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May, 2016

  • 23 May

    Right size and right chemistry makes the right stuff for plastics manufacturing

    Plastic manufacturing is an energy-intensive process. Now, research performed in part at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has revealed a way to reduce the energy demand in one key step of plastic manufacturing by using a class of materials that can filter impurities more efficiently than the …

  • 22 May

    Chemists settle longstanding debate on how methane is made biologically

    Like the poet, microbes that make methane are taking chemists on a road less traveled: Of two competing ideas for how microbes make the main component of natural gas, the winning chemical reaction involves a molecule less favored by previous research, something called a methyl radical. Reported today in the …

  • 20 May

    Theorists smooth the way to modeling quantum friction

    Theoretical chemists at Princeton University have pioneered a strategy for modeling quantum friction, or how a particle’s environment drags on it, a vexing problem in quantum mechanics since the birth of the field. The study was published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. “It was truly a most challenging …

  • 19 May

    New model for controlling hot molecules reactions, which are relevant to fusion space exploration and planetary science

    Hot molecules, which are found in extreme environments such as the edges of fusion reactors, are much more reactive than those used to understand reaction studies at ambient temperature. Detailed knowledge of their reactions is not only relevant to modelling nuclear fusion devices; it is also crucial in simulating the …

  • 18 May

    An unexpected finding suggests ways to improve carbon capture materials to clean up fossil fuels

    To make “clean” fossil fuel burning a reality, researchers have to pull carbon dioxide out of the exhaust gases that rise from coal or natural gas power plants and store or reuse it. For the capturing feat, researchers are studying special scrubbing liquids that bind and release the gas, but …

  • 18 May

    Printing metal in midair

    “Flat” and “rigid” are terms typically used to describe electronic devices. But the increasing demand for flexible, wearable electronics, sensors, antennas and biomedical devices has led a team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) to innovate …

  • 17 May

    Speeding up key oxygen-oxygen bond-formation step in water oxidation

    For years, scientists have been trying to emulate photosynthesis, the process by which plants, algae, and some bacteria harness light from the sun to chemically transform water and carbon dioxide into energy that is stored for later use. An artificial version of photosynthesis could provide a clean, renewable source of …

  • 17 May

    Under pressure: New technique could make large, flexible solar panels more feasible

    A new, high-pressure technique may allow the production of huge sheets of thin-film silicon semiconductors at low temperatures in simple reactors at a fraction of the size and cost of current technology. A paper describing the research by scientists at Penn State University publishes, in the journal Advanced Materials. “We …

  • 16 May

    Water molecules break bonds through quantum tunneling

    Water, one of the most common substances on Earth, has served up yet another scientific surprise. In its liquid state, water molecules cling to one another through so-called hydrogen bonding, constantly making and breaking bonds as they jumble about. And within the smallest possible 3D droplet of water, which consists …

  • 16 May

    New ‘second skin’ could zap wrinkles, ease eczema

    There’s new hope for combatting the sags, bags, and wrinkles brought on by time. Today, researchers report that they’ve created a cream that—when rubbed on the skin—forms a transparent, flexible polymer film that restores aging skin’s youthful and elastic properties. Each application of the so-called “second skin” lasts for a day …