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A metallic case called a hohlraum holds the fuel capsule for the NIF experiments (Photo: E...

In a perfect example of beating swords into plowshares, a team of scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California reached a milestone in the quest for practical fusion power using a process designed for the development and testing of nuclear weapons. The announcement in the February 12 issue of Nature claims that the team used the world’s most powerful laser barrage to produce a controlled fusion reaction where more energy was extracted from the fuel than was put into it.  Read More

A bottle of beer is cooled using the new magnetic refrigeration system developed by GE

The fridge is the most common of common household appliances. Despite improvements in efficiency over the years, they remain one of the biggest users of electricity in the home, relying on chemical refrigerant and a compressor to transfer heat from the inside to the outside of the fridge. GE researchers have now developed a new type of refrigeration technology using magnets that is more environmentally friendly and is predicted to be 20 to 30 percent more efficient that current technology ... and it could be in household fridges by the end of the decade.  Read More

Brajendra Kumar Sharma, center, with research chemist Dheeptha Murali, left, and process c...

Despite efforts to limit their use through implementation of charges or bans, billions of plastic bags continue to clog landfills, waterways and the world's oceans every year. Already a potential source for carbon fiber and carbon nanotubes, researchers have provided another reason not to throw the ubiquitous bags away by converting them into a range of petroleum products.  Read More

A moly sulfide nanocluster on a graphite surface form the electrode that allows it to form...

Chemical engineers have found a 30-year-old recipe that stands to make future hydrogen production cheaper and greener. The recipe has led researchers to a way to liberate hydrogen from water via electrolysis using molybdenum sulfide – moly sulfide for short – as the catalyst in place of the expensive metal platinum.  Read More

The Concordia Research Station's inhospitable setting makes it useful for studying the eff...

The Concordia Research Station, a joint interest between the French IPEV polar institute and the Italian PNRA Antarctic program, is by all accounts one of the most isolated and inhospitable locations available to humanity, requiring more time to reach than it takes to travel to the International Space Station (ISS). The European Space Agency (ESA) takes advantage of the facility's unique location and conditions, conducting extensive research into the implications of long-term space flight on the human body. Read on as we take a look at the conditions at the station, and the importance of the research being carried out there.  Read More

A piece of dynamic polyurea, that has healed up after being cut in two

Stretchy, self-healing paints and other coatings recently took a step closer to common use, thanks to research being conducted at the University of Illinois. Scientists there have used "off-the-shelf" components to create a polymer that melds back together after being cut in half, without the addition of catalysts or other chemicals.  Read More

Yu Wang and Katie Zhong, with their gum-inspired electrolyte

Although high-capacity lithium batteries make many of today's mobile electronics possible, they do have one flaw – they occasionally catch fire. This can happen when they overheat, and their liquid acid electrolyte ignites and leaks out. Now, however, scientists at Washington State University have created a gummy electrolyte material that could make such fires a thing of the past.  Read More

An electronic tongue is able to distinguish between varieties of beer with a success rate ...

When we first covered the electronic tongue developed by a team led by Professor Manel Del Valle at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, it was enjoying a glass or two of cava wine. Now the researchers have turned to beer, and report that their electronic tongue can correctly identify different beer varieties with a success rate of almost 82 percent.  Read More

Scientists are investigating BO as an additional form of biometric identification (Photo: ...

Move over, fingerprints, iris scans and facial recognition, because a new form of biometric identification may soon be joining you – body odor. According to scientists at Spain's Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, peoples' unique scent signatures remain steady enough over time to allow for an ID accuracy rate of approximately 85 percent.  Read More

Polymers similar to the proteins found in this Arctic cod could dramatically improve the c...

How is it possible that cold-blooded fish such as cod can live in Arctic waters without just freezing solid? As it turns out, they've got proteins in their bloodstream that act as a sort of antifreeze. British scientists have now copied the fashion in which those proteins work, to create a process by which donated human blood could be frozen for storage, then quickly made available for transfusion.  Read More

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