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Team helps measure femtosecond pulses of X-ray free electron

October 21, 2011 7:49 am | News | Comments

An international team has measured, for the first time, the spatial and temporal coherence of a single femtosecond X-ray pulse generated by the first hard X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL), the Linac Coherent Light Source, at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

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SGD acquires Special Gas Supplies LLC

October 21, 2011 6:55 am | News | Comments

SGD Inc., a single source wholesale supplier of specialty gas equipment, has acquired Special Gas Supplies LLC. Special Gas Supplies will now be operating out of SGD's facility in Emerson, N.J.

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SpaceX completes key milestone to fly astronauts to International Space Station

October 21, 2011 6:43 am | News | Comments

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced it has successfully completed the preliminary design review of its launch abort system, a system designed for manned missions using its Dragon spacecraft. This represents a major step toward creating an American-made successor to the space shuttle.

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Giant flakes make graphene oxide gel

October 21, 2011 4:36 am | News | Comments

Giant flakes of graphene oxide in water aggregate like a stack of pancakes, but infinitely thinner, and in the process gain characteristics that materials scientists may find delicious. Scientists at Rice University and the University of Colorado detail how slices of graphene in a solution arrange themselves to form a nematic liquid crystal in which particles are free-floating but aligned.

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Nearby planet-forming disk holds water for thousands of oceans

October 21, 2011 3:57 am | News | Comments

For the first time, astronomers have detected around a burgeoning solar system a sprawling cloud of water vapor that’s cold enough to form comets, which could eventually deliver oceans to dry planets.

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A new approach to solar power

October 21, 2011 3:42 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Systems to harness the sun's energy typically generate either electricity or heat in the form of steam or hot water. But a new analysis by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that there could be significant advantages to systems that produce both electricity and heat simultaneously.

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Chemists find new dimension to rules for reactions

October 20, 2011 11:03 am | News | Comments

Theoretical chemists at Emory University have solved an important mystery about the rates of chemical reactions and the so called Polanyi rules. The findings reveal why a reaction involving methane does not conform to the known rules, a problem that has baffled physical chemists in recent years.

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New electrochemical cell has a plasma electrode

October 20, 2011 10:56 am | News | Comments

Typical fuel cells and batteries rely on solid metal electrodes, and under normal, ambient conditions a plasma electrode is not practical. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University, however, recently demonstrated one that does function at atmospheric temperature and pressure.

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China rare earths supplier suspends production

October 20, 2011 10:15 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

This week's move by China’s biggest producer of rare earths to suspend production of exotic rare earths minerals might fuel tensions with the United States and Europe. The hiatus is expected to last one months and is explicitly intended to boost slumping prices.

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Spiral arms hint at the presence of planets

October 20, 2011 9:58 am | News | Comments

A new image of the disk of gas and dust around a sun-like star has spiral-arm-like structures. These features may provide clues to the presence of embedded but as-yet-unseen planets.

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Hawaii astronomer captures image of forming planet

October 20, 2011 9:38 am | by Audrey McAvoy, Associated Press | News | Comments

Astronomers have captured the first direct image of a planet being born. Called LkCa 15 b, it's the youngest planet ever observed, and is forming from a cloud of dust and gas circling a 2-million-year-old star about 450 light-years from Earth.

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Laser makes sure food is fresh

October 20, 2011 8:53 am | News | Comments

Minced meat, bread, fruit juice, and many other foods are packaged in a protective gas which extends their shelf life. There is currently no good method to check whether the packaging has the correct gas content. However, researchers at Lund University have developed a new laser instrument which could solve the problem.

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Studying bacteria communication for future nanoscale networks

October 20, 2011 6:51 am | News | Comments

Think the future of communication is 4G? Think again. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are working on communication solutions for networks so futuristic they don't even exist yet. The team is investigating how to get devices a million times smaller than the length of an ant to communicate with one another to form nanonetworks.

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Ethanol research centers on poplars

October 20, 2011 6:34 am | News | Comments

Someday trees could provide more than just shade, scenery, and building materials. Purdue University researchers are studying how poplars might be turned into liquid fuel.

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Next-generation superlattice cameras add more 'color' to night vision

October 20, 2011 5:24 am | News | Comments

Recent breakthroughs have enabled scientists from the Northwestern University's Center for Quantum Devices to build cameras that can see more than one optical waveband or "color" in the dark. The semiconducting material used in the cameras—called type-II superlattices—can be tuned to absorb a wide range of infrared wavelengths, and now, a number of distinct infrared bands at the same time.

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