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Posts

April 23, 2014

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8:49 PM | "A Fred Sanger would not survive today's world of science."
Somehow I missed last year's obituary for double Nobel laureate and bench scientist extraordinaire Fred Sanger by Sydney Brenner in Science. The characteristically provocative Brenner has this to say about a (thankfully) fictional twenty-first century Sanger:A Fred Sanger would not survive today's world of science. With continuous reporting and appraisals, some committee would note that he published little of import between insulin in 1952 and his first paper on RNA sequencing in […]
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6:52 PM | Copper nanowires could become basis for new solar cells
By looking at a piece of material in cross section, researchersdiscovered how copper sprouts grass-like nanowires that could one day be made into solar cells.
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6:43 PM | Superconducting qubit array points the way to quantum computers
A fully functional quantum computer is one of the holy grails of physics. A group of physicists has moved one step closer to making a quantum computer a reality.
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6:37 PM | Atomic switcheroo explains origins of thin-film solar cell mystery
Treating cadmium-telluride solar cell materials with cadmium-chloride improves their efficiency, but researchers have not fully understood why. Now, an atomic-scale examination of the thin-film solar cells has answered this decades-long debate about the materials' photovoltaic efficiency increase after treatment.
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5:30 PM | Realizing when proteins go bad
Just as some plastics warp when left out in the heat and sun, some proteins are destroyed under suboptimal conditions. Knowing when changes in proteins are caused by poor conditions and not disease is a critical distinction to make. In a paper recently published in the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, researchers have demonstrated that […]
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5:05 PM | Not my bag, baby
From our friends at the FDA, I see that certain urological products have been found to be adulterated because of failure to follow cGMP. I can't quote the entire letter, because I'm pretty sure it will set off your work firewalls, but this excerpt from the warning letter sounds bad:b.    AMS 800 Post Market Surveillance Report, D007644, Rev. 01, dated 6/6/12, included an action item for further investigation to determine the root cause for a potential increasing trend in complaint […]
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4:44 PM | Microgel-based thermoresponsive membranes for water filtration
Scientists have developed a very simple method for the modification of membranes through the inclusion of microgels.They report hollow-fiber membranes that demonstrate temperature-dependent flow and retention, thanks to thermoresponsive microgels.
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2:04 PM | Filters made of graphene - the thinnest feasible membrane
A new nanomembrane made out of graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The membrane is as thin as is technologically feasible.
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1:56 PM | From Pine Stumps to Polymers
A couple of days ago, one of the Xerox company blogs [*] had a post about making plastics from tree stumps. While tree stumps have yet to be fully exploited as a chemical feedstock, they have been partially used for decades to support the polymer industry. In particular, the rosin from pine stumps has been extensively used.20+ years ago it seemed like every paper company had a chemicals division that was doing just, refining and modifying rosin from pine stumps to make tackifiers for […]
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1:36 PM | A working group from universities across Europe is to look at...
A working group from universities across Europe is to look at DNA topology in a new light. Dr Dorothy Buck from Imperial College is to lead them in exploring how knots and links are removed so that newly replicated chromosomes can be faithfully segregated to daughter cells. Dr. Buck’s main research interests are mathematical biology and three-manifold topology. In particular she harnesses topological techniques to illuminate structural and mechanical features of […]
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1:23 PM | Steering chemical reactions with laser pulses
With ultra-short laser pulses, chemical reactions can be controlled; electrons have little mass and are therefore influenced by the laser, whereas the atomic nuclei are much heavier and are hardly affected.
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1:07 PM | PressPac: Avoiding water wars between ‘fracking’ industry and residents
Here’s an item from this week’s PressPac that we thought you’d enjoy. The PressPac features summaries of articles appearing in our peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News. To get the entire PressPac in your inbox, email us at newsroom@acs.org.The shale gas boom has transformed the energy landscape in the U.S., but in some drier locations, it could cause conflict among the energy industry, residents and agricultural interests over already-scarce water […]
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12:03 PM | Nanomechanical sensors detect cancer from breath
An array of functionalized membrane-type surface stress sensors distinguishes cancer patients from healthy people through a signature response to breath samples.
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11:56 AM | Disorder on the nanoscale may be responsible for solar-cell efficiency
In the past few years, perovskite solar cells have made large leaps forward in efficiency, recently achieving energy conversion with up to 16 percent efficiency. These simple and promising devices are easy enough to make and are made up of earth abundant materials, but little work has been done to explore their atomic makeup.
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11:51 AM | Gold nanoparticles help target, quantify breast cancer gene segments in a living cell
Purdue University researchers have developed a way to detect and measure cancer levels in a living cell by using gold nanoparticles with tails of synthetic DNA.
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11:45 AM | SanDisk Announces 15 Nanometer Technology, World's Most Advanced NAND Flash Manufacturing Node
The 15nm technology will ramp on both two bits-per-cell (X2) and three bits-per-cell (X3) NAND flash memory architectures with production ramp to begin in the second half of 2014.
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7:02 AM | Researchers make major advances in dye sensitized solar cells
Two groups of researchers have recently advanced the field of solar cells with a cheaper and efficient replacement for platinum and better synthesis of zinc oxide.

April 22, 2014

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11:26 PM | Fishing for sharks – the story of salt
Every year, there are around 75 shark attacks reported worldwide. In the same amount of time, nearly 100 million sharks are killed by humans – often for their fins. Despite these staggering statistics, our society still views sharks as mindless killers, as the barbarous intruders into our highly-populated coastal waters. While it is easy to […]
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10:00 PM | The molecular TIE fighter
Where did the inspiration for the TIE fighters in Star Wars come from? Well, we surely can’t rule out that George Lucas read this Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie paper from 1953 and was particularly struck by the following … Continue reading →
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9:41 PM | How the job market used to work…
For reasons that will become apparent in a few months (it’s not that exciting), I have spent a lot of today looking at papers associated with the discovery and early structural studies of ferrocene. I have come across wonderful footnotes … Continue reading →
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8:02 PM | Alzheimer’s disease is a growing health problem in many...
Alzheimer’s disease is a growing health problem in many nations, and many in the biosciences now work towards a treatment for the disease. Much like its precise molecular mechanism however, these treatments remain elusive. β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides grab hold of each other to assemble oligomers of various sizes in solution which aggregate into the large fibrils seen in plaques. Difficulties and ambiguities in the molecules’ structures at this level hinder the development of […]
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4:43 PM | PETA science consortium to present hazard testing strategy at nanotoxicology meeting
PETA International Science Consortium will present a non-animal tiered-testing strategy for nanomaterial hazard assessment at the 7th International Nanotoxicology Congress being held in Antalya, Turkey on Apr. 23-26, 2014. The proposed strategy will generate meaningful information on nanomaterial properties and their interaction with biological systems.
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2:48 PM | High-performance, low-cost paper ultracapacitors built with graphene and carbon nanotubes
Future devices based on technology could bridge gap between batteries and conventional capacitors in portable electronics and hybrid electric vehicles.
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1:41 PM | Quantum simulators developed to study inaccessible physical systems
Quantum simulators recreate the behaviour on a microscopic scale of biological and quantum systems and even of particles moving at the speed of light. The exact knowledge of these systems will lead to applications ranging from more efficient photovoltaic cells to more specific drugs. Researchers are working on the design of several of these quantum simulators so they can study the dynamics of complex physical systems.
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12:57 PM | Nanotechnology researchers demonstrate potential of RNA as heat-resistant polymer material for nanoarchitectures
A team of nanotechnology researchers at the University of Kentucky has discovered new methods to build heat resistant nanostructures and arrays using RNA.
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12:49 PM | Nanomaterial outsmarts ions
Ions are an essential tool in chip manufacturing, but these electrically charged atoms can also be used to produce nano-sieves with homogeneously distributed pores. A particularly large number of electrons, however, must be removed from the atoms for this purpose. Such highly charged ions either lose a surprisingly large amount of energy or almost no energy at all as they pass through a membrane that measures merely one nanometer in thickness. This discovery is an important step towards […]
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12:42 PM | Like a hall of mirrors, nanostructures trap photons inside ultrathin solar cells (w/videos)
In the quest to make sun power more competitive, researchers are designing ultrathin solar cells that cut material costs. At the same time they're keeping these thin cells efficient by sculpting their surfaces with photovoltaic nanostructures that behave like a molecular hall of mirrors.
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12:34 PM | Achieving higher solar-cell efficiency with zinc-oxide coating
Engineering researchers have achieved the highest efficiency ever in a 9 millimeter-squared solar cell made of gallium arsenide. After coating the cufflink-sized cells with a thin layer of zinc oxide, the research team reached a conversion efficiency of 14 percent.
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12:28 PM | What is Caustic Soda?
Caustic soda, also known as sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or lye, is a white inorganic metallic base, highly caustic and usually available in granules, flakes or pellets or in ready-made solutions of various strengths. As a strong chemical base, it’s used in multiple industrial applications from the manufacture of paper to detergents. Let’s have a closer [...]
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12:27 PM | Cloaked DNA nanodevices survive pilot mission (w/video)
It's a familiar trope in science fiction: In enemy territory, activate your cloaking device. And real-world viruses use similar tactics to make themselves invisible to the immune system. Now scientists have mimicked these viral tactics to build the first DNA nanodevices that survive the body's immune defenses.
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