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Green light for marine renewables?

September 16, 2011 6:01 am | News | Comments

Farms of 'underwater windmills' could affect how sand moves around our coastal seas, affecting beaches, sand banks, and ultimately the risk of flooding, according to Bangor University oceanographer Simon Neill. Writing in Planet Earth , Neill explains how tidal energy farms are like roadworks.

Engineers invent a magnetic fluid pump with no moving parts

September 16, 2011 5:52 am | News | Comments

Used in Hollywood and the advertising industry to create exotic special effects, ferrofluids are seemingly magical materials that are both liquid and magnetic at once. In a study, a team from Yale University, with colleagues from the University of Georgia and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, demonstrated for the first time an approach that allows ferrofluids to be pumped by magnetic fields alone.

Laboratory simplifies manufacture of semiconducting bilayer graphene

September 16, 2011 5:36 am | News | Comments

By heating metal to make graphene, Rice University researchers may warm the hearts of high-tech electronics manufacturers. The lab of Rice chemist James Tour published two papers that advance the science of making high-quality, bilayer graphene. They show how to grow it on a functional substrate by first having it diffuse into a layer of nickel.

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Researchers create nanoscale gold coating with largest-ever superlattice

September 16, 2011 5:19 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute developed a new method for creating a layer of gold nanoparticles that measures only billionths of a meter thick. These self-assembling gold coatings with features measuring less than 10 nm could hold important implications for nanoelectronics manufacturing.

Forces within molecules can strengthen extra-long carbon-carbon bonds

September 16, 2011 5:07 am | by Mike Ross | News | Comments

The strength of a chemical bond between atoms is the fundamental basis for a molecule's stability and reactivity. Tuning the strength and accessibility of the bond can dramatically change a molecule's properties. New research by a team from two European universities and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory shows that attractive forces between other parts of a molecule can make a stretched bond joining two carbon atoms much more stable than expected.

Argonne patents technology that increases safety of Li-ion batteries

September 16, 2011 4:25 am | News | Comments

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have patented a new, extremely stable, 4-V redox shuttle molecule that provides overcharge protection for lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries containing lithium-iron-phosphate-based cathodes across hundreds of charging cycles.

Organic solar cell breakthrough

September 15, 2011 10:44 am | News | Comments

National Physical Laboratory scientists have achieved a significant breakthrough in the metrology of organic photovoltaics. The research demonstrated a new type of atomic force microscopy that can 'see' down into a working organic photovoltaic cell and relate its 3D nanoscale structure to its performance.

Decoding the proteins behind drug-resistant superbugs

September 15, 2011 8:30 am | News | Comments

Penicillin and its descendants once ruled supreme over bacteria. Then the bugs got stronger, and hospitals have reported bacterial infections so virulent that even powerful antibiotics held in reserve for these cases don't work. To create the next line of defense against the most drug-resistant pathogens, scientists at Argonne National Laboratory and Texas A&M University have decoded the structure of a protein that confers drug resistance against our best antibiotics.

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DOE awards LLNL more than $850,000 for geothermal research

September 15, 2011 8:15 am | News | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has received $890,000 from U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to help accelerate geothermal energy technology. The main project, "Stochastic Joint Inversion for Integrated Data Interpretation in Geothermal Exploration," aims to reduce resource exploration costs by developing a processing technique for a variety of geophysical and geological parameters.

New invention could improve smartphone battery life

September 15, 2011 7:55 am | News | Comments

A new University of Michigan-developed "subconscious mode" for smartphones and other WiFi-enabled mobile devices could extend battery life by as much as 54% for users on the busiest networks. The new power management approach is called E-MiLi, which stands for Energy-Minimizing Idle Listening.

Electronic bucket brigade could boost solar cell voltages

September 15, 2011 7:43 am | News | Comments

Some ferroelectric materials can develop extremely high voltages when light falls on them, which might greatly improve solar cells if scientists could figure out how they do it. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have solved the mystery for one ferroelectric, bismuth ferrite, revealing a principle that should apply to other materials too.

Rice reinforces gas hydrate strategy

September 15, 2011 5:50 am | News | Comments

Their critics weren't convinced the first time, but Rice University researchers didn't give up on the "ice that burns." The Rice team has expanded upon previous research to locate and quantify the amount of methane hydrates—a potentially vast source of energy—that may be trapped under the seabed by analyzing shallow core samples.

NASA Mars research helps find buried water on Earth

September 15, 2011 5:32 am | News | Comments

A NASA-led team has used radar sounding technology developed to explore the subsurface of Mars to create high-resolution maps of freshwater aquifers buried deep beneath an Earth desert, in the first use of airborne sounding radar for aquifer mapping. The research may help scientists better locate and map Earth's desert aquifers, understand current and past hydrological conditions in Earth's deserts, and assess how climate change is impacting them.

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Woolly mammoth secret points toward new artificial blood for humans

September 15, 2011 5:11 am | News | Comments

The blood from woolly mammoths—those extinct elephant-like creatures that roamed the Earth in pre-historic times—is helping scientists develop new blood products for modern medical procedures that involve reducing patients’ body temperature.

Chemists help astronauts make sure their drinking water is clean

September 15, 2011 5:00 am | News | Comments

Researchers from Iowa State University and the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have developed chemistry and procedures that astronauts can use to test the quality of their drinking water at the International Space Station. The testing technology is now considered operational hardware at the space station. Astronauts will begin using refinements to the tests in late September.

A trip to Alaska in search of the future of climate change

September 15, 2011 4:40 am | News | Comments

Last month, scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and several other U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories traveled to two small Alaskan towns. The scientists are developing The Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiment, a multidisciplinary effort to answer one of the most urgent questions facing researchers today: How will a changing climate affect the Arctic, and how will this in turn affect the planet’s climate?

Capturing snapshots in time to pick apart synaptic activity

September 15, 2011 4:26 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier | News | Comments

As we take in the world around us, learn, and form memories, the synapses between neurons in our brains are constantly being modified. Some get stronger, while others are allowed to shrink or get weaker. The network of enzyme-regulated chemical reactions that control these modifications is complex. Now, a professor from the California Institute of Technology has come up with a way to tease apart the elusive details of that network.

Crash-safe battery protection for electric cars

September 14, 2011 10:31 am | News | Comments

Everyone is talking about electric drives, and the scientists from Fraunhofer are also working on them. Engineers have replaced a battery box for lithium-ion batteries with a light-weight component. Not only does the housing save weight and sustain no damage in an accident, for the first time ever, it can also be mass-produced.

Sandia researchers help create U.S. industry for wave energy production

September 14, 2011 10:15 am | News | Comments

A dearth of public information, complicated marine environments, and even the corrosive effects of bubbles are among the challenges for companies trying to produce energy from river currents, tides, and waves, but Sandia National Laboratories is working on solutions. Sandia is helping companies on the frontier of the coming marine hydrokinetics industry navigate these and other concerns with support from the Department of Energy.

Publications provide a cloud computing standards roadmap

September 14, 2011 9:36 am | News | Comments

NIST has published two new documents on cloud computing: the first edition of a cloud computing standards roadmap and a cloud computing reference architecture and taxonomy. Together, the documents provide guidance to help understand cloud computing standards and categories of cloud services that can be used government-wide.

ORNL invention unravels mystery of protein folding

September 14, 2011 9:22 am | News | Comments

An Oak Ridge National Laboratory invention able to quickly predict 3D structure of protein could have huge implications for drug discovery and human health. While scientists have long studied protein structure and the mechanism of folding, this marks the first time they are able to computationally predict 3D structure independent of size of the protein.

'Synthetic biology' could replace oil for chemical industry

September 14, 2011 7:48 am | News | Comments

Vats of blue-green algae could one day replace oil wells in producing raw materials for the chemical industry, a University of California, Davis chemist predicts. Shota Atsumi, an assistant professor of chemistry, is using "synthetic biology" to create cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, that convert carbon dioxide in the air into complex hydrocarbons, all powered by sunlight.

Endgame for the Higgs boson

September 14, 2011 5:41 am | by Susan Brown, University of San Diego | News | Comments

The last missing piece of scientists' fundamental model of particle physics is running out of places to hide. That piece, an elementary particle called the Higgs boson that is thought to give all matter mass, has evaded detection so far. But physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, have ruled out most of the range of masses the Higgs could have, leaving just a narrow span where the elusive particle might be found.

New material synthesized: Graphene nanoribbons inside of carbon nanotubes

September 14, 2011 5:24 am | News | Comments

Physicists from Umea University and Finland have found an efficient way to synthesize graphene nanoribbons directly inside of single-walled carbon nanotubes. Based upon a previous study, the team used coronene and perylene, which are large organic molecules, as building blocks to produce long and narrow graphene nanoribbons inside the tubes.

Study finds more effective way to dry ethanol

September 14, 2011 4:56 am | by Brian Wallheimer, Purdue University | News | Comments

Purdue University researchers have found an alternative environmentally friendly and energy-efficient way to dry corn ethanol, and their proof is in the pudding. The Purdue team found that the shape and structure of tapioca pearls are ideal for removing water from ethanol.

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