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Why lithium-ion-batteries fail

Materials in lithium ion battery electrodes expand and contract during charge and discharge. These volume changes drive particle fracture, which shortens battery lifetime. A group of ETH and PSI scientists have quantified this effect for the first time using high-resolution 3D movies recorded using x-ray tomography at the Swiss Light Source.

Posted: Oct 17th, 2013

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Advanced Light Source provides a new look at vanadium dioxide

Graphene may command the lion's share of attention but it is not the only material generating buzz in the electronics world. Vanadium dioxide is one of the few known materials that acts like an insulator at low temperatures but like a metal at warmer temperatures starting around 67 degrees Celsius. This temperature-driven metal-insulator transition, the origin of which is still intensely debated, in principle can be induced by the application of an external electric field. That could yield faster and much more energy efficient electronic devices.

Posted: Oct 17th, 2013

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Nanotechnology ovarian cancer treatment succeeds in the lab

In lab experiments, Taxol, a chemotherapy drug used to treat ovarian cancer, was loaded onto a magneto-electric nanoparticle, and using an electric field the drug penetrated into the tumor cells completely destroying the tumor within 24 hours, while sparing normal ovarian cells.

Posted: Oct 17th, 2013

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Internet access through lightbulbs

Successful experiments by Chinese scientists have indicated the possibility of the country's netizens getting online through signals sent by lightbulbs (LiFi), instead of WiFi.

Posted: Oct 17th, 2013

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Watching the heart beat of molecules

Scientists report on a new method of rapidly identifying different molecular species under a microscope. Their technique of coherent Raman spectro-imaging with two laser frequency combs takes a big step towards the holy grail of real-time label-free biomolecular imaging.

Posted: Oct 17th, 2013

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Tracking viral DNA in the cell

Cell biologists and chemists from the University of Zurich reveal how viral DNA traffics in human cells. They have developed a new method to generate virus particles containing labeled viral DNA genomes. This allowed them to visualize, for the first time, single viral genomes in the cytoplasm and the nucleus by using fluorescence microscopy in regular or superresolution mode. The new findings enhance our understanding of how viral disease occurs, and how cells respond to infections.

Posted: Oct 16th, 2013

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Nanotechnology tackles counterfeiting

Dye-coloured nanoparticles, or nanotags, can be added to objects in varnishes or inks. A scanner is then used to detect them and determine their vibrational spectrum, like fingerprints.

Posted: Oct 16th, 2013

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Quantum particles find safety in numbers

Researchers have uncovered a novel effect that, in principle, offers a means of stabilizing quantum systems against decoherence. The discovery could represent a major step forward for quantum information processing.

Posted: Oct 16th, 2013

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