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Science News Reports

Fuel-free nanomotor is powered by ultrasound and magnetic fields
The magneto-acoustic hybrid nanomotor has dual propulsion modes: an acoustic field (ultrasound) operates on the nanomotor’s gold nanorod segment, while a magnetic field operates on the
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Physicists observe magnetic 'devil's staircase'
Devil’s staircase behavior emerges in the magnetic structure of a cobalt oxide material. Three magnetic phases are shown here, where the arrows represent the different spin configurations that
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Simple hydrogen storage solution is powered by solar energy
The new reversible hydrogen storage method stores hydrogen atoms in cyclohexane and uses solar energy to release the hydrogen atoms, turning the cyclohexane molecule into benzene. The use of solar
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Seabirds may navigate by scent 03 July 2015, 19.36 Science
Seabirds may navigate by scent
Seabirds called shearwaters manage to navigate across long stretches of open water to islands where the birds breed. It’s not been clear how the birds do this, but there have been some clues. When scientists magnetically
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Why seahorses have square tails 03 July 2015, 19.36 Science
Why seahorses have square tails
Hammering and squishing 3-D printed seahorse tail segments reveals what’s so great about being square. Angled bones hitched together in a flexible string of squares create protective cages that are four times stronger than
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Wrinkled brain mimics crumpled paper 03 July 2015, 19.36 Science
Wrinkled brain mimics crumpled paper
Cramming a big brain into a skull may be as easy as just wadding it up. The same physical rules that dictate how a paper ball crumples also describe how brains get their wrinkles, scientists suggest July 3 in Science. That
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Bird photo ID: Birders team with artificial intelligence to solve mystery
The Merlin smartphone app has the solution to your bird watching mysteries. Now, Merlin Bird Photo ID takes it one step farther, identifying birds from uploaded photos. Crowd sourcing and artificial intelligence come together
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Working towards a European open science cloud 03 July 2015, 19.36 Science
Working towards a European open science cloud
Last week, CERN hosted an event to discuss ongoing efforts to develop a ‘European open science cloud’. The aim of this work is to bring public research organizations and e‐infrastructures together with
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HPC for your visual library: How algorithms and supercomputers assess video quality
The volume of video content has exploded in recent years, and museums and libraries face the daunting task of evaluating the condition of their collections to make preservation and access decisions. To meet this challenge,
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AI points to better decision-making despite poker match loss
Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists looked to Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center supercomputer Blacklight in their construction of Claudico, a poker-playing artificial intelligence. Claudico came up short against the
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Caught and caged: the future of drug delivery
Discover how the DNANANO project has been using the Curie supercomputer — a PRACE tier-0 system — to help design nanocages for targeted drug delivery. Simulating one of these nanocages for just 100
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How the NIH facilitates biomedical research: A conversation with George Komatsoulis
At the recent Internet2 Global Summit iSGTW sat down with George Komatsoulis to talk about the state of distributed research and the NIH Commons, a scalable virtual environment to provide high-performance computing and data
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Semiliquid battery competitive with both Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors
The new battery (pink star), in comparison with other energy-storage devices, exhibits a very high power density and a reasonably good energy density. Credit: Ding, et al. ©2015 American Chemical
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New device may make converting waste heat to electricity industrially competitive
The proposed thermoelectric device consists of many parallel nanowires with an external gate voltage that can be tuned to optimize the efficiency and power output for different temperature
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Physicists find ways to increase antihydrogen production
Antihydrogen consists of an antiproton and a positron. Credit: public domain (Phys.org)—There are many experiments that physicists would like to perform on antimatter, from studying its
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NASA picks nine instruments for future mission to Europa
 Your daily roundup of research news Science News Staff Science Ticker Planetary Science 4:54pm, May 26, 2015 A future mission to Europa, illustrated here, will investigate the moon’s subsurface ocean while
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White House hits pause on editing human germline cells
 Your daily roundup of research news Science News Staff Science Ticker 4:05pm, May 26, 2015 Clinical experiments that use DNA-editing methods to alter human germline cells have been put on hold in the United
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Diet and nutrition is more complex than a simple sugar
A new study shows that the simple sugar fructose has different effects on human behavior than glucose. But it’s doesn’t tell us much about what those lollipops will do to our health or behavior. When it comes to studying
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Acting Out Dreams Is Often Early Sign of Parkinson's Disease
Credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com A rare sleep disorder that makes people act out their dreams may be an early warning of a deadly neurological illness, a new review of previous research suggests. About half of
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Playing with Fire: AI Makers Must Be Careful 13 April 2015, 23.29 Science
Playing with Fire: AI Makers Must Be Careful
Credit: jimmi | Shutterstock From smartphone apps like Siri to features like facial recognition of photos, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a part of everyday life. But humanity should take more care in
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Man Tears Tendon After Playing 'Candy Crush' for Weeks
Credit: Authentic Creations / Shutterstock.com A California man tore a tendon in his thumb after playing a puzzle game on his smartphone too much, according to a new report of the case. The case is interesting because
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Marijuana Extract May Help Reduce Epilepsy Seizures
Credit: Atomazul | Shutterstock.com A medicine made from marijuana may provide some relief to people with severe epilepsy who don't get better after trying other treatments, according to a new study. In the study,
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How to Avoid a Shark Attack 13 April 2015, 23.29 Science
How to Avoid a Shark Attack
A great white shark. Credit: Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock.com The seventh fatal shark attack in four years struck this past weekend at a surfer's paradise in the Indian Ocean. Yet teaching people when and where to swim
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Dog Family: Facts About Canines & Their Cousins
A pack of grey wolves in Slovenia. Credit: Miha Krofel, Slovenia Dogs and humans have been best friends for thousands of years. Researchers know that dogs regularly lived with humans by about 10,000 years ago, and dogs
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Physicists propose method to measure variations in the speed of light
A relation between the angular diameter distance (DA), the Hubble function (H), and the speed of light c at a specific point called the maximum redshift (zM) may allow researchers to detect
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Maze-solving automatons can repair broken circuits (w/ video)
This screenshot from the video below shows the self-healing of an open circuit fault. When a fault occurs, an electric field develops in the gap, which polarizes the conductive particles in the
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Unparticles may provide a new path to superconductivity
Unparticles may emerge when, at high energies, the particle sector couples to the unparticle sector. Physicists plan to look for the signatures of unparticles in future experiments, possibly by
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Focus on disability: Reaching patients with smartphones
Hannah Kuper, co-director of the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK, explains how cheap smartphone adapters can be used to diagnose ear and eye
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Drawn to the sound: Supercomputers reveal phonon magnetism
Using the Oakley supercomputer and a very small, frozen tuning fork, Joseph Heremans is rewriting our science textbooks. His computational research team has discovered that phonons — sound and heat particles —
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Tiny GEMs, big insights 13 April 2015, 23.27 Science
Tiny GEMs, big insights
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Citizen scientists earn their stripes with tiger-tagging app
Researchers from the University of Surrey, UK, have developed an iPad app that could change the way wildlife is monitored in the future. The Wildsense app loads photos of tigers from the web for analysis by players in return
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Afterglow alerts astronomers to gamma-ray burst
STARBURST  These images from the Samuel Oschin telescope show the sudden appearance of a bright flash (middle frame, in crosshairs) that gradually faded (right). All three photos were taken within several hours on Feb. 26,
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Marijuana component fights epilepsy 13 April 2015, 23.27 Science
Marijuana component fights epilepsy
GREEN OPTION  A no-buzz component of marijuana can reduce severe epileptic seizures, a study suggests. A buzz-free component of marijuana can benefit epilepsy patients who have particularly severe seizures, a new study
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Rubidium atoms used to record coldest temperature — ever
CLUMPED AND COLD  Stanford University physicists used images like this one, which depicts the concentration of rubidium atoms, to determine that they had cooled the atoms to a record-low temperature. T. Kovachy et
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Rosetta data deluge reveals dynamic comet with sand dunes and jets
Last November the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission made history when its Philae lander touched down on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Now, mission researchers have studied new data from a host of
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Structured photons slow down in a vacuum 24 January 2015, 00.26 Science
Structured photons slow down in a vacuum
The speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 m s–1, right? Not necessarily, according to a team of physicists in the UK, which has found that the speed of an individual photon decreases by a tiny amount if it is
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Cellular model of tissue growth could shed light on metastasis
A simple yet potentially very useful model of how living cells interact to create tissue has been created by Anatolij Gelimson and Ramin Golestanian of the University of Oxford in the UK. The simulation considers how
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Magnetic levitation spins up waxy 'tektites' in the lab
Solid wax models of "splash-form tektites" – tiny pieces of natural glass that are created when asteroids or comets impact the Earth – have been created in the lab for the first time by researchers in the UK. Using
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Women shun fields that are perceived to require 'innate ability'
The notion that natural ability or brilliance are required to excel in certain fields could explain the lack of women in those subjects, according to a survey of US academics. The survey, carried out by researchers also in
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Lost Beagle 2 spacecraft found intact on Martian surface
The UK-led Beagle 2 Mars lander, thought lost on the red planet since 2003, has been found partially deployed on the Martian surface. New images show that it successfully touched down on the planet's surface in 2003 but
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Water-soluble silicon leads to dissolvable electronics
(Phys.org)—Researchers working in a materials science lab are literally watching their work disappear before their eyes—but intentionally so. They're developing water-soluble integrated circuits that dissolve in water
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Reversible solid-to-liquid phase transition offers new way to synthesize crystals
(Phys.org) —The simple acts of heating and cooling affect different substances in different ways: some substances may change phase from solid to liquid to gas, while others may irreversibly break down when heat is
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First-of-its-kind tube laser created for on-chip optical communications
(Phys.org)—Nanophotonics, which takes advantage of the much faster speed of light compared with electrons, could potentially lead to future optical computers that transmit large amounts of data at very high speeds.
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Velociraptor: Facts About the 'Speedy Thief' 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Velociraptor: Facts About the 'Speedy Thief'
Velociraptor is one of the most bird-like dinosaurs ever discovered. It was small and fast, and the sickle-shaped claw on the second toe of each foot made it a formidable predator. A special bone in its wrist allowed it to
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A Good Night's Rest: The Best Sleep Apps 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
A Good Night's Rest: The Best Sleep Apps
Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com Sleep is crucial to brain functioning, memory formation and to life itself (look up fatal familial insomnia). But all too often, sleep is elusive. The Centers for Disease Control and
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How To Save Dying Coral Reefs | Video 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
How To Save Dying Coral Reefs | Video
Hot Crocodile Problem Video - Under Antarctic Ice Recreating an Ancient Tsunami An Earth Day Message from a Personal Submersible See the great storm spin, shrink, grow and intensi ... Video - Wave
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Zigzag Physics: Loophole Makes Light Particles Act Drunk
Credit: Iscatel | Shutterstock.com A universal rule of thumb may need to be rewritten: Light moving freely through empty space does not necessarily travel at the speed of light. As physicists have come to know, light
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Here's What to Eat to Lower Inflammation 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Here's What to Eat to Lower Inflammation
Credit: Milleflore Images/Shutterstock.com Ginger, nuts, fatty fish and whole grains are just some of the many foods that have been touted to have anti-inflammatory properties. But do they work? It turns out that experts
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5 Cool Things We Just Learned About Rosetta’s Rubber Ducky Comet
The Rosetta mission made history last year, by being the first manmade spacecraft to ever orbit or land on a comet. Things didn't go exactly as planned, though. The lander Philae bounced around and got lost somewhere on the
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Flying animals can teach drones a thing or two 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Flying animals can teach drones a thing or two
Small drones will soon be zipping between trees and dodging buildings, just like swallows, bees and moths BIOMIMICRY  Scientists are turning to the animal kingdom to inspire the next wave of small drones. View the video Ty
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Decoding sommeliers’ brains, one squirt of wine at a time
TASTE TEST  A gustometer drips precise quantities of colored liquids into the mouth of a woman lying in a brain scanner. Gustometer \guhs-TOH-meh-ter\ n. A device used to squirt measured amounts of liquids into the mouth of
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See Iceland's Lava Field From Space 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
See Iceland's Lava Field From Space
Sometimes Iceland really lives up to its name. For instance, in the picture above, the entire country is basically covered in snow and ice. With one notable exception. See that big black dot in the middle? No, not in the
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Scientists Figure Out How To Unboil Eggs 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Scientists Figure Out How To Unboil Eggs
It has often been said that you can't unscramble an egg. But you might be able to unboil one. When you boil an egg, the heat causes the proteins inside the egg white to tangle and clump together, solidifying it. New research
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Upside-Down Icebergs, Living Fossil Sharks, And Other Amazing Images Of The Week
Lapka, a company that makes sensors to monitor your home and your health, is trying to take Google’s not-yet-released Project Ara smartphone to the next level. This is how the modular smartphone might look with Lapka’s
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Scientists Slow Down The Speed Of Light As It Travels Through Air
Light passes through air at about 299,000,000 meters per second, an accepted constant that hasn’t been challenged—until now. By manipulating a single particle of light as it passed through free space, researchers have
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Football Physics And The Science Of Deflategate 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Football Physics And The Science Of Deflategate
News reports say that 11 of the 12 game balls used by the New England Patriots in their AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts were deflated, showing about 2 pounds per square inch (psi) less pressure than the
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Fast and furious: The real lives of swallows 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Fast and furious: The real lives of swallows
FANCY FLIERS  Biophysicist Douglas Warrick tracks radiotagged barns swallows near an Oregon farm. Bret Tobalske, University of Montana For more on small drones inspired by birds and other flying animals, see SN's feature
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PLANTOID: Robotic solutions inspired by plants 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
PLANTOID: Robotic solutions inspired by plants
Humans tend to see plants as passive organisms that don’t ‘do’ much of anything, but plants do move, and they sense, and they do so in extremely efficient ways. Barbara Mazzolai, coordinator of the PLANTOID
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Exploring the universe with supercomputing 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Exploring the universe with supercomputing
The Center for Computational Astrophysics in Japan recently upgraded its ATERUI supercomputer, doubling the machine’s theoretical peak performance to 1.058 petaFLOPS. Eiichiro Kokubo, director of the center, tells iSGTW
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Unlocking the secrets of vertebrate evolution 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Unlocking the secrets of vertebrate evolution
As high-performance computers reshape the future, scientists gain the next-generation tools enabling them to see deeper into the past. Paleobiologists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Indiana University look to these
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How's the weather up there? 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
How's the weather up there?
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Nanostructure puts the gloss on avian eggshells 08 January 2015, 00.14 Science
Nanostructure puts the gloss on avian eggshells
The family of chicken-sized birds native to South America called tinamous lay brightly coloured eggs that are some of the glossiest in nature. Now, an international team of scientists has discovered the secret to the eggs'
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Fast-moving glaciers slide more easily 08 January 2015, 00.14 Science
Fast-moving glaciers slide more easily
As glaciers move faster, they experience less friction between the ice and the ground below. This is the conclusion of Lucas Zoet and Neal Iverson of Iowa State University in the US, who used a new experimental tool to
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Physicists get set for UNESCO's Year of Light 08 January 2015, 00.14 Science
Physicists get set for UNESCO's Year of Light
Physicists around the world are gearing up for the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL), which kicks off later this month at an official opening ceremony at the headquarters of the United Nations
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Indian Neutrino Observatory set for construction 08 January 2015, 00.14 Science
Indian Neutrino Observatory set for construction
The Indian government has given the go-ahead for a huge underground observatory that researchers hope will provide crucial insights into neutrino physics. Construction will now begin on the Rs15bn ($236m) Indian Neutrino
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Thermal memory thrives at extremely high temperatures
(Phys.org)—While the performance of electronic memory devices degrades at high temperatures, a newly proposed memory actually requires temperatures in excess of 600 K to operate. Called NanoThermoMechanical memory, the
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Nanoscale neighbors: First use of transformation optics to accurately analyze nonlocality in 3D plasmonic systems
(Phys.org) —The ubiquitous van der Waals interaction – a consequence of quantum charge fluctuations – includes intermolecular forces such as attraction and repulsion between atoms, molecules and surfaces. The most
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Earth News Reports

Sun-powered Solar Impulse lands safely in Hawaii after longest solo flight in aviation history
Share on TumblrEmail Solar Impulse 2, piloted by André Borschberg has successfully completed its record-breaking solar-powered flight from Japan to Hawaii. The plane landed at 5:55am local time today, and was
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Quebec university students design a car that gets an astounding 2,098 mpg
Share on TumblrEmail We love zero fuel vehicles, but the next best thing is a mode of transportation that can take you reeeeeeally far on just a little fuel. Vehicles with that ability compete in the SAE
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The next-generation Nissan Leaf will be able to drive over 310 miles on a single charge
Share on TumblrEmail Range anxiety is one of the main things holding electric cars back – but the next generation of electric vehicles will be able to drive farther. Much farther. Nissan just announced plans to
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Portland Farmer Jacinda Martinez Turns Vegetables Into Edible Fashion
Artist and designer Jacinda Martinez began playing with her food to make bold and beautiful statements about slow fashion, in a beautiful series she calls Fashion in the Raw. Based on the coast of Maine, Martinez first
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Do You Have What It Takes to Cut the Waste Out of Fashion?
Ecouterre is the official media sponsor of the 2015/16 EcoChic Design Award. From East to West, the biggest competitive search in history is now on for emerging designers who have the talent and determination to not only cut
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Tom Cridland’s Organic Sweatshirt Will Last 30 Years—Guaranteed
MADE TO LAST Cridland, whose eponymous trousers, launched in 2014, have been spotted on celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Craig, wants to harken back to the days when “impeccably made clothing could be worn
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10 great web design components to incorporate in your website 03 July 2015, 19.36 Green Architecture
10 great web design components to incorporate in your website
It is imperative to design an attractive, simple and functional website to encourage visitors to hit the BUY, Subscribe or Download button. There are certain essential elements that every website must have in order to please
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Design for cats: awesome gifts to make your cat happy 03 July 2015, 19.36 Green Architecture
Design for cats: awesome gifts to make your cat happy
Cats already have a giant virtual network pretty much dedicated to worship them: the Internet. This isn’t enough for your poor cat that doesn’t know how to read anyway. Your cat surely deserves better design at
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10 examples of website mockups with fullscreen backgrounds 03 July 2015, 19.36 Green Architecture
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Fullscreen background images are a way to send a powerful message in web design. Whether you want your user to feel an atmosphere, to have a message they can’t miss, or simply to make your website more beautiful,
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Spectacular paintings created using spilled food 03 July 2015, 19.36 Green Architecture
Spectacular paintings created using spilled food
When I was a kid, we would travel to Serbia every summer to meet with the family there. One of the highlights for me was to see my great-aunts who would check out the bottom of my mother’s coffee cup and predict the
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Future News Reports

Obama's War Against US Energy Independence:  Give Away Oil Rich Alaskan Islands to Russia!
  By Joe Miller The Obama administration, despite the nation’s economic woes, effectively killed the job-producing Keystone Pipeline last month. The Arab Spring is turning the oil production of Libya and other Arab
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OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials 08 April 2012, 02.33 Administrator Energy
OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials
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North America's EV charging infrastructure to get a boost 12 January 2012, 02.01 Administrator Energy
North America's EV charging infrastructure to get a boost
        North America’s EV charging infrastructure may soon see significant improvements, thanks to a recent agreement between Eaton Corporation and Coulomb Technologies. Under the deal, Eaton’s Level II and
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Could The Gravitomagnetic Field Be The Ultimate Energy Source? 28 May 2011, 01.34 Administrator Energy
Could The Gravitomagnetic Field Be The Ultimate Energy Source?
      Have scientists already unknowingly discovered the source for all atomic energy reactions, and could the discovery of the gravitomagnetic field be the ultimate energy source?  What if our understandings on how
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Physicists urge caution over apparent speed of light violation 25 September 2011, 16.27 Administrator Energy
Physicists urge caution over apparent speed of light violation
Physicists wary of junking light speed limit yet Physicist Antonio Ereditato poses before presenting the result of an experiment, which found a subatomic particle, the neutrino, seemed to move faster than the speed of
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STEORN ORBO  FREE ENERGY:  What's Next a Self Charging Unit for your Electric Car?
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Cold Fusion, Releases Energy from Hydrogen's Gravitomagnetic Field 16 January 2011, 09.17 Administrator Energy
Cold Fusion, Releases Energy  from Hydrogen's Gravitomagnetic Field
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Abu Dhabi Media Zone to generate renewable energy through its façade
Eco Factor: Sustainable development to generate renewable solar energy. Bernard Tschumi Architects have re-imagined their master plan for the new Abu Dhabi Media Zone, by incorporating several environmentally-friendly
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Fuel-free nanomotor is powered by ultrasound and magnetic fields PDF Print E-mail

The magneto-acoustic hybrid nanomotor has dual propulsion modes: an acoustic field (ultrasound) operates on the nanomotor’s gold nanorod segment, while a magnetic field operates on the nanomotor’s helical segment. Credit: Li, et al. ©2015 American Chemical Society

(Phys.org)—Nanoscale motors, like their macroscale counterparts, can be built to run on a variety of chemical fuels, such as hydrogen peroxide and others. But unlike macroscale motors, some nanomotors can also run without fuel, instead being powered by either magnetic or acoustic fields. In a new paper, researchers for the first time have demonstrated a nanomotor that can run on both magnetic and acoustic fields, making it the first magneto-acoustic hybrid fuel-free nanomotor.

The researchers, led by Professor Joseph Wang at the University of California, San Diego, have published a paper on the new class of nanomotors in a recent issue of Nano Letters. As magnetic and acoustic fields are biocompatible and commonly used in medicine, the fuel-free nanomotors could be especially useful for .

The nanomotor can respond to both types of fields due to its bisegmented design: the gold nanorod segment responds to ultrasound, and the nanohelical magnetic segment responds to magnetic fields. The entire device is approximately 3000 nm (3 µm) long.

As the researchers explain, using different fields to power a single device offers the potential for rapid reconfiguration of the device's operation. For example, switching between the two different fields rapidly changes the direction of motion because the fields act on opposite ends of the device. In addition, tuning the amplitude of the ultrasound waves or the frequency of the enables rapid speed regulation, while applying a rotational magnetic field induces a torque that results in corkscrew motion.

Using fields instead of fuel for power also gives the nanomotor the advantage of being able to operate in highly ionic environments, such as seawater and blood. These media typically interfere with the propulsion mechanisms of chemically powered nanomotors, which often rely on the electric-field-induced motion of electrophoresis.

Nanomotors can rapidly change direction and speed under different strengths of magnetic and acoustic fields. Credit: Li, et al. ©2015 American Chemical Society

When several of the new are placed in close proximity, the researchers found that they exhibit swarming behavior similar to the collective behavior seen in some biological systems, such as schools of fish. The researchers observed three different states of switchable collective behavior, depending on the applied field: stable aggregation with ultrasound only, directional swarm motion with magnetic fields only, and a swirling swarm vortex with both fields.

In the future, the broad scope of operations offered by the magnetic and acoustic actuations could lead to an even more intriguing possibility: smart nanovehicles that autonomously reconfigure themselves in response to changes in the environment or their own performance in order to achieve a predetermined mission. This ability could prove especially useful for biomedical applications, such as imaging, drug delivery, and diagnosis. Other applications may include nanoscale manipulation and assembly in the wider field of artificial nanomachines.

Explore further: New study shows the dynamics of active swarms in alternating fields

More information: Jinxing Li, et al. "Magneto-Acoustic Hybrid Nanomotor." Nano Letters. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01945

© 2015 Phys.org



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Physicists observe magnetic 'devil's staircase' PDF Print E-mail

Devil’s staircase behavior emerges in the magnetic structure of a cobalt oxide material. Three magnetic phases are shown here, where the arrows represent the different spin configurations that define each phase. These phases have nearly degenerate magnetic energies, so they all coexist as stable phases, but can be easily altered by external modifications such as doping. Credit: T. Matsuda, et al. ©2015 American Physical Society

(Phys.org)—Many hiking trails feature a "devil's staircase"—a set of steps that are often steep and difficult to climb. The devil's staircase is also the name of a mathematical function whose graph exhibits a jagged step-like organization reminiscent of a real staircase, although in a highly ordered fractal pattern. Devil's staircase behavior emerges in a variety of areas, such as in crystals, phase transitions, and statistical physics.

Now in a new paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers led by Hiroki Wadati, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo, have observed devil's staircase behavior in a certain magnetic material: the SrCo6O11. By analyzing the of this material, the researchers found that it contains a large number of that have nearly "degenerate," or equal, magnetic energies. The coexistence of these many nearly degenerate magnetic structures gives rise to the devil's staircase behavior, which has the appearance of many (in principle, an infinite number of) proportional step-like structures.

Although the devil's staircase behavior emerges from microscopic effects, the behavior is also reflected in the material's macroscopic properties. One of the most intriguing properties is the material's giant magnetoresistance, which means that an applied magnetic field changes the material's electrical resistance. This property could have implications for designing artificial materials with novel functionalities.

To uncover these microscale magnetic properties of the cobalt oxide, the researchers used a technique called soft X-ray scattering (RSXS), which involves bombarding a material with X-rays and measuring the energy and momentum of the scattered X-rays. As a relatively recent development, RSXS has proven to be a powerful tool for investigating the ordered structures in solid materials. For one of the first times ever, the researchers here used RSXS with magnetic fields of several Tesla. The technique enabled the researchers to discover several microscale magnetic structures that escaped detection in earlier experiments.

The scientists attribute the material's unusually large number of nearly degenerate magnetic phases—and the resulting devil's staircase behavior—to competition between the magnetic phases. This competition results in magnetic frustration, as no single phase is strong enough to dominate the others. The results show that strong magnetic frustration is a key ingredient for giving the material its giant magnetoresistance and also makes the material highly sensitive to very low chemical doping.

To demonstrate this sensitivity, the researchers showed that substituting just 3% of the strontium atoms with barium atoms destroys almost all of the material's degenerate magnetic phases, which greatly changes its overall magnetic properties. Because the material's properties are easily tunable in this way, the scientists hope that this research may offer a path toward engineering and controlling the material's magnetic and electrical properties for various technological applications.

"In future resonant soft X-ray diffraction studies, one can expect to find similar devil's staircase behavior in other materials," Wadati told Phys.org. "The devil's staircase behavior may lead to the development of novel types of spintronics , which can use discrete levels of electrical resistivity."

Explore further: Anomalous spin ordering revealed by brilliant synchrotron soft X-rays

More information: T. Matsuda, et al. "Observation of a Devil's Staircase in the Novel Spin-Valve System SrCo6O11." Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.236403
Also at arXiv:1412.7945 [cond-mat.str-el]

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Simple hydrogen storage solution is powered by solar energy PDF Print E-mail

The new reversible hydrogen storage method stores hydrogen atoms in cyclohexane and uses solar energy to release the hydrogen atoms, turning the cyclohexane molecule into benzene. The use of solar energy avoids the need for high temperatures to release the hydrogen. Credit: Li, et al. ©2015 American Chemical Society

(Phys.org)—By using solar energy to reversibly attach and detach hydrogen atoms on a 6-carbon ring called benzene, scientists have developed a simple and efficient method to store, transport, and release hydrogen potentially on a large scale. The hydrogen storage problem is currently one of the biggest challenges facing the development of hydrogen as a widespread energy carrier, and the researchers hope that the new strategy may lead to a safe and inexpensive solution to this problem.

The scientists, led by Professor Chao-Jun Li and Associate Professor Zetian Mi at McGill University in Montreal, have published a paper on the new system in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

As the researchers explain, hydrogen has a very high mass energy density but a very low volumetric energy density. The high mass energy density, which is at least three times higher than that of other chemical fuels, is what makes hydrogen such an attractive energy carrier. However, its low volumetric under ambient conditions makes it difficult to store large amounts of hydrogen in small spaces. To overcome this problem, hydrogen is often stored at high pressures or low temperatures, but these storage methods present their own challenges.

The hydrogen storage system demonstrated in the new paper works under and stores the hydrogen in abundant, lightweight, and inexpensive molecules called hydrocarbons. The researchers demonstrated that six can be added to benzene (C6H6) in a "hydrogenation" process that forms cyclohexane (C6H12), which serves as the hydrogen carrier. In the reverse process, cyclohexane is "dehydrogenated" as the six carbons are removed and available for use in energy storage devices and other applications.

This method of storing hydrogen atoms in hydrocarbons is not new, but because the dehydrogenation process requires a large amount of energy to proceed, current versions always require high temperatures to release the hydrogen.

Since performing the reaction at high temperatures is not suitable for practical applications, here the researchers demonstrated that can be used to drive the dehydrogenation reaction at ambient temperatures. This process involves using platinum-based nanoparticles as photocatalysts. After absorbing incoming photons, the platinum nanoparticles temporarily donate their photoexcited electrons to the cyclohexane molecules, breaking the carbon-hydrogen bonds and releasing the hydrogen atoms without the need for elevated temperatures.

Tests showed that this photo-driven dehydrogenation process occurs rapidly (within a few seconds), converts 99% of the cyclohexane to benzene, and has a quantum efficiency (H2 produced per photon consumed) of 6.0%, which rivals the current top-performing solar water splitting devices without an external voltage. To start the hydrogenation process, the researchers simply removed the light source, causing the hydrogen atoms to reattach back onto the benzene. Using this method, 97% of the benzene could be converted back to cyclohexane, and the cycle could be repeated.

The researchers expect that this strategy is more suitable for stationary applications—for instance, for storing and transporting energy produced by wind turbines or other alternative sources—rather than vehicles because of the fact that it requires sunlight to release the hydrogen.

"The applications may include the storage and transport of hydrogen generated from other sources, such as water splitting and water electrolysis, using renewable energies (hydro, wind, nuclear, etc.)," Li told Phys.org.

Taking the next steps forward, McGill University has filed a provisional patent on this technology. In the future, the scientists plan to improve the storage system by reducing the amount of platinum required in the photocatalysts and developing other less expensive alternatives.

"Our future research is focused on developing cheaper and more earth-abundant metal catalysts, such as iron, and to further increase the quantum efficiency," Li said.

Explore further: Muons help understand mechanism behind hydrogen storage

More information: Lu Li, et al. "Simple and Efficient System for Combined Solar Energy Harvesting and Reversible Hydrogen Storage." Journal of the American Chemical Society. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b03505

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Seabirds may navigate by scent PDF Print E-mail

Seabirds called shearwaters manage to navigate across long stretches of open water to islands where the birds breed. It’s not been clear how the birds do this, but there have been some clues. When scientists magnetically disturbed Cory’s shearwaters, the birds still managed to find their way. But when deprived of their sense of smell, the shearwaters had trouble homing in on their final destination.

Smell wouldn’t seem to be all that useful out over the ocean, especially with winds and other atmospheric disturbances playing havoc on any scents wafting through the air. But now researchers say they have more evidence that shearwaters are using olfactory cues to navigate. Andrew Reynolds of Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, England, and colleagues make their case June 30 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Messing with Cory’s shearwaters or other seabirds, like researchers did in earlier studies, wasn’t a good option, the researchers say, because there are conservation concerns when it comes to these species. Instead, they attached tiny GPS loggers to 210 shearwaters belonging to three species: Cory’s shearwaters, Scopoli’s shearwaters and Cape Verde shearwaters.

But how would the birds’ path reveal how they were navigating? If they were using olfactory cues, the team reasoned, the birds wouldn’t take a straight path to their target. Instead, they would fly straight for a time, guided in that direction by a particular smell. When they lost that scent, their direction would change, until they picked up another scent that could guide them. And only when a bird got close would it use landmarks, other birds and the odor of the breeding colony as guides. If the birds were using some other method of navigation — or randomly searching for where to go — their paths would look much different.

When the researchers analyzed the paths of the shearwaters, 69 percent of the birds moved in a way that matched what was expected if they were using olfactory cues. Nearly all of the journeys that lasted four or more days took this kind of path, but less than half of short flights that lasted less than two days had this kind of flight path.

“All these animals share the same basic pattern,” the researchers write, “strongly suggesting the presence of an underlying common mechanism of orientation which we have identified as olfactory-cued navigation.”

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Why seahorses have square tails PDF Print E-mail

Hammering and squishing 3-D printed seahorse tail segments reveals what’s so great about being square.

Angled bones hitched together in a flexible string of squares create protective cages that are four times stronger than rounded ones, researchers report July 3 in Science. That’s the conclusion from squeezing 3-D printed seahorse tails, one made of square segments that had been scaled up and the other an engineer’s best estimate of a round equivalent.

Distant seahorse ancestors had armored tails that could have benefited from such square protection.

Modern seahorse tails have gone prehensile. So there’s now a grip bonus, says study coauthor Michael M. Porter, an engineer at Clemson University in South Carolina. Square segments press more surface area against a perch than round ones, giving squared tails better grip control.

tail types

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Wrinkled brain mimics crumpled paper PDF Print E-mail

Cramming a big brain into a skull may be as easy as just wadding it up. The same physical rules that dictate how a paper ball crumples also describe how brains get their wrinkles, scientists suggest July 3 in Science.

That insight, arrived at in part by balling up sheets of standard-sized A4 office paper, offers a simple explanation for the ridges and valleys that give rise to thoughts, memories and emotions. The results also explain the shapes of a multitude of mammal brains ranging from the ultrawrinkled dolphin brain to the smooth brain of manatees, says study coauthor Suzana Herculano-Houzel. “There are no outliers.”

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Bird photo ID: Birders team with artificial intelligence to solve mystery PDF Print E-mail

The Merlin smartphone app has the solution to your bird watching mysteries. Now, Merlin Bird Photo ID takes it one step farther, identifying birds from uploaded photos. Crowd sourcing and artificial intelligence come together to answer a frequently asked question: What bird is that?

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Working towards a European open science cloud PDF Print E-mail

Last week, CERN hosted an event to discuss ongoing efforts to develop a ‘European open science cloud’. The aim of this work is to bring public research organizations and e‐infrastructures together with commercial cloud-computing suppliers to build a common platform offering a range of services to Europe’s research communities.

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HPC for your visual library: How algorithms and supercomputers assess video quality PDF Print E-mail

The volume of video content has exploded in recent years, and museums and libraries face the daunting task of evaluating the condition of their collections to make preservation and access decisions. To meet this challenge, data curators, video engineers, supercomputing experts, and neuroscientists are testing and implementing quality assessment algorithms in supercomputers to rapidly identify levels of video quality in large collections.

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Historypin: Connecting communities through the power of digital maps PDF Print E-mail

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AI points to better decision-making despite poker match loss PDF Print E-mail

Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists looked to Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center supercomputer Blacklight in their construction of Claudico, a poker-playing artificial intelligence. Claudico came up short against the world's best poker players, but what the scientists have learned spells good news for medical decision-making.

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Caught and caged: the future of drug delivery PDF Print E-mail

Discover how the DNANANO project has been using the Curie supercomputer — a PRACE tier-0 system — to help design nanocages for targeted drug delivery.

Simulating one of these nanocages for just 100 nanoseconds would take nearly a decade on a normal workstation. However, by accessing PRACE resources, the research group was able to carry out multiple simulations of this kind in less than thirty days.

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How the NIH facilitates biomedical research: A conversation with George Komatsoulis PDF Print E-mail

At the recent Internet2 Global Summit iSGTW sat down with George Komatsoulis to talk about the state of distributed research and the NIH Commons, a scalable virtual environment to provide high-performance computing and data storage for bio-medical research. When implemented, the Commons will create a marketplace for digital bio-medical resources, driving down costs and democratizing access.

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Congratulations, Science as Art contest winners PDF Print E-mail

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Semiliquid battery competitive with both Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors PDF Print E-mail

The new battery (pink star), in comparison with other energy-storage devices, exhibits a very high power density and a reasonably good energy density. Credit: Ding, et al. ©2015 American Chemical Society

(Phys.org)—A new semiliquid battery developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin has exhibited encouraging early results, encompassing many of the features desired in a state-of-the-art energy-storage device. In particular, the new battery has a working voltage similar to that of a lithium-ion battery, a power density comparable to that of a supercapacitor, and it can maintain its good performance even when being charged and discharged at very high rates.

The researchers, led by Assistant Professor Guihua Yu, along with Yu Ding and Yu Zhao, at UT Austin, have published their paper on the new membrane-free, semiliquid in a recent issue of Nano Letters. The researchers explain that the battery is considered "semiliquid" because it uses a liquid ferrocene electrolyte, a liquid cathode, and a solid lithium anode.

"The greatest significance of our work is that we have designed a semiliquid battery based on a new chemistry," Yu told Phys.org. "The battery shows excellent rate capability that can be fully charged or discharged almost within one minute while maintaining good energy efficiency and reasonable energy density, representing a promising prototype liquid redox battery with both high energy density and for energy storage."

The battery is designed for applications in two of the biggest areas of : hybrid electric vehicles and energy storage for renewable energy resources.

As shown in the figure above, the battery's high power density (1400 W/L) and good energy density (40 Wh/L) put it in the uniquely favorable position of combining a power density that is as high as that of current supercapacitors with an energy density on par with those of state-of-the-art redox flow batteries and lead-acid batteries, though slightly lower than that of lithium-ion batteries. This combination is especially attractive for electric vehicles, where the power density corresponds to top speed and the energy density to the vehicle's range per charge.

The researchers also report in their paper that the has a high capacity (137 mAh/g) and a high capacity retention of 80% for 500 cycles.

The structure and working principle of the new ferrocene-based, membrane-free semiliquid battery, along with an experimental demonstration showing that the battery’s power output can light a 9 x 9 LED array. Credit: Ding, et al. ©2015 American Chemical Society

The researchers attribute the battery's good performance in large part to its liquid electrode design that enables its high rate capability, which is basically a measure of how fast the battery operates. The ions can move through the liquid battery very rapidly compared to in a solid battery, and the redox reactions in which the electrons are transferred between electrodes also occur at very high rates in this particular battery. For comparison, the values used to measure these rates (the diffusion coefficient and the reaction constant) are orders of magnitude greater in the new battery than in most conventional flow batteries.

Although the battery looks very promising so far, the researchers note that more work still needs to be done, in particular regarding the lithium anode.

"The potential weakness of this battery is the lithium anode in terms of long-term stability and safety," Yu said. "More advanced lithium anode protection is required to fully suppress self-discharge. We suppose that other metals like zinc and magnesium may also function as the anode for such a battery as long as the electrolyte compatibility is resolved. We also expect that other organometallic compounds with multi-valence-state metal centers (redox centers) may also function as the anode, which eventually would make the battery fully liquid."

In the future, the researchers plan to test the long-term durability of the battery, especially its lithium anode, under realistic operating conditions. In addition, the researchers want to find a way to increase the solubility of ferrocene in order to further increase the to compete with current lithium-ion batteries while maintaining its very high power density.

Explore further: Beyond the lithium ion—a significant step toward a better performing battery

More information: Yu Ding, et al. "A Membrane-Free Ferrocene-Based High-Rate Semiliquid Battery." Nano Letters. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01224

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New device may make converting waste heat to electricity industrially competitive PDF Print E-mail

The proposed thermoelectric device consists of many parallel nanowires with an external gate voltage that can be tuned to optimize the efficiency and power output for different temperature differences between the leads and different loads. Credit: Muttalib and Hershfield. ©2015 American Physical Society

(Phys.org)—Currently, up to 75% of the energy generated by a car's engine is lost as waste heat. In theory, some of this waste heat can be converted into electricity using thermoelectric devices, although so far the efficiency of these devices has been too low to enable widespread commercialization.

Now in a new study, physicists have demonstrated that a thermoelectric device made of nanowires may achieve a high enough efficiency to be industrially competitive, potentially leading to improvements in fuel economy and other applications.

The scientists, Khandker A. Muttalib and Selman Hershfield, both physics professors at the University of Florida in Gainesville, have published a paper on the new thermoelectric device in a recent issue of Physical Review Applied.

In addition to recovering energy from the waste heat in combustion engines in vehicles, thermoelectric devices could also perform similar functions in the engines of ships, as well as in power plants, manufacturing refineries, and other places that produce large amounts of waste heat.

In their paper, the scientists explain that using bulk materials in thermoelectric devices has turned out to be inherently inefficient, but nanoengineered materials appear to be more promising. The new device consists simply of two large leads at different temperatures connected by several noninteracting, very thin nanowires. Each nanowire transmits current from the hotter lead to the colder lead, and many nanowires in parallel can scale the power up to high levels.

One of the biggest challenges facing thermoelectric devices is that the conditions that optimize a device's efficiency and power output are different for different temperature gradients between the two leads as well as for different electrical loads (how much power is being consumed at a given moment). Because of this complexity, the optimum device for a particular temperature gradient and load may not work nearly as well for a different temperature gradient or load.

The researchers here found a way around this issue by applying a voltage to the nanowires, which allows power to be transmitted along the nanowires only at energies above a certain value. This value depends on the temperature gradient and the load, which vary, but the applied voltage can also be varied in order to tune the power transmission and simultaneously optimize the device's power and efficiency.

Using nanowires to connect the leads also has a practical advantage compared to using other materials. While many other candidate materials are difficult to manufacture reliably, nanowires can be manufactured reliably and controllably, which is important for realizing the precise optimum dimensions.

Although the physicists' theoretical analysis suggests that the proposed device could have significant performance advantages over current devices, they caution that it's too early to make any definite estimates.

"Any estimate at this point is going to be unreliable because there are so many ways to lose heat in any practical device that our theoretical proposal does not take into account," Muttalib told Phys.org. "Even then, we gave a very crude estimate in our paper where both the efficiency and power output can be tuned (with a gate voltage) to be significantly larger than any commercial device currently available. Note that there are other theoretical proposals with large efficiency but without sufficient power, and therefore not practically usable."

Most importantly, the physicists hope that the new ideas presented here may inspire new ways of thinking about thermoelectric technology.

"Perhaps the greatest significance is a possible shift in paradigm in the design of thermoelectric devices," Muttalib said. "Currently, the focus of the community is overwhelmingly in the so-called 'linear response' regime (where the temperature and the voltage gradients across the material connecting the hot and the cold leads are small); the performance of such devices depends solely on the properties of the connecting material. This has kept the current efforts limited to finding or designing a 'good' thermoelectric material. Our work suggests that, in the 'non-linear' regime, the performance of the device also depends crucially on the parameters of the leads and the loads; the optimization of performance in such cases has many more interesting possibilities to be explored."

Although this work offers many new possible directions for future research, Muttalib and Hershfield hope that it will be other scientists who move the technology forward.

"We are both theoretical physicists doing research in basic sciences, and in particular we are not experts in device technology," Muttalib said. "We stumbled upon the current idea while trying to understand the effects of non-linear response on electron transport in nano systems. We hope that experimentalists and device engineers will find our work interesting and will pursue it to build an actual device. Our next plan in this general area is to understand, again at a very fundamental theoretical level, the effects of phonons or lattice vibrations in nano systems in general; these effects are known to be important for thermoelectric devices as well."

The nanowire-based isn't the only new thermoelectric design to appear recently. In the same issue of Physical Review Applied, Riccardo Bosisio, et al., at Service de Physique de l'Etat Condensé in France have developed a thermoelectric device in which the electrons travel through the nanowires by "phonon-assisted hopping," where the phonons are vibrations that carry heat.

Explore further: Company developing commercial tech to convert heat to electricity

More information: K. A. Muttalib and Selman Hershfield. "Nonlinear Thermoelectricity in Disordered Nanowires." Physical Review Applied. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.3.054003

© 2015 Phys.org



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Physicists find ways to increase antihydrogen production PDF Print E-mail

Antihydrogen consists of an antiproton and a positron. Credit: public domain

(Phys.org)—There are many experiments that physicists would like to perform on antimatter, from studying its properties with spectroscopic measurements to testing how it interacts with gravity. But in order to perform these experiments, scientists first need some antimatter. Of course, they won't be finding any in nature (due to antimatter's tendency to annihilate in a burst of energy when it comes in contact with ordinary matter), and creating it in the lab has proven to be very technically challenging for the same reasons.

Now in a new paper published in Physical Review Letters, Alisher S. Kadyrov, et al., at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, and Swansea University in the UK, have theoretically found a method to enhance the rate of antihydrogen production by several orders of magnitude. They hope that their finding will guide antihydrogen programs toward achieving the production of large amounts of antihydrogen for long confinement times, and at cool temperatures, as required by future investigative experiments.

"Laws of physics predict equal amounts of matter and created after the Big Bang," Kadyrov, Associate Professor at Curtin University, told Phys.org. "One of science's mysteries is where did all the antimatter go? To unravel this mystery, scientists at CERN [the European Organization for Nuclear Research] plan to do gravitational and spectroscopic experiments with antimatter. The simplest example is antihydrogen. However, it is challenging and expensive to create and study antihydrogen in the laboratory."

Antihydrogen is an appealing form of antimatter for scientists to study in part because it is electrically neutral: it consists of an antiproton (a negatively charged proton) and a positron or antielectron (a positively charged electron). Because it's made of just two antiparticles, antihydrogen is also somewhat easier to produce than larger antiatoms.

In 2002, scientists produced antihydrogen in the first dedicated antihydrogen production experiment at CERN, and in 2010 they confined antihydrogen in traps for up to 30 minutes. Eventually, however, the antihydrogen annihilates, such as by impacting the walls of the experimental apparatus or interacting with background gases.

There are a few different ways to produce antihydrogen in the lab, all of which involve colliding or scattering particles off one another. In the new study, the physicists focused on the reaction in which an antiproton is scattered off , which is a bound state consisting of a positron and an ordinary electron. In a sense, positronium can be thought of as a hydrogen atom in which the proton is replaced by a positron. So far, the antiproton-positronium scattering reaction has been investigated mostly when the positronium is in its ground state.

In the new study, the scientists theoretically showed that antiproton collisions with positronium in an excited state instead of the ground state can enhance antihydrogen production significantly, particularly at the lower energies.

"Our calculations show that a very efficient way of producing antihydrogen is to bring together slow antiprotons with positronium, which has been prepared in an excited state, something that is now routine using lasers," Kadyrov said. "It turns out antihydrogen formation increases by several orders of magnitude for positronium in excited states as compared to the due to unexpected low-energy behavior revealed in our calculations."

For the first time, these theoretical results allow for realistic estimates of antihydrogen formation rates via antiproton-positronium scattering at low energies. Because lower energies are more important in experiments than higher energies, the scientists hope that this method will offer a practical way to create cold antihydrogen, which could then be used to test the fundamental properties of antimatter.

"Scientists from the ALPHA, ATRAP, AEgIS and GBAR Collaborations at CERN are working on producing and trapping antihydrogen in sufficient quantities for experiments on the spectroscopic and gravitational properties of antihydrogen," Kadyrov said. "We believe that the efficient mechanism for antihydrogen formation that our research has unveiled could be used to facilitate these investigations."

The scientists plan to investigate this antihydrogen production mechanism more in the future, with the goal to achieve even better results.

"Presently, positronium can be excited to high-energy states, known as Rydberg states," Kadyrov said. "Next we want to investigate antiproton collisions with positronium in such a state. Given the magnitude of the enhancement we have got for the lower excited states, one can expect that the corresponding enhancement would be enormous. This then could open a very promising way of producing low-energy antihydrogen beams for spectroscopic experiments, for example, for measurements of hyperfine splitting in ."

Explore further: CERN experiment takes us one step closer to discovering where all the antimatter went

More information: A. S. Kadyrov, et al. "Antihydrogen Formation via Antiproton Scattering with Excited Positronium." Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.183201

© 2015 Phys.org



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NASA picks nine instruments for future mission to Europa PDF Print E-mail



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Science News Staff

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Christopher Crockett

4:54pm, May 26, 2015

illustration of future mission to Europa

A future mission to Europa, illustrated here, will investigate the moon’s subsurface ocean while orbiting Jupiter and flying by the moon multiple times (blue lines).

JPL-Caltech/NASA

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NASA is gearing up to see what’s lurking in the salty seas beneath the icy shell of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Nine instruments will fly aboard a spacecraft slated to launch sometime in the 2020s that will investigate whether or not the moon is habitable, space agency officials announced at a news conference May 26.

Two cameras will map the moon, while an ice-penetrating radar will peer beneath its surface. To figure out what’s in the water, three instruments will measure the composition of material deposited on the surface of the moon and what’s blasted into space. The probe will carry two detectors that will measure the moon’s magnetic field, which will reveal the depth and saltiness of the ocean. And an ultraviolet spectrometer will be the spacecraft’s dedicated plume hunter, seeking out evidence of water vents like those seen on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

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