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Taking inspiration from spilled milk

August 12, 2011 6:53 am | News | Comments

Two Lehigh University physicists have developed an imaging technique that makes it possible to directly observe light-emitting excitons as they diffuse in a new material that is being explored for its extraordinary electronic properties. Called rubrene, it is one of a new generation of single-crystal organic semiconductors.

USDA, DOE fund research project to accelerate bioenergy crop production

August 12, 2011 6:34 am | News | Comments

The U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture have awarded 10 grants totaling $12.2 million to spur research into improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of growing biofuel and bioenergy crops. The investments are part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to develop domestic renewable energy and advanced biofuels.

Hidden soil fungus is in a class of its own

August 12, 2011 4:54 am | News | Comments

A type of fungus that's been lurking underground for millions of years, previously known to science only through its DNA, has been cultured, photographed, named, and assigned a place on the tree of life. Researchers say it represents an entirely new class of fungi: the Archaeorhizomycetes.

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Researchers find disorder is key to nanotube mystery

August 12, 2011 4:23 am | News | Comments

Scientists often find strange and unexpected things when they look at materials at the nanoscale. Case in point: In the last couple of years, researchers have observed that water spontaneously flows into extremely small tubes of graphene. However, no one has managed to explain why, at the moleculat level, a stable liquid would want to confine itself to a small area. That is until now.

A systematic way to find battery materials

August 12, 2011 3:47 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Lithium-ion batteries have become a leading energy source, and researchers are actively seeking ways to nudge their performance toward ever-higher levels. New analysis by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Los Angeles has revealed why one widely used compound works particularly well as the material for one of these batteries' two electrodes.

Newts can regrow damaged hearts, so why can't humans?

August 11, 2011 10:44 am | News | Comments

Stem cell researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have uncovered for the first time why adult human cardiac myocytes—specialized muscle cells in the heart—have lost their ability to proliferate, perhaps explaining why the human heart has little regenerative capacity.

Federal agencies take action to digitally document endangered languages

August 11, 2011 9:50 am | News | Comments

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the award of 10 fellowships and 24 institutional grants totaling $3.9 million in the agencies' ongoing Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) program.

Alien world is blacker than coal

August 11, 2011 9:31 am | News | Comments

Astronomers have discovered the darkest known exoplanet—a distant, Jupiter-sized gas giant known as TrES-2b. Their measurements show that TrES-2b reflects less than one percent of the sunlight falling on it, making it blacker than coal or any planet or moon in our solar system.

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New technology could capture ammonia from liquid manure

August 11, 2011 7:30 am | News | Comments

Though it may not sound very glamorous, a new method of extracting ammonium from liquid animal manure could be exciting news for both confined animal operations and environmental groups, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service engineer.

E. coli metabolism reversed for fast production of fuels

August 10, 2011 9:46 am | News | Comments

In a biotechnological tour de force, Rice University engineering researchers unveiled a new method for rapidly converting simple glucose into biofuels and petrochemical substitutes.

Physicists entangle two atoms using microwaves for the first time

August 10, 2011 9:34 am | News | Comments

Physicists at NIST have for the first time linked the quantum properties of two separated ions by manipulating them with microwaves instead of the usual laser beams, suggesting it may be possible to replace an exotic room-sized quantum computing "laser park" with miniaturized, commercial microwave technology similar to that used in smart phones.

Why vertebrate intestines are predictably loopy

August 10, 2011 9:19 am | News | Comments

Between conception and birth, the human gut grows more than two meters long, looping and coiling within the tiny abdomen. Within a given species, the developing vertebrate gut always loops into the same formation—however, until now, it has not been clear why.

Ancient crop effective in protecting against 21st century hazard

August 10, 2011 5:24 am | News | Comments

Flax has been part of human history for well over 30,000 years. Now, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have discovered that it might have a new use for the 21st century: protecting healthy tissues and organs from the harmful effects of radiation.

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Technique scales up nanofiber production

August 10, 2011 4:56 am | News | Comments

A new spin on an old technology will give scientists and manufacturers the ability to significantly increase their production of nanofibers, according to researchers at North Carolina State University.

New drug could cure nearly any viral infection

August 10, 2011 4:34 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections. Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection.

Team works to produce electricity from Earth's heat using carbon dioxide

August 9, 2011 8:26 am | News | Comments

A team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists hopes to become the first in the world to produce electricity from the Earth’s heat using carbon dioxide. They also want to permanently store some of the carbon dioxide underground. The technology could lead to a new source of clean, domestic energy and a new way to fight climate change.

Polar dinosaur tracks open new trail to past

August 9, 2011 7:31 am | News | Comments

Paleontologists have discovered a group of more than 20 polar dinosaur tracks on the coast of Victoria, Australia, offering a rare glimpse into animal behavior during the last period of pronounced global warming, about 105 million years ago.

Curry spice offers treatment hope for tendinitis

August 9, 2011 6:58 am | News | Comments

An international team of researchers has shown a derivative of a common culinary spice found in Indian curries could offer a new treatment hope for sufferers of the painful condition tendinitis.

Scientists design self-assembled microrobots

August 9, 2011 5:22 am | by Louise Lerner | News | Comments

Physicists at the Argonne National Laboratory have coaxed microrobots to do their bidding. The robots, just half a millimeter wide, are composed of microparticles. Confined between two liquids, they assemble themselves into star shapes when an alternating magnetic field is applied.

Viewing materials with Superman's X-ray vision

August 9, 2011 4:57 am | News | Comments

Physicists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new kind of X-ray microscope that can penetrate deep within materials like Superman’s fabled X-ray vision and see minute details at the scale of a single nanometer.

Developing super sight

August 9, 2011 4:35 am | News | Comments

By combining a clever physical interface with computer-vision algorithms, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a simple, portable imaging system that can achieve resolutions previously possible only with large and expensive lab equipment.

Using neutrons to spy on the elusive hydronium ion

August 8, 2011 8:47 am | News | Comments

A Los Alamos National Laboratory research team has harnessed neutrons to view for the first time the critical role that an elusive molecule plays in certain biological reactions. The effort could aid in treatment of peptic ulcers or acid reflux disease, or allow for more efficient conversion of woody waste into transportation fuels.

NETL alloy improves coronary stents

August 8, 2011 7:41 am | News | Comments

A new alloy developed by a team of researchers, including the National Energy Technology Laboratory, is helping cardiologists and their patients at home and abroad. The novel platinum-chromium (PtCr) alloy is being used by Boston Scientific Corporation to manufacture coronary stents that are more flexible and conformable than existing stents, and more visible on X-ray.

Flowing structures in soft crystals

August 8, 2011 6:34 am | News | Comments

A liquid does not have to be a disordered bunch of particles. A team of researchers at Vienna University of Technology and the University of Vienna has discovered intriguing structures formed by tiny particles floating in liquids. Under mechanical strain, particle clusters in liquids can spontaneously form strings and alter the properties of the liquid.

Team discovers conducting properties of bacteria-produced nanowires

August 8, 2011 6:02 am | News | Comments

A team from University of Massachusetts Amherst has discovered a fundamental, previously unknown property of microbial nanowires in the bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens that allows electron transport across long distances that could impact nanotechnology and bioelectronics.

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