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Flight is Greener than Driving

April 27, 2015 | by Univ. of Michigan | Comments

Flying in a plane is not only safer than driving a car, it's also better for the environment. In follow-up research from last year, a study found that it takes twice as much energy to drive than to fly.

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Improving organic transistors that drive flexible, comfortable electronics

May 5, 2015 12:40 pm | by Janet Lathrop, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst | Comments

A revolution is coming in flexible electronic technologies as cheaper, more flexible, organic transistors come on the scene to replace expensive, rigid, silicone-based semiconductors, but not enough is known about how bending in these new thin-film electronic devices will affect their performance, say materials scientists at the Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst.

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Toward a squishier robot

May 5, 2015 11:37 am | by Univ. of Pittsburgh | Comments

For decades, robots have advanced the efficiency of human activity. Typically, however, robots are formed from bulky, stiff materials and require connections to external power sources; these features limit their dexterity and mobility. But what if a new material would allow for development of a "soft robot" that could reconfigure its own shape and move using its own internally generated power?

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New chip architecture may provide foundation for quantum computer

May 5, 2015 11:25 am | by American Institute of Physics | Comments

Quantum computers are in theory capable of simulating the interactions of molecules at a level of detail far beyond the capabilities of even the largest supercomputers today. Such simulations could revolutionize chemistry, biology and material science, but the development of quantum computers has been limited by the ability to increase the number of quantum bits, or qubits, that encode, store and access large amounts of data.

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A first for field-effect transistors

May 5, 2015 11:14 am | by Bonnie Davis, Office of Communications and External Relations, Wake Forest Univ. | Comments

Researchers from Wake Forest Univ. and the Univ. of Utah are the first to successfully fabricate halide organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite field-effect transistors and measure their electrical characteristics at room temperature. The team designed the structure of these field-effect transistors to achieve electrostatic gating of these materials and determine directly their electrical properties.

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“Microcombing” creates stronger, more conductive carbon nanotube films

May 5, 2015 9:42 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Researchers have developed an inexpensive technique called “microcombing” to align carbon nanotubes, which can be used to create large, pure CNT films that are stronger than any previous such films. The technique also improves the electrical conductivity that makes these films attractive for use in electronic and aerospace applications.

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New climate projections paint bleak future for tropical coral reefs

May 5, 2015 8:50 am | by Vasyl Kacapyr, Cornell Univ. | Comments

As greater atmospheric carbon dioxide boosts sea temperatures, tropical corals face a bleak future. New climate model projections show that conditions are likely to increase the frequency and severity of coral disease outbreaks, reports a team of researchers led by Cornell Univ. scientists.

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First evidence of changing conditions on a super Earth

May 5, 2015 8:36 am | by Sarah Collins, Univ. of Cambridge | Comments

Astronomers have detected wildly changing temperatures on a super Earth, the first time any atmospheric variability has been observed on a rocky planet outside the solar system, and believe it could be due to huge amounts of volcanic activity, further adding to the mystery of what had been nicknamed the “diamond planet”.

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Computer scientists speed up mine detection

May 5, 2015 8:22 am | by Ioana Patringenaru, Univ. of California, San Diego | Comments

Computer scientists at the Univ. of California, San Diego, have combined sophisticated computer vision algorithms and a brain-computer interface to find mines in sonar images of the ocean floor. The study shows that the new method speeds detection up considerably, when compared to existing methods, which mainly consist of visual inspection by a mine detection expert.

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Channeling valleytronics in graphene

May 5, 2015 8:05 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

To the list of potential applications of graphene we can now add valleytronics, the coding of data in the wave-like motion of electrons as they speed through a conductor. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers have discovered topologically protected 1-D electron conducting channels at the domain walls of bilayer graphene. These conducting channels are “valley polarized".

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Tracking photosynthesis from space

May 5, 2015 7:55 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | Comments

Watching plants perform photosynthesis from space sounds like a futuristic proposal, but a new application of data from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite may enable scientists to do just that. The new technique, which allows researchers to analyze plant productivity from far above Earth, will provide a clearer picture of the global carbon cycle.

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Implantable electrode coating good as gold

May 4, 2015 11:51 am | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Comments

A team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Univ. of California, Davis, have found that covering an implantable neural electrode with nanoporous gold could eliminate the risk of scar tissue forming over the electrode’s surface. The team demonstrated that the nanostructure of nanoporous gold achieves close physical coupling of neurons by maintaining a high neuron-to-astrocyte surface coverage ratio.

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Pulsar with widest orbit ever detected

May 4, 2015 11:25 am | by National Radio Astronomy Observatory | Comments

A team of highly determined high school students discovered a never-before-seen pulsar by painstakingly analyzing data from the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT). Further observations by astronomers using the GBT revealed that this pulsar has the widest orbit of any around a neutron star and is part of only a handful of double neutron star systems.

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Defects in atomically thin semiconductor emit single photons

May 4, 2015 11:08 am | by Univ. of Rochester | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Rochester have shown that defects on an atomically thin semiconductor can produce light-emitting quantum dots. The quantum dots serve as a source of single photons and could be useful for the integration of quantum photonics with solid-state electronics: a combination known as integrated photonics.

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Proteomics identifies DNA repair toolbox

May 4, 2015 10:49 am | by Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry | Comments

During each cell division, more than 3.3 billion base pairs of genomic DNA have to be duplicated and segregated accurately to daughter cells. But what happens when the DNA template is damaged in such a way that the replication machinery gets stuck? To answer this question, a team of scientists have analyzed how the protein composition of the DNA replication machinery changes upon encountering damaged DNA.

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The random Raman laser: A new light source for microcosmos

May 4, 2015 10:42 am | by The Optical Society | Comments

In modern microscope imaging techniques, lasers are used as light sources because they can deliver fast pulsed and extremely high-intensity radiation to a target, allowing for rapid image acquisition. However, traditional lasers come with a significant disadvantage in that they produce images with blurred speckle patterns: a visual artifact that arises because of a property of traditional lasers called "high spatial coherence."

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