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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.

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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.

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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.

Adapting nanoscience imaging tools to study ants’ heat-deflecting adaptations

June 19, 2015 7:41 am | by Alasdair Wilkins, Brookhaven National Laboratory | News | Comments

The tiny hairs of Saharan silver ants possess crucial adaptive features that allow the ants to regulate their body temperatures and survive the scorching hot conditions of their desert habitat. According to a new research paper, the unique triangular shape and internal structure of the hairs play a key role in maintaining the ant’s average internal temperature below the critical thermal maximum of 53.6 C (128.48 F).

Recalling happier memories can reverse depression

June 19, 2015 7:28 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientists have shown that they can cure the symptoms of depression in mice by artificially reactivating happy memories that were formed before the onset of depression. The findings offer a possible explanation for the success of psychotherapies in which depression patients are encouraged to recall pleasant experiences.

Wine-making shortcut gives bubbly a fruitier aroma

June 18, 2015 4:24 pm | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

The best sparkling wines take months to ferment to perfection. In recent years, many winemakers have turned to commercial yeast products to give this process a boost. How they ultimately affect bubbly has been an open question, but now scientists have stepped in to find out. They report their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Galactic crashes fuel quasars

June 18, 2015 4:19 pm | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

When galaxies collide, bright things happen in the universe. Using the Hubble Space Telescope’s infrared vision, astronomers have unveiled some of the previously hidden origins of quasars, the brightest objects in the universe. A new study finds that quasars are born when galaxies crash into each other and fuel supermassive, central black holes.

Simplifying the recycling of rare-earth magnets

June 18, 2015 4:13 pm | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

Despite their ubiquity in consumer electronics, rare-earth metals are, as their name suggests, hard to come by. Mining and purifying them is an expensive, labor-intensive and ecologically devastating process. Researchers at the Univ. of Pennsylvania have now pioneered a process that could enable the efficient recycling of two of these metals, neodymium and dysprosium.

Carbon nanoparticles you can make at home

June 18, 2015 1:55 pm | by Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Researchers have found an easy way to produce carbon nanoparticles that are small enough to evade the body's immune system, reflect light in the near-infrared range for easy detection and carry payloads of pharmaceutical drugs to targeted tissues. Unlike other methods of making carbon nanoparticles, the new approach generates the particles in a few hours and uses only a handful of ingredients, including store-bought molasses.

Study suggests active volcanism on Venus

June 18, 2015 11:30 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists have found some of the best evidence yet that Venus, Earth’s nearest neighbor, is volcanically active. In combing through data from the European Space Agency’s Venus Express mission, the scientists found transient spikes in temperature at several spots on the planet’s surface. The hotspots, which were found to flash and fade over the course of just a few days, appear to be generated by active flows of lava on the surface.

On the road to needle-free medicine

June 18, 2015 10:45 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Needle injections have been around since 1657 and remain a key delivery method for many drugs, including vaccines that have prevented countless illnesses. But for patients that require daily pricks or for people in remote locations, the syringe model has major drawbacks. An article in Chemical & Engineering News looks at potential alternatives, their successes and their roadblocks.

New tool on horizon for surgeons treating cancer patients

June 18, 2015 9:30 am | by Ron Walli, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Surgeons could know while their patients are still on the operating table if a tissue is cancerous, according to researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. In Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, a team led by ORNL's Vilmos Kertesz describes an automated droplet-based surface sampling probe that accomplishes in about 10 min what now routinely takes 20 to 30 min.

Scientists create computational algorithm for fact-checking

June 18, 2015 8:32 am | by Indiana Univ. | News | Comments

Network scientists at Indiana Univ. have developed a new computational method that can leverage any body of knowledge to aid in the complex human task of fact-checking. In the first use of this method, the scientists created a simple computational fact-checker that assigns "truth scores" to statements concerning history, geography and entertainment, as well as random statements drawn from the text of Wikipedia.

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