16-05-2016   -   Chemistry

Mon 16 May 2016. Radioactive isotopes reveal age of oil and gas wastewater spills. Spills from oil and gas operations can contaminate local water and soil with high levels of toxic chemicals, salts and radioactivity, but in many cases there is insufficient information to determine how long ago the spill occurred and identify its source. Tests in soils affected by oil and gas wastewater spills verify that the new methods can determine the age of spills and identify their origins, based on the variations of radium isotopes and their decay products found in contaminated soils or sediments. Radium's decay products include thorium and lead isotopes. More

  19-04-2016   -   Energy

Tue 19 Apr 2016. New Perovskite-Silicon Tandem Solar Cell Efficiency Record of 25.5%. Scientists used the novel solar material to create a hybrid solar cell with an efficiency of 25.5 percent the highest level ever recorded. As recently as 2009, perovskite solar cells barely delivered efficiencies above 4 percent. The researchers used a three-tiered approach in creating their hybrid solar cell. The top layer, consisting of light-absorbing perovskite, captures short wavelength photons, while a bottom layer coated with silicon harvests longer wavelength photons. More

  18-04-2016   -   Chemistry

Mon 18 Apr 2016. A new chemical method to clean contaminated groundwater. Researchers ran a series of experiments in a laboratory setting using water containing uranium present in contaminated groundwater at various sites in the United States as a legacy of Cold War-era processing and waste disposal activities associated with nuclear materials production. Calcium and phosphate work together chemically to immobilize uranium, which is shown to lead to increased cancer risk and liver damage in humans when ingested. More

  13-04-2016   -   Physics

Wed 13 Apr 2016. Light and sound waves used to control electron states. Physicists have combined light and sound to control electron states in an atom-like system, providing a new tool in efforts to move toward quantum-computing systems. New research was done on diamond topped with a layer of zinc oxide containing electrical conductors and performed at a temperature of 8 degrees Kelvin, just above absolute zero. The research focused on a goal of quantum-computing researchtaking advantage of defects in diamond known as nitrogen vacancy centers, where a nitrogen atom substitutes for a carbon atom adjacent to a missing carbon atom. These defects are, in effect, artificial atoms that can be used as qubits. More

  21-03-2016   -   Nuclear

Mon 21 Mar 2016. Air Data Can Be Used to Reconstruct Radiological Releases. New research demonstrates that experts can use data from air sampling technology to not only detect radiological releases, but to accurately quantify the magnitude and source of the release. This has applications for nuclear plant safety, nuclear security, and nuclear nonproliferation monitoring. More

  15-03-2016   -   Medicine

Thu 15 Mar 2016. Ultra-fast detection of breast density using MRT helps determine breast cancer risks. Researchers have developed a method for the precise measurement of breast density using magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) examinations with the Dixon sequence for a better assessment of the risk, in addition to an earlier breast cancer diagnosis. A method was developed whereby an objective measurement of breast density, with fully automatic software and higher precision and reproducibility, has been detected, and showed that a prototype currently exists. It works practically at the touch of a button and only takes a few minutes. There is also no need to provide contrast material. More

  06-03-2016   -   Chemistry

Sun 6 Mar 2016. Researchers devise one-step process to convert carbon dioxide and water directly into renewable liquid hydrocarbon fuels. This simple and inexpensive new sustainable fuels technology could potentially help limit global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to make fuel. The process also reverts oxygen back into the system as a byproduct of the reaction, with a clear positive environmental impact. It is the first time light and heat are used to synthesize liquid hydrocarbons in a single stage reactor from carbon dioxide and water. Concentrated light drives the photochemical reaction, which generates high-energy intermediates and heat to drive thermochemical carbon-chain-forming reactions, thus producing hydrocarbons in a single-step process. More

  24-02-2016   -   Physics

Wed 24 Feb 2016. New record in nanoelectronics at ultralow temperatures. The first ever measurement of the temperature of electrons in a nanoelectronic device a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero was demonstrated. This is a notable achievement that has finally broken through the 4 millikelvin barrier, which has been the record in such structures for over 15 years. This breakthrough paves the way towards sub-millikelvin nanoelectronic circuits and is another step on the way to develop new quantum technologies including quantum computers and sensors. Quantum technologies use quantum mechanical effects to outperform any possible technology based only on classical physics. More

  27-01-2016   -   Physics

Wed 27 Jan 2016. Physicists develop a cooling system for the processors of the future. Researchers have found a solution to the problem of the overheating of active plasmonic components for high-speed data transfer in the optoelectronic microprocessors that are tens of thousands of times faster than the microprocessors currently in use today. It was demonstrated how to efficiently cool optoelectronic chips using industry-standard heatsinks despite the high heat generation in active plasmonic components. Based on the results of numerical simulations, it was concluded that if an optoelectronic chip with active plasmonic waveguides is placed in air, its temperature will increase by several hundred degrees Celsius, which will cause the device to malfunction. Multi-layered thermal interfaces of nano- and micrometer thickness, combined with simple cooling systems, can reduce the temperature of the chip from several hundred degrees to approximately ten degrees with respect to the ambient temperature. This opens the prospects for the implementation of high-performance optoelectronic microprocessors in a wide range of applications, including supercomputers and compact electronic devices. More

  21-12-2015   -   Chemistry

Mon 21 Dec 2015. A new course for extracting uranium from seawater. An ultra-high-resolution technique used for the first time to study polymer fibers that trap uranium in seawater may cause researchers to rethink the best methods to harvest this potential fuel for nuclear reactors. Despite the low concentration of uranium and the presence of many other metals extracted from seawater, reserachers were able to investigate the local atomic environment around uranium and better understand how it is bound by the polymer fibers using X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS) spectroscopy. More

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