Senin, 31 Januari 2011

ScienceDaily Technology Headlines

for Monday, January 31, 2011

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Cheap, clean ways to produce hydrogen for use in fuel cells? A dash of disorder yields a very efficient photocatalyst (January 30, 2011) -- A little disorder goes a long way, especially when it comes to harnessing the sun's energy. Scientists have jumbled the atomic structure of the surface layer of titanium dioxide nanocrystals, creating a catalyst that is both long lasting and more efficient than all other materials in using the sun's energy to extract hydrogen from water. ... > full story

GRIN plasmonics: A practical path to superfast computing, ultrapowerful optical microscopy and invisibility carpet-cloaking devices (January 30, 2011) -- Researchers have carried out the first experimental demonstration of GRIN plasmonics, a hybrid technology that opens the door to a wide range of exotic applications in optics, including superfast photonic computers, ultra-powerful optical microscopes and "invisibility" carpet-cloaking devices. ... > full story

New glasses change lens color on the fly (January 29, 2011) -- New protective eyewear will eliminate the need for warfighters to stop to change out colored lenses to accommodate differences in light levels. ... > full story

Global eruption rocks the Sun: Scientists re-evaluate ideas about solar storms (January 28, 2011) -- On August 1, 2010, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted. Filaments of magnetism snapped and exploded, shock waves raced across the stellar surface, billion-ton clouds of hot gas billowed into space. Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big. It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity. ... > full story

Cow rumen enzymes for better biofuels (January 28, 2011) -- When it comes to breaking down plant matter and converting it to energy, the cow has it all figured out. Its digestive system allows it to eat more than 150 pounds of plant matter every day. Now researchers report that they have found dozens of previously unknown microbial enzymes in the bovine rumen -- the cow's primary grass-digestion chamber -- that contribute to the breakdown of switchgrass, a renewable biofuel energy source. ... > full story

Unlocking the secrets of DNA (January 28, 2011) -- Neutron scattering has provided the first experimental data showing how DNA structure changes as it 'melts'. This knowledge is a step towards technological applications of DNA, such as computer components. ... > full story

Social networking provides insights into leadership, trust and mobility (January 28, 2011) -- Computer scientists provide insights into how the analysis of our social networking interactions could discover things like the emergence or decline of leadership, changes in trust over time, and migration and mobility within particular communities online. ... > full story

Touchscreens made of carbon (January 28, 2011) -- Touchscreens are in – although the technology still has its price. The little screens contain rare and expensive elements. This is the reason why researchers are coming up with an alternative display made of low-priced renewable raw materials available all over the world. Researchers have now made prototype touchscreens that contain carbon nanotubes. ... > full story

A mix of tiny gold and viral particles, and the DNA ties that bind them (January 28, 2011) -- Scientists have created a diamond-like lattice composed of gold nanoparticles and viral particles, woven together and held in place by strands of DNA. The structure -- a distinctive mix of hard, metallic nanoparticles and organic viral pieces known as capsids, linked by the very stuff of life, DNA -- marks a remarkable step in scientists' ability to combine an assortment of materials to create infinitesimal devices. ... > full story

New transistor for plastic electronics exhibits the best of both worlds (January 28, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a transistor with excellent stability and performance for use on plastic electronics. In addition, it can be manufactured at relatively low temperatures in a regular atmosphere. ... > full story

New training instrument allows surgeon to feel grasp force in keyhole surgery (January 28, 2011) -- The number of complications following keyhole surgery can be reduced by giving the surgeons a better feeling of how hard they are grasping the tissue with their operating instruments. This is made possible by designing the instrument in such a way that it sends tangible feedback signals to the handle held by the surgeon. ... > full story

Nanowires exhibit giant piezoelectricity (January 28, 2011) -- Researchers have reported that piezoelectricity in GaN and ZnO nanowires is enhanced by as much as two orders of magnitude as the diameter of the nanowires decrease. ... > full story

New computer tool for elderly and disabled (January 28, 2011) -- Disabled and elderly people could find it easier to navigate around town and city centers with a new hand-held computer being developed by a geographical information systems. ... > full story

Physics for financial markets (January 27, 2011) -- When regulating financial markets, physics may help. As a result of the financial crisis, many countries are trying to regulate their financial markets. Recently the heated debates about bonus taxes, a permanent levy on banks' balance sheets and a ban on short sales have taken another turn, with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy promoting a transaction tax. But are policy-makers doing the right thing? Or will they obstruct the self-regulating forces of the markets? ... > full story

First large-scale, physics-based space weather model transitions into operation (January 27, 2011) -- The first large-scale, physics-based space weather prediction model is transitioning from research into operation. ... > full story

NASA comet hunter spots its Valentine (January 27, 2011) -- NASA's Stardust spacecraft has downlinked its first images of comet Tempel 1, the target of a flyby planned for Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. The images were taken on Jan. 18 and 19 from a distance of 26.3 million kilometers (16.3 million miles), and 25.4 million kilometers (15.8 million miles) respectively. On Feb. 14, Stardust will fly within about 200 kilometers (124 miles) of the comet's nucleus. ... > full story

Graphene and 'spintronics' combo looks promising (January 27, 2011) -- A team of physicists in China has taken a big step toward the development of useful graphene spintronic devices. ... > full story

New lab-on-chip advance uses low-cost, disposable paper strips (January 27, 2011) -- Researchers have invented a technique that uses inexpensive paper to make "microfluidic" devices for rapid medical diagnostics and chemical analysis. The innovation represents a way to enhance commercially available diagnostic devices that use paper-strip assays. ... > full story

Getting more anti-cancer medicine into the blood (January 27, 2011) -- Scientists are reporting successful application of the technology used in home devices to clean jewelry, dentures, and other items to make anticancer drugs like tamoxifen and paclitaxel dissolve more easily in body fluids, so they can better fight the disease. The process can make other poorly soluble materials more soluble, and has potential for improving the performance of dyes, paints, rust-proofing agents and other products. ... > full story

Agave fuels excitement as a bioenergy crop (January 27, 2011) -- Agave, currently known for its use in the production of alcoholic beverages and fibers, thrives in semi-arid regions where it is less likely to conflict with food and feed production. Agave is a unique feedstock because of its high water use efficiency and ability to survive without water between rainfalls. Scientists found that in 14 independent studies, the yields of two Agave species greatly exceeded the yields of other biofuel feedstocks, such as corn, soybean, sorghum, and wheat. ... > full story

World can be powered by alternative energy, using today's technology, in 20-40 years, experts say (January 27, 2011) -- A new study analyzing what is needed to convert the world's energy supplies to clean and sustainable sources says that it can be done with today's technology at costs roughly comparable to conventional energy. But converting will be a massive undertaking on the scale of the moon landings. What is needed most is the societal and political will to make it happen. ... > full story

Key enzyme that affects radiation response identified (January 27, 2011) -- Cancer researchers have discovered that targeting an enzyme called uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase can sensitize diseased tissue to radiation and chemotherapy, which could mean fewer side effects for individuals with head and neck cancer. ... > full story

Soap films help to solve mathematical problems (January 27, 2011) -- Soap bubbles and films have always fascinated children and adults, but they can also serve to solve complex mathematical calculations. This is shown by a study carried out by two professors who have succeeded in solving classic problems using just such an innovative procedure. ... > full story

How strong is the weak force? New measurement of the muon lifetime (January 27, 2011) -- A new measurement of the muon lifetime - the most precise determination of any lifetime - provides a high-accuracy value for a crucial parameter determining the strength of weak nuclear force. ... > full story

Hardware, software advances help protect operating systems from attack (January 27, 2011) -- The operating system (OS) is the backbone of your computer. If the OS is compromised, attackers can take over your computer -- or crash it. Now researchers have developed an efficient system that utilizes hardware and software to restore an OS if it is attacked. ... > full story

Chemists turn gold to purple -- on purpose: Color change confirms a new way to harvest energy from sunlight (January 27, 2011) -- Chemists suspected that a common protein could potentially react with sunlight and harvest its energy -- similar to what chlorophyll does during photosynthesis. ... > full story

NASA's new robotic lander prototype skates through integration and testing (January 27, 2011) -- NASA engineers successfully integrated and completed system testing on a new robotic lander recently. The lander prototype will aid NASA's development of a new generation of small, smart, versatile landers for airless bodies such as the moon and asteroids. The lander's design is based on cutting-edge technology, which allows precision landing in high-risk, but high-priority areas, enabling NASA to achieve scientific and exploration goals in previously unexplored locations. ... > full story

An astronomer's field of dreams: New radio telescope array to harness power of more than 13,000 antennas (January 26, 2011) -- An innovative new radio telescope array under construction in central New Mexico will eventually harness the power of more than 13,000 antennas and provide a fresh eye to the sky. The antennas, which resemble droopy ceiling fans, form the Long Wavelength Array, designed to survey the sky from horizon to horizon over a wide range of frequencies. ... > full story

Nanotech milling produces dramatic increase in thermoelectric performance of bulk semiconductor (January 26, 2011) -- Researchers report achieving thermoelectric performance gains in a bulk semiconductor material, which could pave the way for harvesting power from a range of heat sources -- from the sun to car exhaust systems. ... > full story

Jupiter scar likely from Titanic-sized asteroid (January 26, 2011) -- A hurtling asteroid about the size of the Titanic caused the scar that appeared in Jupiter's atmosphere on July 19, 2009, according to new research. ... > full story

Most distant galaxy candidate yet seen: Hubble sees farther back in time than ever before (January 26, 2011) -- Astronomers have pushed NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to it limits by finding what they believe to be the most distant object ever seen in the universe -- at a distance of 13.2 billion light years, some 3% of the age of universe. This places the object roughly 150 million light years more distant than the previous record holder. The observations provide the best insights yet into the birth of the first stars and galaxies and the evolution of the universe. ... > full story

Growth-factor-containing nanoparticles accelerate healing of chronic wounds (January 26, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a novel system for delivery of growth factors to chronic wounds such as pressure sores and diabetic foot ulcers. The team fabricated nanospheres containing keratinocyte growth factor fused with elastin-like peptides. When suspended in a fibrin gel, the nanoparticles improved the healing of deep skin wounds in diabetic mice. ... > full story

First study of dispersants in Gulf spill suggests a prolonged deepwater fate (January 26, 2011) -- To combat last year's Deepwater Horizon oil spill, nearly 800,000 gallons of chemical dispersant were injected directly into the oil and gas flow coming out of the wellhead nearly one mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, chemists report that a major component of the dispersant itself was contained within an oil-gas-laden plume in the deep ocean and had still not degraded some three months after it was applied. ... > full story

Practical full-spectrum solar cell comes closer (January 26, 2011) -- Researchers have demonstrated a new solar cell design that can not only convert the full spectrum of sunlight to electrical energy, it is also practical to make using common manufacturing techniques in the semiconductor industry. ... > full story

Armchair nanoribbons made into spintronic device (January 26, 2011) -- A new advance may soon revolutionize handheld electronics, flat-panel displays, touch panels, electronic ink, and solar cells. Physicists in Iran have created a spintronic device based on "armchair" graphene nanoribbons that could one day replace more expensive indium tin oxide. ... > full story

Mathematical model could help predict and prevent future extinctions (January 26, 2011) -- In an effort to better understand the dynamics of complex networks, scientists have developed a mathematical model to describe interactions within ecological food webs. The work illustrates how human intervention may effectively aid species conservation efforts. ... > full story

New method attacks bacterial infections on contact lenses (January 26, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered a new method to fight bacterial infections associated with contact lenses. The method may also have applications for bacterial infections associated with severe burns and cystic fibrosis. ... > full story

Van-der-Waals force up close: Physicists take new look at the atom (January 26, 2011) -- Physicists have discovered a new way to measure how single atoms interact with a surface. Their findings help develop nanotechnology and test new theories about the internal structure of atoms. ... > full story

Chemists document workings of key staph enzyme -- and how to block it (January 26, 2011) -- Researchers have determined the structure and mechanism of dehydrosqualene synthase (CrtM), an enzyme that performs the crucial first step in the formation of cholesterol and a key virulence factor in staph bacteria. The researchers already knew what CrtM looked like and its end product, but they didn't know how the enzyme did its job. Uncovering the mechanism of action will enable scientists to design better inhibitors, and even tailor them to other targets. ... > full story

Shining new light on air pollutants using entangled porous frameworks (January 26, 2011) -- Certain types of pollution monitoring may soon become considerably easier. Scientists have shown that a newly-formulated entangled framework of porous crystals (porous coordination polymers, or PCPs) can not only capture a variety of common air pollutants, but that the mixtures then glow in specific, easily-detected colors. ... > full story

'Green' chemistry extraction method developed for hot capsicum fruit (January 26, 2011) -- Used in processed foods and cosmetics, the red pigments in Capsicum (chile pepper) are important sources of non-toxic red dyes. The common method for extracting pigments from dried Capsicum uses hexane as the extraction solvent. Researchers have now developed a "green chemistry" process for extracting red pigments that recovers 85 percent or greater of the pigmented carotenoids from dried Capsicum and reduces hazardous waste and environmental risks associated with traditional extraction methods. ... > full story

No longer just a spectator, silicon oxide gets into the electronics action on computer chips (January 26, 2011) -- Scientists are documenting that one fundamental component of computer chips, long regarded as a passive bystander, can actually be made to act like a switch. That potentially allows it to take part in the electronic processes that power cell phones, iPads and other products. In a new report, the scientists document the multiple ways in which silicon dioxide, long regarded simply as an electric insulator, gets involved in the action. ... > full story

Alternative energy use at forward operating bases can save dollars, lives, say US military researchers (January 26, 2011) -- To cut down on convoys trucking fuel to forward operating bases, as well as implement the Department of the Navy's vision for energy efficiency, the Office of Naval Research and elements within the Marine Corps have successfully demonstrated their goal to reduce petroleum and energy usage in remote locations in Afghanistan. ... > full story

Human-made DNA sequences made easy: New method for rapidly producing protein-polymers (January 25, 2011) -- Bioengineers have developed a new method for rapidly producing an almost unlimited variety of human-made DNA sequences. ... > full story

'Breast on a chip': Researchers create 'engineered organ' model for breast cancer research (January 25, 2011) -- Researchers have reproduced portions of the female breast in a tiny slide-sized model dubbed "breast on-a-chip" that will be used to test nanomedical approaches for the detection and treatment of breast cancer. The model mimics the branching mammary duct system, where most breast cancers begin, and will serve as an "engineered organ" to study the use of nanoparticles to detect and target tumor cells within the ducts. ... > full story

Dynamic systems in living cells break the rules (January 25, 2011) -- There is considerable interest in understanding transport and information pathways in living cells. It is crucial for both the transport of, for example, medicine into cells, the regulation of cell life processes and their signaling with their environment. New research shows surprisingly that the transport mechanisms do not follow the expected pattern. ... > full story

Spiral galaxy: First Light for VIRUS-W spectrograph (January 25, 2011) -- A new observing instrument VIRUS-W saw "first light" on Nov. 10, 2010. Its first images of a spiral galaxy about 30 million light-years away where an impressive confirmation of the capabilities of the instrument, which can determine the motion of stars in near-by galaxies to a precision of a few kilometers per second. ... > full story

New materials may bring advanced optical technologies, cloaking (January 25, 2011) -- Researchers are developing a new class of "plasmonic metamaterials" as potential building blocks for advanced optical technologies, including ultrapowerful microscopes and computers, improved solar cells, and a possible invisibility cloak. ... > full story

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