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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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Weird Supernova Sheds Light on Gamma-ray Bursts

April 28, 2015 7:00 am | by National Radio Astronomy Observatory | Comments

Astronomers have found a long-sought "missing link" between supernova explosions that generate gamma-ray bursts and those that don't. The scientists found that a stellar explosion seen in 2012 has many characteristics expected of one that generates a powerful burst of gamma rays, yet no such burst occurred.

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Factors Impact Fate of Sinking Carbon

April 28, 2015 7:00 am | by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | Comments

The researchers found that sinking particles of stressed and dying phytoplankton release chemicals that have a jolting, steroid-like effect on marine bacteria feeding on the particles. The chemicals juice up the bacteria’s metabolism causing them to more rapidly convert organic carbon in the particles back into CO2 before they can sink to the deep ocean.

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Cooling System Could Save U.S. $6.3B Per Year

April 28, 2015 7:00 am | by The Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville | Comments

A patented passive cooling system for computer processors that's undergoing optimization could save U.S. consumers more than $6.3 billion per year in energy costs associated with running their computer cooling fans. Imagine what it could do if in global use.  

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Converter Accepts Different Power Sources

April 28, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Arkansas | Comments

Engineering researchers have invented a novel electrical power converter system that simultaneously accepts power from a variety of energy sources and converts it for use in the electrical grid system. Innovations in this field are critical as the U.S. moves toward integration of renewable energy sources to the national power grid.

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Molybdenum disulfide encapsulated between layers of boron nitride. Courtesy of Gwan-Hyoung Lee/Yonsei University

Two-dimensional semiconductor comes clean

April 27, 2015 2:39 pm | by Holly Evarts, Columbia University | Comments

In 2013 James Hone, Wang Fong-Jen Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia Engineering, and colleagues at Columbia demonstrated that they could dramatically improve the performance of graphene—highly conducting two-dimensional (2-D) carbon—by encapsulating it in boron nitride (BN), an insulating material with a similar layered structure.

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Researchers have developed membranes that can significantly reduce aircraft noise when inserted into the honeycomb structures used in aircraft design. Courtesy of Yun Jing, North Carolina State University

Lightweight membrane can significantly reduce in-flight aircraft noise

April 27, 2015 2:29 pm | by North Carolina State University | Comments

Riding in a helicopter or airplane can be a noisy experience for passengers. But researchers from North Carolina State University and MIT have developed a membrane that can be incorporated into aircraft to drastically reduce the low-frequency noise that penetrates the cabin.

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Negative electronic compressibility: More is less in novel material

April 27, 2015 2:19 pm | by Boston College | Comments

Add water to a half-filled cup and the water level rises. This everyday experience reflects a positive material property of the water-cup system. But what if adding more water lowers the water level by deforming the cup? This would mean a negative compressibility. Now, a quantum version of this phenomenon, called negative electronic compressibility (NEC), has been discovered.

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X-ray images from recent National Ignition Facility implosion experiments compare two shots with different thickness ablators, demonstrating the improvement in shape. Both shots used deuterium-tritium fuel and were fired at 350 terawatts of ultraviolet la

Thinner capsules yield faster implosions

April 27, 2015 1:03 pm | by Charlie Osolin, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Comments

In National Ignition Facility (NIF) inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments, the fusion fuel implodes at a high speed in reaction to the rapid ablation, or blow-off, of the outer layers of the target capsule. To reach the conditions needed for ignition, the fuel must implode symmetrically at a peak velocity of about 350 kilometers per second—without producing hydrodynamic instabilities that can dampen the fusion reactions.

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Researchers have captured the first 3-D video of a living algal embryo turning itself inside out, from a sphere to a mushroom shape and back again. The results could help unravel the mechanical processes at work during a similar process in animals, which

Upside down and inside out

April 27, 2015 12:53 pm | by University of Cambridge | Comments

Researchers have captured the first 3-D video of a living algal embryo turning itself inside out, from a sphere to a mushroom shape and back again. The results could help unravel the mechanical processes at work during a similar process in animals, which has been called the “most important time in your life.”

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Juejun Hu and colleagues developed a way to embed very thin glass photonic devices such as flexible microdisk resonators and waveguides in alternating layers of soft and stiff polymers. Their flexible plastic device sustained being bent thousands of times

Bendable glass devices

April 27, 2015 12:43 pm | by Denis Paiste, MIT | Comments

A special class of glass materials known as chalcogenide glasses holds promise for speeding integration of photonic and electronic devices with functions as diverse as data transfer and chemical sensing. Juejun "JJ" Hu, the Merton C. Flemings Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, is finding new ways to deploy these glasses with surprising flexibility.

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A microplasma is created by focusing intense laser pulses in air. Besides visible light, the microplasma emits electromagnetic pulses at terahertz frequencies that can be used to detect complex molecules, such as explosives and drugs. Courtesy of J. Adam

Generating broadband terahertz radiation from a microplasma in air

April 27, 2015 12:32 pm | by University of Rochester | Comments

Researchers have shown that a laser-generated microplasma in air can be used as a source of broadband terahertz radiation. They demonstrate that an approach for generating terahertz waves using intense laser pulses in air—first pioneered in 1993—can be done with much lower power lasers, a major challenge until now.

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Melting material in preparation for producing a new type of magnet

Ames Laboratory scientists create cheaper magnetic material for cars, wind turbines

April 27, 2015 12:21 pm | by Ames Laboratory | Comments

Karl A. Gschneidner and fellow scientists at Ames Laboratory have created a new magnetic alloy that is an alternative to traditional rare-earth permanent magnets. The new alloy—a potential replacement for high-performance permanent magnets found in automobile engines and wind turbines—eliminates the use of one of the scarcest and costliest rare earth elements, dysprosium, and instead uses cerium, the most abundant rare earth.

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Northwestern scientists develop first liquid nanolaser

April 27, 2015 12:12 pm | by Megan Fellman, Northwestern University | Comments

Northwestern University scientists have developed the first liquid nanoscale laser. And it’s tunable in real time, meaning you can quickly and simply produce different colors, a unique and useful feature. The laser technology could lead to practical applications, such as a new form of a “lab on a chip” for medical diagnostics.

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3-D Method Aids Study of Proteins

April 27, 2015 11:08 am | by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona | Comments

Researchers have developed AGGRESCAN3D, a new computational method which allows studying the structure of folded globular proteins and their propensity for forming toxic protein aggregates.

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Coral-inhabiting Gall Crab Species Discovered

April 27, 2015 11:00 am | by Pensoft Publishers | Comments

Fieldwork in Indonesia and Malaysia lead to the discovery of a new coral-dwelling gall crab. The new gall crab, named Lithoscaptus semperi, was discovered inhabiting free-living corals of the species Trachyphyllia geoffroyi on sandy bottoms near coral reefs.

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