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Trapping light with a twister

December 23, 2014 | Comments

Researchers at MIT who succeeded last year in creating a material that could trap light and stop it in its tracks have now developed a more fundamental understanding of the process.             

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R&D Daily

New mechanism unlocked for evolution of green fluorescent protein

January 28, 2015 10:51 am | by Jenny Green, Arizona State Univ. | Comments

A primary challenge in the biosciences is to understand the way major evolutionary changes in nature are accomplished. Sometimes the route turns out to be very simple. A group of scientists showed, for the first time, that a hinge migration mechanism, driven solely by long-range dynamic motions, can be the key for evolution of a green-to-red photoconvertible phenotype in a green fluorescent protein.

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Beer compound could help fend off Alzheimer’s

January 28, 2015 10:40 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

The health-promoting perks of wine have attracted the spotlight recently, leaving beer in the shadows. But scientists are discovering new ways in which the latter could be a more healthful beverage than once thought. They’re now reporting that a compound from hops could protect brain cells from damage, and potentially slow the development of disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

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Ancient star system reveals Earth-sized planets forming near start of universe

January 28, 2015 10:34 am | by Verity Leatherdale, Univ. of Sydney | Comments

A sun-like star with orbiting planets, dating back to the dawn of the galaxy, has been discovered by an international team of astronomers. At 11.2 billion years old it is the oldest star with Earth-sized planets ever found and proves that such planets have formed throughout the history of the universe. The discoveryused observations made by NASA's Kepler satellite.

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Early Mesoamericans affected by climate change

January 28, 2015 10:22 am | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboraotry | Comments

Scientists have reconstructed the past climate for the region around Cantona, a large fortified city in highland Mexico, and found the population drastically declined in the past, at least in part because of climate change. The research appears in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Ribose-seq identifies, locates ribonucleotiedes in genomic DNA

January 28, 2015 10:10 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

Ribonucleotides, units of RNA, can become embedded in genomic DNA during processes such as DNA replication and repair, affecting the stability of the genome by contributing to DNA fragility and mutability. Scientists have known about the presence of ribonucleotides in DNA, but until now had not been able to determine exactly what they are and where they are located in the DNA sequences.

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“Bulletproof” battery

January 28, 2015 9:55 am | by Nicole Casal Moore, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

New battery technology from the Univ. of Michigan should be able to prevent the kind of fires that grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliners in 2013. The innovation is an advanced barrier between the electrodes in a lithium-ion battery. Made with nanofibers extracted from Kevlar, the tough material in bulletproof vests, the barrier stifles the growth of metal tendrils that can become unwanted pathways for electrical current.

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Carbon nanoballs can greatly contribute to sustainable energy supply

January 28, 2015 9:07 am | by Johanna Wilde, Chalmers Univ. of Technology | Comments

Researchers at Chalmers Univ. of Technology have discovered that the insulation plastic used in high-voltage cables can withstand a 26% higher voltage if nanometer-sized carbon balls are added. This could result in enormous efficiency gains in the power grids of the future, which are needed to achieve a sustainable energy system.

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Laser pulse that gets shorter by itself

January 28, 2015 8:53 am | by Florian Aigner, Vienna Univ. of Technology | Comments

In a marathon, everyone starts at roughly the same place at roughly the same time. But the faster runners will gradually increase their lead, and in the end, the distribution of runners on the street will be very broad. Something similar happens to a pulse of light sent through a medium. The pulse is a combination of different colors (or wavelengths), and when they are sent through a medium like glass, they travel at different speeds.

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New pathway to valleytronics

January 28, 2015 8:43 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

A potential avenue to quantum computing currently generating quite the buzz in the high-tech industry is “valleytronics,” in which information is coded based on the wavelike motion of electrons moving through certain 2-D semiconductors. Now, a promising new pathway to valleytronic technology has been uncovered by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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Drug combo suppresses growth of late-stage prostate cancer tumors

January 28, 2015 8:31 am | by Natalie van Hoose, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Low doses of metformin, a widely used diabetes medication and a gene inhibitor known as BI2536 can successfully halt the growth of late-stage prostate cancer tumors, a Purdue Univ. study finds. Prostate cancer causes the second-highest number of cancer-related deaths in men in the U.S., and methods of treating advanced prostate cancer are limited.

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Researchers tune friction in ionic solids at the nanoscale

January 28, 2015 8:26 am | by Christopher R. Samoray, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Comments

Friction impacts motion, hence the need to control friction forces. Currently, this is accomplished by mechanistic means or lubrication, but experiments conducted by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have uncovered a way of controlling friction on ionic surfaces at the nanoscale using electrical stimulation and ambient water vapor.

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Man trumps dog: Earlier assumption about BPA exposure confirmed

January 28, 2015 8:18 am | by Mary Beckman, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Comments

Coating the mouth with BPA-containing food does not lead to higher than expected levels of BPA in blood, according to a new study. The study concludes that oral exposure does not create a risk for high exposures. BPA, also known as bisphenol A, is used to make some plastics and to seal canned food containers against bacterial contamination. Food, which picks up trace amounts of BPA from packaging, is the major source of human exposure.

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Nanoscale mirrored cavities amplify, connect quantum memories

January 28, 2015 8:11 am | by Karen McNulty Walsh, Brookhaven National Laboratory | Comments

The idea of computing systems based on controlling atomic spins just got a boost from new research performed at MIT and Brookhaven National Laboratory. By constructing tiny "mirrors" to trap light around impurity atoms in diamond crystals, the team dramatically increased the efficiency with which photons transmit information about those atoms' electronic spin states, which can be used to store quantum information.

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Hybrid memory device for superconducting computing

January 26, 2015 12:20 pm | by NIST | Comments

Scientists have demonstrated a nanoscale memory technology for superconducting computing that could hasten the advent of an urgently awaited, low-energy alternative to power-hungry conventional data centers and supercomputers. In recent years, the stupendous and growing data demands of cloud computing, expanded Internet use, mobile device support and other applications have prompted the creation of large, centralized computing facilities.

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Synthetic amino acid enables safe, new biotechnology solutions

January 26, 2015 12:13 pm | by Bill Hathaway, Yale Univ. | Comments

Scientists from Yale Univ. have devised a way to ensure genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be safely confined in the environment, overcoming a major obstacle to widespread use of GMOs in agriculture, energy production, waste management and medicine.

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