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New process forms 3-D shapes from flat sheets of graphene

June 23, 2015 2:13 pm | by Rick Kubetz, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new approach for forming 3-D shapes from flat, 2-D sheets of graphene, paving the way for future integrated systems of graphene-MEMS hybrid devices and flexible electronics.

Spectrum of life

June 23, 2015 12:15 pm | by Peter Kelley, Univ. of Washington | News | Comments

To find life in the universe, it helps to know what it might look like. If there are organisms on other planets that do not rely wholly on photosynthesis, how might those worlds appear from light-years away? That’s among the questions a Univ. of Washington team sought to answer in research published in Astrobiology.

New manufacturing approach slices lithium-ion battery cost in half

June 23, 2015 11:10 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

An advanced manufacturing approach for lithium-ion batteries, developed by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at a spinoff company called 24M, promises to significantly slash the cost of the most widely used type of rechargeable batteries while also improving their performance and making them easier to recycle.

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Single-catalyst water splitter produces clean-burning hydrogen 24/7

June 23, 2015 10:45 am | by Mark Shwartz, Stanford Univ. | Videos | Comments

Stanford Univ. scientists have invented a low-cost water splitter that uses a single catalyst to produce both hydrogen and oxygen gas 24 hrs a day, seven days a week. The device, described in Nature Communications, could provide a renewable source of clean-burning hydrogen fuel for transportation and industry.

Mirror-like display creates rich color pixels by harnessing ambient light

June 23, 2015 10:03 am | by The Optical Society | News | Comments

Using a simple structure comprising a mirror and an absorbing layer to take advantage of the wave properties of light, researchers at Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc. have developed a display technology that harnesses natural ambient light to produce an unprecedented range of colors and superior viewing experience.

New technology looks into the eye and brings cells into focus

June 23, 2015 8:26 am | by Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Eye doctors soon could use computing power to help them see individual cells in the back of a patient’s eye, thanks to imaging technology developed by engineers at the Univ. of Illinois. Such detailed pictures of the cells, blood vessels and nerves at the back of the eye could enable earlier diagnosis and better treatment for degenerative eye and neurological diseases.

Toward tiny, solar-powered sensors

June 23, 2015 8:18 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

The latest buzz in the information technology industry regards “the Internet of things”, the idea that vehicles, appliances, civil-engineering structures, manufacturing equipment and even livestock would have their own embedded sensors that report information directly to networked servers, aiding with maintenance and the coordination of tasks.

New formula to speed development of modern materials

June 23, 2015 8:10 am | by Jeannie Kever, Univ. of Houston | News | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of Houston have devised a new formula for calculating the maximum efficiency of thermoelectric materials, the first new formula in more than a half-century, designed to speed up the development of new materials suitable for practical use.

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Is salt the key to unlocking the interiors of Neptune, Uranus?

June 23, 2015 8:02 am | by Carnegie Institution | News | Comments

The interiors of several of our solar system’s planets and moons are icy, and ice has been found on distant extrasolar planets, as well. But these bodies aren’t filled with the regular kind of water ice that you avoid on the sidewalk in winter. The ice that’s found inside these objects must exist under extreme pressures and high-temperatures, and potentially contains salty impurities, too.

Sweeping lasers snap together nanoscale geometric grids

June 23, 2015 7:39 am | by Justin Eure, Brookhaven National Laboratory | News | Comments

Down at the nanoscale, where objects span just billionths of a meter, the size and shape of a material can often have surprising and powerful electronic and optical effects. Building larger materials that retain subtle nanoscale features is an ongoing challenge that shapes countless emerging technologies. Now, scientists have developed a new technique to create nanostructured grids for functional materials with unprecedented versatility.

Destructive power of bubbles could lead to new industrial applications

June 22, 2015 1:31 pm | by Eleanor Nelsen, Virginia Tech | News | Comments

Virginia Tech engineers have shed light on what happens to a nearby particle when bubbles burst. Sunghwan Jung, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics in the College of Engineering, has discovered new information about a phenomenon called cavitation, the process of bubble formation in a fluid like water.

Discovery paves way for new superconducting electronics

June 22, 2015 12:15 pm | by Kim McDonald, Univ. of California, San Diego | News | Comments

Physicists have developed a new way to control the transport of electrical currents through high-temperature superconductors. Their achievement, detailed in two separate scientific publications, paves the way for the development of sophisticated electronic devices capable of allowing scientists or clinicians to non-invasively measure the tiny magnetic fields in the heart or brain, and improve satellite communications.

The secrets of secretion

June 22, 2015 11:45 am | by Harvard Univ. | News | Comments

Anything you can do, nature can do better. Chemical delivery systems, self-healing cells, non-stick surfaces, nature perfected those long ago. Now, researchers at Harvard Univ. have hacked nature's blueprints to create a new technology that could have broad-reaching impact on drug delivery systems and self-healing and anti-fouling materials.

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New “molecular movie” reveals ultrafast chemistry in motion

June 22, 2015 11:15 am | by Andrew Gordon, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | Videos | Comments

Scientists, for the first time, tracked ultrafast structural changes, captured in quadrillionths-of-a-second steps, as ring-shaped gas molecules burst open and unraveled. Ring-shaped molecules are abundant in biochemistry and also form the basis for many drug compounds. The study points the way to a wide range of real-time x-ray studies of gas-based chemical reactions that are vital to biological processes.

Team fuses art, engineering to create stretchable batteries

June 22, 2015 10:10 am | by Joe Kullman, Arizona State Univ. | Videos | Comments

Origami, the centuries-old Japanese paper-folding art, has inspired recent designs for flexible energy-storage technology. But energy-storage device architecture based on origami patterns has so far been able to yield batteries that can change only from simple folded to unfolded positions. They can flex, but not actually stretch.

Engineers develop micro-tentacles for tiny robots

June 22, 2015 9:50 am | by Mike Krapfl, News Service, Iowa State Univ. | News | Comments

The tiny tube circled an ant's thorax, gently trapping the insect and demonstrating the utility of a microrobotic tentacle developed by Iowa State Univ. engineers. While most robots squeeze two fingers together to pick things up, these tentacles wrap around items gently.

Seeing more deeply with laser light

June 22, 2015 8:47 am | by Susan Reiss, National Science Foundation | News | Comments

A human skull, on average, is about 0.3 in thick, or roughly the depth of the latest smartphone. Human skin, on the other hand, is about 0.1 in, or about three grains of salt, deep. While these dimensions are extremely thin, they still present major hurdles for any kind of imaging with laser light.

Scientists make new estimates of the deep carbon cycle

June 22, 2015 8:23 am | by Stuart Wolpert, UCLA | News | Comments

Over billions of years, the total carbon content of the outer part of the Earth has gradually increased, scientists reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Craig Manning, a professor of geology and geochemistry at UCLA, and Peter Kelemen, a geochemistry professor at Columbia Univ., present new analyses that represent an important advance in refining our understanding of Earth's deep carbon cycle.

Could we one day control the path of lightning?

June 22, 2015 8:14 am | by Stéphanie Thibault, INRS | News | Comments

Lightning darts across the sky in a flash. And even though we can use lightning rods to increase the probability of it striking at a specific location, its exact path remains unpredictable. At a smaller scale, discharges between two electrodes behave in the same manner, streaking through space to create electric arcs where only the start and end points are fixed. How then can we control the current so that it follows a predetermined path?

How owls could help make wind turbines, planes quieter

June 22, 2015 7:56 am | by Sarah Collins, Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

A newly designed material, which mimics the wing structure of owls, could help make wind turbines, computer fans and even planes much quieter. Early wind tunnel tests of the coating have shown a substantial reduction in noise without any noticeable effect on aerodynamics.

How to wipe out polio and prevent its re-emergence

June 22, 2015 7:45 am | by Jim Erickson, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Public health officials stand poised to eliminate polio from the planet. But a new study shows that the job won't be over when the last case of the horrible paralytic disease is recorded. Using disease-transmission models, a Univ. of Michigan team has demonstrated that silent transmission of poliovirus could continue for more than three years with no reported cases.

Mold unlocks new route to biofuels

June 19, 2015 10:38 am | by Univ. of Manchester | News | Comments

Scientists at The Univ. of Manchester have made an important discovery that forms the basis for the development of new applications in biofuels and the sustainable manufacturing of chemicals. Based at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, researchers have identified the exact mechanism and structure of two key enzymes isolated from yeast molds that together provide a new, cleaner route to the production of hydrocarbons.

Scientists solve decades-old cell biology puzzle

June 19, 2015 9:55 am | by European Molecular Biology Laboratory | News | Comments

Researchers at EMBL Heidelberg have solved a question that has puzzled cell biologists for decades: How does the protein machine that allows cells to swallow up molecules during endocytosis function? Endocytosis is the process by which cells engulf molecules and draw them inside the cell where they perform different functions.

X-ray imaging reveals secrets in battery materials

June 19, 2015 8:47 am | by Liezel Labios, Univ. of California, San Diego | Videos | Comments

In a new study, researchers explain why one particular cathode material works well at high voltages, while most other cathodes do not. The insights, published in Science, could help battery developers design rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that operate at higher voltages.

Chemists devise technology that could transform solar energy storage

June 19, 2015 8:19 am | by Melody Pupols, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | News | Comments

The materials in most of today’s residential rooftop solar panels can store energy from the sun for only a few microseconds at a time. A new technology developed by chemists at the Univ. of California, Los Angeles is capable of storing solar energy for up to several weeks, an advance that could change the way scientists think about designing solar cells.

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