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Magnetic material unnecessary to create spin current

July 24, 2015 11:45 am | by Carla Reiter, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

It doesn’t happen often that a young scientist makes a significant and unexpected discovery, but postdoctoral researcher Stephen Wu of Argonne National Laboratory just did exactly that. What he found, that you don't need a magnetic material to create spin current from insulators, has important implications for the field of spintronics.

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Innovative algorithm helps decipher how drugs work inside the body

July 24, 2015 7:16 am | by Lucky Tran, Columbia Univ. Medical Center | Comments

Researchers at Columbia Univ. Medical Center have developed a computer algorithm that is helping scientists see how drugs produce pharmacological effects inside the body. The study, published in Cell, could help researchers create drugs that are more efficient and less prone to side effects, suggest ways to regulate a drug's activity and identify novel therapeutic uses for new and existing compounds.

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Programming adult stem cells to treat muscular dystrophy

July 23, 2015 5:25 pm | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Stem cells hold great potential for addressing a variety of conditions from spinal cord injuries to cancer, but they can be difficult to control. Scientists are now reporting in ACS Nano a new way to mimic the body’s natural approach to programming these cells. Using this method, they successfully directed adult stem cells to turn specifically into muscle, which could potentially help treat patients with muscular dystrophy.

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Finding could lead to cheap, efficient metal-based solar cells

July 23, 2015 3:15 pm | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | Comments

New research from Rice Univ. could make it easier for engineers to harness the power of light-capturing nanomaterials to boost the efficiency and reduce the costs of photovoltaic solar cells. Although the domestic solar-energy industry grew by 34% in 2014, fundamental technical breakthroughs are needed if the U.S. is to meet its national goal of reducing the cost of solar electricity to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.

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Make mine a decaf: Breakthrough in knowledge of how nanoparticles grow

July 23, 2015 2:30 pm | by Univ. of Leicester | Comments

A team of researchers from the Univ. of Leicester and France's G2ELab-CNRS in Grenoble have, for the first time, observed the growth of free nanoparticles in helium gas in a process similar to the decaffeination of coffee, providing new insights into the structure of nanoparticles. Nanoparticles have a very large surface area compared with their volume and are often able to react very quickly.

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Boosting wireless power transfer with magnetic field enhancement

July 23, 2015 1:15 pm | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Research from North Carolina State Univ. and Carnegie Mellon Univ. shows that passing wireless power transfer through a magnetic resonance field enhancer (MRFE)—which can be as simple as a copper loop—can boost the transfer efficiency by at least 100% as compared to transferring through air alone. MRFE use could potentially boost transfer efficiency by as much as 5,000% in some systems, experts say.

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Improving strength and modulus in carbon fibers

July 23, 2015 10:45 am | by Rick Robinson, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

Carbon fibers are stronger and lighter than steel, and composite materials based on carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers are being used in an expanding range of aerospace, automotive and other applications. It’s widely believed, moreover, that carbon-fiber technology has the potential to produce composites at least 10 times stronger than those in use today.

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New theory says dark matter acts like well-known particle

July 23, 2015 7:48 am | by Kavli Institute | Comments

A new theory says dark matter acts remarkably similar to subatomic particles known to science since the 1930s. We owe a lot to dark matter: It is the thing keeping galaxies, stars, our solar system and our bodies intact. Yet no one has been able to observe it, and it has often been regarded as a totally new exotic form of matter, such as a particle moving in extra dimensions of space or its quantum version, super-symmetry.

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Boosting gas mileage by turning engine heat into electricity

July 23, 2015 7:33 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Automakers are looking for ways to improve their fleets’ average fuel efficiency, and scientists may have a new way to help them. In a recent report, one team reports the development of a material that could convert engine heat that’s otherwise wasted into electrical energy to help keep a car running, and reduce the need for fuels. It could also have applications in aerospace, manufacturing and other sectors.

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New material forges the way for “stem cell factories”

July 23, 2015 7:27 am | by Lindsay Brooke, Univ. of Nottingham | Comments

If you experience a major heart attack the damage could cost you around five billion heart cells. Future stem cell treatments will require this number and more to ensure those cells are replaced and improve your chances of survival. Experts at The Univ. of Nottingham have discovered the first fully synthetic substrate with potential to grow billions of stem cells.

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Smarter window materials can control light, energy

July 23, 2015 7:19 am | by Sandra Zaragoza, The Univ. of Texas at Austin | Comments

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The Univ. of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.

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The light of fireflies for medical diagnostics

July 22, 2015 1:15 pm | by Nik Papageorgiou, EPFL | Comments

In biology and medicine, we often need to detect biological molecules. For example, in cancer diagnostics, doctors need quick and reliable ways of knowing if tumor cells are present in the patient's body. Although such detection methods exist, they often require a lot of time, work and money.

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New battery technologies take on lithium-ion

July 22, 2015 12:15 pm | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Lithium-ion batteries remain the technology-of-choice for today’s crop of electric cars, but challengers are revving up to try to upset the current order. An article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) takes a look at two of the top contenders vying to erode lithium-ion’s dominance.

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3-D model could solve supernova mystery

July 22, 2015 11:30 am | by Tom Oswald, Media Communications, Michigan State Univ. | Comments

Giant stars die a violent death. After a life of several million years, they collapse into themselves and then explode in what is known as a supernova. How these stars explode remains a mystery. However, recent work led by Michigan State Univ. may bring some answers to this astronomical question.

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Researchers make scalable arrays of “building blocks” for ultra-thin electronics

July 22, 2015 11:15 am | by Dawn Levy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Comments

Semiconductors, metals and insulators must be integrated to make the transistors that are the electronic building blocks of your smartphone, computer and other microchip-enabled devices. Today’s transistors are miniscule—a mere 10 nm wide—and formed from 3-D crystals.

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