Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Going against the grain: Nitrogen turns out to be hypersociable

Nitrogen is everywhere: even in the air there is four times as much of it as oxygen. However, it is reluctant to form chemical bonds. Chemists predict, however, that contrary to the rules of typical chemistry, in appropriately selected conditions there may be a nitrogen that nobody has ever seen.

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Throwing new light on printed organic solar cells

Scientists are able to improve the efficiency of solar cells more than threefold, outlines a new report. The solar cells are a flexible, lightweight and environmentally-friendly and have the capacity to be printed in different colours and shapes. They are a contrast to their inorganic competitors as they also convert efficiently indirect sunlight, making them ideal material to power devices on the move, such as for the Internet of Things

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Glowing crystals can detect, cleanse contaminated drinking water

Motivated by public hazards associated with contaminated sources of drinking water, a team of scientists has successfully developed and tested tiny, glowing crystals that can detect and trap heavy-metal toxins like mercury and lead.

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Pine product offers fresh take on fine chemical synthesis

The goop from pine trees that contains compounds known as terpenes is used in the manufacture of food, cosmetics and drugs, but it might become even more valuable as a chemical reagent made through a new process developed by scientists.

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Mysteries of enzyme mechanism revealed

A breakthrough advance has been made by trapping an intermediate in the mechanism of enzymes called heme peroxidases and determining its structure using a beam of neutrons from the heart of a nuclear reactor.

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Graphene technology enables fully flexible NFC antennas

Graphene is currently one of the most extensively studied materials in the world, both on a scientific and industrial level. The world’s first two-dimensional material, this single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice has a series of unique and outstanding properties. As well as being the thinnest, strongest and lightest known material, graphene is flexible, impermeable and extremely electrically and thermally conductive. All properties well suited for next generation NFC antennas.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Inside tiny tubes, water turns solid when it should be boiling

It's a well-known fact that water, at sea level, starts to boil at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, or 100 degrees Celsius. And scientists have long observed that when water is confined in very small spaces, its boiling and freezing points can change a bit, usually dropping by around 10 C or so. But now, a team has found a completely unexpected set of changes: Inside the tiniest of spaces -- in carbon nanotubes whose inner dimensions are not much bigger than a few water molecules -- water can freeze solid even at high temperatures that would normally set it boiling.

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Hydrogen in your pocket? New plastic for carrying and storing hydrogen

A research group has developed a hydrogen-carrying polymer, which can be molded as a tangible, safe, and compact plastic sheet.

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Sponge-like materials capture, store, and release essential small molecules

A new project is underway to design innovative nanoporous materials, or “sponge materials,” for highly efficient abilities in separation, storage, and release of essential gas molecules.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Bringing silicon to life

A new study is the first to show that living organisms can be persuaded to make silicon-carbon bonds—something only chemists had done before. Scientists have "bred" a bacterial protein to have the ability to make the human-made bonds—a finding that has applications in several industries.

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Thanksgiving dinner's carbon footprint: A state-by-state comparison

The environmental impact of your Thanksgiving dinner depends on where the meal is prepared, say authors of a new report. The research team based their calculations on the way the meal is cooked (gas versus electric range), the specific state's predominant power source and how the food is produced in each area.

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Does stainless steel really get rid of garlic smells? Round 2.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Scientists create first intermetallic double salt with platinum

Scientists report that they have created the first intermetallic double salt with platinum. Cesium platinide hydride, or 4Cs2Pt?CsH, forms a translucent ruby red crystal and can exist only in an inert environment similar to conditions that exist in outer space. It’s a new member of a rare family of compounds in which a metal forms a truly negatively charged ion.

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Mood ring materials: New way to detect damage in failing infrastructure

"Mood ring materials" constitute a new type of smart sensing technology that could play an important role in minimizing and mitigating damage to the nation's failing infrastructure, say investigators.

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Scientists trace 'poisoning' in chemical reactions to the atomic scale

A combination of experiments, including X-ray studies have revealed new details about pesky deposits that can stop chemical reactions vital to fuel production and other processes.

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New quantum states for better quantum memories

How can quantum information be stored as long as possible? An important step forward in the development of quantum memories has been achieved by a research team.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Spray printed crystals to move forward organic electronic applications

New technology could revolutionize printed electronics by enabling high quality semiconducting molecular crystals to be directly spray-deposited on any surface.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Concrete jungle functions as carbon sink, researchers find

Cement manufacturing is among the most carbon-intensive industrial processes, but an international team of researchers has found that over time, the widely used building material reabsorbs much of the carbon dioxide emitted when it was made.

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Cement materials are an overlooked and substantial carbon 'sink'

A new study involving the University of East Anglia (UEA) shows that cement structures are a substantial but overlooked absorber of carbon emissions – offsetting some of those emitted during cement production itself.

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Microbes produce organic plastics from flue gas, electricity

Researchers are working on an efficient and inexpensive method for the production of organic plastics. In the a new project, they use microorganisms that produce polyhydroxybutyric acid from flue gas, air, and renewable power. The optimized process of microbial electrosynthesis opens up further perspectives for the future production of biofuel or for the storage of power from regenerative sources in the form of chemical products, for instance. 

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Ice is no match for new coating

Researchers have invented an ice-repellent coating that out-performs today's best de-icing products, scientists report.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Glow-in-the-dark dye could fuel liquid-based batteries

Could a glow-in-the-dark dye be the next advancement in energy storage technology? Scientists think so.

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Carbon nanotubes couple light and matter

Scientists are working on the basics of new light sources from organic semiconductors, outlines a new report.

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A new understanding of metastability clears path for next-generation materials

They say diamonds are forever, but diamonds in fact are a metastable form of carbon that will slowly but eventually transform into graphite, another form of carbon. Being able to design and synthesize other long-lived, thermodynamically metastable materials could be a potential gold mine for materials designers, but until now, scientists lacked a rational understanding of them.

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Molecular imaging hack makes cameras 'faster'

A new technique grabs images of chemical processes that happen faster than most laboratory cameras are able to capture them.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dry adhesive holds in extreme cold, strengthens in extreme heat

A new dry adhesive has been created that bonds in extreme temperatures—a quality that could make the product ideal for space exploration and beyond. The gecko-inspired adhesive loses no traction in temperatures as cold as liquid nitrogen or as hot as molten silver, and actually gets stickier as heat increases, the researchers report.

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Scientists discover method for sculpting how chemicals spread in fluid flows

Solely adjusting the aspect ratio of a pipe -- regardless of its shape -- precisely controls how medicine, pollutants, nutrients and chemicals travel down it and hit their target, scientists have discovered.

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Engineering a more efficient system for harnessing carbon dioxide

Scientists have reverse engineered a biosynthetic pathway for more effective carbon fixation that is based on a new CO2-fixing enzyme that is nearly 20 times faster than the most prevalent enzyme in nature responsible for capturing CO2 in plants by using sunlight as energy.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

'Beautiful accident' leads to advances in high pressure materials synthesis

Unexpected results from a neutron scattering experiment could open a new pathway for the synthesis of novel materials and also help explain the formation of complex organic structures observed in interstellar space.

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Deepwater Horizon oil shows up in sparrows

Scientists have identified the first evidence of Deepwater Horizon oil in a land animal - the Seaside Sparrow. The scientists analyzed the diet and feathers of sparrows collected more than a year after the oil spill. The birds that were captured in habitats that were exposed to the oil had a different chemical signature in their tissues than the birds that were found in areas of the marsh that were not exposed to the oil.

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World's fastest quantum simulator operating at the atomic level

Scientists have develop the world's fastest simulator that can simulate quantum mechanical dynamics of a large number of particles interacting with each other within one billionths of a second.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cheaper, more effective cleanup of abandoned oil and gas wells

Abandoned oil and gas wells are a significant source of greenhouse gases but there are so many scattered across the United States that stopping the leaks presents a huge cost for states. Now, a research team including scientists has identified specific well attributes that will allow governments to prioritize their repairs. The researchers say it should be possible to eliminate the majority of emissions while minimizing costs by leaving non-emitting abandoned wells alone.

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Researchers create synthetic cells to isolate genetic circuits

Encapsulating molecular components in artificial membranes offers more flexibility in designing circuits, report researchers.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Radioisotopes have potential for medical diagnosis and treatment

Using its electron linear accelerator, researchers have enabled two companies to demonstrate new methods for the production of molybdenum-99, the parent isotope of technetium-99m – a medical isotope that could face short supply. The laboratory is also expanding its radioisotope program with the goal of performing groundbreaking research and carrying out the development and demonstration needed for supplying a range of key radioisotopes through the DOE Isotope Program.

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Low growth in global carbon emissions continues for third successive year

Global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels did not grow in 2015 and are projected to rise only slightly in 2016, marking three years of almost no growth, according to researchers.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Stable quantum bits can be made from complex molecules

Quantum computing is about to get more complex. Researchers have evidence that large molecules made of nickel and chromium can store and process information in the same way bytes do for digital computers. The researchers present algorithms proving it's possible to use supramolecular chemistry to connect "qubits," the basic units for quantum information processing. This approach would generate several kinds of stable qubits that could be connected together into structures called "two-qubit gates."

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Self-healing materials for semi-dry conditions

Before we have self-healing cars or buildings, we need strong materials that can fully self-repair in water-free environments. Self-healing materials work very well if they are soft and wet, but research groups have found that the ability to self-repair diminishes as materials dry out. Scientists are beginning to bridge this gap with rigid materials that can repair 99% of a cut on the surface in semi-dry conditions.

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Can we meet global energy demands with nuclear power?

An international team of scientists suggests that we must ramp up energy production by nuclear power if we are to succeed in warding off the worst effects of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change. The team suggests that beginning in 2020 we could achieve an annual electricity output of 20 terawatts without needing to develop carbon dioxide trapping and storage technology for the tens of billions of tons of emissions that would otherwise drive global warming to catastrophic levels.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Scientists, interns bring structural biology's 'magic bullet' technique to x-ray lasers

To understand the three-dimensional shape of a protein, scientists often rely on information from similar molecules. But sometimes, the protein is so unique that it’s not possible to find a close relative, they say.

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Solar cells get boost with integration of water-splitting catalyst onto semiconductor

Scientists have found a way to engineer the atomic-scale chemical properties of a water-splitting catalyst for integration with a solar cell, and the result is a big boost to the stability and efficiency of artificial photosynthesis.

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Researchers put single molecules in super-fridge

For the first time, a team of researchers has observed how a single two-atom-large molecule rotates in the coldest liquid known in nature. These findings could help to trigger new applications of drugs for diagnostics and develop new materials.

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What will increase economic investment for carbon-neutral technologies?

Climate change is one of the most pressing concerns of the 21st century. But when it comes to tackling climate change, a new study exploring the benefits of carbon flux monitoring is a timely reminder that setting targets is just the beginning.

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World's first light-seeking synthetic nanorobot

A team of researchers has developed the world's first light-seeking synthetic nanorobot. With size comparable to a blood cell, those tiny robots have the potential to be injected into patients' bodies, helping surgeons to remove tumors and enabling more precise engineering of targeted medications.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

'Bottlebrush' polymers make dielectric elastomers increasingly viable for use in devices

A multi-institutional research team has developed a new electroactive polymer material that can change shape and size when exposed to a relatively small electric field. The advance overcomes two longstanding challenges regarding the use of electroactive polymers to develop new devices, opening the door to a suite of applications ranging from microrobotics to designer haptic, optic, microfluidic and wearable technologies.

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Human health risks from hydroelectric projects

Over 90 percent of potential new Canadian hydroelectric projects are likely to increase concentrations of the neurotoxin methylmercury in food webs near indigenous communities, new research has found. 

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Chemistry driven by the sun, for a sustainable future

Researchers demonstrate that it is possible, and even necessary for a sustainable future, to drive chemical reactions using solar energy.

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Nanocellulose in medicine and green manufacturing

What if you could take one of the most abundant natural materials on Earth and harness its strength to lighten the heaviest of objects, to replace synthetic materials, or use it in scaffolding to grow bone, in a fast-growing area of science in oral health care? This all might be possible with cellulose nanocrystals, the molecular matter of all plant life, say scientists.

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New technology taps power of diatoms to dramatically improve sensor performance

Researchers have combined one of nature’s tiny miracles, the diatom, with a version of inkjet printing and optical sensing to create an exceptional sensing device that may be up to 10 million times more sensitive than some other commonly used approaches.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Studying structure to understand function within 'material families'

Carbon, silicon, germanium, tin and lead are all part of a family that share the same structure of their outermost electrons, yet range from acting as insulators to semiconductors to metals.Is it possible to understand these and other trends within element families? In a new article, researchers describe probing the relationship between the structure (arrangement of atoms) and function (physical properties) of a liquid metal form of the element bismuth.

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Non-invasive intensity measurements of low energy beams demonstrated for the first time

A precise measurement of absolute beam intensity is essential for many areas of science. It is a key parameter to monitor any losses in a beam and to calibrate the absolute number of particles delivered to the experiments. However, this type of measurement is very challenging with traditional beam current diagnostics when it comes to low energy, low intensity beams due to the very low signal levels, say experts.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Green process to make carbon fiber used in rocket nozzles gets patent

A new, green process developed to make carbon fiber that forms ablative rocket nozzles and heat shields could be of interest to NASA, which has a dwindling stockpile of cellulose rayon fiber that dates back to the late 1990s.

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