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Streamlining thin-film processing saves time, energy

November 19, 2014 9:41 am | by South Dakota State University Communications Center | Comments

Energy storage devices and computer screens may seem worlds apart, but they're not. When Assoc. Prof. Qi Hua Fan set out to make a less expensive supercapacitor for storing renewable energy, he developed a new plasma technology that will streamline the production of display screens.

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Research advances understanding of atomically thin crystal growth

November 19, 2014 9:24 am | by David Goddard, UT Knoxville | Comments

Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Engineering has made recent headlines for discoveries that, while atomically small, could impact our modern world. The team focused on the role of epilayer-substrate interactions in determining orientational relations in van der Waals epitaxy.

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X-ray laser brings key cell structures into focus

November 19, 2014 9:07 am | by SLAC Office of Communications | Comments

Scientists have made high-resolution x-ray laser images of an intact cellular structure much faster and more efficiently than ever possible before. The results are an important step toward atomic-scale imaging of intact biological particles, including viruses and bacteria. The technique was demonstrated at the Linac Coherent Light Source at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

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Study: Light may skew lab tests on nanoparticles’ health effects

November 19, 2014 8:38 am | by Chad Boutin, NIST | Comments

Truth shines a light into dark places. But sometimes to find that truth in the first place, it’s better to stay in the dark. That’s what recent findings at NIST show about methods for testing the safety of nanoparticles. It turns out that previous tests indicating that some nanoparticles can damage our DNA may have been skewed by inadvertent light exposure in the lab.

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Research quantifies health benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions

November 19, 2014 8:31 am | by Allan Chen, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which result from the burning of fossil fuels, also reduces the incidence of health problems from particulate matter (PM) in these emissions. A team of scientists has calculated that the economic benefit of reduced health impacts from GHG reduction strategies in the U.S. range between $6 and $14 billion annually in 2020, depending on how the reductions are accomplished.

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Black hole loses its appetite for gassy cloud

November 19, 2014 8:22 am | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboraotry | Comments

In a showdown of black hole versus G2—a cloud of gas and dust—it looks like G2 won. Recent research shows that G2 came within 30 billion km of the super-massive black hole at the center of our galaxy, yet managed to escape from the gravitational pull of the black hole.

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Hormone points to potential treatment for metabolic disorders

November 19, 2014 8:13 am | by Laura Williams, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Michigan have discovered how a previously unknown hormone serves as a messenger from fat cells to the liver and are investigating the potential of developing a new treatment for metabolic disorders. Jiandie Lin of the Life Sciences Institute described how in mice the hormone, NRG4, is secreted by so-called brown fat cells and communicates with the liver to regulate the conversion of sugar into fat.

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Running the color gamut

November 19, 2014 8:01 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | Comments

If LCD TVs get more colorful in the next few years, it will probably be thanks to QD Vision, a pioneer of quantum-dot television displays. Quantum dots are light-emitting semiconductor nanocrystals that can be tuned to emit all colors across the visible spectrum. By tuning these dots to red and green, and using a blue backlight to energize them, QD Vision has developed an optical component that can boost the color gamut for LCD televisions.

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Fool’s gold as a solar material?

November 19, 2014 7:47 am | by David Tennebaum, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | Comments

As the installation of photovoltaic solar cells continues to accelerate, scientists are looking for inexpensive materials beyond the traditional silicon that can efficiently convert sunlight into electricity. Theoretically, iron pyrite could do the job, but when it works at all, the conversion efficiency remains frustratingly low. Now, a Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison research team explains why that is.

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Study will test survivors' blood to treat Ebola

November 18, 2014 11:00 pm | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

A coalition of companies and aid groups announced plans Tuesday to test experimental drugs and collect blood plasma from Ebola survivors to treat new victims of the disease in West Africa. Plasma from survivors contains antibodies, substances the immune system makes to fight the virus.

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Warmth, flowing water on early Mars were episodic

November 18, 2014 11:46 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | Comments

Ample evidence of ancient rivers, streams and lakes make it clear that Mars was at some point warm enough for liquid water to flow on its surface. While that may conjure up images of a tropical Martian paradise, new research published in Nature Geoscience throws a bit of cold water on that notion.

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Gravity may have saved the universe after the Big Bang

November 18, 2014 10:34 am | by Laura Gallagher, Imperial College London | Comments

New research by a team of European physicists could explain why the universe did not collapse immediately after the Big Bang. Studies of the Higgs particle have suggested that the production of Higgs particles during the accelerating expansion of the very early universe (inflation) should have led to instability and collapse.

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Scientists reveal weak spots in Ebola’s defenses

November 18, 2014 9:27 am | by The Scripps Research Institute | Comments

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have identified weak spots on the surface of Ebola virus that are targeted by the antibodies in ZMapp, the experimental drug cocktail administered to several patients during the recent Ebola outbreak. The study provides a revealing 3-D picture of how the ZMapp antibodies bind to Ebola virus.

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New acoustic sensor developed for chemical, biological detection

November 18, 2014 9:14 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

Testing for ovarian cancer or the presence of a particular chemical could be almost as simple as distinguishing an F sharp from a B flat, thanks to a new microscopic acoustic device that has been dramatically improved by scientists at Argonne National Laboratory. The device, known as a surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensor, detects frequency changes in waves that propagate through its crystalline structure.

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As temperatures rise, soil will relinquish less carbon to atmosphere

November 18, 2014 8:26 am | by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

Here’s another reason to pay close attention to microbes: Current climate models probably overestimate the amount of carbon that will be released from soil into the atmosphere as global temperatures rise, according to research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The findings are from a new computer model that explores the feedbacks between soil carbon and climate change.

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