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Researchers inform development of Ebola vaccine trials

April 21, 2015 11:58 am | by Faith Singer-Villalobos, Univ. of Texas at Austin | Comments

As the current Ebola outbreak wanes, scientists have to make the most of every opportunity to prepare for future outbreaks. One such opportunity involves the identification of a safe and effective Ebola vaccine. Texas supercomputers have aided researchers in modeling which types of clinical trials will provide the best information.

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Global warming more moderate than worst-case models

April 21, 2015 11:15 am | by Tim Lucas, Duke Univ. | Comments

A new study based on 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it would under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Duke-led study shows that natural variability in surface temperatures can account for observed changes in the recent rates of warming from decade to decade.

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A better grasp of primate grip

April 21, 2015 10:59 am | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | Comments

Scientists are coming to grips with the superior grasping ability of humans and other primates throughout history. In a new study, a research team led by Yale Univ. found that even the oldest known human ancestors may have had precision grip capabilities comparable to modern humans. This includes Australopithecus afarensis, which appears in the fossil record a million years before the first evidence of stone tools.

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Nanophotonics with ultracold atoms for simulating quantum many-body systems

April 21, 2015 10:46 am | by Max Planck Society | Comments

Ultracold atoms in the so-called optical lattices, which are generated by crosswise superposition of laser beams, have proven to be one of the most promising tools for simulating and understanding the behavior of many-body systems. However, the implementation in free space has some limitations such as the distance between the atoms (around 400 nm) and the short range of the interactions.

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Electron trapping harnessed to make light sensors

April 21, 2015 10:34 am | by Mark Esser, NIST | Comments

Traps. Whether you’re squaring off against the Empire or trying to wring electricity out of sunlight, they’re almost never a good thing. But sometimes you can turn that trap to your advantage. A team from the Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln, working with researchers at NIST, has shown that electron-trapping defects that are typically problematic in solar cells can be an asset when engineering sensitive light detectors.

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Microalgae used for green asphalt

April 21, 2015 10:25 am | by CNRS | Comments

Microalgae offer a highly promising alternative to petroleum products without competing for resources used in the food industry. They have now been used, for the first time, to make asphalt. Researchers have recently proved the viability of bioasphalt, demonstrating its close similarity to the "real" asphalt used to pave roads.

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Innovation boosts Wi-Fi bandwidth ten-fold

April 21, 2015 8:39 am | by Rachel Robertson, Oregon State Univ. | Comments

Researchers at Oregon State Univ. have invented a new technology that can increase the bandwidth of Wi-Fi systems by 10 times, using LED lights to transmit information. The technology could be integrated with existing Wi-Fi systems to reduce bandwidth problems in crowded locations, such as airport terminals or coffee shops, and in homes where several people have multiple Wi-Fi devices.

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Black hole hunters tackle a cosmic conundrum

April 21, 2015 8:31 am | by Dartmouth College | Comments

Dartmouth College astrophysicists and their colleagues haven’t only proven that a supermassive black hole exists in a place where it isn't supposed to be, but in doing so have opened a new door to what things were like in the early universe. Henize 2-10 is a small irregular galaxy that is not too far away in astronomical terms: 30 million light-years.

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Happily ever after

April 21, 2015 8:20 am | by Cory Nealon, Univ. at Buffalo | Comments

Fastening protein-based medical treatments to nanoparticles isn't easy. With arduous chemistry, scientists can do it. But like a doomed marriage, the fragile binding that holds them together often separates. This problem, which has limited how doctors can use proteins to treat serious disease, may soon change.

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Chemists create modular system for placing proteins on membranes

April 21, 2015 8:12 am | by Susan Brown, Univ. of California, San Diego | Comments

With a tag, an anchor and a cage that can be unlocked with light, chemists have devised a simple, modular system that can locate proteins at the membrane of a cell. The chemists fused proteins to molecules called SNAP-tags, modified enzymes that recognize a particular chemical group called a benzylguanine.

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Better battery imaging paves way for renewable energy future

April 21, 2015 8:04 am | by Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | Comments

In a move that could improve the energy storage of everything from portable electronics to electric microgrids, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison and Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers have developed a novel x-ray imaging technique to visualize and study the electrochemical reactions in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries containing a new type of material, iron fluoride.

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Electronic device performance enhanced with new transistor encasing method

April 21, 2015 7:50 am | by Austin Keating, News Bureau Intern, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Comments

A more effective method for closing gaps in atomically small wires has been developed by Univ. of Illinois researchers, further opening the doors to a new transistor technology. Silicon-based transistors have been the foundation of modern electronics for more than half a century. A new transistor technology, carbon nanotube wires, shows promise in replacing silicon because it can operate ten times as fast and is more flexible.

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New tabletop detector “sees” single electrons

April 21, 2015 7:37 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicists have developed a new tabletop particle detector that is able to identify single electrons in a radioactive gas. As the gas decays and gives off electrons, the detector uses a magnet to trap them in a magnetic bottle. A radio antenna then picks up very weak signals emitted by the electrons, which can be used to map the electrons’ precise activity over several milliseconds.

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The magnetic coercivity, the resistance to change in the orientation of the magnetic domain structure, for nickel (Ni) was shown to strongly depend on the crystal structure of the underlying oxide (vanadium oxide). The maximum Ni coercivity occurs at the

Giant magnetic effects induced in hybrid materials

April 20, 2015 2:22 pm | by Department of Energy, Office of Science | Comments

Proximity effects in hybrid heterostructures, which contain distinct layers of different materials, allow one material species to reveal and/or control properties of a dissimilar species. Specifically, for a magnetic thin film deposited onto a transition metal oxide film, the magnetic properties change dramatically as the oxide undergoes a structural phase transition.

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Applied physics helps decipher the causes of sudden death

April 20, 2015 2:10 pm | by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) | Comments

Sudden cardiac death accounts for approximately 10 percent of natural deaths, most of which are due to ventricular fibrillation. Each year it causes 300,000 deaths in the United States and 20,000 in Spain. Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that the transition to calcium alternans, an arrhythmia associated with increased risk of sudden death, has common features with the magnetic ordering of metals.

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