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Engineers develop one-way transmission system for sound waves

July 26, 2011 10:56 am | News | Comments

While many building infrastructures are built with materials to help absorb or reflect sound, mechanisms to truly control the direction of sound waves are still in their infancy. However, researchers at the California Institute of Technology have now created the first tunable acoustic diode—a device that allows acoustic information to travel only in one direction, at controllable frequencies.

Devices based on piezoelectric nanowires create new form of memory

July 26, 2011 10:36 am | News | Comments

Taking advantage of the unique properties of zinc oxide nanowires, researchers have demonstrated a new type of piezoelectric resistive switching device in which the write-read access of memory cells is controlled by electromechanical modulation. Operating on flexible substrates, arrays of these devices could provide a new way to interface the mechanical actions of the biological world to conventional electronic circuitry.

Transparent batteries closer to reality

July 26, 2011 5:55 am | News | Comments

Stanford University researchers have invented a transparent lithium-ion battery that is also highly flexible. It is comparable in cost to regular batteries on the market today, with great potential for applications in consumer electronics.

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Modeling plant metabolism to optimize oil production

July 26, 2011 5:29 am | News | Comments

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a computational model for analyzing the metabolic processes in rapeseed plants—particularly those related to the production of oils in their seeds. Their goal is to find ways to optimize the production of plant oils that have widespread potential as renewable resources for fuel and industrial chemicals.

New spin on friction-stir

July 26, 2011 5:03 am | News | Comments

Researchers Zhili Feng, Alan Frederic, and Stan David in Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Materials S&T Division have made significant progress toward a new metal processing technique, called friction-stir extrusion, that could represent a major advance in converting recyclable materials to useful products.

Interdisciplinary team develops advanced live-imaging approach

July 26, 2011 4:46 am | News | Comments

Looking to improve upon current methods of imaging, researchers from the California Institute of Technology have developed a novel approach that could redefine optical imaging of live biological samples by simultaneously achieving high resolution, high penetration depth (for seeing deep inside 3D samples), and high imaging speed.

Researchers create reprogrammed stem cells for disease studies

July 25, 2011 9:27 am | News | Comments

The University of Michigan's Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies has achieved another of its primary goals: reprogramming adult skin cells so they behave like embryonic stem cells. The reprogrammed cells are called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPs cells.

Nanoplasmonic 'whispering gallery' breaks emission time record in semiconductors

July 25, 2011 8:03 am | News | Comments

Renaissance architects demonstrated their understanding of geometry and physics when they built whispering galleries into their cathedrals. These circular chambers were designed to amplify and direct sound waves so that, when standing in the right spot, a whisper could be heard from across the room. Now, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have applied the same principle on the nanoscale to reduce emission lifetime.

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A quantum leap can make graphene devices faster

July 25, 2011 7:43 am | News | Comments

University of Manchester researchers, led by the Nobel Prize winning scientists Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov, have taken another step forward towards the understanding of wonder material graphene.

3D photonic crystals have electronic, optical properties

July 25, 2011 7:25 am | News | Comments

In an advance that could open new avenues for solar cells, lasers, metamaterials, and more, researchers at the University of Illinois have demonstrated the first optoelectronically active 3D photonic crystal.

Rare coupling of magnetic and electric properties in a single material

July 25, 2011 5:38 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have observed a new way that magnetic and electric properties can coexist in a special class of metals. These materials, known as multiferroics, could serve as the basis for the next generation of faster and energy-efficient logic, memory, and sensing technology.

Astronomers discover the largest, most distant reservoir of water yet

July 25, 2011 5:08 am | News | Comments

Water really is everywhere. Two teams of astronomers, each led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology, have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. Looking from a distance of 30 billion trillion miles away into a quasar, the researchers have found a mass of water vapor that's at least 140 trillion times that of all the water in the world's oceans combined.

Improving batteries' energy storage

July 25, 2011 4:45 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have found a way to improve the energy density of a type of battery known as lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) batteries, producing a device that could potentially pack several times more energy per pound than the lithium-ion batteries that now dominate the market for rechargeable devices in everything from cellphones to cars.

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Fool's gold helps show how Earth evolved

July 22, 2011 8:35 am | News | Comments

Scientists are recreating ancient forms of the mineral pyrite—dubbed fool's gold for its metallic luster—that reveal details of past geological events. Detailed analysis of the mineral is giving fresh insight into the Earth before the Great Oxygenation Event, which took place 2.4 billion years ago.

Nanomembranes promise new materials for advanced electronics

July 22, 2011 8:27 am | News | Comments

The camera in your phone collects light on silicon and translates that information into digital bits. One of the reasons those cameras and phones continue to improve is that researchers are developing new materials that absorb more light, use less power, and are less expensive to produce. Now, a University of Wisconsin-Madison team has introduced innovations that could make possible a wide range of new crystalline materials.

Colorful butterfly wings show deceptive evolution

July 22, 2011 7:55 am | News | Comments

Many tropical butterflies and moths have strikingly beautiful wing colors and patterns. To scientists, though, studying these colors and patterns is less about beauty and more about learning how some butterflies and moths have managed to evolve deceptively similar or exceptionally diverse color patterns.

Researchers demonstrate breakthrough storage performance

July 22, 2011 7:30 am | News | Comments

Researchers from IBM demonstrated the future of large-scale storage systems by successfully scanning 10 billion files on a single system in just 43 minutes, shattering the previous record of one billion files in three hours by a factor of 37.

Spider silk glue inspires next-generation technology

July 22, 2011 7:19 am | News | Comments

Water affects orb spider web glue differently than cobweb glue. Orb web glue reacts to humidity, but cobweb glue resists it. These findings by a University of Akron research team inspire the development of new materials according to how they respond to stimuli.

Cornell collaboration to explore GPU computing using MATLAB

July 22, 2011 6:44 am | News | Comments

The Cornell University Center for Advanced Computing (CAC) announced that it is testing the performance of general-purpose GPUs with MATLAB applications in a new research collaboration with NVIDIA, Dell, and MathWorks.

OSC lifts OSU land speed racer toward 400-mph goal

July 22, 2011 6:27 am | News | Comments

A team of engineering students at The Ohio State University’s (OSU) Center for Automotive Research (CAR) recently began running aerodynamics simulations at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC), one of the first steps in the long and careful process of designing, building, and racing the fourth iteration of their alternative-fuel streamliner.

Using beach cameras for scientific analysis

July 22, 2011 6:08 am | News | Comments

For 25 years, scientists have employed a network of land-based video cameras called Argus stations to monitor coastal surf zones in an effort to learn about the ever-changing dynamics of the surf zone. Now scientists at Oregon State University are working to incorporate a new resource into the Argus system—beach cameras.

Chemists create molecular polyhedron

July 22, 2011 5:51 am | News | Comments

Chemists have created a molecular polyhedron, a ground-breaking assembly that has the potential to impact a range of industrial and consumer products, including magnetic and optical materials.

A hot species for cool structures

July 22, 2011 5:36 am | News | Comments

A fungus that lives at extremely high temperatures could help understand structures within our own cells. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and Heidelberg University, both in Heidelberg, Germany, were the first to sequence and analyze the genome of a heat-loving fungus, using that information to determine the long sought 3D structure of the inner ring of the nuclear pore.

Exoplanet aurora provides out-of-this-world sight

July 22, 2011 5:21 am | News | Comments

Earth's aurorae, or Northern and Southern Lights, provide a dazzling light show to people living in the polar regions. New research shows that aurorae on distant "hot Jupiters" could be 100 to 1,000 times brighter than Earthly aurorae. They also would ripple from equator to poles, treating the entire planet to an other-worldly spectacle.

Tumor cells go against the flow

July 22, 2011 4:39 am | by Alissa Mallinson, Mechanical Engineering | News | Comments

Cancer's uncontrolled spread throughout the body is what makes the disease so deadly. To shed some light on the spreading process, mechanical engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a microfluidic model to better understand how cancer cells break loose from their original tumor, make their way into the body's vascular system, and travel around the body.

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