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Dyson sphere hunt using Kepler data

October 12, 2012

med_fractaldyson_bowers

Geoff Marcy has received a grant from the UK’s Templeton Foundation to look for Dyson spheres, Paul Gilster writes on Centauri Dreams, the news forum of the Tau Zero Foundation.

Freeman Dyson hypothesized the vast structures over fifty years ago that could ring or completely enclose their parent star. Such structures, the work of a Kardashev Type II civilization — one capable of drawing on the… read more

‘Nanoflowers’ increase battery and supercapacitor storage capacity

October 15, 2012

The GeS "nanoflowers" have petals only 20-30 nanometers thick, and provide a large surface area in a small amount of space (credit: Cao, et al./North Carolina State University)

Researchers from North Carolina State University have created flower-like structures out of germanium sulfide (GeS) — a semiconductor material — that have extremely thin petals with an enormous surface area.

The GeS flower holds promise for next-generation energy storage devices, including supercapacitors used with solar cells.

“Creating these GeS nanoflowers is exciting because it gives us a huge surface area in a small amount… read more

‘Invisibility’ could be a key to better electronics

MIT team applies technology developed for visual ‘cloaking’ to enable more efficient transfer of electrons
October 15, 2012

probability_flux_electrons

A new approach that allows objects to become “invisible” using matamaterials has now been applied to an entirely different area: letting particles “hide” from passing electrons, which could lead to more efficient thermoelectric devices and new kinds of electronics.

The concept — developed by MIT graduate student Bolin Liao, former postdoc Mona Zebarjadi (now an assistant professor at Rutgers University), research scientist Keivan… read more

Organic solar cells recharge portable electronics at low light levels

October 15, 2012

(Credit: Apple Inc.)

An organic solar cell that generates a sufficiently high voltage to recharge a lithium-ion battery directly has been created by scientists from the University of Warwick, in collaboration with spinoff company Molecular Solar.

The development means portable electronic devices such as e-book readers, cameras and some mobile phones could soon be recharged on the move in low light levels and with partial shading.

Organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells, the… read more

New web-based model for sharing research datasets could have huge benefits

October 15, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A group of researchers have proposed creating a new web-based data network to help researchers and policymakers worldwide turn existing knowledge into real-world applications and technologies and improve science and innovation policy.

Researchers around the world have created datasets that, if interlinked with other datasets and made more broadly available, could provide the needed foundation for policy and decision makers. But these datasets are spread across countries, scientific disciplines… read more

Cracking the quantum safe

October 15, 2012

unsw_quantum_bit

The Nobel Prize in Physics went to achievements in quantum information, Adam Frank, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester, writes in The New York Times.

It may not catch as many headlines as the hunt for elusive particles, but the field of quantum information may soon answer questions even more fundamental — and upsetting —… read more

Creating instant graphene electronic devices on demand

Rice University researchers find plasmonics show promise for optically induced electronics
October 15, 2012

Graphene

Rice University researchers are doping graphene with light in a way that could lead to the more efficient design and manufacture of electronics, as well as novel security and cryptography devices.

Manufacturers chemically dope silicon to adjust its semiconducting properties. But the breakthrough reported in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano details a novel concept: plasmon-induced doping of graphene, the ultrastrong, highly conductive, single-atom-thick form… read more

How to create beating heart muscle cells

October 15, 2012

ucla_embryonic_stem_cells_heart

UCLA stem-cell researchers have found for the first time a surprising and unexpected plasticity in the embryonic endothelium, the place where blood stem cells are made in early development.

They found that the lack of one transcription factor, a type of gene that controls cell fate (by regulating other genes), allows the precursors that normally generate blood stem and progenitor cells in blood-forming tissues to… read more

How to double the power of solar panels

October 16, 2012

Solar collectors: A micrograph shows silicon nanowires produced by Bandgap Engineering. They can help a solar cell absorb more light. (Credit: Bandgap Engineering)

In an attempt to further drop the cost of solar power, Bandgap Engineering has a long-term project to develop a nanowire-based solar cell that could eventually generate twice as much power as conventional solar cells, Technology Review reports.

Meanwhile the company is about to launch a simpler version of the technology, using silicon nanowires that can improve the performance and lower the cost of conventional silicon solar cells.… read more

Intelligence agencies turn to crowdsourcing

October 16, 2012

skyfall

Research firm Applied Research Associates has just launched a website, Global Crowd Intelligence, that invites the public to sign up and try their hand at intelligence forecasting, BBC Future reports.

The website is part of an effort called Aggregative Contingent Estimation, sponsored by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (Iarpa), to understand the potential benefits of crowdsourcing for predicting future events by… read more

Shape coding replaces risky viruses in DNA nanoparticle therapy

October 16, 2012

dna_molecules_nanopatterns

Researchers from Johns Hopkins and Northwestern universities have discovered how to control the shape of nanoparticles that move DNA through the body and have shown that the shapes of these carriers may make a big difference in how well they work in treating cancer and other diseases.

This study is also noteworthy because this gene therapy technique does not use a virus to carry DNA into… read more

Synthesizing collagen for drug design and disease treatments

Program defines stable sequences for synthesis, could help fight disease, design drugs
October 16, 2012

A program developed at Rice University details stable forms of collagen proteins for synthesis in the lab. The ability to synthesize custom collagen could lead to better drug design and treatment of disease. The colored portion of the molecule in this illustration shows positively charged lysine and negatively charged aspartate interacting in the required axial geometry that stabilizes the triple helix. (Credit: Hartgerink Lab/Rice University)

In a development that could lead to better drug design and new treatments for disease, Rice University researchers have made a major step toward synthesizing custom collagen, the fibrous protein that binds cells together into organs and tissues.

Jeffrey Hartgerink, an associate professor of chemistry and of bioengineering, and his former graduate student Jorge Fallas, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University… read more

Gold nanoparticle prostate cancer treatment found safe in dogs, MU study shows

New treatment may have fewer side effects than traditional cancer therapy
October 16, 2012

nanoparticles_cancer_therapy_dogs

Scientists at the University of Missouri have proven that their new form of prostate cancer treatment using radioactive gold nanoparticles is safe to use in dogs.

Sandra Axiak-Bechtel, an assistant professor in oncology at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says that this is a big step for gold nanoparticle research.

Currently, large… read more

World’s biggest geoengineering experiment ‘violates’ UN rules

October 17, 2012

Geoengineering with bloom : high concentrations of chlorophyll in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska

Controversial U.S. businessman’s iron fertilization off west coast of Canada contravenes two UN conventions.

Russ George, a controversial California businessman, dumped about 100 tons of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean as part of a geoengineering scheme off the west coast of Canada in July, a Guardian investigation reveals.

Lawyers, environmentalists and civil… read more

A robotic exoskeleton for space and Earth

October 17, 2012

x1_robotic_exoskeleton

A robotic exoskeleton called X1 has been developed by NASAThe Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), and Oceaneering Space Systems.

The 57-pound device is a robot that a human could wear over their body either to assist or inhibit movement in leg joints.

In the inhibit mode, the robotic device would be used as an in-space exercise machine to supply resistance against leg… read more

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