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Baby steps toward molecular robots

December 11, 2014 8:32 am | News | Comments

A walking molecule, so small that it cannot be observed directly with a microscope, has been recorded taking its first nanometer-sized steps. It's the first time that anyone has shown in real time that such a tiny object – termed a "small molecule walker" – has taken a series of steps.

Meniscus regenerated with 3-D-printed implant

December 11, 2014 8:25 am | News | Comments

Researchers have devised a way to replace the knee’s protective lining, called the meniscus, using a personalized 3D-printed implant, or scaffold, infused with human growth factors that prompt the body to regenerate the lining on its own. The therapy, successfully tested in sheep, could provide the first effective and long-lasting repair of damaged menisci.

‘High-entropy’ alloy is as light as aluminum, as strong as titanium alloys

December 11, 2014 8:09 am | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a new “high-entropy” metal alloy that has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than any other existing metal material. High-entropy alloys are materials that consist of five or more metals in approximately equal amounts. 

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New way to plug 'leaky' light cavities

December 11, 2014 8:07 am | News | Comments

Engineers at the University of California, San Diego have demonstrated a new and more efficient way to trap light, using a phenomenon called bound states in the continuum (BIC) that was first proposed in the early days of quantum wave mechanics.

New form of ice could explore avenues for energy production and storage

December 11, 2014 8:01 am | News | Comments

The discovery of a new form of ice could lead to an improved understanding of our planet’s geology, potentially helping to unlock new solutions in the production, transportation and storage of energy. Ice XVI, the least dense of all known forms of ice, has a highly symmetric cage-like structure that can trap gaseous molecules to form compounds known as clathrates or gas hydrates.

New way to turn genes on

December 10, 2014 2:37 pm | by Anne Trafton, MIT | News | Comments

Using a gene-editing system originally developed to delete specific genes, MIT researchers have now shown that they can reliably turn on any gene of their choosing in living cells.                    

Molecules for the masses

December 10, 2014 2:28 pm | by Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois | Videos | Comments

Scientists have created an app that brings molecules to life in a handheld device. Through the app, people can use up to eleven fingers to examine in great detail more than 350 molecules.                  

Organic electronics could lead to cheap, wearable medical sensors

December 10, 2014 2:19 pm | by Sarah Yang, UC Berkeley | News | Comments

Future fitness trackers could soon add blood-oxygen levels to the list of vital signs measured with new technology developed by engineers.                               

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‘Electronic skin’ detects pressure from different directions

December 10, 2014 2:12 pm | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

For the first time, scientists report the development of a stretchable “electronic skin” closely modeled after our own that can detect not just pressure, but also what direction it’s coming from.                

‘Smart windows’ have potential to keep heat out, save energy

December 10, 2014 2:07 pm | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Scientists are developing a new kind of “smart window” that can block out heat when the outside temperatures rise. The advance could one day help consumers better conserve energy on hot days and reduce electric bills.       

NASA, Houston hospital work on spacesuit issue

December 10, 2014 2:00 pm | by Juan A. Lozano, Associated Press | News | Comments

The empty spacesuit that sat on the operating table in a lab at Houston Methodist Hospital's research institute made for an unusual patient.                               

Nanotechnology battles malaria parasites

December 10, 2014 8:04 am | News | Comments

Malaria parasites invade human red blood cells, which they bring to burst and infect others. Researchers at the University of Basel and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute called nano imitations of host cell membranes have developed that deceive and trick the pathogen. This could lead to novel therapeutic and vaccine strategies against malaria and other infectious diseases.

Defects are perfect in laser-induced graphene

December 10, 2014 7:50 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice University have created flexible, patterned sheets of multilayer graphene from a cheap polymer by burning it with a computer-controlled laser. The process works in air at room temperature and eliminates the need for hot furnaces and controlled environments, and it makes graphene that may be suitable for electronics or energy storage.

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The gold standard

December 9, 2014 5:37 pm | News | Comments

Precious elements such as platinum work well as catalysts in chemical reactions, but require large amounts of metal and can be expensive. However, computational modeling below the nanoscale level may allow researchers to design more efficient and affordable catalysts from gold.

Warmer Pacific Ocean could release millions of tons of seafloor methane

December 9, 2014 5:29 pm | News | Comments

Off the West Coast of the United States, methane gas is trapped in frozen layers below the seafloor. New research from the University of Washington shows that water at intermediate depths is warming enough to cause these carbon deposits to melt, releasing methane into the sediments and surrounding water.

Moving toward a cheaper, better catalyst for hydrogen production

December 9, 2014 5:23 pm | News | Comments

Hydrogen could be an important source of clean energy, and the cleanest way to produce hydrogen gas is to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. But the catalyst currently used to facilitate this water-splitting reaction is platinum. And that’s a problem.

Metal test could help diagnose breast cancer early

December 9, 2014 5:19 pm | News | Comments

It may be possible to develop a simple blood test that, by detecting changes in the zinc in our bodies, could help to diagnose breast cancer early.                                 

Composite materials can be designed in a supercomputer 'virtual lab'

December 9, 2014 12:45 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have shown how advanced computer simulations can be used to design new composite materials. Nanocomposites, which are widely used in industry, are revolutionary materials in which microscopic particles are dispersed through plastics. 

Powering space craft of the future

December 9, 2014 12:31 pm | by Lancaster University | News | Comments

Engineers at Lancaster University are working on powering future giant leaps for mankind. They are major partners of a consortium working on a new project to maximize "energy harvesting" on a space craft of the future.         

World record for compact particle accelerator

December 9, 2014 12:01 pm | by Kate Greene, Berkeley Lab | News | Comments

Using one of the most powerful lasers in the world, researchers have accelerated subatomic particles to the highest energies ever recorded from a compact accelerator.                        

Scientists re-create what may be life's first spark

December 9, 2014 11:34 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Scientists in a lab used a powerful laser to re-create what might have been the original spark of life on Earth. The researchers zapped clay and a chemical soup with the laser to simulate the energy of a speeding asteroid smashing into the planet.

DNA double-strand break process visualized for the first time

December 9, 2014 11:17 am | by CNIO | News | Comments

Scientists from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), have developed a method for producing biological crystals that has allowed scientists to observe— for the first time— DNA double chain breaks.           

Storing hydrogen underground could boost transportation, energy security

December 9, 2014 10:55 am | by Sandia Labs | News | Comments

Large-scale storage of low-pressure, gaseous hydrogen in salt caverns and other underground sites for transportation fuel and grid-scale energy applications offers several advantages over above-ground storage, says a recent Sandia National Laboratories study.

Hunting for dark matter in a gold mine

December 9, 2014 8:24 am | News | Comments

The Homestake Mine, a played-out gold mine in Lead, S.D., that has been converted into a warren of underground chambers housing physics experiments that need to be shielded from cosmic radiation. One of these experiments is the Lux detector, designed to detect WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles). 

Researchers show commonalities in how different glassy materials fail

December 9, 2014 7:59 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have now shown an important commonality that seems to extend through the range of glassy materials. They have demonstrated that the scaling between a glassy material’s stiffness and strength remains unchanged, implying a constant critical strain that these materials can withstand before catastrophic failure.

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