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Flight is Greener than Driving

April 27, 2015 | by Univ. of Michigan | Comments

Flying in a plane is not only safer than driving a car, it's also better for the environment. In follow-up research from last year, a study found that it takes twice as much energy to drive than to fly.

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Implantable electrode coating good as gold

May 4, 2015 11:51 am | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Comments

A team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Univ. of California, Davis, have found that covering an implantable neural electrode with nanoporous gold could eliminate the risk of scar tissue forming over the electrode’s surface. The team demonstrated that the nanostructure of nanoporous gold achieves close physical coupling of neurons by maintaining a high neuron-to-astrocyte surface coverage ratio.

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Pulsar with widest orbit ever detected

May 4, 2015 11:25 am | by National Radio Astronomy Observatory | Comments

A team of highly determined high school students discovered a never-before-seen pulsar by painstakingly analyzing data from the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT). Further observations by astronomers using the GBT revealed that this pulsar has the widest orbit of any around a neutron star and is part of only a handful of double neutron star systems.

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Defects in atomically thin semiconductor emit single photons

May 4, 2015 11:08 am | by Univ. of Rochester | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Rochester have shown that defects on an atomically thin semiconductor can produce light-emitting quantum dots. The quantum dots serve as a source of single photons and could be useful for the integration of quantum photonics with solid-state electronics: a combination known as integrated photonics.

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Proteomics identifies DNA repair toolbox

May 4, 2015 10:49 am | by Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry | Comments

During each cell division, more than 3.3 billion base pairs of genomic DNA have to be duplicated and segregated accurately to daughter cells. But what happens when the DNA template is damaged in such a way that the replication machinery gets stuck? To answer this question, a team of scientists have analyzed how the protein composition of the DNA replication machinery changes upon encountering damaged DNA.

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The random Raman laser: A new light source for microcosmos

May 4, 2015 10:42 am | by The Optical Society | Comments

In modern microscope imaging techniques, lasers are used as light sources because they can deliver fast pulsed and extremely high-intensity radiation to a target, allowing for rapid image acquisition. However, traditional lasers come with a significant disadvantage in that they produce images with blurred speckle patterns: a visual artifact that arises because of a property of traditional lasers called "high spatial coherence."

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“Nanoflares” superheat sun’s corona

May 4, 2015 9:44 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

New research by NASA, Rice Univ. and the Univ. of Glasgow details the first solid evidence of why the sun’s atmosphere is 300 times hotter than its 10,340 F surface. The answer, according to Rice astrophysicist Stephen Bradshaw and his colleagues, involves intermittent “nanoflares,” bursts of hot plasma in the corona that have a billion times less energy than regular flares but still reach temperatures of 18 million degrees Fahrenheit.

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Seafloor sensors record possible eruption of underwater volcano

May 4, 2015 8:41 am | by Hannah Hickey, Univ. of Washington | Comments

If a volcano erupts at the bottom of the sea, does anybody see it? If that volcano is Axial Seamount, about 300 miles offshore and 1 mile deep, the answer is now: yes. Thanks to a set of high-tech instruments installed last summer by the Univ. of Washington to bring the deep sea online, what appears to be an eruption of Axial Volcano on April 23 was observed in real time by scientists on shore.

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For batteries, one material does it all

May 4, 2015 8:22 am | by Univ. of Maryland | Comments

Engineers at the Univ. of Maryland have created a battery that is made entirely out of one material, which can both move electricity and store it. Envision an Oreo cookie. Most batteries have at either end a layer of material for the electrodes like the chocolate cookies to help move ions though the creamy frosting (the electrolyte). The team made a single material that incorporates the properties of both the electrodes and electrolyte.

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Researchers toss around rugby-shaped hohlraums for ignition experiments

May 4, 2015 8:09 am | by Breanna Bishop, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Comments

For several years, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has pursued an indirect drive approach to ignition, using cylindrically shaped gold cans known as hohlraums. In this configuration, all of NIF’s 192 laser beams enter the hohlraum through a pair of laser entrance holes and deposit their energy on the gold (or depleted uranium) interior surface.

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“Freezing a bullet” to find clues to ribosome assembly process

May 4, 2015 8:00 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier, Caltech | Comments

Ribosomes are vital to the function of all living cells. Using the genetic information from RNA, these ribosomes build proteins by linking amino acids together in a specific order. Scientists have known that these cellular machines are themselves made up of about 80 different proteins, called ribosomal proteins, along with several RNA molecules and that these components are added in a particular sequence to construct new ribosomes.

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From brittle to plastic in one breath

May 4, 2015 7:49 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

What if peanut brittle, under certain conditions, behaved like taffy? Something like that happens to a 2-D dichalcogenide analyzed by scientists at Rice Univ. Rice researchers calculated that atomically thin layers of molybdenum disulfide can take on the qualities of plastic through exposure to a sulfur-infused gas at the right temperature and pressure.

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Researchers probe chemistry, topography and mechanics with one instrument

May 4, 2015 7:39 am | by Dawn Levy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Comments

The probe of an atomic force microscope (AFM) scans a surface to reveal details at a resolution 1,000 times greater than that of an optical microscope. That makes AFM the premier tool for analyzing physical features, but it cannot tell scientists anything about chemistry. For that they turn to the mass spectrometer.

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New research into health benefits of coffee

May 1, 2015 10:29 am | by Monash Univ. | Comments

New research has brought us closer to being able to understand the health benefits of coffee. Monash Univ. researchers, in collaboration with Italian coffee roasting company Illycaffè, have conducted the most comprehensive study to date on how free radicals and antioxidants behave during every stage of the coffee brewing process, from intact bean to coffee brew.

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New exoplanet too big for its star

May 1, 2015 10:23 am | by Australian National Univ. | Comments

The Australian discovery of a strange exoplanet orbiting a small cool star 500 light-years away is challenging ideas about how planets form. In the past two decades more than 1,800 extrasolar planets (or exoplanets) have been discovered outside our solar system orbiting around other stars. The host star of the latest exoplanet, HATS-6, is classed as an M-dwarf, which is one of the most numerous types of stars in galaxy.

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Practical gel that simply “clicks” for biomedical applications

May 1, 2015 10:17 am | by Harvard Univ. | Comments

If you opt to wear soft contact lenses, chances are you are using hydrogels on a daily basis. Made up of polymer chains that are able to absorb water, hydrogels used in contacts are flexible and allow oxygen to pass through the lenses, keeping eyes healthy. Hydrogels can be up to 99% water and as a result are similar in composition to human tissues.

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