particular, the researchers have come up with a possible way to reduce the effect of spurious peaks -- an undesirable phenomenon which occurs while studying a frequency response in such materials.

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Quantum calculations broaden the understanding of crystal catalysts

Recently, scientists advanced in explaining the properties of rutile TiO2 -- a promising photocatalyst, which may be used to produce eco-friendly fuel and to neutralize harmful compounds Using a supercomputer, researchers managed to model the behavior of surface layers of the crystal. This has led to a number of interesting discoveries, thus significantly broadening the current understanding of photocatalysis and bringing closer its practical applications.

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Chemists join forces to develop cheap, complementary method for classic reaction

Collaboration has enabled the development of a powerful and cost-effective approach to C-N coupling reactions, one of the most heavily used transformations in modern drug development.

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Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool'

The discovery power of the gene chip is coming to nanotechnology. Researchers have figured out how to make combinatorial libraries of nanoparticles in a very controlled way. Some of the nanoparticle compositions have never been observed before on Earth. The tool they are developing could be used to rapidly test millions to billions of different nanoparticles at one time to zero in on the best particle for a specific use. Applications include catalysts, light-harvesting materials, pharmaceuticals and optoelectronic devices.

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A strategy for 'convergence' research to transform biomedicine

A new report calls for increased support of 'convergence research,' which integrates physical and life sciences for revolutionary advances in biomedical research.

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New tool to measure polarization of light

Researchers have developed a new tool for detecting and measuring the polarization of light based on a single spatial sampling of the light, rather than the multiple samples required by previous technologies. The new device makes use of the unique properties of organic polymers, rather than traditional silicon, for polarization detection and measurement.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Researchers discover new chemical sensing technique

Researchers have reported a new technique to determine the chemical composition of materials using near-infrared light. The work could have a number of potential applications, including improving downhole drilling analysis in the oil and gas industry and broadening the spectrum of solar light that can be harvested and converted to electricity.

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Decoding the glass 'genome' contributes to new functional materials

From protecting our most valuable works of art to enabling smartphone displays, glass has become one of our most important materials. Making it even more versatile is the next challenge. Developing new glass compositions is largely a time-consuming, trial-and-error exercise. But now scientists have developed a way to decode the glass 'genome' and design different compositions of the material without making and melting every possibility.

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Engineers develop new, low-cost way to capture carbon

A research team reports an unconventional reversible chemical reaction in a confined nanoenvironment. The discovery, a milestone in clarifying the scientific underpinnings of moisture-swing chemical reaction, is critical to understanding how to scrub carbon dioxide from Earth's atmosphere; the researchers have already used it to capture carbon dioxide more efficiently and at a much lower cost than other methods.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Soft decoupling of organic molecules on metal

An international team has discovered an elegant way to decouple organic nanosheets grown on metal surfaces. After iodine intercalation, measurements at the synchrotron source BESSY II of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin showed that a network of organic molecules behaved almost as it was free-standing. The strong influence of the metal on the network was reduced. This opens up new ways to transfer organic nanostructures from metal surfaces onto more suitable substrates for molecular electronics.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

New research important to atmospheric photochemistry

A photochemical sciences research team has shown that a new and unusual reaction path in chemistry occurs not only in the gas phase, but also in solution. According to the researchers, the finding also establishes the direct link between chemical reactivity in the gas phase and in solution.

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Chemists find new way to recycle plastic waste into fuel

A new way of recycling millions of tons of plastic garbage into liquid fuel has been devised.

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Odors can be measured by analytical chemistry

For the first time scientists have developed a convincing model able to measure odors from pig farms by means of precise measurements of the content of odorants in the atmosphere. The model is based on measurements of odorants by means of the analytical technique PTR-MS and can be carried directly on the pig farm.

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Tracking aluminum used to purify tap water

Scientists have developed a new analysis method that uses magnetic fields to quickly and accurately measure the concentration of aluminum used to purify tap water. These findings can potentially be used in developing efficient and environmentally-conscious coagulants for water treatment.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Scientists glimpse why life can't happen without water

Scientists are getting closer to directly observing how and why water is essential to life as we know it.

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Better way to 'herd' electrons in solar fuel devices

Researchers have discovered a new way to optimize electron transfer in semi-conductors used in solar fuel solutions.

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Solar cells for greener and safer energies

Researchers report on low-temperature, solution-processed, environmentally friendly inorganic solar cells made with Earth-abundant materials capable of operating with a power conversion of 6.3 percent.

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Tailored DNA shifts electrons into the 'fast lane'

DNA molecules don't just code our genetic instructions. They also have the unique ability to conduct electricity and self-assemble into well-defined shapes, making them potential candidates for building low-cost nanoelectronic devices. A study now shows how DNA sequences can be manipulated to turn these ribbon-shaped molecules into electron 'highways,' allowing electricity to flow more easily through the strand.

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Scientists engineer tunable DNA for electronics applications

A team has been able to understand and manipulate DNA to more finely tune the flow of electricity through it. The key findings, which can make DNA behave in different ways -- cajoling electrons to smoothly flow like electricity through a metal wire, or hopping electrons about like the semiconductors materials that power our computers and cell phones, paves the way for an exciting new avenue of research advancements.

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Contaminated gloves increase risks of cross-transmission of pathogens

New research provides clear evidence that the gloves of healthcare workers contaminate hospital surfaces with bacteria. The researchers' data also suggest that types of bacteria may affect cross-transmission rates among contaminated gloves and the hospital surfaces.

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Solar exposure energizes muddy microbes

Researchers have presented a sediment Microbial Fuel Cell (sMFC) system for remotely investigating the physiology and ecology of electrically active microbes in submerged field sites. Depending on the depth at which device components were submerged, scientists observed variation in start-up time and electricity generation.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Compound eye for high-density 3D imaging

A system named "Compound eye for high-density 3D imaging" has now been developed by researchers. This innovation was inspired by the physiological structure of flies' compound eyes. Applying ultra-precision rolled plate machining technology, this low-cost system realizes higher quality of images, say the researchers.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

New see-through material for electronics

Even though conducting missing electrons and transparency were considered mutually exclusive, this new material both efficiently conducts missing electrons and retains most of its transparency to visual light.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Using espresso machines to do chemistry

Many chemists are familiar with taking trips to the espresso machine while running late-night experiments, but until now these excursions were merely undertaken for the caffeine boost. A group recently reported, however, that espresso machines can quickly and inexpensively perform some complex chemistry experiments, such as testing for harmful compounds in the environment.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Key compound for high-temperature superconductivity has been found

A new compound H5S2 that shows a new superconductivity phase on computer simulation, scientists have found. Further theoretical and experimental research based on H5S2 predicted by this group will lead to the clarification of the mechanism behind high-temperature superconductivity, which takes place in hydrogen sulfide .

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Let there be light: Engineer discovers light can stamp out defects in semiconductors for better solar panels and LED bulbs

A new theory has been developed that suggests that adding light during the manufacturing of semiconductors can reduce defects and potentially make more efficient solar cells or brighter LEDs.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Researchers improve biosensors to detect E. coli

Researchers have developed a portable biosensor that makes it easier to detect harmful bacteria. The simple sensor is able to detect and amplify the signal of the food pathogen Escherichia coli (E. coli) 0157:H7, which can cause severe diarrhea and kidney damage in people.

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On the path toward bionic enzymes

Chemists have successfully married chemistry and biology to create reactions never before possible. They did this by replacing the iron normally found in the muscle protein myoglobin with iridium, a noble metal not known to be used by living systems.

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Underlying connection found between diverse materials with extreme magnetoresistance

Researchers studying the intersection of materials chemistry and physics have found a connection in the underlying physics of materials with extreme magnetoresistance, a property that could be very useful in magnetic memory.

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Painless, quick and reliable method for diagnosing helicobacter from exhaled air

In the future, several illnesses can be quickly and painlessly diagnosed by the optical analysis of isotopes contained in exhaled air. With a new prototype device, researchers say that it is possible to determine painlessly and with absolute certainty during the appointment whether the patient's stomach troubles are caused by Helicobacter.

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New generation of high-efficiency solar thermal absorbers developed

Researchers are one step closer to developing a new generation of low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells.  The structure is one of the world’s first examples of a tri-layer metasurface absorber using a carbon interlayer. 

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Global ethane concentrations rising again, says study

Global emissions of ethane, an air pollutant and greenhouse gas, are on the uptick again, according to a new study. The air samples for the study were collected from more than 40 sites around the world, from Colorado and Greenland to Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand and Earth's polar regions.

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Electronic bacteria sensor is potential future tool for medicine and food safety

A new type of electronic sensor that might be used to quickly detect and classify bacteria for medical diagnostics and food safety has passed a key hurdle by distinguishing between dead and living bacteria cells.

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Sustainability criteria for transport biofuels need improvements

In its Renewable Energy Directive, the European Union has set a 10% goal for the use of renewable energy in transport by 2020. Only biofuels meeting certain sustainability criteria are included in the renewable energy goals and are allowed to take advantage of national support systems. In her doctoral dissertation, a scientist proposes several areas of development for the greenhouse gas assessment method of the criteria.

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Discovery of gold nanocluster 'double' hints at other shape changing particles

Setting out to confirm the predicted structure of the iconic nanocluster, Gold-144, researchers discovered an entirely unexpected atomic arrangement. The two structures, described for the first time, are chemically identical but uniquely shaped, suggesting they also behave differently.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Ferroelectric materials react unexpectedly to strain

Under too much strain, layered perovskite ferroelectrics turn off their polarization, researchers have found.

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