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Boundless opportunities for new breed of smart polymer nanocomposites

Every time a firefighter braves an inferno, a scientist wonders if a new material or special flame-resistant coating could be created to protect him. Today, armed with nanocomposite techniques and insights into bio-based materials, new classes of smart, adaptable super-surface coatings are possible, according to European researchers.

Posted: May 6th, 2013

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Doubling the efficiency of thermoelectric materials

Thermoelectric materials can be used to turn waste heat into electricity or to provide refrigeration without any liquid coolants, and a research team from the University of Michigan has found a way to nearly double the efficiency of a particular class of them that's made with organic semiconductors.

Posted: May 5th, 2013

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Turning on frustration: 16 atomic ions simulate a quantum antiferromagnet

Frustration crops up throughout nature when conflicting constraints on a physical system compete with one another. The way nature resolves these conflicts often leads to exotic phases of matter that are poorly understood. New research explored how to frustrate a quantum magnet comprised of sixteen atomic ions - to date the largest ensemble of qubits to perform a simulation of quantum matter.

Posted: May 4th, 2013

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Computer simulations reveal the energy landscape of ion channels

Ion channels are important drug targets. A young team of researchers from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Vienna investigated the opening and closing mechanisms of these channels: for the first time the full energy landscape of such a large protein could be calculated in atomic detail.

Posted: May 3rd, 2013

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'Going negative' pays for nanotubes

A Rice University laboratory's cagey strategy turns negatively charged carbon nanotubes into liquid crystals that could enhance the creation of fibers and films.

Posted: May 3rd, 2013

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Glass: The nanotechnology connection

Modern applications of glass in such diverse fields as energy, medicine, electronics, photonics, and communications are critically dependent on our awareness and appreciation of the intrinsic connections between glass and nanotechnology. Although glass is seldom if ever mentioned in early texts on nanotechnology, there are numerous examples where the understanding of glass at the nanoscale level has proved transformational in the fabrication and application of this material. As such, glass is a quintessential nanotechnology material.

Posted: May 3rd, 2013

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Reducing noise in qubit arrays

If quantum computers are ever to be built, qubits will have to be made more robust and more numerous. New work by scientists at the Joint Quantum Institute addresses both of these concerns - noise reduction and scalability.

Posted: May 2nd, 2013

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