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Engineers invent 2-D liquid

April 2, 2015 11:55 am | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

Where water and oil meet, a 2-D world exists. This interface presents a potentially useful set of properties for chemists and engineers, but getting anything more complex than a soap molecule to stay there and behave predictably remains a challenge. Recently, a team from the Univ. of Pennsylvania has shown how to do just that.

New charge transport phenomenon observed

April 2, 2015 11:39 am | by Aalto Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have collaborated in the study of the movement of charges over interfaces of semiconductor materials. The group noticed a new kind of transport phenomenon for charges. In the phenomenon, a pair formed by a negative electron and a positive charge moves onto an interface, after which its “message” is passed on to the other side of the interface, where it is carried on by a similar pair.

Biofuel crops replace grasslands nationwide

April 2, 2015 11:27 am | by Kelly April Tyrrell, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

Clearing grasslands to make way for biofuels may seem counterproductive, but Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison researchers show in a study that crops, including the corn and soy commonly used for biofuels, expanded onto 7 million acres of new land in the U.S. over a recent four-year period, replacing millions of acres of grasslands.

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Connecting vehicles

April 2, 2015 10:41 am | by Morgan McCorkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Drivers trying to get to work or home in a hurry know traffic congestion wastes a lot of time, but it also wastes a lot of fuel. In 2011, congestion caused people in U.S. urban areas to travel an extra 5.5 billion hours and purchase an extra 2.9 billion gallons of fuel costing $121 billion. But despite the tangle of vehicles at busy intersections and interstate ramps, most of the country’s highways are open road.

Protein determines life or death fate of stressed cells

April 2, 2015 10:30 am | by Elizabeth K. Gardner, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers discovered a new protein involved in the process that determines the fate of cells under stress and whether they fight to survive or sacrifice themselves for the greater good. A protein named HYPE orchestrates a response to misfolded proteins within the cell, mistakes which increase when a cell is under stress from disease or injury.

New insecticide class offers safer, more targeted mosquito control

April 2, 2015 7:37 am | by Natalie van Hoose, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Purdue Univ. researchers have identified a new class of chemical insecticides that could provide a safer, more selective means of controlling mosquitoes that transmit key infectious diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and elephantiasis. Known as dopamine receptor antagonists, the chemicals beat out the neurotransmitter dopamine to lock into protein receptors that span the mosquito cell membrane.

Tracking ultra-fast creation of a catalyst

April 1, 2015 2:26 pm | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

An international team has, for the first time, precisely tracked the surprisingly rapid process by which light rearranges the outermost electrons of a metal compound and turns it into an active catalyst, a substance that promotes chemical reactions. The results could help in the effort to develop novel catalysts to efficiently produce fuel using sunlight.

How tropical forests respond to climate change

April 1, 2015 2:17 pm | by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Tropical forests play major roles in regulating Earth’s climate, but there are large uncertainties over how they’ll respond over the next 100 years as the planet’s climate warms. An expansive new project led by scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory aims to bring the future of tropical forests and the climate system into much clearer focus.

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Quick-charging hybrid supercapacitors

April 1, 2015 1:11 pm | by Shaun Mason, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | News | Comments

The dramatic rise of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other personal and portable electronics has brought battery technology to the forefront of electronics research. Even as devices have improved by leaps and bounds, the slow pace of battery development has held back technological progress. Now, researchers have successfully combined two nanomaterials to create a new energy storage medium.

Nanoscale speed bump could regulate plasmons for high-speed data flow

April 1, 2015 12:08 pm | by Mark Esser, NIST | News | Comments

The name sounds like something Marvin the Martian might have built, but the “nanomechanical plasmonic phase modulator” is not a doomsday device. Developed by a team of government and university researchers, including physicists from NIST, the innovation harnesses tiny electron waves called plasmons. It’s a step towards enabling computers to process information hundreds of times faster than today’s machines.

Quantum teleportation on a chip

April 1, 2015 11:28 am | by Univ. of Bristol | News | Comments

The core circuits of quantum teleportation, which generate and detect quantum entanglement, have been successfully integrated into a photonic chip by an international team of scientists from the universities of Bristol, Tokyo, Southampton and NTT Device Technology Laboratories. These results pave the way to developing ultra-high-speed quantum computers and strengthening the security of communication.

Light-powered gyroscope is world’s smallest

April 1, 2015 9:43 am | by Kelly Mack, The Optical Society | News | Comments

A pair of light waves, one zipping clockwise the other counterclockwise around a microscopic track, may hold the key to creating the world's smallest gyroscope: one a fraction of the width of a human hair. By bringing this essential technology down to an entirely new scale, a team of applied physicists hopes to enable a new generation of phenomenally compact gyroscope-based navigation systems, among other intriguing applications.

U.S. pledges to cut emissions in global treaty

April 1, 2015 8:32 am | by Josh Lederman, Associated Press | News | Comments

The U.S. pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions up to 28% as part of a global treaty aimed at preventing the worst effects of climate change, the White House said. The Obama administration's contribution to the treaty, which world leaders expect to finalize in December, codifies a commitment President Barack Obama first made late last year in Beijing.

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Adding renewable energy to power grid requires flexibility

April 1, 2015 8:24 am | by Anne Ju, Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

Solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and other power sources are proliferating rapidly, but their reliable integration into the existing electric grid is another story. A new study offers a comprehensive reimagining of the power grid that involves the coordinated integration of small-scale distributed energy resources. The study, asserts that the proliferation of renewable energy must happen at the periphery of the power grid.

Team discovers new liquid crystal configurations

April 1, 2015 8:08 am | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

Oil-based liquid crystals are ubiquitous; an understanding of their properties is behind the displays in most electronics. Water-based liquid crystals are less well understood, though their biocompatibility makes them a candidate for a variety of applications. New research has advanced the field's understanding of these materials, demonstrating never-before-seen configurations by confining a water-based liquid crystal in a cylinder.

Facebook app encourages individuals to get in touch with their DNA

April 1, 2015 7:48 am | by Laurel Thomas Gnagey, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Have you ever wondered if your dad's fight with prostate cancer means you could face the same reality? Perhaps your family has several members who have struggled with obesity and you wonder if it's something you inherited or if it's caused by the environment. Maybe you have always wanted to learn where your ancestors came from beyond the basic paper trail. Good news: Researchers have an app for that.

Natural nanocrystals shown to strengthen concrete

April 1, 2015 7:40 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Cellulose nanocrystals derived from industrial byproducts have been shown to increase the strength of concrete, representing a potential renewable additive to improve the ubiquitous construction material. The cellulose nanocrystals could be refined from byproducts generated in the paper, bioenergy, agriculture and pulp industries.

Skin tough

April 1, 2015 7:31 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

When weighing the pluses and minuses of your skin add this to the plus column: Your skin, like that of all vertebrates, is remarkably resistant to tearing. Now, a collaboration of researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Univ. of California, San Diego, has shown why.

Soft, energy-efficient robotic wings

March 31, 2015 12:40 pm | by Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

Dielectric elastomers are novel materials for making actuators or motors with soft and lightweight properties that can undergo large active deformations with high-energy conversion efficiencies. This has made dielectric elastomers popular for creating devices such as robotic hands, soft robots, tunable lenses and pneumatic valves, and possibly flapping robotic wings.

Biology in a twist

March 31, 2015 12:21 pm | by Amal Naquiah, National Univ. of Signapore | News | Comments

Researchers at the National Univ. of Singapore have discovered that the inherent handedness of molecular structures directs the behavior of individual cells and confers them the ability to sense the difference between left and right. This is a significant step forward in the understanding of cellular biology.

A “Wikipedia” for neurons

March 31, 2015 8:43 am | by Jocelyn Duffy, Carnegie Mellon Univ. | Videos | Comments

The decades worth of data that has been collected about the billions of neurons in the brain is astounding. To help scientists make sense of this “brain big data,” researchers at Carnegie Mellon Univ. have used data mining to create www.neuroelectro.org, a publicly available Website that acts like Wikipedia, indexing physiological information about neurons.

Wearable technology can help with public speaking

March 31, 2015 8:34 am | by Leonor Sierra, Univ. of Rochester | Videos | Comments

Speaking in public is the top fear for many people. Now, researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Group at the Univ. of Rochester have developed an intelligent user interface for “smart glasses” that gives real-time feedback to the speaker on volume modulation and speaking rate, while being minimally distracting.

Electric vehicles may be more useful than previously thought

March 31, 2015 7:54 am | by Julie Chao, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

In the first study of its kind, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory quantitatively show that electric vehicles (EVs) will meet the daily travel needs of drivers longer than commonly assumed. Many drivers and much prior literature on the retirement of EV batteries have assumed that EV batteries will be retired after the battery has lost 20% of its energy storage or power delivery capability.

Microsecond Raman imaging might probe cells, organs for disease

March 30, 2015 1:03 pm | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

A vibrational spectroscopic imaging technology that can take images of living cells could represent an advanced medical diagnostic tool for the early detection of cancer and other diseases. High-speed spectroscopic imaging makes it possible to observe the quickly changing metabolic processes inside living cells and to image large areas of tissue, making it possible to scan an entire organ.

Multi-scale Fractal-based Methods for Useful Characterizations of Surface Topographies

March 30, 2015 12:05 pm | by Christopher Brown, Surface Metrology Lab, Worcester Polytechnic Institute | Articles | Comments

Geometrically, fractals have forms, or features, that repeat at different sizes over ranges of scales. These features can repeat exactly, such as the triangles that repeat with scale on a Koch snowflake or Minkowski sausage. Or, these features might repeat statistically, as on ground or abraded surfaces, where these repeating features create self-similar patterns of scratches or over a range of scales.

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