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Building blocks of the future defy logic

February 26, 2015 11:58 am | by Cassi Camilleri, Univ. of Malta | Comments

Wake up in the morning and stretch; your midsection narrows. Pull on a piece of plastic at separate ends; it becomes thinner. So does a rubber band. One might assume that when a force is applied along an axis, materials will always stretch and become thinner. Wrong.

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Physicists find new form of quantum friction

February 26, 2015 11:40 am | by Ike Sweitlitz, Yale Univ. | Comments

Physicists at Yale Univ. have observed a new form of quantum friction that could serve as a basis for robust information storage in quantum computers in the future. The researchers are building upon decades of research, experimentally demonstrating a procedure theorized nearly 30 years ago.

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Using “fuzzy logic” to optimize hybrid solar/battery systems

February 26, 2015 11:11 am | by American Institute of Physics | Comments

How did fuzzy logic help a group of researchers in Tunisia and Algeria create an ideal photovoltaic system that obeys the supply-and-demand principle and its delicate balance? In the Journal of Renewable & Sustainable Energy, the group describes a new sizing system of a solar array and a battery in a standalone photovoltaic system that is based on fuzzy logic.

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New insight found in black hole collisions

February 26, 2015 10:50 am | by Amanda Siegfried, UT Dallas | Comments

New research by a Univ. of Texas, Dallas astrophysicist provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe: the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole. The work provides, for the first time, solutions to decades-old equations that describe conditions as two black holes in a binary system orbit each other and spiral in toward a collision.

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Smartphones could tell consumers what's in food

February 26, 2015 9:09 am | by Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press | Comments

In the ever-complicated debate over labeling of genetically modified foods, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he has an idea: use your smartphone. Vilsack told members of Congress on Wednesday that consumers could just use their phones to scan special bar codes or other symbols on food packages in the grocery store. All sorts of information could pop up, such as whether the food's ingredients include genetically modified organisms.

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New technology could make treatment of oil and gas wastewater simpler, cheaper

February 26, 2015 9:05 am | by Univ. of Colorado at Boulder | Comments

Oil and gas operations in the U.S. produce about 21 billion barrels of wastewater per year. The saltiness of the water and the organic contaminants it contains have traditionally made treatment difficult and expensive. Engineers at the Univ. of Colorado Boulder have invented a simpler process that can simultaneously remove both salts and organic contaminants from the wastewater, all while producing additional energy.

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Warming up the world of superconductors

February 26, 2015 8:50 am | by Robert Perkins, Univ. of Southern California | Comments

A superconductor that works at room temperature was long thought impossible, but scientists at the Univ. of Southern California may have discovered a family of materials that could make it reality. The team found that aluminum "superatoms" appear to form Cooper pairs of electrons at temperatures around 100 K. Though 100 K is still pretty chilly, this is an increase compared to bulk aluminum metal.

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Researchers bend highly energetic electron beam with crystal

February 26, 2015 8:39 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | Comments

An international team of researchers working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has demonstrated that a bent silicon crystal can bend the paths of focused, very energetic electron beams much more than magnets used today. The method could be of interest for particle accelerator applications such as next-generation x-ray lasers that will help scientists unravel atomic structures and motions in unprecedented detail.

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X-ray microscope for nanoscale imaging

February 26, 2015 8:29 am | by Chelsea Whyte, Brookhaven National Laboratory | Comments

Delivering the capability to image nanostructures and chemical reactions down to nanometer resolution requires a new class of x-ray microscope that can perform precision microscopy experiments using ultra-bright x-rays from the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

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ORNL, Whirlpool to develop new energy-efficient refrigerator

February 26, 2015 8:20 am | by Morgan McCorkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Comments

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Whirlpool Corp. are collaborating to design a refrigerator that could cut energy use by up to 40% compared with current models. The goal of the CRADA is to make a next-generation household refrigerator more energy efficient by using WISEMOTION, an innovative linear compressor manufactured by Embraco, and other novel technologies and materials.

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Electric car driving range, emissions depend on where you live

February 25, 2015 10:35 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Many car buyers weighing whether they should go all electric to help the planet have at least one new factor to consider before making the switch: geography. Based on a study of a commercially available electric car, scientists report in Environmental Science & Technology that emissions and driving range can vary greatly depending on regional energy sources and climate.

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Physicists offer solution to puzzle of the origin of matter in the universe

February 25, 2015 10:11 am | by Stuart Wolpert, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Comments

Most of the laws of nature treat particles and antiparticles equally, but stars and planets are made of particles, or matter, and not antiparticles, or antimatter. That asymmetry, which favors matter to a very small degree, has puzzled scientists for many years. New research offers a possible solution to the mystery of the origin of matter in the universe.

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New “knobs” can dial in control of materials

February 25, 2015 9:52 am | by Anne Ju, Cornell Univ. | Comments

Designing or exploring new materials is all about controlling their properties. In a new study, Cornell Univ. scientists offer insight on how different “knobs” can change material properties in ways that were previously unexplored or misunderstood.

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Seven reasons to attend the Lab Design Conference

February 25, 2015 9:38 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

The 2015 Laboratory Design Conference is open for registration. Your opportunity to learn, network and participate in discussions about current and future trends in lab design is coming to Atlanta, April 27-29th. The countdown to the conference has begun, and here’s a countdown of reasons why you should be there.

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Enabling solar cells to use more sunlight

February 25, 2015 9:21 am | by Britta Schlüter, Univ. of Luxembourg | Comments

Scientists of the Univ. of Luxembourg and of the Japanese electronics company TDK report progress in photovoltaic research: They have improved a component that will enable solar cells to use more energy of the sun and thus create a higher current. The improvement concerns a conductive oxide film which now has more transparency in the infrared region.

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