Saturday, June 24, 2017

Self-folding origami: Chemical programming allows Nafion sheets to fold and refold

Plastic with a thousand faces: A single piece of Nafion foil makes it possible to produce a broad palette of complex 3-D structures. Researchers now describe how they use simple chemical 'programming' to induce the foil to fold itself using origami and kirigami principles. These folds can be repeatedly 'erased' and the foil can be 'reprogrammed'.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Making ferromagnets stronger by adding non-magnetic elements

Magnetic materials can be functionalized through a thoroughly unlikely method, report researchers: by adding amounts of the virtually non-magnetic element scandium to a gadolinium-germanium alloy.

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Rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

A new catalyst composed of silica, a rhodium complex and tertiary amines, significantly boosts hydrosilylation reactions, report researchers.

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The rise of giant viruses

Giant viruses acquire genes piecemeal from others, researchers have found. The discovery has implications for bioenergy production and environmental cleanup.

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State-of-the-art text mining technologies for chemistry

The first exhaustive revision of the state-of-the-art methodologies underlying chemical search engines, named entity recognition and text mining systems, has now been published by researchers.

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How a single chemical bond balances cells between life and death

With SLAC's X-ray laser and synchrotron, scientists measured exactly how much energy goes into keeping a crucial chemical bond from triggering a cell's death spiral.

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A unique amino acid for brain cancer therapy

Photodynamic therapy is often used to treat brain tumors because of its specificity — it can target very small regions containing cancerous cells while sparing the normal cells around it from damage. It works by injecting a drug called a photosensitizer into the bloodstream, where it gathers in cells, and then exposing the drug-filled cells to light. When the photosensitizer is exposed to this light, it emits what is known as a reactive oxygen species (ROS) that causes the cells to die.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

New efficient, low-temperature catalyst for hydrogen production

Scientists have developed a new low-temperature catalyst for producing high-purity hydrogen gas while simultaneously using up carbon monoxide (CO). The discovery could improve the performance of fuel cells that run on hydrogen fuel but can be poisoned by CO.

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Catalyst mimics the z-scheme of photosynthesis

A new study demonstrates a process with great potential for developing technologies for reducing CO2 levels.

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Chemical solution to shrink digital data storage

Chemists have found that commonly used polymer films containing two dyes can optically store data in a quaternary (four-symbol) code, potentially requiring about half as much space as binary code storage.

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Biofilms: The eradication has begun

Biofilms are slimy, glue-like membranes that are produced by microbes in order to colonize surfaces. They protect microbes from the body's immune system and increase their resistance to antibiotics. Biofilms represent one of the biggest threats to patients in hospital settings. But there is good news: scientists have developed a novel enzyme technology that prevents the formation of biofilms and can also break them down.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam

Nanotechnologists have used 3-D laser printing to create centimeter-sized objects of graphene foam, a 3-D version of atomically thin graphene. The research could yield industrially useful quantities of bulk graphene.

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New sensors could enable more affordable detection of pollution, diseases

When it comes to testing for cancer, environmental pollution and food contaminants, traditional sensors can help. The challenges are that they often are bulky, expensive, non-intuitive and complicated. Now, one team reports that portable pressure-based detectors coupled with smartphone software could provide a simpler, more affordable alternative while still maintaining sensitivity.

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New catalyst paves way for carbon neutral fuel

Scientists have paved the way for carbon neutral fuel with the development of a new efficient catalyst that converts carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air into synthetic natural gas in a 'clean' process using solar energy.

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Illuminating a better way to calculate excitation energy

Researchers have demonstrated a new method to calculate excitation energies. They used a new approach based on density functional methods, which use an atom-by-atom approach to calculate electronic interactions. By analyzing a benchmark set of small molecules and oligomers, their functional produced more accurate estimates of excitation energy compared to other commonly used density functionals, while requiring less computing power.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Corn better used as food than biofuel, study finds

Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs.

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Electron caught in the act

Australia's fastest camera has revealed the time it takes for molecules to break apart. The experimental research aims to help in the design of new molecules for materials science or drug discovery.

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Sustainable ethanol from carbon dioxide? A possible path

A recent discovery could lead to a new, more sustainable way to make ethanol without corn or other crops. This promising technology has three basic components: water, carbon dioxide and electricity delivered through a copper catalyst.

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Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes

Compositing Cu2O nanoparticles with H2Ti3O7 nanotubes provides an effective strategy to reduce the bandgap energy and the recombination of photo-generated electrons and holes. There is an obvious synergistic effect between guest nanoparticles and host nanotubes due to the interaction to form heterojunction struction, which will enhance photocatalytic oxidation performance for removal of EM due to the stronger visible spectral response and wider absorbance in the long visble light region.

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Chemistry of sea spray particles linked for first time to formation process

For the first time, researchers have identified what drives the observed differences in the chemical make-up of sea spray particles ejected from the ocean by breaking waves.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Transforming last night's leftovers into green energy

In a classic tale of turning trash into treasure, two different processes soon may be the favored dynamic duo to turn food waste into green energy, according to a study.

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To connect biology with electronics, be rigid, yet flexible

Scientists have measured a thin film made of a single type of conjugated polymer — a conducting plastic — as it interacted with ions and electrons. They show how there are rigid and non-rigid regions of the film, and that these regions could accommodate electrons or ions — but not both equally.

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Inexpensive organic material gives safe batteries a longer life

Modern batteries power everything from cars to cell phones, but they are far from perfect -- they catch fire, they perform poorly in cold weather and they have relatively short lifecycles, among other issues. Now researchers have described a new class of material that addresses many of those concerns in a new article.

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Figuring out the 3-D shape of molecules with a push of a button

A team of researchers has developed a program that automates the process of figuring out a molecule's three-dimensional structure. The technique compresses a process that usually takes days into minutes and could shorten the pipeline of drug discovery by reducing human error.

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Biofuel for Conventional Diesel Engines Created

In accordance with an EU directive, conventional automotive diesel is supplemented with seven percent biodiesel. This proportion is set to rise to ten percent by 2020. However, this presents a significant technical challenge: biodiesel vaporises at higher temperatures, which can lead to problems with electronic fuel injection systems and particulate filters. Researchers have developed a method for producing a petroleum diesel-like fuel from conventional biodiesel at low temperatures.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Could renewable 'power-by-wire' help fix China’s air pollution problems?

Bringing renewable power ‘by wire’ from western China to its power-hungry Eastern cities could have benefits for both local air quality and global climate change, new research has found.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Nickel for thought: Compound shows potential for high-temperature superconductivity

Researchers have identified a nickel oxide compound as an unconventional but promising candidate material for high-temperature superconductivity. The project combined crystal growth, X-ray spectroscopy and computational theory.

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New approach improves ability to predict metals' reactions with water

The wide reach of corrosion, a multitrillion-dollar global problem, may someday be narrowed considerably thanks to a new, better approach to predict how metals react with water.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Electrolytes made from liquefied gas enable batteries to run at ultra-low temperatures

Engineers have developed new electrolytes that enable lithium batteries to run at temperatures as low as -60 degrees Celsius with excellent performance -- in comparison, today's lithium-ion batteries stop working at -20 degrees Celsius. The new electrolytes also enable electrochemical capacitors to run as cold as -80 degrees Celsius -- their current limit is -40 degrees Celsius.

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Cryo-EM images reveal how key biological machine unfolds problem proteins

Hand over hand. That's how new, near-atomic resolution, 3-D snapshots show that a key biological machine unfolds a ribbon of protein through its central channel.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Smart materials used in ultrasound behave similar to water

Researchers have provided new insight into piezoelectrics materials, a smart material used in ultrasound technology. While forming the most thorough model to date of how these materials work, they found striking similarities with the behavior of water. A more complete understanding of why these materials behave the way they do can unlock new materials design, leading to higher quality piezoelectrics that may revolutionize smart material applications.

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Raucous crystals: Acoustic emissions from organic martensite analogues

Some organic crystals jump around when heated up. This happens because of an extremely fast change in their crystal structure. Scientists have now demonstrated that the crystals send out acoustic signals during this process, which may be useful in analyzing the characteristics of this phenomenon. The researchers demonstrated that this process is analogous to martensitic transitions observed in steel and some alloys.

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Development of low-dimensional nanomaterials could revolutionize future technologies

Some scientists believe improvements in computer processors, TV displays and solar cells will come from scientific advancements in the synthesis of low-dimensional nanomaterials.

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New chemical method could revolutionize graphene

Scientists have discovered a new chemical method that enables graphene to be incorporated into a wide range of applications while maintaining its ultra-fast electronics.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Graphene encapsulation provides unprecedented view of diffusion and rotation of fullerene molecule

Scientists have created a new structure by encapsulating a single layer of fullerene molecules between two graphene sheets. Buckyball sandwiches combine fullerenes and graphene. This structure allows to study the dynamics of the trapped molecules down to atomic resolution using scanning transmission electron microscopy. They report observing diffusion of individual molecules confined in the two-dimensional space and even find evidence for the rotation of isolated fullerenes within the structure.

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Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Chemists have developed a molecular thermometer. The gemstone ruby served as the source of inspiration.

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Energy-efficient cleaning robot

State-of-the-art solar cells are efficient -- but are even more so when they are kept clean. A cleaning robot enables solar panels to deliver at full capacity.

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Small scale, big improvements

Chemical reactions that make improvements in water purification and batteries possible occur at scales too small to see. A team of researchers has developed a way to produce real-time observations documenting the reactions that happen between liquids and solids. The technique can be used to gauge effectiveness of water purification where ion exchange is critical to sanitization and tease out limiting factors to supercapacitors used to power consumer electronics and hybrid vehicles.

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Solar material for producing clean hydrogen fuel

A new material has been created based on gold and black phosphorus to produce clean hydrogen fuel using the full spectrum of sunlight.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Surprise just beneath the surface in carbon dioxide experiment

When a carbon dioxide experiment didn't match with what theorists predicted, researchers went back to the drawing board and discovered something new.

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Chemists perform surgery on nanoparticles

A team of chemists has for the first time conducted site-specific surgery on a nanoparticle. The procedure, which allows for the precise tailoring of nanoparticles, stands to advance the field of nanochemistry by allowing researchers to enhance nanoparticles' functional properties, such as catalytic activity and photoluminescence, increasing their usefulness in a wide variety of fields including health care, electronics and manufacturing.

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Active implants: How gold binds to silicone rubber

Flexible electronic parts could significantly improve medical implants. However, electroconductive gold atoms usually hardly bind to silicones. Researchers have now been able to modify short-chain silicones in a way, that they build strong bonds to gold atoms.

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Seaweed derivative could be just what lithium-sulfur batteries need

Lithium-sulfur batteries have great potential as a low-cost, high-energy, energy source for both vehicle and grid applications. However, they suffer from significant capacity fading. Now scientists have made a surprising discovery that could fix this problem.

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Silver atom nanoclusters could become efficient biosensors

Researchers have now managed to pinpoint what happens when light is absorbed by extremely small nanoclusters of silver atoms. The results may have useful application in the development of biosensors and in imaging.

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Helium droplets offer new precision to single-molecule laser measurement

Chemical reactions necessarily involve molecules coming together, and the way they interact can depend on how they are aligned relative to each other. By knowing and controlling the alignment of molecules, a great deal can be learned about how chemical reactions occur. Scientists now report a new technique for aligning molecules using lasers and very cold droplets of helium.

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Shining light on low-energy electrons

The classic method for studying how electrons interact with matter is by analyzing their scattering through thin layers of a known substance. This happens by directing a stream of electrons at the layer and analyzing the subsequent deviations in the electrons' trajectories. Researchers have now devised a way to examine the movement of low-energy electrons that can adversely impact electronic systems and biological tissue.

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Taking the guesswork out of forensic analysis of fingermarks

Scientists are using lasers to take the mystery out of the process of identifying the chemical compositions of fingermarks at a crime scene.

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Ammonia on-demand? Alternative production method for a sustainable future

Highly efficient ammonia synthesis at room temperature, with the highest yield ever reported, was just achieved. The small-scale ammonia production under mild conditions was accomplished by applying a direct current electric field to the Ru-Cs catalyst. Collecting highly pure ammonia as compressed liquid becomes possible using this method, and this finding will lead to developing on-demand ammonia production plants that run on renewable energy in the near future.

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Plastic made from sugar and carbon dioxide

Some biodegradable plastics could in the future be made using sugar and carbon dioxide, replacing unsustainable plastics made from crude oil.

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New carbon nitride material coupled with ruthenium enhances visible-light CO2 reduction in water

A hybrid photocatalyst exhibits specifically high activity for the reductive conversion reaction of carbon dioxide to formic acid under visible light irradiation, new research has found.

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