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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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Sprayable foam slows bleeding

June 25, 2015 1:00 pm | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Traumatic injuries, whether from serious car accidents, street violence or military combat, can lead to significant blood loss and death. But using a material derived from crustacean shells, scientists have now developed a foam that can be sprayed onto an open wound to stop the bleeding. They report their successful tests on pigs in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

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Discovering a new stage in the galactic lifecycle

June 25, 2015 12:30 pm | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | Comments

On its own, dust seems fairly unremarkable. However, by observing the clouds of gas and dust within a galaxy, astronomers can determine important information about the history of star formation and the evolution of galaxies. Now, a Caltech-led team has been able to observe the dust contents of galaxies as seen just 1 billion years after the Big Bang.

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A new means to killing harmful bacteria

June 25, 2015 11:50 am | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | Comments

The global rise in antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to public health, damaging our ability to fight deadly infections such as tuberculosis. What’s more, efforts to develop new antibiotics are not keeping pace with this growth in microbial resistance, resulting in a pressing need for new approaches to tackle bacterial infection.

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Pointing the way to crack-resistant metals

June 25, 2015 11:20 am | by Joe Kullman, Arizona State Univ. | Comments

Potential solutions to big problems continue to arise from research that is revealing how materials behave at the smallest scales. The results of a new study to understand the interactions of various metal alloys at the nanometer and atomic scales are likely to aid advances in methods of preventing the failure of systems critical to public and industrial infrastructure.

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New conductive ink for electronic apparel

June 25, 2015 10:45 am | by Univ. of Tokyo | Comments

Univ. of Tokyo researchers have developed a new ink that can be printed on textiles in a single step to form highly conductive and stretchable connections. This new functional ink will enable electronic apparel such as sportswear and underwear incorporating sensing devices for measuring a range of biological indicators such as heart rate and muscle contraction.

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Unlocking fermentation secrets opens the door to new biofuels

June 24, 2015 4:30 pm | by Rick Kubetz, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have, for the first time, uncovered the complex interdependence and orchestration of metabolic reactions, gene regulation and environmental cues of clostridial metabolism, providing new insights for advanced biofuel development.

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Spintronics advance brings wafer-scale quantum devices closer to reality

June 24, 2015 4:00 pm | by Carla Reiter, Univ. of Chicago | Comments

An electronics technology that uses the "spin" of atomic nuclei to store and process information promises huge gains in performance over today's electron-based devices. But getting there is proving challenging. Now researchers at the Univ. of Chicago's Institute for Molecular Engineering have made a crucial step toward nuclear spintronic technologies.

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