Popular Science articles about Physics & Chemistry

New technique reveals immune cell motion

Neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, are the immune system's all-terrain vehicles. The cells are recruited to fight infections or injury in any tissue or organ in the body despite differences in the cellular and biochemical composition. Researchers from...

A 'GPS' for molecules

This is professor Dr. Olav Schiemann (left) and doctoral student Dinar Abdullin with an image of the enzyme azurine.In everyday life, the global positioning system (GPS) can be employed to reliably determine the momentary location of one en route to the desired destination. Scientists from the Institute of...

Quantum physics just got less complicated

Quantum physics says that particles can behave like waves, and vice versa. Researchers have now shown that this 'wave-particle duality' is simply the quantum uncertainty principle in disguise.Here's a nice surprise: quantum physics is less complicated than we thought. An international team of researchers has proved that two peculiar features of the quantum world previously considered distinct...

NASA Goddard instrument makes first detection of organic matter on Mars

The team responsible for the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on NASA's Curiosity rover has made the first definitive detection of organic molecules at Mars. Organic molecules are...

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity

Andrew H. Marcus, left, and Mark C. Lonergan, both of the University of Oregon, stand by UO spectroscopy equipment that was adapted to study photon interactions in photocells that used lead-sulfide quantum dots as photoactive semiconductor material.Four pulses of laser light on nanoparticle photocells in a University of Oregon spectroscopy experiment has opened a window on how captured sunlight can be converted into electricity.

Ultrafast imaging of complex systems in 3-D at near atomic resolution nears

It is becoming possible to image complex systems in 3-D with near-atomic resolution on ultrafast timescales using extremely intense X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) pulses.

Lens-free microscope can detect cancer at the cellular level

UCLA researchers have developed a lens-free microscope that can be used to detect the presence of cancer or other cell-level abnormalities with the same accuracy as larger and more expensive...

Scientists open new frontier of vast chemical 'space'

Scripps Research Institute chemists have invented a practical new method for building complex molecules that uses simple, non-toxic iron-based catalysts and can be conducted in minutes open to the air even in a shot glass of alcoholic spirits. The team includes (left to right) Jinghan Gui, Chung-Mao (Eddie) Pan, Phil Baran, Yuki Yabe and Julian Lo; here, Gui and Lo are holding molecular models, and Baran holds the actual iron catalysts.Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have invented a powerful method for joining complex organic molecules that is extraordinarily robust and can be used to make pharmaceuticals, fabrics, dyes,...

Better focus at the micro world: A low-budget focus stacking system for mass digitization

This is a focus stacked image of a <i>Eudicella</i> sp. beetle.A team of Belgian researchers constructed a focus stacking set-up made of consumer grade products with better end results than high-end solutions and this at only a tenth of the...

Unraveling the light of fireflies

This detailed microimage shows larger channels branching into smaller ones, supplying oxygen for the firefly's light emission. The smallest channels are ten thousand times smaller than a millimeter and therefore invisible to other experimental probes: this has prevented scientists so far to unlock the mystery of firefly light flashes.Fireflies used rapid light flashes to communicate. This "bioluminescence" is an intriguing phenomenon that has many potential applications, from drug testing and monitoring water contamination, and even lighting up streets...

The simplest element: Turning hydrogen into 'graphene'

This image is a comparison of the carbon compound graphene with a similar hydrogen-based structure synthesized by Carnegie scientists.New work from Carnegie's Ivan Naumov and Russell Hemley delves into the chemistry underlying some surprising recent observations about hydrogen, and reveals remarkable parallels between hydrogen and graphene under extreme...

Electron spin could be the key to high-temperature superconductivity

Cuprates are materials with great promise for achieving superconductivity at higher temperatures (-120oC). This could mean low-cost electricity without energy loss. Intense research has focused on understanding the physics of cuprates in the hope that we can develop room-temperature superconductors....

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough

To encode data, today's computer memory technology uses electric currents -- a major limiting factor for reliability and shrinkability, and the source of significant power consumption. If data could instead...

Team develops 'cool' new method for probing how molecules fold

The Scripps Research Institute's associate professor Ashok Deniz (left) and research associate Priya Bangerjee were among the authors of the new paper.Collaborating scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the University of California (UC) San Diego have developed a powerful new system for studying how proteins and other biological molecules...

Computational clues into the structure of a promising energy conversion catalyst

This image is a representation of the mosaic structure of &#946;-NiOOH and its possible structures.Hydrogen fuel is a promising source of clean energy that can be produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. The reaction is difficult but achievable with the help...

Future batteries: Lithium-sulfur with a graphene wrapper

This is a chematic of the preparation of a 3-D hierarchically structured graphene-sulfur/carbonZIF8-D composite.What do you get when you wrap a thin sheet of the "wonder material" graphene around a novel multifunctional sulfur electrode that combines an energy storage unit and electron/ion transfer...

Switching to spintronics

This is a conceptual illustration of how magnetism is reversed (see compass) by the application of an electric field (blue dots) applied across gold capacitors. Blurring of compass needle under electric field represents two-step process.In a development that holds promise for future magnetic memory and logic devices, researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Cornell University...

Stunning zinc fireworks when egg meets sperm

Sparks literally fly when a sperm and an egg hit it off. The fertilized mammalian egg releases from its surface billions of zinc atoms in "zinc sparks," one wave after...

Spider's web weaves way to advanced networks and displays

Refined by natural selection, spider webs and leaves serve as models for new and highly effective optoelectronic networks and displays, a team of researchers reported recently in <i>Nature Communications</i>.The next generation of light-manipulating networks may take their lead from designs inspired by spiders and leaves, according to a new report from two Boston College physicists and colleagues at...

NTU Singapore invents smart window that tints and powers itself

Here are (clockwise from bottom) NTU professor Sun Xiaowei, research fellow Liu He, and Ph.D. student Zheng Ke with their self-tinting window.Nanyang Technological University (NTU) scientists have developed a smart window which can darken or brighten without the need for an external power source.

Carbon-trapping 'sponges' can cut greenhouse gases

In the fight against global warming, carbon capture -- chemically trapping carbon dioxide before it releases into the atmosphere -- is gaining momentum, but standard methods are plagued by toxicity,...

Microwave imaging of the breast

These are internal, spatially mapped microwave tomography system generated electrical property distribution images of a cancer patient's left breast, taken somewhat into her therapy. Shown are permittivity and conductivity image sets (top and bottom image series, respectively) reconstructed at 1100 MHz. Each plane (i.e., p1 - p7) identifies a different location within system where the image was taken, and is relative to the chest wall. You can clearly see the breast outline and the features inside the breast relate to fibroglandular tissue inside the adipose tissue. This breast has undergone treatment and so most of the tumor has disappeared.Although currently available diagnostic screening systems for breast cancer like X-ray computed tomography (CT) and mammography are effective at detecting early signs of tumors, they are far from perfect, subjecting...

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