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

  07-03-2010   -   Chemistry

Sun 7 Mar 2010 Rice University researchers have found a way to stitch graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) into a two-dimensional quilt that offers new paths of exploration for materials science. The technique has implications for application of graphene materials in microelectronics that scale well below the limitations of silicon determined by Moore's Law.more

  23-02-2010   -   Physics

Tue 23 Feb 2010 Physicists Use Ultra-Fast Lasers to Open Doors to New Technologies Unheard of Just Years Ago. For nearly half a century, scientists have been trying to figure out how to build a cost-effective and reasonably sized X-ray laser that could, among other things, provide super high-resolution imaging. Recent breakthroughs by a joint institute of Colorado University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, have paved the way on how to build a tabletop X-ray laser that could be used for super high-resolution imaging, while also giving scientists a new way to peer into a single cell and gain a better understanding of the nanoworld. Both of these feats could lead to major breakthroughs in many fields including medicine, biology and nanotechnology development.more

  15-02-2010   -   Biology

Mon 15 Feb 2010 Biologists Image Birth of Blood-Forming Stem Cells in Embryo. Biologists at UC San Diego have identified the specific region in vertebrates where adult blood stem cells arise during embryonic development. Their discovery is a critical first step for the development of safer and more effective stem cell therapies for patients with leukemia, multiple myeloma, anemia and a host of other diseases of the blood or bone marrow. The researchers say their time-lapse imaging of the process, by which primitive embryonic tissues first produce the parent stem cells that produce all adult blood cells over the life of an individual, should help guide future efforts to repair and replace this cell population for therapeutic purposes.more

  09-02-2010   -   Chemistry

Tue 9 Feb 2010 Ultra-Cold Chemistry: First Direct Observation of Exchange Process in Quantum Gas. Considerable progresses made in controlling quantum gases open up a new avenue to study chemical processes. Rudolf Grimm's research team has now succeeded in directly observing chemical exchange processes in an ultracold sample of cesium atoms and Feshbach molecules. more

  07-02-2010   -   Energy

Sun 7 Feb 2010 Breakthrough for Hybrid Solar Cells. Scientists at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) and the Freiburg Materials Research Center (FMF) have succeeded in developing a method for treating the surface of nanoparticles which greatly improves the efficiency of organic solar cells. The researchers were able to attain an efficiency of 2 percent by using so-called quantum dots composed of cadmium selenide. more

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