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The Lead

Startup Gains Grant to Build Next-Gen Nuclear Reactors

February 11, 2016 | by Ryan Bushey, Associate Editor | Comments

X-energy, a startup operating in stealth since 2009, was the recipient of a $40 million grant from the Department of Energy last month.

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Researchers from Drexel and Paul Sabatier University in France have reported a method for embedding a supercapacitor energy storage device in the silicon wafer of a microchip.

Carbon films can give microchips energy storage capability

February 11, 2016 4:58 pm | by Drexel University | Comments

After more than half a decade of speculation, fabrication, modeling and testing, an international team of researchers led by Drexel University’s Yury Gogotsi, Ph.D. , and Patrice Simon, Ph.D., of Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, have confirmed that their process for making carbon films and micro-supercapacitors will allow microchips and their power sources to become one and the same.

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The new technology will enable users to access centimeter-level accuracy location data through their mobile phones and wearable technologies, without increasing the demand for processing power.

GPS tracking down to the centimeter

February 11, 2016 4:52 pm | by Sarah Nightingale, University of California, Riverside | Comments

Researchers have developed a new, more computationally efficient way to process data from GPS to enhance location accuracy from the meter-level down to a few centimeters. The optimization will be used in the development of autonomous vehicles, improved aviation and naval navigation systems, and precision technologies. It will also enable users to access centimeter-level accuracy location data through their mobile phones...

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Lynden Archer, second from left, the William C. Hooey Director and James A. Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering and director of the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, in a classroom with graduate stude

Room-temperature lithium metal battery closer to reality

February 11, 2016 4:47 pm | by Tom Fleischman, Cornell University | Comments

Rechargeable lithium metal batteries have been known for four decades to offer energy storage capabilities far superior to today’s workhorse lithium-ion technology that powers our smartphones and laptops. But these batteries are not in common use today because, when recharged, they spontaneously grow treelike bumps called dendrites on the surface of the negative electrode.

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Exploiting cellular convection in a thick liquid layer to pattern a polymer film Courtesy of Iman Nejati/TU Darmstadt

Bumpy liquid films could simplify fabrication of microlenses

February 11, 2016 4:42 pm | by American Institute of Physics (AIP) | Comments

Have you ever noticed that, when heated, a film of oil in a pan doesn’t remain completely flat? Instead, it forms a wavy pattern that resembles the exterior of an orange. These sorts of deformations inspired a group of researchers at the Technical University of Darmstadt, in Germany, to explore whether they could be used to improve and streamline microfabrication processes.

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Eusociality in Arthropods Dates Back 100 Million Years

February 11, 2016 4:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Preserved in 100-million-year-old amber, the confrontational interaction between extinct ant species indicates that advanced sociality in arthropods was present tens of millions of years earlier than previously thought.

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Silicon Chip with Integrated Laser: Light from a Nanowire

February 11, 2016 1:01 pm | by Technical Univ. of Munich | Comments

Physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a nanolaser, a thousand times thinner than a human hair. Thanks to an ingenious process, the nanowire lasers grow right on a silicon chip, making it possible to produce high-performance photonic components cost-effectively.

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For VR Pioneers, No Rush to Succeed in 2016

February 11, 2016 12:55 pm | by Derrik J. Lang, AP Entertainment Writer | Comments

Palmer Luckey doesn't just want to sell a bunch of virtual reality headsets. He wants buyers to use them every day.

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Black Hole Observatory Set to Launch on Friday

February 11, 2016 9:34 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

While the east coast is slumbering, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will launch a new observatory into space, which is primed to study black holes and galaxy clusters.

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Power walk: Footsteps could charge mobile electronics

February 11, 2016 9:30 am | by Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | Comments

When you're on the go and your smartphone battery is low, in the not-so-distant future you could charge it simply by plugging it into your shoe. An innovative energy harvesting and storage technology could reduce our reliance on the batteries in our mobile devices, ensuring we have power for our devices no matter where we are.

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'Electronic nose' may help to diagnose diseases

February 11, 2016 9:26 am | by National Research Tomsk State Univ. | Comments

The device analyzes a gas mixture using semiconductor sensors.

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Penguin parents: Inability to share roles increases their vulnerability to climate change

February 11, 2016 9:17 am | by Springer | Comments

The fixed division of labor between crested penguin parents increases their chicks' vulnerability to food shortages made ever more common by climate change. The parents have been unable to adapt their habits to the challenges of increasingly frequent years of limited food supply and, as a result, will become further threatened by extinction.

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Cotton candy machines may hold key for making artificial organs

February 11, 2016 9:09 am | by Vanderbilt Univ. | Comments

Cotton candy machines may hold the key for making life-sized artificial livers, kidneys, bones and other essential organs.

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Obama's Clean Power Plan Hits Wall with Supreme Court

February 11, 2016 8:48 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued a temporary freeze on the plan’s implementation after a 5-4 majority vote.

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Indian Scientists Study Chunk that Fell From Sky, Killed Man

February 10, 2016 2:43 pm | by Nirmala George, Associated Press | Comments

Scientists are analyzing a small blue object that plummeted from the sky and killed a man in southern India, after authorities said it was a meteorite.

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Climate Change Helps Bats to Spread Their Wings

February 10, 2016 2:40 pm | by Springer | Comments

Climate change is most likely behind the extraordinary spread of a type of vesper bat across Europe over the last four decades. Read more...

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