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A new femtosecond laser for industry

August 20, 2015 11:51 am | by Univ. of Warsaw | Comments

A team at the Univ. of Warsaw, Faculty of Physics has created a laser capable of generating ultra-short pulses of light even under extremely difficult external conditions. This unique combination of precision and resilience is due to the fact that the whole process of generating femtosecond laser pulses takes place within a specially selected optical fiber.

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A metabolic master switch underlying human obesity

August 20, 2015 11:00 am | by Helen Knight | MIT News correspondent | Comments

Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially fatal disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

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Nanocrystals don’t add up for reactor materials

August 20, 2015 10:00 am | by Anne Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have found that nanocrystalline materials don’t necessarily resist radiation effects in nuclear reactors better than currently used materials. As researchers hunt for materials with the ability to withstand prolonged radiation damage, the use of nanostructured materials has been considered as an enabling technology for future reactor designs and longer-lasting reactor components.

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Engineered hot fat implants reduce weight gain in mice

August 20, 2015 9:00 am | by Sarah Yang, Univ. of California, Berkeley | Comments

Scientists at the Univ. of California, Berkeley have developed a novel way to engineer the growth and expansion of energy-burning “good” fat, and then found that this fat helped reduce weight gain and lower blood glucose levels in mice. The authors of the study, published in Diabetes, said their technique could eventually lead to new approaches to combat obesity, diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

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“Quantum dot” technology may help light the future

August 20, 2015 8:00 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | Comments

Advances at Oregon State Univ. in manufacturing technology for “quantum dots” may soon lead to a new generation of LED lighting that produces a more user-friendly white light, while using less toxic materials and low-cost manufacturing processes that take advantage of simple microwave heating.

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New approach needed to detect dark matter

August 20, 2015 7:34 am | by Birgitte Svennevig, Univ. of Southern Denmark | Comments

Physicists suggest a new way to look for dark matter: They believe that dark matter particles annihilate into so-called dark radiation when they collide. If true, then we should be able to detect the signals from this radiation. The majority of the mass in the universe remains unknown.

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New model of gas giant planet formation

August 19, 2015 6:00 pm | by Chris Armes, Queen's Univ. | Comments

Queen’s Univ. researcher Martin Duncan has co-authored a study that solves the mystery of how gas giants such as Jupiter and Saturn formed in the early solar system. In a paper published in Nature, the team explains how the cores of gas giants formed through the accumulation of small, centimeter- to meter-sized, “pebbles."

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Algorithm interprets breathing difficulties to aid in medical care

August 19, 2015 5:00 pm | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. have developed an efficient algorithm that can interpret the wheezing of patients with breathing difficulties to give medical providers information about what’s happening in the lungs. The research is part of a larger, ongoing project to develop wearable smart medical sensors for monitoring, collecting and interpreting personal health data.

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Wired for habit

August 19, 2015 4:00 pm | by Elizabeth Dougherty | McGovern Institute for Brain Research | Comments

We are creatures of habit, nearly mindlessly executing routine after routine. Some habits we feel good about; others, less so. Habits are, after all, thought to be driven by reward-seeking mechanisms that are built into the brain. It turns out, however, that the brain’s habit-forming circuits may also be wired for efficiency.

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China’s carbon emissions less than previously thought

August 19, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of East Anglia | Comments

China's carbon emissions have been substantially over estimated by international agencies for more than 10 years, according to research co-led by the Univ. of East Anglia. From 2000 to 2013 China produced 2.9 gigatons less carbon than previous estimates of its cumulative emissions.

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Firefly protein enables visualization of roots in soil

August 19, 2015 2:00 pm | by Carnegie Institute of Science | Comments

Plants form a vast network of below-ground roots that search soil for needed resources. The structure and function of this root network can be highly adapted to particular environments, such as desert soils where plants like Mesquite develop tap roots capable of digging 50 m deep to capture precious water resources.

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Study shows potential for using ultrasound to detect early signs of preterm labor

August 19, 2015 1:00 pm | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Researchers have conducted a proof-of-concept study that raises the possibility of using ultrasound techniques to detect cervical stiffness changes that indicate an increased risk of preterm labor in pregnant women. While additional work needs to be done, it may ultimately give doctors a new tool for determining when to provide treatment that can prevent preterm birth.

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Algae nutrient recycling is a triple win

August 19, 2015 12:00 pm | by Patti Koning, Sandia National Laboratories | Comments

Nitrogen and phosphate nutrients are among the biggest costs in cultivating algae for biofuels. Sandia National Laboratories molecular biologists Todd Lane and Ryan Davis have shown they can recycle about two-thirds of those critical nutrients, and aim to raise the recycling rate to close to 100%. Recycling nitrogen and phosphate has benefits that go far beyond cost.

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Unusual magnetic behavior observed at a material interface

August 19, 2015 10:00 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

An exotic kind of magnetic behavior, driven by the mere proximity of two materials, has been analyzed by a team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and elsewhere using a technique called spin-polarized neutron reflectometry. They say the new finding could be used to probe a variety of exotic physical phenomena, and could ultimately be used to produce key components of future quantum computers.

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New technology can expand LED lighting

August 19, 2015 9:00 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Highly efficient, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) could slash the world's electricity consumption. They are already sold in stores, but more widespread adoption of the technology has been hindered by high costs due to limited availability of raw materials and difficulties in achieving acceptable light quality. But researchers report they have overcome these obstacles and have developed a less expensive, more sustainable white LED.

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