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Computer simulations for multiscale systems can be faster, more reliable

September 20, 2012 4:16 am | News | Comments

University of Oregon scientists have found a way to correctly reproduce not only the structure but also important thermodynamic quantities, such as pressure and compressibility, of a large, multiscale system at variable levels of molecular coarse-graining.

Plastic solar cells pave way for clean energy industry

September 20, 2012 3:41 am | News | Comments

A Flinders University researchers has been developing a cheaper and faster way of making large-scale plastic solar cells using a lamination technique, paving the way for a lucrative new clean energy industry. The method is a promising alternative to the expensive fabrication techniques currently used in the renewable energy sector, and would make the commercialization of plastic solar cell technology more viable.

Thermoelectric material is world's best at converting heat waste to electricity

September 19, 2012 10:21 am | News | Comments

Northwestern University scientists have developed a thermoelectric material that is, according to the university, the best in the world at converting waste heat to electricity, which is good news once one realizes nearly two-thirds of energy input is lost as waste heat. The material could signify a paradigm shift.


What truly leads to olfaction satisfaction

September 19, 2012 9:04 am | News | Comments

A new study of the sense of small lends support to a controversial theory of olfaction: Our noses can distinguish both the shape and vibrational characteristics of odorant molecules. The study demonstrates the feasibility of the theory that the vibration of an odorant molecule's chemical bonds contributes to our ability to distinguish one smelly thing from another.

Research gives insight into graphene-metal junctions

September 19, 2012 5:37 am | News | Comments

The next step in building graphene-based electronic devices requires creating junctions that connect graphene to the external world through at least two metal wires. A two-terminal junction is a graphene ribbon with two metal contacts. A team of researchers have developed a better understanding of how these graphene-metal interfaces affect the movement of electrons through two-terminal junctions.

New technology for at-home diagnoses of ear infections

September 19, 2012 5:11 am | News | Comments

A new pediatric medical devices being developed by Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University could make life easier for parents who have rushed to the doctor with a child screaming from an ear infection. Soon, parents may be able to skip the doctor's visit and receive a diagnosis without leaving home by using Remotoscope, a clip-on attachment and software app that turns an iPhone into an otoscope.

Insight into snake venom evolution could aid drug discovery

September 19, 2012 3:50 am | News | Comments

U.K.-led scientists have made a discovery about snake venom that could lead to the development of new drugs to treat a range of life-threatening conditions. The researchers have discovered that the toxins that make snake and lizard venom deadly can evolve back into completely harmless molecules, raising the possibility that they could be developed into drugs.

Researchers develop printable lasers

September 19, 2012 3:35 am | News | Comments

Scientists have designed a process to print a type of organic laser on any surface using everyday inkjet technology. The process involves developing lasers based on chiral nematic liquid crystals. These liquid crystals are a unique class photonic materials that, under the right conditions, can be stimulated to produce laser emissions.


New tool gives structural strength to 3D-printed works

September 18, 2012 9:46 am | News | Comments

Objects created using 3D printing have a common flaw: They are fragile and often fall apart or lose their shape. Researchers at Purdue University and Adobe's Advanced Technology Labs have jointly developed a program that automatically imparts strength to objects before they are printed, spurring on the trend of 3D printing.

Climate scientists put predictions to the test

September 18, 2012 6:30 am | News | Comments

A new study has found that climate-prediction models are good at predicting long-term climate patterns on a global scale, but lose their edge when applied to time frames shorter than three decades and on sub-continental scales.

New class of materials discovered; could boost computer memory

September 18, 2012 4:08 am | News | Comments

An international team of scientists has discovered a new class of materials that could prove to be useful in developing new methods of creating computer memory. The research team explored layered heterostructures at the atomic scale, in which different materials were deposited in layers a few atoms thick. They discovered that the new class of materials boasts an attractive property—ferroelectricity.

Electrons caught in the act

September 18, 2012 3:34 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Topological insulators are exotic materials, discovered just a few years ago, that hold great promise for new kinds of electronic devices. The unusual behavior of electrons within them has been very difficult to study, but new techniques developed by a team of researchers could help unlock the mysteries of exactly how electrons move and react in these materials, opening up new possibilities for harnessing them.

Low-powered nanotweezers may benefit cellular-level studies

September 17, 2012 12:52 pm | News | Comments

Using ultralow input power densities, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated, for the first time, how low-power optical nanotweezers can be used to trap, manipulate, and probe nanoparticles, including fragile biological samples.


Physicists make discovery about temperature in convection

September 17, 2012 11:23 am | News | Comments

An international team of physicists is working to ascertain more about the fundamental physical laws that are at work in a process known as convection. The team's new finding specifies the way that the temperature of a gas or liquid varies with the distance from a heat source during convection. The research is expected to eventually help engineers with applications such as the design of cooling systems.

Ancient diatoms could make biofuels and electronics

September 17, 2012 8:51 am | News | Comments

Diatoms, tiny marine life forms that have been around since the dinosaurs, could finally make biofuel production from algae truly cost effective—because they can simultaneously produce other valuable products such as semiconductors, biomedical products, and even health foods. Engineers at Oregon State University concede that such technology is pushing the envelope a bit. But it's not science fiction.

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.

Chemists develop reversible method of tagging proteins

September 17, 2012 3:44 am | News | Comments

Chemists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a method that, for the first time, provides scientists the ability to attach chemical probes onto proteins and subsequently remove them in a repeatable cycle. Their achievement will allow researchers to better understand the biochemistry of naturally formed proteins in order to create better antibiotics.

'Memristors' based on transparent electronics offer technology of the future

September 14, 2012 9:33 am | News | Comments

The transparent electronics that were pioneered at Oregon State University may find one of their newest applications as a next-generation replacement for some uses of non-volatile flash memory, a multi-billion dollar technology nearing its limit of small size and information storage capacity.

Physicists patent nuclear waste-burning technology

September 14, 2012 5:50 am | News | Comments

University of Texas at Austin physicists have been awarded a U.S. patent for an invention that could someday be used to turn nuclear waste into fuel, thus removing the most dangerous forms of waste from the fuel cycle. The researchers have patented the concept for a novel fusion-fission hybrid nuclear reactor that would use nuclear fusion and fission together to incinerate nuclear waste.

Researchers introduce method for imaging defects in magnetic nanodevices

September 14, 2012 5:24 am | News | Comments

An international team of researchers have demonstrated a microscopy method to identify magnetic defects in an array of magnetic nanostructures. The method represents an important step towards identifying, measuring, and correcting the magnetic properties of defective devices in future information storage technologies.

Vanadium oxide bronze: A new material for the computing industry?

September 14, 2012 5:00 am | News | Comments

Few modern materials have achieved the fame of silicon, a key element of computer chips. The next generation of computers, however, may not rely so much on silicon. University at Buffalo researchers are among scientists working to identify materials that could one day replace silicon to make computing faster. Their latest find: A vanadium oxide bronze whose unusual electrical properties could increase the speed at which information is transferred and stored.

Nanoengineers can print 3D microstructures in mere seconds

September 13, 2012 11:53 am | News | Comments

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a novel technology that can fabricate, in mere seconds, microscale 3D structures out of soft, biocompatible hydrogels. Near term, the technology could lead to better systems for growing and studying cells, including stem cells, in the laboratory. Long-term, the goal is to be able to print biological tissues for regenerative medicine.

Engineers mine big data to faster assess carbon footprints

September 13, 2012 11:28 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Columbia University have developed a new software that can simultaneously calculate the carbon footprints of thousands of products faster than ever before. The software complies with the latest product LCA guidelines sponsored by the World Resources Institute, and any carbon footprint it calculates can easily be audited against this standard.

Information theory helps unravel DNA's genetic code

September 13, 2012 6:39 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology have used techniques from information theory to identify DNA introns and exons an order-of-magnitude faster than previously developed methods. The researchers were able to achieve this breakthrough in speed by looking at how electrical charges are distributed in the DNA nucleotide bases.

No more bubbles when boiling

September 13, 2012 3:53 am | News | Comments

A theoretical physicist from Swinburne University of Technology and colleagues from Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have discovered a specialty-engineered surface that allows liquids to boil without bubbling. To suppress bubbling while boiling, the team of researchers used a highly water-repellent surface to control the boiling state of a liquid.

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