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Making hydrogen fuel from water and visible light highly efficient

August 21, 2015 7:23 am | by Allison Mills, Michigan Technological Univ. | Comments

Mimicking photosynthesis is not easy. The bottleneck of artificial photosynthesis is visible light, because converting it into other forms of energy is not efficient. Researchers at Michigan Technological Univ. have found a way to solve this issue, leading to an efficient technique to produce hydrogen fuel.

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Turning oily soil into fertile ground

August 20, 2015 10:00 pm | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Rice Univ. scientists are cleaning soil contaminated by oil spills in a way that saves energy and reclaims the soil’s fertility. They use a process known as pyrolysis, which involves heating contaminated soils in the absence of oxygen. This approach is much better for the environment than standard incineration techniques for fast remediation, said Rice environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez.

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Laser-burned graphene gains metallic powers

August 20, 2015 9:00 pm | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Rice Univ. chemists who developed a unique form of graphene have found a way to embed metallic nanoparticles that turn the material into a useful catalyst for fuel cells and other applications. Laser-induced graphene, created by the Rice lab of chemist James Tour last year, is a flexible film with a surface of porous graphene made by exposing a common plastic known as polyimide to a commercial laser-scribing beam.

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Structure identified of tumor-suppressing protein

August 20, 2015 8:00 pm | by Joceyln Duffy, Carnegie Mellon Univ. | Comments

An international group of researchers led by Carnegie Mellon Univ. physicists Mathias Lösche and Frank Heinrich have established the structure of an important tumor-suppressing protein, PTEN. Their findings provide new insights into how the protein regulates cell growth and how mutations in the gene that encodes the protein can lead to cancer.

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Electrospray solves longstanding problem in Langmuir-Blodgett assembly

August 20, 2015 7:00 pm | by Amanda Morris, Northwestern Univ. | Comments

In the 1930s, Irving Langmuir and his colleague Katharine Blodgett were working long days in the General Electric Company’s research laboratory. Together, they discovered that by spreading molecules with volatile organic solvents on the surface of water, they could create a one-molecule-thick film and use it as an anti-reflective coating for glass.

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A new femtosecond laser for industry

August 20, 2015 6:00 pm | by Univ. of Warsaw | Comments

A team at the Univ. of Warsaw, Faculty of Physics has created a laser capable of generating ultra-short pulses of light even under extremely difficult external conditions. This unique combination of precision and resilience is due to the fact that the whole process of generating femtosecond laser pulses takes place within a specially selected optical fiber.

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New data from Antarctic detector firms up cosmic neutrino sighting

August 20, 2015 5:00 pm | by Terry Devitt, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | Comments

Researchers using the IceCube Neutrino Observatory have sorted through the billions of subatomic particles that zip through its frozen cubic-kilometer-sized detector each year to gather powerful new evidence in support of 2013 observations confirming the existence of cosmic neutrinos.

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New, stable 2-D materials

August 20, 2015 4:00 pm | by Daniel Cochlin, Univ. of Manchester | Comments

Dozens of new 2-D materials similar to graphene are now available, thanks to research from Univ. of Manchester scientists. These 2-D crystals are capable of delivering designer materials with revolutionary new properties. The problem has been that the vast majority of these atomically thin 2-D crystals are unstable in air, so react and decompose before their properties can be determined and their potential applications investigated.

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Grape waste could make competitive biofuel

August 20, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Adelaide | Comments

The solid waste left over from wine-making could make a competitive biofuel, Univ. of Adelaide researchers have found. Published in Bioresource Technology, the researchers showed that up to 400 L of bioethanol could be produced by fermentation of a ton of grape marc (the leftover skins, stalks and seeds from wine-making).

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Most complete human brain model to date is a “brain changer”

August 20, 2015 2:00 pm | by Emily Caldwell, Ohio State Univ. | Comments

Scientists at The Ohio State Univ. have developed a nearly complete human brain in a dish that equals the brain maturity of a five-week-old fetus. The brain organoid, engineered from adult human skin cells, is the most complete human brain model yet developed, said Rene Anand, professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology at Ohio State.

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Language analysis predicts a coming betrayal

August 20, 2015 1:00 pm | by Bill Steele, Cornell Univ. | Comments

Being betrayed is worse than just being attacked. Someone you trusted as a friend and ally suddenly stabs you in the back. According to a team of researchers at Cornell Univ., the Univ. of Maryland and the Univ. of Colorado, there are subtle linguistic clues that predict when a betrayal is coming. Humans are poor at noticing them, but computer analysis can detect them.

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Using nanoscopic pores to investigate protein structure

August 20, 2015 12:00 pm | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | Comments

Univ. of Pennsylvania researchers have made strides toward a new method of gene sequencing a strand of DNA’s bases are read as they are threaded through a nanoscopic hole.  In a new study, they have shown that this technique can also be applied to proteins as way to learn more about their structure.

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A new femtosecond laser for industry

August 20, 2015 11:51 am | by Univ. of Warsaw | Comments

A team at the Univ. of Warsaw, Faculty of Physics has created a laser capable of generating ultra-short pulses of light even under extremely difficult external conditions. This unique combination of precision and resilience is due to the fact that the whole process of generating femtosecond laser pulses takes place within a specially selected optical fiber.

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A metabolic master switch underlying human obesity

August 20, 2015 11:00 am | by Helen Knight | MIT News correspondent | Comments

Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially fatal disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

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Nanocrystals don’t add up for reactor materials

August 20, 2015 10:00 am | by Anne Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have found that nanocrystalline materials don’t necessarily resist radiation effects in nuclear reactors better than currently used materials. As researchers hunt for materials with the ability to withstand prolonged radiation damage, the use of nanostructured materials has been considered as an enabling technology for future reactor designs and longer-lasting reactor components.

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