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Low-grade waste heat regenerates ammonia battery

December 3, 2014 3:49 pm | by A'ndrea Elyse Messer, Penn State Univ. | News | Comments

An efficient method to harvest low-grade waste heat as electricity may be possible using reversible ammonia batteries, according to Penn State Univ. engineers. Low-grade waste heat is an artifact of many energy-generating methods. In automobiles, waste heat generated in winter is diverted to run the vehicle heating system, but in the summer, that same waste heat must be dissipated to the environment.

“Mirage Earth” exoplanets may have burned away chances for life

December 3, 2014 11:21 am | by Peter Kelley, News and Information, Univ. of Washington | News | Comments

Planets orbiting close to low-mass stars are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life. But new research led by an astronomy graduate student at the Univ. of Washington indicates some such planets may have long since lost their chance at hosting life because of intense heat during their formative years.

Small volcanoes make a dent in global warming

December 3, 2014 11:04 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

New research shows that relatively small volcanic eruptions can increase aerosol particles in the atmosphere, temporarily mitigating the global warming caused by greenhouse gases. The impact of such smaller eruptions has been underestimated in climate models, the researchers say, and helps to account for a discrepancy between those models and the actual temperatures observed over the last 15 years.

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Ability of HIV to cause AIDS is slowing

December 3, 2014 10:02 am | by Oxford Univ. | News | Comments

The rapid evolution of HIV, which has allowed the virus to develop resistance to patients' natural immunity, is at the same time slowing the virus's ability to cause AIDS. The Oxford Univ.-led study also indicates that people infected by HIV are likely to progress to AIDS more slowly—in other words the virus becomes less “virulent”—because of widespread access to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Progress in low-cost “artificial leaf” that produces clean hydrogen fuel

December 3, 2014 9:23 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

For years, scientists have been pursuing “artificial leaf” technology, a green approach to making hydrogen fuel that copies plants’ ability to convert sunlight into a form of energy they can use. Now, one team reports progress toward a stand-alone system that lends itself to large-scale, low-cost production. They describe their nanowire mesh design in ACS Nano.

Technique simultaneously determines nanomaterials’ chemical makeup

December 3, 2014 8:47 am | by Angela Hardin, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

A team of researchers from Argonne National Laboratory and Ohio Univ. have devised a powerful technique that simultaneously resolves the chemical characterization and topography of nanoscale materials down to the height of a single atom. The technique combines synchrotron x-rays (SX) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). In experiments, the researchers used SX as a probe and a nanofabricated smart tip of a STM as a detector.

Computer model enables design of complex DNA shapes

December 3, 2014 8:31 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Videos | Comments

Biological engineers have created a new computer model that allows them to design the most complex 3-D DNA shapes ever produced, including rings, bowls and geometric structures such as icosahedrons that resemble viral particles. This design program could allow researchers to build DNA scaffolds to anchor arrays of proteins and light-sensitive molecules called chromophores that mimic the photosynthetic proteins found in plant cells.

IBM helps you donate computer power to fight Ebola

December 3, 2014 7:00 am | by By Brandon Bailey - AP Technology Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

IBM has engineered a way for everyone to join the fight against Ebola—by donating processing time on their personal computers, phones or tablets to researchers. IBM has teamed with scientists at Scripps Research Institute in southern California on a project that aims to combine the power of thousands of small computers, to each attack tiny pieces of a larger medical puzzle that might otherwise require a supercomputer to solve.

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Researchers develop inexpensive hydrolysable polymer

December 2, 2014 4:50 pm | by Rick Kubetz, Engineering Communications Office | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have figured out how to reverse the characteristics of a key bonding material—polyurea—providing an inexpensive alternative for a broad number of applications, such as drug delivery, tissue engineering and packaging.

A better look at the chemistry of interfaces

December 2, 2014 4:41 pm | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Researchers have combined key features of two highly acclaimed x-ray spectroscopy techniques into a new technique that offers sub-nanometer resolution of every chemical element to be found at heterogeneous interfaces, such as those in batteries and fuel cells. This new technique is called SWAPPS for Standing Wave Ambient Pressure Photoelectron Spectroscopy.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide used for energy storage products

December 2, 2014 4:28 pm | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

Chemists and engineers at Oregon State Univ. have discovered a fascinating new way to take some of the atmospheric carbon dioxide that’s causing the greenhouse effect and use it to make an advanced, high-value material for use in energy storage products. This innovation in nanotechnology won’t soak up enough carbon to solve global warming, but it will provide a low-cost way to make nanoporous graphene for use in supercapacitors.

Lengthening the life of high-capacity silicon electrodes in rechargeable lithium batteries

December 2, 2014 4:14 pm | by Mary Beckman, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

A new study will help researchers create longer-lasting, higher-capacity lithium rechargeable batteries, which are commonly used in consumer electronics. In a study published in ACS Nano, researchers showed how a coating that makes high-capacity silicon electrodes more durable could lead to a replacement for lower-capacity graphite electrodes.

First pictures of baby nanotubes

December 2, 2014 11:18 am | by NIST | News | Comments

Single-walled carbon nanotubes are loaded with desirable properties. In particular, the ability to conduct electricity at high rates of speed makes them attractive for use as nanoscale transistors. But this and other properties are largely dependent on their structure, and their structure is determined when the nanotube is just beginning to form.

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Nutrition, safety key to consumer acceptance of nanotech

December 2, 2014 10:08 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

New research from North Carolina State Univ. and the Univ. of Minnesota shows the majority of consumers will accept the presence of nanotechnology or genetic modification (GM) technology in foods—but only if the technology enhances the nutrition or improves the safety of the food. The researchers conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,117 U.S. consumers.

Software speeds detection of diseases, cancer treatment targets

December 2, 2014 10:03 am | by James E. Rickman, Communications Office, Los Alamos National Laboratory | News | Comments

Los Alamos National Laboratory has released an updated version of powerful bioinformatics software that is now capable of identifying DNA from viruses and all parts of the Tree of Life—putting diverse problems such as identifying pathogen-caused diseases, selection of therapeutic targets for cancer treatment and optimizing yields of algae farms within relatively easy reach for health care professionals, researchers and others.

Computational tools help identify microbes in complex environmental samples

December 2, 2014 9:52 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Microbes of interest to clinicians and environmental scientists rarely exist in isolation. Organisms essential to breaking down pollutants or causing illness live in complex communities, and separating one microbe from hundreds of companion species can be challenging for researchers seeking to understand environmental issues or disease processes.

Sweet smell of success

December 2, 2014 8:37 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Two years ago, researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute engineered E. coli bacteria to convert glucose into significant quantities of methyl ketones, a class of chemical compounds primarily used for fragrances and flavors, but highly promising as clean, green and renewable blending agents for diesel fuel. Now, after further genetic modifications, they have managed to dramatically boost the E.coli’s methyl ketone production 160-fold.

Exploring cells in 3-D

December 2, 2014 8:12 am | by The Scripps Research Institute | News | Comments

Researchers can now explore viruses, bacteria and components of the human body in more detail than ever before with software developed at The Scripps Research Institute. In a study published online in Nature Methods, the researchers demonstrated how the software, called cellPACK, can be used to model viruses such as HIV.

Losing air

December 2, 2014 8:01 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Today’s atmosphere likely bears little trace of its primordial self: Geochemical evidence suggests that Earth’s atmosphere may have been completely obliterated at least twice since its formation more than 4 billion years ago. However, it’s unclear what interplanetary forces could have driven such a dramatic loss.

Computer equal to or better than humans at cataloging science

December 1, 2014 2:46 pm | by David Tennebaum, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

In 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue computer beat chess wizard Garry Kasparov. This year, a computer system developed at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison equaled or bested scientists at the complex task of extracting data from scientific publications and placing it in a database that catalogs the results of tens of thousands of individual studies.

Research shows way to design digital metamaterials

December 1, 2014 2:39 pm | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | Videos | Comments

Metamaterials, precisely designed composite materials that have properties not found in natural ones, could be used to make light-bending invisibility cloaks, flat lenses and other otherwise impossible devices. Figuring out the necessary composition and internal structure to create these unusual effects is a challenge but new research from the Univ. of Pennsylvania presents a way of simplifying things.

Protein predicts response to new immunotherapy drug

December 1, 2014 11:00 am | by Vicky Agnew, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

The presence of an immune-suppressing protein in non-cancerous immune cells may predict how patients with different types of cancer respond to treatment, a multi-center phase I study using an investigational immune therapy drug has found. The trial included patients with melanoma or cancers of the lung, kidney, colon, GI tract, or head and neck, whose tumors were evaluated for PD-L1 expression by a novel assay.

High-tech mirror to beam heat away from buildings into space

December 1, 2014 10:24 am | by Chris Cesare, Stanford Univ. | News | Comments

Stanford Univ. engineers have invented a revolutionary coating material that can help cool buildings, even on sunny days, by radiating heat away from the buildings and sending it directly into space. The heart of the invention is an ultra-thin, multi-layered material that deals with light, both invisible and visible, in a new way.

Engineers make sound loud enough to bend light on a computer chip

December 1, 2014 10:08 am | by Univ. of Minnesota | News | Comments

During a thunderstorm, we all know it’s common to hear thunder after we see the lightning. That’s because sound travels much slower (768 mph) than light (670,000,000 mph). Now, Univ. of Minnesota engineering researchers have developed a chip on which both sound wave and light wave are generated and confined together so that the sound can very efficiently control the light.

Sustainable BIM

December 1, 2014 9:52 am | by Lindsay Hock, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

Building information modeling (BIM), now a standard tool throughout most architecture sectors, is critical for complex building types like healthcare and lab projects. Clients are finding great use for these models in facilities maintenance and long-term campus facilities planning. Owners also see great benefit with BIM, as many are interested in the long-term maintenance and scheduling abilities it offers.

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