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Turn that defect upside down

May 21, 2015 11:01 am | by Allison Mills, Michigan Technological Univ. | Comments

Most people see defects as flaws. A few Michigan Technological Univ. researchers, however, see them as opportunities. Twin boundaries may present an opportunity to improve lithium-ion batteries. The twin boundary defects act as energy highways and could help get better performance out of the batteries. This finding turns a previously held notion of material defects on its head.

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Survey on academic diversity shows little progress

May 21, 2015 10:49 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Despite efforts over decades to diversify the ranks of university faculty, only 4% of chemistry professorships at 50 leading U.S. colleges and universities are held by underrepresented minorities. That key finding and others related to diversity in academia came from a new survey conducted by a program called Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity (OXIDE) in partnership with Chemical & Engineering News.

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Gauging materials’ physical properties from video

May 21, 2015 10:42 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Last summer, MIT researchers published a paper describing an algorithm that can recover intelligible speech from the analysis of the minute vibrations of objects in video captured through soundproof glass. In June, researchers from the same groups will describe how the technique can be adapted to infer material properties of physical objects, such as stiffness and weight, from video.

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New class of magnets could energize the world

May 21, 2015 10:30 am | by Temple Univ. | Comments

A new class of magnets that expand their volume when placed in a magnetic field and generate negligible amounts of wasteful heat during energy harvesting, has been discovered by researchers at Temple Univ. and the Univ. of Maryland. This transformative breakthrough has the potential to not only displace existing technologies but create altogether new applications due to the unusual combination of magnetic properties.

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Technology could change future wireless communications

May 21, 2015 10:22 am | by Univ. of Bristol | Comments

Radio systems, such as mobile phones and wireless Internet connections, have become an integral part of modern life. However, today's devices use twice as much of the radio spectrum as is necessary. New technology is being developed that could fundamentally change radio design and could increase data rates and network capacity, reduce power consumption, create cheaper devices and enable global roaming.

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Simulations predict flat liquid

May 21, 2015 10:11 am | by Academy of Finland | Comments

Computer simulations have predicted a new phase of matter: atomically thin 2-D liquid. This prediction pushes the boundaries of possible phases of materials further than ever before. Two-dimensional materials themselves were considered impossible until the discovery of graphene around 10 years ago.

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Designing microwave devices from scratch

May 21, 2015 10:03 am | by Umea Univ. | Comments

For decades, the fundamental design of microwave devices, such as antennas for mobile communication and waveguides used in radars, has essentially relied on the inventiveness of a professional designer. Computer simulations are usually used only in final design stages to fine-tune details in the design.

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Experimental Ebola treatment boosts survival in mice

May 21, 2015 8:25 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

The number of new Ebola cases is tapering off, but the search for new treatments continues. Now, one research team has found potential drug candidates that successfully treated up to 90% of mice exposed to the Ebola virus. They report their findings in ACS Infectious Diseases.

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Defects can “Hulk-up” materials

May 21, 2015 8:09 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

In the story of the Marvel Universe superhero known as the Hulk, exposure to gamma radiation transforms scientist Bruce Banner into a far more powerful version of himself. In a study at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, exposure to alpha-particle radiation has been shown to transform certain thermoelectric materials into far more powerful versions of themselves.

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American energy use up slightly

May 21, 2015 8:00 am | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Comments

Americans' energy use continued to grow slowly in 2014, fueled by increases in the use of natural gas, wind and solar, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Each year, the LLNL releases charts that illustrate the nation's consumption and use of energy. Overall, Americans used 0.9 quads BTUs more in 2014 than the previous year, an increase of about 1%.

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Astronomers observe supernova colliding with its companion star

May 21, 2015 7:51 am | by Allie Akmal, Caltech | Comments

Type Ia supernovae, one of the most dazzling phenomena in the universe, are produced when small dense stars called white dwarfs explode with ferocious intensity. At their peak, these supernovae can outshine an entire galaxy. Although thousands of supernovae of this kind were found in the last decades, the process by which a white dwarf becomes one has been unclear.

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How to make continuous rolls of graphene

May 21, 2015 7:30 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

Graphene is a material with a host of potential applications, including in flexible light sources, solar panels that could be integrated into windows and membranes to desalinate and purify water. But all these possible uses face the same big hurdle: the need for a scalable and cost-effective method for continuous manufacturing of graphene films.

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May 15, 2015,

Students apply physics to football at the Emirates Stadium

May 20, 2015 12:13 pm | by IOP | Comments

Students from four schools took part in a day of physics and football at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on May 15, 2015, as the finale of an eight-week program to engage students with science by applying it to soccer. The schools have been running after-school physics and football clubs in which students learnt about such concepts as projectiles, impact area and center of mass and applied their knowledge in practice on the football pitch.

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Bent and flexible surfaces of various materials, such as paper and plastic, can be provided with a coating to make them glow. Courtesy of S. Walter/Binder Group

New printing process makes three-dimensional objects glow

May 20, 2015 12:00 pm | by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology | Comments

Conventional electroluminescent (EL) foils can be bent up to a certain degree only and can be applied easily onto flat surfaces. The new process allows for the direct printing of electroluminescent layers onto three-dimensional components. Such EL components might be used to enhance safety in buildings in case of power failures. Other potential applications are displays and watches or the creative design of rooms.

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Mesoscale atoms (structures formed by microdroplets of water trapped in a drop of oil) produced at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland. Courtesy of IPC PAS

Amazing microdroplet structures may lead to new technologies

May 20, 2015 11:47 am | by IPC PAS | Comments

A team of researchers has unveiled a new method of controlling the shapes of structures—so called mesoatoms—formed by microdroplets placed inside another drop. The work increases the possibilities of controlling the processes of self-organization of matter. During their research, the scientists also managed for the first time to observe the formation of microdroplet structures with unexpected shapes.

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