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Simulations lead to design of near-frictionless material

July 22, 2015 8:08 am | by Jim Collins, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

Argonne National Laboratory scientists used Mira to identify and improve a new mechanism for eliminating friction, which fed into the development of a hybrid material that exhibited superlubricity at the macroscale for the first time. Argonne Leadership Computing Facility researchers helped enable the groundbreaking simulations by overcoming a performance bottleneck that doubled the speed of the team's code.

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Nanoparticles can clean up the environment

July 22, 2015 7:56 am | by Jonathan Mingle, MIT News correspondent | Comments

Many human-made pollutants in the environment resist degradation through natural processes, and disrupt hormonal and other systems in mammals and other animals. Removing these toxic materials with existing methods is often expensive and time-consuming. However, recent research demonstrates a novel method for using nanoparticles and ultraviolet light to quickly isolate and extract a variety of contaminants from soil and water.

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Spintronics just got faster

July 21, 2015 11:15 am | by EPFL | Comments

In a tremendous boost for spintronic technologies, EPFL scientists have shown that electrons can jump through spins much faster than previously thought. Electrons spin around atoms, but also spin around themselves, and can cross over from one spin state to another. A property which can be exploited for next-generation hard drives.

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Jiajie Pei with crystals of black phosphorus. Courtesy of Stuart Hay, ANU

Sticky tape the key to ultrathin solar cells

July 21, 2015 11:06 am | by Australian National University | Comments

Scientists studying thin layers of phosphorus have found surprising properties that could open the door to ultrathin and ultralight solar cells and LEDs. The team used sticky tape to create single-atom thick layers, termed phosphorene, in the same simple way as the Nobel-prize winning discovery of graphene. Unlike graphene, phosphorene is a semiconductor, like silicon, which is the basis of current electronics technology.

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An array of helical elements absorbs radiation of a certain frequency while casting no shadow in light over a range of other frequencies.

Researchers demonstrate first realization of invisible absorbers and sensors

July 21, 2015 10:56 am | by Aalto University | Comments

The manipulation of light has led to many applications that have revolutionized society through communications, medicine and entertainment. Devices consuming the energy of electromagnetic radiation, such as absorbers and sensors, play an essential role in the using and controlling of light. Researchers have demonstrated the first realization of absorbers that do not reflect light over a wide range of frequencies.

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Could solar events have triggered birth defects on Earth?

July 21, 2015 8:01 am | by Univ. of Kansas | Comments

Studies find airplane crews at high altitude are exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation from cosmic rays. Neutrons which don't reach the ground do reach airline altitude. Flight crews get a lot more radiation dose from neutrons.

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Pervoskite solar tech shows quick energy returns

July 21, 2015 7:52 am | by Megan Fellman, Northwestern Univ. | Comments

In the solar power research community, a new class of materials called perovskites is causing quite a buzz, as scientists search for technology that has a better “energy payback time” than the silicon-based solar panels currently dominating the market.  Now, a new study reports that perovskite modules are better than any commercially available solar technology when products are compared on the basis of energy payback time.

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Property of non-stick pans improves solar cell efficiency

July 21, 2015 7:45 am | by Scott Schrage, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln Communications | Comments

The same quality that buffers a raincoat against downpours or a pan against sticky foods can also boost the performance of solar cells, according to a new study from Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln engineers. Published in Nature Communications, the study showed that constructing a type of organic solar cell on a "non-wetting" plastic surface made it 1.5 times more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity.

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Long-sought phenomenon finally detected

July 21, 2015 7:25 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

Part of a 1929 prediction by physicist Hermann Weyl—of a kind of massless particle that features a singular point in its energy spectrum called the “Weyl point”—has finally been confirmed by direct observation for the first time, says an international team of physicists led by researchers at MIT. The finding could lead to new kinds of high-power single-mode lasers and other optical devices, the team says.

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Studies: Better sleep may be important for Alzheimer's risk

July 20, 2015 6:05 pm | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | Comments

To sleep, perchance to... ward off Alzheimer's? New research suggests poor sleep may increase people's risk of Alzheimer's disease, by spurring a brain-clogging gunk that in turn further interrupts shut-eye. Disrupted sleep may be one of the missing pieces in explaining how a hallmark of Alzheimer's, a sticky protein called beta-amyloid, starts its damage long before people have trouble with memory.

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Better DNA hair analysis for catching criminals

July 20, 2015 1:30 pm | by Univ. of Adelaide | Comments

A simple, lower-cost new method for DNA profiling of human hairs developed by the Univ. of Adelaide should improve opportunities to link criminals to serious crimes.

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Phytoplankton's future

July 20, 2015 1:00 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

Oceans have absorbed up to 30% of human-made carbon dioxide around the world, storing dissolved carbon for hundreds of years.

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Uncovering the spread of bacteria in pneumonia

July 20, 2015 12:30 pm | by Sarah Plumridge, Northwestern Univ. | Comments

Scientists have discovered the role a toxin produced by a pneumonia-causing bacterium plays in the spread of infection from the lungs to the bloodstream in hospitalized patients.

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Major cyberattack targets UCLA hospital system

July 20, 2015 12:00 pm | by The Associated Press | Comments

A months-long cyberattack on the Univ. of California, Los Angeles hospital system put at risk the personal information for up to 4.5 million people, officials said Friday.

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Families affected by early alzheimer's seek better treatment

July 20, 2015 11:30 am | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer | Comments

International scientists gathering in Washington for a conference this week express cautious optimism that they may finally be on the right track to fight Alzheimer's. 

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