Scientists using the X-ray laser at the Linac Coherent Light Source have removed more than two complete shells from the electron cloud surrounding xenon atoms. The ejection of 36 electrons easily surpasses the greatest possible ionization estimated for the X-ray energy used. This high level of ionization is possible because of a resonance effect that the team discovered, and which will need to be considered when using X-rays for future studies of biomolecules.
Portable, accurate, and highly sensitive devices that sniff out vapors from explosives and other substances could become as commonplace as smoke detectors in public places, thanks to researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The researchers have designed a detector that uses microfluidic nanotechnology to mimic the biological mechanism behind canine scent receptors.
A device that looks like a tiny washboard may clean the clocks of current commercial products used to manipulate infrared light. New research from a Rice University laboratory has produced a micron-scale spatial light modulator like those used in sensing and imaging devices, but with the potential to run orders of magnitude faster. Unlike other devices in 2D semiconducting chips, the Rice chips work in 3D "free space."
Even though pollution from fossil fuel burning and forest fires should decay long before it travels to Arctic regions, it nevertheless has been shown to successfully complete this lofty journey. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have used SPLAT II, an instrument that can characterize millions of particles one-by-one, to determine what happens to these airborne particles over their lifetimes.
Despite its great importance to industries like semiconductors, glass has remained something of a mystery, at least with respect to the precise position of atoms that make up its structure. Researchers in Germany have recently analyzed the atomic structure of amorphous silica, and are the first to have imaged the network of silicon and oxygen atoms—the main components of glass—in a silica film.
After cellulose, xylan is the most abundant biomass material on Earth. But this potential source of stored solar energy for the production of biofuels is still hindered by the difficulty of extracting it from plant cell walls. Joint BioEnergy Institute have made progress in this area by identifying a gene in rice plants whose suppression improves both the extraction of xylan and the overall release of the sugars needed to make biofuels.
According to the Top500 list, the semiannual ranking of computing systems around the world that was announced Monday morning, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Titan is now the world’s most potent supercomputer. It eclipses the most recent top performed, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Sequoia, with a speed of 17.59 petaflops in testing. The Titan is a Cray XK7 hybrid system, built from 16-core processors equipped with graphic processing unit (GPU) accelerators.
In addition to ability to create elusive particles, the Large Hadron Collider also has the ability to create the shortest light pulses yet. According to scientists, these heavy ion collisions produce yoctosecond-scale pulses that have been impossible to measure. Now, however, researchers say they can do this by using a concept originally developed for astronomy.
Deep in the inner ear of mammals is a natural battery—a chamber filled with ions that produces an electrical potential to drive neural signals. A team of researchers has, for the first time, demonstrated that this battery could power implantable electronic devices without impairing hearing.
One of the most urgently sought-after goals in modern science is the ability to observe the detailed dynamics of chemical reactions as they happen—that is, on the spatial scale of molecules, atoms, and electrons, and on the time scale of picoseconds or even shorter. A team of scientists at NIST has devised and demonstrated a highly unusual, compact, and relatively inexpensive x-ray source for an imaging system that may soon be employed to produce the kind of “molecular movies” that scientists and engineers need.
A team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed, for the first time, a way to measure how many loops are present in a given polymer network, an advance they believe is the first step toward creating better materials that don't contain weak spots.
In a tornado, the individual air particles do not necessarily rotate on their own axis, but the air suction overall creates a powerful rotation. Similar vortex beams are being used in electron microscopy to allow researchers to determine the angular momentum of materials under examination. This ability provides valuable information about a material’s magnetic field. Researchers in Austria have recently produced particularly intense vortex beams.
After developing a new method for entangling single photons which gyrate in opposite directions, a research team in Austria reached a new milestone in quantum physics. The scientists were able to generate and measure the entanglement of the largest quantum numbers to date. This result is a first step towards entangling and twisting even macroscopic, spatially separated objects in two different directions.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory launched a new era of scientific supercomputing on Tuesday with Titan, a system capable of churning through more than 20,000 trillion calculations each second—or 20 petaflops—by employing a family of processors called graphic processing units first created for computer gaming. Titan will be 10 times more powerful than ORNL's last world-leading system, Jaguar.
Earth's largest radio telescope is growing more powerful by the day on this remote plateau high above Chile's Atacama desert, where visitors often feel like they're planting the first human footprints on the red crust of Mars. So far, 43 of the 66 radio antennas have been set up and point skyward like 100-ton white mushrooms. When fully assembled, its vision will be up to ten times sharper than NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
A new University of Michigan study shows that when researchers share a building, and especially a floor, the likelihood of forming new collaborations and obtaining funding increases dramatically. The findings make sense, but the increases were dramatic—researchers who share floors in the same building are more than 50% more likely to form collaborations than those that don’t share the same buidling.
A new study based on data from European Space Agency’s Cluster mission shows that it is easier for the solar wind to penetrate Earth’s magnetic environment, the magnetosphere, than had previously been thought. Scientists have, for the first time, directly observed the presence of certain waves that show Earth’s atmosphere behaving more like a sieve than a barrier.
The modern masses can now listen to what experts say is the oldest playable recording of an American voice and the first-ever capturing of a musical performance, thanks to digital advances that allowed the sound to be transferred from flimsy tinfoil to computer. The 78-second recording was originally made on a Thomas Edison-invented phonograph, and features both music and the first recorded blooper.
Americans used less energy in 2011 than in the previous year due mainly to a shift to higher-efficiency energy technologies in the transportation and residential sectors. Meanwhile, less coal was used but more natural gas was consumed according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
So far, quantum researchers have only been able to manipulate small numbers of qubits, not enough for a practical machine. But researchers at Princeton University have developed a method that may allow the quick and reliable transfer of quantum information throughout a computing device, potentially allowing engineers to build computers consisting of million of quantum bits.
The ability to ingest solid samples and examine them using X-ray diffraction is a core capability for the Curiosity rover. This week that ability was tested using a small scoop of minerals that has been shaken to remove any residues carried from Earth. These particles have been placed inside CheMin, an analytical instrument about the size of a laptop computer inside a carrying case.
Drugs that target cell function must pass through a tough gauntlet of membrane defenses. Working from the knowledge that thin water layers at the membrane surfaces play a big part in ion and small molecule transport, scientists using rapid-fire lasers in Japan have revealed that water molecules adopt three distinct local structures around model lipid monolayers. The finding could help drive drug development.
People are more likely to install a solar panel on their home if their neighbors have once, according to a Yale and New York University study in the journal Marketing Science. The researchers studied clusters of solar installations throughout California from January 2001 to December 2011 and found that residents of a particular zip code are more likely to install solar panels if they already exist in that zip code and on their street.
Chemists at the California Institute of Technology have managed, for the first time, to simulate the biological function of a channel called the Sec translocon, which allows specific proteins to pass through membranes. The feat required bridging timescales from the realm of nanoseconds all the way up to full minutes, exceeding the scope of earlier simulation efforts by more than six orders of magnitude.
According to a NASA engineer, “Fearless Felix” Baumgartner's death-defying jump Sunday from a balloon 24 miles above Earth gives us a good foundation for improving the odds of survival for professional astronauts, space tourists, and high-altitude pilots and passengers. Researchers have spent decades working on self-contained space escape systems, with no significant advances since Joe Kittinger in 1960 jumped from 19.5 miles up and reached 614 mph.