Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Chemistry Is Everywhere

Chemistry Is Everywhere

New Salt Compounds Challenge the Foundation of Chemistry

All good research breaks new ground, but rarely does the research unearth truths that challenge the foundation of a science. That’s what Artem R. Oganov has done, and the professor of theoretical crystallography in the Department of Geosciences will have his work published in the Dec. 20 issue of the journal Science.

The paper titled "Unexpected stable stoichiometries of sodium chlorides,” documents his predictions about, and experiments in, compressing sodium chloride—rock salt—to form new compounds. These compounds validate his methodology for predicting the properties of objects—a methodology now used worldwide for computational material discovery—and hold the promise of novel materials and applications. 


Electron localization function in the cubic NaCl3 structure. (Credit: Artem R. Oganov)

Graphene-Based Field-Effect Transistor With Semiconducting Nature Opens Up Practical Use in Electronics

UNIST announced a method for the mass production of boron/nitrogen co-doped graphene nanoplatelets, which led to the fabrication of a graphene-based field-effect transistor (FET) with semiconducting nature. This opens up opportunities for practical use in electronic devices. 

The Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) research team led by Prof. Jong-Beom Baek have discovered an efficient method for the mass production of boron/nitrogen co-doped graphene nanoplatelets (BCN-graphene) via a simple solvothermal reaction of BBr3/CCl4/N2 in the presence of potassium. This work was published in “Angewandte Chemie International Edition” as a VIP (“Very Important Paper”).


A schematic representation for the formation of BCN-graphene via solvothermal reaction between carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) boron tribromide (BBr3) and nitrogen (N2) in the presence of potassium (K). Photograph is of the autoclave after the reaction, showing the formation of BCN-graphene (black) and potassium halide (KCl and KBr, white).
 

Researchers Grow Liquid Crystal 'Flowers' That Can Be Used as Lenses

A team of material scientists, chemical engineers and physicists from the University of Pennsylvania has made another advance in their effort to use liquid crystals as a medium for assembling structures. 

In their earlier studies, the team produced patterns of “defects,” useful disruptions in the repeating patterns found in liquid crystals, in nanoscale grids and rings. 

The new study adds a more complex pattern out of an even simpler template: a three-dimensional array in the shape of a flower. And because the petals of this “flower” are made of transparent liquid crystal and radiate out in a circle from a central point, the ensemble resembles a compound eye and can thus be used as a lens. 

A liquid crystal "flower" under magnification. The black dot at center is the silica bead that generates the flower's pattern. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Pennsylvania)

Friday, 20 December 2013

Filling the Information Gap About Post-Ph.D. Careers | Science Careers

For years and years, reports and studies have called on universities to track the careers of Ph.D. alumni to give prospective students and postdocs some idea of the future that awaits them after they graduate. Institutions that are otherwise proud of their research prowess routinely fail to fulfill the conceptually simple task of finding out what jobs their doctoral graduates take. 

Read more in the below link...

Filling the Information Gap About Post-Ph.D. Careers | Science Careers

Targeted Synthesis of Natural Products With Light

Photoreactions are driven by light energy and are vital to the synthesis of many natural substances. Since many of these substances are also useful as active medical agents, chemists try to produce them synthetically. But in most cases only one of the possible products has the right spatial structure to make it effective. Researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) have now developed a methodology for one of these photoreactions that allows them to produce only the specific molecular variant desired.
 
The bulky Lewis acid (above) shields one side of the substrate (bottom) pushing the photoreaction in to the direction of the desired product. - Graphics: Richard Brimioulle / TUM
Read more >>

Thursday, 12 December 2013

New Drug Approach Could Lead to Cures for Wide Range of Diseases

A team led by a longtime Oregon Health & Science University researcher has demonstrated in mice what could be a revolutionary new technique to cure a wide range of human diseases — from cystic fibrosis to cataracts to Alzheimer's disease — that are caused by "misfolded" protein molecules.

Misfolded protein molecules, caused by gene mutation, are capable of maintaining their function but are misrouted within the cell and can’t work normally, thus causing disease. The OHSU team discovered a way to use small molecules that enter cells, fix the misfolded proteins and allow the proteins to move to the correct place and function normally again.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Solar Cell Degradation Observed Directly for the First Time

With the help of DESY’s X-ray light source PETRA III, researchers of Technische Universität München have, for the first time, watched organic solar cells degrade in real time. This work could open new approaches to increasing the stability of this highly promising type of solar cell. The team headed by Prof. Peter Müller-Buschbaum from the Technische Universität München (Technical University of Munich) present their observations in this week's issue of the scientific journal Advanced Materials (Nr. 46, 10 December).


Schematic representation of the internal structure of the active layer of the polymer solar cell: The orange areas represent the active domains, where light is absorbed and charge carriers are released. (Credit: Illustration: TU München)  

Monday, 9 December 2013

Metamaterials offer route to room-temperature superconductivity

Metamaterials offer route to room-temperature superconductivity

A new way of making high-temperature superconductors that is based on metamaterials has been proposed by physicists in the US. Their plan involves combining a low-temperature superconductor with a dielectric material to create a metamaterial that is a superconductor at much higher temperatures than its constituent materials. The team is now looking at testing its proposal in the lab and is hopeful that its work could offer a route to creating a superconductor that operates at room temperature.

Metamaterial superconductors at liquid nitrogen temperatures?

Scientists Discover Quick Recipe for Producing Hydrogen

Scientists in Lyon, a French city famed for its cuisine, have discovered a quick-cook recipe for copious volumes of hydrogen (H2).
The breakthrough suggests a better way of producing the hydrogen that propels rockets and energizes battery-like fuel cells. In a few decades, it could even help the world meet key energy needs — without carbon emissions contributing to the greenhouse effect and climate change.
It also has profound implications for the abundance and distribution of life, helping to explain the astonishingly widespread microbial communities that dine on hydrogen deep beneath the continents and seafloor. 


Nature produces hydrogen through "serpentinization." When water meets the ubiquitous mineral olivine under pressure, the rock absorbs mostly oxygen (O) atoms from H2O, transforming olivine into another mineral, serpentine -- characterized by a scaly, green-brown surface appearance like snakeskin. The complex network of fracturing and created by serpentinization also creates habitat for subsurface microbial communities. Image from Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada. (Credit: Matt Schrenk, Michigan State University)

Friday, 6 December 2013

How Water Dissolves Stone, Molecule by Molecule

International team uses computers, experiments to better predict chemical dissolution 

Scientists from Rice University and the University of Bremen’s Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM) in Germany have combined cutting-edge experimental techniques and computer simulations to find a new way of predicting how water dissolves crystalline structures like those found in natural stone and cement. 

The dissolution process of a crystalline structure in water is shown: two bonded SiO4 -- molecules dissolve (top left), a quartz crystal (top right) and the computer-simulated surface of a dissolving crystalline structure (below). (Credit: MARUM & Rice University)
Credit: http://news.rice.edu

Thursday, 5 December 2013

New Solar Cell Material Acts as a Laser As Well | Science/AAAS | News

New Solar Cell Material Acts as a Laser As Well | Science/AAAS | News

The hottest new material in solar cell research has another trick up its sleeve. At the Materials Research Society meeting here, two groups reported yesterday that these new electricity-generating materials can produce laser light. Because the materials—called perovskites—are cheap and easy to produce, they could help engineers create a wide variety of cheap lasers that shine a variety of colors for use in speeding data flows in the telecommunications industry.

Garvin Grullón/Science
New shine. Known for their prowess as solar cell materials, perovskites make lasers as well.
 

Intense Two-Color Double X-Ray Laser Pulses: Powerful Tool to Study Ultrafast Processes

SACLA is one of only two facilities in the world to offer XFEL as light source to investigate matter, with various applications in biology, chemistry, physics and materials science. XFELs have the capacity to deliver radiation ten billion times brighter and with pulses one thousand times shorter than existing synchrotron X-ray radiation sources. Until now, XFELs have normally emitted one radiation pulse at a single wavelength like conventional visible lasers. 

The in-vacuum variable-gap undulators (about 130 m long) at SACLA

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A Particle Accelerator in the Radiation Belts

One of the most intriguing problems of astrophysics is the existence in a variety of environments of anomalously high-energy particles, for example, extragalactic cosmic rays up to 1020 electron volts (eV). Closer to home, the Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts, discovered at the dawn of the space age, contain some electrons and ions with energies of millions of eV. In spite of a wealth of observations and many proposed models, clarifying the various acceleration mechanisms represents a long-standing challenge.

The acceleration of relativistic electrons in the Earth’s radiation belts can be described as a two-step process: first, electrons are accelerated to about a hundred keV by the potential drop due to streams of double layers (here represented as a stairway). Once they have enough energy, they can interact resonantly with whistler waves and be quickly accelerated to MeV energies. In a sense, double-layer streams represent a stairway to whistlers.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

PNNL: News - Scientists capture 'redox moments' in living cells

PNNL: News - Scientists capture 'redox moments' in living cells

Scientists have charted a significant signaling network in a tiny organism that's big in the world of biofuels research. The findings about how a remarkably fast-growing organism conducts its metabolic business bolster scientists' ability to create biofuels using the hardy microbe Synechococcus, which turns sunlight into useful energy.

Green fluorescence shows redox reactions in living Synechococcus cells.
 

A Link Between Wormholes and Quantum Entanglement | Science/AAAS | News

A Link Between Wormholes and Quantum Entanglement | Science/AAAS | News

This advance is so meta. Theoretical physicists have forged a connection between the concept of entanglement—itself a mysterious quantum mechanical connection between two widely separated particles—and that of a wormhole—a hypothetical connection between black holes that serves as a shortcut through space. The insight could help physicists reconcile quantum mechanics and Einstein's general theory of relativity, perhaps the grandest goal in theoretical physics. But some experts argue that the connection is merely a mathematical analogy.

 

Process Holds Promise for Production of Synthetic Gasoline from Carbon Dioxide

A chemical system developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago can efficiently perform the first step in the process of creating syngas, gasoline and other energy-rich products out of carbon dioxide.

A novel “co-catalyst” system using inexpensive, easy to fabricate carbon-based nanofiber materials efficiently converts carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, a useful starting-material for synthesizing fuels. The findings have been published online in advance of print in the journal Nature Communications.

See more here...

UIC researchers Amin Salehi-Khojin (seated), Bijandra Kumar and Mohammad Asadi. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

Monday, 2 December 2013

Discrepancy in Neutron Lifetime Still Unresolved

Discrepancy in Neutron Lifetime Still Unresolved

Outside of the nucleus, the proton remains stable for at least 1034 years, but an isolated neutron survives just 15 minutes before it decays into a proton, electron, and an antineutrino. Astrophysicists rely on a precise value of the free neutron lifetime to calculate the rate of nucleosynthesis during the big bang, while particle physicists use it to constrain fundamental parameters of the standard model. Yet measured lifetimes have varied by about a percent, depending on the experimental technique. As reported in Physical Review Letters, the latest refinement of the neutron lifetime in one type of experiment has left this discrepancy unresolved.

 

How Losing Information Can Benefit Quantum Computing

Suggesting that quantum computers might benefit from losing some data, physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have entangled—linked the quantum properties of—two ions by leaking judiciously chosen information to the environment.
 
Researchers usually strive to perfectly shield ions (charged atoms) in quantum computing experiments from the outside world. Any "noise" or interference, including heat generated by the experiment and measurements that cause fragile quantum states to collapse, can ruin data and prevent reliable logic operations, the conventional approach to quantum information processing.

Read more here...

This is an artist's conception of a NIST experiment showing how quantum computing might benefit from lost information. Two beryllium ions (red), used as quantum bits or qubits to store information, were "entangled" so that their properties were linked -- a useful feature for quantum computing. Two partner magnesium ions (green) released heat to the environment. Any unwanted information in the qubits was coupled to the outgoing heat, leaving the qubits in the desired entangled state (suggested by the hourglass). Credit: Bertram/Motion Forge for NIST
 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

How to unmix a mixed fluid

 
Credit: http://www.newscientist.com

Snapshots Differentiate Molecules from Their Mirror Image

Small difference, large effect: Most biological molecules occur in two variants, an original and its mirror image. As a result, they are related to one another like the left hand to the right. For instance, the left- and right-handed variant of the same molecule makes lemons smell different from oranges. This so-called chirality also plays an important role in pharmaceutical research. 

Working in close collaboration, physicists from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics and chemists from Heidelberg University have now developed a method which, so to speak, takes a snapshot of chiral molecules and so reveals their spatial atomic structure. The molecule's handedness, or chirality, can be directly derived from this information. 

Read more here...
Molecular mirror images of, so-called enantiomeres, of dideuterooxirane (grey: hydrogen, green: deuterium, blue: carbon, red: oxygen). (Credit: Rupprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg/O.Trapp)

Friday, 29 November 2013

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013 was awarded to
  • Martin Karplus, Université de Strasbourg, France, and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA,
  • Michael Levitt, Stanford University, Los Angeles, CA, USA,
  • Arieh Warshel, University of Southern California (USC), CA, USA,
"for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems".

In the 1970s, they laid the foundation for the powerful programs that are now used to understand and predict chemical processes. Today, computer models mirroring real life have become crucial for most advances made in chemistry.


Credit: Chemistryviews.org

Physicists Study Coldest Objects in Universe

They are the coldest objects in the Universe and are so fragile that even a single photon can heat and destroy them.

In a new study published today, 28 November 2013, in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society’s New Journal of Physics, a group of researchers from the UK and Australia have come up with a new way of measuring BECs by using a filter to cancel out the damage caused by the streams of light that are typically used to measure them.

Read more here... 
Known as Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) and consisting of just a cluster of atoms, it has up until now been impossible to measure and control these remarkable forms of matter simultaneously. (Credit: Institute of Physics)

Credit: New Journal of Physics

From Cellulose to Textile Fiber and a Ready Product

Aalto University has developed a new process with global significance for working cellulose into a textile fiber.
The world’s first textile product made from Ioncell cellulose fiber as well as other results yielded by research programs will be introduced at a seminar to be held by the Finnish Bioeconomy Cluster FIBIC Oy on November 20, 2013.

New solutions for utilising fiber-based material in the textile process attract global interest. “The production volumes of cotton cannot keep growing due to the volumes of water and cultivation area it demands. On the other hand, viscose is problematic because of the highly toxic chemicals used in its production,” says researcher Michael Hummel at Aalto University.

Read more here... 
Marjaana Tanttu, student in the Master's Degree Programme in Textile Art and Design, works on the scarf. (Credit: Aalto University)

Credit: http://www.aalto.fi

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Making a Gem of a Tiny Crystal: Slowly Cooled DNA Transforms Disordered Nanoparticles Into Orderly Crystal

Nature builds flawless diamonds, sapphires and other gems. Now a Northwestern University research team is the first to build near-perfect single crystals out of nanoparticles and DNA, using the same structure favored by nature.
"Single crystals are the backbone of many things we rely on -- diamonds for beauty as well as industrial applications, sapphires for lasers and silicon for electronics," said nanoscientist Chad A. Mirkin. "The precise placement of atoms within a well-defined lattice defines these high-quality crystals. 

Read more here...
Cut diamond. Nature builds flawless diamonds, sapphires and other gems. Now a Northwestern University research team is the first to build near-perfect single crystals out of nanoparticles and DNA, using the same structure favored by nature. (Credit: © tiero / Fotolia)

Credit: Northwestern University research team

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Steering Electrons Along Chemical Bonds

Electron motions induced by a strong electric field are mapped in space and time with the help of femtosecond x-ray pulses. An x-ray movie of the crystal lithium hydride shows that the electric interaction between electrons has a decisive influence on the direction in which they move. An ionic crystal is a regular arrangement of positively and negatively charged ions in space. 

Crystals with rock salt structure. Upper crystal: sodium chloride (NaCl) with blue balls for Na+ ions and green balls for Cl- ions. Lower crystal: lithium hydride (LiH) with small blue balls for Li0.5+ ions and white balls for H0.5- ions. The grey-shaded plane indicates the sectional views. (Credit: MBI)
Credit: http://www.fv-berlin.de

Scientists ID New Catalyst for Cleanup of Nitrites

Chemical engineers at Rice University have found a new catalyst that can rapidly break down nitrites, a common and harmful contaminant in drinking water that often results from overuse of agricultural fertilizers.

Nitrites and their more abundant cousins, nitrates, are inorganic compounds that are often found in both groundwater and surface water. The compounds are a health hazard, and the Environmental Protection Agency places strict limits on the amount of nitrates and nitrites in drinking water. While it’s possible to remove nitrates and nitrites from water with filters and resins, the process can be prohibitively expensive.
Researchers at Rice University's Catalysis and Nanomaterials Laboratory have found that gold and palladium nanoparticles can rapidly break down nitrites. (Credit: M.S. Wong/Rice University)


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Organic lights and solar cells straight from the printer

Time is slowly running out for bulky television sets, boxy neon signs and the square-edged backlit displays we all know from shops and airports. It won’t be long before families gathering together to watch television at home will be calling out: “Unroll the screen, dear, the film’s about to start!” And members of the public may soon encounter screens everywhere they go, as almost any surface can be made into a display. “These may just be ideas at the mo- ment, but they have every chance of becoming reality,” says Dr. Armin Wedel, head of division at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam-Golm. The first curved screens were on display at this year’s consumer electronics trade show (IFA) in Berlin. The technology behind it all? OLEDs: flexible, organic, light-emitting diodes.
 
Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) – here at the bus stop of the future – will soon come out of printing machines.
© Fraunhofer IAP / Till Budde

Friday, 8 November 2013

NIST’s New Compact Atomic Clock Design Uses Cold Atoms to Boost Precision

Three-Dimensional Carbon Goes Metallic

A theoretical, three-dimensional (3D) form of carbon that is metallic under ambient temperature and pressure has been discovered by an international research team. 

The findings, which may significantly advance carbon science, are published online this week in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Carbon science is a field of intense research. Not only does carbon form the chemical basis of life, but it has rich chemistry and physics, making it a target of interest to material scientists. From graphite to diamond to Buckminster fullerenes, nanotubes and graphene, carbon can display in a range of structures. 
3D Metallic carbon with interlocking hexagons. (Credit: Courtesy of Qian Wang, Ph.D.)

Thursday, 24 October 2013

UCLA chemists use MRI to peek at temperatures of gases inside catalytic reactors

UCLA chemists for the first time have employed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — a technique normally reserved for medical clinicians peering inside the human body — to better measure the temperature of gases inside a catalytic reactor. 

The research, a major step toward bridging the gap between laboratory studies and industrial catalysis, could help improve the design and environmental impact of catalytic reactors, including tiny "lab-on-a-chip" devices, which are used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and other chemical products. 

A continuous-flow micro-reactor packed with metal-organic framework catalyst promotes the conversion of propylene into propane. UCLA researchers measured the heat generated in the reaction without perturbing the flow by using an MRI technique. Thermometry is achieved by probing motional averaging effects in a magnetic-field gradient. (Credit: UCLA/Nanette Jarenwattananon, Yuebiao Zhang, Louis Bouchard)
Read more here [http://newsroom.ucla.edu/]

Monday, 30 September 2013

Laser Treatments Yield Smoother Metal Surfaces

Ever since the Bronze Age, metals have been cast in different shapes for different applications. Smooth surfaces that are resistant to corrosion are crucial for many of the present-day uses of cast metals, ranging from bio-implants to automotive parts. Yingchun Guan, from the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and her co-workers have shown how different laser-processing methods improve metal surfaces and protect them against corrosion1.
Laser processing involves scanning a high-intensity laser beam multiple times across the surface of a metal. Each scan by the laser beam ‘writes’ a track in the surface, which partially melts the metal. Consecutive tracks can overlap — the degree to which affects how well the melting caused by these tracks will smooth the surface of the metal. The scanning speed can also affect the surface melt.

Optical microscope cross-sections of the alloy surface show that increases in laser beam overlap during processing reduces the number of small cracks (top left, 25% overlap; top right, 50%; bottom left, 75%; and bottom right, 90%). (Credit: Copyright Elsevier 2013) 

Water Glides Freely Across 'Nanodrapes' Made from the World's Thinnest Material

Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new drape made from graphene—the thinnest material known to science—which can enhance the water-resistant properties of materials with rough surfaces. These “nanodrapes” are less than a nanometer thick, chemically inert, and provide a layer of protection without changing the properties of the underlying material. The team of researchers, led by Rensselaer Professor Nikhil Koratkar, demonstrated how droplets of water encounter significantly less friction when moving across a surface covered with a nanodrape. - 

See more here
Engineering researchers have developed a new drape made from graphene —- the thinnest material known to science —- which can enhance the water-resistant properties of materials with rough surfaces. (Credit: RPI)
Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnique Institute
Rensselaer

Bright, Laser-Based Lighting Devices

As a modern culture, we crave artificial white lights -- the brighter the better, and ideally using less energy than ever before. To meet the ever-escalating demand for more lighting in more places and to improve the bulbs used in sports stadiums, car headlights and street lamps, scientists are scrambling to create better light-emitting diodes (LEDs) -- solid state lighting devices that are more energy efficient than conventional incandescent or fluorescent light sources. 

Just one thing stands in the way: "droop," the term for a scientific problem related to LEDs currently in use. Droop refers to the fact that LED efficiency falls as operating currents rise, making the lights too hot to power in large-scale applications. Many scientists are working on new methods for modifying LEDs and making progress toward cooler, bigger and brighter bulbs. 
Photograph of bright white light (right) achieved using lasers in combination with phosphors next to an image of the phosphor with no illumination. (Credit: K.Denault/UCSB)
 Credit: aipadvances

Wagon-Wheel Pasta Shape for Better LED Lights

One problem in developing more efficient organic LED light bulbs and displays for TVs and phones is that much of the light is polarized in one direction and thus trapped within the light-emitting diode, or LED. University of Utah physicists believe they have solved the problem by creating a new organic molecule that is shaped like rotelle – wagon-wheel pasta – rather than spaghetti.

The rotelle-shaped molecule – known as a “pi-conjugated spoked-wheel macrocycle” – acts the opposite of polarizing sunglasses, which screen out glare reflected off water and other surfaces and allow only direct sunlight to enter the eyes.
Images of molecules for light-emitting diodes on the left are compared with similar shaped pasta on the right. The upper left electron microscope image shows spaghetti-shaped organic polymers now used for organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs. The lower left image shows new molecules -- created by scientists at the University of Utah and two German universities -- that are shaped like wagon-wheel or rotelle pasta and emit light more efficiently than the spaghetti-shape polymers. (Credit: Molecule images by Stefan Jester, University of Bonn. Pasta images courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Wagon wheel pasta image has been released into the public domain by its author, Fazalmajid at the English project. Spaghetti image has been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license)

Monday, 12 August 2013

SU Chemists Develop 'Fresh, New' Approach to Making Alloy Nanomaterials

Chemists in The College of Arts and Sciences have figured out how to synthesize nanomaterials with stainless steel-like interfaces. Their discovery may change how the form and structure of nanomaterials are manipulated, particularly those used for gas storage, heterogeneous catalysis and lithium-ion batteries.

Until now, scientists have used many wet-chemical approaches—collectively known as colloidal synthesis—to manipulate reactions in which metallic ions form alloys at the nanoscale. Here, metal nanoparticles are typically 2 to 50 nanometers in size and have highly unique properties, including various colors, high reactivity and novel chemistry.
Associate Professor Mathew M. Maye, right, with research assistant Wenjie Wu G’11, G’13 (Credit: Image courtesy of Syracuse University)

Device Captures Signatures and Fingerprints With Tiny LEDs

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology want to put your signature up in lights -- tiny lights, that is. Using thousands of nanometer-scale wires, the researchers have developed a sensor device that converts mechanical pressure -- from a signature or a fingerprint -- directly into light signals that can be captured and processed optically.

The sensor device could provide an artificial sense of touch, offering sensitivity comparable to that of the human skin. Beyond collecting signatures and fingerprints, the technique could also be used in biological imaging and micro-electromechanical (MEMS) systems. Ultimately, it could provide a new approach for human-machine interfaces.

This schematic shows a device for imaging pressure distribution by the piezo-phototronic effect. The illustration shows a nanowire-LED based pressure sensor array before (a) and after (b) applying a compressive strain. A convex character pattern, such as "ABC," molded on a sapphire substrate, is used to apply the pressure pattern on the top of the indium-tin oxide (ITO) electrode. (Credit: Courtesy of Zhong Lin Wang)
 Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology

Q-Glasses Could Be a New Class of Solids

There may be more kinds of stuff than we thought. A team of researchers has reported possible evidence for a new category of solids, things that are neither pure glasses, crystals, nor even exotic quasicrystals. Something else.

"Very weird. Strangest material I ever saw," says materials physicist Lyle Levine of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The research team from NIST and Argonne National Laboratory has analyzed a solid alloy that they discovered in small discrete patches of a rapidly cooled mixture of aluminum, iron and silicon. 

The material appears to have none of the extended ordering of atoms found in crystals, which would make it a glass, except that it has a very defined composition and grows outward from "seeds"—things that glasses most assuredly do not do.
 
The odd microstructure of this aluminum-iron-silicon mixture is seen in this image. The round nodules are the q-glass, not crystalline but with a well-defined chemical composition. The spherical shape indicates that they grow from an initial seed. The nodules use up iron and silicon in the mixture until the surrounding concentration of aluminum gets high enough to start forming aluminum crystals, seen as long bright lines radiating from the nodules. (Color added for clarity.) (Credit: Bendersky/NIST)

Friday, 9 August 2013

Scientific Breakthrough Reveals How Vitamin B12 is Made

Scientific breakthrough reveals how vitamin B12 is made
Image Credit: blogspot.com

Molecules Form 2-D Patterns Never Before Observed: Nanoscience Experiments Produce Elusive 5-Vertex Tilings

Tessellation patterns that have fascinated mathematicians since Johannes Kepler worked out their systematics 400 years ago – and that more recently have caught the eye of both artists and crystallographers – can now be seen in the laboratory. 

They first took shape on a surface more perfectly two-dimensional than any sheet of writing paper, a single layer of atoms and molecules atop an atomically smooth substrate. 

Physicists coaxed these so-called Kepler tilings "onto the page" through guided self-assembly of nanostructures. The experiments were carried out by postdoctoral researcher David Ecija, PhD candidate Jose Ignacio Urgel and colleagues in the Physics Department of Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), in collaboration with scientists in Karlsruhe and Zurich. They reported their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The 2-D tessellation pattern known as the "semiregular snub square tiling" stands out clearly in this image, which combines scanning tunneling microscopy with computer graphics. The pattern, observed in a surface architecture just one molecule thick, was formed by self-assembly of linear organic linkers, imaged as rods, and lanthanide cerium centers, visualized as bright protrusions. The area shown measures less than 25 nanometers across. (Credit: Barth Lab, copyright TUM)
Credit: http://www.eurekalert.org

IU Chemists' Work Will Aid Drug Design to Target Cancer and Inflammatory Disease

Chemists at Indiana University Bloomington have produced detailed descriptions of the structure and molecular properties of human folate receptor proteins, a key development for designing new drugs that can target cancer and inflammatory diseases without serious side effects.
 
This image shows models of the human folate receptor (top) and antifolate drugs used in chemotherapy (bottom, from left: aminopterin, pemetrexed and methotrexate). (Credit: Charles Dann III / Courtesy of Indiana University)

Pass the Salt: Common Condiment Could Enable New High-Tech Industry -- Silicon Nanostructures

Chemists at Oregon State University have identified a compound that could significantly reduce the cost and potentially enable the mass commercial production of silicon nanostructures -- materials that have huge potential in everything from electronics to biomedicine and energy storage.

Read more here...

This silicon nanostructure was created using a new process developed at Oregon State University. (Credit: Image courtesy of Oregon State University)
Credit: http://oregonstate.edu

A Path to Better MTV-MOFs: Best Method for Predicting Adsorption in Carbon Dioxide-Scrubbing Materials

Scientists would like to apply the same principles by which baking soda removes food odors from refrigerators or silica powder keeps moisture away from electronic devices to scrub carbon dioxide from the exhaust gases of fossil fuel power plants. 

An excellent candidate for this task is the class of materials known as multivariate metal organic frameworks or MTV-MOFs, which were discovered by Omar Yaghi, one of the world's most cited chemists. However, finding and synthesizing the best MTV-MOFs for this task has been a major challenge. That discouraging state-of-affairs is about to change.
 
Berkeley scientists have developed a method that accurately predicts the adsorptive properties of crystalline MTV-MOF systems. (Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Gold 'Nanoprobes' Hold the Key to Treating Killer Diseases

Researchers at the University of Southampton, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Cambridge, have developed a technique to help treat fatal diseases more effectively. 

Dr Sumeet Mahajan and his group at the Institute for Life Sciences at Southampton are using gold nanoprobes to identify different types of cells, so that they can use the right ones in stem cell therapies.

This image shows Dr. Sumeet Mahajan at work in the lab. (Credit: The University of Southampton)
Credit:  http://www.southampton.ac.uk

Regulating Electron 'Spin' May Be Key to Making Organic Solar Cells Competitive

Organic solar cells, a new class of solar cell that mimics the natural process of plant photosynthesis, could revolutionise renewable energy -- but currently lack the efficiency to compete with the more costly commercial silicon cells.

At the moment, organic solar cells can achieve as much as 12 per cent efficiency in turning light into electricity, compared with 20 to 25 per cent for silicon-based cells.
This is the laser set-up used to to make the actual measurements reported in the paper. (Credit: Dr. Akshay Rao)
 Credit: http://www.cam.ac.uk

Synthetic Polymers Enable Cheap, Efficient, Durable Alkaline Fuel Cells

A new cost-effective polymer membrane can decrease the cost of alkaline batteries and fuel cells by allowing the replacement of expensive platinum catalysts without sacrificing important aspects of performance, according to Penn State researchers.
A membrane electrode assembly being inserted into a fuel cell testing stand. By creating several variations of membranes and studying them under similar conditions, the research team can predict the most optimal structure in an active and stable fuel cell. (Credit: Patrick Mansell)
 Credit: http://news.psu.edu

Carbon Under Pressure Exhibits Interesting Traits

High pressures and temperatures cause materials to exhibit unusual properties, some of which can be special. Understanding such new properties is important for developing new materials for desired industrial uses and also for understanding the interior of Earth, where everything is hot and squeezed. 
Jun Wu and Peter Buseck’s experiments demonstrate a new way of studying materials at high pressure and temperature within an electron microscope. (Credit: Image courtesy of Arizona State University)

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Molecule 'Scanner': World's Smallest Terahertz Detector Invented

Molecules could soon be “scanned” in a fashion similar to imaging screenings at airports, thanks to a detector developed by University of Pittsburgh physicists. 
The detector, featured in a recent issue of Nano Letters, may have the ability to chemically identify single molecules using terahertz radiation—a range of light far below what the eye can detect.
 
An artist’s rendering of molecules being “screened” by a nanoscale terahertz spectrometer. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Pittsburgh
Message from Bhagavath Geetha
  • Do not get over excited over happiness and do not get over depressed over sorrow.
  • Do not get over bonded with anyone and anybody because it can lead to problems and sorrow.
  • Never think that my duty is the topmost or lowermost. Every duty is respectful. The responsibility undertaken or given as per the position is the noblest duty.
  • Elevate yourselves, family, society and nation and never denigrate yourselves, family, society and nation.
  • We are our own closest relatives and if not properly utilised we will become our closest enemies.
  • There are possibilities of success and failure in any endeavour. One cannot assure success always.
  • Death is inevitable for everyone in this world. In any endeavour at the maximum an individual may die.
  • People may say good and also they may say bad. Approach them with stabilised mind.
  • Take anything after scientifically, logically and rationally analysing them.
  • Perform your duty, responsibility and accept the privileges eligible for you.
  • First change ourselves and then try to change others.
  • We are all instruments /tools in the hands of the nature for performing the duty. So do not think that I am doing the duty. Think that I am an instrument to do the duty.
  • Results of action may not be sweet always. Accept what ever may be the result.
  • Follow the path of great scholars who guided the world. Listen their messages.
  • Results and rewards will come and go but stick to your duty with devotion, dedication and sincerity.