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Atom optics to help detect the imperceptible

October 22, 2012 8:43 am | by Lori Keesey | News | Comments

Predicted by Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, the waves occur when massive celestial objects move and disrupt the fabric of space-time. But by the time these waves reach Earth, they are so weak that the planet expands and contracts less than an atom in response. No instrument or observatory has ever directly detected them. A pioneering technology capable of atomic-level precision is now being developed to detect what so far has remained imperceptible.

Bioengineers introduce 'Bi-Fi, the biological Internet

September 27, 2012 11:32 am | News | Comments

If you were a bacterium, the virus M13 might seem innocuous enough. It insinuates more than it invades, setting up shop like a freeloading house guest, not a killer. Once inside it makes itself at home, eating your food, texting indiscriminately. Recently, however, bioengineers at Stanford University have given M13 a bit of a makeover; they have parasitized the parasite and harnessed M13's key attributes to create what might be termed as the biological Internet, or "Bi-Fi."

Astrophysicists get first images for Dark Energy Camera

September 17, 2012 7:08 am | News | Comments

When the Dark Energy Camera opened its giant eye last week and began taking pictures of the ancient light from far-off galaxies, more than 120 members of the Dark Energy Survey eagerly awaited the first snapshots. Those images have now arrived.

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Researchers create tiny, wirelessly powered cardiac device

September 5, 2012 6:01 am | by Andrew Myers, Stanford University | News | Comments

Stanford University electrical engineers overturn existing models to demonstrate the feasibility of a millimeter-sized, wirelessly powered cardiac device. The findings, say the researchers, could dramatically alter the scale of medical devices implanted in the human body.

Stanford researchers discover the 'anternet'

August 27, 2012 4:27 am | News | Comments

A collaboration between a Stanford University ant biologist and a computer scientist has revealed that the behavior of harvester ant as they forage for food mirrors the protocols that control traffic on the Internet.

Study details power of new chip to diagnose disease, analyze proteins

August 20, 2012 10:33 am | by Krista Conger | News | Comments

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Intel Corp. have collaborated to synthesize and study a grid-like array of short pieces of a disease-associated protein on silicon chips normally used in computer microprocessors. Used recently to identify patients with a severe form of lupus, the new technology has the potential to improve diagnoses of a multitude of diseases.

Scientists develop new way to study inner-workings of algae cells

August 20, 2012 9:14 am | News | Comments

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists have developed a way to send molecules and proteins across the cell wall of algae, a feat that opens the door for a new way to study and manipulate these tiny organisms. The research could advance the advance the development of algae-based biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and other useful compounds.

New device could improve fiber-optic quantum data transmission

August 8, 2012 7:06 am | News | Comments

Tests performed at NIST show that a new method for splitting photon beams could overcome a fundamental physical hurdle in transmitting electronic data. The findings confirm that a prototype device developed with collaborators at Stanford University can double the amount of quantum information that can be sent readily through fiber-optic cables, and in theory could lead to an even greater increase in the rate of this type of transmission.

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Scientists use microbes to make 'clean' methane

July 24, 2012 12:49 pm | News | Comments

Most methane comes from natural gas, a fossil fuel. Stanford University and Penn State University scientists are taking a greener approach using microbes that can convert renewable electricity into carbon-neutral methane.

Researchers produce first complete computer model of an organism

July 20, 2012 3:37 am | News | Comments

In a breakthrough effort for computational biology, the world's first complete computer model of an organism has been completed, Stanford University researchers report. A team led by Stanford bioengineering Professor Markus Covert used data from more than 900 scientific papers to account for every molecular interaction that takes place in the life cycle of Mycoplasma genitalium , the world's smallest free-living bacterium.

Scientists use X-ray imaging to observe running batteries in action

July 18, 2012 6:25 am | News | Comments

Using high-power X-ray imaging of an actual working battery, a Stanford University-SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory team discovered that sulfur particles in the cathode largely remain intact during discharge. Their results could help scientists find new way to develop commercially viable lithium-sulfur batteries for electric vehicles.

Researchers calculate global health impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

July 18, 2012 3:50 am | by Max McClure, Stanford University | News | Comments

In the first detailed analysis of the Fukushima nuclear diaster's global health effects, Stanford University researchers estimate the number of deaths and cases of cancer worldwide resulting from the release of radiation.

Researchers synthesize printable, electrically conductive gel

June 28, 2012 5:39 am | News | Comments

Stanford University researchers have invented an electrically conductive hydrogel that is quick and easy to make, can be patterned onto surfaces with an inkjet printer, and demonstrates unprecedented electrical performance. This combination of characteristics hold promise for biological sensors and futuristic energy storage devices.

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Scientists spark new interest in the century-old Edison battery

June 26, 2012 8:57 am | News | Comments

Stanford University scientists have breathed new life into the nickel-iron battery, a rechargeable technology developed by Thomas Edison more than a century ago. The team has created an ultrafast nickel-iron battery that can be fully charged in about 2 min and discharge in less than 30 sec.

Physicists make new form of matter

June 6, 2012 3:33 am | by Max McClure, Stanford University | News | Comments

Last week's announcement by a Stanford University team that it has created the world's first dipolar quantum ferionic gas from the metal dysprosium represents a major step toward understand the behavior of these systems of particles. And this understanding makes a leap toward the supernatural-seeming applications that condensed-matter physics conjures.

Engineers discover neural rhythms drive physical movement

June 4, 2012 11:00 am | by Andrew Myers, Stanford University | News | Comments

In a significant departure from earlier models, neural engineers and neuroscientists working at Stanford University have developed a new model for the brain activity underlying arm movements. Motor neurons do not represent external-world parameters as previously thought, but rather send a few basic rhythmic patterns down the spin to drive movement.

Underground search for neutrino properties unveils first results

June 4, 2012 10:16 am | News | Comments

Scientists studying neutrinos have found with the highest degree of sensitivity yet that these mysterious particles behave like other elementary particles at the quantum level. The results shed light on the mass and other properties of the neutrino and prove the effectiveness of a new instrument that will yield even greater discoveries in this area.

Psychologists aim to help computers understand you better

May 30, 2012 10:22 am | News | Comments

In a new paper, Stanford University researchers describe a mathematical model they created that helps predict pragmatic reasoning and may eventually lead to the manufacture of machines that can better understand inference, context, and social rules.

Study cracks a secret of methanol production

May 25, 2012 4:59 am | News | Comments

Scientists from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, and Germany have figured out a key part of the industrial process for making methanol. It’s an important step toward improving the process—and eventually realizing the goal of turning a potent greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, into fuel.

Engineers use plasmonics to create an invisible photodetector

May 21, 2012 5:39 am | News | Comments

A team of engineers at Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania has for the first time used plasmonic cloaking to create a device that can see without being seen—an invisible machine that detects light. It is the first example of what the researchers describe as a new class of devices that controls the flow of light at the nanoscale to produce both optical and electronic functions.

Internal atomic structure reveals key to pollution-fighting bacteria

May 16, 2012 11:54 am | News | Comments

Some remarkable types of bacteria have proven themselves capable of "consuming" toxic pollutants, organically diminishing environmental impact in a process called bioremediation. Enzymes within these bacteria can effectively alter the molecular structure of dangerous chemicals, but the underlying mechanisms and keys to future advances often remain unknown. Now, scientists Brookhaven National Laboratory have revealed a possible explanation for the superior function of one pollution-degrading enzyme.

Engineers tackle challenges of hypersonic flight

May 16, 2012 4:20 am | by Simon Firth, Stanford University | News | Comments

A multiyear collaboration among Stanford University engineering departments uses some of the world's fastest supercomputers to model the complexities of hypersonic flight. Someday, their work may lead to planes that fly at many times the speed of sound.

Graphite enters different states of matter in ultrafast experiment

May 15, 2012 8:37 am | News | Comments

For the first time, scientists have seen an X-ray-irradiated mineral go to two different states of matter in about 40 femtoseconds. Using the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray Free-Electron Laser (XFEL) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University, Stefan Hau-Riege of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and colleagues heated graphite to induce a transition from solid to liquid and to warm-dense plasma.

New nanostructure for batteries keeps going and going

May 10, 2012 8:00 am | News | Comments

For more than a decade, scientists have tried to improve lithium-based batteries by replacing the graphite in one terminal with silicon, which can store 10 times more charge. But after just a few charge/discharge cycles, the silicon structure would crack and crumble, rendering the battery useless. Now a team led by materials scientist has found a solution: a cleverly designed double-walled nanostructure that lasts more than 6,000 cycles, far more than needed by electric vehicles or mobile electronics.

Support for climate change action drops

May 9, 2012 10:22 am | by Rob Jordan, Stanford University | News | Comments

Americans' support for government action on global warming remains high but has dropped during the past two years, according to a new survey by Stanford University researchers in collaboration with Ipsos Public Affairs. Political rhetoric and cooler-than-average weather appear to have influenced the shift, but economics doesn't appear to have played a role.

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