Popular Science articles about Physics & Chemistry

Thumbnail track pad

Researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory are developing a new wearable device that turns the user's thumbnail into a miniature wireless track pad.

A camera that powers itself!

A video camera based on a self-powered image sensor can run indefinitely without an external power supply.A research team led by Shree K. Nayar, T.C. Chang Professor of Computer Science at Columbia Engineering, has invented a prototype video camera that is the first to be fully...

discovery changes how scientists examine rarest elements of periodic table

Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt is the Gregory R. Choppin Professor of Chemistry at Florida State.A little-known element called californium is making big waves in how scientists look at the periodic table.

Scientists develop mesh that captures oil--but lets water through

This mesh, which is covered in a coating invented at The Ohio State University, captures oil (red) while water (blue) passes through.The unassuming piece of stainless steel mesh in a lab at The Ohio State University doesn't look like a very big deal, but it could make a big difference for...

Researchers use plant oils for novel bio-based plastics

Michael Kessler, left, a professor in the Washington State University School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, has developed polyurethane based on plant oils. He is seen here with Tom Garrison, a WSU clinical assistant professor.Researchers have developed a new way to use plant oils like olive and linseed oil to create polyurethane, a plastic material used in everything from foam insulation panels to tires,...

MIT sensor detects spoiled meat

MIT chemists have devised an inexpensive, portable sensor that can detect gases emitted by rotting meat, allowing consumers to determine whether the meat in their grocery store or refrigerator is...

Graphene pushes the speed limit of light-to-electricity conversion

This is an illustration of ultrafast photovoltage creation after light absorption at the interface of two graphene areas with different Fermi energy.The efficient conversion of light into electricity plays a crucial role in many technologies, ranging from cameras to solar cells. It also forms an essential step in data communication applications,...

On the road to spin-orbitronics

These schematics of magnetic domain walls in perpendicularly magnetized thin films show (a) left-handed and (b) right-handed Neel-type walls; and (c) left-handed and (d) right-handed Bloch-type walls. The directions of the arrows correspond to the magnetization direction.Few among us may know what magnetic domains are but we make use of them daily when we email files, post images, or download music or video to our personal...

New technology provides superior ability to rapidly detect volatile organic compounds

Masoud Agah, of Virginia Tech's Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is holding up a microelectrode array, used for real time electrical recording of cellular activity.Over the past several decades, the progress in micro fabrication technology has revolutionized the world in such fields as computing, signal processing, and automotive manufacturing.

What happens underground when a missile or meteor hits

These are frames from a high-speed video of a metal object slamming into a bed of artificial soil, sand or rock. Shown at slow (top), medium (middle) and high impact speeds (bottom), the changing impact forces illuminated in each frame help explain why soil and sand get stronger when they are struck harder.When a missile or meteor strikes Earth, the havoc above ground is obvious, but the details of what happens below ground are harder to see.

Quantum physics -- hot and cold at the same time

This is the atom chip for capturing and cooling clouds of atoms.Temperature is a very useful physical quantity. It allows us to make a simple statistical statement about the energy of particles swirling around on complicated paths without having to know...

A major advance in artificial photosynthesis poses win/win for the environment -- using sequestered CO2 for green chemistry, including renewable fuel production.

Beyond the lithium ion -- a significant step toward a better performing battery

This is Jordi Cabana, UIC assistant professor of chemistry.The race is on around the world as scientists strive to develop a new generation of batteries that can perform beyond the limits of the current lithium-ion based battery.

'Pull my finger!' say scientists who solve knuckle-cracking riddle

Researchers prepare a study participant's finger for joint cracking under the watch of an MRI video setup at the Peter S. Allen MR Research Centre, University of Alberta."Pull my finger," a phrase embraced by school-aged kids and embarrassing uncles the world over, is now being used to settle a decades-long debate about what happens when you crack...

Scientists develop new technique that reduces halo effect caused by lenses

In a recent study published in Optics Communications, scientists from Bar-Ilan University in Israel have presented a new technique that significantly reduces the halo effect that is generated when using...

Shape-shifting molecule tricks viruses into mutating themselves to death

This photograph shows part of the two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy instrument operating in the laboratory of University of Chicago chemistry Chemistry Professor Andrei Tokmakoff. The normally invisible infrared laser beam appears red in this image with the aid of dry ice.A newly developed spectroscopy method is helping to clarify the poorly understood molecular process by which an anti-HIV drug induces lethal mutations in the virus's genetic material. The findings from...

The microscopic topography of ink on paper

This image shows a 3-D visualization of the toner layer on top of coated paper. The dark blue areas show thin layers of toner, whereas the yellow shows thicker layers.A team of Finnish scientists has found a new way to examine the ancient art of putting ink to paper in unprecedented 3-D detail. The technique could improve scientists' understanding...

Taking aircraft manufacturing out of the oven

Composite materials used in aircraft wings and fuselages are typically manufactured in large, industrial-sized ovens: Multiple polymer layers are blasted with temperatures up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, and solidified to...

Solution-grown nanowires make the best lasers

Unsorted nanowire crystals immediately after production are shown.Take a material that is a focus of interest in the quest for advanced solar cells. Discover a "freshman chemistry level" technique for growing that material into high-efficiency, ultra-small lasers....

Electrical control of quantum bits in silicon paves the way to large quantum computers

This is an eectron wave in a phosphorus atom, distorted by a local electric field.A UNSW-led research team has encoded quantum information in silicon using simple electrical pulses for the first time, bringing the construction of affordable large-scale quantum computers one step closer to...

Scientists a step closer to developing renewable propane

This is a gas burner.Researchers at The University of Manchester have made a significant breakthrough in the development of synthetic pathways that will enable renewable biosynthesis of the gas propane. This research is part...

Detecting lysosomal pH with better fluorescent probes

New fluorescent dyes help illuminate lysosome structures.Lysosomes are the garbage disposals of animal cells. As the resources are limited in cells, organic materials are broken down and recycled a lot -- and that's what lysosomes do....

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