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Science

Energy

Nanowire battery electrode powers through hundreds of thousands of charge cycles

With high conductivity and a large surface area, nanowires have become quite the candidate for an advanced battery material. But at thousands of times thinner than a human hair, their delicate nature often causes them to fracture throughout the battery cycle. By designing a nanowire-based electrode with a special protective coating, researchers now claim to have overcome this limitation, which could lead to batteries able to withstand hundreds of thousands of recharge cycles.Read More

Materials

Coal-based electronics: A potential usurper to silicon's throne?

Graphene may be the poster child of thin film electronics, and silicon the current king of materials for semiconductors, but if scientists from MIT get their way, graphene's humble cousin, coal, could soon be giving them both a run for their money. For the first time, electronic devices have been created from thin films of coal and the research points to a range of uses that this cheap and abundant material could have in electronic devices, solar panels, and batteries.Read More

Environment

Off color: 93% of Great Barrier Reef struck by mass coral bleaching event

Last month, an aerial survey of the northern section of Australia's Great Barrier Reef returned some pretty grim results, finding that the World Heritage Site had been hit with the worst coral bleaching event in its history. The researchers have now continued their work along this magnificent stretch of coastline and the news isn't getting any better. The results of their end-to-end study now reveal that 93 percent of the reef has been affected by bleaching as a result of warmer sea temperatures in the area.Read More

Materials

Metamaterial paves way for thermophotovoltaic cells that generate electricity in the dark

Using a new optical magnetic metamaterial claimed to have revolutionary properties, physicists from the Australian National University (ANU) and the University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley) have produced a prototype device that could be used in super-efficient thermophotovoltaic cells. These cells do not need direct sunlight to generate electricity, but instead absorb infrared radiation to convert to electric current and, unlike conventional photovoltaic cells, can do so even in the dark.Read More

Science

Scientists pinpoint where in the brain we process facial expressions

Recognizing facial expressions is something that we do naturally, without any thought. However, whenever we smile or frown, or express any number of emotions using our faces, we move a large number of muscles in a complex manner. While we're not conscious of it, when you're looking at someone making a facial expression, there's a whole part of our brains that deals with decoding the information conveyed by those muscles. Now, researchers at the Ohio State University have worked to pinpoint exactly where in the brain that processing occurs. Read More

Medical

Non-invasive treatment produces 98 percent prostate cancer cure rate

Traditional approaches to tackling prostate cancer are generally quite effective, with a 80 to 90 percent cure rate, but a new method, known as Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) could revolutionize the practice. The results of an extensive five-year study have now been published, showing that the method, which requires far fewer hospital visits than conventional radiation therapy, has a cure rate of 98.6 percent.Read More

Science

Fermi telescope helps close in on the origin of gravitational waves

Astrophysicists made history last year when they detected gravitational waves – the elusive ripples in space-time that were first theorized by Albert Einstein as part of his theory of general relativity in 1916. Early efforts failed to pinpoint the visible light component of the chaotic event that triggered the waves. But now data from NASA's Fermi telescope has reduced the search area by around two-thirds, which will help scientists understand more about the nature of the event and improve their systems for detecting future gravitational wave events. Read More

Environment

Semiconductive fabric soaks up oil spills while fighting bacteria and pollutants

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have been catastrophic in many ways, but if there's any silver lining to the disaster it's the efforts to find better ways to better extract oil from water that emerged in the aftermath. The latest candidate to emerge in this area is a multipurpose fabric covered in tiny semi-conducting rods, affording it a unique set of properties that could see it used to deal with everything from water decontamination to wiping down your kitchen counter.Read More

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