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Los Alamos National Laboratory’s KiloPower: Nuclear Energy in Space

September 2, 2015 | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Articles | Comments

Every Wednesday, R&D Magazine will feature a R&D 100 Flashback, chosen from our R&D 100 archive of winners. This week’s flashback is Los Alamos National Laboratory’s KiloPower, which won the R&D 100 Award in 2013. Numerous space probes have taken advantage of radioisotope thermoelectric generators powered by plutonium. However, the end of the Cold War has brought about a shortage of plutonium.

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Disposing of Space Junk

September 3, 2015 9:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Satellites, space shuttles and the International Space Station (ISS) have potentially destructive neighbors to contend with while orbiting Earth. According to NASA, more than 20,000 pieces of space debris orbiting Earth are larger than a softball. But 500,000 pieces are the size of a marble or larger. Further, millions of pieces are so small they can’t be tracked. Traveling at speeds up to 17,500 mph, the debris are a constant concern. 

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Long-sought chiral anomaly detected in crystalline material

September 3, 2015 9:00 pm | by Catherine Zandonella, Princeton Univ. | News | Comments

A study by Princeton Univ. researchers presents evidence for a long-sought phenomenon called the "chiral anomaly" in a metallic compound of sodium and bismuth. The additional finding of an increase in conductivity in the material may suggest ways to improve electrical conductance and minimize energy consumption in future electronic devices.

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Microscopic animals inspire innovative glass research

September 3, 2015 8:00 pm | by Steve Koppes, Univ. of Chicago | News | Comments

Prof. Juan de Pablo's 20-year exploration of the unusual properties of glass began, oddly enough, with the microscopic animals known as water bears. The creatures, which go by the more formal name of tardigrades, have a remarkable ability to withstand extreme environments of hot and cold, and even the vacuum of space.

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Major Reasons to Use Industrial CT Scanning to Qualify Cap Closures

September 3, 2015 7:30 pm | by Visent Avxhi, Business Unit Manager, 3D ProScan | Articles | Comments

There are three major reasons to use industrial CT scanning to qualify cap closures. The first is assembly fit. A common request from clients who design and build cap closures is they want to know how the cap and bottle fit together assembled.

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“Littlest” quark-gluon plasma revealed by physicists using LHC

September 3, 2015 7:00 pm | by Brandan Lynch, Univ. of Kansas | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Kansas working with an international team at the Large Hadron Collider have produced quark-gluon plasma—a state of matter thought to have existed right at the birth of the universe—with fewer particles than previously thought possible.

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Making nanowires from protein and DNA

September 3, 2015 6:00 pm | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | News | Comments

The ability to custom design biological materials such as protein and DNA opens up technological possibilities that were unimaginable just a few decades ago. For example, synthetic structures made of DNA could one day be used to deliver cancer drugs directly to tumor cells, and customized proteins could be designed to specifically attack a certain kind of virus.

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Drones as Weapons? North Dakota Says No

September 3, 2015 5:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Following the passage of House Bill 1328, it is now legal for North Dakota police forces to arm drones with “non-lethal” weapons, including Tasers, pepper spray and rubber bullets.

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Customizing 3-D printing

September 3, 2015 5:00 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

The technology behind 3-D printing is growing more and more common, but the ability to create designs for it is not. Any but the simplest designs require expertise with computer-aided design (CAD) applications, and even for the experts, the design process is immensely time consuming.

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Material surfaces aren’t just two dimensional

September 3, 2015 4:00 pm | by Chad Baldwin, Univ. of Wyoming | News | Comments

A physical science process that may yield a profound understanding for developing future nanomaterials was recently demonstrated and confirmed by a Univ. of Wyoming researcher. The team focused on the interaction between electrons and ion vibrations at the surfaces of beryllium crystal and revealed that, for the first time, the interaction between electron and phonon at the surfaces is determined by all four major entities.

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3-D Printing Simplifies, Speeds and Amplifies R&D Efforts

September 3, 2015 3:55 pm | by Ed Graham, Engineering Manager, ProtoCAM | Articles | Comments

When it comes to R&D, complexity often hinders innovation. Product development tailored to customer needs and efficient processes are the ultimate goals. Low-volume, highly specialized, complex products and cyclical, iterative processes are what R&D teams require. And these are what 3-D printing can deliver.

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Phosphorous fertilizer

September 3, 2015 3:10 pm | by Adam Thomas, Univ. of Delaware | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Delaware have discovered unique behaviors of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles (HANPs) that show promise as a phosphorus nanofertilizer and could be used to help slow the release of phosphorous in soils.

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Scientists successfully edit genes of dengue fever mosquitoes

September 3, 2015 2:00 pm | by Nathan Hurst, Univ. of Missouri | News | Comments

Mosquitoes are a key contributor to the spread of potentially deadly diseases such as dengue and malaria, as they harbor parasites and viruses that are spread when mosquitoes bite humans and animals. Now, researchers at the Univ. of Missouri have found an effective way to edit the genes of mosquitoes.

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Recycling on the Cosmic Scale

September 3, 2015 1:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

The cycle of life and death continues on the cosmic scale above Earth. Using the MPG/ESO 2.2-m telescope at the La Silla Observatory, located on the outskirts of Chile’s Atacama Desert, the European Southern Observatory (ESO)’s Cosmic Gems program captured a stunning image of a cosmic nursery. The anything but quiet nursery is located within the gigantic nebula Gum 56, nicknamed the Prawn Nebula.

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Time-lapse analysis offers new look at how cells repair DNA damage

September 3, 2015 1:20 pm | by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Videos | Comments

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.

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Defects through the looking glass

September 3, 2015 12:10 pm | by Rachel Berkowitz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Nanoscale defects are enormously important in shaping the electrical, optical and mechanical properties of a material. For example, a defect may donate charge or scatter electrons moving from one point to another. However, observing individual defects in bulk insulators, a ubiquitous component to almost all devices, has remained elusive: it’s far easier to image the detailed electrical structure of conductors than insulators.

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