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New imaging technique for analysis of biological samples

January 20, 2012 3:51 am | News | Comments

When trying to understand how cells respond to toxins, scientists want to do as little sample preparation as possible. Preparing these cells by immersing them in chemicals or drying them out can erase vital information. At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, scientists  proved that a new ionization technique they developed in 2009 can provide fingerprint and locate proteins, amino acids, and other chemicals in cells that make up tissues or microbial communities using mass spectrometry.

Gaseous ring around young star raises questions

January 20, 2012 3:23 am | News | Comments

Astronomers have detected a mysterious ring of carbon monoxide gas around the young star V1052 Cen, which is about 700 light years away in the southern constellation Centaurus. The ring is part of the star's planet-forming disk, and it's as far from V1052 Cen as Earth is from the sun. Discovered with the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, its edges are uniquely crisp.

Chemists unlock potential target for drug development

January 19, 2012 10:29 am | News | Comments

A receptor found on blood platelets whose importance as a potential pharmaceutical target has long been questioned may in fact be fruitful in drug testing, according to new research from Michigan State University chemists.


Quantum mechanics enables secure cloud computing

January 19, 2012 10:09 am | News | Comments

Researchers have succeeded in combining the power of quantum computing with the security of quantum cryptography and have shown that perfectly secure cloud computing can be achieved using the principles of quantum mechanics. They have performed an experimental demonstration of quantum computation in which the input, the data processing, and the output remain unknown to the quantum computer.

BASF, Philips to develop OLED lighting for use as transparent car roof

January 19, 2012 8:28 am | News | Comments

BASF and Philips have achieved a practical breakthrough in the development of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology that allows it to be integrated in car roofs. The OLEDs are transparent when switched off, allowing for a clear view outside the vehicle, yet providing light only within the vehicle when switched on.

Energy efficiency paves way to a low-carbon future

January 19, 2012 7:59 am | by Mark Golden, Stanford University | News | Comments

Former Secretary of Defense William Perry lists biomass, plug-in hybrid cars, nuclear power, more natural gas, and energy efficiency as the only potential near-term answers to easing the United States' emissions of greenhouse gases and addiction to oil. Of these items, what is the most important?

Snakes improve search-and-rescue robots

January 19, 2012 6:35 am | News | Comments

Designing an all-terrain robot for search-and-rescue missions is an arduous task for scientists. The machine must be flexible enough to move over uneven surfaces, yet not so big that it's restricted from tight spaces. Some existing robots have these features, but the majority require large amounts of energy and are prone to overheating. Georgia Tech researchers have designed a new machine by studying the locomotion of snakes.

Designing chemical catalysts: There's an app for that

January 19, 2012 4:51 am | by Mike Ross, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

A big reason for publishing scientific results is to inform others who can then use your data and conclusions to make additional discoveries, technologies or products. But what good are findings if they are, well, hard to find? Scientists from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have a solution for those who design new chemical catalysts: They made an app.


Researchers produce ultra-short light pulses using on-chip microresonator

January 19, 2012 3:26 am | News | Comments

Researchers from the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology and Purdue University have designed and fabricated an on-chip microresonator that converts continuous laser light into ultra-short pulses consisting of a mix of well-defined frequencies, a technology with applications in advanced sensors, communications systems, and metrology.

Chemistry professor developing sustainable bioplastics

January 19, 2012 3:17 am | by Emily Wilmsen, Colorado State University | News | Comments

A Colorado State University chemistry professor has developed several patent-pending chemical processes that would create sustainable bioplastics from renewable resources for use on everything from optical fibers and contact lenses to furniture and automobile parts.

Researchers to sequence Chardonnay genome

January 18, 2012 11:28 am | News | Comments

The University of British Columbia's Wine Research Centre and The Australian Wine Research Institute have announced they have received $585,000 to produce the first assembled genomic sequence of the Chardonnay grape. Although the most abundant white wine grape variety, very little is currently known about the Chardonnay genome.

The great gas hydrate escape

January 18, 2012 11:14 am | News | Comments

For some time, researchers have explored flammable ice for low-carbon or alternative fuel or as a place to store carbon dioxide. Now, a computer analysis of the ice and gas compound, known as a gas hydrate, reveals key details of its structure. The results show that hydrates can hold hydrogen at an optimal capacity of 5 weight-percent, a value that meets the goal of a U.S. Department of Energy standard and makes gas hydrates practical and affordable.

Faint 'satellite galaxy' discovered

January 18, 2012 9:51 am | News | Comments

A faint "satellite galaxy" 10 billion light years from Earth is the lowest-mass object ever detected at such a distance. The find could help astronomers find similar objects and confirm or reject theories about the structure of the cosmos.


Are women truly worse in math than men?

January 18, 2012 8:18 am | News | Comments

A University of Missouri researcher and his colleague have conducted a review that casts doubt on the accuracy of a popular theory that attempted to explain why there are more men than women in top levels of mathematic fields.

A new approach to control global climate warming

January 18, 2012 8:04 am | News | Comments

Engineering our way out of global climate warming may not be as easy as simply reducing the incoming solar energy, according to a team of University of Bristol and Penn State University climate scientists. Designing the approach to control both sea level rise and rates of surface air temperature changes requires a balancing act to accommodate the diverging needs of different locations.

Ultracold gases help enhance understanding of high-temperature superconductors

January 18, 2012 6:58 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Every time you boil water in a kettle, you witness a phenomenon known as a phase transition—water transforms from a liquid to a gas, as you can see from the bubbling water and hissing steam. Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicists have now observed a much more elusive phase transition: That from a gas into a superfluid, a state where particles flow without any friction. The work also shed light on the superconductivity of electrons in metals.

Researchers uncover transparency limits on transparent conducting oxides

January 18, 2012 4:58 am | News | Comments

Researchers in the Computational Materials Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara have uncovered the fundamental limits on optical transparency in the class of materials known as transparent conducting oxides. Their discovery will support development of energy-efficiency improvements for devices that depend on optoelectronic technology.

Sandia develops power-over-fiber communications cable

January 18, 2012 3:56 am | News | Comments

Sometimes total electrical isolation is a good thing—and that's the idea behind a power-over-fiber communications cable being developed by engineers at Sandia National Laboratories. The Sandia team is developing a hybrid cable design that uses fiber to send and regulate optical power to the communications electronics integral to the cable. A patent is pending on the design.

The faster-than-fast Fourier transform

January 18, 2012 3:26 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new algorithm that, in a large range of practically important cases, improves on the fast Fourier transform—an algorithm that was devised in the mid-1960s that made it practical to calculate Fourier transforms on the fly. Under some circumstances, the improvement can be dramatic—a tenfold increase in speed.

Neutron scattering provides window into surface interactions

January 17, 2012 10:36 am | News | Comments

To better understand the fundamental behavior of molecules at surfaces, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are combining the powers of neutron scattering with chemical analysis. Scientists have a fundamental interest in how molecules behave at solid surfaces because surface interactions influence chemistry. Understanding these interactions allows researchers to tailor materials for a specific desirable outcome.

PNNL's Olympus supercomputer advances science, saves energy

January 17, 2012 8:32 am | News | Comments

A new, 162-Teraflop peak supercomputer at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is helping scientists do more complex, advanced research in areas such energy storage and future power grid development. It also uses less energy than similar computers because of its water-fed cooling system.

Georgia Tech receives $1.5 M to create collaborative vehicle design capability

January 17, 2012 8:14 am | News | Comments

The Georgia Tech Research Institute has received a $1.5 million contract to produce an online environment that would let multiple design teams work together to develop new military vehicles. The VehicleForge project's goal is to create a secure central Website and other Web-based tools and methods that would facilitate such collaborative development.

Computer model optimizes biofuel operations

January 17, 2012 7:55 am | News | Comments

Research into biofuel crops such as switchgrass and Miscanthus has focused mainly on how to grow these crops and convert them into fuels. But many steps lead from the farm to the biorefinery, and each could help or hinder the growth of this new industry. A new computer model developed at the University of Illinois can simplify this transition.

New microtweezers may build tiny MEMS structures

January 17, 2012 7:24 am | News | Comments

Researchers have created new microtweezers capable of manipulating objects to build tiny structures, print coatings to make advanced sensors, and grab and position live stem cell spheres for research.

New measurements deepen understanding of quantum uncertainty

January 17, 2012 6:02 am | News | Comments

Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle is arguably one of the most famous foundations of quantum physics. It says that not all properties of a quantum particle can be measured with unlimited accuracy. Until now, this has often been justified by the notion that every measurement necessarily has to disturb the quantum particle, which distorts the results of any further measurements. This, however, turns out to be an oversimplification.

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