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Making new materials an atomic layer at a time

April 17, 2014 | Comments

Researchers in Pennsylvania and Texas have shown the ability to grow high quality, single-layer materials one on top of the other using chemical vapor deposition. This highly scalable technique, often used in the semiconductor industry, can produce materials with unique properties that could be applied to solar cells, ultracapacitors for energy storage, or advanced transistors for energy efficient electronics, among many other applications.

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Researchers develop new antiviral drug to combat measles outbreaks

April 17, 2014 7:57 am | Comments

A novel antiviral drug may protect people infected with the measles from getting sick and prevent them from spreading the virus to others, an international team of researchers says. The team of researchers developed the drug and tested it in animals infected with a virus closely related to one that causes the measles. As reported, virus levels were significantly reduced when infected animals received the drug by mouth.

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Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

April 17, 2014 7:50 am | by Eric Gershon, Yale Univ. | Comments

Scientists at Yale Univ. have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. High-quality quantum switches are essential for the development of quantum computers and the quantum Internet.

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Bionic ankle “emulates nature”

April 17, 2014 7:41 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | Comments

These days, Hugh Herr, an assoc. prof. of media arts and sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs. Messages pour in from amputees seeking prostheses and from media outlets pursuing interviews. Then there are students looking to join Herr’s research group.

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Study: Diabetic heart attacks and strokes falling

April 16, 2014 5:23 pm | by Mike Stobbe - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

In the midst of the diabetes epidemic, a glimmer of good news: Heart attacks, strokes and other complications from the disease are plummeting. Over the last two decades, the rates of heart attacks and strokes among diabetics fell by more than 60%, a new federal study shows. The research also confirms earlier reports of drastic declines in diabetes-related kidney failure and amputations.

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Combining IT and science to monitor the weather

April 16, 2014 2:01 pm | by Julie Eble, Penn State Univ. | Comments

At Penn State, the meteorology department’s eWall, or electronic wall, is a major resource for meteorologists around the world for viewing computer-simulated models of the weather Developed by Fred Gadomski, well known "Weather World" host and senior lecturer in meteorology, is a way for students, forecasters and weather enthusiasts to have a one-stop online location for current weather information.

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SpaceX will try again Friday to launch station cargo

April 16, 2014 12:22 pm | by Marcia Dunn - AP Aerospace Writer - Associated Press | Comments

SpaceX is shooting for another launch attempt Friday to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. NASA confirmed the launch date Wednesday, two days after a last-minute rocket leak delayed the mission. Stormy weather, however, is forecast for Friday. Saturday is the backup launch date.

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New barcode could make counterfeiters’ lives more difficult

April 16, 2014 11:16 am | Comments

Counterfeiters, beware! Scientists are reporting the development of a new type of inexpensive barcode that, when added to documents or currency, could foil attempts at making forgeries. Although the tags are easy for researchers to make, they still require ingredients you can’t exactly find at the local hardware store.

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New technique will accelerate genetic characterization of photosynthesis

April 16, 2014 9:12 am | Comments

A type of single-cell green algae called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a leading subject for photosynthesis research, but few tools are available for characterizing the functions of its genes. A team including Carnegie Institution's Martin Jonikas has developed a highly sophisticated tool that will transform the work of plant geneticists by making large-scale genetic characterization of Chlamydomonas mutants possible for the first time.

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Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries

April 16, 2014 8:15 am | by Frances White, PNNL | Comments

Electric vehicles could travel farther and more renewable energy could be stored with lithium-sulfur batteries that use a unique powdery nanomaterial. Researchers added the powder, a kind of nanomaterial called a metal organic framework, to the battery's cathode to capture problematic polysulfides that usually cause lithium-sulfur batteries to fail after a few charges.

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Fish from acidic ocean waters less able to smell predators

April 16, 2014 8:05 am | by Brett Israel, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

Fish living on coral reefs where carbon dioxide seeps from the ocean floor were less able to detect predator odor than fish from normal coral reefs, according to a new study. The study confirms laboratory experiments showing that the behavior of reef fishes can be seriously affected by increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the ocean.

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Excitons observed in action

April 16, 2014 7:52 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

A quasiparticle called an exciton has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within materials has never been directly observed. Now scientists have achieved that feat, imaging excitons’ motions directly. This could enable research leading to significant advances in electronics, they say, as well as a better understanding of natural energy-transfer processes, such as photosynthesis.

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Potent, puzzling and (now less) toxic: Team discovers how antifungal drug works

April 15, 2014 5:18 pm | by Diana Yates, Univ. of Illinois | Comments

Scientists have solved a decades-old medical mystery, and in the process have found a potentially less toxic way to fight invasive fungal infections, which kill about 1.5 million people a year. The researchers say they now understand the mechanism of action of amphotericin, an antifungal drug that has been in use for more than 50 years even though it is nearly as toxic to human cells as it is to the microbes it attacks.

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Computational record: Earthquake simulation tops one quadrillion flops

April 15, 2014 4:28 pm | Comments

A team of computer scientists, mathematicians and geophysicists in Germany have optimized the SeisSol earthquake simulation software at Leibniz Supercomputing Center to push its performance beyond the one petaflop/sec mark, which equates to one quadrillion floating point operations per second. SeisSol is used to investigate rupture processes and seismic waves.

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Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries

April 15, 2014 3:29 pm | Comments

The chemistry of lithium-ion batteries limits how much energy they can store, and one promising solution is the lithium-sulfur battery, which can hold as much as four times more energy per mass. However, problematic polysulfides usually cause lithium-sulfur batteries to fail after a few charges. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, however, have developed a new powdery nanomaterial that could solve the issue.

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Astronomers: ‘Tilt-a-worlds’ could harbor life

April 15, 2014 3:17 pm | by Peter Kelley, Univ. of Washington | Comments

A fluctuating tilt in a planet’s orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by a team of astronomers. In fact, sometimes it helps because such “tilt-a-worlds,” as astronomers sometimes call them, are less likely than fixed-spin planets to freeze over, as heat from their host star is more evenly distributed.

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