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Science

The National Oceanography Centre in the UK has used data on the Arctic Ocean gathered by Royal Navy submarines to study the effects of a possible future shrinking of the ice cap. This meeting of oceanography and military intelligence has seen declassified data from the 1990s analyzed to gain insights into how diminished ice cover affects turbulence in arctic waters. Read More
Solar cells don't at first glance have any relation to a tiny structure in the eye that makes our central vision sharp, but that tiny structure – called the fovea centralis – may be the key to a huge boost in solar cell efficiency. A team of scientists at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light took the underlying mechanisms that guide the fovea and adapted them to silicon as a surface for collecting light in solar cells. Read More
The humble limpet has been receiving a lot of press lately, as scientists recently determined that the material from which its teeth are made is officially the world's strongest natural material. Now, an MIT/Harvard study suggests that a specific type of limpet's shell may hold the key to transparent displays that require no internal light source. Read More
A new redox flow battery developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) more than doubles the amount of energy that this type of cell can pack in a given volume, approaching the numbers of lithium-ion batteries. If the device reaches mass production, it could find use in fast-charging transportation, portable electronics and grid storage. Read More
Material scientists at Stanford University have developed a highly effective semitransparent air filter that can collect 99 percent of the very small PM2.5 particles, considered the most harmful to the human respiratory tract. The low-cost filters, which don’t require power to function, could be used to build better protective facemasks, window screens, filtration systems in hospitals, and perhaps even to reduce pollution from cars and industrial smoke stacks. Read More
While well known for its unique electromechanical properties, graphene may also prove key in preventing cancer tumor recurrence. A drawback of traditional cancer treatment with radiation and chemotherapy is that the primary developmental source of future tumors is not eradicated. Cancer stem cells, or CSCs, can survive treatment and give rise to recurring tumors, metatasis, and drug resistance after repeated treatments. Researchers from the University of Manchester and the University of Calabria have discovered that graphene oxides targets and neutralize CSCs in a manner that is not yet fully understood. Read More
Using unidirectional cubic nanoantennas to direct the output from nanoemitters, researchers at Monash University in Australia have described a method to accurately focus light at the nanoscale. The practical upshot of which is substantial progress towards guided, ultra-narrow beams needed for the new world of nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) and the eventual production of entire lab-on-a-chip devices. Read More
Scientists at Duke University have pinpointed a regulator of gene activity that could lend insight into why we're so different from chimpanzees despite having a near-identical genetic makeup (94 per cent of our DNA is the same). When injected into a mouse embryo, the human version of a particular DNA sequence important for brain development caused the embryo to grow a considerably larger brain than other embryos treated with the chimpanzee version. Read More
Oxytocin is often called the "love hormone" due to its role in encouraging social behaviors, love and long-term bonding. Now, scientists have discovered that it might have something to offer those with weak knees of a different kind. Research carried out at the University of Sydney has established that the hormone can curtail the intoxicating effects of alcohol in rats, suggesting that a sobriety pill for humans could one day become a reality. Read More
Helium-4 superfluid is a fascinating substance. With properties that seemingly defy normal physics, it leaks straight through glass, bubbles up out of containers, flows around objects and even climbs up walls. As if superfluid helium-4 was not strange enough, in 1941 it was also predicted that it should contain an exotic, particle-like excitation – a quasiparticle – called a roton. After many years of trying to verify this prediction, researchers at the University of California now claim to have successfully created a roton structure in an atomic superfluid of cesium-133. Read More
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