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The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest

Superconductivity-related materials retain shape but change properties under strain

A University of Arkansas physicist and his colleagues have found that ultra-thin films of superconductors and related materials don't lose their fundamental properties when built under strain when built as atomically thin layers, an important step towards achieving artificially designed room temperature superconductivity. This ability will allow researchers to create new types of materials and properties and enable exotic electronic phases in ultra-thin films.

Posted: Sep 1st, 2011

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A diagnostic biological "computer" network incorporated in human cells

Researchers led by ETH professor Yaakov Benenson and MIT professor Ron Weiss have successfully incorporated a diagnostic biological "computer" network in human cells. This network recognizes certain cancer cells using logic combinations of five cancer-specific molecular factors, triggering cancer cells destruction.

Posted: Sep 1st, 2011

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Physicists develop new insight into how disordered solids deform

In solid materials with regular atomic structures, figuring out weak points where the material will break under stress is relatively easy. But for disordered solids, like glass or sand, their disordered nature makes such predictions much more daunting tasks. Now, a collaboration combining a theoretical model with a first-of-its kind experiment has demonstrated a novel method for identifying "soft spots" in such materials.

Posted: Aug 31st, 2011

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Ion armageddon: Measuring the impact energy of highly charged ions

Much like a meteor impacting a planet, highly charged ions hit really hard and can do a lot of damage, albeit on a much smaller scale. And much like geologists determine the size and speed of the meteor by looking at the hole it left, physicists can learn a lot about a highly charged ion's energy by looking at the divots it makes in thin films.

Posted: Aug 31st, 2011

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Inexpensive technique for making high quality nanowire solar cells

Solar or photovoltaic cells represent one of the best possible technologies for providing an absolutely clean and virtually inexhaustible source of energy to power our civilization. However, for this dream to be realized, solar cells need to be made from inexpensive elements using low-cost, less energy-intensive processing chemistry, and they need to efficiently and cost-competitively convert sunlight into electricity. A team of researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has now demonstrated two out of three of these requirements with a promising start on the third.

Posted: Aug 31st, 2011

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New chemical reagent turns biological tissue transparent

Researchers at RIKEN have developed a ground-breaking new aqueous reagent which literally turns biological tissue transparent. Experiments using fluorescence microscopy on samples treated with the reagent have produced vivid 3D images of neurons and blood vessels deep inside the mouse brain.

Posted: Aug 31st, 2011

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