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Tomorrow will be one second longer

June 29, 2015 8:39 am | Comments

The day will officially be a bit longer than usual on Tuesday, June 30, 2015, because an extra second, or "leap" second, will be added.

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Opening a new route to photonics

June 29, 2015 8:35 am | Comments

A new route to ultrahigh density, ultracompact integrated photonic circuitry has been discovered by researchers. The Berkeley Lab team has developed a technique for effectively controlling pulses of light in closely packed nanoscale waveguides, an essential requirement for high-performance optical communications and chip-scale quantum computing.

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SpaceX rocket destroyed on way to space station, cargo lost

June 28, 2015 4:04 pm | by Marcia Dunn, Associated Press | Comments

An unmanned SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station broke apart Sunday shortly after liftoff. It was a severe blow to NASA, the third cargo mission to fail in eight months.

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Helium “balloons” offer new path to control complex materials

June 26, 2015 2:00 pm | by Morgan McCorkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Comments

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new method to manipulate a wide range of materials and their behavior using only a handful of helium ions. The team’s technique advances the understanding and use of complex oxide materials that boast unusual properties such as superconductivity and colossal magnetoresistance but are notoriously difficult to control.

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Z machine solves Saturn’s 2-billion-year age problem

June 26, 2015 1:45 pm | by Sandia National Laboratories | Comments

Planets tend to cool as they get older, but Saturn is hotter than astrophysicists say it should be without some additional energy source. The unexplained heat has caused a two-billion-year discrepancy for computer models estimating Saturn's age.

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Tactical throwable cameras

June 26, 2015 11:40 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | Comments

Unseen areas are troublesome for police and first responders: Rooms can harbor dangerous gunmen, while collapsed buildings can conceal survivors. Now Bounce Imaging, founded by an Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumnus, is giving officers and rescuers a safe glimpse into the unknown.

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Making clothes out of gelatin could reduce agricultural waste

June 26, 2015 10:30 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

From gummy bears to silky mousses, gelatin is essential for making some of our favorite sweets. Now scientists are exploring another use for the common food ingredient: spinning it into yarn so it can be made into clothing. And because gelatin comes from livestock by-products, the new technique would provide an additional use for agricultural leftovers. The report appears in Biomacromolecules.

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Analysis shows increased carbon intensity from Canadian oil sands

June 26, 2015 10:23 am | by Greg Cunningham, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

Argonne National Laboratory released a study that shows gasoline and diesel refined from Canadian oil sands have a higher carbon impact than fuels derived from conventional domestic crude sources. The research, which was conducted in collaboration with Stanford Univ. and the Univ. of California at Davis, shows variability in the increase of greenhouse gas impacts, depending on the type of extraction and refining methods.

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Developing a better way to screen chemicals for cancer-causing effects

June 26, 2015 7:29 am | by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

The vast majority of the thousands of chemicals in our homes and workplaces have not been tested to determine if they cause cancer. That’s because today’s options are lacking. Rodent tests are too slow, and cell culture tests don’t replicate how cells interact in the body, so their relevance to cancer is limited. Scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have set out to change that.

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All-plastic solar cell could help power future flexible electronics

June 26, 2015 7:06 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

If you picture a solar panel, it’s most likely dark blue or black, and rigid and flat. Now imagine one that’s semi-transparent, ultra-thin and bendable. Scientists are closing in on making the latter version a reality. They report in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces the development of a see-through, bendable solar cell made entirely out of plastic. The device could help power the coming wave of flexible electronics.

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Stretching a thin crystal to get better solar cells

June 26, 2015 6:59 am | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | Comments

Nature loves crystals. Salt, snowflakes and quartz are three examples of crystals—materials characterized by the lattice-like arrangement of their atoms and molecules. Industry loves crystals, too. Electronics are based on a special family of crystals known as semiconductors, most famously silicon. To make semiconductors useful, engineers must tweak their crystalline lattice in subtle ways to start and stop the flow of electrons.

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Engineering new routes to biochemicals

June 26, 2015 6:51 am | by Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service | Comments

Living cells can make a vast range of products for us, but they don’t always do it in the most straightforward or efficient way. Shota Atsumi, a chemistry professor at the Univ. of California, Davis, aims to address that through “synthetic biology”: designing and building new biochemical pathways within living cells, based on existing pathways from other living things.

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Optimizing shale gas production from well to wire

June 26, 2015 6:43 am | by Amanda Morris, Northwestern Univ. | Comments

“Hydraulic fracturing” (or fracking) and “environmentally friendly” often do not appear in the same sentence together. But as the U.S. teeters on the precipice of a shale gas boom, Northwestern professor Fengqi You is exploring ways to make the controversial activity easier on the environment and the wallet.

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Delivering drugs to the right place

June 26, 2015 6:37 am | by Julie Cohen, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara | Comments

For the 12 million people worldwide who suffer from polycystic kidney disease (PKD), an inherited disorder with no known cure, a new treatment option may be on the horizon. PKD is a condition in which clusters of benign cysts develop within the kidneys. They vary in size, and as they accumulate more and more fluid, they can become very large. Among the common complications of PKD are high blood pressure and kidney failure.

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Analyzing ocean mixing reveals insight on climate

June 25, 2015 1:30 pm | by Nancy Ambrosiano, Los Alamos National Laboratory | Comments

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a computer model that clarifies the complex processes driving ocean mixing in the vast eddies that swirl across hundreds of miles of open ocean.

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