In all the centuries that humans have studied chemical reactions, just 36 basic types of reactions have been found. Now, thanks to the work of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Univ. of Minnesota, a 37th type of reaction can be added to the list. The newly explained reaction is an important part of atmospheric reactions that lead to the formation of climate-affecting aerosols.
Understanding what happens to a material as it undergoes phase transformations is of fundamental scientific interest. For metal nanocrystals, assumptions about the size-dependence of phase transformations were made that now need re-evaluating. A team of researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has demonstrated that as metal nanocrystals go through phase transformations, size can make a bigger difference than previously believed.
Nanoflow LC-MS is used for qualitative and quantitative proteomics studies due to its high sensitivity. However, traditional nanoflow operation can be unreliable. Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.’s EASY-Spray nano-electrospray ion source addresses this through the use of specifically designed devices in which the separation column, heater, high-voltage electrode and emitter are integrated in a ready-made assembly.
Ion chromatography (IC) is an analytical technique for the separation and determination of anionic and cationic analytes in various sample matrices. By introducing a high-pressure reagent-free IC system that successfully integrates conductive, electrochemical and charge detection, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. has brought a new level of performance and speed to this important separations process.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk urged the public to polish sketch plans he released last week for a "Hyperloop" that would shoot capsules full of people at the speed of sound through elevated tubes connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. From tinkerers to engineers, the race is on. A Utah firm hustled out a model using a 3-D printer. A Pennsylvania company is testing a virtual Hyperloop with sophisticated computer software.
By any measure, tuberculosis (TB) is a wildly successful pathogen. It infects as many as two billion people in every corner of the world, with a new infection of a human host estimated to occur every second. Now, thanks to a new analysis of dozens of tuberculosis genomes gathered from around the world, scientists are getting a more detailed picture of why TB is so prevalent and how it evolves to resist countermeasures.
The international Daya Bay Collaboration has announced new results about the transformations of neutrinos. The latest findings include the collaboration’s first data on how neutrino oscillation, in which neutrinos mix and change into other “flavors,” or types, as they travel, varies with neutrino energy, allowing the measurement of a key difference in neutrino masses known as mass splitting.
The world’s most expensive coffee can cost $80 a cup, and scientists now are reporting development of the first way to verify authenticity of this crème de la crème, the beans of which come from the feces of a Southeast Asian animal called a palm civet.
Using a modern twist on a technology developed in the 1920s, researchers at Princeton Univ. have embedded ultrathin radios directly on plastic sheets, which can be applied to walls and other structures. The innovation could serve as the basis for new devices ranging from an invisible communications system inside buildings to sophisticated structural monitors for bridges and roads.
By determining the 3-D structure of proteins at the atomic level, researchers at the National Institutes of Health have discovered how some commonly used flame retardants, called brominated flame retardants (BFRs), can mimic estrogen hormones and possibly disrupt the body’s endocrine system. BFRs are chemicals added or applied to materials to slow or prevent the start or growth of fire.
Watermelon juice’s reputation among athletes is getting scientific support in a new study, which found that juice from the summer favorite fruit can relieve post-exercise muscle soreness. The report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry attributes watermelon’s effects to the amino acid L-citrulline.
Chemists at Oregon State Univ. have identified a compound that could significantly reduce the cost and potentially enable the mass commercial production of silicon nanostructures—materials that have huge potential in everything from electronics to biomedicine and energy storage. This extraordinary compound is called table salt.
Earlier this year, physicists working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, determined the ionization potential for astatine, a naturally occurring element so rare that, until now, its ionization potential couldn’t be determined. All told, less than a tenth of a gram exists on Earth, which led researchers to create artificial astatine in the laboratory, then test it later using laser spectroscopy.
Today’s digital designs are evolving in a variety of ways, prompting new approaches to design, simulation, measurement and debug. One change is the use of more serial buses. Another is the use of system-on-a-chip (SOC) integrated circuits or advanced field-programmable gate arrays with SOC capability. Despite this evolution, there's still a role for classic parallel buses in many designs and the need to measure those buses.
Over the past decade, significant changes have been underway among users of electronic test and measurement instrumentation. For example, electronics companies’ R&D staffs have shrunk, and engineers report they are under pressure to do more with fewer resources than in the past. At the same time, there are fewer engineers dedicated to test with in-depth test and measurement training and background.
Quality control departments across various industries perform viscosity measurement tests on a broad range of fluids and semi-solid materials for pass/fail determination. Some laboratories run hundreds of tests per day and represent the extreme for sample volume throughput.
The space program in the mid-20th century accelerated the switch from analog to digital systems for high-speed data acquisition and monitoring. But systems recording today’s physical and electrical phenomena must meet a new set of data acquisition and logging challenges, making them unrecognizable to those early computer pioneers.
Intrinsic fluorescence is a powerful indicator of protein structure and function. The amount of fluorescence can often give the researcher insight into the protein’s conformational states or activity under different biological conditions including changes in temperature, pH and ion concentration.
The power of multispectral imaging is already leveraged in a wide variety of research applications. Multispectral images are data-rich, revealing things beyond our human vision by combining ultraviolet fluorescence, narrow-band color and penetrating near-infrared images. However, until recently, there has not been a feasible way to scale this technology for production-volume portable devices.
The U.S. has led the world in all aspects of R&D for more than 50 years due to combined large industrial and government research spending and investments. That overwhelming advantage has been slipping over the past few years as growth in Asian R&D investments continue to exceed those in the U.S., often a factor of ten or more (growth rates, not actual spending).
One of the major driving forces for developing new sensors and detectors is in medical applications. This includes the integration of fiber optic sensors, smart sensors, silicon micromachined sensors and thin-film devices. Smart sensors are devices that incorporate electronic logic, control or signal processing functions and therefore offer enhanced measurement capabilities, information quality and functional performance.
Today, more than ever, the pharmaceutical, biotech and generic drug businesses are challenged to improve product quality, productivity, return on investments and compliance, while simultaneously producing growth for stakeholders. These challenges will grow over the next few years as major marketed pharmaceutical products lose patent protection and companies struggle with anemic research pipelines.
Cell biologists need high-resolution 3-D imaging to understand the structure-function relationships of organelles and other structures in cells, and the connectivity and organization of cells in tissues. Many of these structures are too small to be seen clearly in a light microscope and require the higher resolving power of an electron microscope.
The human cell represents the smallest functional unit of life. All tissues in the body are composed of multiple cell types, typically arranged in a 3-D architecture that is relevant to the functions they carry out. Since cells were first isolated and grown in the laboratory environment, biologists and engineers have pursued the utilization of these tiny building blocks in the reconstruction and regeneration of functional tissue.
Expert judges have selected the top 100 technologies of the year in R&D Magazine’s annual competition. Winners this year included an electron microscope capable of recording movies, a device that harnesses power from viruses, a robotic glove and an underwater vehicle that can operate both with and without a human crew.