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Researchers design first artificial ribosome

July 30, 2015 7:34 am | by Sam Hostettler, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern Univ. have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins and enzymes within the cell. The engineered ribosome may enable the production of new drugs and next-generation biomaterials and lead to a better understanding of how ribosomes function.


All-natural sunscreen derived from algae

July 29, 2015 9:50 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

For consumers searching for just the right sunblock this summer, the options can be overwhelming. But scientists are now turning to the natural sunscreen of algae—which is also found in fish slime—to make a novel kind of shield against the sun’s rays that could protect not only people, but also textiles and outdoor materials.


Grains of rice hold big promise for greenhouse gas reductions

July 29, 2015 9:30 am | by Dawn Zimmerman, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Comments

Rice serves as the staple food for more than half of the world's population, but it's also the one of the largest manmade sources of atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Now, with the addition of a single gene, rice can be cultivated to emit virtually no methane from its paddies during growth. It also packs much more of the plant's desired properties, such as starch for a richer food source and biomass for energy production.


Making the new silicon

July 29, 2015 9:15 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | Comments

An exotic material called gallium nitride (GaN) is poised to become the next semiconductor for power electronics, enabling much higher efficiency than silicon. In 2013, the U.S. Dept. of Energy dedicated approximately half of a $140 million research institute for power electronics to GaN research, citing its potential to reduce worldwide energy consumption.


New chemistry makes strong bonds weak

July 29, 2015 8:30 am | by Tien Nguyen, Princeton Univ. | Comments

Researchers at Princeton Univ. have developed a new chemical reaction that breaks the strongest bond in a molecule instead of the weakest, completely reversing the norm for reactions in which bonds are evenly split to form reactive intermediates.


Brain disorder center's closing sends ripples nationwide

July 28, 2015 8:00 pm | by Kathleen Ronayne, Associated Press | Comments

As a New Hampshire facility for people with brain injuries and developmental disabilities prepares to close after months of scrutiny over allegations of abuse, the families of the people who live there are scrambling to find new placements for their loved ones. Just 10 people remain at Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center, an 88-bed facility near the Maine border.


Short wavelength plasmons observed in nanotubes

July 28, 2015 6:15 pm | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

The term “plasmons” might sound like something from the soon-to-be-released new Star Wars movie, but the effects of plasmons have been known about for centuries. Plasmons are collective oscillations of conduction electrons (those loosely attached to molecules and atoms) that roll across the surfaces of metals while interacting with photons.


“Seeing” molecular interactions boosts organic electronics

July 28, 2015 2:00 pm | by Kyoto Univ. | Comments

Organic materials are increasingly being applied in cutting-edge technologies. Organic semiconductors, for example, are being used to develop paper-thin, plastic LED screens. Materials scientists need to understand the structures and physical properties of organic materials at the atomic level to optimize the efficiency and increase the life span of devices that incorporate them.


Computer model could explain how simple molecules took first step toward life

July 28, 2015 1:30 pm | by Peter Genzer, Brookhaven National Laboratory | Comments

Nearly four billion years ago, the earliest precursors of life on Earth emerged. First small, simple molecules, or monomers, banded together to form larger, more complex molecules, or polymers. Then those polymers developed a mechanism that allowed them to self-replicate and pass their structure on to future generations.


Could stronger, tougher paper replace metal?

July 28, 2015 12:30 pm | by Lee Tune, Univ. of Maryland | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Maryland recently discovered that paper made of cellulose fibers is tougher and stronger the smaller the fibers get. For a long time, engineers have sought a material that is both strong (resistant to non-recoverable deformation) and tough (tolerant of damage).


Researchers develop new portable power supply for engineering microbes

July 28, 2015 11:50 am | by Mindy Krause, Penn State Univ. | Comments

Penn State Univ. engineers have developed a new “portable power supply” that will make it easier to manufacture plastics, therapeutics, fuels and other chemicals from sustainable feedstocks using diverse microbial organisms.


Ultra-thin hallow nanocages could reduce platinum use in fuel cell electrodes

July 28, 2015 11:00 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

A new fabrication technique that produces platinum hollow nanocages with ultra-thin walls could dramatically reduce the amount of the costly metal needed to provide catalytic activity in such applications as fuel cells. The technique uses a solution-based method for producing atomic-scale layers of platinum to create hollow, porous structures that can generate catalytic activity both inside and outside the nanocages.


New material opens possibilities for super-long-acting pills

July 28, 2015 7:58 am | by Kevin Leonardi, MIT News Office | Comments

Medical devices designed to reside in the stomach have a variety of applications, including prolonged drug delivery, electronic monitoring and weight-loss intervention. However, these devices, often created with non-degradable elastic polymers, bear an inherent risk of intestinal obstruction as a result of accidental fracture or migration. As such, they are usually designed to remain in the stomach for a limited time.


Quantum networks: Back and forth are not equal distances

July 28, 2015 7:48 am | by Gertie Skaarup, Niels Bohr Institute | Comments

Quantum technology based on light (photons) has great potential for radically new information technology based on photonic circuits. Up to now, the photons in quantum photonic circuits have behaved in the same way whether they moved forward or backward in a photonic channel. This has limited the ability to control the photons and thus build complex circuits for photonic quantum computers.


Study identifies major player in skin cancer genes

July 28, 2015 7:39 am | by Ziba Kashef, Yale Univ. | Comments

A multidisciplinary team at Yale Univ., led by Yale Cancer Center members, has defined a subgroup of genetic mutations that are present in a significant number of melanoma skin cancer cases. Their findings shed light on an important mutation in this deadly disease, and may lead to more targeted anti-cancer therapies.



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