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Engineering phase changes in nanoparticle arrays

May 26, 2015 7:56 am | by Karen McNulty Walsh, Brookhaven National Laboratory | Comments

Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have just taken a big step toward the goal of engineering dynamic nanomaterials whose structure and associated properties can be switched on demand. In a paper appearing in Nature Materials, they describe a way to selectively rearrange the nanoparticles in 3-D arrays to produce different configurations, or phases, from the same nanocomponents.

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Slip sliding away

May 26, 2015 7:47 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have found a way to use tiny diamonds and graphene to give friction the slip, creating a new material combination that demonstrates the rare phenomenon of “superlubricity.” The five-person Argonne team combined diamond nanoparticles, small patches of graphene and a diamond-like carbon material to create superlubricity, a highly-desirable property in which friction drops to near zero.

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DNA mutations get harder to hide

May 26, 2015 7:34 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Rice Univ. researchers have developed a method to detect rare DNA mutations with an approach hundreds of times more powerful than current methods. The technique allows the researchers to find a figurative needle in a haystack that’s smaller than any needle.

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Advance in quantum error correction

May 26, 2015 7:25 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Quantum computers are largely theoretical devices that could perform some computations exponentially faster than conventional computers can. Crucial to most designs for quantum computers is quantum error correction, which helps preserve the fragile quantum states on which quantum computation depends.

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Study: Europeans to suffer more ragweed with global warming

May 25, 2015 12:04 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | Comments

Global warming will bring much more sneezing and wheezing to Europe by mid-century, a new study says. Ragweed pollen levels are likely to quadruple for much of Europe because warmer temperatures will allow the plants to take root more, and carbon dioxide will make them grow more. Other factors not related to man-made climate change will also contribute.

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Study: High altitude may boost babies' risks for SIDS deaths

May 25, 2015 2:04 am | by Lindsey Tanner, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | Comments

Lofty living may make babies vulnerable to sudden infant death syndrome, according to a Colorado study that found higher risks above 8,000 ft (2,400 m). While the research shows that the SIDS rate in Colorado's tall mountains is very low, it's still two times greater than in the Denver area and other regions where the altitude is less than 6,000 ft (1,800 m). The results echo earlier research done in Austria's Alps.

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“Measuring stick” standard for gene sequencing now available

May 22, 2015 10:53 am | by NIST | Comments

The world’s first reference material to help ensure laboratories accurately “map” DNA for genetic testing, medical diagnoses and future customized drug therapies is now available from NIST. The new reference material, NIST RM 8398, is a “measuring stick” for the human genome, the coded blueprints of a person’s genetic traits.

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Slinky lookalike “hyperlens” helps us see tiny objects

May 22, 2015 10:27 am | by Cory Nealon, Univ. at Buffalo | Comments

It looks like a Slinky suspended in motion. Yet this photonics advancement, called a metamaterial hyperlens, doesn’t climb down stairs. Instead, it improves our ability to see tiny objects. The hyperlens may someday help detect some of the most lethal forms of cancer.

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Physicists develop efficient method of signal transmission from nanocomponents

May 22, 2015 9:44 am | by Univ. of Basel | Comments

Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner.

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Cooling the cloud

May 22, 2015 8:34 am | by Binghamton Univ. | Comments

Data centers are one of the largest and fastest-growing consumers of electricity in the U.S. The industry has been shifting from open-air cooling of these facilities to increasingly complex systems that segregate hot air from cold air. When it comes to cost savings, there are definite advantages to the aisle containment systems, which have been estimated to save 30% of cooling energy.

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Bacteria cooperate to repair damaged siblings

May 22, 2015 8:17 am | by Chad Baldwin, Univ. of Wyoming | Comments

A Univ. of Wyoming faculty member led a research team that discovered a certain type of soil bacteria can use their social behavior of outer membrane exchange (OME) to repair damaged cells and improve the fitness of the bacteria population as a whole.

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Watching a protein “quake”

May 22, 2015 8:06 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | Comments

Scientists, for the first time, have precisely measured a protein’s natural “knee-jerk” reaction to the breaking of a chemical bond—a quaking motion that propagated through the protein at the speed of sound. The result, from an x-ray laser experiment at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, could provide clues to how more complex processes unfold as chemical bonds form and break.

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Mars Rover’s ChemCam gets sharper vision

May 22, 2015 7:51 am | by Nancy Amrbosiano, Los Alamos National Laboratory | Comments

NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover’s ChemCam instrument just got a major capability fix, as Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists uploaded a software repair for the auto-focus system on the instrument. The team realized last November that a small laser used to focus the ChemCam telescope on its target fialed. And without this laser rangefinder, the instrument was blind.

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Used MRI magnets get second chance at life

May 22, 2015 7:42 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

When it comes to magnets, a doctor’s trash is a physicist’s treasure. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory recently acquired two decommissioned magnets from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners from hospitals in Minnesota and California that will find a new home as proving grounds for instruments used in high-energy and nuclear physics experiments.

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Nicotinoid, fungal disease team to break down termites’ defenses

May 22, 2015 7:31 am | by Natalie van Hoose, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Purdue Univ. research shows that a small amount of nicotinoid pesticide substantially weakens termites' ability to fight off fungal diseases, a finding that could lead to more effective methods of pest control. The study also provides clues into termites' robust defense systems and how nicotinoids affect social insects.

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