Visually, it seems like a simple process. An extruder drizzles clear liquid in a Y formation. Red and green dots are added before the apparatus is complete with more layers of clear liquid. Unlike its deceptive simplicity, the object is meant to guide a complex process.
Around 252 million years ago, life on Earth collapsed in spectacular and unprecedented fashion, as more than 96% of marine species and 70% of land species disappeared in a geological instant. The so-called end-Permian mass extinction—or more commonly, the “Great Dying”—remains the most severe extinction event in Earth’s history.
Salk scientists have developed a new way to selectively activate brain, heart, muscle and other cells using ultrasonic waves. The new technique, dubbed sonogenetics, has some similarities to the burgeoning use of light to activate cells in order to better understand the brain.
New research shows how individual atoms move in trillionths of a second to form wrinkles on a three-atom-thick material. Revealed by a brand new “electron camera,” one of the world’s speediest, this unprecedented level of detail could guide researchers in the development of efficient solar cells, fast and flexible electronics and high-performance chemical catalysts.
Scientists have developed a new hybrid, solar-energy system that harnesses the full spectrum of the sun’s radiation by pairing a photovoltaic cell with polymer films. The films convert the light that goes unused by the solar cell into heat and then converts the heat into electricity. They report on their device, which produces a voltage more than five times higher than other hybrid systems, in ACS Nano.
The boiling of water is at the heart of many industrial processes, from the operation of electric power plants to chemical processing and desalination. But the details of what happens on a hot surface as water boils have been poorly understood, so unexpected hotspots can sometimes melt expensive equipment and disable plants.
Got rope? Then try this experiment: Cross both ends, left over right, then bring the left end under and out, as if tying a pair of shoelaces. If you repeat this sequence, you get what’s called a “granny” knot. If, instead, you cross both ends again, this time right over left, you’ve created a sturdier “reef” knot.
Time-lapse imaging can make complicated processes easier to grasp—think of a stitched-together sequence of photos that chronicles the construction of a building. Now, scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are using a similar approach to study how cells repair DNA damage.
A bacterium engineered to produce different pigments in response to varying levels of a micronutrient in blood samples could give health officials an inexpensive way to detect nutritional deficiencies in resource-limited areas of the world. This “bacterial litmus test,” which currently measures levels of zinc, would require no electrical equipment and make results visible as simple color changes.
A drop of water self-heals a multiphase polymer derived from the genetic code of squid ring teeth, which may someday extend the life of medical implants, fiber-optic cables and other hard to repair in place objects, according to an international team of researchers.
Generating and storing renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, is a key barrier to a clean-energy economy. When the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis was established in 2010, the U.S. Dept. of Energy Energy Innovation Hub had one main goal: a cost-effective method of producing fuels using only sunlight, water and carbon dioxide, mimicking the natural process of photosynthesis in plants.
Not just anything is allowed to enter the nucleus, the heart of eukaryotic cells where, among other things, genetic information is stored. A double membrane, called the nuclear envelope, serves as a wall, protecting the contents of the nucleus. Any molecules trying to enter or exit the nucleus must do so via a cellular gatekeeper known as the nuclear pore complex (NPC), or pore, that exists within the envelope.
For astronauts living in space with objects zooming around them at 22,000 mph like rogue super-bullets, it’s good to have a backup plan. Although shields and fancy maneuvers could help protect space structures, scientists have to prepare for the possibility that debris could pierce a vessel.
A study has demonstrated a new, efficient way to accelerate positrons, the antimatter opposites of electrons. The method may help boost the energy and shrink the size of future linear particle colliders, powerful accelerators that could be used to unravel the properties of nature’s fundamental building blocks.
Researchers at Purdue Univ. and the Indiana Univ. School of Medicine are developing an "augmented reality telementoring" system to provide effective support to surgeons on the battlefield from specialists located thousands of miles away. In telementoring, a surgeon performing an operation receives guidance remotely from an expert using telecommunications.