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Nanomaterial thermophotovoltaic system increases efficiency and portability of solar power

By - January 21, 2014 2 Pictures
It’s not a new idea to improve upon traditional solar cells by first converting light into heat, then reemitting the energy at specific wavelengths optimally tuned to the requirements of the solar cell, but this method has suffered from low efficiencies. However, new research at MIT using nanoscale materials finally shows how thermophotovoltaics could become competitive with their traditional cousins, and grant benefits such as storing solar energy in the form of heat to postpone conversion into electricity. Read More
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Scientists turn table salt into forbidden compounds that violate textbook rules

By - January 20, 2014 2 Pictures
In the field of exotic new materials, we've examined one of the strongest ones and another declared to be impossible; scientists now report creating "forbidden" materials, out of ordinary table salt, that violate classical rules of chemistry. Not only does the development challenge the theoretical foundation of known chemistry, but it is also expected to lead to the discovery of new exotic chemical compounds with practical uses and shed light on the composition of early planetary cores. Read More
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DNA clamps could stop cancer in its tracks

By - January 17, 2014 1 Picture
Scientists have developed a special DNA clamp to act as a diagnostic nano machine. It's capable of detecting genetic mutations responsible for causing cancers, hemophilia, sickle cell anemia and other diseases, more efficiently than existing techniques. Not only can the clamp be used to develop more advanced screening tests, but it could also help create more efficient DNA-based nano machines for targeted drug delivery. Read More
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Facial recognition is in (the reflection of) the eye of the beholder

By - January 16, 2014 6 Pictures
The worst has happened. You receive an emailed kidnap demand with a picture of your loved one in dire straits. You contact the authorities, and in a flash (relatively speaking), they have identified the kidnapper and possibly some accomplices, and are well on their way toward recovering the victim. How did this happen? By identifying the faces of the kidnappers caught in the reflection of your loved one's eyes. Read More
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Carbon nanotubes used to create a flame-retardant coating for furniture

By - January 16, 2014 1 Picture
Your furniture could kill you. According to the US National Fire Protection Association, nearly 20 percent of home fire deaths between 2006 and 2010 occurred in fires where upholstered furniture was the first item to ignite. It's actually not so much the exterior fabric that burns, as it is the foam beneath it. With that in mind, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have used carbon nanotubes to create a coating for that foam, that reduces its flammability by 35 percent. Read More
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Modifier protein could increase crop yields, even in poor conditions

By - January 15, 2014 1 Picture
Researchers have discovered a new way to increase plant growth by suppressing the natural response to environmental stress. The scientists have found a modifier protein that can be used to interfere with the plant's growth repression proteins independently of the previously identified hormone Gibberellin. They believe this will lead to higher crop yields, even in unfavorable conditions. Read More
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Thousands of Australian bees are getting tagged for research

By - January 15, 2014 2 Pictures
Bees are integral to the pollination of major crops around the world, so the more that we understand how they go about their business, the better we can facilitate the process and thereby boost yields. With this in mind, scientists from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are taking the unprecedented step of equipping up to 5,000 honeybees with RFID (radio frequency identification) tags. Read More
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