Popular Science articles about Physics & Chemistry

Emissions of potentially harmful compounds in e-cig vapor increase with device voltage.
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Dirty to drinkable

An artist's rendering of nanoparticle biofoam developed by engineers at Washington University in St. Louis. The biofoam makes it possible to clean water quickly and efficiently using nanocellulose and graphene oxide.Graphene oxide has been hailed as a veritable wonder material; when incorporated into nanocellulose foam, the lab-created substance is light, strong and flexible, conducting heat and electricity quickly and efficiently.

Improving Internet with mid-wavelength infrared

With a growing number of people connecting to the Internet everyday, Internet cables are under the threat of a "bandwidth explosion."

Making terahertz lasers more powerful

This is a scanning electron microscope image of the terahertz quantum cascade laser.Researchers have nearly doubled the continuous output power of a type of laser, called a terahertz quantum cascade laser, with potential applications in medical imaging, airport security and more. Increasing...

Spiders spin unique phononic material

Scientists at Rice University and in Europe and Singapore studied the microstructure of spider silk to see how it transmits phonons, quanta of sound that also have thermal properties. They suggested what they learned could be useful to create strong synthetic fibers with silk-like properties.New discoveries about spider silk could inspire novel materials to manipulate sound and heat in the same way semiconducting circuits manipulate electrons, according to scientists at Rice University, in Europe...

WSU researchers 'watch' crystal structure change in real time

Washington State University researchers have met the long-standing scientific challenge of watching a material change its crystal structure in real time.

Ultra-flat circuits will have unique properties

Hybrids of two-dimensional materials like the graphene-molybdenum disulfide illustrated here have electronic properties that don't follow the same rules as their 3-D cousins, according to Rice University researchers. The limited direct contact between the two materials creates an electric field that greatly increases the size of the p/n junction.The old rules don't necessarily apply when building electronic components out of two-dimensional materials, according to scientists at Rice University.

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity

Lithium-air batteries are considered highly promising technologies for electric cars and portable electronic devices because of their potential for delivering a high energy output in proportion to their weight. But...

A new type of quantum bits

Ph.D. student Sascha René Valentin used this equipment to generate quantum dots with electron holes.In computers of the future, information might be stored in the form of quantum bits. But how can a quantum bit be realised?

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Ultrasensitive sensor using N-doped graphene

A model is showing the charge transfer (e-) mechanism of Rhodamine B molecules (top) interacting with N-doped graphene (bottom sheet) when excited with different laser lines, which leads to ultrasensitive molecular sensor with N doped graphene. The white, blue and red balls represent carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atom respectively.A highly sensitive chemical sensor based on Raman spectroscopy and using nitrogen-doped graphene as a substrate was developed by an international team of researchers working at Penn State. In this...

Borrowing from pastry chefs, engineers create nanolayered composites

Adapting an old trick used for centuries by both metalsmiths and pastry makers, a team of researchers at MIT has found a way to efficiently create composite materials containing hundreds...

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities

An iron oxide nanoparticle applied to teeth prior to treatment with hydrogen peroxide effectively reduced the onset and severity of cavities (indicated with red arrows) in rats.The bacteria that live in dental plaque and contribute to tooth decay often resist traditional antimicrobial treatment, as they can "hide" within a sticky biofilm matrix, a glue-like polymer scaffold.

More power to you

Berardi Sensale-Rodriguez is pictured.Engineers from the University of Utah and the University of Minnesota have discovered that interfacing two particular oxide-based materials makes them highly conductive, a boon for future electronics that could...

Biological wizardry ferments carbon monoxide into biofuel

Cornell University biological engineers have deciphered the cellular strategy to make the biofuel ethanol, using an anaerobic microbe feeding on carbon monoxide - a common industrial waste gas.

Plasma technology can be tapped to kill biofilms on perishable fruit, foods

Seeing fruit "turn bad and going to waste" inspired a team of researchers in China to explore using atmospheric pressure nonequilibrium plasma -- already widely used for medical purposes --...

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials

ORNL's Huiyuan Zhu places a sample of boron nitride, or "white graphene," into a furnace as part of a novel, nontoxic gas exfoliation process to separate 2-D nanomaterials.A team of scientists led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a novel way to produce two-dimensional nanosheets by separating bulk materials with nontoxic liquid...

Building a Moebius strip of good vibrations

Yale physicists have created something similar to a Moebius strip of moving energy between two vibrating objects, opening the door to novel forms of control over waves in acoustics, laser...

Self-healing textiles not only repair themselves, but can neutralize chemicals

SRT coated fabric self-heals.  From left, fabric with hole, wet fabric and patch in a drop of water, self-healed fabric.Someday, chemically protective suits made of fabric coated in self-healing, thin films may prevent farmers from exposure to organophosphate pesticides, soldiers from chemical or biological attacks in the field and...

New movie screen allows for glasses-free 3-D

A new prototype display could show 3-D movies to any seat in a theater, with no eyewear required.D movies immerse us in new worlds and allow us to see places and things that we otherwise couldn't. But behind every 3-D experience is something that is uniformly despised:...

Newly discovered material property may lead to high temp superconductivity

This image shows high-energy x-ray diffraction patterns of the reciprocal lattice plane (H?K?0). The CDW superstructure peaks are marked by blue arrows (logarithmic color scale).Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory have discovered an unusual property of purple bronze that may point to new ways to achieve high temperature superconductivity.

Attosecond physics: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms

Munich physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.

Artificial muscle for soft robotics: Low voltage, high hopes

This soft muscle can move with low amounts of electricity. This type of actuator could be used in everything from wearable devices to soft grippers, laparoscopic surgical tools, entirely soft robots or artificial muscles in more complex robotics.Soft robots do a lot of things well but they're not exactly known for their speed. The artificial muscles that move soft robots, called actuators, tend to rely on hydraulics...

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