Scientists have discovered how algae that survive in very low levels of light are able to switch on and off a weird quantum phenomenon that occurs during photosynthesis. The function in the algae of this quantum effect, known as coherence, remains a mystery, but it is thought it could help them harvest energy from the sun much more efficiently. Working out its role in a living organism could lead to technological advances, such as better organic solar cells and quantum-based electronic devices.
By combining the advantages of two well-established spectroscopy technologies - 2D-electronic and 2D-infrared - two-dimensional electronic-vibrational spectroscopy (2D-EV) is the first that can be used to simultaneously monitor electronic and molecular dynamics on a femtosecond time-scale. The results show how the coupling of electronic states and nuclear vibrations affect the outcome of photochemical reactions.
Researchers have introduced a new method of detection that allows the entire class of methamphetamine drugs to be detected in water. A probe equipped with synthetic receptor molecules responds to a grouping of atoms that is present in all methamphetamines.
Sandia National Laboratories has come up with an inexpensive way to synthesize titanium-dioxide nanoparticles and is seeking partners who can demonstrate the process at industrial scale for everything from solar cells to light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Scientists are using a pioneering method of 'caging' and cooling water molecules to study the change in orientation of the magnetic nuclei at the centre of each hydrogen atom - a process which transforms the molecule from one form of water to another.
The European Commission and its non-food Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks, SCENIHR, published the final opinion on 'Nanosilver: safety, health and environmental effects and role in antimicrobial resistance'.
Researchers at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are turning to extremely tiny tubes and rods to boost power and durability in lithium-ion batteries, the energy sources for cell phones, laptops, and electric vehicles. If successful, the batteries will last longer and perform better, leading to a cost advantage for electric vehicles.
Nanopores could provide a new way to sequence DNA quickly, but the physics involved isn't well understood. That's partly because of the complexities involved in studying the random, squiggly form DNA takes in solution. Researchers have simplified matters by using a stiff, rod-like virus instead of DNA to experiment with nanopores. Their research has uncovered previously unknown dynamics in polymer-nanopore interactions.