Thursday, August 31, 2017

Nano chip system measures light from single bacterial cell to enable chemical detection

Researchers have created a nanophotonic chip system using lasers and bacteria to observe fluorescence emitted from a single bacterial cell. The novel system paves the way for an efficient and portable on-chip system for diverse cell-based sensing applications, such as detecting chemicals in real-time.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

New mini tool has massive implications

Researchers have created a miniaturized, portable version of a tool now capable of analyzing Mars' atmosphere -- and that's just one of its myriad possible uses.

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New bar set for water-splitting, CO2-splitting techniques

Researchers have significantly boosted the efficiency of two techniques, for splitting water to create hydrogen gas and splitting carbon dioxide to create carbon monoxide. The products are valuable feedstock for clean energy and chemical manufacturing applications.

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Motorized molecules drill through cells

Motorized molecules that target diseased cells may deliver drugs to or kill the cells by drilling into the cell membranes. Scientists have demonstrated them on cancer and other cells.

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Acting like a muscle, nano-sized device lifts 165 times its own weight

Engineers have discovered a simple, economical way to make a nano-sized device that can match the friendly neighborhood Avenger, on a much smaller scale. Their creation weighs 1.6 milligrams (about as much as five poppy seeds) and can lift 265 milligrams (the weight of about 825 poppy seeds) hundreds of times in a row.

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Chemist synthesizes pure graphene

A chemist has patented a one-of-a-kind process for exfoliating graphene in its pure (unoxidized) form, as well as manufacturing innovative graphene nanocomposites that have potential uses in a variety of applications, including desalination of brackish water.

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Why does rubbing a balloon on your hair make it stick?

New research indicates that tiny holes and cracks in a material -- changes in the microstructure -- can control how the material becomes electrically charged through friction.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

High-tech electronics made from autumn leaves

Northern China's roadsides are peppered with deciduous phoenix trees, producing an abundance of fallen leaves in autumn. These leaves are generally burned in the colder season, exacerbating the country's air pollution problem. Investigators in Shandong, China, recently discovered a new method to convert this organic waste matter into a porous carbon material that can be used to produce high-tech electronics.

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Tiny nanopackages built out of DNA help scientists peek at how neurons work

Scientists have designed a way to use microscopic capsules made out of DNA to deliver a payload of tiny molecules directly into a cell. The technique gives scientists an opportunity to understand certain interactions among cells that have previously been hard to track.

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Photosynthesis discovery could help design more efficient artificial solar cells

A natural process that occurs during photosynthesis could lead to the design of more efficient artificial solar cells, according to researchers.

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Lasers zap decontaminates from soil

There might be a new and improved way to rid contaminated soil of toxins and pollutants: zap it with lasers. By directly breaking down pollutants, researchers say, high-powered lasers can now be more efficient and cheaper than conventional decontamination techniques. They have shown how such a laser system could work and described the proof-of-principle results.

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New liquid-metal membrane technology may help make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles viable

While hydrogen fuel cell cars offer advantages over electric vehicles, they have yet to take off. One reason is the high cost and complexity of producing hydrogen fuel, which can be reduced by using membranes to separate hydrogen from other byproducts. Conventional palladium membranes are expensive and fragile. A new study shows that membranes made from less-expensive liquid metals appear to be more efficient at separating hydrogen and also more durable.

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Dispersants improved air quality for responders at Deepwater Horizon

A recent study adds a new dimension to the controversial decision to inject large amounts of chemical dispersants immediately above the crippled oil well at the seafloor during the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Nanoparticles pollution rises 30 percent when flex-fuel cars switch from bio to fossil

Use of ethanol in vehicles reduces pollution by nanoparticles, a study shows. Levels of ultrafine particulate matter in São Paulo City, Brazil, increased by up to 30 percent at times when ethanol prices rose and consumption fell.

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Trash to treasure: The benefits of waste-to-energy technologies

Using landfill waste to produce energy generates less greenhouse gases than simply letting the waste decompose. The study highlights the benefits of food waste as a potential source of energy.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Team develops novel 3-D printed high-performance polymer that could be used in space

With a new breakthrough, the high-performance polymer now could theoretically be used in any shape, size, or structure, and not just within the aerospace industry, say researchers. The same material can be found in scores of electronic devices, including cell phones and televisions.

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Faster, more precise, more stable: Study optimizes graphene growth

Each atomic layer thin, tear-resistant, and stable. Graphene is seen as the material of the future. It is ideal for e.g. producing ultra-light electronics or highly stable mechanical components. But the wafer-thin carbon layers are difficult to produce. Scientists have manufactured self-supporting graphene membranes, and at the same time systematically investigated and optimized the growth of the graphene crystals.

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Cheaper, greener biofuels processing catalyst

Fuels that are produced from nonpetroleum-based biological sources may become greener and more affordable, thanks to new research that examines the use of a processing catalyst made from palladium metal and bacteria.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

No batteries required: Energy-harvesting yarns generate electricity

Scientists have developed high-tech yarns that generate electricity when they are stretched or twisted. 'Twistron' yarns have many possible applications, such as harvesting energy from the motion of ocean waves or from temperature fluctuations.

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Metal simplifies synthesis of antibody drugs

Chemists have designed a plug-in metalloprotein to simplify the task of making targeted antibody therapies.

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Making better batteries via real-time TEM observation

Scientists have made a surprising discovery: Making better batteries via real-time TEM observation.

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Highly flexible, wearable displays

Engineers have created wearable displays for various applications including fashion, IT, and healthcare. Integrating OLED (organic light-emitting diode) into fabrics, the team developed some of the most highly flexible and reliable technology for wearable displays in the world.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

'Dragonfly’ dual-quadcopter aims to explore Titan, Saturn’s largest moon

The Dragonfly mission concept would use an instrumented, radioisotope-powered, dual-quadcopter to explore Saturn's largest moon, Titan, one of our solar system’s “ocean worlds.”

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Chemists get step closer to replicating nature with assembly of new 3-D structures

Chemists have created a series of three-dimensional structures that take a step closer to resembling those found in nature.

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Major leap towards data storage at the molecular level

Scientists have now demonstrated that storing data with a class of molecules known as single-molecule magnets is more feasible than previously thought.

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A more complete picture of the nano world

Aerosol particles are among the many materials whose chemical and mechanical properties cannot be fully measured until scientists develop a better method of studying materials at the microscale as well as the much smaller nanoscale (1 nm is one-billionth of a meter). Scientists have now developed such a method and utilized it to perform noninvasive chemical imaging of a variety of materials, as well as mechanical mapping with a spatial resolution of 10 nanometers.

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Spinning plant waste into carbon fiber for cars, planes

Using plants and trees to make products such as paper or ethanol leaves behind a residue called lignin. That leftover lignin isn't good for much and often gets burned or tossed into landfills. Now, researchers report transforming lignin into carbon fiber to produce a lower-cost material strong enough to build car or aircraft parts.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Bond dissociation energies for transition metal silicides accurately determined

Transition metal silicides are promising for future developments in electronic devices, but fundamental aspects of the chemical bonding between their transition metal atoms and silicon remain poorly understood. One of the most important, but poorly known, properties is the strength of these bonds -- the thermochemical bond dissociation energy.

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Speeding up chemical screening to prioritize toxicity testing

Researchers have developed a high-throughput technique that can determine if a chemical has the potential to activate key genes in seconds rather than the typical 24 hours or more. The technique can be used to prioritize chemicals for in-depth testing to determine their toxicity.

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Microreactor made to study formation of methane hydrate

Researchers are using a novel means of studying how methane and water form methane hydrate that allows them to examine discrete steps in the process faster and more efficiently.

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Quantum ruler for biomolecules

Quantum physics teaches us that unobserved particles may propagate through space like waves. This is philosophically intriguing and of technological relevance: a research team has demonstrated that combining experimental quantum interferometry with quantum chemistry allows deriving information about optical and electronic properties of biomolecules, here exemplified with a set of vitamins.

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Cyborg bacteria outperform plants when turning sunlight into useful compounds

Photosynthesis provides energy for the vast majority of life on Earth. But chlorophyll, the green pigment that plants use to harvest sunlight, is relatively inefficient. To enable humans to capture more of the sun's energy, scientists have taught bacteria to cover themselves in tiny, highly efficient solar panels to produce useful compounds.

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Turning human waste into plastic, nutrients could aid long-distance space travel

Imagine you're on your way to Mars, and you lose a crucial tool during a spacewalk. Not to worry, you'll simply re-enter your spacecraft and use some microorganisms to convert your urine and exhaled carbon dioxide into chemicals to make a new tool. That's one goal of scientists developing ways to make long space trips feasible.

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Stretchable biofuel cells extract energy from sweat to power wearable devices

A team of engineers has developed stretchable fuel cells that extract energy from sweat and are capable of powering electronics, such as LEDs and Bluetooth radios. The biofuel cells generate 10 times more power per surface area than any existing wearable biofuel cells. The devices could be used to power a range of wearable devices.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Systematically studying slippery surfaces

Polymer brushes are polymers grown on surfaces, and are attractive for use in lubrication and anti-fouling applications. Researchers varied the length of the chain separating negatively and positively charged functional groups in polymer brushes to investigate how chain length affected the interaction of the polymer brushes with water. They found that the chain length influenced the ionic strength sensitivity for the hydration of the polymer brushes in water but not their water uptake or hydration structure.

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Physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

Researchers probe a mysterious phase transition in an organic molecular conductor using synchrotron X-ray radiation.

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Smart label could one day let you know when to toss food and cosmetics

Detecting food and cosmetic spoilage and contamination. Identifying new medicinal plants in a remote jungle. Authenticating tea and wine. Scientists have developed a low-cost, portable, paper-based sensor that can potentially carry out all of these functions with easy-to-read results.

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Remarkable artistry hidden in ancient Roman painting revealed

Molten lava, volcanic ash, modern grime, salt, humidity. The ancient painting of a Roman woman has been through it all, and it looks like it. Scientists now report that a new type of high-resolution X-ray technology is helping them discover just how stunning the original portrait once was, element-by-element, which could help them restore the painting.

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Sopping up sunblock from oceans to save coral reefs

Coral reefs can't seem to catch a break. Not only are rising temperatures wreaking havoc with their environment, but emerging evidence suggests that a certain sunblock component is a coral killer. Now, researchers have developed a biodegradable bead that can soak up the sunblock ingredient, oxybenzone, like a thirsty sea sponge.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

The power of perovskite

Researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device

In what could be a small step for science potentially leading to a breakthrough, an engineer has taken steps toward using nanocrystal networks for artificial intelligence applications.

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Discovery could lead to new catalyst design to reduce nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust

Researchers have discovered a new reaction mechanism that could be used to improve catalyst designs for pollution control systems to further reduce emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust.

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Dissolvable, easy-to-use milk capsules for your coffee

Have your coffee without spilling the milk: researchers have developed a milk capsule that dissolves when placed in a hot drink. Not only does this reduce the consumption of packaging material, the capsules are easier to use than conventional plastic containers.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Supervolcanoes: A key to America's electric future?

Researchers show that lake sediments preserved within ancient supervolcanoes can host large lithium-rich clay deposits. A domestic source of lithium would help meet the rising demand for this valuable metal, which is critical for modern technology.

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Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced 'wonder' material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind, the research group has developed a cleaner and more environmentally friendly method to isolate graphene using carbon dioxide in the form of carbonic acid as the electrolyte solution.

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Lithium-air batteries: Mystery about proposed battery material clarified

A compound called lithium iodide (LiI) has been considered a leading material for lithium-air batteries, which could deliver more energy per pound compared to today's leading batteries. A new study helps explain previous, conflicting findings about the material's usefulness for this task.

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Spray-on electric rainbows: Making safer electrochromic inks

A flick of a switch, and electrochromic films change their colors. Now they can be applied more safely and more commonly thanks to an innovative chemical process that makes them water soluble. They can be sprayed and printed, instead of being confined behind safety implements to handle volatile solvents and their toxic fumes.

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Boron nitride foam soaks up carbon dioxide

Researchers have created a reusable hexagonal-boron nitride foam that soaks up more than three times its weight in carbon dioxide.

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Smart fabric neutralizes nerve gas

A groundbreaking development has the potential to thwart chemical warfare agents: smart textiles with the ability to rapidly detect and neutralize nerve gas.

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Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

With their remarkable electrical and optical properties, along with biocompatibility, photostability and chemical stability, gold nanoclusters are gaining a foothold in a number of research areas, particularly in biosensing and biolabeling. An international research team has now shown that the fluorescence is an intrinsic property of the gold nanoparticles themselves. The researchers used Au20, gold nanoparticles with a tetrahedral structure.

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