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Parting water: “Electric prism” separates water’s nuclear spin states

September 8, 2014 1:43 pm | Comments

Using an "electric prism", or deflector, scientists have found a new way of separating water molecules that differ only in their nuclear spin states and, under normal conditions, do not part ways. Since water is such a fundamental molecule in the universe, the recent study may impact a multitude of research areas ranging from biology to astrophysics.

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Physicists explore biomimetic clocks

September 8, 2014 1:37 pm | Comments

An international team has engineered and studied “active vesicles." These purely synthetic, molecularly thin sacs are capable of transforming energy, injected at the microscopic level, into organized, self-sustained motion.The ability to create spontaneous motion and stable oscillations is a hallmark of living systems and reproducing and understanding this behavior remains a significant challenge for researchers.

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Serious respiratory illness hits hundreds of kids

September 8, 2014 1:26 pm | by Lindsey Tanner - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

Hundreds of children in about a dozen states have been sickened by a severe respiratory illness that public health officials suspect may be caused by an uncommon virus similar to the germ that causes the common cold. Nearly 500 children have been treated at one hospital alone—Children's Mercy in Kansas City—and some required intensive care, according to authorities.

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NIH finds more forgotten samples in labs

September 8, 2014 12:09 pm | by Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press | Comments

The National Institutes of Health said it has uncovered a nearly century-old container of ricin and a handful of other forgotten samples of dangerous pathogens as it combs its laboratories for improperly stored hazardous materials. The agency began an intensive investigation of all its facilities after a scientist in July found vials of smallpox dating from the 1950s.

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Parkinson's, cancer findings earn medical prizes

September 8, 2014 9:25 am | by Malcolm Ritter - AP Science Writer - Associated Press | Comments

Key discoveries about breast cancer, Parkinson's disease and the body's handling of defective proteins have earned prestigious medical awards for five scientists. The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced the winners Monday. Each prize includes a $250,000 honorarium. The awards will be presented Sept. 19 in New York.

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Breath temperature test could identify lung cancer

September 8, 2014 8:43 am | Comments

New research in Europe suggests that testing the temperature of breath could be a simple and noninvasive method to either confirm or reject the presence of lung cancer. Many research teams have been looking at the possibility of using breath tests for a number of cancers but this is the first study looking at breath temperature as a marker in lung cancer.

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Seeing clearly through a liquid

September 8, 2014 8:33 am | Comments

Accurately examining materials in liquids using electron microscopy is a difficult task for scientists, as electron beams perturb the sample and induce artifacts. Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Univ. of California, Davis have demonstrated that in in situ liquid experiments, the choice of electron beam energy has a strong effect that goes far beyond merely increasing the concentration of reducing radicals.

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Platelet-like particles augment natural blood clotting for treating trauma

September 8, 2014 8:23 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

A new class of synthetic platelet-like particles could augment natural blood clotting for the emergency treatment of traumatic injuries. The clotting particles, which are based on soft and deformable hydrogel materials, are triggered by the same factor that initiates the body’s own clotting processes.

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Ultra-thin detector captures unprecedented range of light

September 8, 2014 8:13 am | by Heather Dewar, Media Relations, Univ. of Maryland | Comments

New research at the Univ. of Maryland could lead to a generation of light detectors that can see below the surface of bodies, walls and other objects. Using the special properties of graphene, a prototype detector is able to see an extraordinarily broad band of wavelengths. Included in this range are terahertz waves, which are invisible to the human eye.

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Engineers advance understanding of graphene’s friction properties

September 8, 2014 8:09 am | Comments

On the macroscale, adding fluorine atoms to carbon-based materials makes for water-repellant, non-stick surfaces, such as Teflon. However, on the nanoscale, adding fluorine to graphene vastly increased the friction experienced when sliding against the material. Through a combination of physical experiments and atomistic simulations, a Univ. of Pennsylvania research team has discovered the mechanism behind this surprising finding.

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Shining light on brain circuits to study learning, memory

September 8, 2014 8:04 am | by Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley | Comments

Univ. of California, Berkeley neuroscientists plan to use light to tweak the transmission of signals in the brain to learn more about how the mouse brain and presumably the human brain process information. Last month, the promising optogenetics research project was awarded one of 36 new $300,000, two-year grants from the National Science Foundation in support of the BRAIN Initiative.

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Phosphorus a promising semiconductor

September 8, 2014 8:02 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Defects damage the ideal properties of many 2-D materials, like carbon-based graphene. Phosphorus just shrugs. That makes it a promising candidate for nanoelectronic applications that require stable properties, according to new research by Rice Univ. theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson and his colleagues.

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Sun-powered desalination for villages in India

September 8, 2014 7:51 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

Around the world, there’s more salty groundwater than fresh, drinkable groundwater. For example, 60% of India is underlain by salty water. Now an analysis by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers shows that a different desalination technology called electrodialysis, powered by solar panels, could provide enough clean, palatable drinking water to supply the needs of a typical village.

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Microsoft revamps MSN to flow across devices

September 8, 2014 12:25 am | by Mae Anderson - AP Technology Writer - Associated Press | Comments

Microsoft is giving its MSN news service a crisper look, new lifestyle tools and seamless syncing across devices. The company says the revamped site fits in with Microsoft's overall strategy of making mobile phones and Internet-based services priorities as its traditional businesses—Windows and Office software installed on desktops—slow down or decline.

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Spatial movie production brings full 3-D to picture and sound

September 5, 2014 12:30 pm | Comments

Nowadays, video special effects are in demand, and even more so if they’re in 3-D. A new system called OmniCam360, being presented at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam next week, is able to use depth maps generated by 16 or more cameras to create a virtual camera, similar to movies that are entirely computer-generated. The addition of wave field synthesis allows the sound to match the video in 3-D.

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