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JILA's strontium lattice atomic clock now performs better than ever because scientists literally "take the temperature" of the atoms' environment. Two specialized thermometers, calibrated by NIST researchers and visible in the center of the photo, are ins

Getting better all the time: JILA strontium atomic clock sets new records

April 24, 2015 10:57 am | by NIST | News | Comments

In another advance at the far frontiers of timekeeping by NIST researchers, the latest modification of a record-setting strontium atomic clock has achieved precision and stability levels that now mean the clock would neither gain nor lose one second in some 15 billion years—roughly the age of the universe.

Study: Photosynthesis has unique isotopic signature

April 24, 2015 8:23 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Photosynthesis leaves behind a unique calling card, a chemical signature that is spelled out...

Soy: It’s good for eating, baking and cleaning up crude oil spills

April 23, 2015 9:11 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

If you've studied ingredient labels on food packaging, you've probably noticed that soy lecithin...

Technique can measure volumes of key lab-on-a-chip components

April 22, 2015 11:35 am | by NIST | News | Comments

Imagine shrinking tubes and beakers down to the size of a credit card. When engineers figured...

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Decoding the cell’s genetic filing system

April 22, 2015 11:09 am | by Princeton Univ. | News | Comments

A fully extended strand of human DNA measures about five feet in length. Yet it occupies a space just one-tenth of a cell by wrapping itself around histones to form a dense hub of information called chromatin. Access to these meticulously packed genes is regulated by post-translational modifications, chemical changes to the structure of histones that act as on-off signals for gene transcription.

Engineering the P450 enzyme to perform new reactions

April 22, 2015 8:24 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Enzymes, the micro machines in our cells, can evolve to perform new tasks when confronted with novel situations. But what if you want an enzyme to do an entirely different job—one that it would never have to do in a cell? In a recent report published in ACS Central Science, researchers show that they can mimic nature and perform evolution in a test tube, developing enzymes that can perform brand-new chemical reactions.

Invisible inks could help foil counterfeiters of all kinds

April 22, 2015 7:33 am | by Megan Fellman, Northwestern Univ. | News | Comments

Real or counterfeit? Northwestern Univ. scientists have invented sophisticated fluorescent inks that one day could be used as multicolored barcodes for consumers to authenticate products that are often counterfeited. Snap a photo with your smartphone, and it will tell you if the item is real and worth your money.

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Microalgae used for green asphalt

April 21, 2015 10:25 am | by CNRS | News | Comments

Microalgae offer a highly promising alternative to petroleum products without competing for resources used in the food industry. They have now been used, for the first time, to make asphalt. Researchers have recently proved the viability of bioasphalt, demonstrating its close similarity to the "real" asphalt used to pave roads.

Chemists create modular system for placing proteins on membranes

April 21, 2015 8:12 am | by Susan Brown, Univ. of California, San Diego | News | Comments

With a tag, an anchor and a cage that can be unlocked with light, chemists have devised a simple, modular system that can locate proteins at the membrane of a cell. The chemists fused proteins to molecules called SNAP-tags, modified enzymes that recognize a particular chemical group called a benzylguanine.

Better battery imaging paves way for renewable energy future

April 21, 2015 8:04 am | by Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

In a move that could improve the energy storage of everything from portable electronics to electric microgrids, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison and Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers have developed a novel x-ray imaging technique to visualize and study the electrochemical reactions in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries containing a new type of material, iron fluoride.

Beyond the lithium ion

April 17, 2015 11:58 am | by Jeanne Galatzer-Levy, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago | News | Comments

The race is on around the world as scientists strive to develop a new generation of batteries that can perform beyond the limits of the current lithium-ion based battery. Researchers at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago have taken a significant step toward the development of a battery that could outperform the lithium-ion technology used in electric cars such as the Chevy Volt.

Zinc deficiency linked to activation of Hedgehog signaling pathway

April 17, 2015 8:03 am | by Mary Martialay, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | News | Comments

Zinc deficiency, long associated with numerous diseases like certain cancers, can lead to activation of the Hedgehog signaling pathway, a biomolecular pathway that plays essential roles in developing organisms and in diseases, according to new research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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Kimchi-based preservative used in cosmetics isn’t so natural

April 16, 2015 11:25 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Some consumer groups concerned about the safety of synthetic preservatives such as parabens have pushed for natural alternatives. Industry has responded with a slew of options, including preservatives from kimchi, a popular Korean staple made out of fermented cabbage and radish. But scientists are now reporting that at least one commercial, kimchi-based preservative marketed as “all-natural” contains synthetic ingredients.

Electrolyte genome could be battery game-changer

April 16, 2015 8:27 am | by Julie Chao, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

A new breakthrough battery, one that has significantly higher energy, lasts longer and is cheaper and safer, will likely be impossible without a new material discovery. And a new material discovery could take years, if not decades, since trial and error has been the best available approach.

BPA exposure in pregnant mice affects fertility in three generations

April 16, 2015 8:03 am | by Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois | News | Comments

When scientists exposed pregnant mice to levels of bisphenol A (BPA) equivalent to those considered safe in humans, three generations of female mouse offspring experienced significant reproductive problems, including declines in fertility, sexual maturity and pregnancy success, the scientists report in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.

Cobalt film a clean-fuel find

April 16, 2015 7:51 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

A cobalt-based thin film serves double duty as a new catalyst that produces both hydrogen and oxygen from water to feed fuel cells, according to scientists at Rice Univ. The inexpensive, highly porous material may have advantages as a catalyst for the production of hydrogen via water electrolysis. A single film far thinner than a hair can be used as both the anode and cathode in an electrolysis device.

Packing heat: New fluid makes untapped geothermal energy cleaner

April 16, 2015 7:43 am | by Frances White, PNNL | Videos | Comments

More American homes could be powered by the Earth's natural underground heat with a new, nontoxic and potentially recyclable liquid that is expected to use half as much water as other fluids used to tap into otherwise unreachable geothermal hot spots. The fluid might be a boon to a new approach to geothermal power called enhanced geothermal systems.

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Discovery changes how scientists examine rarest elements of periodic table

April 16, 2015 7:34 am | by Kathleen Haughney, Florida State Univ. | News | Comments

A little-known element called californium is making big waves in how scientists look at the periodic table. According to new research by a Florida State Univ. professor, californium is what's known to be a transitional element, meaning it links one part of the Periodic Table of Elements to the next.

Study shows novel pattern of electrical charge movement through DNA

April 15, 2015 8:03 am | by Richard Harth, Biodesign Institute | News | Comments

Electrical charges not only move through wires, they also travel along lengths of DNA, the molecule of life. The property is known as charge transport. In a new study appearing in Nature Chemistry, researchers explore the ways in which electrical charges move along DNA bases affixed to a pair of electrodes.

Clean up your life with chemistry life hacks

April 14, 2015 12:11 pm | by American Chemical Society | Videos | Comments

Ever run out of your go-to cleaning product, and you’ve got a mess that you just can’t leave alone? Have no fear, chemistry is here. Reactions is back with another round of Chemistry Life Hacks series, and it’s all about cleaning.

Chemists create nanoparticles that reflect nature’s patterns

April 10, 2015 7:55 am | by Jocelyn Duffy, Carnegie Mellon Univ. | News | Comments

Our world is full of patterns, from the twist of a DNA molecule to the spiral of the Milky Way. New research from Carnegie Mellon Univ. chemists has revealed that tiny, synthetic gold nanoparticles exhibit some of nature's most intricate patterns. Unveiling the kaleidoscope of these patterns was a Herculean task, and it marks the first time that a nanoparticle of this size has been crystallized and its structure mapped out atom by atom.

Research could usher in next generation of batteries, fuel cells

April 10, 2015 7:30 am | by Jeff Stensland, Univ. of South Carolina | News | Comments

Scientists have made a discovery that could dramatically improve the efficiency of batteries and fuel cells. The research involves improving the transport of oxygen ions, a key component in converting chemical reactions into electricity. The team studied a well-known material, gadolinium doped ceria, which transports oxygen ions and is currently in use as a solid-oxide fuel cell electrolyte.

Detecting lysosomal pH with fluorescent probes

April 9, 2015 11:51 am | by Allison Mills, Michigan Technological Univ. | News | Comments

Lysosomes are the garbage disposals of animal cells. As the resources are limited in cells, organic materials are broken down and recycled a lot; and that’s what lysosomes do. Detecting problems with lysosomes is the focus of a new set of fluorescent probes developed by researchers at Michigan Technological Univ.

Complex organic molecules discovered in infant star system: hints that prebiotic chemistry is universal

April 8, 2015 2:21 pm | by National Radio Astronomy Observatory | News | Comments

For the first time, astronomers have detected the presence of complex organic molecules, the building blocks of life, in a protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star, suggesting once again that the conditions that spawned our Earth and Sun are not unique in the universe.

How unwanted CDs and DVDs could help cut carbon emissions

April 8, 2015 1:45 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

Now that most consumers download and stream their movies and music, more and more CDs and DVDs will end up in landfills or be recycled. But soon these discarded discs could take on a different role: curbing the release of greenhouse gases. In ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, scientists report a way to turn the discs into a material that can capture carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas, and other compounds

Can you make your own Game of Thrones sword using chemistry?

April 8, 2015 8:41 am | by American Chemical Society | Videos | Comments

The fantasy epic Game of Thrones is back April 12, 2015, and it is sure to be chock full of intrigue, indiscretions and, of course, swords. The most sought-after blades in Westeros are made from Valyrian steel, forged using ancient magic. But could you make your own Valyrian steel sword using real-life chemistry?

Spotting a molecular warhead for disease in the human gut

April 7, 2015 12:20 pm | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Yale Univ. scientists are using new chemical tools to identify and understand molecules in the human gut that alter DNA and regulate inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal cancers. In a recent article, researchers describe the chemical structures of 32 such molecules from the bacterial colibactin pathway, found in select strains of E. coli in the gut.

Researchers discover N-type polymer for fast organic battery

April 6, 2015 11:46 am | by Jeannie Kever, Univ. of Houston | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Houston have reported developing an efficient conductive electron-transporting polymer, a long-missing puzzle piece that will allow ultrafast battery applications. The discovery relies upon a "conjugated redox polymer" design with a naphthalene-bithiophene polymer, which has traditionally been used for applications including transistors and solar cells.

Researchers create first metal-free catalyst for rechargeable zinc-air batteries

April 6, 2015 11:36 am | by Kevin Mayhood, Case Western Reserve Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have made what they believe is the first metal-free bifunctional electrocatalyst that performs as well or better than most metal and metal-oxide electrodes in zinc-air batteries. Zinc-air batteries are expected to be safer, lighter, cheaper and more powerful and durable than lithium-ion batteries common in mobile phones and laptops and increasingly used in hybrid and electric cars.

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