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Science

Sound waves used to boost intensity of light on a silicon chip

Using a newly-developed waveguide, scientists at Yale have created a method to significantly increase the power of laser light on a silicon chip by boosting it with sound waves. The researchers believe that this new device could have practical uses in commercial technologies, including more efficient fiber-optic communications and better data signal processing. Read More

Materials

Scientists accidentally create nanorods that harvest water from the air

Learning from your mistakes is a key life lesson, and it's one that researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) can attest to. After unintentionally creating carbon-rich nanorods, the team realized its accidental invention behaves weirdly with water, demonstrating a 20-year old theory and potentially paving the way to low-energy water harvesting systems and sweat-removing fabrics.Read More

Space

Kepler spies largest exoplanet yet that orbits two stars

Planets that orbit two stars have traditionally been difficult to detect. Despite decades of suspicion, we didn't even spot our first one until 2011 and even now their irregular orbits make life tricky for those in the planet-hunting game. NASA has today confirmed the discovery of the largest of these circumbinary planets, the imaginatively named Kepler-1647 b, some 3,700 light years away. Read More

Environment

Shaken, not stirred: How climate change can upset the chemistry of freshwater lakes

Much like James Bond's favorite cocktails, freshwater lakes need to be shaken up in order to make sure vital ingredients are evenly distributed within. Without a giant cocktail shaker at its disposal, nature carries out this task by way of big storms in the colder months that turn over the bodies of water and preserve the health of the ecosystem. But scientists are now warning that rising surface temperatures may bring an end to this, which would give algae new rein over these lakes and seriously threaten fish populations and vital freshwater resources.Read More

Medical

Pacemaker for the tongue helps apnea patients breathe normally

For years, one of the primary ways to treat patients with obstructive sleep apnea was through the use of a device known as a continuous positive airway pressure – or CPAP – machine, which forces air through the nasal passages to interrupt dangerous pauses in breathing while sleeping. For people can't tolerate the machine, a new chest implant that sends electrical pulses to a nerve in the tongue promises healthier rest, as reported in a new University of Pennsylvania (U Penn) study.Read More

Materials

Conductive thin film clears the way for improved solar cells

Researchers at the University of Korea and the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a new thin film material that packs a unique combination of features: it's highly electrically conductive, bendable, stretchable, and almost entirely transparent. The film could help build more efficient solar panels, self-heating smart windows, flexible displays, and high-performance cooling surfaces.Read More

Science

Scientists design and build new energy-carrying particles

In the mysterious microscopic realm where the electromagnetic fields of light and matter intimately intermingle as they exchange energy, plasmons, excitons, and other particles with unexpected and usual properties abound. Now physicists have created a new set of energy-carrying particles to add to this range. Dubbed "topological plexcitons," these new particles show promise in greatly enhancing energy flows for solar cells and nanoscale photonic circuitry.Read More

Science

Robotic microscope locks on to wiggly worm's brain

Microscopes are an indispensable scientific instrument, but they don't do much good if the object under study keeps crawling out of view. To keep things in focus, a team of scientists from Osaka University and Tohoku University led by Professor Koichi Hashimoto has developed a new robotic microscope that automatically tracks moving objects as part of a study of brain activity.Read More

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