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On-chip optical sensing technique used to detect multiple flu strains

October 6, 2015 12:00 pm | by Tim Stephens, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz | Comments

New chip-based optical sensing technologies developed by researchers enable the rapid detection and identification of multiple biomarkers. In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe a novel method to perform diagnostic assays for multiple strains of flu virus on a small, dedicated chip.


Nanoscale photodetector shows promise to improve the capacity of photonic circuits

October 6, 2015 9:52 am | by The Optical Society | Comments

Photonic circuits, which use light to transmit signals, are markedly faster than electronic circuits. Unfortunately, they're also bigger. It's difficult to localize visible light below its diffraction limit, about 200 to 300 nm, and as components in electronic semiconductors have shrunk to the nanometer scale, the photonic circuit size limitation has given electronic circuits a significant advantage, despite the speed discrepancy.


Laser-wielding physicists seize control of atoms’ behavior

October 6, 2015 7:45 am | by Steve Koppes, Univ. of Chicago | Comments

Physicists have wondered in recent years if they could control how atoms interact using light. Now they know that they can, by demonstrating games of quantum billiards with unusual new rules. In an article published in Physical Review Letters, a team of Univ. of Chicago physicists explains how to tune a laser to make atoms attract or repel each other in an exotic state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate.


A “greener” way to assemble materials for solar applications

October 6, 2015 7:39 am | by Dawn Levy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Comments

The efficiency of solar cells depends on precise engineering of polymers that assemble into films 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. Today, formation of that polymer assembly requires solvents that can harm the environment, but scientists have found a "greener" way to control the assembly of photovoltaic polymers in water using a surfactant as a template.


A new way to weigh a star

October 5, 2015 4:00 pm | by Univ. of Southampton | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of Southampton have developed a new method for measuring the mass of pulsars. Until now, scientists have determined the mass of stars, planets and moons by studying their motion in relation to others nearby, using the gravitational pull between the two as the basis for their calculations.


Big range of behaviors for tiny graphene pores

October 5, 2015 2:00 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

The surface of a single cell contains hundreds of tiny pores, or ion channels, each of which is a portal for specific ions. Ion channels are typically about 1 nm wide; by maintaining the right balance of ions, they keep cells healthy and stable. Now MIT researchers have created tiny pores in single sheets of graphene that have an array of preferences and characteristics similar to those of ion channels in living cells.


Scientists grow organic semiconductor crystals vertically for first time

October 5, 2015 1:00 pm | by Shaun Mason, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Comments

Our smartphones, tablets, computers and biosensors all have improved because of the rapidly increasing efficiency of semiconductors. Since the turn of the 21st century, organic, or carbon-based, semiconductors have emerged as a major area of interest for scientists because they are inexpensive, plentiful and lightweight and they can conduct current in ways comparable to inorganic semiconductors.


Gas “fingerprinting” could help energy industry manage CO2 storage

October 5, 2015 12:00 pm | by Ross Barker, Univ. of Glasgow | Comments

A new technique for monitoring carbon dioxide could help the energy industry’s efforts to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions, scientists have found. In a new paper published in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, researchers describe how they have used the unique signature from traces of the noble gases (helium, neon and argon) to monitor the fate of carbon dioxide stored underground.


Predictive model could help guide choices for breast cancer therapies

October 5, 2015 11:00 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

Biomedical engineers have demonstrated a proof-of-principle technique that could give women and their oncologists more personalized information to help them choose options for treating breast cancer. Thanks to diagnostic tests, clinicians and patients can already know the type of breast cancer they're up against, but one big question remains: How likely is it that the cancer will invade other parts of the body?


Research improves efficiency from larger perovskite solar cells

October 5, 2015 10:00 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | Comments

Using a newly developed fabrication method, a research team has attained better than a 15% energy conversion efficiency from perovskite solar cells larger than one square centimeter area. The researchers, from Brown Univ. and the National Renewable Energy Lab, have reported their findings in Advanced Materials.


Flipping molecular attachments amps up activity of CO2 catalyst

October 5, 2015 8:09 am | by Karen McNulty Walsh, Brookhaven National Laboratory | Comments

New research by chemists at Brookhaven National Laboratory offers clues that could help scientists design more effective catalysts for transforming carbon dioxide to useful products. The study reveals how a simple rearrangement of molecular attachments on an iridium hydride catalyst can greatly improve its ability to coax notoriously stable carbon dioxide molecules to react. 


Capturing the right odors to study the brain

October 5, 2015 7:57 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier, Caltech | Comments

Over the summer, Betty Hong, assistant professor of neuroscience, spent a week at the Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Va., interacting and brainstorming with other researchers from around the country interested in olfaction, our sense of smell.


Graphene as a front contact for silicon-perovskite tandem solar cells

October 5, 2015 7:45 am | by Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin | Comments

Teams at HZB have already acquired extensive experience with silicon-perovskite tandem cells. A particularly effective complement to conventional silicon is the hybrid material called perovskite. It has a band gap of 1.6 electron volts with organic, as well as inorganic, components. However, it is very difficult to provide the perovskite layer with a transparent front contact.


Nanocellulose materials by design

October 5, 2015 7:37 am | by Megan Fellman, Northwestern Univ. | Comments

Theoretically, nanocellulose could be the next hot supermaterial.  A class of biological materials found within numerous natural systems, most notably trees, cellulose nanocrystals have captured researchers’ attention for their extreme strength, toughness, light weight and elasticity.


Brightness-equalized quantum dots improve biological imaging

October 5, 2015 7:30 am | by Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have introduced a new class of light-emitting quantum dots with tunable and equalized fluorescence brightness across a broad range of colors. This results in more accurate measurements of molecules in diseased tissue and improved quantitative imaging capabilities.



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