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Making the air fair

August 26, 2015 8:00 am | by Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office | Comments

Nobody likes flight delays, but they are a common occurrence: In 2011, about 20% of U.S. flights were at least 15 min behind schedule. Those delays irritate passengers and, in 2010, added an estimated $6.5 billion to U.S. airlines’ operating costs.

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3-D-printed microscopic fish do more than swim

August 26, 2015 7:41 am | by Liezel Labios, Univ. of California, San Diego | Comments

Nanoengineers at the Univ. of California, San Diego used an innovative 3-D printing technology they developed to manufacture multipurpose fish-shaped microrobots that swim around efficiently in liquids, are chemically powered by hydrogen peroxide and magnetically controlled. These proof-of-concept synthetic microfish will inspire a new generation of "smart" microrobots.

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Researchers combine disciplines, computational programs to determine atomic structure

August 25, 2015 5:30 pm | by Univ. of Illinois | Comments

A team from the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Indiana Univ. combined two techniques to determine the structure of cyanostar, a new abiological molecule that captures unwanted negative ions in solutions.

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Quantum diffraction at a breath of nothing

August 25, 2015 4:25 pm | by Univ. of Vienna | Comments

The quantum mechanical wave nature of matter is the basis for a number of modern technologies like high resolution electron microscopy, neutron-based studies on solid state materials or highly sensitive inertial sensors working with atoms. The research in the group around Prof. Markus Arndt at the Univ. of Vienna is focused on how one can extend such technologies to large molecules and cluster.

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NTU Assistant Professor Terry Steele (right) with his researcher Gao Feng, who is holding the new Voltaglue. Courtesy of NTU Singapore

Researchers identify electrifying solution to sticky problem

August 25, 2015 12:10 pm | by Nanyang Technological University | Comments

Inspired by the limitations of biomimetic glues in wet environments, scientists have invented a glue that will harden when a voltage is applied to it. The new adhesive, nicknamed "Voltaglue," opens up a host of possible practical applications, from making underwater repair works for ships and pipes, to being a versatile tool for doctors performing surgery.

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Supramolecular endofullerene H2O@C60, or buckyball

Scientists find new way to detect ortho-para conversion in water

August 25, 2015 11:36 am | by University of Southampton | Comments

New research has found that water molecules react differently to electric fields, which could provide a new way to study spin isomers at the single-molecule level. Water molecules exist in two forms or ‘isomers,’ ortho and para, with different nuclear spin states. In ortho-water, nuclear spins are parallel to one another, and in para water, spins are antiparallel.

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Ionization times (left axis) reconstructed using the ARM theory from offset angles (right axis) obtained numerically using TDSE calculations. Red circles are the numerically calculated offset angles, divided by the laser frequency, θ/ω. Blue diamonds show

How long does it take an electron to tunnel?

August 25, 2015 11:17 am | by Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB) | Comments

The combination of ab-initio numerical experiments and theory shows that optical tunneling of an electron from an atom can occur instantaneously. How long does it take an atom to absorb a photon and loose an electron? And what if not one but many photons are needed for ionization? How much time would absorption of many photons take? These questions lie at the core of attosecond spectroscopy.

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A schematic of the pressure chamber of the double-stage diamond anvil cell: The osmium sample is just 3 microns small and sits between two semi-balls made of nanocristalline diamond of extraordinary strength. Courtesy of Elena Bykova/University of Bayreut

Record high pressure squeezes secrets out of osmium

August 25, 2015 11:06 am | by Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY | Comments

An international team of scientists has created the highest static pressure ever achieved in a lab: Using a special high pressure device, the researchers investigated the behavior of the metal osmium at pressures of up to 770 Gigapascals (GPa)—more than twice the pressure in the inner core of the Earth, and about 130 Gigapascals higher than the previous world record set by members of the same team.

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Another milestone in hybrid artificial photosynthesis

August 25, 2015 11:00 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

A team of researchers developing a bioinorganic hybrid approach to artificial photosynthesis have achieved another milestone. Having generated quite a buzz with their hybrid system of semiconducting nanowires and bacteria that used electrons to synthesize carbon dioxide into acetate, the team has now developed a hybrid system that produces renewable molecular hydrogen and uses it to synthesize carbon dioxide into methane.

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Artificial photosynthesis used to produce renewable molecular hydrogen for synthesizing carbon dioxide into methane. Courtesy of Berkeley Lab

Milestone achieved in hybrid artificial photosynthesis

August 25, 2015 10:29 am | by Berkeley Lab | Comments

A team of researchers at (Berkeley Lab developing a bioinorganic hybrid approach to artificial photosynthesis have achieved a milestone. Having generated quite a buzz with their hybrid system of semiconducting nanowires and bacteria that used electrons to synthesize carbon dioxide into acetate, the team has now developed a hybrid system that produces renewable molecular hydrogen and uses it to synthesize carbon dioxide into methane.

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Research may solve lunar fire fountain mystery

August 25, 2015 10:00 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | Comments

Tiny beads of volcanic glass found on the lunar surface during the Apollo missions are a sign that fire fountain eruptions took place on the moon’s surface. Now, scientists from Brown Univ. and the Carnegie Institution for Science have identified the volatile gas that drove those eruptions.

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Study identifies off switch for biofilm formation

August 25, 2015 9:00 am | by Matthew Wright, Univ. of Maryland | Comments

Bacteria are best known as free-living single cells, but in reality their lives are much more complex. To survive in harsh environments, many species of bacteria will band together and form a biofilm. A familiar biofilm is the dental plaque that forms on teeth between brushings, but biofilms can form almost anywhere given the right conditions.

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Researchers discover synthesis of new nanomaterial

August 25, 2015 8:00 am | by Dave Guerin, Louisiana Tech Univ. | Comments

Faculty at Louisiana Tech Univ. have discovered, for the first time, a new nanocomposite formed by the self-assembly of copper and a biological component that occurs under physiological conditions, which are similar to those found in the human body and could be used in targeted drug delivery for fighting diseases such as cancer.

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Promising cancer drugs cause memory loss in mice

August 25, 2015 7:29 am | by Eva Kiesler, Rockefeller Univ. | Comments

Cancer researchers are constantly in search of more-effective and less-toxic approaches to stopping the disease, and have recently launched clinical trials testing a new class of drugs called BET inhibitors. These therapies act on a group of proteins that help regulate the expression of many genes, some of which play a role in cancer.

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Protein found to play key role in blocking pathogen survival

August 25, 2015 7:20 am | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | Comments

Invading microbial pathogens must scavenge essential nutrients from their host organism in order to survive and replicate. To defend themselves from infection, hosts attempt to block pathogens’ access to these nutrients. Now researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered the vital role a protein, calprotectin, plays in this process, known as “nutritional immunity."

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