Popular Science articles about Physics & Chemistry

'Our premise is that mechanics play a role in almost all biological processes, and with these DNA-based tension probes we're going to uncover, measure and map those forces,' says biomolecular chemist Khalid Salaita.

Liquid helium offers a fascinating new way to make charged molecules

A collaboration between researchers at the Universities of Leicester and Innsbruck has developed a completely new way of forming charged molecules which offers tremendous potential for new areas of chemical...

Exploring X-Ray phase tomography with synchrotron radiation

Phase-contrast imaging is a technique for scanning the volumes of soft tissues like tumors or internal organs, but with much greater contrast than conventional CT scans. This image shows a non-invasive 'slice' of a rat's heart tissue made with X-ray phase tomography by propagation-based imaging, which provides sharper data with higher resolution than phase tomography using X-ray grating interferometry (see image #2).X-ray phase tomography is an imaging technique that uses penetrating X-rays to create volumetric views through "slices" or sections of soft biological tissues, such as tumors, and it offers strongly...

Could I squeeze by you?

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have developed deeper understanding of the ideal design for mesoporous nanoparticles used in catalytic reactions, such as hydrocarbon conversion to biofuels....

Penn researchers untangle the biological effects of blue light

This image depicts Geoffrey K. Aguirre, MD, PhD, a behavioral neurologist and associate professor in the department of Neurology; Manuel Spitschan, a Penn graduate student in psychology; and David Brainard, PhD, RRL professor of Psychology, director of the Vision Research Center and director of the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science; found that melanopsin, a protein and short wave-sensitive S-cones, both in the retina, have opposite effects and compete for control of the pupil in response to blue light.Blue light can both set the mood and set in motion important biological responses. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine and School of Arts and Sciences have...

Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires

UMass Amherst researchers recently provided stronger evidence than ever before to support their claim that the microbe <i>Geobacter</i> produces tiny electrical wires, called microbial nanowires, along which electric charges propagate just as they do in carbon nanotubes, a highly conductive man-made material.The claim by microbiologist Derek Lovley and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst that the microbe Geobacter produces tiny electrical wires, called microbial nanowires, has been mired in controversy...

Light bending material facilitates the search for new particles

This is Philippe Tassin, assistant professor, Dep of Applied Physics, Chalmers University of Technology.Particle physicists have a hard time identifying all the elementary particles created in their particle accelerators. But now researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have designed a material that makes...

Brain surgery through the cheek

This is a mockup of a patient in an MRI machine shows how the surgical robot that can perform epilepsy surgery through the cheek is set up.For those most severely affected, treating epilepsy means drilling through the skull deep into the brain to destroy the small area where the seizures originate -- invasive, dangerous and with...

New light on the 'split peak' of alcohols

In this picture the resonant inelastic soft x-ray scattering (RIXS) spectrometer in the foreground and the liquid jet sample delivery system in the background.For scientists probing the electronic structure of materials using a relatively new technique called resonant inelastic soft X-ray scattering (RIXS) in the last few years, a persistent question has been...

Unique catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells synthesized in ordinary kitchen microwave oven

This is a portrait photo of Thomas W&#229;gberg, Umea University.Swedish and Chinese researchers show how a unique nano-alloy composed of palladium nano-islands embedded in tungsten nanoparticles creates a new type of catalysts for highly efficient oxygen reduction, the most...

Stanford scientists create a 'smart' lithium-ion battery that warns of fire hazard

Stanford scientists have developed a lithium-ion battery that alerts users of potential overheating and fire. The early-warning system uses an ultrathin copper sensor deposited atop a conventional battery separator (white square).Stanford University scientists have developed a "smart" lithium-ion battery that gives ample warning before it overheats and bursts into flames.

Li-ion batteries contain toxic halogens, but environmentally friendly alternatives exist

Physics researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have discovered that most of the electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries -- commonly found in consumer electronic devices -- are superhalogens, and that the vast majority of these electrolytes contain toxic halogens.

Berkeley Lab study reveals molecular structure of water at gold electrodes

This image depicts from left Miquel Salmeron, Jinghua Guo, David Prendergast, Liwen Wan, Chenghao Wu, Tod Pascal and Juan-Jesus Velasco-Velez.When a solid material is immersed in a liquid, the liquid immediately next to its surface differs from that of the bulk liquid at the molecular level. This interfacial layer...

Triplet threat from the sun

This is the initial UV excitation leading to photofragmentation.The most obvious effects of too much sun exposure are cosmetic, like wrinkled and rough skin. Some damage, however, goes deeper -- ultraviolet light can damage DNA and cause proteins...

Super stable garnet ceramics may be ideal for high-energy lithium batteries

ORNL researchers used scanning transmission electron microscopy to take an atomic-level look at a cubic garnet material called LLZO that could help enable higher-energy battery designs.Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered exceptional properties in a garnet material that could enable development of higher-energy battery designs.

Crystallizing the DNA nanotechnology dream

DNA has garnered attention for its potential as a programmable material platform that could spawn entire new and revolutionary nanodevices in computer science, microscopy, biology, and more. Researchers have been...

Cosmic jets of young stars formed by magnetic fields

This is an artist's rendering showing the birth of a star: A dust and gas cloud is forming a spiraling disk around a massive baby star while jets of material shoot from its core.Astrophysical jets are counted among our Universe's most spectacular phenomena: From the centers of black holes, quasars, or protostars, these rays of matter sometimes protrude several light years into space....

Magnetic mirrors enable new technologies by reflecting light in uncanny ways

This is an artist's impression of a comparison between a magnetic mirror with cube-shaped resonators (left) and a standard metallic mirror (right). The incoming and outgoing electric field of light (shown as alternating red and white bands) illustrates that the magnetic mirror retains light's original electrical signature while a standard metallic mirror reverses it upon reflection.As in Alice's journey through the looking-glass to Wonderland, mirrors in the real world can sometimes behave in surprising and unexpected ways, including a new class of mirror that works...

Researchers develop world's thinnest electric generator

This is a cartoon showing positive and negative polarized charges are squeezed from a single layer of atoms of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), as it is being stretched.Researchers from Columbia Engineering and the Georgia Institute of Technology report today that they have made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity and the piezotronic effect in an atomically thin...

Scientists create new protein-based material with some nerve

The height of the new protein brush, made from the neurofilament-derived proteins, can be precisely controlled with protein-digesting enzymes, or proteases. The protease thrombin, shown at the top, cut the brush superficially at the red cross marks, resulting in a negligible change to the height of the brush. The protease clostripain cut the brush much more deeply at the yellow cross marks and thus had a more measurable effect on height.Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have taken proteins from nerve cells and used them to create a "smart" material that is extremely sensitive to its environment. This marriage...

Balancing renewable energy costs

Increasing reliance on renewable energies is the way to achieve greater CO2 emission sustainability and energy independence. As such energies are yet only available intermittently and energy cannot be stored...

Australian teams set new records for silicon quantum computing

Two research teams working in the same laboratories at UNSW Australia have found distinct solutions to a critical challenge that has held back the realisation of super powerful quantum computers.

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