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New metamaterial lens focuses radio waves

Device could improve satellite and molecular imaging
November 15, 2012

The orientation of 4,000 S-shaped units forms a metamaterial lens that focuses radio waves with extreme precision, and very little energy lost (credit: Dylan Erb/MIT)

MIT researchers have fabricated a three-dimensional, lightweight metamaterial lens that focuses radio waves with extreme precision.

The concave lens exhibits a property called negative refraction, bending electromagnetic waves — in this case, radio waves — in exactly the opposite sense from which a normal concave lens would work.

Concave lenses typically radiate radio waves… read more

NASA Mars rover fully analyzes first soil samples

December 5, 2012

curiosity_trenches_mars

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has used its full array of instruments to analyze Martian soil for the first time, and found a complex chemistry within the Martian soil, including water and sulfur and chlorine-containing substances.

The rover’s laboratory includes the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite and the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. SAM used three methods to analyze gases given off from the dusty… read more

Water on the moon: it’s been there all along

February 21, 2013

Traces of water have been detected within the crystalline structure of mineral samples from the lunar highland upper crust obtained during the Apollo missions, according to a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues.

The lunar highlands are thought to represent the original crust, crystallized from a magma ocean on a mostly molten early moon. The new findings indicate that the early moon was wet and that water there… read more

70% of American adults have high-speed broadband access at home

August 28, 2013

pew - internet

As of May 2013, 70% of American adults ages 18 and older have a high-speed broadband* connection at home, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Groups with the highest rates of home broadband adoption continue to be college graduates, adults under age 50, and adults living in households earning at least $50,000, as well as whites and adults living in… read more

Graphene superconducting property discovered

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory see electrons dancing in superconducting material, setting a foundation for future explorations
March 21, 2014

graphene_sheets_final_highres

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have discovered how graphene  — a single layer of carbon atoms with great promise for future electronics — is superconducting in a graphene-calcium compound, meaning that graphene would carry electricity with 100 percent efficiency.

While it’s been known for nearly a decade that this combined material is superconducting, the new study offers the first… read more

Germany to tap brakes on high-speed trading

October 29, 2012

hft_chart

Germany is set to advance a bill Wednesday imposing a spate of new rules on high-frequency trading, escalating Europe’s sweeping response to concerns that speedy traders have brought instability to the markets.

The measure seeks to require traders to register with Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, collect fees from those who use high-speed trading systems excessively, and force stock markets to install circuit breakers that can interrupt trading if… read more

Drug-delivery nanoparticles mimic white blood cells to avoid immune rejection

February 4, 2013

Camouflaged nanoparticles (yellow) cloaked in the membranes of white blood cells rest on the surface of an immune system cell (phagocyte, blue) without being recognized, ingested, and destroyed (credit: Methodist Hospital, Houston)

Scientists at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute have found a possible way to fool the immune system to prevent it from recognizing and destroying nanoparticles before they deliver their drug payloads.

“Our goal was to make a particle that is camouflaged within our bodies and escapes the surveillance of the immune system to reach its target undiscovered,” said Department of Medicine Co-Chair Ennio Tasciotti, Ph.D.,… read more

NASA announces asteroid grand challenge

June 19, 2013

asteroid

NASA announced Tuesday a Grand Challenge focused on finding all asteroid threats to human populations and knowing what to do about them.

The challenge is a large-scale effort that will use multi-disciplinary collaborations and a variety of partnerships with other government agencies, international partners, industry, academia, and citizen scientists. It complements NASA’s recently announced mission to redirect an asteroid and send humans to study it.… read more

Extending MRI to nanoscale resolution

October 2, 2013

Illustration of the experimental setup shows the two unique components of the teams novel MRI technique that was successful in producing a 2D MRI image with spatial resolution on the nanoscale

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University researchers have devised a novel nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that delivers about 10­ nanometers spatial resolution.

This represents a significant advance in MRI sensitivity. Current MRI techniques commonly used in medical imaging yield spatial resolutions on the millimeter length scale, with the highest-resolution experimental instruments giving spatial resolution of a few micrometers.

“Our approach… read more

Selective nanopores in graphene dramatically improve desalination and purification

February 28, 2014

holes_graphene

A team of researchers at MIT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and in Saudi Arabia succeeded in creating subnanoscale pores in a sheet of graphene, a development that could lead to ultrathin filters for improved desalination or water purification. Their findings are published in the journal Nano Letters.

The new work, led by graduate student Sean O’Hern and associate professor of mechanical engineering Rohit Karnik, is the first… read more

Apple’s new headquarters: an exclusive sneak peek

October 14, 2013

apple-cupertino-hq-main1

The site of Apple’s proposed new spaceship-shaped headquarters that goes before the City Council Tuesday for an initial vote “will be one of the most environmentally sustainable developments on this scale anywhere in the world,” according ot Dan Whisenhunt, San Jose Mercury News reports.

Apple Campus 2 promises to bring a world-class real-estate project — along with a lot of traffic congestion — to the heart of… read more

Are bots taking over Wikipedia?

February 20, 2014

bots-vs featured

As crowdsourced Wikipedia has grown too large — with more than 30 million articles in 287 languages — to be entirely edited and managed by volunteers, 12 Wikipedia bots have emerged to pick up the slack.

The bots use Wikidata — a free knowledge base that can be read and edited by both humans and bots — to exchange information between entries and between the… read more

A laser that could find and zap tumors

Also penetrates the skull for brain tumors, researchers say
August 2, 2012

Femtosecond laser (credit: University of Tennessee Space Institute)

Researchers at the Center for Laser Applications at the University of Tennessee Space Institute have invented a system that uses lasers to find, map, and non-invasively destruct cancerous tumors.

The technology uses a femtosecond laser (creating pulses lasting one-quadrillionth of a second). The high speed enables the laser to quickly focus in on a specific region without overheating.

“Using ultra-short light pulses gives us the ability… read more

D-Wave quantum computer solves protein folding problem

August 20, 2012

dwave_ones_in_the_lab_large

A 128-qubit D-Wave One quantum computer has solved the puzzle of how certain proteins fold, Nature News Blog reports.

The latest finding from a Harvard’s Alan Aspuru-Guzik and his colleagues shows that the D-Wave one could predict the lowest-energy configurations of a folded protein.

The model consisted of mathematical representations of amino acids in a lattice, connected by different interaction strengths. The D-wave computer… read more

Tough super-stretchable gel is tougher than cartilage and heals itself

Biocompatible material created at Harvard stretches to 21 times its length, recoils, and heals itself
September 6, 2012

harvard_gel_stretched

A team of experts in mechanics, materials science, and tissue engineering at Harvard have created an extremely stretchy and tough gel that may pave the way to replacing damaged cartilage in human joints or spinal disks.

Called a hydrogel, because its main ingredient is water, the new material is a hybrid of two weak gels that combine to create something much stronger.

This new gel can stretch… read more

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