AI machine learning presents a roadmap to define new materials for any need, with implications in green energy and waste reduction.
Scientists and institutions dedicate more resources each year to the discovery of novel materials to fuel the world. As natural resources diminish and the demand for higher value and advanced performance products grows, researchers have increasingly looked to nanomaterials.
Nanoparticles have already found their way into applications ranging from energy storage and conversion to quantum computing and therapeutics. But given the vast compositional and structural tunability nanochemistry enables, serial experimental approaches to identify new materials impose insurmountable limits on discovery.
But strangely, this green shade disappears before it reaches the one or two tails trailing behind the comet.
Astronomers, scientists, and chemists have been puzzled by this mystery for almost 90 years. In 1930, it was suggested that this phenomenon was due to sunlight destroying diatomic carbon. The carbon is created from the interaction between sunlight and organic matter on the comet’s head. However, due to the instability of dicarbon, this theory has been hard to test.
Scientists at UNSW Sydney have finally found a way to test this chemical reaction in a laboratory – and in doing so, has proven this 90-year-old theory correct. They solved this mystery with the help of a vacuum chamber, a lot of lasers, and one powerful cosmic reaction.
Some engineered living materials can combine the strength of run-of-the-mill building materials with the responsiveness of living systems. Think self-healing concrete, paint that changes color when a specific chemical is detected or material that could reproduce and fill in a crack when one forms. This would revolutionize construction and maintenance, with wide-reaching economic and environmental implications.
Seeing this new category of adaptive materials on consumer shelves may be a ways off. Still, critical early research from the University of Minnesota sheds new light on this exciting advancement, which shows promise beyond building materials, including biomedical applications.
In a new study in Nature Communications, researchers from the College of Biological Sciences demonstrate how to transform silica — a common material used in plaster and other construction materials — into a self-assembling, dynamic and resilient material.
And it’s a hybrid mix of hydrogen and electric power.
Global mining company Anglo American is experimenting with hydrogen to power the giant mining trucks.
Mining trucks consume 35.3 gallons (134 liters) of diesel per hour with their enormous weight of around 220 metric tonnes and therefore emitting vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
In order to reduce the mining industry’s carbon footprint, Anglo American is focused on mining trucks.
The company is collaborating with several partners, such as Engie, NPROXX, First Mode, Williams Advanced Engineering, Ballard, ABB, Nel, and Plug Power, to develop a hybrid mining vehicle, fueled with hydrogen and electricity.
The truck will be hybrid, with a hydrogen fuel cell providing roughly half of the power and the other half by a battery pack.
The truck can also harvest regenerative energy created when driving downhill and braking, which is stored in the battery and extends the range of the vehicle.
Instead of using diesel as a source of power for the motor, hydrogen enters the fuel cell and mixes with oxygen to create water in a chemical reaction catalyzed by platinum, which generates the necessary electricity to power the motors that drive the wheels.
Humans have been looking at the stars for millenia, but it was just over 30 years ago that the Hubble Space Telescope launched, and we started getting a really good look at what’s out there. Hubble was beset with more than a decade of setbacks before its launch in 1990. Then, just after taking its position orbiting Earth, astronomers realized that something wasn’t right. It took engineers another three years to fix a manufacturing error that had left one of the mirrors misshapen by one-millionth of a meter. Ultimately, that imperfection was enough to render the telescope’s mirrors effectively useless. The long wait was worth it, though. The Hubble enabled dozens of breakthroughs in astronomy. It also took beautiful pictures. A recent version of its famous “Hubble Deep Field” image includes galaxies that are 13 billion lightyears away, making them the farthest objects ever photographed.
NASA is scheduled to soon launch what it calls the “successor” to Hubble: the James Webb Space Telescope. Like the Hubble, the Webb telescope is also designed to take extraordinarily precise measurements of “Ultraviolet and visible light emitted by the very first luminous objects [and which] has been stretched or ‘redshifted’ by the universe’s continual expansion and arrives today as infrared light.” Webb will also study objects closer to home, such as planets and other bodies in our solar system with the aim of determining more about their origin and evolution. Webb will also observe exoplanets located in their stars’ habitable zones, to search for signatures of habitability, and to learn about their chemical compositions.
To solve the mysteries of how learning and memory occur, Johns Hopkins Medicine scientists have created a system to track millions of connections among brain cells in mice—all at the same time—when the animals’ whiskers are tweaked, an indicator for learning.
Researchers say the new tool gives an unprecedented view of brain cell activity in a synapse—a tiny space between two brain cells, where molecules and chemicals are passed back and forth.
“It was science fiction to be able to image nearly every synapse in the brain and watch a change in behavior,” says Richard Huganir, Ph.D., Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and Psychological and Brain Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University and director of the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
General anesthesia doesn’t just work on your brain or on your mind. It works on your consciousness. By altering the delicate electrochemical balance within the neural circuitry inside your head, the basic ground state of what it is to “be” is — temporarily — abolished. In this process lies one of the greatest remaining mysteries in science, and in philosophy too.
Somehow, within each of our brains, the combined activity of billions of neurons, each one a tiny biological machine, is giving rise to a conscious experience. And not just any conscious experience, your conscious experience, right here, right now.
Based on an electrochemical approach, the process can be used to fabricate copper objects as small as 25 nanometers in diameter. For reference, an average human hair is around 3000x thicker at 75 microns.
According to the research team led by Dr Dmitry Momotenko, the new 3D printing technique has potential applications in microelectronics, sensor technology, and battery technology.
The ultra-slippery nature of a two-dimensional material called magnetene could be down to quantum effects rather than the mechanics of physical layers sliding across each other, say researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada and Rice University in the US. The result sheds light on the physics of friction at the microscopic scale and could aid the development of reduced-friction lubricants for tiny, implantable devices.
Two-dimensional materials are usually obtained by shaving atomically thin slices from a sample of the bulk material. In graphene, a 2D form of carbon that was the first material to be isolated using this method, the friction between adjacent layers is very low because they are bound together by weak van der Waals forces, and therefore slide past each other like playing cards fanning out in a deck. For magnetene, the bulk material is magnetite, a form of iron oxide with the chemical formula Fe3O4that exists as a 3D lattice in the natural ore. The bonds between layers are much stronger in magnetene than in graphene, however, so its similarly low-friction nature was a bit of a mystery.
On October 15, 2020, the European Union imposed sanctions on six senior Russian officials and a leading Russian research institute over the alleged use of a nerve agent from the Novichok family in the poisoning of opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Russia dismissed as baseless the EU’s allegations that it had not complied with its obligations, under the convention it ratified in 1997, to discontinue its chemical weapons program. Russian officials said the country had nothing to do with Navalny’s poisoning and implied that if any party had used nerve agents on him, it would have been Western secret services. Vladimir Putin, who in 2017 had personally watched over the destruction of the last remaining Russian chemical weapons stash, ridiculed the findings of four separate laboratories, confirmed by the OPCW, that a Novichok-type organophosphate poison was identified in Alexey Navalny’s blood.
Two years earlier, in 2018, Russia had dismissed as unfounded allegations that its military intelligence had used Novichok to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Similarly, Russia had then stated that it had no ongoing chemical weapons program and had destroyed all of its prior arsenals; while alluding that UK agencies may have used their own stash of Novichok to poison the Skripals in a false-flag operation.
A year-long investigation by Bellingcat and its investigative partners The Insider and Der Spiegel, with contributing investigations from RFE/RL, has discovered evidence that Russia continued its Novichok development program long beyond the officially announced closure date. Data shows that military scientists, who were involved with the original chemical weapons program while it was still run by the Ministry of Defense, were dispersed into several research entities which continued collaborating among one another in a clandestine, distributed R&D program. While some of these institutes were integrated with the Ministry of Defense – but camouflaged their work as research into antidotes to organophosphate poisoning – other researchers moved to civilian research institutes but may have continued working, under cover of civilian research, on the continued program.