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Matter & Energy In the News ...

Magnetic monopoles detected in Kagome spin ice systems
Posted on Tuesday April 07, 2020

Magnetic monopoles are actually impossible. At low temperatures, however, certain crystals can contain so-called quasi-particles that behave like magnetic monopoles. Now an international cooperation has proven that such monopoles also occur in a Kagome spin ice system.

Simulations show extreme opinions can lead to polarized groups
Posted on Tuesday April 07, 2020

Researchers use a theoretical model to examine what effect extreme views have on making the entire system more polarized. The group's network-based model extends a popular approach for studying opinion dynamics, called the Cobb model, and is based on the hypothesis that those with opinions farther from the middle of a political spectrum are also less influenced by others, a trait known to social scientists as 'rigidity of the extreme.'

Bubble dynamics reveal how to empty bottles faster
Posted on Tuesday April 07, 2020

Researchers have discovered how to make bottles empty faster, which has wide-ranging implications for many areas beyond the beverage industry. They explore this bottle-emptying phenomenon from the perspective of bubble dynamics on a commercial bottle by using high-speed photography. Image analysis allowed them to conceptualize various parameters, such as liquid film thickness, bubble aspect ratio, rise velocity and bottle emptying modes.

Engineers and chemists 'program' liquid crystalline elastomers to replicate complex twisting action simply with the use of light
Posted on Tuesday April 07, 2020

Researchers designed a polymer known as a liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) that can be 'programmed' to both twist and bend in the presence of light. Especially in the field of soft robotics, this is essential for building devices that exhibit controllable, dynamic behavior without the need for complex electronic components.

Disagreements help team perception
Posted on Tuesday April 07, 2020

Team disagreements might be the key to helping soldiers identify objects in battle, researchers say.

Personalized microrobots swim through biological barriers, deliver drugs to cells
Posted on Tuesday April 07, 2020

Biohybrid robots on the micrometer scale can swim through the body and deliver drugs to tumors or provide other cargo-carrying functions. To be successful, they must consist of materials that can pass through the body's immune response, swim quickly through viscous environments and penetrate tissue cells to deliver cargo. Researchers fabricated biohybrid bacterial microswimmers by combining a genetically engineered E. coli MG1655 substrain and nanoerythrosomes, small structures made from red blood cells.

Lipid gradient that keeps your eyes wet
Posted on Tuesday April 07, 2020

New understandings of how lipids function within tears could lead to better drugs for treating dry eye disease.

Chemists working on drugs to treat COVID-19
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

In the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, chemists have focused on searching for drugs to treat COVID-19. One group identified the antiviral drug remdesivir as a viable medicine to treat COVID-19 in a research study published in late January. The drug was originally developed in response to the 2014 Ebola pandemic.

Researchers use nanotechnology to develop new treatment for endometriosis
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

Scientists have developed a precise, nanotechnology-based treatment to alleviate the pain and fertility problems associated with endometriosis, a common gynecological condition in women of childbearing age.

More pavement, more problems
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

Think your daily coffee, boutique gym membership and airport lounge access cost a lot? There may be an additional, hidden cost to those luxuries of urban living, says a new study: more flooding. For every percentage point increase in roads, parking lots and other impervious surfaces that prevent water from flowing into the ground, annual floods increase on average by 3.3%, the researchers found.

Search for new state of matter expanded
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

Scientists have been striving to establish the existence of quantum spin liquids, a new state of matter, since the 1970s. A recent discovery physicists could help researchers solve the mystery and result in the next generation of computing.

'Smart toilet' monitors for signs of disease
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

There's a new disease-detecting technology in the lab, and its No. 1 source of data is number one. And number two.

Condensed matter: Bethe strings experimentally observed
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

90 years ago, the physicist Hans Bethe postulated that unusual patterns, so-called Bethe strings, appear in certain magnetic solids. Now an international team has succeeded in experimentally detecting such Bethe strings for the first time. They used neutron scattering experiments at various neutron facilities including the unique high-field magnet of BER II at HZB. The experimental data are in excellent agreement with the theoretical prediction of Bethe and prove once again the power of quantum physics.

Surgical masks likely good for most COVID-19 treatment
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

A systematic review of four randomized controlled trials on masks done between 1990 and last month shows the use of medical masks did not increase viral respiratory infection or clinical respiratory illness.

X-rays reveal in situ crystal growth of lead-free perovskite solar panel materials
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

Lead-based perovskites efficiently turn light into electricity but they also present some major drawbacks: the most efficient materials are not very stable, while lead is a toxic element. Scientists are studying alternatives to lead-based perovskites. It is very important to investigate in situ how lead-free perovskite crystals form and how the crystal structure affects the functioning of the solar cells.

Nanopore reveals shape-shifting enzyme linked to catalysis
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

Scientists observed the characteristics of a single enzyme inside a nanopore. This revealed that the enzyme can exist in four different folded states, or conformers, that play an active role in the reaction mechanism. These results will have consequences for enzyme engineering and the development of inhibitors.

How the chemical industry can meet the climate goals
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

Researchers analyzed various possibilities for reducing the net CO2 emissions of the chemical industry to zero. Their conclusion? The chemical industry can in fact have a carbon-neutral future.

Making stronger concrete with 'sewage-enhanced' steel slag
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

Researchers examined whether steel slag that had been used to treat wastewater could then be recycled as an aggregate material for concrete. Their findings? Concrete made with post-treatment steel slag was about 17% stronger than concrete made with conventional aggregates, and 8% stronger than raw steel slag.

Cold War nuclear bomb tests reveal true age of whale sharks
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

Atomic bomb tests conducted during the Cold War have helped scientists for the first time correctly determine the age of whale sharks.

AI techniques used to improve battery health and safety
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

Researchers have designed a machine learning method that can predict battery health with 10x higher accuracy than current industry standard, which could aid in the development of safer and more reliable batteries for electric vehicles and consumer electronics.

New understanding of energy fluctuations in fluids
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

The Casimir Force is a well-known effect originating from the quantum fluctuation of electromagnetic fields in a vacuum. Now an international group of researchers have reported a counterpoint to that theory, adding to the understanding of energy fluctuations within fluids.

Making biofuels cheaper by putting plants to work
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020

One strategy to make biofuels more competitive is to make plants do some of the work themselves. Scientists can engineer plants to produce valuable chemical compounds, or bioproducts, as they grow. Then the bioproducts can be extracted from the plant and the remaining plant material can be converted into fuel. But one important part of this strategy has remained unclear -- exactly how much of a particular bioproduct would plants need to make in order to make the process economically feasible?

Removing the novel coronavirus from the water cycle
Posted on Friday April 03, 2020

Researchers have called for more research to determine the best ways to keep SARS-CoV-19 out of the water cycle. They also suggest that developed nations should finance water treatment systems in the developing world to help prevent future COVID-19 pandemics.

A twist connecting magnetism and electronic-band topology
Posted on Friday April 03, 2020

Materials that combine topological electronic properties and quantum magnetism are of high current interest, for the quantum many-body physics that can unfold in them and for possible applications in electronic components. For one such material, physicists have now established the microscopic mechanism linking magnetism and electronic-band topology.

New measurements reveal evidence of elusive particles in a newly-discovered superconductor
Posted on Friday April 03, 2020

Researchers have used high-resolution microscopy tools to peer at the inner-workings of an unusual type of superconductor, uranium ditelluride (UTe2). Their measurements reveal strong evidence that this material may be a natural home to an exotic quasiparticle that's been hiding from physicists for decades.

A combined optical transmitter and receiver
Posted on Friday April 03, 2020

Researchers have developed a tiny unit that is both an optical transmitter and a receiver.

Capturing 3D microstructures in real time
Posted on Friday April 03, 2020

Researchers have invented a machine-learning based algorithm for quantitatively characterizing material microstructure in three dimensions and in real time. This algorithm applies to most structural materials of interest to industry.

A new way to fine-tune exotic materials: Thin, stretch and clamp
Posted on Thursday April 02, 2020

Turning a brittle oxide into a flexible membrane and stretching it on a tiny apparatus flipped it from a conducting to an insulating state and changed its magnetic properties. The technique can be used to study and design a broad range of materials for use in things like sensors and detectors.

3D reconstructions of individual nanoparticles
Posted on Thursday April 02, 2020

Want to find out how to design and build materials atom by atom? A new liquid phase electron microscopy will advance full control of nanoengineering. Whether a material catalyzes chemical reactions or impedes any molecular response is all about how its atoms are arranged. The ultimate goal of nanotechnology is centered around the ability to design and build materials atom by atom, thus allowing scientists to control their properties in any given scenario.

Scientists develop 'backpack' computers to track wild animals in hard-to-reach habitats
Posted on Thursday April 02, 2020

To truly understand an animal species is to observe its behavior and social networks in the wild. With new technology, researchers are able to track tiny animals that divide their time between flying around in the sky and huddling together in caves and hollow trees -- by attaching little backpacks to them with glue.

Smaller scale solutions needed for rapid progress towards emissions targets
Posted on Thursday April 02, 2020

Low-carbon technologies that are smaller scale, more affordable, and can be mass deployed are more likely to enable a faster transition to net-zero emissions, according to a new study. Innovations ranging from solar panels to electric bikes also have lower investment risks, greater potential for improvement in both cost and performance, and more scope for reducing energy demand -- key attributes that will help accelerate progress on decarbonization.

Giant umbrellas shift from convenient canopy to sturdy storm shield
Posted on Thursday April 02, 2020

In a new approach to storm surge protection, a team has created a preliminary design for dual-purpose kinetic umbrellas that would provide shade during fair weather and could be tilted in advance of a storm to form a flood barrier. The researchers used computational modeling to begin evaluating the umbrellas' ability to withstand an acute storm surge.

Device that tracks location of nurses re-purposed to record patient mobility
Posted on Thursday April 02, 2020

By re-purposing badges originally designed to locate nurses and other hospital staff, scientists say they can precisely monitor how patients in the hospital are walking outside of their rooms, a well-known indicator and contributor to recovery after surgery.

A friendlier way to deal with nitrate pollution
Posted on Thursday April 02, 2020

Learning from nature, scientists have found a catalyst that efficiently transforms nitrate into nitrite -- an environmentally important reaction -- without requiring high temperature or acidity, and now have identified the mechanism that makes this efficiency possible.

Predicting in-flight air density for more accurate landing
Posted on Thursday April 02, 2020

Knowing the air density outside of a spacecraft can have a substantial effect on its angle of descent and ability to hit a specific landing spot. But sensors that can withstand the harsh hypersonic conditions are rare. Aerospace engineering researchers developed an algorithm that can run onboard a vehicle, providing important real-time data to aid in steering the craft, particularly during the crucial entry, descent, and landing stage.

Mystery of non-cotectic magmatic rocks
Posted on Thursday April 02, 2020

Research shows that an excess amount of some minerals contained in non-cotetic rocks may originate in the feeder conduits along which the magmas are travelling from the deep-seated staging chambers towards Earth's surface.

An all-organic proton battery energized for sustainable energy storage
Posted on Thursday April 02, 2020

Sustainable energy storage is in great demand. Researchers have therefore developed an all-organic proton battery that can be charged in a matter of seconds. The battery can be charged and discharged over 500 times without any significant loss of capacity.

Scientists see energy gap modulations in a cuprate superconductor
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020

Scientists studying high-Tc superconductors have definitive evidence for the existence of a state of matter known as a pair density wave -- first predicted by theorists some 50 years ago. Their results show that this phase coexists with superconductivity in a well-known bismuth-based copper-oxide superconductor.

Stable perovskite LEDs one step closer
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020

Researchers have developed a perovskite light-emitting diode (LED) with both high efficiency and long operational stability.

Uncertain climate future could disrupt energy systems
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020

Scientists have published a new study proposing an optimization methodology for designing climate-resilient energy systems and to help ensure that communities will be able to meet future energy needs given weather and climate variability.

The candy-cola soda geyser experiment, at different altitudes
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020

Dropping Mentos® candies into a bottle of soda causes a foamy jet to erupt. Although science fair exhibitors can tell you that this geyser results from rapid degassing of the beverage induced by the candies, the precise means by which bubbles form hasn't been well characterized. Now, researchers have used experiments in the lab and at various altitudes to probe the mechanism of bubble nucleation.

Scientists tap unused energy source to power smart sensor networks
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020

The electricity that lights our homes and powers our appliances also creates small magnetic fields that are present all around us. Scientists have developed a new mechanism capable of harvesting this wasted magnetic field energy and converting it into enough electricity to power next-generation sensor networks for smart buildings and factories.

Smartphone videos produce highly realistic 3D face reconstructions
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020

Normally, it takes pricey equipment and expertise to create an accurate 3D reconstruction of someone's face. Now, researchers have pulled off the feat using video recorded on an ordinary smartphone. Shooting a continuous video of the front and sides of the face generates a dense cloud of data. A two-step process uses that data, with some help from deep learning algorithms, to build a digital reconstruction of the face.

AI finds 2D materials in the blink of an eye
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020

A research team has introduced a machine-learning algorithm that can scan through microscope images to find 2D materials like graphene. This work can help shorten the time required for 2D material-based electronics to be ready for consumer devices.

Mesoamerican copper smelting technology aided colonial weaponry
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

Spanish conquerors depended on indigenous expertise to keep up their munitions supplies, archaeologists have found.

To tune up your quantum computer, better call an AI mechanic
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

A new article outlines a way to teach an AI to make an interconnected set of adjustments to the quantum dots that could form the qubits in a quantum computer's processor. Precisely tweaking the dots is crucial for transforming them into properly functioning qubits, and until now the job had to be done painstakingly by human operators, requiring hours of work to create even a small handful of qubits for a single calculation.

'Tequila' powered biofuels more efficient than corn or sugar
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

Agave tequilana, the plant native to Mexico used to make tequila, could prove to be an efficient alternative to sugarcane and corn to make biofuels in semi-arid regions. This research is the first to look at the plants lifecycle and model the economics.

New quantum technology could help diagnose and treat heart condition
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

The conductivity of living organs, such as the heart, could be imaged non-invasively using quantum technology, which has the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation.

High altitude water Cherenkov Observatory tests speed of light
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

New measurements confirm, to the highest energies yet explored, that the laws of physics hold no matter where you are or how fast you're moving.

Surfing the waves: Electrons break law to go with the flow
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

Researchers measure how fluid changes the movement of electrons.

New electrically activated material could improve braille readers
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

Refreshable braille displays translate information from computer screens into raised characters. But this technology can cost thousands of dollars and is limited. Researchers now report an improved material that could take these displays to the next level, allowing those who are blind or who have low vision to more easily understand text and images, while lowering cost.

On Mars or Earth, biohybrid can turn carbon dioxide into new products
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

Chemists have created a hybrid system of bacteria and nanowires that captures energy from sunlight and transfers it to the bacteria to turn carbon dioxide and water into organic molecules and oxygen. On Earth, such a biohybrid could remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. On Mars, it would provide colonists with raw material to manufacture organic compounds ranging from fuels to drugs. The efficiency is greater than the photosynthetic efficiency of most plants.

Extreme high-frequency signals enable terabits-per-second data links
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

Using the same technology that allows high-frequency signals to travel on regular phone lines, researchers tested sending extremely high-frequency, 200 GHz signals through a pair of copper wires. The result is a link that can move data at rates of terabits per second, significantly faster than currently available channels.

Not just for bones! X-rays can now tell us about soft tissues too
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

A new X-ray imaging technique could identify lesions and tumors before ultrasound or MRI can.

Quantum-entangled light from a vibrating membrane
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

Researchers recently entangled two laser beams through bouncing them off the same mechanical resonator, a tensioned membrane. This provides a novel way of entangling disparate electromagnetic fields, from microwave radiation to optical beams. Creating entanglement between optical and microwave fields would be a key step towards solving the challenge of sharing entanglement between two distant quantum computers operating in the microwave regime.

Potential for using fiber-optic networks to assess ground motions during earthquakes
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

A new study demonstrates the potential for using existing networks of buried optical fibers as an inexpensive observatory for monitoring and studying earthquakes.

Wearable device lets patients with type 2 diabetes safely use affordable insulin option
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

Adults with type 2 diabetes requiring insulin therapy can safely achieve good blood sugar control using regular human insulin (RHI) in a wearable, patch-like insulin delivery device called V-Go®.

Weighing in on the origin of heavy elements
Posted on Monday March 30, 2020

Nuclear physicists conducted a physics experiment that utilizes novel techniques to study the nature and origin of heavy elements in the universe.

New explanation for sudden heat collapses in plasmas can help create fusion energy
Posted on Monday March 30, 2020

Researchers find that jumbled magnetic fields in the core of fusion plasmas can cause the entire plasma discharge to suddenly collapse.

Tiny optical cavity could make quantum networks possible
Posted on Monday March 30, 2020

Engineers have shown that atoms in optical cavities could be foundational to the creation of a quantum internet.


 

 

 

 

 

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