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Matter & Energy In the News ...

Ingestible medical devices can be broken down with light
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Engineers have developed a light-sensitive material that allows gastrointestinal devices to be triggered to break down inside the body when they are exposed to light from an ingestible LED.

Walking with atoms: Chemical bond making and breaking recorded in action
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Scientists have for the first time captured and filmed atoms bonding together, using advanced microscopy methods they captured a moment that is around half a million times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Chemists allow boron atoms to migrate
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Organic molecules with atoms of the semi-metal boron are important building blocks for synthesis products to produce drugs and agricultural chemicals. However, the conversion of substances commonly used in industry often results in the loss of the valuable boron unit, which can replace another atom in a molecule. Chemists now introduce carbon-carbon couplings in which the boron atom is retained.

Spider-Man-style robotic graspers defy gravity
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Traditional methods of vacuum suction and previous vacuum suction devices cannot maintain suction on rough surfaces due to vacuum leakage, which leads to suction failure. Researchers have developed a zero-pressure difference method to enhance the development of vacuum suction units. Their method overcame leakage limitations by using a high-speed rotating water ring between the surface and suction cup to maintain the vacuum.

Not all of nature's layered structures are tough as animal shells and antlers
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Engineers looking to nature for inspiration have long assumed that layered structures like those found in mollusk shells enhance a material's toughness, but a study shows that's not always the case. The findings may help engineers avoid 'naive biomimicry, the researchers say.

Molecules move faster over rough terrain
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Contrary to what one might think, molecules can move faster in the proximity of rougher surfaces.

Charge model for calculating the photoexcited states of one-dimensional Mott insulators
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Researchers have developed a charge model to describe photoexcited states of one-dimensional Mott insulators. They have also succeeded in constructing a many-body Wannier function as the localized basis state of the photoexcited states and calculating large-system, optical conductivity spectra that can be compared with experimental results.

Self-assembled artificial microtubules developed
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Simple LEGO bricks can be assembled to more complicated structures, which can be further associated into a wide variety of complex architectures, from automobiles, rockets, and ships to gigantic castles and amusement parks. Such an event of multi-step assembly, so-called 'hierarchical self-assembly', also happens in living organisms.

How sensitive can a quantum detector be?
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Measuring the energy of quantum states requires detecting energy changes so exceptionally small they are hard to pick out from background fluctuations, like using only a thermometer to try and work out if someone has blown out a candle in the room you're in. New research presents sensitive quantum thermometry hitting the bounds that nature allows.

Edible 'security tag' to protect drugs from counterfeit
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Researchers are aiming to stump drug counterfeiters with an edible 'security tag' embedded into medicine. To imitate the drug, a counterfeiter would have to uncrack a complicated puzzle of patterns not fully visible to the naked eye.

Billions of quantum entangled electrons found in 'strange metal'
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Physicists have observed quantum entanglement among 'billions of billions' of flowing electrons in a quantum critical material. The research provides the strongest direct evidence to date of entanglement's role in bringing about quantum criticality.

How anti-sprawl policies may be harming water quality
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Urban growth boundaries are created by governments in an effort to concentrate urban development -- buildings, roads and the utilities that support them -- within a defined area. These boundaries are intended to decrease negative impacts on people and the environment. However, according to a researcher, policies that aim to reduce urban sprawl may be increasing water pollution.

New optical technique captures real-time dynamics of cement setting
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Researchers have developed a nondestructive and noninvasive optical technique that can determine the setting times for various types of cement paste, which is used to bind new and old concrete surfaces. The new method could aid in the development of optimized types of cement with less impact on the environment.

What's MER? A new way to measure quantum materials
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Experimental physicists have combined several measurements of quantum materials into one in their ongoing quest to learn more about manipulating and controlling the behavior of them for possible applications. They even coined a term for it -- magneto-elastoresistance, or MER.

Lights on for germ-free wound dressings
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Infections are a dreaded threat that can have fatal consequences after an operation, in the treatment of wounds, and during tissue engineering. Biomimetic hydrogels with 'built-in' antimicrobial properties can significantly decrease this danger. Scientists have now introduced a gel that is activated by red light to produce reactive oxygen compounds that effectively kill bacteria and fungi.

A wearable gas sensor for health and environmental monitoring
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

A highly sensitive, wearable gas sensor for environmental and human health monitoring may soon become commercially available.

Complex porous, chiral nano-patterns arise from a simple linear building block
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Nanoscience can arrange minute molecular entities into nanometric patterns in an orderly manner using self-assembly protocols. Scientists have functionalized a simple rod-like building block with hydroxamic acids at both ends. They form molecular networks that not only display the complexity and beauty of mono-component self-assembly on surfaces; they also exhibit exceptional properties.

Photoelectrochemical water-splitting efficiency hits 4.5%
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Solar-to-fuel conversion offers a promising technology to solve energy problems, yet device performance could be limited by undesired sunlight absorption. Researchers show copper thiocyanate can assist hole transport in oxide photoelectrodes and enable a 4.55% solar-to-hydrogen efficiency in tandem devices.

Deep learning enables real-time imaging around corners
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Researchers have harnessed the power of a type of artificial intelligence known as deep learning to create a new laser-based system that can image around corners in real time. With further development, the system might let self-driving cars 'look' around parked cars or busy intersections to see hazards or pedestrians.

A technology for embedding data in printed objects
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

A team has developed a new method to embed information in a 3D printed object and retrieve it using a consumer document scanner. Information such as a serial ID can be embedded without modifying the shape of the object, and be simply extracted from a single image of a commercially available document scanner.

Creating learning resources for blind students
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Mathematics and science Braille textbooks are expensive and require an enormous effort to produce -- until now. A team of researchers has developed a method for easily creating textbooks in Braille, with an initial focus on math textbooks. The new process is made possible by a new authoring system which serves as a 'universal translator' for textbook formats. Based on this new method, the production of Braille textbooks will become easy, inexpensive, and widespread.

Transparency discovered in crystals with ultrahigh piezoelectricity
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

Use of an AC rather than a DC electric field can improve the piezoelectric response of a crystal. Now, an international team of researchers say that cycles of AC fields also make the internal crystal domains in some materials bigger and the crystal transparent.

Researchers gain control over internal structure of self-assembled composite materials
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

Composites made from self-assembling inorganic materials are valued for their unique strength and thermal, optical and magnetic properties. However, because self-assembly can be difficult to control, the structures formed can be highly disordered, leading to defects during large-scale production. Researchers have now developed a templating technique that instills greater order and gives rise to new 3D structures in a special class of materials, called eutectics, to form new, high-performance materials.

Air pollution from oil and gas production sites visible from space
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

US and European satellites help scientists measure nitrogen dioxide from drilling, production and flaring.

New neutron detector can fit in your pocket
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

Researchers have developed a new material that opens doors for a new class of neutron detectors. The semiconductor-based detector is highly efficient, stable, and can be used both in small, portable devices for field inspections and very large detectors that use arrays of crystals.

New assessment of gas locked in ice in European waters
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

A study has mapped several sites in Europe containing gas hydrate - a relatively clean fuel which could help bridge the gap between fossil fuels and renewables.

Electron spins in slowly moving quantum dots may be controlled by electric fields
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

A new article presents a theoretical analysis of electron spins in moving semiconductor quantum dots, showing how these can be controlled by electric fields in a way that suggests they may be usable as information storage and processing components of quantum computers.

New study on a recently discovered chlorophyll molecule could be key to better solar cells
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

Photosynthesis, the process by which some organisms convert sunlight into chemical energy, is well known. But, it is a complex phenomenon, which involves a myriad of proteins. The molecule Chl f, a new type of chlorophyll, is known to play a part in photosynthesis, but owing to its recent discovery, its location and functions are not understood. Scientists have now analyzed in detail the protein complex involved in photosynthesis and uncovered several new aspects about Chl f.

A new 'cool' blue
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

Throughout history, people have sought vibrant blue pigments. The Egyptians and Babylonians used lapis lazuli 6,000 years ago. In 1802, a French chemist synthesized cobalt blue. More recently, in 2009 scientists discovered YInMn Blue, otherwise known as ''Oregon Blue.'' But most of these pigments have limitations in terms of cost, stability, color or toxicity. Now, researchers report a new class of 'cool' blue colorants that are inexpensive, durable and more environmentally friendly.

The mysterious movement of water molecules
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

Water is all around us and essential for life. Nevertheless, research into its behavior at the atomic level -- above all how it interacts with surfaces -- is thin on the ground. Thanks to a new experimental method, researchers have now delivered insights into the atomic-level movement of water molecules.

Toward safer disposal of printed circuit boards
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

Printed circuit boards are vital components of modern electronics. However, once they have served their purpose, they are often burned or buried in landfills, polluting the air, soil and water. Most concerning are the brominated flame retardants added to printed circuit boards to keep them from catching fire. Now, researchers have developed a ball-milling method to break down these potentially harmful compounds, enabling safer disposal.

Building materials come alive with help from bacteria
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

New living building materials can grow and multiply -- and may help to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from infrastructure in the future.

Opening up DNA to delete disease
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

Protein editorial assistants are clearing the way for cut-and-paste DNA editors, like CRISPR, to access previously inaccessible genes of interest. Opening up these areas of the genetic code is critical to improving CRISPR efficiency and moving toward futuristic, genetic-based assaults on disease.

Clothes last longer and shed fewer microfibers in quicker, cooler washing cycles
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

First research into impact of wash cycle times shows that shorter, cooler washes: help clothes keep their color and last longer, when compared to warmer, longer cycles; release significantly fewer microfibers into wastewater; significantly reduce color transfer, a major cause of lights and whites becoming duller.

Resale ticket markets benefit sports teams and fans
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

New research reveals that the resale ticket market also appeals to sports fans who normally buy season tickets.

Who's liable? The AV or the human driver?
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

Researchers have developed a joint fault-based liability rule that can be used to regulate both self-driving car manufacturers and human drivers. They propose a game-theoretic model that describes the strategic interactions among the law maker, the self-driving car manufacturer, the self-driving car, and human drivers, and examine how, as the market penetration of AVs increases, the liability rule should evolve.

More federal funding needed to increase Americans' active transportation habits
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

The federal government has allocated only about 2 percent of its transportation funds to encourage walking and cycling, not nearly enough to make a significant difference, according to new research.

Street network patterns reveal worrying worldwide trend towards urban sprawl
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

New research has found that the local streets of the world's cities are becoming less connected, a global trend that is driving urban sprawl and discouraging the use of public transportation.

Colloidal quantum dot laser diodes are just around the corner
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

Scientists have incorporated meticulously engineered colloidal quantum dots into a new type of light emitting diodes (LEDs) containing an integrated optical resonator, which allows them to function as lasers. These novel, dual-function devices clear the path towards versatile, manufacturing-friendly laser diodes. The technology can potentially revolutionize numerous fields from photonics and optoelectronics to chemical sensing and medical diagnostics.

Not so fast: Some batteries can be pushed too far
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

Fast charge and discharge of some lithium-ion batteries with intentional defects degrades their performance and endurance, according to engineers.

Robotic gripping mechanism mimics how sea anemones catch prey
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

Researchers demonstrated a robotic gripping mechanism that mimics how a sea anemone catches its prey. The bionic torus captures and releases objects by crimping its skin. The grasper not only is relatively cheap and easy to produce but also can grab a variety of objects of different sizes, shapes, weights and materials.

Impaired driving -- even once the high wears off
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

Researchers have discovered that recreational marijuana use affects driving ability even when users are not intoxicated. Cannabis users had more accidents, drove at higher speeds, and drove through more red lights than non-users.

No need to dig too deep to find gold!
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

Why are some porphyry deposits rich in copper while others contain gold? A researcher investigated how the metals are accumulated over the time duration of a mineralizing event and discover that the depth of the deposits influences the quantity of metals produced and that over 95% of the gold is lost to the atmosphere. The deeper a deposit is, the more copper there will be, while gold-rich deposits are closer to the surface.

Silica particles may lead to new treatments for obesity and diabetes
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

Engineered ingestible molecular traps created from mesoporous silica particles (MSPs) introduced to the gut can have an effect on food efficiency and metabolic risk factors. The results from studies on mice demonstrate the potential to reduce the energy uptake into the body and could lead to new treatments for obesity and diabetes.

Watching complex molecules at work
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

A new method of infrared spectroscopy developed at BESSY II makes single-measurement observation and analysis of very fast as well as irreversible reaction mechanisms in molecules feasible for the first time. Previously, thousands of such reactions have had to be run and measured for this purpose. The research team has now used the new device to investigate how rhodopsin molecules change after activation by light -- a process that is the basis of how we see.

Physicists prove that 2D and 3D liquids are fundamentally different
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

A 50-year-old puzzle in statistical mechanics has been solved by an international team of researchers who have proved that two-dimensional (2D) liquids have fundamentally different dynamical properties to three-dimensional (3D) liquids.

Man versus machine: Can AI do science?
Posted on Tuesday January 14, 2020

Scientists have shown that machines can beat theoretical physicists at their own game, solving complex problems just as accurately as scientists, but considerably faster.

Living robots built using frog cells
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

Scientists repurposed living frog cells -- and assembled them into entirely new life-forms. These tiny 'xenobots' can move toward a target and heal themselves after being cut. These novel living machines are neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. They're a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.

Iodine may slow ozone layer recovery
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

Air pollution and iodine from the ocean contribute to damage of Earth's ozone layer.

Researchers solve a scientific mystery about evaporation
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

Evaporation can explain why water levels drop in a full swimming pool, but it also plays an important role in industrial processes ranging from cooling electronics to power generation. Researchers now have reported a discovery that answers some fundamental questions about the process, which until now had remained a mystery.

Leviathan polymer brush made with E. coli holds bacteria at bay
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

A lab accident produced a monster of a polymer brush, an emerging biocompatible material that staves off bacteria while coating and lubricating.

A new approach to making airplane parts, minus the massive infrastructure
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

Engineers have developed a method to produce aerospace-grade composites without the enormous ovens and pressure vessels. The technique may help to speed up the manufacturing of airplanes and other large, high-performance composite structures, such as blades for wind turbines.

AI can detect low-glucose levels via ECG without fingerprick test
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

A new technology for detecting low glucose levels via ECG using a noninvasive wearable sensor, which with the latest artificial intelligence can detect hypoglycemic events from raw ECG signals has been made.

Tuning optical resonators gives researchers control over transparency
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

Using a nanoparticle as a 'tuning device,' researchers have devised a way to control electromagnetically induced transparency -- a feature of light which allows it to pass through opaque media.

Machine keeps human livers alive for one week outside of the body
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

Researchers have developed a machine that repairs injured human livers and keeps them alive outside the body for one week. This breakthrough may increase the number of available organs for transplantation saving many lives of patients with severe liver diseases or cancer.

Influential electrons? Physicists uncover a quantum relationship
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

A team of physicists has mapped how electron energies vary from region to region in a particular quantum state with unprecedented clarity. This understanding reveals an underlying mechanism by which electrons influence one another, termed quantum 'hybridization,' that had been invisible in previous experiments.

Bacteria-shredding tech to fight drug-resistant superbugs
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

New technology uses nano-sized particles of magnetic liquid metal to shred bacteria and bacterial biofilm. The research offers a groundbreaking new direction in the search for solutions to the deadly problem of antibiotic resistance.

Atomic tuning on cobalt enables an eightfold increase of H2O2 production
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

Scientists have recently report an ultimate electrocatalyst that addresses all of the issues that trouble H2O2 production. This new catalyst comprising the optimal Co-N4 molecules incorporated in nitrogen-doped graphene, Co1-NG(O), exhibits a record-high electrocatalytic reactivity, producing up to 8 times higher the amount of H2O2 that can be generated from rather expensive noble metal-based electrocatalysts.

Nano-objects of desire: Assembling ordered nanostructures in 3D
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

A new DNA-programmable nanofabrication platform organizes inorganic or biological nanocomponents in the same prescribed ways.

Chemists find new way to break down old tires into material for new ones
Posted on Monday January 13, 2020

A team of chemists has discovered an innovative way to break down and dissolve the rubber used in automobile tires, a process which could lead to new recycling methods that have so far proven to be expensive, difficult and largely inefficient.


 

 

 

 

 

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