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First ab initio method for characterizing hot carriers

July 18, 2014 8:19 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

One of the major road blocks to the design and development of new, more efficient solar cells may have been cleared. Researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed the first ab initio method for characterizing the properties of “hot carriers” in semiconductors. Hot carriers are electrical charge carriers with significantly higher energy than charge carriers at thermal equilibrium.

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Future electronics may depend on lasers, not quartz

July 18, 2014 8:09 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | Comments

Nearly all electronics require devices called oscillators that create precise frequencies. For nearly 100 years, these oscillators have relied upon quartz crystals to provide a frequency reference, much like a tuning fork is used as a reference to tune a piano. However, future high-end navigation systems, radar systems and even possibly tomorrow's consumer electronics will require references beyond the performance of quartz.

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Why airlines didn't avoid risky Ukraine airspace

July 18, 2014 3:22 am | by David Koenig - AP Airlines Writers - Associated Press | Comments

The possibility that the civilian jetliner downed over war-torn eastern Ukraine with nearly 300 people onboard was hit by a missile could have profound consequences for the world's airlines. Airlines might have to be more vigilant about avoiding trouble spots, making flights longer and causing them to burn more costly fuel. They may even be forced to reconsider many international routes.

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Microsoft cutting 18,000 jobs, signals new path

July 17, 2014 12:23 pm | by Ryan Nakashima - AP Business Writer - Associated Press | Comments

Microsoft announced the biggest layoffs in its history Thursday, saying it will cut 18,000 jobs or 14 percent of its workforce as it streamlines its Nokia mobile device business to focus on using the Windows Phone operating system. Although the job cuts had been expected, the extent of them was a surprise.

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National Xenopus Resource at MBL innovates new way to study proteins

July 17, 2014 10:45 am | by Laurel Hamers, Marine Biological Laboratory | Comments

Many organisms that hold potential for proteomic analysis do not yet have a completely sequenced genome because the costs are prohibitive. Xenopus laevis, the African clawed frog, is one such species. Researchers at the Marine Biological Laboratory have found a work-around. Instead of relying on DNA, they used mRNA sequences to more efficiently create a reference database that can be used for proteomic analysis of Xenopus.

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Japan approves joint missile study, export to U.S.

July 17, 2014 10:22 am | by The Associated Press | Comments

Japan has approved the export of a locally-made component for a missile defense system to the U.S. and is launching joint research with Britain on air-to-air missile technology for fighter jets. The approval late Thursday marks the first defense technology transfer since Japan eased military export rules in April.

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Toward ultimate light efficiency on the cheap

July 17, 2014 9:27 am | by Kate McAlpine, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

Researchers have taken a major stride toward perfectly efficient lighting that is also relatively inexpensive and simple to make. The same material can also reveal the presence of water by changing color. Incandescent bulbs only turn 5% of the electricity they use into light, while fluorescent LEDs can produce light from up to 25% of the electrons that pass through them. Phosphorescent LEDs can turn every electron into a ray of light.

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After hybrid success, Toyota gambles on fuel cell

July 17, 2014 8:55 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | Comments

Long dismissed as too impractical and expensive for everyday cars, fuel cell technology is getting a push into the mainstream by Toyota, the world's top-selling automaker. Buoyed by its success with electric-gasoline hybrid vehicles, Toyota is betting that drivers will embrace hydrogen fuel cells, an even cleaner technology. The company’s fuel cell car will go on sale before April next year.

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PNNL Director Mike Kluse announces retirement

July 17, 2014 8:41 am | Comments

Mike Kluse, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and senior vice president at Battelle, has announced his plans to retire. Kluse has been that director of the laboratory since 2007 and during tenure has grown its business from $750 million to more than one billion, as well as securing funding for the  construction of seven new buildings on the campus.

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Understanding how the brain retrieves memories

July 17, 2014 8:07 am | by Donald B Johnston, LLNL | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists are developing electrode array technology for monitoring brain activity as part of a collaborative research project with the Univ. of California San Francisco (UC San Francisco) to better understand how the neural circuitry of the brain works during memory retrieval.

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No-wait data centers

July 17, 2014 7:56 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Big Websites usually maintain their own “data centers,” banks of tens or even hundreds of thousands of servers, all passing data back and forth to field users’ requests. Like any big, decentralized network, data centers are prone to congestion: Packets of data arriving at the same router at the same time are put in a queue, and if the queues get too long, packets can be delayed.

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Water molecules favor negative charges

July 17, 2014 7:52 am | Comments

Recent research shows that, in the presence of charged substances, water molecules favor associating with elements with a negative electrical charge rather than a positive electric charge. A study on the subject that employed advanced optical spectroscopy techniques could provide new insights on the processes of cell formation.

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Are ants the answer to carbon dioxide sequestration?

July 17, 2014 7:24 am | Comments

A 25-year-long study published in Geology provides the first quantitative measurement of in situ calcium-magnesium silicate mineral dissolution by ants, termites, tree roots, and bare ground. This study reveals that ants are one of the most powerful biological agents of mineral decay yet observed. This discovery might offer a line of research on how to "geoengineer" accelerated carbon dioxide consumption by Ca-Mg silicates.

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Project yields sharpest map of Mars' surface properties

July 17, 2014 7:20 am | by Robert Burnham, ASU | Comments

A heat-sensing camera designed at Arizona State University has provided data to create the most detailed global map yet made of Martian surface properties. THEMIS, the nine-band visual and infrared camera on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter, was used to create this map, which is now available online. And citizen scientists are invited to help make it even better.

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CDC director admits safety problems at germ labs

July 16, 2014 4:22 pm | by Mike Stobbe - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Wednesday that systemic safety problems have for years plagued federal public health laboratories that handle dangerous germs such as anthrax and bird flu. Testifying at a congressional hearing in Washington, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said the agency had long thought of the lapses as unrelated accidents.

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