Saturday, July 22, 2017

Name that scotch: Colorimetric recognition of aldehydes and ketones

Vodka tastes different from brandy, and connoisseurs can distinguish among different brands of whiskeys. The flavors of spirits result from a complex bouquet of volatile compounds. New colorimetric sensor arrays on disposable test-strips read by hand-held devices allow for their rapid, inexpensive, and sensitive identification by their chemical 'fingerprints'. They are based on novel sensor arrays that detect and differentiate among a diverse range of aldehydes and ketones.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

Using the principles of light, scientists have discovered a new way to measure the strength of modern forms of concrete -- giving industry a better way to understand when it could fracture.

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Kaleidoscope of colors reveals complex biological processes

Researchers have developed a technique that uses the vibration of chemical bonds to produce specific colors that allow them to simultaneously observe, in cells and tissues, as many as 24 interacting molecules -- each with a distinct color.

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Sparkling springs aid quest for underground heat energy sources

Studies of naturally carbonated mineral water have given scientists insight on how to locate hot water springs -- potential sources of sustainable geothermal energy.

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Holographic imaging could be used to detect signs of life in space

Engineers say a method called digital holographic microscopy could be used to detect living microbes in space.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

3-D imaging of surface chemistry in confinement

An optical imaging tool has been developed to visualize surface chemistry in real time. Researchers imaged the interfacial chemistry in the microscopically confined geometry of a simple glass micro-capillary. The glass is covered with hydroxyl (-OH) groups that can lose a proton -- a much-studied chemical reaction that is important in geology, chemistry and technology. A 100-micron long capillary displayed a remarkable spread in surface OH bond dissociation constant of a factor of a billion.

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Molecular 'pulleys' improve battery performance

Scientists have reported a molecular pulley binder for high-capacity silicon anodes of lithium ion batteries.

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New report on cell-permeable nanobodies

Scientists have managed to introduce tiny antibodies into living cells. In a new article, the researchers report on the synthesis and applications for these nanobodies.

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Novel 3-d printing process strengthens parts by 275 percent

A new way to make 3-D printed parts stronger and immediately useful in real-world applications has been revealed by researchers. They applied the traditional welding concepts to bond the submillimeter layers in a 3-D printed part together, while in a microwave.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The asymmetric synthesis of halogenated compounds from carboxylic acids is world first

Researchers have developed a new reaction to produce chlorinated compounds with high isomeric purity. Such compounds are important building blocks for target molecules. However the molecules come in left- and right-handed versions (enantiomers). They can be produced from carboxylic acids, by replacing an acid with a chlorine; however, conventional methods produce equal mixtures of both isomers, but the new method with a chiral amine catalyst specifically yields the desired isomer.

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Antiaromatic molecule displays record electrical conductance

Researchers demonstrate high electrical conductance for an antiaromatic nickel complex -- an order of magnitude higher than for a similar aromatic complex. Since the conductance is also tunable by electrochemical gating, antiaromatic complexes are promising materials for future electronic devices.

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Fresh role for nitric oxide uncovered

Chemists have uncovered a fresh role for nitric oxide that could send biochemical textbooks back for revision.

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Smart toys without the batteries

A challenge in entertaining young children is keeping their toys powered up. Now, one group reports that they are one step closer to battery-free interactive games.

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Uranium-based compound improves manufacturing of nitrogen products

Scientists have developed a uranium-based complex that can allow nitrogen fixation reactions to take place in ambient conditions. The work overcomes one of the biggest difficulties to building more efficient industrial-scale nitrogen products like ammonia.

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Path to discovering new topological materials

Researchers have found a recipe for discovering new topological materials, which have exotic electronic properties that hold promise for future technologies. Until now, finding these materials has been a matter of trial and error.

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Supramolecular materials with a time switch

Materials that assemble themselves and then simply disappear at the end of their lifetime are quite common in nature. Researchers have now successfully developed supramolecular materials that disintegrate at a predetermined time -- a feature that could be used in numerous applications.

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Simulation reveals universal signature of chaos in ultracold reactions

Researchers have performed the first ever quantum-mechanical simulation of the benchmark ultracold chemical reaction between potassium-rubidium (KRb) and a potassium atom, opening the door to new controlled chemistry experiments and quantum control of chemical reactions that could spark advances in quantum computing and sensing technologies.

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Enhanced oil recovery method developed

A new class of materials which are suitable agents for oil displacing in enhanced oil recovery have been developed.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Climate impacts of super-giant oilfields go up with age, scientists say

Neglecting the changing energy requirements of aging oilfields can lead to an underestimate of their true climate impacts, suggests a new study.

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Space station project seeks to crystalize the means to counteract nerve poisons

The microgravity conditions of the International Space Station (ISS) may hold the key to improving our understanding of how to combat toxic nerve agents such as sarin and VX.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Hundred-year-old law on fluid flow overturned by research

Engineers have dispelled a 100-year-old scientific law used to describe how fluid flows through rocks. The discovery could lead to a range of improvements including advances in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). This is where industrial emissions will be captured by CCS technology, before reaching the atmosphere, and safely stored in rock deep underground.

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Key to speeding up carbon sequestration discovered

The slow part of a chemical reaction that allows carbon to be sequestered in the ocean has now been identified by researchers, who have demonstrated how to speed it up with a common enzyme.

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Fast, cheap method to make supercapacitor electrodes

Researchers have developed a fast, inexpensive method to make electrodes for supercapacitors, with applications in electric cars, wireless telecommunications and high-powered lasers.

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Air pollution: Diesel is now better than gas, emitting fewer carbonaceous particulates

Regulators, take note: a new international study shows that modern diesel passenger cars emit fewer carbonaceous particulates than gasoline-powered vehicles.

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Tiny particles increase in air with ethanol-to-gasoline switch

The concentration of ultrafine particles less than 50 nanometers in diameter rose by one-third in the air of São Paulo, Brazil, when higher ethanol prices induced drivers to switch from ethanol to gasoline, according to a new study. The research team also found when drivers switched back to ethanol because prices had gone down, the concentration of ultrafine particles also went down.

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Studying argon gas trapped in two-dimensional array of tiny 'cages'

For the first time, scientists have trapped a noble gas in a two-dimensional porous structure at room temperature. This achievement will enable detailed studies of individual gas atoms in confinement -- research that could inform the design of new materials for gas separation and nuclear waste remediation.

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New device detects tumor cells in blood

Researchers have patented a portable device that can detect tumor cells in blood. The device counts the number of tumor cells in a blood sample and is a highly effective tool for improving the monitoring, treatment and diagnosis of cancer.

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

New transistor concept developed

Transistors, as used in billions on every computer chip, are nowadays based on semiconductor-type materials, usually silicon. As the demands for computer chips in laptops, tablets and smartphones continue to rise, new possibilities are being sought out to fabricate them inexpensively, energy-saving and flexibly. A research group has now succeeded in producing transistors based on a completely different principle.

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Researchers develop technique to control and measure electron spin voltage

Information technologies of the future will likely use electron spin -- rather than electron charge -- to carry information. But first, scientists need to better understand how to control spin and learn to build the spin equivalent of electronic components and tools. Now, researchers have developed a technique to control and measure spin voltage, known as spin chemical potential.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Fluorine grants white graphene new powers

Fluorination of hexagonal boron nitride, a common insulator, turns it into a magnetic semiconductor. That may make the heat-resistant material suitable for electronics and sensors in extreme environments.

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Feedback from thousands of designs could transform protein engineering

A large-scale study to test the actual stability of computationally designed proteins shows a way to take some of the guesswork out of protein engineering. Previously, scientists tested only a few tens of proteins, due to prohibitive costs of DNA. This new approach, which incorporates advances in DNA synthesis technology, efficiently checks thousands of mini-protein designs. The hope is that in the future a similar approach could test bigger, more complex, designed proteins.

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Fungi can be used as biomonitors for assessing radioactivity in our environment

The Environmental Radioactivity Laboratory of the UEx has carried out a study to quantify radioactive presence in fungi. According to the research, this quantification is made using transfer coefficients that compare the radioactive content in the receptor compartment (fungi) of the radioactive contamination, to that existing in the transmitter compartment (soil). From the study, we may conclude that fungi can be used when assessing the presence or absence of radioactive contamination in the soil.

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Why a single nuke's impact shouldn't only be measured in megatons

A single nuclear warhead could cause devastating climate change, resulting in widespread drought and famine that could cost a billion lives, warn researchers.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions opens up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes, explain scientists in a new report.

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Water makes the proton shake

Basic processes in chemistry and biology involve protons in a water environment. Water structures accommodating protons and their motions have so far remained elusive. Applying ultrafast vibrational spectroscopy, researchers map fluctuating proton transfer motions and provide direct evidence that protons in liquid water are predominantly shared by two water molecules. Femtosecond proton elongations within a hydration site are 10 to 50 times faster than proton hopping to a new site, the elementary proton transfer step in chemistry.

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How selenium compounds might become catalysts

A new approach for activating chemical reactions based on the element selenium has been tested by scientists. They demonstrated that selenium can form bonds similar to those of hydrogen bonds, resulting in accelerated reactions.

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Metal-free MRI contrast agent could be safer for some patients

A metal-free MRI contrast agent has been developed that could be safer for certain patients. The compound contains organic molecules called nitroxides instead of metal and may be used to generate more informative MRI scans of tumors.

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Harmless elements can replace toxic lead in electronics

Most smartphones and other electrical or electronic products contain small amounts of lead, which doesn’t sound like a big problem on its own. But when there are many billions of such products, either in daily use or gone astray, the total sums up to very large amounts of lead – which is a toxic heavy metal.

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Field of microscopy with nanoparticle 'buckyswitch'

Visualizing biological cells under a microscope was just made clearer, thanks to new research.

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Researchers develop dynamic templates critical to printable electronics technology

When it comes to efficiency, sometimes it helps to look to Mother Nature for advice -- even in technology as advanced as printable, flexible electronics. Researchers have developed bio-inspired dynamic templates used to manufacture organic semiconductor materials that produce printable electronics. It uses a process similar to biomineralization -- the way that bones and teeth form.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Scientists simplify the incorporation of nitrogen into molecules

Scientists generalize the synthesis of aminating agents to simplify the design and manufacture of drugs and other fine chemicals in which nitrogen atoms play key roles. Each of these agents contains an active electrophilic nitrogen atom to help chemists forge carbon-nitrogen bonds more easily than ever.

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Release of treated wastewater from hydraulic fracturing contaminates lake

Hydraulic fracturing has enabled a domestic oil and gas boom in the US, but its rapid growth has raised questions about what to do with the billions of gallons of wastewater that result. Researchers now report that treating the wastewater and releasing it into surface waters has led to the contamination of a Pennsylvania watershed with radioactive material and endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

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Breakthrough tool predicts properties of theoretical materials

Data on approximately 60,000 unique materials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Inorganic Crystal Structure Database has been used to create a new methodology researchers call Properties Labeled Materials Fragments.

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Microwaves reveal detailed structure of molecular motor

Microwaves have been used to unravel the exact structure of a tiny molecular motor. The nano-machine consists of just a single molecule, made up of 27 carbon and 20 hydrogen atoms (C27H20).

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Carbon displays quantum effects

Carbon atoms cannot only behave like particles but also like waves, new evidence shoes. This quantum-mechanical property is well-known for light particles such as electrons or hydrogen atoms. However, researchers have only rarely observed the wave-particle duality for heavy atoms, such as carbon.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Better than Star Wars: Chemistry discovery yields 3-D table-top objects crafted from light

A scientist's childhood dream of 3-D projections like those he saw in a Star Wars movie has led to development of new technology for making animated 3-D table-top objects by structuring light. The technology uses photoswitch molecules to make an infinite number of volumetric 3-D light structures viewable from 360 degrees, which will be useful for biomedical imaging, education, engineering, TV, movies, video games and more.

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News laser design offers more inexpensive multi-color output

A more cost-effective laser design has been created that outputs multi-color lasing and offers a step forward in chip-based lasers and miniaturization. The findings could allow encrypted, encoded, redundant and faster information flow in optical fibers, as well as multi-color medical imaging of diseased tissue in real time.

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Clean water that's 'just right' with new sensor solution

Scientists combined basic research on an interesting form of carbon with a unique microsensor to make an easy-to-use, table-top tool that quickly and cheaply detects disinfection byproducts in our drinking water before it reaches consumers.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Green method developed for making artificial spider silk

Researchers have designed a super stretchy, strong and sustainable material that mimics the qualities of spider silk, and is 'spun' from a material that is 98 percent water.

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Dissolvable device could make closing surgical incisions a cinch

Surgeons are often faced with the challenge of securely closing the abdominal wall without injuring the intestines. If the process goes awry, there can be serious consequences for patients, including bowel perforations or a hernia at the incision site. Often, repairing these complications requires additional surgeries. Now there is an improvement for this problem, outlines a new report.

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