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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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“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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Promising x-ray microscope poses technical challenges

May 1, 2015 10:08 am | by Breanna Bishop, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Comments

You may think the aisles in your neighborhood convenience store are crowded, but they’d look positively spacious compared to the passageways in the NIF target bay. The target bay bristles with dozens of instruments needed for NIF experiments, ranging from inserters that hold NIF targets in place to cameras and other diagnostics that record the results of NIF shots.

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Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly faster

May 1, 2015 9:09 am | by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Univ. | Comments

During the past decade, Antarctica's massive ice sheet lost twice the amount of ice in its western portion compared with what it accumulated in the east, according to Princeton Univ. researchers who came to one overall conclusion: The southern continent's ice cap is melting ever faster.

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Dull glow of forest yields orbital tracking of photosynthesis

May 1, 2015 8:59 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | Comments

A research team has provided some crucial ground-truth for a method of measuring plant photosynthesis on a global scale from low-Earth orbit. The researchers have shown that chlorophyll fluorescence, a faint glow produced by plant leaves as a byproduct of photosynthesis, is a strong proxy for photosynthetic activity in the canopy of a deciduous forest.

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Cellular sensing platform supports next-gen bioscience, biotech applications

May 1, 2015 8:25 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a novel cellular sensing platform that promises to expand the use of semiconductor technology in the development of next-generation bioscience and biotech applications. The research proposes and demonstrates the world’s first multi-modality cellular sensor arranged in a standard low-cost CMOS process.

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Making robots more human

May 1, 2015 8:18 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Most people are naturally adept at reading facial expressions to tell what others are feeling. Now scientists have developed ultra-sensitive, wearable sensors that can do the same thing. Their technology, reported in the ACS Nano, could help robot developers make their machines more human.

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Zooming in

May 1, 2015 8:05 am | by Julie Cohen, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara | Comments

The microwave oven has been around for almost 80 years. When it heats food or liquid, the frequency of electrons increases but their energy slows down due to their own microwave emissions. Until now, scientists have only been able to observe this phenomenon in a group of electrons.

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Engineering a better solar cell

May 1, 2015 7:57 am | by Renee Gastineau, Univ. of Washington | Comments

One of the fastest-growing areas of solar energy research is with materials called perovskites. These promising light harvesters could revolutionize the solar and electronics industries because they show potential to convert sunlight into electricity more efficiently and less expensively than today’s silicon-based semiconductors.

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Did dinosaur-killing asteroid trigger largest lava flows on Earth?

May 1, 2015 7:47 am | by Robert Sanders, Univ. of California, Berkeley | Comments

The asteroid that slammed into the ocean off Mexico 66 million years ago and killed off the dinosaurs probably rang the Earth like a bell, triggering volcanic eruptions around the globe that may have contributed to the devastation, according to a team of Univ. of California, Berkeley geophysicists.

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“Fingerprinting” chips to fight counterfeiting

May 1, 2015 7:37 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | Comments

It’s often said that no two human fingerprints are exactly alike. For that reason, police often use them as evidence to link suspects to crime scenes. The same goes for silicon chips: Manufacturing processes cause microscopic variations in chips that are unpredictable, permanent, and effectively impossible to clone.

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