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Synthetic biology on ordinary paper, results off the page

October 24, 2014 | by Kat J. McAlpine, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering | Comments

New achievements in synthetic biology, which will allow complex cellular recognition reactions to proceed outside of living cells, will dare scientists to dream big: There could one day be inexpensive, shippable and accurate test kits that use saliva or a drop of blood to identify specific disease or infection.

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Molecular beacons shine light on how cells "crawl"

October 24, 2014 12:40 pm | by Carol Clark, EScience Commons | Comments

Adherent cells, the kind that form the architecture of all multicellular organisms, are engineered with precise forces that allow them to move around and stick to things. When these cells are put into a petri dish with a variety of substrates they can sense the differences in the surfaces and they will “crawl” toward the stiffest one. Chemists have devised a method using DNA-based tension probes to measure and map these phenomena.

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Physicists find toxic halogens in Li-ion batteries

October 24, 2014 12:08 pm | by Brian McNeill, Virginia Commonwealth Univ. | Comments

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth Univ. have discovered that most of the electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries are superhalogens, and that the vast majority of these electrolytes contain toxic halogens. At the same time, the researchers also found that the electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries could be replaced with halogen-free electrolytes that are both nontoxic and environmentally friendly.

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Hamilton Storage, Askion partner on crybiotechnology sample management solutions

October 24, 2014 11:47 am | Comments

Hamilton Storage Technologies, an affiliate entity of Hamilton Company, and Askion this week announced a partnership to combine expertise in robotic automation at ultra-low and cryopreservation temperatures. This partnership makes it possible to introduce the Askion C-line cryopreservation portfolio to several new markets, including North America and South America.

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Global boom in hydropower expected this decade

October 24, 2014 10:50 am | Comments

An unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction is underway, primarily in developing countries and emerging economies. While this is expected to double the global hydropower electricity production, it could reduce the number of remaining large free-flowing rivers by 20% and pose a threat to freshwater biodiversity. A new database has been developed in Denmark to support decision making on sustainable modes of electricity production.

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Cooking up carbon: Sawdust and iron in the melting pot

October 24, 2014 10:16 am | Comments

Researchers in the U.K. have found a new way to make nanostructured carbon using the waste product sawdust. By cooking sawdust with a thin coating of iron at 700 C, they have discovered that they can create carbon with a structure made up of many tiny tubes. These tubes are one thousand times smaller than an average human hair.

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California startup unveils gun technology for cops

October 24, 2014 8:48 am | by Haven Daley, Associated Press | Comments

A Silicon Valley startup has developed technology to let dispatchers know when a police officer's weapon has been fired. The product by Yardarm Technologies would notify dispatchers in real time when an officer's gun is taken out of its holster and when it's fired. It can also track where the gun is located and in what direction it was fired.

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3-D metamaterials with a natural bent

October 24, 2014 8:44 am | Comments

Scientists have been able to manufacture 3-D isotropic metamaterials, but up to now only on a very small scale. Now, in a significant breakthrough, scientists from RIKEN, in collaboration with colleagues in Taiwan, have succeeded in creating a large metamaterial up to 4-mm-square in size that is essentially isotropic, using a type of metamaterial element called a split-ring resonator.

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Evaluating powerful batteries for modular grid energy storage

October 24, 2014 8:31 am | by Stephanie Holinka, Sandia National Laboratories | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has begun laboratory-based characterization of TransPower’s GridSaver, the largest grid energy storage system analyzed at Sandia’s Energy Storage Test Pad in Albuquerque. Sandia will evaluate the 1 MW, lithium-ion grid energy storage system for capacity, power, safety and reliability. The laboratory also will investigate the system’s frequency regulation.

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Study reveals molecular structure of water at gold electrodes

October 24, 2014 8:19 am | by Rachel Berkowitz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

When a solid material is immersed in a liquid, the liquid immediately next to its surface differs from that of the bulk liquid at the molecular level. This interfacial layer is critical to our understanding of a diverse set of phenomena. When the solid surface is charged, it can drive further changes in the interfacial liquid. However, elucidating the molecular structure at the solid-liquid interface under these conditions is difficult.

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Breaking the nano barrier

October 24, 2014 8:00 am | by New York Univ. | Comments

Researchers at the New York Univ. Polytechnic School of Engineering have broken new ground in the development of proteins that form specialized fibers used in medicine and nanotechnology. For as long as scientists have been able to create new proteins that are capable of self-assembling into fibers, their work has taken place on the nanoscale. For the first time, this achievement has been realized on the microscale.

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Swiss scientists determine comet's “perfume”

October 23, 2014 4:00 pm | Comments

Rotten eggs, horse urine, formaldehyde, bitter almonds, alcohol, vinegar and a hint of sweet ether. That heady bouquet, according to Swiss researchers, is the 'perfume' of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Scientists said Thursday they have determined what the comet would smell like by analyzing the chemicals in its coma, the fuzzy head surrounding the nucleus.

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New 3-D display technology promises greater energy efficiency

October 23, 2014 1:11 pm | Comments

At first glance, the static, greyscale display created by a group of researchers in Hong Kong might not catch the eye of a thoughtful consumer in a market saturated with flashy, colorful electronics. But a closer look at the specs could change that: the ultra-thin LCD screen is capable of holding 3-D images without a power source, making it a compact, energy-efficient way to display visual information.

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Researchers break the nano barrier to engineer the first protein microfiber

October 23, 2014 1:06 pm | Comments

For as long as scientists have been able to create new proteins that are capable of self-assembling into fibers, scientists’ work has taken place on the nanoscale. For the first time, this achievement has been realized on the microscale, a leap of magnitude in size that presents significant new opportunities for using engineered protein fibers.

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Cooling to near absolute zero with magnetic molecules

October 23, 2014 12:56 pm | Comments

An international team of scientists have become the first to successfully reach temperatures below -272.15 C, which is just above absolute zero, using magnetic molecules. The effort, which avoids the use of helium, depends on a form of gadolinium that appropriately has a structure resembling a snowflake.

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NIST offers electronics industry two ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules

October 23, 2014 12:33 pm | Comments

A few short years ago, the idea of a practical manufacturing process based on getting molecules to organize themselves in useful nanoscale shapes seemed far-fetched. Recent work at NIST, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and IBM Almaden Research Center suggest this capability isn’t far off, however, by demonstrating self-assembly of thin films on a polymer template that creates precise rows just 10 nm wide.

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