Sunday, April 30, 2017

Controlling proton conduction with light

Adding photoacid to a special kind of melted polymeric crystal allows better and switchable proton conductivity. This could lead to new materials for memory, supercapacitor and transistor technologies.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fast, non-destructive test for two-dimensional materials

A fast, nondestructive optical method for analyzing defects in two-dimensional materials has been developed, with applications in electronics, sensing, early cancer diagnosis and water desalination.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

No, complex is not complicated, it is rather simple

The simplest experimental system to date to identify the minimum requirements for the emergence of complexity has been developed.

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New material inspired by a sea worm changes according to the environment

The gelatinous jaw of a sea worm, which becomes hard or flexible depending on the environment around it, has inspired researchers to develop a new material that can be applied to soft robotics. Despite having the texture of a gel, this compound is endowed with great mechanical resistance and consistency, and is able to adapt to changing environments.

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The world's fastest film camera: When light practically stands still

Forget high-speed cameras capturing 100,000 images per second. A research group has developed a camera that can film at a rate equivalent to five trillion images per second, or events as short as 0.2 trillionths of a second. This is faster than has previously been possible.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Engineers investigate a simple, no-bake recipe to make bricks from Martian soil

Explorers planning to settle on Mars might be able to turn the planet's soil into bricks without needing to use an oven or additional ingredients. Instead, they would need to apply pressure to compact the soil--the equivalent of a blow from a hammer.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Stabilizing molecule could pave way for lithium-air fuel cell

Lithium-oxygen fuel cells boast energy density levels comparable to fossil fuels and are thus seen as a promising candidate for future transportation-related energy needs. Several roadblocks stand in the way of realizing that vision. An engineering lab has focused on one of those roadblocks -- the loss of battery power, also known as capacity fade.

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Researchers quantify the changes that lightning inspires in rock

New research has identified the minimum temperature of a bolt of lightning as it strikes rock. The study discovered that, based on the crystalline material in the sample, the minimum temperature at which the fulgurite formed was roughly 1,700 degrees Celsius.

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'Ageless' silicon throughout milky way may indicate a well-mixed galaxy

New surveys with the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Green Bank Telescope (GBT), of the element silicon may mean that the Milky Way is more efficient at mixing its contents than previously thought, thereby masking the telltale signs of chemical aging.

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Synthetic two-sided gecko's foot could enable underwater robotics

Geckos are well known for effortlessly scrambling up walls and upside down across ceilings. Even in slippery rain forests, the lizards maintain their grip. Now scientists have created a double-sided adhesive that copies this reversible ability to stick and unstick to surfaces even in wet conditions. They say their development could be useful in underwater robotics, sensors and other bionic devices.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New strategy produces stronger polymers

Researchers have found a way to reduce the number of loops in polymer networks such as gels, plastics, and rubber. The findings could offer an easy way for manufacturers to strengthen their materials.

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Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

A chemistry professor has just found a way to trigger the process of photosynthesis in a synthetic material, turning greenhouse gases into clean air and producing energy all at the same time. The process has great potential for creating a technology that could significantly reduce greenhouse gases linked to climate change, while also creating a clean way to produce energy.

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Understanding the correct architectures of IMM proteins

Scientists have developed a new technique to understand the correct architectures of IMM proteins, using special chemical tools.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Heavy precipitation speeds carbon exchange in tropics

New insight into how forests globally will respond to long-term climate change has been gained by recent research. The new work suggests that climate-change driven increases in rainfall in warm, wet forests are likely to cause increased plant growth. Plant-growth declines are still expected in cooler forests with increased precipitation.

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Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

Synthetic rubber and plastics -- used for manufacturing tires, toys and myriad other products -- are produced from butadiene, a molecule traditionally made from petroleum or natural gas. But those humanmade materials could get a lot greener soon, thanks to a team of scientists that has invented a process to make butadiene from renewable sources.

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Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst

Performing multiple reactions in one shot reduces raw material needs and byproduct waste, a potential step toward a greener chemical industry. Researchers have developed a nanocatalyst that can perform the four reactions needed to produce a compound potentially useful in a variety of pharmaceuticals.

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West Virginia groundwater not affected by fracking, but surface water is

Three years of fracking has not contaminated groundwater in northwestern West Virginia, but accidental spills of wastewater from fracked wells may pose a threat to surface water, according to a new study. The scientists used a broad suite of geochemical and isotopic tracers to sample for contaminants in 112 water wells near shale gas sites, including 20 wells that were sampled both before and after fracking began.

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Next-generation microscopy

A novel microscopy method allows unprecedented insights into the spatial organization and direct interactions of immune cells within blood and liquid multi-lineage tissues. The assay, called 'Pharmacoscopy,' is able to determine the immunomodulatory properties of drugs within large libraries on immune cells in high resolution and high throughput, enabling new possibilities for drug discovery, particularly in cancer immunotherapy, personalized medicine, and research on signaling pathways of the immune system.

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From abundant hydrocarbons to rare spin liquids

Fuel such as gasoline is made up of hydrocarbons -- a family of molecules consisting entirely of carbon and hydrogen. Pigment and dye, coal and tar are made up of hydrocarbons too. These common, abundant materials, sometimes even associated with waste, are not often thought of as being electronically or magnetically interesting. But now scientists have made a significant find.

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Freezing lithium batteries may make them safer, bendable

A new method that could lead to lithium batteries that are safer, have longer battery life, and are bendable has now been developed, providing new possibilities such as flexible smartphones. His new technique uses ice-templating to control the structure of the solid electrolyte for lithium batteries that are used in portable electronics, electric vehicles, and grid-level energy storage.

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Protein structure: Game-changing PanDDA method unveils previously hidden 3-D structure data

Scientists have developed a new method to extract previously hidden information from the X-ray diffraction data that are measured when resolving the three-dimensional (3-D) atomic structures of proteins and other biological molecules.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Molecular libraries for organic light-emitting diodes

Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are promising candidates for flexible flat displays. By means of a screening process, it is now possible to identify more quickly lead structures with superior luminescence and charge-transport properties.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years

Experimental evidence of melting in two-dimensional substances has finally been gained by researchers. Findings from the study could be used to support technological improvements to thin film materials such as graphene.

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New method to create the next fuel-efficient renewable energy developed

The fossil fuel fight goes on for scientists as they develop a new method for creating reversible hydrogen storage based on methanol, with no carbon emissions, in the last major paper co-authored by USC's first Nobel laureate, the late George Olah.

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Scientist's new approach may accelerate design of high-power batteries

A model for designing novel materials used in electrical storage devices, such as car batteries and capacitors, has now been designed by researchers. This approach may dramatically accelerate discovery of new materials that provide cheap and efficient ways to store energy.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Making batteries from waste glass bottles

Researchers have used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries. The batteries will extend the range of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and provide more power with fewer charges to personal electronics like cell phones and laptops.

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New microscopy method breaks color barrier of optical imaging

A significant step has been made toward breaking the so-called 'color barrier' of light microscopy for biological systems, allowing for much more comprehensive, system-wide labeling and imaging of a greater number of biomolecules in living cells and tissues than is currently attainable. The advancement has the potential for many future applications, including helping to guide the development of therapies to treat and cure disease.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Broad advance from chemists dramatically simplifies olefin synthesis

Chemists have discovered a new method that greatly simplifies, and in many cases enables for the first time, the making of a vast range of organic molecules.

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Nanoparticles remain unpredictable

The way that nanoparticles behave in the environment is extremely complex. There is currently a lack of systematic experimental data to help understand them comprehensively, as environmental scientists have shown in a large overview study. A more standardized approach would help to advance the research field.

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Degradable electronic components created from corn starch

As consumers upgrade their gadgets at an increasing pace, the amount of electronic waste we generate continues to mount. To help combat this environmental problem, researchers have modified a degradable bioplastic derived from corn starch or other natural sources for use in more eco-friendly electronic components.

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Making oil from algae: Towards more efficient biofuels

The mechanism behind oil synthesis within microalgae cells has now been revealed by a research team. This discovery could contribute to the development of biofuels, they say.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Novel semiconductor nanofiber with superb charge conductivity developed

A novel technology that embeds highly conductive nanostructure into semi-conductor nanofiber has now been developed by researchers. The novel composite so produced has superb charge conductivity, and can therefore be widely applied, especially in environmental arena.

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New method can model chemistry in extreme magnetic fields of white dwarfs

Approximately 10-20 percent of white dwarfs exhibit strong magnetic fields, which can reach up to 100,000 tesla. However, on Earth, the strongest magnetic fields that can be generated using nondestructive magnets are about 100 tesla. Therefore, studying the chemistry in such extreme conditions is only possible using theory and until now has not provided much insight to the spectra accompanying white dwarfs.

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Better living through pressure: Functional nanomaterials made easy

Using pressure instead of chemicals, nanoparticles have been fabricated into nanowire arrays similar to those that underlie touch-screens for phones, computers, TVs, and sensors. The pressure process takes nanoseconds instead of the hours required by industry's current chemical means, say investigators.

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Researchers capture excess photon energy to produce solar fuels

Scientists have developed a proof-of-principle photoelectrochemical cell capable of capturing excess photon energy normally lost to generating heat.

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'Gamers' method creates unique 4-D molecular spectral maps

Researchers have created a new method to extract the static and dynamic structure of complex chemical systems. In this context, 'structure' doesn't just mean the 3-D arrangement of atoms that make up a molecule, but rather time-dependent quantum-mechanical degrees of freedom that dictate the optical, chemical and physical properties of the system.

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New battery coating could improve smart phones and electric vehicles

High performing lithium-ion batteries are a key component of laptops, smart phones, and electric vehicles. Currently, the anodes, or negative charged side of lithium ion batteries, are generally made with graphite or other carbon-based materials. Now a new discovery may help unravel a 40-year mystery and could greatly improve battery performance in electronic devices and electric vehicles

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Mechanism behind the electric charges generated by photosynthesis

Photosynthesis requires a mechanism to produce large amounts of chemical energy without losing the oxidative power needed to break down water. A research team has clarified part of this mechanism, marking another step towards the potential development of artificial photosynthesis.

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Twist and shine: Development of a new photoluminescent sensor material

Stress sensors are important tools when it comes to evaluating the robustness of a material facing strong mechanical forces. Researchers have just published an article reporting a new kind of sensor molecules that brightens up when the material they are incorporated into comes under heavy mechanical stress.

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Nuclease-resistant hybrid nanoflowers

An eco-friendly method to synthesize DNA-copper nanoflowers with high load efficiencies, low cytotoxicity, and strong resistance against nucleases has been developed by researchers.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Computers create recipe for two new magnetic materials

Material scientists have predicted and built two new magnetic materials, atom-by-atom, using high-throughput computational models. The success marks a new era for the large-scale design of new magnetic materials at unprecedented speed.

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Nanotubes that build themselves

Researchers have succeeded in producing nanotubes from a single building block using so-called molecular self-recognition. The tube can also change shape depending on the surrounding environment. The results can contribute to the future development of transport channels for drugs through the cell membrane.

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Better than nature: Artificial biofilm increases energy production in microbial fuel cells

Microbial fuel cells exploit the metabolism of bacteria in order to generate electricity. A new type of biofilm could soon make this relatively young technology considerably more effective, more stable, and easier to use. A research team has succeeded in producing a material that is far better suited for energy production in fuel cells than natural biofilms.

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New material could save time and money in medical imaging and environmental remediation

Chemists have developed a material that holds the key to cheap, fast and portable new sensors for a wide range of chemicals that right now cost government and industries large sums to detect.

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First chemical map of dyes from historic dye library

Researchers have released the first chemical 'map' of dyes from the Max A. Weaver Dye Library, which contains almost 100,000 samples of unique dyes and fabrics. The information could assist researchers in developing dyes with desirable properties.

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Drones collect measurements from a volcanic plume at Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala

A team of volcanologists and engineers have collected measurements from directly within volcanic clouds, together with visual and thermal images of inaccessible volcano peaks.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Chemists devise simple method for making sought-after boronic acid-based drugs and other products

A broad and strikingly easy method has been developed for synthesizing a class of molecules that have demonstrated value as pharmaceuticals.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Battery prototype powered by atmospheric nitrogen

As the most abundant gas in Earth's atmosphere, nitrogen has been an attractive option as a source of renewable energy. But nitrogen gas doesn't break apart under normal conditions, presenting a challenge to scientists who want to transfer the chemical energy of its triple bond into electricity. Researchers present one approach to capturing atmospheric nitrogen that can be used in a battery.

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Device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun

While it's easy to condense water from humid air, machines that harvest water from drier air require energy. Researchers have created the first water harvester that uses only ambient sunlight. The key component is an extremely porous material called a metal-organic framework that absorbs 20 percent of its weight in water from low-humidity air. Sunlight heats the MOF, releasing the water vapor, which condenses to produce liters of water per day.

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