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LLNL shines new light on additive manufacturing approach

April 11, 2014 8:14 am | by James A Bono, LLNL | Comments

For nearly a century, electrophoretic deposition (EPD) has been used as a method of coating material by depositing particles of various substances onto the surfaces of various manufactured items. Since its earliest use, EPD has been used to deposit a wide range of materials onto surfaces. This process works well, but is limited. EPD can only deposit material across the entire surface and not in specific, predetermined locations, until now.

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Mechanical forces affect T-cell recognition, signaling

April 11, 2014 8:04 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

T-cells use a complex process to recognize foreign pathogens and diseased cells. In a paper published in Cell, researchers add a new level of understanding to that process by describing how the T-cell receptors use mechanical contact—the forces involved in their binding to the antigens—to make decisions about whether or not the cells they encounter are threats.

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Study to measure gravity’s effects on plant cells in space

April 11, 2014 7:53 am | by Natalie van Hoose, Purdue Univ. | Comments

A Purdue Univ. experiment that will test how plant cells sense and respond to different levels of gravity is scheduled to launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Monday (April 14). Understanding how gravity impacts plants is key for determining the conditions necessary to grow plants in space.

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How the brain pays attention

April 11, 2014 7:43 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Picking out a face in the crowd is a complicated task: Your brain has to retrieve the memory of the face you’re seeking, then hold it in place while scanning the crowd, paying special attention to finding a match. A new study reveals how the brain achieves this type of focused attention on faces or other objects.

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Researchers using math to whittle away at jet lag

April 10, 2014 5:22 pm | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

Lots of apps claim they can help you fight jet lag. Now Michigan researchers say mathematical formulas suggest it's possible to adjust to new time zones a bit faster than previously thought, and they created their own free app to help. Doctors have long said exposure to light is key. But how much, and when?

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Artificial cooling tricky topic for climate panel

April 10, 2014 5:19 pm | by Karl Ritter, Associated Press | Comments

The U.N.'s expert panel on climate change is under pressure this week as it considers whether geoengineering should be part of the tool-kit that governments use to keep global warming in check. Drafts leaked before the conference only mentioned one of the proposed options, removing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it underground. But some countries support solar radiation management as well.  

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Physicist wins $1.3M tech prize for data storage

April 10, 2014 5:12 pm | by Matti Huuhtanen, Associated Press | Comments

Anyone who uses large data centers, cloud services, social networks or gets music and film online can thank British-American physicist Stuart Parkin. Parkin, who was R&D Magazine’s first Innovator of the Year in 2001, has won the 1 million-euro Millennium Technology Prize this week for discoveries leading to a thousand-fold increase in digital data storage on magnetic disks.

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Researchers make most precise measurement yet of the expanding universe

April 10, 2014 1:15 pm | by Barbara Kennedy, Penn State | Comments

Astronomers at Penn State and other institutions participating in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have used 140,000 distant quasars to measure the expansion rate of the universe when it was only one-quarter of its present age. This measurement is the best yet of the expansion rate at any epoch in the last 13 billion years during the history of the universe.

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Creating a new bone tissue generation technique

April 10, 2014 11:27 am | Comments

Univ. of Texas at Arlington and Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital are investigating whether bone grown from the body’s own stem cells can replace traditional types of bone grafting. The process, which has been successful in previous lab experiments, uses biodegradable polymer scaffolding material and bone morphogenetic protein, or BMP, which was inserted into the abdomen of mice to attract stem cells that in turn produced bone.

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Sunlight generates hydrogen in new porous silicon

April 10, 2014 11:20 am | by A'ndrea Elyse Messer, Penn State Univ. | Comments

Porous silicon manufactured in a bottom up procedure using solar energy can be used to generate hydrogen from water, according to a team of Penn State Univ. mechanical engineers, who also see applications for batteries, biosensors and optical electronics as outlets for this new material.

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Tiny particles may pose big risk

April 10, 2014 11:05 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Thousands of consumer products contain nanoparticles added by manufacturers to improve texture, kill microbes or enhance shelf life, among other purposes. However, several studies have shown that some of these engineered nanoparticles can be toxic to cells. A new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that certain nanoparticles can also harm DNA.

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Promising agents burst through superbug defenses to fight antibiotic resistance

April 10, 2014 9:02 am | Comments

In the fight against “superbugs,” scientists have discovered a class of agents that can make some of the most notorious strains vulnerable to the same antibiotics that they once handily shrugged off. Recently discovered metallopolymers, when paired with the same antibiotics MRSA normally dispatches with ease, helped evade the bacteria’s defensive enzymes and destroyed its protective walls, causing the bacteria to burst.

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Scientists discover way to make ethanol without corn, other plants

April 10, 2014 9:00 am | by Mark Shwartz, Stanford Univ. | Comments

Stanford Univ. scientists have found a new, highly efficient way to produce liquid ethanol from carbon monoxide gas. This promising discovery could provide an eco-friendly alternative to conventional ethanol production from corn and other crops, say the scientists. Their results are published online in Nature.

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New technology unwraps mummies' ancient mysteries

April 10, 2014 8:58 am | by Jill Lawless, Associated Press | Comments

Our fascination with mummies never gets old. Now the British Museum is using the latest technology to unwrap their ancient mysteries. Scientists at the museum have used CT scans and sophisticated imaging software to go beneath the bandages, revealing skin, bones, preserved internal organs, and in one case a brain-scooping rod left inside a skull by embalmers. The findings go on display next month in an exhibition.

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Electromagnetically induced transparency in a silicon nitride optomechanical crystal

April 10, 2014 8:45 am | Comments

Researchers from the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology have observed electromagnetically induced transparency at room temperature and atmospheric pressure in a silicon nitride optomechanical system. This work highlights the potential of silicon nitride as a material for producing integrated devices in which mechanical vibrations can be used to manipulate and modify optical signals.

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