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Glass coating for improved battery performance

March 3, 2015 8:57 am | by Sean Nealon, Univ. of California, Riverside | Comments

Lithium-sulfur batteries have been a hot topic in battery research because of their ability to produce up to 10 times more energy than conventional batteries, which means they hold great promise for applications in energy-demanding electric vehicles. However, there have been fundamental road blocks to commercializing these sulfur batteries.

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Sizing up cells

March 3, 2015 8:40 am | by John Sullivan, Princeton Univ. | Comments

Modern biology has attained deep knowledge of how cells work, but the mechanisms by which cellular structures assemble and grow to the right size largely remain a mystery. Now, Princeton Univ. researchers may have found the key in a dynamic agglomeration of molecules inside cells.

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Giant virus revealed in 3-D using x-ray laser

March 3, 2015 8:31 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | Comments

For the first time, researchers have produced a 3-D image revealing part of the inner structure of an intact, infectious virus, using a unique x-ray laser at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The virus, called Mimivirus, is in a curious class of “giant viruses” discovered just over a decade ago.

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Boosting light-water reactor research

March 3, 2015 8:06 am | by Nancy Ambrosiano, Los Alamos National Laboratory | Comments

Hard on the heels of a five-year funding renewal, modeling and simulation technology developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory as part of the Consortium for the Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors will now be deployed to industry and academia under a new inter-institutional agreement for intellectual property.

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Research gets to the core of Earth’s formation

March 3, 2015 7:54 am | by Anne M Stark, LLNL | Comments

Violent collisions between the growing Earth and other objects in the solar system generated significant amounts of iron vapor, according to a new study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The results show that iron vaporizes easily during impact events, which forces planetary scientists to change how they think about the growth of planets and evolution of our solar system.

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Fighting parasites with their own genomes

March 3, 2015 7:47 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | Comments

Tiny parasitic hookworms infect nearly half a billion people worldwide, almost exclusively in developing countries, causing health problems ranging from gastrointestinal issues to cognitive impairment and stunted growth in children. By sequencing and analyzing the genome of one particular hookworm species, Caltech researchers have uncovered new information that could aid the fight against these parasites.  

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New views of enzyme structures offer insights into metabolism of cholesterol

March 3, 2015 7:39 am | by Ian Demsky, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

With the aid of x-ray crystallography, researchers at the Univ. of Michigan have revealed the structures of two closely related enzymes that play essential roles in the body's ability to metabolize excess lipids, including cholesterol. The findings are an important step toward understanding and being able to therapeutically target disorders and drug side effects that cause lipids, including cholesterol, to build up in the body.

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Nanodevice defeats drug resistance

March 3, 2015 7:30 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Chemotherapy often shrinks tumors at first, but as cancer cells become resistant to drug treatment, tumors can grow back. A new nanodevice developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers can help overcome that by first blocking the gene that confers drug resistance, then launching a new chemotherapy attack against the disarmed tumors.

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Syria's civil war linked partly to drought, global warming

March 2, 2015 5:09 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | Comments

The conflict that has torn Syria apart can be traced, in part, to a record drought worsened by global warming, a new study says. In what scientists say is one of the most detailed and strongest connections between violence and human-caused climate change, researchers trace the effects of Syria's drought from the collapse of farming, to the migration of 1.5 million farmers to the cities, and then to poverty and civil unrest.

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An old-looking galaxy in a young universe

March 2, 2015 12:34 pm | by ESO | Comments

A team of astronomers from the Univ. of Copenhagen used the Very Large Telescope's X-shooter instrument along with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe one of the youngest and most remote galaxies ever found. They were surprised to discover a far more evolved system than expected.

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Breakthrough in OLED technology

March 2, 2015 12:27 pm | by Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics | Comments

Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), which are made from carbon-containing materials, have the potential to revolutionize future display technologies, making low-power displays so thin they'll wrap or fold around other structures, for instance. Conventional LCD displays must be backlit by either fluorescent light bulbs or conventional LEDs whereas OLEDs don't require back lighting.

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Unlocking the key to immunological memory in bacteria

March 2, 2015 11:41 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

A powerful genome editing tool may soon become even more powerful. Researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have unlocked the key to how bacteria are able to “steal” genetic information from viruses and other foreign invaders for use in their own immunological memory system.

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Forbidden quantum leaps possible with high-res spectroscopy

March 2, 2015 11:27 am | by Nicole Casal Moore, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

A new twist on an old tool lets scientists use light to study and control matter with 1,000 times better resolution and precision than previously possible. Physicists at the Univ. of Michigan have demonstrated "ponderomotive spectroscopy," an advanced form of a technique that was born in the 17th century when Isaac Newton first showed that white light sent through a prism breaks into a rainbow.

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Analysis shows ion slowdown in fuel cell material

March 2, 2015 11:01 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

Dislocations in oxides such as cerium dioxide, a solid electrolyte for fuel cells, turn out to have a property that is the opposite of what researchers had expected, according to a new analysis. Researchers had thought that a certain kind of strain would speed the transport of oxygen ions through the material, potentially leading to the much faster diffusion that is necessary in high-performance solid-oxide fuel cells.

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How to best harness solar power

March 2, 2015 10:48 am | by Dawn Fuller, Univ. of Cincinnati | Comments

A research partnership is reporting advances on how to make solar cells stronger, lighter, more flexible and less expensive when compared with the current silicon or germanium technology on the market. The researchers discovered how a blend of conjugated polymers resulted in structural and electronic changes that increased efficiency three-fold, by incorporating graphene in the active layer of the carbon-based materials.

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