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Matter & Energy In the News ...

Synthetic nanopores made from DNA
Posted on Friday December 13, 2019

A scientific collaboration has resulted in the construction of a synthetic DNA nanopore capable of selectively translocating protein-size macromolecules across lipid bilayers.

Bone bandage soaks up pro-healing biochemical to accelerate repair
Posted on Friday December 13, 2019

Researchers have engineered a patch or bandage that captures a pro-healing molecule called adenosine that briefly surges at the site of a bone break or fracture to accelerate and improve the natural healing process. In a proof-of-principle study with mice, the bandage helped to accelerate callus formation and vascularization to achieve better bone repair by three weeks.

Better studying superconductivity in single-layer graphene
Posted on Friday December 13, 2019

A new study demonstrates that an existing technique is better suited for probing superconductivity in pure, single-layer graphene than previously thought. The insight could allow physicists to understand more about the widely varied properties of graphene; potentially aiding the development of new technologies.

Deadly 'superbugs' destroyed by molecular drills
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

Motorized molecules activated by light target and drill through highly antibiotic resistant bacteria and kill them within minutes. The molecules can open bacteria to attack by drugs they previously resisted. The strategy could be applied to bacterial infections or diseases on the skin, in the lungs or in the gastrointestinal tract.

Tiny quantum sensors watch materials transform under pressure
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

Scientists have converted diamonds' atomic flaws into atomic sensors that could lead to a new generation of smart materials.

Unique polymer fibers: Light, strong, and tough
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

Strong and tough yet as light as a feather - materials with this exceptional combination of properties are urgently needed in many industrial sectors and in medicine, as well as being of great interest for scientific research. A research team has developed polymer fibers with precisely these properties.

Researchers perfect nanoscience tool for studies of nuclear waste storage
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

Studying radiation chemistry and electronic structure of materials at scales smaller than nanometers, scientists prepared samples of clay in ultra-thin layers. Working at the TRIUMF particle accelerator, they bombarded the samples with antimatter subatomic particles. They found their system is a proven tool for radiation studies of material to be used to store nuclear waste -- important for Canadian nuclear industry looking to build its first geological repository.

Chemists' calculations may advance cancer prediction
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

A computational study by chemists showed the dynamics of tumor formation don't necessarily correlate with clinical data on lifetime cancer risks. It suggests biomarkers may someday be able to help predict when mutations in cells will turn cancer-prone cells into full-blown cancer.

Deforestation, erosion exacerbate mercury spikes near Peruvian gold mining
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

Scientists have developed a model that can predict the amount of mercury being released into a local ecosystem from deforestation. The research could point toward ways to mitigate the worst effects of mercury poisoning in regions already experiencing elevated mercury levels caused by small-scale gold mining practices, such as those in the Peruvian Amazon.

Tracking lab-grown tissue with light
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

Someday, doctors would like to grow limbs and other body tissue for soldiers who have lost arms in battle, children who need a new heart or liver, and many other people with critical needs. Scientists are supporting this field of research by developing a promising new kind of light-based sensor to study tissue growth in the lab.

Supporting structures of wind turbines contribute to wind farm blockage effect
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

Much about the aerodynamic effects of larger wind farms remains poorly understood. New work looks to provide more insight in how the structures necessary for wind farms affect air flow. Using a two-scale coupled momentum balance method, researchers theoretically and computationally reconstructed conditions that large wind farms might face in the future, including the dampening effect that comes with spacing turbines close to one another.

Combining science and design to measure our exposure to light
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

Daylight plays an essential role in sleep, alertness and hormone regulation. Scientists are now developing a wearable sensor that measures how much light an individual is exposed to along with the spectral resolution of that light.

Fukushima: Lessons learned from an extraordinary case of soil decontamination
Posted on Thursday December 12, 2019

Following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011, the Japanese authorities decided to carry out major decontamination works in the affected area, which covers more than 9,000 km2. On Dec. 12, 2019, with most of this work having been completed, researchers provided an overview of the decontamination strategies used and their effectiveness.

First mathematical proof for key law of turbulence in fluid mechanics
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Turbulence is one of the least understood phenomena of the physical world. Long considered too hard to understand and predict mathematically, turbulence is the reason the Navier-Stokes equations, which describe how fluids flow, are so hard to solve that there is a million-dollar reward for anyone who can prove them mathematically. But now, mathematicians have broken through the barrier and developed the first rigorous mathematical proof for a fundamental law of turbulence.

State of shock: 200-year-old law about gas mixtures called into question
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

According to a new study led by a team from The University of New Mexico, centuries-old laws about the behavior of gas mixtures do not apply in the presence of shock waves. This finding could have potential impact on everything that involves mixtures of gases exposed to a shock wave, for example, during combustion in an engine.

New material design tops carbon-capture from wet flue gases
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Chemical engineers have designed a material that can capture carbon dioxide from wet flue gasses better than current commercial materials.

Cheers! Maxwell's electromagnetism extended to smaller scales
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" (1865). What would our lives be without this publication? It is difficult to imagine, as this treatise revolutionized our fundamental understanding of electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. The twenty original equations (nowadays elegantly reduced into four), their boundary conditions at interfaces, and the bulk electronic response functions (dielectric permittivity and magnetic permeability ) are at the root of our ability to manipulate electromagnetic fields and light.

Scrubbing carbon dioxide from smokestacks for cleaner industrial emissions
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Chemistry researchers have uncovered a better way to scrub carbon dioxide from smokestack emissions, which could be a key to mitigating global climate change.

Heat energy leaps through empty space, thanks to quantum weirdness
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

A surprising new study shows that heat energy can leap across a few hundred nanometers of a complete vacuum, thanks to a quantum mechanical phenomenon called the Casimir interaction. Though this interaction is only significant on very short length scales, it could have profound implications for the design of computer chips and other nanoscale electronic components where heat dissipation is key, while upending what many of us learned about heat transfer in high school physics.

Virtual reality and drones help to predict and protect koala habitat
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Researchers have used a combination of virtual reality (VR), aerial thermal-imaging and ground surveys to build a better statistical model for predicting the location of koalas and, ultimately, protecting their habitat.

New spray gel could help take the bite out of frostbite
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Mountaineers and winter sports enthusiasts know the dangers of frostbite -- the tissue damage that can occur when extremities, such as the nose, ears, fingers and toes, are exposed to very cold temperatures. However, it can be difficult to get treated quickly in remote, snowbound areas. Now, researchers have developed a convenient gel that could be sprayed onto frostbite injuries when they occur, helping wounds heal.

Uncovering how endangered pangolins, or 'scaly anteaters,' digest food
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

The endangered Sunda pangolin, or 'scaly anteater,' is a widely trafficked mammal, prized in some cultures for its meat and scales. Little is known about these animals, and raising rescued pangolins is tricky. In the wild, they eat termites and ants, but diets provided in captivity often make them sick. Now, a study reports that pangolins lack some common digestive enzymes, which could explain why some diets don't work well for them.

Pathways toward post-petrochemistry
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Ethylene, or ethene, is a primary feedstock for the chemical industry, including as a starting material for the production of a wide variety of plastics. Scientists have now introduced a new electrochemical technique for selective and energy-efficient production of ethylene from carbon monoxide, which can be obtained from renewable resources and waste.

Thunderquakes make underground fiber optic telecommunications cables hum
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Telecommunications lines designed for carrying internet and phone service can pick up the rumble of thunder underground, potentially providing scientists with a new way of detecting environmental hazards and imaging deep inside the Earth.

Punching holes in opaque solar cells turns them transparent
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Researchers in Korea have found an effective and inexpensive strategy to transform solar cells from opaque to transparent. Existing transparent solar cells tend to have a reddish hue and lower efficiency, but by punching tiny holes on crystalline silicon wafers, it allows light through without coloring. The holes are then strategically spaced, so the human eye is unable to 'see' the pattern.

New research seeks to improve safety equipment for pregnant women
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

As technology advances in the things we use every day, it's generally accepted they also become safer. But according to one engineer, that may not be true for a large portion of the population. New research has developed a innovative model to map the impact of trauma on a pregnant woman and her uterus if she were involved in an accident -- with the hopes of making everything from airbags to seatbelts safer for all.

NASA's treasure map for water ice on Mars
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Where should the first people on Mars land? A new paper provides a map of water ice believed to be as little as an inch (2.5 centimeters) below the surface of the Red Planet.

Scientists convert plastics into useful chemicals using sunlight
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Chemists have discovered a method that could turn plastic waste into valuable chemicals by using sunlight.

Blueprint for nanomaterial development offers hope to newborns, elderly and busy doctors
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Scientist hopes 'blueprint' leads to a new golden age of healthcare.

How light a foldable and long-lasting battery can be
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Engineers have developed a three-dimensional monolithic organic battery electrode.

Why polar bears at sea have higher pollution levels than those staying on land
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

As the climate changes, myriad animal populations are being impacted. In particular, Arctic sea-ice is in decline, causing polar bears in the Barents Sea region to alter their feeding and hunting habits. Bears that follow sea-ice to offshore areas have higher pollutant levels than those staying on land -- but why? A new study reports the likely reasons.

Print me an organ: Why are we not there yet?
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

A new review looks at the likelihood of 3D printed organs and analyzes recent accomplishments, limitations and opportunities for future research.

First of a kind in-vitro 3D neural tissue model
Posted on Wednesday December 11, 2019

Researchers have successfully used stem cells to engineer living biohybrid nerve tissue to develop 3D models of neural networks with the hopes of gaining a better understanding of how the brain and these networks work.

Physicists image electrons flowing like water
Posted on Tuesday December 10, 2019

Physicists have imaged electrons flowing viscously through a nanodevice, just like water flowing through a pipe. Long predicted but only now visualized for the first time, this curious new behavior for electrons has important implications for future electronic devices.

Tiny magnetic particles enable new material to bend, twist, and grab
Posted on Tuesday December 10, 2019

Researchers have developed a soft polymer material, called magnetic shape memory polymer, that uses magnetic fields to transform into a variety of shapes. The material could enable a range of new applications from antennas that change frequencies on the fly to gripper arms for delicate or heavy objects.

Technologies and scientific advances needed to track methane levels in atmosphere
Posted on Tuesday December 10, 2019

Understanding what influences the amount of methane in the atmosphere has been identified to be one of the foremost challenges in the earth sciences in the coming decades because of methane's hugely important role in meeting climate warming targets.

Communications device offers huge bandwidth potential
Posted on Tuesday December 10, 2019

Several countries are building futuristic communication systems using higher frequency electromagnetic waves to transfer more data at faster rates, but they have lacked network components to handle these higher bandwidths. A researcher has now demonstrated that his new device can rapidly switch functionality to perform the varied tasks needed to support a network with carrier frequencies of over 100 gigahertz. The miniscule-scale architecture is concealed within sugar cube size blocks.

Chiton mollusk provides model for new armor design
Posted on Tuesday December 10, 2019

The way the scale armor works is that when in contact with a force, the scales converge inward upon one another to form a solid barrier. When not under force, they can 'move' on top of one another to provide varying amounts of flexibility dependent upon their shape and placement.

Insects' drag-based flight mechanism could improve tiny flying robots
Posted on Tuesday December 10, 2019

Thrips don't rely on lift in order to fly. Instead, the tiny insects rely on a drag-based flight mechanism, staying afloat in airflow velocities with a large ratio of force to wing size. Researchers have performed the first test of drag force on a thrip's wing under constant airflow in a bench-top wind tunnel and, drawing from microfabrication and nanomechanics, they created an experiment in which a thrip's wing was glued to a self-sensing microcantilever.

New laser technique images quantum world in a trillionth of a second
Posted on Tuesday December 10, 2019

For the first time, researchers have been able to record, frame-by-frame, how an electron interacts with certain atomic vibrations in a solid. The technique captures a process that commonly causes electrical resistance in materials while, in others, can cause the absence of resistance, or superconductivity.

How to induce magnetism in graphene
Posted on Tuesday December 10, 2019

Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications.

Stretchy and squeezy soft sensors one step closer thanks to new bonding method
Posted on Tuesday December 10, 2019

Bioengineers have found a way to create stretchy and squeezy soft sensing devices by bonding rubber to electrical components.

Ramping up carbon capture could be key to mitigating climate change
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

As the world gathers in Madrid to discuss how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change, a newly released study makes the case that trapping emissions underground could go a long way toward solving the problem.

New function for plant enzyme could lead to green chemistry
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Scientists have discovered a new function in a plant enzyme that could inspire the design of new chemical catalysts. The enzyme catalyzes, or initiates, one of the cornerstone chemical reactions needed to synthesize a wide array of organic molecules, including those found in lubricants, cosmetics, and those used as raw materials for making plastics.

Reorganizing a computer chip: Transistors can now both process and store information
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Researchers have created a more feasible way to combine transistors and memory on a chip, potentially bringing faster computing.

Lighting up cardiovascular problems using nanoparticles
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

A new nanoparticle innovation that detects unstable calcifications that can trigger heart attacks and strokes may allow doctors to pinpoint when plaque on the walls of blood vessels becomes dangerous.

Detours may make batteries better
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Adding atom-scale defects to battery materials may help them charge faster, theoretical models show.

Formula 1 technology for the construction of skyscrapers
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Researchers are developing new vibration-control devices based on Formula 1 technology so ''needle-like'' high-rise skyscrapers which still withstand high winds can be built. Current devices called tuned mass dampers (TMDs) are fitted in the top floors of tall buildings to act like heavyweight pendulums counteracting building movement caused by winds and earthquakes.

How planets may form after dust sticks together
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Scientists may have figured out how dust particles can stick together to form planets, according to a new study that may also help to improve industrial processes.

Creating switchable plasmons in plastics
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Researchers have developed optical nanoantennas made from a conducting polymer. The antennas can be switched on and off, and will make possible a completely new type of controllable nano-optical components.

A tech jewel: Converting graphene into diamond film
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Can two layers of the ''king of the wonder materials,'' i.e. graphene, be linked and converted to the thinnest diamond-like material, the ''king of the crystals''? Scientists have reported the first experimental observation of such conversion.

Liquid flow is influenced by a quantum effect in water
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Researchers have discovered that the viscosity of solutions of electrically charged polymers dissolved in water is influenced by a quantum effect. This tiny quantum effect influences the way water molecules interact with one another. Yet, it can lead to drastic changes in large-scale observations. This effect could change the way scientists understand the properties and behavior of solutions of biomolecules in water, and lead to a better understanding of biological systems.

Storing data in everyday objects
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Researchers have discovered a new method for turning nearly any object into a data storage unit. This makes it possible to save extensive data in, say, shirt buttons, water bottles or even the lenses of glasses, and then retrieve it years later. The technique also allows users to hide information and store it for later generations. It uses DNA as the storage medium.

Separating drugs with MagLev
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

The composition of suspicious powders that may contain illicit drugs can be analyzed using a quick and simple method called magneto-Archimedes levitation (MagLev), according to a new study. A team of scientists has developed the MagLev method to differentiate common street drugs in dilute mixtures. The method could complement or even replace other portable drug identification techniques, the scientists suggest.

Has physics ever been deterministic?
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Researchers have proposed a new interpretation of classical physics without real numbers. This new study challenges the traditional view of classical physics as deterministic.

Speedy and precise multicolor imaging of biomolecules now possible
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

For the first time, researchers can track biological molecules with unprecedented speed and precision thanks to the use of multi-metallic nanoparticles.

Proton-hydrogen collision model could impact fusion research
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

A new study uses new techniques to calculate the cross sections of atoms which have been excited to higher energy levels. Researchers analyzed the behavior over a wide range of impact energies.

Deeper understanding of irregular heartbeat may lead to more effective treatment
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Researchers have shown how the chaotic electrical signals underlying irregular heart rhythms lead to the failure of standard treatments.

Green hydrogen: Research to enhance efficiency
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Laboratory experiments and a parabolic flight campaign have enabled an international team of researchers to gain new insights into water electrolysis, in which hydrogen is obtained from water by applying electric energy. Water electrolysis could play a key role in the energy transition if efficiency improvements can be achieved. The findings offer a possible starting point for enhancing the environmental impact of hydrogen-based technologies.

New method to remove dust on solar panels
Posted on Monday December 09, 2019

Particle removal increased from 41% on hydrophilic smooth Si wafers to 98% on superhydrophobic Si-based nanotextured surfaces. The researchers confirmed these results by measuring the adhesion of a micron-sized particle to the flat and nanotextured substrate using an atomic force microscope. They found that the adhesion in water is reduced by a factor of 30.


 

 

 

 

 

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