Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Researchers peel back another layer of chemistry with 'tender' X-rays

Scientists can now directly probe a previously hard-to-see layer of chemistry thanks to a unique X-ray toolkit. A key breakthrough enabling the latest experiment was in tailoring “tender” X-rays—which have an energy range tuned in a middle ground between the typical high-energy (or “hard”) and low-energy (or “soft”) X-rays used in research—to focus on chemistry within the double layer of a sample electrochemical system.

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High-speed 'electron camera' films atomic nuclei in vibrating molecules

An ultrafast 'electron camera' has made the first direct snapshots of atomic nuclei in molecules that are vibrating within millionths of a billionth of a second after being hit by a laser pulse. The method, called ultrafast electron diffraction, could help scientists better understand the role of nuclear motions in light-driven processes that naturally occur on extremely fast timescales.

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Plastic crystals could improve fabrication of memory devices

A novel 'plastic crystal' has switching properties suitable for memory-related applications.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Shrinking the inside of an explosion

Testing explosions is epic science. The most detailed studies of explosive charges have been conducted at national laboratories using a gun as big as a room to fire a flat bullet -- the flyer plate, typically 100 millimeters in diameter -- into an explosive charge inside a thick-walled chamber that contains the fierce blast. The tests require enormous facilities.

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Diamonds and quantum information processing on the nano scale

Physicists have successfully demonstrated charge transport between Nitrogen-Vacancy color centers in diamond.

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Gold from old phones is real prospect thanks to chemical advance

Vast quantities of gold could be salvaged from old mobile phones using a simple chemical method, a study shows.

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'Helix-to-tube' a simple strategy to synthesize covalent organic nanotubes

Organic nanotubes (ONTs) are tubular nanostructures composed of organic molecules that have unique properties and have found various applications, such as electro-conductive materials and organic photovoltaics. A group of scientists have now developed a simple and effective method for the formation of robust covalent ONTs from simple molecules. This method is expected to be useful in generating a range of nanotube-based materials with desirable properties.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Graphene key to growing two-dimensional semiconductor with extraordinary properties

The first-ever growth of two-dimensional gallium nitride using graphene encapsulation could lead to applications in deep ultraviolet lasers, next-generation electronics and sensors.

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Development of Silicon-Metal Composite Material for High Capacity Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Batteries

A research group have developed an anode material for lithium (Li)-ion rechargeable batteries by forming nanoparticles made of silicon (Si)-metal composites on metal substrates. The resulting anode material had high capacity - almost twice as high as conventional materials - and a long cycle life. These results will lead to the development of higher-capacity, longer-life anode materials for Li-ion rechargeable batteries.

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Development of chemical sensing material that enables smartphones to detect toxic gases

A chemical sensing material has been developed whose electrical conductivity dramatically increases when exposed to toxic gases, report scientists.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Air contamination near fracking sites result of operational inefficiencies

Chemists have published a new study that indicates that highly variable contamination events registered in and around unconventional oil and gas developments are the result of operational inefficiencies and not inherent to the extraction process itself.

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Chemists develop promising cheap, sustainable battery for grid energy storage

Chemists have developed a long-lasting zinc-ion battery that costs half the price of current lithium-ion batteries and could help enable communities to shift away from traditional power plants and into renewable solar and wind energy production.

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Better batteries: Next-generation smart separator membranes

A new class of battery seperator has been engineered by a team of researchers, which is expected to bring unprecedented benefits to battery performance.

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Insecticide ryanodine: Building a chemical from the ground up

Chemists have significantly improved upon the synthesis of a molecule related to muscle and neuronal function. A research team has been busy trying to crack the puzzle of the insecticide ryanodine, a complex molecule first isolated from a tropical plant in the 1940s. Ryanodine paralyzes insects by binding to a class of calcium-channel receptors called ryanodine receptors. In humans, these receptors play critical roles in muscle and neuronal function.

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Manufacturing pharmaceutical and other valuable chemicals: Better decisions

A new decision-making tool helps producers of pharmaceutical and other valuable chemicals make the leap to an entirely new way of manufacturing.

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Admitting visible light, rejecting infrared heat

The transparency of glass to visible light makes it the most common way to let light into a building. But because glass is also transparent to near-infrared radiation -- windows also let in heat, giving rise to the well-known greenhouse effect. A coating that blocks 90 per cent of the heat from sunlight could be used to develop smart windows, say scientists.

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New 'greener' method developed for producing some metals

While trying to develop a new battery, researchers find a whole new energy-efficient way to produce some metals without creating air pollution.

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New technology may give electric car drivers more miles per minute of charging

Researchers have designed a thin plastic membrane that stops rechargeable batteries from discharging when not in use and allows for rapid recharging. It could find applications in high powered "supercapacitors" for electric cars and even help prevent the kinds of fires that plagued some models of hoverboards recently.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Chemistry professor explores outer regions of periodic table

Scientists have captured the fundamental chemistry of the element berkelium, or Bk on the periodic table.

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Scientists solve puzzle of converting gaseous carbon dioxide to fuel

Every year, humans advance climate change and global warming by injecting about 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Scientists believe they've found a way to convert all these emissions into energy-rich fuel in a carbon-neutral cycle that uses a very abundant natural resource: silicon. Readily available in sand, it's the seventh most-abundant element in the universe and the second most-abundant element in the earth's crust.

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New method in synthesis and development for pharmaceuticals

Scientists have developed a new synthetic methods that facilitate the design and synthesis of bioactive compounds and chemical tools for pharmacological studies, the team reports.

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Promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films

Researchers discovered a procedure to restore defective graphene oxide structures that cause the material to display low carrier mobility. By applying a high-temperature reduction treatment in an ethanol environment, defective structures were restored, leading to the formation of a highly crystalline graphene film with excellent band-like transport. These findings are expected to come into use in scalable production techniques of highly crystalline graphene films.

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Green light: Biochemists describe light-driven conversion of greenhouse gas to fuel

By way of a light-driven bacterium, biochemists are a step closer to cleanly converting harmful carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion into usable fuels. Using the phototropic bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris as a biocatalyst, the scientists generated methane from carbon dioxide in one enzymatic step.

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New electrical energy storage material shows its power

A new material could one day speed up the charging process of electric cars and help increase their driving range. The modified covalent organic framework (COF) material combines the ability to store large amounts of electrical energy or charge, like a battery, and the ability to charge and discharge rapidly, like a supercapacitor, into one device. The researchers built a prototype device capable of powering an LED for 30 seconds.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lab-on-a-stick: Miniaturized clinical testing for fast detection of antibiotic resistance

A portable power-free test for the rapid detection of bacterial resistance to antibiotics has been developed .

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Battery you can swallow could enable future ingestible medical devices

Non-toxic, edible batteries could one day power ingestible devices for diagnosing and treating disease. One team reports new progress toward that goal with their batteries made with melanin pigments, naturally found in the skin, hair and eyes.

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Stretchy supercapacitors power wearable electronics

A future of soft robots or smart T-shirts may depend on the development of stretchy power sources. But traditional batteries are thick and rigid -- not ideal properties for materials that would be used in tiny malleable devices. In a step toward wearable electronics, a team of researchers has produced a stretchy micro-supercapacitor using ribbons of graphene.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart'

Scientists have developed a new low-temperature process for coating a new smart material on plastic. At the heart of the team's study is their rare insight into the atomic-scale structure of the amorphous materials.

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Map helps maximize carbon-capture material

A new map will help natural gas producers fine-tune porous materials to sequester carbon dioxide to both help the environment and reduce costs, according to scientists.

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How cars could meet future emissions standards: Focus on cold starts

Car emissions is a high-stakes issue, as last year's Volkswagen scandal demonstrated. Wrongdoing aside, how are automakers going to realistically meet future, tougher emissions requirements to reduce their impact on the climate? Researchers report today that a vehicle's cold start -- at least in gasoline-powered cars -- is the best target for future design changes.

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Fungi recycle rechargeable lithium-ion batteries

Rechargeable batteries in smartphones, cars and tablets don't last forever. Old batteries often wind up in landfills or incinerators, potentially harming the environment. And valuable materials remain locked inside. Now, a team of researchers is turning to fungi to drive an environmentally friendly recycling process to extract cobalt and lithium from tons of waste batteries.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Attosecond science opens new avenues in femtochemistry

Attosecond Science is a new exciting frontier in contemporary physics, aimed at time-resolving the motion of electrons in atoms, molecules and solids on their natural timescale. Electronic dynamics derives from the creation and evolution of coherence between different electronic states and proceeds on sub-femtosecond timescales. In contrast, chemical dynamics involves position changes of atomic centers and functional groups and typically proceeds on a slower, femtosecond timescale inherent to nuclear motion.

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An unexpected finding: Rare iodine polymer discovery is key to starch-iodine mystery

In the pursuit of a new class of photovoltaic materials, researchers happened upon an entirely different discovery that addresses a centuries-old mystery of chemistry: Why does an iodine solution turn blue-black when starch is added to the mix? A rare iodine polymer discovery is key to the starch-iodine mystery, say scientists.

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A new way to display the 3-D structure of molecules

Researchers have developed nanoscale display cases that enables new atomic-scale views of hard-to-study chemical and biological samples.

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Carbon molecular sieve membranes could cut energy in hydrocarbon separations

A research team has demonstrated a new carbon-based molecular sieve membrane that could dramatically reduce the energy required to separate a class of hydrocarbon molecules known as alkyl aromatics.

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New method to identify microscopic failure in polymers before total failure occurs.

Scientists have recently found a new way to identify microscopic damage in polymers and composite materials before total failure occurs.

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Researchers watch catalysts at work

Physicists have succeeded in watching a silver catalyst at work for the first time with the aid of an atomic force microscope. The observations made during an Ullmann reaction have allowed the researchers to calculate the energy turnover and, potentially, to optimize the catalysis.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Reducing cost of producing supercapacitors

Using inexpensive biochar to coat electrodes and a new method to create the porous surface needed to capture electricity may reduce the cost of supercapacitors. Activating the biochar using plasma processing takes only five minutes with no external heating or chemicals needed.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Isotope research opens new possibilities for cancer treatment

A new study greatly improves scientists' understanding of the element actinium. The insights could support innovation in creating new classes of anticancer drugs.

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Studying blood flow dynamics to identify the heart of vessel failure

New research from a fluid mechanics team reveals how blood flow dynamics within blood vessels may influence where plaques develop or rupture. The findings could one day help doctors identify weak spots on a vessel wall that are likeliest to fail, and lead to early interventions in treating heart disease.

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Researchers resolve a problem that has been holding back a technological revolution

Researchers have cleared that obstacle by developing a new way to purify carbon nanotubes -- the smaller, nimbler semiconductors that are expected to replace silicon within computer chips and a wide array of electronics.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Unraveling knotty chemical structures enables rapid screening of anti-cancer compounds

A graduate student has devised an ingenious way to make tiny knotted and interlocked chemical structures that have been impossible for chemists to fabricate until now.

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Gadget grabs more solar energy to disinfect water faster

Researchers have created a nanostructured device, about half the size of a postage stamp, that disinfects water much faster than the UV method by also making use of the visible part of the solar spectrum, which contains 50 percent of the sun's energy.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Scientists capture neon in an organic environment for the first time

Researchers have captured neon within a porous crystalline framework. Neon is well known for being the most unreactive element and is a key component in semiconductor manufacturing, but neon has never been studied within an organic or metal-organic framework until now. The results point the way towards a more economical and greener industrial process for neon production.

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Nature and the nurture of aerosols

Scientists conducted a collaborative study that answered foundational questions about how nature influences the composition of aerosols. The team's findings could help avoid unintended consequences in both regulations and remediation, they say.

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'Chemtrails' not real, say atmospheric science experts

Well-understood physical and chemical processes can easily explain the alleged evidence of a secret, large-scale atmospheric spraying program, commonly referred to as 'chemtrails' or 'covert geoengineering.' A survey of the world's leading atmospheric scientists categorically rejects the existence of a secret spraying program.

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Slicing through materials with a new X-ray imaging technique

Researchers have created a new imaging technique that allows scientists to probe the internal makeup of a battery during charging and discharging using different X-ray energies while rotating the battery cell. The technique produces a three-dimensional chemical map and lets the scientists track chemical reactions in the battery over time in working conditions.

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Discovery of sunlight-driven organic chemistry on water surfaces

Fatty acids found on the surface of water droplets react with sunlight to form organic molecules, a new study reports, essentially uncovering a previously unknown form of photolysis.

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Self-shading windows switch from clear to opaque

New electrochromic material could lead to self-shading glass windows that save energy by reducing the need for air-conditioning, report scientists.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Quantum dots with impermeable shell: A powerful tool for nanoengineering

Depending on their applications, quantum dots need to be tailored in terms of their structure and properties. Chemists have shown that quantum dots obtained by their novel method can be successfully functionalized with modern click chemistry. This achievement is of interest not only due to the numerous potential applications, but also because in hitherto experiments copper compounds used as catalyst in click reactions have always destroyed the ability of quantum dots to emit light.

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