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Genomes uncover life’s early history

August 24, 2015 9:30 am | by Univ. of Manchester | Comments

A Univ. of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms. This has allowed them to map the evolutionary history of eukaryotic genes in unprecedented detail, giving insight into the mechanisms of evolution in the very earliest forms of life.

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Intractable pain may find relief in tiny gold rods

August 24, 2015 9:00 am | by Kyoto Univ. | Comments

A team of scientists at Kyoto Univ.'s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) has developed a novel technique using tiny gold rods to target pain receptors. Gold nanorods are tiny rods that are 1 to 100 nm wide and long. In comparison, a human hair is 100,000 nm wide. The team coated gold nanorods with a special type of protein that transports fat within the body known as a lipoprotein.

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Graphene oxide’s secret properties revealed at atomic level

August 24, 2015 8:00 am | by Amanda Morris, Northwestern Univ. | Comments

Since its discovery, graphene has captured the attention of scientists and engineers for its many extraordinary properties. But graphene oxide, an oxidized derivative of graphene, largely has been viewed as graphene’s inferior cousin. Now a Northwestern Univ. team has found that graphene oxide’s seemingly undesirable defects surprisingly give rise to exciting mechanical properties.

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Smooth robot movements reduce energy consumption by 40%

August 24, 2015 7:27 am | by Chalmers Univ. of Technology | Comments

By minimizing the acceleration of industrial robots, energy consumption can be reduced by up to 40%, while retaining the given production time. This is the result of a new optimization algorithm that was developed by researchers at Chalmers Univ. of Technology. Optimization of the robot's movements reduces acceleration and deceleration, as well as the time the robot is at a standstill since being at a standstill also consumes energy.

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Superlattice design realizes elusive multiferroic properties

August 21, 2015 5:00 pm | by Amanda Morris, Northwestern Univ. | Comments

From the spinning disc of a computer’s hard drive to the varying current in a transformer, many technological devices work by merging electricity and magnetism. But the search to find a single material that combines both electric polarizations and magnetizations remains challenging.

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Researchers developing next generation of high-power lasers

August 21, 2015 4:00 pm | by Univ. of Strathclyde | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Strathclyde are developing groundbreaking plasma based light amplifiers that could replace traditional high-power laser amplifiers. The research group at the Glasgow-based university are leading efforts to take advantage of plasma, the ubiquitous medium that makes up most of the universe, to make the significant scientific breakthrough.

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Venus flytrap inspires development of folding “snap” geometry

August 21, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst | Comments

Inspired by natural "snapping" systems like Venus flytrap leaves and hummingbird beaks, a team led by physicist Christian Santangelo at the Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst has developed a way to use curved creases to give thin curved shells a fast, programmable snapping motion. The new technique avoids the need for complicated materials and fabrication methods when creating structures with fast dynamics.

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Engineers improving safety, reliability of batteries

August 21, 2015 2:00 pm | by The Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville | Comments

The next big step forward in the quest for sustainable, more efficient energy is tantalizingly within reach thanks to research being led by Univ. of Tennessee’s Joshua Sangoro. Sangoro, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, heads a group devoted to the study of soft materials.

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Medical, biofuel advances possible with new gene regulation tool

August 21, 2015 1:00 pm | by Nancy Ambrosiano, Los Alamos National Laboratory | Comments

Recent work by Los Alamos National Laboratory experimental and theoretical biologists describes a new method of controlling gene expression. The key is a tunable switch made from a small non-coding RNA molecule that could have value for medical and even biofuel production purposes.

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Micro-hydropower electricity generation could save water industry millions

August 21, 2015 12:00 pm | by Bangor Univ. | Comments

New research findings from Bangor Univ. and Trinity College Dublin have highlighted the potential for further cost savings from micro-hydropower. Savings of up to an additional £1m a year in Wales alone could help keep water bills down. The water industry consumes a vast amount of energy due to the need to treat, pump and distribute water and wastewater around the country.

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X-ray duo’s research helps launch human trial for treatment of arsenic poisoning

August 21, 2015 11:30 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | Comments

Graham George and Ingrid Pickering, a husband and wife x-ray research team, have worked for decades to understand how contaminants in water and soil are taken up by the body and affect human health. Much of that research has taken place at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, where both are former staff scientists.

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Carbon number crunching

August 21, 2015 9:30 am | by Morgan McCorkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Comments

A booming economy and population led China to emerge in 2006 as the global leader in fossil-fuel carbon emissions, a distinction it still maintains. But exactly how much carbon China releases has been a topic of debate, with recent estimates varying by as much as 15%.

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Physicist tests theories of dark energy by mimicking the vacuum of space

August 21, 2015 8:30 am | by Katherine Kornei, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Comments

Besides the atoms that make up our bodies and all of the objects we encounter in everyday life, the universe also contains mysterious dark matter and dark energy. The latter, which causes galaxies to accelerate away from one another, constitutes the majority of the universe’s energy and mass.

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Making hydrogen fuel from water and visible light highly efficient

August 21, 2015 7:23 am | by Allison Mills, Michigan Technological Univ. | Comments

Mimicking photosynthesis is not easy. The bottleneck of artificial photosynthesis is visible light, because converting it into other forms of energy is not efficient. Researchers at Michigan Technological Univ. have found a way to solve this issue, leading to an efficient technique to produce hydrogen fuel.

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Turning oily soil into fertile ground

August 20, 2015 10:00 pm | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Rice Univ. scientists are cleaning soil contaminated by oil spills in a way that saves energy and reclaims the soil’s fertility. They use a process known as pyrolysis, which involves heating contaminated soils in the absence of oxygen. This approach is much better for the environment than standard incineration techniques for fast remediation, said Rice environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez.

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