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Biology

Dramatic 3D images reveal super-small motors that drive bacteria

When you want to get together with friends or family, chances are you employ a motor. That is to say, you likely get into a car or on some form of public transport to arrive at a meeting point. Bacteria really aren't very different. They have various means of getting around, but they all involve some kind of biological motor — and those motors have just been imaged in dramatic and colorful 3D by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).Read More

Space

The Solar System may really have nine planets

There's good news for those who were annoyed when Pluto was knocked off the list of planets. According to a pair of scientists at Caltech, there may actually be nine planets in the Solar System after all. Researchers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown say that a planet ten times the mass of Earth may be circling the Sun in a highly elliptical orbit 20 times the distance of Neptune or 36 billion mi (60 billion km), with a year of 10,000 to 20,000 Earth years.Read More

Space

Novel theory explains carbon levels in the modern Martian atmosphere

Scientists believe that Mars once played host to a much warmer and wetter climate, but for that to be the case it must have once had a thicker atmosphere. There's a big problem with that theory, though, with detected levels of carbon not playing nice with atmospheric loss theories. Now, a joint team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) believes it may have solved the problem, with a new theory that explains the issue by means of two simultaneous mechanisms.Read More

Physics

New and unusual phase of matter could shed light on high-temperature superconductivity

Physicists working at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have discovered a new phase of matter with a highly unusual arrangement of electrons that could see the creation of innovative electronic devices with novel functionalities never before considered. Not quantifiable as a conventional metal, an insulator, or a type of magnet, this previously unknown state may also help answer a range of fundamental questions in the field of "high-temperature" superconductivity.Read More

Aircraft

Additive could keep jet fuel from exploding in crashes

Living through an airliner crash involves more than just surviving the initial impact – many people are also killed by the flames and smoke that follow when the jet fuel ignites. Researchers at Caltech, however, are trying to minimize the chances of that second part happening. They've developed an additive that helps reduce the intensity of postimpact fuel fires.Read More

Science

Ultrathin metasurface lenses do things conventional optics can't

Once, the only way to manipulate light was with the use of a transparent glass or plastic lens whose shape and makeup determined such things as focus, magnification, and polarity. However, to incorporate all of these properties in the one optical system required a large and complex collection of multiple lenses to achieve. Now researchers working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a flat silicon metamaterial lens that manages all of these thing in a microminiaure device that electromagnetically controls the properties of any light passing it.Read More

Space

Brown dwarf aurora may help characterize distant exoplanets

The discovery of a powerful aurora surrounding a distant failed star may in future aid astronomers in their hunt for habitable planets. The aurora is the first to be discovered around a brown dwarf, known as LSRJ 1835+3259 (LSRJ). It's a type of star that shares many characteristics with known exoplanets, and the technique used to observe the phenomenon could one day be a factor in determining whether a planet could sustain life.Read More

Space

Astronomers observe origin of Type la supernova

An international team of astronomers from Europe, Israel and the United States has succeeded in shedding light on the origin of Type la supernovae – powerful nuclear explosions in deep space that allow us to chart the vast distances between galaxies. It is known that a white dwarf star is responsible for creating the distinctive, intensely bright explosion, but the cause of the supernovae are still a topic of hot debate.Read More

Electronics

New chip could turn phone cameras into high-res 3D scanners

As if smartphones can't already do enough, soon they may be able to scan three-dimensional objects and send the resultant high-resolution 3D images to a 3D printer that produces hyper-accurate replicas. This comes thanks to a small and inexpensive device called a nanophotonic coherent imager (NCI), which was developed by scientists at Caltech. The NCI could add 3D imaging to a variety of other devices and applications such as improving motion sensitivity in human machine interfaces and driverless cars.Read More

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