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Preventing fires in next-generation lithium batteries

June 17, 2015 1:00 pm | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

In a study that could improve the safety of next-generation batteries, researchers discovered that adding two chemicals to the electrolyte of a lithium metal battery prevents the formation of dendrites—"fingers" of lithium that pierce the barrier between the battery's halves, causing it to short out, overheat and sometimes burst into flame.

Researchers predicted existence of new quantum matter theoretically

June 17, 2015 12:00 pm | by Aalto Univ. | News | Comments

Aalto Univ. researchers have succeeded to predict, in theory, that superconducting surfaces can become topological superconductors when magnetic iron atoms are deposited on the surface in a regular pattern. They used the latest mathematical and physical models to predict the existence of a topological superconducting state on metallic superconducting surfaces and thin films.

Hooked on phonons

June 17, 2015 11:29 am | by NIST | News | Comments

An international research group led by scientists at NIST’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology has developed a method for measuring crystal vibrations in graphene. Understanding these vibrations is a critical step toward controlling future technologies based on graphene.

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Inkjet inks made of silk could yield smart bandages

June 17, 2015 9:24 am | by Kim Thurler, Tufts Univ. | News | Comments

Silk inks containing enzymes, antibiotics, antibodies, nanoparticles and growth factors could turn inkjet printing into a new, more effective tool for therapeutics, regenerative medicine and biosensing, according to new research led by Tufts Univ.  biomedical engineers and published in Advanced Materials.

Battery uses light to produce power

June 17, 2015 9:10 am | by American Chemical Society | Videos | Comments

To move the world toward sustainability, scientists are continuing to explore and improve ways to tap the vast power of sunlight to make fuels and generate electricity. Now they have come up with a new way to use light—solar or artificial—to drive battery power safely. Their “photo battery,” reported in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, uses light and titanium nitride for the anode.

Scientists find methane in Mars meteorites

June 17, 2015 9:00 am | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

An international team of researchers has discovered traces of methane in Martian meteorites, a possible clue in the search for life on the Red Planet. The researchers examined samples from six meteorites of volcanic rock that originated on Mars. The meteorites contain gases in the same proportion and with the same isotopic composition as the Martian atmosphere.

Graphene heat-transfer riddle unraveled

June 17, 2015 8:50 am | by Jeanne Galatzer-Levy, Univ. of Illinois Chicago | News | Comments

Researchers have solved the long-standing conundrum of how the boundary between grains of graphene affects heat conductivity in thin films of the miracle substance, bringing developers a step closer to engineering films at a scale useful for cooling microelectronic devices and hundreds of other nanotech applications.

Best observational evidence of first-generation stars

June 17, 2015 8:31 am | by ESO | News | Comments

Astronomers have long theorized the existence of a first generation of stars that were born out of the primordial material from the Big Bang. All the heavier chemical elements were forged in the bellies of stars. This means that the first stars must have formed out of the only elements to exist prior to stars: hydrogen, helium and trace amounts of lithium.

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New fog chamber provides testing that could improve security cameras

June 17, 2015 8:21 am | by Heather Clark, Sandia National Laboratories | Videos | Comments

Fog can play a key role in cloaking military invasions and retreats and the actions of intruders. That’s why physical security experts seek to overcome fog, but it’s difficult to field test security cameras, sensors or other equipment in fog that is often either too thick or too ephemeral. Until now, collecting field test data in foggy environments was time-consuming and costly.

Unravelling the mysteries of carbonic acid

June 17, 2015 8:06 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Blink your eyes and it’s long gone. Carbonic acid exists for a tiny fraction of a second when carbon dioxide gas dissolves in water before changing into a mix of protons and bicarbonate anions. Despite its short life, carbonic acid imparts a lasting impact on Earth’s atmosphere and geology, as well as on the human body. However, because of its short lifespan, the detailed chemistry of carbonic acid has long been veiled in mystery.

Heartbeat on a chip could improve pharmaceutical tests

June 17, 2015 7:57 am | by Gabe Cherry, Univ. of Michigan | Videos | Comments

A gravity-powered chip that can mimic a human heartbeat outside the body could advance pharmaceutical testing and open new possibilities in cell culture because it can mimic fundamental physical rhythms, according to the Univ. of Michigan researchers who developed it.

Researchers successfully target Achilles heel of MERS virus

June 17, 2015 7:49 am | by Elizabeth K. Gardner, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

A Purdue Univ.-led team of researchers studying the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, have found molecules that shut down the activity of an essential enzyme in the virus and could lead the way to better treatments for those infected.

Amplifying small motions in large motions

June 17, 2015 7:40 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Videos | Comments

For several years now, the research groups of Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors of computer science and engineering William Freeman and Frédo Durand have been investigating techniques for amplifying movements captured by video but indiscernible to the human eye. Versions of their algorithms can make the human pulse visible and even recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of objects filmed through soundproof glass.

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Cellulose from wood can be printed in 3-D

June 17, 2015 7:31 am | by Chalmers Univ. of Technology | News | Comments

A group of researchers at Chalmers Univ. of Technology have managed to print and dry 3-D objects made entirely by cellulose, for the first time, with the help of a 3-D bioprinter. They also added carbon nanotubes to create electrically conductive material.

Goncharov, McWilliams, and the rest of the team’s work on noble gases could help solve the mystery of why Saturn emits more heat from its interior than would be expected. In Jupiter and Saturn, helium would be insulating near the surface and turn metal-li

Mimicry opens window to star and planet deep interiors

June 16, 2015 10:42 am | by Carnegie Institution for Science | News | Comments

The matter that makes up distant planets and even-more-distant stars exists under extreme pressure and temperature. This matter includes members of a family of seven elements called noble gases. Scientists used laboratory techniques to mimic stellar and planetary conditions, and observe how noble gases behave under these conditions, in order to better understand the atmospheric and internal chemistry of these celestial objects.

View of the experimental hall at the MAMI accelerator: The mass of a strange atomic nucleus was measured with the help of the magnetic spectrometer that can be seen in the photo. Courtesy of the Institute of Nuclear Physics

Measuring the mass of a strange atomic nucleus

June 16, 2015 10:18 am | by Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz | News | Comments

An international team of physicists working at the Institute of Nuclear Physics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz has measured the mass of a "strange" atomic nucleus with the aid of an innovative technique that is capable of significantly greater precision than that of previous methods. The researchers were able, for the first time worldwide, to observe the radioactive decay of artificially generated nuclei of super-heavy hydrogen.

In this simulation, the purple balls represent radioactive iodine-125 atoms on a gold surface, and the green balls are atoms that have undergone nuclear decay into tellurim-125. Image: Courtesy of Sykes and Michaelides Labs

Witness to chemical alchemy: elements transform at atomic scale

June 16, 2015 9:24 am | by Taylor McNeil, Tufts University | News | Comments

In a research first, scientists have witnessed atoms of one chemical element morph into another—a feat of alchemy that could lead to safer, more effective cancer treatments. The researchers worked with iodine-125—a radioactive form of the element iodine that is routinely used in cancer therapies. Using a scanning tunneling microscope, they observed individual atoms of iodine-125 decay, each losing a proton and becoming tellurium-125.

Honeycomb-inspired design delivers superior protection from impact

June 16, 2015 8:32 am | by Ashley Lindstrom, Univ. of Texas at Austin | Videos | Comments

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The Univ. of Texas at Austin have developed a groundbreaking new energy-absorbing structure to better withstand blunt and ballistic impact. The technology, called negative stiffness honeycombs, can be integrated into car bumpers, military and athletic helmets and other protective hardware.

A new type of gecko-like gripper

June 16, 2015 8:24 am | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

Picking things up and putting them down is a mainstay of any kind of manufacturing, but fingers, human or robotic, are not always best for the task at hand. Researchers at the Univ. of Pennsylvania are developing a new kind of gripper, motivated by the ability of animals like the gecko to grip and release surfaces, that is perfectly suited for the delicate work involved in semiconductor manufacturing.

Hematite “re-growth” smoothes rough edges for clean energy harvest

June 16, 2015 8:16 am | by Boston College | News | Comments

Finding an efficient solar water splitting method to mine electron-rich hydrogen for clean power has been thwarted by the poor performance of hematite. But by “re-growing” the mineral's surface, a smoother version of hematite doubled electrical yield, opening a new door to energy-harvesting artificial photosynthesis.

New commercial method for producing medical isotope

June 16, 2015 8:05 am | by Greg Cunningham, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

The effort to secure a stable, domestic source of a critical medical isotope reached an important milestone this month as the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory demonstrated the production, separation and purification of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) using a process developed in cooperation with SHINE Medical Technologies.

Theory turns to reality for nonlinear optical metamaterials

June 16, 2015 7:46 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Videos | Comments

A research team has realized one of the long-standing theoretical predictions in nonlinear optical metamaterials: creation of a nonlinear material that has opposite refractive indices at the fundamental and harmonic frequencies of light. Such a material, which doesn’t exist naturally, had been predicted for nearly a decade.

Small thunderstorms may cause massive cyclones on Saturn

June 16, 2015 7:34 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

For the last decade, astronomers have observed curious “hotspots” on Saturn’s poles. In 2008, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft beamed back close-up images of these hotspots, revealing them to be immense cyclones, each as wide as the Earth. Scientists estimate that Saturn’s cyclones may whip up 300 mph winds, and likely have been churning for years.

World’s thinnest light bulb

June 15, 2015 11:25 am | by Columbia Univ. | Videos | Comments

Led by Young Duck Kim, a postdoctoral research scientist in James Hone’s group at Columbia Engineering, a team of scientists have demonstrated, for the first time, an on-chip visible light source using graphene as a filament. They attached small strips of graphene to metal electrodes, suspended the strips above the substrate, and passed a current through the filaments to cause them to heat up.

Evolution study finds massive genome shift in one generation

June 15, 2015 10:53 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

A team of biologists from Rice Univ., the Univ. of Notre Dame and three other schools has discovered that an agricultural pest that began plaguing U.S. apple growers in the 1850s likely did so after undergoing extensive and genome-wide changes in a single generation. This new result came from applying the latest tools of genome sequencing and analysis to preserved evidence from experiments carried out at Notre Dame in the 1990s.

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