Saturday, July 30, 2016

Modeling sunlight harvesting in nanostructures

To create the next generation of solar panels, scientists must model how complex interactions occur. Modeling across different scales provides needed insights. In a review article, scientists assessed the state of the art for calculations used to model electronic states in very thin films.

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Diamonds help generate new record for static pressures for study

An international team has devised a method for achieving 1 terapascal of static pressure - vastly higher than any previously reached.

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A new leaf: Scientists turn carbon dioxide back into fuel

Researchers have found a way to convert carbon dioxide into a usable energy source. Produced by the burning of fossil fuels in power plants and car engines, carbon dioxide continues to accumulate in the atmosphere, warming the planet. But trees and other plants do slowly capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, converting it to sugars that store energy.

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Boron boosts graphene's sensitivity to noxious gases

Researchers have discovered a way to significantly improve graphene's performance in detecting noxious gases. They peppered high-quality sheets with boron impurities.

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Scientists find a way of acquiring graphene-like films from salts to boost nanoelectronics

Scientists have found a way to acquire 2-D graphene-like layers of various salts. Because to the unique properties of two-dimensional materials, this opens up great prospects for nanoelectronics. Using computer modeling they have found the exact parameters, under which certain salts undergo graphitization -- rearrangement of atoms in the slab with further decomposition of a crystal into 2-D layers.The received data will soon be used to acquire these layers experimentally.

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Ultrathin, transparent oxide thin-film transistors developed for wearable display

Ultrathin and transparent oxide thin-film transistors have been developed for an active-matrix backplane of a flexible display by using the inorganic-based laser lift-off method.

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Waste from test fracking wells safe to be on highways, research concludes

Researchers studied drilling wastes produced at two research wells near Morgantown and found they are well below federal guidelines for radioactive or hazardous waste.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Breakthrough solar cell captures carbon dioxide and sunlight, produces burnable fuel

Researchers have engineered a potentially game-changing solar cell that cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel, using only sunlight for energy.

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Fast-growth cyanobacteria have allure for biofuel, chemical production

While relentless bright light brings many forms of cyanobacteria to their knees -- figuratively, of course -- Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 does the opposite, thriving and growing at a rate that far outpaces most of its peers. Now researchers know why: it triples in size to accommodate a rapid expansion of the cellular machinery it uses to build proteins.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How to make underwater glue with a biomed engineer

An engineer has received recognition for work on reversible underwater adhesives. He focuses on adhesives inspired by nature. More specifically, the natural glues made by mussels that anchor them to rocks, boats and docks.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dirty to drinkable: Novel hybrid nanomaterials quickly transform water

A team of engineers has found a way to use graphene oxide sheets to transform dirty water into drinking water, and it could be a global game-changer.

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Pixel-array quantum cascade detector paves the way for portable thermal imaging devices

Researchers have developed a new 'cooler' sensing instrument thereby increasing energy, efficiency and enhancing mobility for diagnostic testing. The new portable, field-friendly, mid-infrared detector operates at room temperature.

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Fermenting carbon monoxide into biofuel

Biological engineers have deciphered the cellular strategy to make the biofuel ethanol, using an anaerobic microbe feeding on carbon monoxide -- a common industrial waste gas.

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Lonely atoms, happily reunited

The remarkable behaviour of platinum atoms on magnetite surfaces could lead to better catalysts. Scientists can now explain how platinum atoms can form pairs with the help of carbon monoxide. At first glance, magnetite appears to be a rather inconspicuous grey mineral. But on an atomic scale, it has remarkable properties: on magnetite, single metal atoms are held in place, or they can be made to move across the surface. Sometimes several metal atoms on magnetite form small clusters. Such phenomena can dramatically change the chemical activity of the material. Atomic processes on the magnetite surface determine how well certain metal atoms can serve as catalysts for chemical reactions.

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Chemical etching method helps transistors stand tall

Researchers have developed a way to etch very tall, narrow finFETs, a type of transistor that forms a tall semiconductor 'fin' for the current to travel over.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Enhancing molecular imaging with light

A new technology platform is able to image molecules at the nanoscale with super-resolution.

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New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials

Scientists has developed a novel way to produce two-dimensional nanosheets by separating bulk materials with nontoxic liquid nitrogen. The environmentally friendly process generates a 20-fold increase in surface area per sheet, which could expand the nanomaterials' commercial applications.

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Self-healing textiles not only repair themselves, but can neutralize chemicals

Someday, chemically protective suits made of fabric coated in self-healing, thin films may prevent farmers from exposure to organophosphate pesticides, soldiers from chemical or biological attacks in the field and factory workers from accidental releases of toxic materials, according to a team of researchers.

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New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity

A new kind of lithium-oxygen battery, using glass nanoparticles of lithium oxides, could provide more energy, and much better stability and energy efficiency, report scientists.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Unconventional quasiparticles predicted in conventional crystals

An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of several previously unknown types of quantum particles in materials. The research represents the newest avenue in the physics of 'topological materials,' an area of science that has already fundamentally changed the way researchers see and interpret states of matter.

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Ultrasensitive sensor using N-doped graphene

A highly sensitive chemical sensor based on Raman spectroscopy and using nitrogen-doped graphene as a substrate was developed by an international team of researchers. In this case, doping refers to introducing nitrogen atoms into the carbon structure of graphene. This technique can detect trace amounts of molecules in a solution at very low concentrations, some 10,000 times more diluted than can be seen by the naked eye.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Borrowing from pastry chefs, engineers create nanolayered composites

Researchers have found a way to efficiently create composite materials containing hundreds of layers that are just atoms thick but span the full width of the material. The discovery could lead to easy-to-manufacture composites for optical devices, electronic systems, and high-tech materials.

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A 'smart dress' for oil-degrading bacteria

The modified polyelectrolyte-magnetite nanocoating was applied to functionalize the cell walls of oil decomposing bacteria Alcanivorax borkumensis.

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Scientists harness CO2 to consolidate biofuel production process

Scientists have shown that adding carbon dioxide gas during the deconstruction phase of biofuel production successfully neutralized the toxicity of ionic liquids. The technique, which is reversible, allows the liquid to be recycled, representing a major step forward in streamlining the biofuel production process.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Scientists program cells to remember and respond to series of stimuli

Engineers have programmed cells to remember and respond to events. This approach to circuit design enables scientists to create complex cellular state machines and track cell histories.

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Can synthetic clays save a world awash in pollution?

Materials that can clean up multiple radioactive pollutants and heavy metals have been developed by scientists. The next step is to get them out of the laboratory.

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Scientists unlock 'green' energy from garden grass

A new way of deriving hydrogen from grass has now been developed using just sunlight and a cheap catalyst. Garden grass could become a source of cheap and clean renewable energy, scientists have claimed in a new report.

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New nanoscale technologies could revolutionize microscopes, study of disease

Research could transform how scientists study molecules and cells at sub-microscopic (nanoscale) levels. An electrical and computer engineer and her team has published studies outlining a new, relatively inexpensive imaging platform that enables single molecule imaging. This patented method highlights Gangopadhyay's more than 30 years of nanoscale research that has proven invaluable in biological research and battling diseases.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Titanium and gold equals new gold standard for artificial joints

Titanium is the leading material for artificial knee and hip joints because it's strong, wear-resistant and nontoxic, but an unexpected discovery by physicists shows that the gold standard for artificial joints can be improved with the addition of some actual gold.

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New reaction for the synthesis of nanostructures

Scientists have come up with a new chemical reaction for the synthesis of low-dimensional polymers that can be rationalized as phthalocyanine derivatives.

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3-D-printing lab instruments one block at a time

Building lab instruments for chemistry and biology experiments used to be an expensive, time consuming process only done by scientists with specialized training. A 3-D printed, Lego-like system of blocks is changing that. In addition to real research applications, the system can also be used for STEM education, where students gain both an engineering experience by building the instruments and a science experience as they use them.

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Garnet-type fast ionic conductor for all-solid-state lithium battery

A garnet-type, fast ionic conducting oxide has been created by scientists. The developed garnet-type oxide showed not only high ionic conductivity around 1 mS/cm at room temperature, but also high electrochemical stability. Using this material as a solid electrolyte, an all-solid-state lithium battery was fabricated and its reversible charge and discharge reaction was demonstrated successfully. This finding contributes to the realization of highly safe, rechargeable batteries for large-scale power sources.

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Researchers discover key mechanism for producing solar cells

Researchers have reported the first explanation for how a class of materials changes during production to more efficiently absorb light, a critical step toward the large-scale manufacture of better and less-expensive solar panels.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New tool probes for genes linked to toxic methylmercury

Environmental scientists can more efficiently detect genes required to convert mercury in the environment into more toxic methylmercury with new molecular probes.

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Key improvement for fuel cells: Work improves understanding of process that stops reactions

Researchers have determined a key step in improving solid oxide fuel cells, a promising clean energy technology that has struggled to gain wide acceptance in the marketplace. The researchers determined a way to improve one of the primary failure points for the fuel cell, overcoming key issues that have hindered its acceptance.

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Surface tension can sort droplets for biomedical applications

Scientists have engineered a simple and inexpensive device that can sort droplets of liquid based solely on the liquids' varying surface tensions.

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Scientists create new thin material that mimics cell membranes

Materials scientists have created a new material that performs like a cell membrane found in nature. Such a material has long been sought for applications as varied as water purification and drug delivery. The material can assemble itself into a sheet thinner but stabler than a soap bubble, the researchers report.

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New technique uses electrical conductivity to measure blood in dry blood samples

Researchers have demonstrated that electrical conductivity can be an effective means to precisely measure the amount of blood present in dry blood spot analysis, providing a new alternative to the current preferred approach of measuring sodium levels.

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Electron spin control: Levitated nanodiamond is research gem

Researchers have demonstrated how to control the 'electron spin' of a nanodiamond while it is levitated with lasers in a vacuum, an advance that could find applications in quantum information processing, sensors and studies into the fundamental physics of quantum mechanics.

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Minimalist swimming microrobots

When scaling down robots to the micrometer scale for tiny tasks such as incising tissue and puncturing retinal veins, minimalism is key. To make smaller, simpler microrobots, researchers have developed a fabrication method which utilizes the minimum geometric requirements for fluid motion -- consisting of just two conjoined microparticles coated with bits of magnetic debris.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

A battery inspired by vitamins

Researchers have identified a whole new class of high-performing organic molecules, inspired by vitamin B2, that can safely store electricity from intermittent energy sources like solar and wind power in large batteries.

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Gas sensors 'see' through soil to analyze microbial interactions

Researchers use programmed bacteria as gas sensors that help them 'see' into soil to learn about the behavior of the microbial communities within.

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Researchers build a crawling robot from sea slug parts and a 3-D printed body

Researchers have combined tissues from a sea slug with flexible 3-D printed components to build 'biohybrid' robots to manage different tasks than an animal or purely humanmade robot could.

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'Smart' thread collects diagnostic data when sutured into tissue

Researchers, for the first time, have integrated nano-scale sensors, electronics and microfluidics into threads -- ranging from simple cotton to sophisticated synthetics -- that can be sutured through multiple layers of tissue to gather diagnostic data wirelessly.

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Tiny transformers: Chemists create microscopic and malleable building blocks

Taking a page from Jonathan Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels,' a team of scientists has created malleable and microscopic self-assembling particles that can serve as the next generation of building blocks in the creation of synthetic materials.

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Computer simulation renders transient chemical structures visible

Chemists have succeeded in using computer simulations to elucidate transient structures in proteins. Researchers have set out, in a new article, how computer simulations of details at the atomic level can be used to understand proteins' modes of action.

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Modeling predicts which counties could store more carbon in soil by growing bioenergy crops

To help stakeholders in government and business make smart decisions about the best types of land and local climates for planting bioenergy crops, researchers are using computational modeling to predict which counties could see increases in soil organic carbon from cultivation of crops for biofuels.

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Making a multi-use, stiff carbon foam using bread

Sturdy, lightweight carbon foam has many structural and insulating applications in aerospace engineering, energy storage and temperature maintenance. Current methods to create this material run into difficulties when trying to make the product strong, lightweight, environmentally friendly and low-cost. Now, a group reports a method to produce such a carbon foam by using super-toasted bread.

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Could more fuel-efficient engines lead to more global warming?

Auto industry experts predict that more than 50 percent of cars on the road by 2020 will use a relatively new type of fuel-efficient engine. This transition, however, has raised questions about its ultimate effect on the climate. A new study has found that because the newer engines emit higher levels of the climate-warming pollutant black carbon than traditional engines, their impact on the climate is uncertain.

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Sources, occurrence rate of groundwater methane in Colorado's Denver-Julesburg Basin

The rate of groundwater contamination due to natural gas leakage from oil and gas wells has remained largely unchanged in northeastern Colorado's Denver-Julesburg Basin since 2001, according to a new study based on public records and historical data.

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