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New carbon dioxide-removing catalyst can take the heat

May 24, 2012 4:13 am | News | Comments

The current method of removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the flues of coal-fired power plants uses so much energy that no one bothers to use it. So says Roger Aines, principal investigator for a team that has developed an entirely new catalyst for separating out and capturing carbon dioxide, one that mimics a naturally occurring catalyst operating in our lungs.

New device jet-injects drugs

May 24, 2012 3:55 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Getting a shot at the doctor's office may become less painful in the not-too-distant future. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have engineered a device that delivers a tiny, high-pressure jet of medicine through the skin without the use of a hypodermic needle. The device can be programmed to deliver a range of doses to various depths—an improvement over similar jet-injection systems that are now commercially available.

New model of geological strata may aid in oil extraction

May 23, 2012 6:41 am | News | Comments

A Sandia National Laboratories modeling study contradicts a long-held belief of geologists that pore sizes and chemical compositions are uniform throughout a given strata, which are horizontal slices of sedimentary rock. By understanding the variety of pore sizes and spatial patterns in strata, geologists can help achieve more production from underground oil reservoirs and water aquifers.

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Study eyes how to keep a Mars tumbleweed rover moving on rocky terrain

May 23, 2012 6:17 am | News | Comments

New research from North Carolina State University shows that a wind-driven "tumbleweed" Mars rover would be capable of moving across rocky Martian terrain—findings that could also help the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) design the best possible vehicle.

Summer gas prices to be stable if...

May 23, 2012 5:39 am | News | Comments

Gasoline prices this summer could stay relatively steady provided that an already-tense Middle East doesn't flare up and nothing else happens to disrupt supplies, a Purdue University economist says.

Project to examine 'Yeti' DNA

May 23, 2012 4:41 am | News | Comments

A new collaboration between Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology will use the latest genetic techniques to investigate organic remains that some have claimed belong to the 'Yeti' and other 'lost' hominid species.

How ion bombardment reshapes metal surfaces

May 23, 2012 4:28 am | News | Comments

Ion bombardment of metal surfaces is an important, but poorly understood, nanomanufacturing technique. New research using sophisticated supercomputer simulations has shown what goes on in trillionths of a second. The advance could lead to better ways to predict the phenomenon and more uses of the technique to make new nanoscale products.

Researchers develop probe for ultracold quantum matter

May 23, 2012 4:11 am | News | Comments

A research group from Stony Brook University reports the development and demonstration of a novel probe for atomic quantum matter. Their work describes a proof-of-principle experiment on the diffraction of atomic de Broglie waves from a strongly correlated gas of atoms held in an optical lattice.

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Civil engineers find savings where the rubber meets the road

May 23, 2012 3:44 am | by Denise Brehm, Civil and Environmental Engineering | News | Comments

A new study by civil engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that using stiffer pavements on the nation's roads could reduce vehicle fuel consumption by as much as 3%—a savings that could add up to 273 million barrels of crude oil per year, or $15.6 billion at today's oil prices. This would result in an accompanying annual decrease in carbon dioxide emissions of 46.5 million metric tons.

New TB test promises to be cheap, fast

May 22, 2012 9:42 am | News | Comments

Biomedical engineers at University of California, Davis have developed a microfluidic chip to test for latent tuberculosis. They hope the test will be cheaper, faster, and more reliable than current testing for the disease.

Researchers take virus-tracking software worldwide

May 22, 2012 9:35 am | News | Comments

A biomedical informatics researcher who tracks dangerous viruses as they spread around the globe has restructured his innovative tracking software to promote even wider use of the program around the world.

Better, stronger, lighter armor

May 22, 2012 9:12 am | News | Comments

What makes a piece of armor effective? Sure, it needs to be strong, and it should be lightweight. But what is it about a material's composition that gives it such properties? And can we develop materials that provide even better protection? With decades' worth of investment and preparation, California Institute of Technology engineers are particularly well equipped to address such questions as part of a new Army-funded program to improve protective gear and vehicles for soldiers.

Cassini reveals details about charged nanograins

May 22, 2012 8:59 am | News | Comments

In a new study, researchers describe what they found in data from Cassini: a new class of space particles—submicroscopic nanograins of electrically charged dust. Such particles are believed to exist throughout the universe, and this marks the first time researchers have measured and analyzed them.

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Mathematical framework formalizes oddball programming techniques

May 22, 2012 8:40 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers will present a new mathematical framework that allows computer scientists to reason rigorously about sloppy computation. The framework can provide mathematical guarantees that if a computer program behaves as intended, so will a fast-but-inaccurate modification of it.

Study: Availability of hydrogen controls chemical structure of graphene oxide

May 22, 2012 7:48 am | News | Comments

A new study shows that the availability of hydrogen plays a significant role in determining the chemical and structural makeup of graphene oxide. The study also found that after the material is produced, its structural and chemical properties continue to evolve for more than a month as a result of continuing chemical reactions with hydrogen.

Deconstructing the cell's most complex structure

May 22, 2012 5:16 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

One of the most important structures in a cell is the nuclear pore complex—a tiny yet complicated channel through which information flows in and out of the cell's nucleus, directing all other cell activity. Little is known about this vital cell structure, but a Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologist is trying to change that.

Researchers develop way to strengthen proteins with polymers

May 22, 2012 4:37 am | News | Comments

In a new study, investigators from the University of California, Los Angeles describe how they synthesized polymers to attach to proteins in order to stabilize them during shipping, storage, and other activities. The study findings suggest that these polymers could be useful in stabilizing protein formulations.

Quantum condensate of the thirteenth kind

May 22, 2012 4:20 am | News | Comments

Francesca Ferlaino's research team at the University of Innsbruck is the first to successfully create a condensate of the exotic element erbium. The Innsbruck experimental physicists hold the world record in attaining the first Bose-Einstein condensates of different chemical elements.

Scientists uncover a photosynthetic puzzle

May 21, 2012 12:54 pm | News | Comments

Quantum physics and plant biology seem like two branches of science that could not be more different, but surprisingly they may in fact be intimately tied. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory and the Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame used ultrafast spectroscopy to see what happens at the subatomic level during the very first stage of photosynthesis.

Origami-inspired design method merges engineering, art

May 21, 2012 12:43 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have shown how to create morphing robotic mechanisms and shape-shifting sculptures from a single sheet of paper in a method reminiscent of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. The new method, called Kaleidogami, uses computational algorithms and tools to create precisely folded structures.

Physical properties predict stem cell outcome

May 21, 2012 11:33 am | News | Comments

Tissue engineers can use mesenchymal stem cells derived from fat to make cartilage, bone, or more fat. The best cells to use are ones that are already likely to become the desired tissue. Brown University researchers have discovered that the mechanical properties of the stem cells can foretell what they will become, leading to a potential method of concentrating them for use in healing.

LCLS graphite experiment poses new questions for researchers

May 21, 2012 10:25 am | News | Comments

In experiments at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, a powerful X-ray laser blasted solid carbon crystals into a liquid and plasma even faster than expected, raising new questions about how these intense beams interact with matter. The tests took place at the Linac Coherent Light Source, or LCLS, using a pioneering technique to simultaneously blast and probe samples of graphite, a pure form of carbon.

Cell network security holes revealed

May 21, 2012 7:59 am | News | Comments

Popular firewall technology designed to boost security on cellular networks can backfire, unwittingly revealing data that could help a hacker break into Facebook and Twitter accounts, a new study from the University of Michigan shows. The researchers also developed an Android app that tells phone users when they're on a vulnerable network.

Researchers improve fast-moving mobile networks

May 21, 2012 7:46 am | News | Comments

Mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) allow people in multiple, rapidly moving vehicles to communicate with each other—such as in military or emergency-response situations. Researchers from North Carolina State University have devised a method to improve the quality and efficiency of data transmission in these networks.

Reaction uses carbon dioxide to make carbon-based semiconductor

May 21, 2012 7:12 am | News | Comments

A materials scientist at Michigan Technological University has discovered a chemical reaction that not only eats up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, it also creates something useful. And, by the way, it releases energy.

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