Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Low cost, scalable water splitting fuels the future hydrogen economy

An efficient, low-cost catalyst could replace platinum in water-splitting for clean hydrogen production.

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Colorful reptile serves as a health barometer for the impacts of coal waste

Exposure to coal combustion residues lead to higher levels of trace elements in yellow-bellied sliders, a freshwater turtle native to the Southeastern U.S., scientists have confirmed.

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A lightning-fast flu virus detector

Scientists have built a novel biosensor for the rapid detection of human influenza A virus using a modified poly (3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) conducting polymer. The voltage-sensing detector was almost 100 times more sensitive than conventional tests, and distinguished between human and avian flu strains. The use of this biosensor may provide point-of-care testing and help prevent the outbreak of flu pandemics.

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When gold turns invisible: Bioimaging and security inks applications

A gold compound shifts from a visible fluorescence to emitting infrared when ground -- a big shift with potential applications in bioimaging and security inks.

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Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which creates less carbon pollution?

A new study finds that drone deliveries emit less climate-warming carbon dioxide pollution than truck deliveries in some -- but not all -- scenarios.

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World-first technology reduces harmful diesel emissions

An industry-first technology has the potential to significantly cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in diesel engines.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A more energy-efficient catalytic process to produce olefins

Research into a more energy-efficient catalytic process to produce olefins, the building blocks for polymer production, could influence potential applications in diverse technology areas from green energy and sustainable chemistry to materials engineering and catalysis.

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The next enchanted ring?

Using genomics, a chemistry lab has worked out the biosynthetic machinery that makes a new class of antibiotic compounds called the beta-lactones. Like the beta-lactams, they have an unstable four-member ring. The key to their kill mechanism it is also difficult to synthesize.

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Chemical coatings boss around bacteria, in the bugs' own language

Researchers have developed a way to place onto surfaces special coatings that chemically 'communicate' with bacteria, telling them what to do. The coatings, which could be useful in inhibiting or promoting bacterial growth as needed, possess this controlling power over bacteria because, in effect, they 'speak' the bug's own language.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Novel treatment for improving leather recovery performance

A cross-linkable spring-like polymer finishing agent inserted into calfskin leather for high elastic recovery performance.

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Harnessing energy from glass walls

Semi-transparent perovskite solar cells have been developed that could be great candidates for solar windows, say researchers.

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A new spin on electronics: Study discovers a 'miracle material' for field of spintronics

A new class of 'miracle materials' has been discovered by a team of researchers who say that these organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites could be a game changer for future spintronic devices.

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Squeezing every drop of fresh water from waste brine

A new way to recover almost 100 percent of the water from highly concentrated salt solutions has now been developed by researchers. The system will alleviate water shortages in arid regions and reduce concerns surrounding high salinity brine disposal, such as hydraulic fracturing waste.

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Scientists make vanadium into a useful catalyst for hydrogenation

A chemist has boosted and analyzed the unprecedented catalytic activity of an element called vanadium for hydrogenation – a reaction that is used for making everything from vegetable oils to petrochemical products to vitamins.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Chemists synthesize molecular pretzels

Chemists have discovered a new class of molecules. In a new article, they outline pretzel-like molecules consisting of two molecular rings 'oppositely' coupled at a central carbon atom. The discovery is an important step towards synthesis of lasso peptides; new molecules with a potential use as medicines.

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Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

How water relates to and interacts with biological systems -- like DNA, the building block of all living things -- is of critical importance, and a research group has used a relatively new form of spectroscopy to observe a previously unknown characteristic of water.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Three-dimensional graphene: Experiment at BESSY II shows that optical properties are tuneable

An international research team has for the first time investigated the optical properties of three-dimensional nanoporous graphene at the IRIS infrared beamline of the BESSY II electron storage ring. The experiments show that the plasmonic excitations (oscillations of the charge density) in this new material can be precisely controlled by the pore size and by introducing atomic impurities. This could facilitate the manufacture of highly sensitive chemical sensors.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Solving the riddle of the snow globe

A new study finds the sedimentation of asymmetric objects in liquid is very different from that of symmetrical objects like spheres. The research may have practical applications in improving water treatment and industrial processes.

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High pressure key to lighter, stronger metal alloys, scientists find

Subjecting complex metal mixtures called high-entropy alloys to extremely high pressures could lead to finer control over the arrangement of their atoms, which in turn can result in more desirable properties.

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Fuel from the air technology provides a path to new business for OPEC countries

Pioneering technology makes OPEC countries prime regions to produce synthetic fuels. This could be a key asset in phasing out fossil fuels after the Paris Agreement, while also keeping some of the existing oil industry value chain intact.

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Water is surprisingly ordered on the nanoscale

The surface of minuscule water drops with a 100 nm size is surprisingly ordered, new research shows. At room temperature, the surface water molecules of these droplets have much stronger interactions than a normal water surface. The structural difference corresponds to a difference in temperature of -50°C, which may shed new light on a variety of atmospheric, biological and even geological processes.

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Carcinogenic soot particles from petrol engines

First, diesel vehicles tainted their reputation with soot particles, then high nitric oxide emissions. So are owners of new gasoline cars environmentally friendly? Not always, says a new study scientists, some direct-injection gasoline engines emit just as many soot particles as unfiltered diesel cars did in the past. Particle filters can remedy this.

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New chemical reaction could eventually yield new fuels and medications

Chemists have developed a new technique to convert carbon-hydrogen bonds into carbon-carbon bonds using catalysts made of silicon and boron, both abundant and inexpensive elements.

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Two simple building blocks produce complex 3-D material

Scientists have built a structurally complex material from two simple building blocks that is the lowest-density metal-organic framework ever made. Directed by design rules developed by the scientists, uranium atoms and organic linkers self-assemble into a beautiful crystal -- a large, airy 3-D net of very roomy and useful pores. The pores are so roomy, in fact, that the scientists have nestled a large enzyme inside a pore -- no small feat.

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Total synthesis of flueggenine C via an accelerated intermolecular Rauhut-Currier reaction

The first total synthesis of dimeric securinega alkaloid (-)-flueggenine C was completed via an accelerated intermolecular Rauhut-Currier (RC) reaction. The research team succeeded in synthesizing the natural product by reinventing the conventional RC reaction.

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Graphene on silicon carbide can store energy

By introducing defects into the perfect surface of graphene on silicon carbide, researchers have increased the capacity of the material to store electrical charge. This result increases our knowledge of how this ultrathin material can be used.

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Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

Laser-induced graphene made from an inexpensive polymer is an effective anti-fouling material and, when charged, an excellent antibacterial surface, report scientists.

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New method: Water mapping around solutes

Chemists have developed a new method that allows them to map changes in the dynamics and structure of water molecules in the vicinity of solutes. With this technique, called terahertz calorimetry, they investigated the properties of the hydration shell of dissolved alcohol molecules. In the future, they want to also use the method for water mapping around more complex systems such as enzymes, which can be important for drug design.

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A new tool for discovering nanoporous materials

Scientists have developed a mathematical 'face-recognition' method for identifying and discovering nanoporous materials based on their pore size.

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Computer code that Volkswagen used to cheat emissions tests uncovered

An international team of researchers has uncovered the mechanism that allowed Volkswagen to circumvent US and European emission tests over at least six years before the Environmental Protection Agency put the company on notice in 2015 for violating the Clean Air Act. During a year-long investigation, researchers found code that allowed a car's onboard computer to determine that the vehicle was undergoing an emissions test.

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A fresh math perspective opens new possibilities for computational chemistry

A new mathematical “shortcut” is speeding up molecular absorption calculations by a factor of five, so simulations that used to take 10 to 15 hours to compute can now be done in approximately 2.5 hours.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Triple play boosting value of renewable fuel could tip market in favor of biomass

A new process triples the fraction of biomass converted to high-value products to nearly 80 percent, also tripling the expected rate of return for an investment in the technology from roughly 10 percent (for one end product) to 30 percent.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Fueling the future

New research investigated the full life cycle impact of one promising 'second-generation biofuel' produced from short-rotation oak. The study found that second-generation biofuels made from managed trees and perennial grasses may provide a sustainable fuel resource.

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Light exposure in the evening improves performance in the final spurt

Athletes often have to compete late in the evening, when they are no longer able to perform at their best. However, researchers have shown that athletes who are exposed to blue light before competing can significantly increase their performance in the final spurt. The blue light had no impact on the athletes’ maximum performance.

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Sensors detect disease markers in breath

A small, thin square of an organic plastic that can detect disease markers in breath or toxins in a building's air could soon be the basis of portable, disposable sensor devices. Scientists have now demonstrated a device that monitors ammonia in breath, a sign of kidney failure.

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A recipe for concrete that can withstand road salt deterioration

Engineers have known for some time that calcium chloride salt, commonly used as deicer, reacts with the calcium hydroxide in concrete to form a chemical byproduct that causes roadways to crumble. A civil engineer is working on a new recipe for concrete, using cast-off products from furnaces, that can hold its own against the forces of chemical erosion.

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Not all cool pavements are created equal

Cool pavements can help keep cities cool, right? Yes, but according to new research many reflective pavements have some unexpected drawbacks relative to conventional pavements when considering the entire life cycle of the materials.

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New water-based, recyclable membrane filters all types of nanoparticles

Membranes comprised mostly of water, that self-assemble in water have now been developed by scientists. They can filter out particles based on size, and can be easily disassembled, report researchers.

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Insight into enzyme's 3-D structure could cut biofuel costs

Using neutron crystallography, research team has mapped the three-dimensional structure of a protein that breaks down polysaccharides, such as the fibrous cellulose of grasses and woody plants, a finding that could help bring down the cost of creating biofuels.

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Shapeshifting materials: Using light to rearrange macroscopic structures

Researchers have created self-assembling molecules which can be broken down by ultraviolet light to recombine into novel macroscopic shapes.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Molecular Lego for nanoelectronics

The ability to assemble electronic building blocks consisting of individual molecules is an important objective in nanotechnology. An interdisciplinary research group is now significantly closer to achieving this goal. The team of researchers has successfully assembled and tested conductors and networks made up of individual, newly developed building block molecules. These could in future serve as the basis of components for optoelectronic systems, such as flexible flat screens or sensors.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Better cathode materials for lithium-sulphur-batteries

Scientists have for the first time fabricated a nanomaterial made from nanoparticles of a titanium oxide compound (Ti4O7) that is characterized by an extremely large surface area, and tested it as a cathode material in lithium-sulphur batteries. The highly porous nanomaterial possesses high storage capacity that remains nearly constant over many charging cycles.

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Chemists create the ultimate natural sunscreen

Chemists, materials scientists and nanoengineers have created what may be the ultimate natural sunscreen. They report the development of nanoparticles that mimic the behavior of natural melanosomes, melanin-producing cell structures that protect our skin, eyes and other tissues from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.

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Microbial fuel cell converts methane to electricity

Transporting methane from gas wellheads to market provides multiple opportunities for this greenhouse gas to leak into the atmosphere. Now, an international team of researchers has taken the first step in converting methane directly to electricity using bacteria, in a way that could be done near the drilling sites.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Mountains of waste could lead to new US manufacturing, jobs

Waste material from the paper and pulp industry soon could be made into anything from tennis rackets to cars. Scientists have discovered how to make high quality carbon fiber from lignin.

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Molecular dynamics, machine learning create 'hyper-predictive' computer models

Researchers have demonstrated that molecular dynamics simulations and machine learning techniques could be integrated to create more accurate computer prediction models. These 'hyper-predictive' models could be used to quickly predict which new chemical compounds could be promising drug candidates.

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Diesels pollute more than lab tests detect

Because of testing inefficiencies, maintenance inadequacies and other factors, cars, trucks and buses worldwide emit 4.6 million tons more harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) than standards allow, according to a new study.

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Less is more: Researchers develop a 'molecular needle' using a simplified biological system

Minimalism is an increasingly popular lifestyle choice that encourages individuals to decrease the overall number of possessions owned and live more simply. According to minimalist philosophy, the reduction of unnecessary clutter enables one to live a more functional and purposeful existence. Now researchers have discovered that a minimalist approach can also be applied to complex biological systems, such as the type III secretion system.

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Invention produces cleaner water with less energy and no filter

Researchers have found a way to clean particles from water by mixing in carbon dioxide. The gas changes the water's chemistry, which causes particles to move to one side of the water depending on their chemical charge. By taking advantage of the motion, the researchers can split a water stream and filter out suspended particles.

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Self-healing tech charges up performance for silicon-containing battery anodes

Researchers have found a way to apply self-healing technology to lithium-ion batteries to make them more reliable and last longer.

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