25-03-2015   -   Physics

Wed 25 Mar 2015. Researchers have shed new light on the fundamental mechanisms of heat dissipation in graphene and other two-dimensional materials. They have shown that heat can propagate as a wave over very long distances. This is key information for engineering the electronics of tomorrow. In the race to miniaturize electronic components, researchers are challenged with a major problem: the smaller or the faster your device, the more challenging it is to cool it down. One solution to improve the cooling is to use materials with very high thermal conductivity, such as graphene, to quickly dissipate heat and thereby cool down the circuits. Researchers have demonstrated that heat propagates in the form of a wave, just like sound in air. This was up to now a very obscure phenomenon observed in few cases at temperatures close to the absolute zero.Their simulations provide a valuable tool for researchers studying graphene, whether to cool down circuits at the nanoscale, or to replace silicon in tomorrow's electronics. More

  24-03-2015   -   Chemistry

Tue 24 Mar 2015. Chemists develop new way to make cost-effective material for electricity storage. Researchers wanted to find a better way to make coatings that can be painted onto surfaces to conduct electricity or convert electricity into hydrogen fuels. Typically these coatings are developed in extreme conditions with expensive tools and materials. But the researchers developed a technique that allows them to use a consumer grade heat lamp to get the same results. A solution is painted onto a surface and once heated up, it transforms into a catalytic coating. These coatings can be used in a range of technologies, such as flexible electronic devices or to convert electricity into hydrogen fuels. The discovery could have implications for clean energy technologies. More

  26-02-2015   -   Energy

Thu 26 Feb 2015. Renewable energy obtained from wastewater. Researchers have devised an efficient way to obtain electrical energy and hydrogen by using a wastewater treatment process. The proposed system uses bacteria which consumes the organic material and produces electricity, which produces hydrogen, the energy vector of the future. The results point to further developments of this technology at industrial scale. Currently, there are treatments in which wastewater can flow out to the river or sea without causing any environmental problems. These technologies, however, entail high energy costs, mainly in aeration and pumping, and an elevated economic cost in treating the sludge left over from the treatment process. Wastewater contains an elevated amount of chemical energy in the form of organic contaminants. In order to make use of this energy, researchers from around the world study ways to recover it in the form of hydrogen, a process which efficiently eliminates organic matter from wastewater. More

  25-02-2015   -   Physics

Wed 25 Feb 2015. SuperSTEM microscope that can see single atoms is unveiled. The new super powerful electron microscope that can pinpoint the position of single atoms was unveiled at the Science and Technology Research Council's Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire, England. The microscope will help scientists push boundaries even further in fields such as advanced materials, healthcare and power generation. More

  29-01-2015   -   Chemistry

Thu 29 Jan 2015. Unlocking magnetization and polarization simultaneously. Scientists have controlled the structure of a material to simultaneously generate both magnetisation and electrical polarisation, an advance which has potential applications in information storage and processing. Researchers demonstrated that it is possible to unlock these properties in a material which initially displayed neither by making designed changes to its structure. To make a single material that has these two distinct properties - magnetisation and electrical polarisation - is difficult because the electronic requirements for obtaining them in a material are typically contradictory: materials characteristics, such as the crystal structure or the atomic composition, which favour polarisation often disfavour magnetisation. However, materials where polarisation and magnetisation coexist at room temperature are potentially important for low-energy information technology applications. More

  28-01-2015   -   Energy

Wed 28 Jan 2015. Reseachers have developed the first autonomous industrialised public lighting system that works with solar and wind energy. Designed for inter-urban roads, motorways, urban parks and other public areas. This would reduce the cost by 20% compared with conventional public lighting systems. The prototype is 10 metres high and is fitted with a solar panel, a wind turbine and a battery. The turbine runs at a speed of 10 to 200 revolutions per minute (rpm) and has a maximum output of 400 watts (W). The generator that has been developed can start working at a wind speed of only 1.7 metres per second (m/s), whereas current wind turbines need more than 2.5 m/s. More

  24-12-2014   -   Chemistry

Wed 24 Dec 2014. Detecting gases wirelessly and cheaply. chemists have devised a new way to wirelessly detect hazardous gases and environmental pollutants, using a simple sensor that can be read by a smartphone. These inexpensive sensors could be widely deployed, making it easier to monitor public spaces or detect food spoilage in warehouses. Using this system, the researchers have demonstrated that they can detect gaseous ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and cyclohexanone, among other gases. The new sensors are made from modified near-field communication (NFC) tags. These tags, which receive the little power they need from the device reading them, function as wirelessly addressable barcodes and are mainly used for tracking products such as cars or pharmaceuticals as they move through a supply chain, such as in a manufacturing plant or warehouse. NFC tags can be read by any smartphone that has NFC capability. The phones can send out short pulses of magnetic fields at radio frequency (13.56 MHz), inducing an electric current in the circuit on the tag, which relays information to the phone. More

  03-12-2014   -   Nuclear

Wed 3 Dec 2014, New discovery sheds light on nuclear reactor fuel behavior during a severe event. UO_2 is the primary fuel component in the majority of existing nuclear reactors, but little is known about the molten state because of its extremely high melting point. Until now, the extremely high temperature and chemical reactivity of the melt have hindered studies of molten UO_2. This lack of fundamental information has made it difficult to evaluate issues associated with the interaction of molten UO_2 with a reactor's zirconium cladding and steel containment vessel. A new discovery about the atomic structure of uranium dioxide will help scientists select the best computational model to simulate severe nuclear reactor accidents. More

  18-11-2014   -   Agriculture

Tue 18 Nov 2014. Big Data Takes Root in the World of Plant Research. Irish Botanists have launched a database with information that documents significant life events for nearly 600 plant species across the globe. They clubbed together with like-minded individuals working across five different continents to compile the huge database of plant life histories, for which data have been gathered over a near 50-year span. At a time in which climate change and increasing human populations are rapidly re-shaping plant distributions, the researchers hope their COMPADRE Plant/Animal Matrix database http://www.compadre-db.org/ will foster collaborations between scientists and allow them to better answer questions such as how we can conserve the species that are critical for ecosystem services, and which may provide food for billions. More

  03-11-2014   -   Physics

Mon 3 Nov 2014. NASA's Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) mission has succeeded in producing a state of matter known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, a key breakthrough for the instrument leading up to its debut on the International Space Station in late 2016. A Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) is a collection of atoms in a dilute gas that have been lowered to extremely cold temperatures and all occupy the same quantum state, in which all of the atoms have the same energy levels. At a critical temperature, atoms begin to coalesce, overlap and become synchronized like dancers in a chorus line. The resulting condensate is a new state of matter that behaves like a giant -- by atomic standards -- wave. More

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