22-06-2010   -   Nano Tech

Mon 21 Jun 2010 Enhancing the power of batteries. MIT team finds that using carbon nanotubes in a lithium battery can dramatically improve its energy capacity. They found that using carbon nanotubes for one of the battery’s electrodes produced a significant increase — up to tenfold — in the amount of power it could deliver from a given weight of material, compared to a conventional lithium-ion battery. Such electrodes might find applications in small portable devices, and with further research might also lead to improved batteries for larger, more power-hungry applications. more

  03-06-2010   -   Medicine

Wed 2 Jun 2010 PET and SPECT Biomedical Imaging Techniques Combined into VECT. TU Delft and Molecular Imaging Labs (MI Labs) have succeeded in combining two forms of medical imaging techniques into one piece of equipment. These techniques are particularly useful for cancer research. The two techniques are known as microPET and microSPECT. SPECT and PET can be performed simultaneously and they give a higher resolution than traditional microSPECT and microPET. The new device is known as the VECTor (Versatile Emission Computed Tomography) and is designed for use in fundamental research into the functioning of cells and organs. It can show functional details smaller than half a millimetre.more

  27-05-2010   -   Agriculture

Thu 27 May 2010 Organic Solids in Soil May Speed Up Bacterial Breathing. Oxygen-free, or anaerobic, environments contain microbes sometimes described as "mineral-breathing" because they use iron oxides and other minerals in the same way we use oxygen. This bacterial respiration may be accelerated by solid organic compounds in the soil. A new research shows that iron oxide-breathing bacteria can do the same with insoluble organic substances, formed when plants and other organic materials biodegrade in soils and sediments. During respiration, the bacteria release electrons that interact with nearby substances, a process called reduction. Reduction of large organic molecules -- called humics and familiar to gardeners as part of planting soil -- represents a new pathway for electrical charges to move around in the environment, with implications for understanding soil chemistry and environmental contamination.more

  27-05-2010   -   Physics

Wed 26 May 2010 Physicists Develop a Quantum Interface Between Light and Atom. The quantum interface which connects light particles and atoms is based on an ultra-thin glass fiber and is suitable for the transmission of quantum information. This is an essential prerequisite for quantum communication which shall be used for secure data transmission via quantum cryptography.more

  13-05-2010   -   Biology

Thu 13 May 2010 Stem Cells: In Search of a Master Controller. With thousands of scientists across the globe searching for ways to use adult stem cells to fight disease, there's a growing emphasis on finding the "master regulators" that guide the differentiation of stem cells. New research from Rice University and the University of Cambridge suggests that a closely connected trio of regulatory proteins fulfills that role in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), the self-renewing cells the body uses to make new blood cells. Bioengineers Oleg Igoshin and Jatin Narula created a computer model that accurately describes the observed behavior of the three regulatory proteins that are collectively known as the "Scl-Gata2-Fli1 triad." more

  13-05-2010   -   Physics

Wed 12 May 2010 New project aims for fusion ignition. MIT-led Ignitor reactor could be the world’s first to reach major milestone, perhaps paving the way for eventual power production. Russia and Italy have entered into an agreement to build a new fusion reactor outside Moscow that could become the first such reactor to achieve ignition, the point where a fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining instead of requiring a constant input of energy. The design for the reactor, called Ignitor, originated with MIT physics professor Bruno Coppi, who will be the project’s principal investigator. The key ingredient in all fusion experiments is plasma, a kind of hot gas made up of charged particles such as atomic nuclei and electrons. In fusion reactors, atomic nuclei — usually of isotopes of hydrogen called deuterium and tritium — are forced together through a combination of heat and pressure to overcome their natural electrostatic repulsion. When the nuclei join together, or fuse, they release prodigious amounts of energy. more

  12-04-2010   -   Chemistry

10 Apr 2010 Carbon based Solar Cells devised. Large sheets of Carbon available for light collection have been devised using an unusual solution by IU-Bloomington -- attach what amounts to a 3-D bramble patch to each side of the carbon sheet. Using that method, scientists were able to dissolve sheets containing as many as 168 carbon atoms. Carbon is cheap and abundant, and in the form of graphene, capable of absorbing a wide range of light frequencies. Graphene is essentially the same stuff as graphite (pencil lead), except graphene is a single sheet of carbon, one atom thick. Graphene shows promise as an effective, cheap-to-produce, and less toxic alternative to other materials currently used in solar cells, namely, Silicon and compounds containing Ruthenium.more

  05-04-2010   -   Nano Tech

Mon 5 Apr 2010 Nanotechnologists Reveal the Frictional Characteristics of Atomically Thin Sheets. A team of nanotechnology researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University has used friction force microscopy to determine the nanoscale frictional characteristics of four atomically-thin materials, discovering a universal characteristic for these very different materials. Friction across these thin sheets increases as the number of atomic layers decreases, all the way down to one layer of atoms. This friction increase was surprising as there previously was no theory to predict this behavior.more

  29-03-2010   -   Physics

Mon 29 Mar 2010 Using the latest in aberration-corrected electron microscopy, researchers at the DoE Oak Ridge National Laboratory and their colleagues have obtained the first images that distinguish individual light atoms such as boron, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. The images were obtained with a Z-contrast scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM). Individual atoms of carbon, boron, nitrogen and oxygen--all of which have low atomic numbers--were resolved on a single-layer boron nitride sample.more

  07-03-2010   -   Medicine

Mon 8 Mar 2010 Molecular Imaging Technique Uses Ultrasound and Microscopic Bubbles to Target Cancer Cells. An imaging technique combining ultrasound and specially modified contrast agents may allow researchers to noninvasively detect cancer and show its progression, according to research published in the March issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine (JNM). The technique enables researchers to visualize tumor activity at the molecular level. more

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