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A few “problem wells” source of greenhouse gas

April 15, 2014 7:48 am | by Elizabeth K. Gardner, Purdue Univ. | Comments

High levels of the greenhouse gas methane were found above shale gas wells at a production point not thought to be an important emissions source, according to a study jointly led by Purdue and Cornell universities. The findings could have implications for the evaluation of the environmental impacts from natural gas production.

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Targeting cancer with a triple threat

April 15, 2014 7:38 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Delivering chemotherapy drugs in nanoparticle form could help reduce side effects by targeting the drugs directly to the tumors. In recent years, scientists have developed nanoparticles that deliver one or two chemotherapy drugs, but it has been difficult to design particles that can carry any more than that in a precise ratio. Now Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemists have devised a new way to build such nanoparticles.

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Rocket leak delays space station delivery launch

April 14, 2014 4:21 pm | by Marcia Dunn - AP Aerospace Writer - Associated Press | Comments

A space station cargo ship will remain Earthbound for a while longer. With just over an hour remaining, the Space X company called off Monday's planned launch because of a rocket leak. A new launch date was not set; the next opportunity would be Friday. Officials said a helium leak in the first-stage of the unmanned Falcon rocket forced the postponement. The launch already had been delayed a full month for various reasons.

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Scientists open door to better solar cells, superconductors and hard-drives

April 14, 2014 1:05 pm | Comments

Recent research using free-electron laser sources has enhanced the understanding of the interface of two materials, where completely new properties can arise. For instance, two insulators and non-magnetic materials can become metallic and magnetic at their interface. The breakthrough was the discovery of a discrepancy in the number of charge carriers of two promising electronic materials.

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Research finds “tunable” semiconductors will allow better detectors, solar cells

April 14, 2014 12:53 pm | by Ann Claycombe, Georgia State Univ. | Comments

One of the great problems in physics is the detection of electromagnetic radiation—that is, light—which lies outside the small range of wavelengths that the human eye can see. Think x-rays, for example, or radio waves. Now, researchers have discovered a way to use existing semiconductors to detect a far wider range of light than is now possible, well into the infrared range.

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Combs of light accelerate communication

April 14, 2014 11:39 am | Comments

In a recent demonstration by researchers in Europe, miniaturized optical frequency comb sources allow for transmission of data streams of several terabits per second over hundreds of kilometers. The results, which showed a data rate of 1.44 TB/sec over 300 km, may contribute to accelerating data transmission in large computing centers and worldwide communication networks.

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Technique uses astronomy, opthalmology to sharpen microscope images

April 14, 2014 11:33 am | Comments

Biological samples bend light in unpredictable ways, returning difficult-to-interpret information to the microscope. Using a form of adaptive optics, Janelia Farm Research Campus scientists have developed a microscopy technique that can rapidly correct for distortions and sharpen high-resolution images over large volumes of tissue.

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Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells

April 14, 2014 10:42 am | by Nancy Ambrosiano, Los Alamos National Laboratory | Comments

A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum dot work by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers in collaboration with scientists from Univ. of Milano-Bicocca, Italy. Their project demonstrates that superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping more efficiently harvest sunlight.

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New finding on the dual role of carbon dioxide in photosynthesis

April 14, 2014 10:03 am | Comments

It is well known that inorganic carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, CO2, is reduced in a light driven process known as photosynthesis to organic compounds in the chloroplasts. Less well known is that inorganic carbon also affects the rate of the photosynthetic electron transport. Researchers in Sweden have recently found that its ionic form bicarbonate, has a regulating function in the splitting of water in photosynthesis.

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Did you know? Thermo Fisher Scientific won five R&D 100 Awards in a single year

April 14, 2014 9:57 am | Comments

Following the introduction of a number of significant new laboratory instruments in 2012, Thermo Fisher Scientific won five R&D 100 Awards in 2013. This set a single-year record for the company, which has earned more than 50 R&D 100 Awards all-time.

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Finding the switch: Researchers create roadmap for gene expression

April 14, 2014 8:00 am | by Tracey Peake, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

In a new study, researchers from North Carolina State Univ., UNC-Chapel Hill and other institutions have taken the first steps toward creating a roadmap that may help scientists narrow down the genetic cause of numerous diseases. Their work also sheds new light on how heredity and environment can affect gene expression.

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Scientists gain new insight into mysterious electronic phenomenon

April 14, 2014 7:54 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

For more than a quarter of a century, high-temperature superconductors have perplexed scientists who seek to understand the physical phenomena responsible for their unique properties. Thanks to a new study by Argonne National Laboratory, researchers have identified and solved at least one paradox in the behavior of high-temperature superconductors.

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A molecular approach to solar power

April 14, 2014 7:38 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

It’s an obvious truism, but one that may soon be outdated: The problem with solar power is that sometimes the sun doesn’t shine. Now a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Univ. has come up with an ingenious workaround: a material that can absorb the sun’s heat and store that energy in chemical form, ready to be released again on demand.

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Glasses strong as steel

April 14, 2014 7:29 am | by Eric Gershon, Yale Univ. | Comments

Scientists at Yale Univ. have devised a dramatically faster way of identifying and characterizing complex alloys known as bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), a versatile type of pliable glass that's stronger than steel. Using traditional methods, it usually takes a full day to identify a single metal alloy appropriate for making BMGs.

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NASA OKs space station visit despite dead computer

April 13, 2014 3:20 pm | by Marcia Dunn - AP Aerospace Writer - Associated Press | Comments

NASA is pressing ahead with Monday's planned launch of a supply ship despite a critical computer outage at the International Space Station, promising the situation is safe. Mission managers decided Sunday to proceed with the countdown for the SpaceX capsule, Dragon, already a month late in delivering more than 2 tons of cargo.

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