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Some habitable exoplanets could experience wildly unpredictable climates

March 13, 2015 11:28 am | by Peter Kelley, Univ. of Washington | News | Comments

As telescopes of ever-greater power scan the cosmos looking for life, knowing where to look, and where not to waste time looking, will be of great value. New research by Univ. of Washington astronomers describes possible planetary systems where a gravitational nudge from one planet with just the right orbital configuration and tilt could have a mild to devastating effect on the orbit and climate of another, possibly habitable world.

Researchers discover new catalysts to generate renewable fuels

March 13, 2015 11:17 am | by Brita Bell, Communications Office, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

For the last seven years, Yale Univ. graduate student Staff Sheehan has been working on splitting water. Now, a paper published in Nature Communications reveals how one of the methods he and his team have uncovered for this process, using a specific iridium species as a water oxidation catalyst, could aid in the development of renewable fuels.

Necklace can help track food intake

March 13, 2015 11:05 am | by Bill Kisliuk, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Videos | Comments

A sophisticated necklace developed by researchers at the Univ. of California, Los Angeles, can monitor food and drink intake, which could help wearers track and improve their dietary habits. The inventors of the WearSens device say it could help battle obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other problems related to nutrition.

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Unlocking the mysteries of wound healing

March 13, 2015 9:49 am | by Daniel Stolte, Univ. of Arizona Communications | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Arizona have discovered what causes and regulates collective cell migration, one of the most universal but least understood biological processes in all living organisms. The findings shed light on the mechanisms of cell migration, particularly in the wound healing process. The results also represent a major advancement for regenerative medicine.

High cholesterol, triglycerides can keep vitamin E from reaching body tissues

March 13, 2015 8:54 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

In the continuing debate over how much vitamin E is enough, a new study has found that high levels of blood lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides can keep this essential micronutrient tied up in the blood stream, and prevent vitamin E from reaching the tissues that need it. The research also suggested that measuring only blood levels may offer a distorted picture of whether or not a person has adequate amounts of this vitamin.

Hubble observations suggest underground ocean on Jupiter’s largest moon

March 13, 2015 8:46 am | by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has the best evidence yet for an underground saltwater ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon. The subterranean ocean is thought to have more water than all the water on Earth's surface. Identifying liquid water is crucial in the search for habitable worlds beyond Earth and for the search of life as we know it.

Unique proteins found in heat-loving organisms bind well to plant matter

March 13, 2015 8:36 am | by Mick Kulikowski, North Carolina State Univ. News Services | News | Comments

Unique proteins newly discovered in heat-loving bacteria are more than capable of attaching themselves to plant cellulose, possibly paving the way for more efficient methods of converting plant matter into biofuels. The unusual proteins, called tapirins, bind tightly to cellulose, a key structural component of plant cell walls, enabling these bacteria to break down cellulose.

New way to measure superconducting fluctuations

March 13, 2015 8:27 am | by Louise Lerner, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

A study published by researchers at Argonne National Laboratory provides theoretical evidence for a new effect that may lead to a way of measuring the exact temperature at which superconductivity kicks in and shed light on the poorly understood properties of superconducting materials above this temperature.

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LLNL deploys world’s highest peak-power laser diode arrays

March 13, 2015 8:17 am | by Breanna Bishop, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | News | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has installed and commissioned the highest peak power laser diode arrays in the world, representing total peak power of 3.2 MW. The diode arrays are a key component of the High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS), which is currently under construction at LLNL.

Molecule-making machine simplifies complex chemistry

March 13, 2015 8:05 am | by Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

A new molecule-making machine could do for chemistry what 3-D printing did for engineering: Make it fast, flexible and accessible to anyone. Chemists at the Univ. of Illinois built the machine to assemble complex small molecules at the click of a mouse, like a 3-D printer at the molecular level. The automated process has the potential to greatly speed up and enable new drug development and other technologies that rely on small molecules.

Magnetic brain stimulation

March 13, 2015 7:54 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Videos | Comments

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a method to stimulate brain tissue using external magnetic fields and injected magnetic nanoparticles: a technique allowing direct stimulation of neurons, which could be an effective treatment for a variety of neurological diseases, without the need for implants or external connections.

FDA wants more info on scopes linked to "superbug" outbreaks

March 12, 2015 8:05 pm | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Federal health officials are stepping up their oversight of medical scopes linked to potentially fatal "superbug" outbreaks. The Food and Drug Administration released stricter guidelines for manufacturers of reusable medical instruments, including specialized endoscopes used in about a half-million U.S. medical procedures each year.

Researchers manipulate gold-coated nanoparticles with lasers

March 12, 2015 11:56 am | by Ludwig Maximillian Univ. of Munich | News | Comments

Tiny glass nanospheres coated on one side with a very fine gold film: Ludwig Maximillian Univ. of Munich scientists have shown that particles modified in this way can be moved about with high precision using laser beams, creating an optically controlled micro-elevator.

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Engineers create chameleon-like artificial “skin”

March 12, 2015 11:39 am | by Jack Hanley, The Optical Society | News | Comments

Borrowing a trick from nature, engineers from the Univ. of California at Berkeley have created an incredibly thin, chameleon-like material that can be made to change color by simply applying a minute amount of force. This new material-of-many-colors offers intriguing possibilities for an entirely new class of display technologies, color-shifting camouflage and sensors.

Optical fibers light the way for brain-like computing

March 12, 2015 11:17 am | by Glenn Harris, Univ. of Southampton | News | Comments

Computers that function like the human brain could soon become a reality thanks to new research using optical fibers made of specialty glass. The research, published in Advanced Optical Materials, has the potential to allow faster and smarter optical computers capable of learning and evolving.

New angle on x-ray measurements

March 12, 2015 11:08 am | by NIST | News | Comments

Criminal justice, cosmology and computer manufacturing may not look to have much in common, but these and many other disparate fields all depend on sensitive measurements of x-rays. Scientists at NIST have developed a new method to reduce uncertainty in x-ray wavelength measurement that could provide improvements awaited for decades.

Using proteomics to profile switchgrass

March 12, 2015 10:43 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

If advanced biofuels are to replace gasoline, diesel and jet fuel on a gallon-for-gallon basis at competitive pricing, we’re going to need a new generation of fuel crops. Researchers with the Joint BioEnergy Institute have demonstrated the power of a new ally in this effort: proteomics.

Graphene: A new tool for fighting cavities and gum disease?

March 12, 2015 10:07 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Dental diseases, which are caused by the overgrowth of certain bacteria in the mouth, are among the most common health problems in the world. Now scientists have discovered that a material called graphene oxide is effective at eliminating these bacteria, some of which have developed antibiotic resistance. They report the findings in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Saturn’s moon may have hot springs

March 12, 2015 8:34 am | by Alicia Chang, Associated Press | News | Comments

New research suggests there are hot springs bubbling beneath the icy surface of a tiny Saturn moon. If confirmed, it would make the moon Enceladus the only other known body in the solar system besides Earth where hot water and rocks interact underground. That activity would make the moon an even more attractive place in the hunt for microbial life.

Using x-ray vision to probe early stages of DNA “photocopying”

March 12, 2015 8:25 am | by Catherine Kolf, Johns Hopkins Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists at Johns Hopkins Univ. have created a 3-D model of a complex protein machine, ORC, which helps prepare DNA to be duplicated. Like an image of a criminal suspect, the intricate model of ORC has helped build a "profile" of the activities of this crucial "protein of interest." But the new information has uncovered another mystery.

Engineers solve mystery of dancing droplets

March 12, 2015 8:17 am | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | Videos | Comments

A puzzling observation, pursued through hundreds of experiments, has led Stanford Univ. researchers to a simple yet profound discovery: Under certain circumstances, droplets of fluid will move like performers in a dance choreographed by molecular physics.

Study yields insights into how plant cells grow

March 12, 2015 8:06 am | by Natalie van Hoose, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

A study by Purdue Univ. plant scientists and Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln engineers advances our understanding of how plants control their shape and development at the cellular level. Their findings could help researchers engineer better cotton fibers, improve plant defense against insects, alter plant architecture and toughen root response to drought.

The physics of clouds

March 12, 2015 7:58 am | by Julie Cohen, UC Santa Barbara | News | Comments

In 1941, Russian physicist Andrey Kolmogorov developed a theory of turbulence that has served as the basic foundation for our understanding of this important naturally occurring phenomenon. Kolmogorov’s theory has been interpreted to imply that transitions from one state of turbulence to another must be a smooth evolution. However, new research disproves this interpretation of Kolmogorov’s theory.

How 3-D bioprinting could address the shortage of organ donations

March 12, 2015 7:49 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Three-dimensional bioprinting has come a long way since its early days when a bioengineer replaced the ink in his desktop printer with living cells. Scientists have since successfully printed small patches of tissue. Could it someday allow us to custom-print human organs for patients in need of transplants?

New material captures carbon at half the energy cost

March 12, 2015 7:43 am | by Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley | News | Comments

Univ. of California, Berkeley chemists have made a major leap forward in carbon-capture technology with a material that can efficiently remove carbon from the ambient air of a submarine as readily as from the polluted emissions of a coal-fired power plant. The material then releases the carbon dioxide at lower temperatures than current carbon-capture materials.

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