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Synthetic biology on ordinary paper, results off the page

October 24, 2014 7:53 am | by Kat J. McAlpine, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering | Comments

New achievements in synthetic biology, which will allow complex cellular recognition reactions to proceed outside of living cells, will dare scientists to dream big: There could one day be inexpensive, shippable and accurate test kits that use saliva or a drop of blood to identify specific disease or infection.

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Swiss scientists determine comet's “perfume”

October 23, 2014 4:00 pm | Comments

Rotten eggs, horse urine, formaldehyde, bitter almonds, alcohol, vinegar and a hint of sweet ether. That heady bouquet, according to Swiss researchers, is the 'perfume' of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Scientists said Thursday they have determined what the comet would smell like by analyzing the chemicals in its coma, the fuzzy head surrounding the nucleus.

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New 3-D display technology promises greater energy efficiency

October 23, 2014 1:11 pm | Comments

At first glance, the static, greyscale display created by a group of researchers in Hong Kong might not catch the eye of a thoughtful consumer in a market saturated with flashy, colorful electronics. But a closer look at the specs could change that: the ultra-thin LCD screen is capable of holding 3-D images without a power source, making it a compact, energy-efficient way to display visual information.

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Researchers break the nano barrier to engineer the first protein microfiber

October 23, 2014 1:06 pm | Comments

For as long as scientists have been able to create new proteins that are capable of self-assembling into fibers, scientists’ work has taken place on the nanoscale. For the first time, this achievement has been realized on the microscale, a leap of magnitude in size that presents significant new opportunities for using engineered protein fibers.

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Cooling to near absolute zero with magnetic molecules

October 23, 2014 12:56 pm | Comments

An international team of scientists have become the first to successfully reach temperatures below -272.15 C, which is just above absolute zero, using magnetic molecules. The effort, which avoids the use of helium, depends on a form of gadolinium that appropriately has a structure resembling a snowflake.

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NIST offers electronics industry two ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules

October 23, 2014 12:33 pm | Comments

A few short years ago, the idea of a practical manufacturing process based on getting molecules to organize themselves in useful nanoscale shapes seemed far-fetched. Recent work at NIST, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and IBM Almaden Research Center suggest this capability isn’t far off, however, by demonstrating self-assembly of thin films on a polymer template that creates precise rows just 10 nm wide.

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NIST’s finalizes cloud computing roadmap

October 23, 2014 9:41 am | Comments

The final version of the U.S. Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, Volumes I and II has been published by NIST. The roadmap focuses on strategic and tactical objectives to support the federal government’s accelerated adoption of cloud computing. This final document reflects the input from more than 200 comments on the initial draft received from around the world.

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Precise and programmable biological circuits

October 23, 2014 9:37 am | by Fabio Bergamin, ETH Zurich | Comments

Bio-engineers are working on the development of biological computers: biological material that can be integrated into cells to change their functions. Researchers in Europe have now developed a biological circuit that controls the activity of individual sensor components using internal "timer". This circuit prevents a sensor from being active when not required by the system; when required, it can be activated via a control signal.

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An effective, cost-saving way to detect natural gas pipeline leaks

October 23, 2014 9:30 am | Comments

Major leaks from oil and gas pipelines have led to home evacuations, explosions, millions of dollars in lawsuit payouts and valuable natural resources escaping into the air, ground and water. But scientists say they have developed a new software-based method that finds leaks even when they’re small, which could help prevent serious incidents and save money for customers and industry.

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“Silicon Beach” brings tech boom to Los Angeles

October 23, 2014 9:25 am | by Ryan Nakashima and Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writers | Comments

So long Silicon Valley. These days entrepreneurs and engineers are flocking to a place better known for surfing waves than the Web. Amid the palm trees and purple sunsets of the Southern California coastline, techies have built "Silicon Beach."

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Army collaboration produces new test station for missile warning system

October 23, 2014 8:51 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

The AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) helps protect Army aircraft from attack by shoulder-launched missiles and other threats. To keep this defensive system operating at maximum effectiveness, the Army periodically updates the software on the more than 1,000 AN/AAR-57 units in use around the world.

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New insights on carbonic acid in water

October 23, 2014 8:42 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

Though it garners few headlines, carbonic acid, the hydrated form of carbon dioxide, is critical to both the health of the atmosphere and the human body. However, because it exists for only a fraction of a second before changing into a mix of hydrogen and bicarbonate ions, carbonic acid has remained an enigma. A new study has yielded new information about carbonic acid with important implications for geological and biological concerns.

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Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultra-fast data collection

October 23, 2014 8:29 am | by Michael Baum, NIST | Comments

When studying extremely fast reactions in ultra-thin materials, two measurements are better than one. A new research tool invented by researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Johns Hopkins Univ. and NIST captures information about both temperature and crystal structure during extremely fast reactions in thin-film materials.

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Microscopic “walkers” find their way across cell surfaces

October 23, 2014 8:14 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

Nature has developed a wide variety of methods for guiding particular cells, enzymes and molecules to specific structures inside the body: White blood cells can find their way to the site of an infection, while scar-forming cells migrate to the site of a wound. But finding ways of guiding artificial materials within the body has proven more difficult.

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What a “Star Wars” laser bullet really looks like

October 22, 2014 2:50 pm | Comments

Action-packed science-fiction movies often feature colorful laser bolts. But what would a real laser missile look like during flight, if we could only make it out? How would it illuminate its surroundings? The answers lie in a film made by researchers in Poland who have captured the passage of an ultrashort laser pulse through the air.

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