Πέμπτη, 15 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

MAVEN solar wind ion analyzer will look at key player in Mars atmosphere loss

Posted: 14 May 2014 01:54 PM PDT

This past November, NASA launched the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission in the hope of understanding how and why the planet has been losing its atmosphere over billions of years.

Nanowire bridging transistors open way to next-generation electronics

Posted: 14 May 2014 01:54 PM PDT

Combining atoms of semiconductor materials into nanowires and structures on top of silicon surfaces shows promise for a new generation of fast, robust electronic and photonic devices. Scientists have recently demonstrated three-dimensional nanowire transistors using this approach that open exciting opportunities for integrating other semiconductors, such as gallium nitride, on silicon substrates.

New insight into thermoelectric materials may boost green technologies

Posted: 14 May 2014 12:32 PM PDT

Physicists have found remarkable thermoelectric properties for a metal that may impact the search for materials useful in power generation, refrigeration or energy detection. Thermoelectric materials can turn a temperature difference into an electric voltage.

Protein data bank archives its 100,000th molecule structure

Posted: 14 May 2014 12:31 PM PDT

As the single worldwide repository for the three-dimensional structures of large molecules and nucleic acids that are vital to pharmacology and bioinformatics research, the Protein Data Bank (PDB) recently archived its 100,000th molecule structure, doubling its size in just six years.

CEBAF beam goes over the hump: Highest-energy beam ever delivered at Jefferson Lab

Posted: 14 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at Jefferson Lab has achieved the final two accelerator commissioning milestones needed for approval to start experimental operations following its first major upgrade. The machine has delivered its highest-energy beams ever, 10.5 billion electron-volts through the entire accelerator and into its newest experimental area for the first time.

Advance brings 'hyperbolic metamaterials' closer to reality

Posted: 14 May 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Researchers have taken a step toward practical applications for 'hyperbolic metamaterials,' ultra-thin crystalline films that could bring optical advances including powerful microscopes, quantum computers and high-performance solar cells.

New smart coating could make oil-spill cleanup faster and more efficient

Posted: 14 May 2014 10:34 AM PDT

In the wake of recent off-shore oil spills, and with the growing popularity of 'fracking' -- in which water is used to release oil and gas from shale -- there's a need for easy, quick ways to separate oil and water. Now, scientists have developed coatings that can do just that. Their research could also stop surfaces from getting foggy and dirty.

By itself, abundant shale gas unlikely to alter climate projections

Posted: 14 May 2014 10:34 AM PDT

A policy analysis finds that if natural gas is abundant and less expensive, it will encourage greater consumption of gas and less of coal, renewables and nuclear power. The net effect on the climate will depend on whether the greenhouse gas emissions from producing and consuming natural gas -- including carbon dioxide and methane – are lower or higher than emissions avoided by reducing the use of other energy sources.

Deformable mirror corrects errors

Posted: 14 May 2014 10:30 AM PDT

Very high power is needed to cut or weld using a laser beam. But this creates its own problem: the beam's energy deforms the mirrors that are focusing it to a point. When this happens, the beam expands and loses intensity. A new type of mirror can deform itself so as to correct this unwanted deformation.

In the wake of high-profile battery fires, a safer approach emerges

Posted: 14 May 2014 08:17 AM PDT

As news reports of lithium-ion battery fires in Boeing Dreamliner planes and Tesla electric cars remind us, these batteries -- which are in everyday portable devices, like tablets and smartphones -- have their downsides. Now, scientists have designed a safer kind of lithium battery component that is far less likely to catch fire and still promises effective performance.

Quantum tunneling and the Aharonov-Bohm effect

Posted: 14 May 2014 07:03 AM PDT

Although quantum tunneling has been observed on large scales, no one has yet actually measured the tunneling of a single particle until now. Physicists report using an ion trap system to observe the Aharonov-Bohm effect with quantum tunneling. The AB effect demonstrates that a magnetic field inside a confined region can have a measureable impact on a charged particle which never traveled inside the region.

Simplifying an ultrafast laser offers better control

Posted: 14 May 2014 07:03 AM PDT

Scientists have developed a new concept offering a simpler laser design, control over new parameters, and excellent performance potential. Called 'frequency domain optical parametric amplification,' the concept supersedes traditional time domain amplification schemes that have been the linchpin of ultrafast laser science for 20 years.

@millennials wary of @twitter, #MSU study finds

Posted: 14 May 2014 07:03 AM PDT

A new study indicates young adults have a healthy mistrust of the information they read on Twitter. Nearly anyone can start a Twitter account and post 140 characters of information at a time, bogus or not, a fact the study's participants seemed to grasp, according to the author of a recent study.

Microchip-like technology allows single-cell analysis

Posted: 14 May 2014 05:46 AM PDT

A system similar to random access memory chips that allows the fast, efficient control and separation of individual cells has been developed by engineers. Once scaled up, the technology promises to sort and store hundreds of thousands of cells in a matter of minutes, enabling biologists to study vast arrays of single cells.

Mobile phone data helps combat malaria

Posted: 14 May 2014 05:45 AM PDT

Mobile phone data has been used in a study in Namibia to help combat malaria more effectively. The study used anonymized mobile records to measure population movements within Namibia in Africa over the period of a year (2010-11). By combining this data with information about diagnosed cases of malaria, topography and climate, the researchers have been able to identify geographical 'hotspots' of the disease and design targeted plans for its elimination.

Unified superconductors: Single theoretical model of superconductivity for many materials

Posted: 14 May 2014 05:45 AM PDT

Superconductors are promising materials, with applications ranging from medicine to transport. Unfortunately, though, their use is for the time being limited to the very low temperatures (close to absolute zero) necessary for superconductivity to occur. Some materials, however, could be improved so as to obtain higher and energetically less "costly" critical temperatures. Scientists have now investigated a class of conductors at high critical temperature, adding insight into the physics of these phenomena.

The future of field trips looks promising

Posted: 14 May 2014 05:45 AM PDT

New research has implications for educators and museum professionals alike because it demonstrates that field trips can be engaging, informative and fun, as well as help schoolchildren develop essential twenty-first-century life skills. The days of staring aimlessly into glass cabinets appear to be over for good. Academics studying Florida's Habitat Tracker project have discovered an ideal way to engage children on field trips: add an iPad.

New technology simplifies production of biotech medicines

Posted: 14 May 2014 05:45 AM PDT

The final step in the production of a biotech medicine is finishing with the correct sugar structure. This step is essential for the efficacy of the medicine, but it also makes the production process very complex and expensive. Researchers have developed a technology that shortens the sugar structures whilst retaining the therapeutic efficiency. This technology has the potential to make the production of biotech medicines significantly simpler and cheaper.

Using nature as a model for low-friction bearings

Posted: 14 May 2014 05:45 AM PDT

The mechanical properties of natural joints are considered unrivalled. Cartilage is coated with a special polymer layer allowing joints to move virtually friction-free, even under high pressure. Using simulations on supercomputers, scientists have developed a new process that technologically imitates biological lubrication and even improves it using two different types of polymers.

Magnetar formation mystery solved? Supernova explosions and dizzying spins in a binary system

Posted: 14 May 2014 05:45 AM PDT

Magnetars are the bizarre super-dense remnants of supernova explosions. They are the strongest magnets known in the universe — millions of times more powerful than the strongest magnets on Earth. Astronomers now believe they've found the partner star of a magnetar for the first time. This discovery helps to explain how magnetars form — a conundrum dating back 35 years — and why this particular star didn't collapse into a black hole as astronomers would expect.

Strongly interacting electrons in wacky oxide synchronize to compute like the brain

Posted: 14 May 2014 05:43 AM PDT

A new type of computing architecture that stores information in the frequencies and phases of periodic signals could work more like the human brain to do computing using a fraction of the energy of today's computers.

Technology to miniaturize measuring devices

Posted: 13 May 2014 06:17 AM PDT

Scientists have developed smart optical measuring devices with companies for uses that include optimization of vehicle engines, reduction and monitoring of environmental emissions, and quality control of pharmaceuticals.

'Shocking' video reveals surprising truth about cell wall growth

Posted: 12 May 2014 12:50 PM PDT

For a century, biologists have thought they understood how the gooey growth that occurs inside cells caused their protective outer walls to expand. Now, using new microscopic video techniques, researchers have captured the visual evidence to prove the prevailing wisdom wrong. The researchers believe their discovery about the surprising resilience of cell wall growth may help explain why seemingly fragile bacteria such as E. coli can thrive in environments as different as puddles and stomachs.

Which has more efficient 'engine': Tuna or whale?

Posted: 12 May 2014 12:50 PM PDT

A large whale and a much smaller tuna each propels itself through water. Which is the more efficient swimmer? It has been difficult to compare propulsion efficiencies of animals of different sizes, but now researchers have developed a metric to measure individual energy consumption efficiency and make such a comparison possible. (The two are almost equally efficient.) The new metric could help in the design of cars and underwater vehicles as efficient and agile as real fish.

In the age of open science, repurposing, reproducing research pose challenges

Posted: 12 May 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Growing numbers of researchers are making the data underlying their publications freely available online, largely in response to data sharing policies at journals and funding agencies. But in the age of open science, improving access is one thing, repurposing and reproducing research is another. Researchers experienced this firsthand when they tried to answer a seemingly simple question: what percentage of plants in the world are woody?

Expanding power of RNA interference

Posted: 12 May 2014 08:12 AM PDT

RNA carried by new nanoparticles can silence genes in many organs, and could be deployed to treat cancer, researchers report. Up to this point, researchers have gotten the best results with RNAi targeted to diseases of the liver, in part because it is a natural destination for nanoparticles. But now, a team reports achieving the most potent RNAi gene silencing to date in nonliver tissues.

Privacy and vulnerability issues: Could decentralized networks help save democracy?

Posted: 12 May 2014 07:16 AM PDT

Democratic movements can flourish online, but just as easily get censored. A group of researchers is developing solutions to the vulnerabilities and privacy problems with using big social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Nanostructures to facilitate the process to eliminate organic contaminants in water

Posted: 12 May 2014 07:15 AM PDT

Researchers have developed nanostructures that assist in the process of decontaminating water. The nanostructures are coated in titanium oxide to which nitrogen has been added. This allows sunlight, rather than ultraviolet radiation, to trigger the process involving the chemical reaction and destruction of contaminants.

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