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A closeup of the tiny thermal PV system, in which a carbon nanotube layer absorbs solar en...

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

A sample of NaCl3, which was considered 'forbidden' in classical chemistry (Photo: Alexand...

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

A rendering of the nanometer-scale DNA clamp, that recognizes genetic mutations more stron...

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

Photographs often contain more information than we think (Photo: University of York)

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

The carbon nanotube coating (inset), applied to polyurethane foam (Image: Kim/NIST)

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

Researchers at the Institute for Molecules and Materials at Radboud University Nijmegen us...

Previously, chemists have managed to create artificial cell walls and developed synthetic DNA to produce self-replicating, synthetic bacterial cells. Now, for the first time, researchers have used polymers to produce an artificial eukaryotic cell capable of undertaking multiple chemical reactions through working organelles.  Read More

A modifier protein that can be used to interfere with the plant's growth repression protei...

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

Approximately 5,000 bees are receiving RFID tags like this one

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

Scientists have created piglets that glow green under a black-light (see the video below)

Scientists in Guangdong Province, Southern China, have created piglets that glow green under a black-light. The glow is caused by a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA that was transferred into the embryos within the sow, as a marker to show that the transfer of genetic material had been successful.  Read More

Researchers are claiming a record efficiency of 15.6 percent for a new graphene-based sola...

In 2012, researchers from the University of Florida reported a record efficiency of 8.6 percent for a prototype solar cell consisting of a wafer of silicon coated with a layer of graphene doped with trifluoromethanesulfonyl-amide (TFSA). Now another team is claiming a new record efficiency of 15.6 percent for a graphene-based solar cell by ditching the silicon all together.  Read More

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