Would you like icy organics with that? Maybe not in your coffee, but researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are creating concoctions of organics, or carbon-bearing molecules, on ice in the laboratory, then zapping them with lasers. Their goal: to better understand how life arose on Earth.
U.K.-led scientists have made a discovery about snake venom that could lead to the development of new drugs to treat a range of life-threatening conditions. The researchers have discovered that the toxins that make snake and lizard venom deadly can evolve back into completely harmless molecules, raising the possibility that they could be developed into drugs.
Scientists have designed a process to print a type of organic laser on any surface using everyday inkjet technology. The process involves developing lasers based on chiral nematic liquid crystals. These liquid crystals are a unique class photonic materials that, under the right conditions, can be stimulated to produce laser emissions.
Objects created using 3D printing have a common flaw: They are fragile and often fall apart or lose their shape. Researchers at Purdue University and Adobe's Advanced Technology Labs have jointly developed a program that automatically imparts strength to objects before they are printed, spurring on the trend of 3D printing.
A new study has found that climate-prediction models are good at predicting long-term climate patterns on a global scale, but lose their edge when applied to time frames shorter than three decades and on sub-continental scales.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new class of materials that could prove to be useful in developing new methods of creating computer memory. The research team explored layered heterostructures at the atomic scale, in which different materials were deposited in layers a few atoms thick. They discovered that the new class of materials boasts an attractive property—ferroelectricity.
Topological insulators are exotic materials, discovered just a few years ago, that hold great promise for new kinds of electronic devices. The unusual behavior of electrons within them has been very difficult to study, but new techniques developed by a team of researchers could help unlock the mysteries of exactly how electrons move and react in these materials, opening up new possibilities for harnessing them.
Using ultralow input power densities, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated, for the first time, how low-power optical nanotweezers can be used to trap, manipulate, and probe nanoparticles, including fragile biological samples.
An international team of physicists is working to ascertain more about the fundamental physical laws that are at work in a process known as convection. The team's new finding specifies the way that the temperature of a gas or liquid varies with the distance from a heat source during convection. The research is expected to eventually help engineers with applications such as the design of cooling systems.
Diatoms, tiny marine life forms that have been around since the dinosaurs, could finally make biofuel production from algae truly cost effective—because they can simultaneously produce other valuable products such as semiconductors, biomedical products, and even health foods. Engineers at Oregon State University concede that such technology is pushing the envelope a bit. But it's not science fiction.
An important test is coming up next week to see whether a heat shield made from the soil of the moon, Mars, or an asteroid will stand up to the searing demands of a plunge through the Earth's atmosphere. At stake is the possibility that future spacecraft could leave Earth without carrying a heavy heat shield and instead make one on the surface of another world and ride it home safely.
When the Dark Energy Camera opened its giant eye last week and began taking pictures of the ancient light from far-off galaxies, more than 120 members of the Dark Energy Survey eagerly awaited the first snapshots. Those images have now arrived.
Magnetically imploded tubes called liners, intended to help produce controlled nuclear fusion at scientific "break-even" energies or better within the next few years, have functioned successfully in preliminary tests, according to a Sandia National Laboratories research paper accepted for publication by Physical Review Letters .
Chemists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a method that, for the first time, provides scientists the ability to attach chemical probes onto proteins and subsequently remove them in a repeatable cycle. Their achievement will allow researchers to better understand the biochemistry of naturally formed proteins in order to create better antibiotics.
The transparent electronics that were pioneered at Oregon State University may find one of their newest applications as a next-generation replacement for some uses of non-volatile flash memory, a multi-billion dollar technology nearing its limit of small size and information storage capacity.
University of Texas at Austin physicists have been awarded a U.S. patent for an invention that could someday be used to turn nuclear waste into fuel, thus removing the most dangerous forms of waste from the fuel cycle. The researchers have patented the concept for a novel fusion-fission hybrid nuclear reactor that would use nuclear fusion and fission together to incinerate nuclear waste.
An international team of researchers have demonstrated a microscopy method to identify magnetic defects in an array of magnetic nanostructures. The method represents an important step towards identifying, measuring, and correcting the magnetic properties of defective devices in future information storage technologies.
Few modern materials have achieved the fame of silicon, a key element of computer chips. The next generation of computers, however, may not rely so much on silicon. University at Buffalo researchers are among scientists working to identify materials that could one day replace silicon to make computing faster. Their latest find: A vanadium oxide bronze whose unusual electrical properties could increase the speed at which information is transferred and stored.
Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a novel technology that can fabricate, in mere seconds, microscale 3D structures out of soft, biocompatible hydrogels. Near term, the technology could lead to better systems for growing and studying cells, including stem cells, in the laboratory. Long-term, the goal is to be able to print biological tissues for regenerative medicine.
Researchers at Columbia University have developed a new software that can simultaneously calculate the carbon footprints of thousands of products faster than ever before. The software complies with the latest product LCA guidelines sponsored by the World Resources Institute, and any carbon footprint it calculates can easily be audited against this standard.
Researchers at the Spallation Neutron Source BASIS beam line at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have successfully developed a method to study biomolecules (proteins) at temperatures far below freezing using a lithium chloride preparation in the aqueous solvent that prevents freezing.
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology have used techniques from information theory to identify DNA introns and exons an order-of-magnitude faster than previously developed methods. The researchers were able to achieve this breakthrough in speed by looking at how electrical charges are distributed in the DNA nucleotide bases.
This morning the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) collided protons with lead ions for the first time. This week's short run will give the experiments a first taste of proton-nucleus collisions before the main run in January to February 2013, the last LHC physics before the accelerator is shut down for maintenance.
It's not a magic trick and it's not sleight of hand—scientists really are using levitation to improve the drug development process, eventually yielding more effective pharmaceuticals with fewer side effects. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a way to use sound waves to levitate individual droplets of solutions containing different pharmaceuticals.
NIST unveiled a new laboratory designed to demonstrate that a typical-looking suburban home for a family of four can generate as much energy as it uses in a year. Following an initial year-long experiment, the facility will be used to improve test methods for energy-efficient technologies and develop cost-effective design standards for energy-efficient homes that could reduce overall energy consumption and harmful pollution, and save families money on their monthly utility bills.