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X-rays transformed medicine a century ago by providing a noninvasive way to detect internal structures in the body. Still, they have limitations: X-rays cannot image the body's soft tissues, except with the use of contrast-enhancing agents that must be swallowed or injected, and their resolution is limited.
While 3-D pens and printers are enjoyed by students, artists and makers, innovative American companies are using similar equipment to manufacture aerospace, automotive and medical technologies. The number of technologies customized and created using additive manufacturing processes is growing each year.
Two for the price of one: Single-molecule microscopy simultaneously monitors protein structure and function
(Phys.org) —Proteins accomplish something rather amazing: A protein can have many functions, with a given function being determined by the way they fold into a specific three-dimensional geometry, or conformations. Moreover, the structural transitions form one conformation to another is reversible. However, while these dynamics affect protein conformation and therefore function, and so are critical to a wide range of areas, methods for understanding how proteins behave near surfaces, which is complicated by protein and surface heterogeneities, has remained elusive. Recently, however, scientists at University of Colorado utilized a method known as Single-Molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (SM-FRET) tracking to monitor dynamic changes in protein structure and interfacial behavior on surfaces by single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer, allowing them to explicate changes in protein structure at the single-molecule level. (SM-FRET describes energy transfer between two chromophores – molecular components that determine its color.) In addition, the researchers state that their approach is suitable for studying virtually any protein, thereby providing a framework for developing surfaces and surface modifications with improved biocompatibility.
(Phys.org) —A multinational team led by Chinese researchers in collaboration with U.S. and European partners has successfully demonstrated a novel technique for suppressing instabilities that can cut short the life of controlled fusion reactions. The team, headed by researchers at the Institute of Plasma Physics in the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP), combined the new technique with a method that the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has developed for protecting the walls that surround the hot, charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions.
(Phys.org) —Contrary to many textbook illustrations, electrons aren't just balls floating around an atom. In quantum theory, they're more like little tops, exhibiting "spin," and each creating its own tiny magnetic field.
Russia's first domestically designed smartphone, the YotaPhone, was unveiled in Moscow on Wednesday, featuring an always-on second screen as a unique feature to differentiate it from the plethora of competitors.
(Phys.org) —The spotted wing drosophila, a major pest that targets berries and cherries and other fruits in the United States, Canada and Europe, is itself being targeted, thanks to groundbreaking genome sequencing at the University of California, Davis, and a public-access Web portal hosted at Oregon State University.
(Phys.org) —Hydrogen is a "green" fuel that burns cleanly and can generate electricity via fuel cells. One way to sustainably produce hydrogen is by splitting water molecules using the renewable power of sunlight, but scientists are still learning how to control and optimize this reaction with catalysts. At the National Synchrotron Light Source, a research group has determined key structural information about a potential catalyst, taking a step toward designing an ideal material for the job.
(Phys.org) —UC Berkeley's Tony Barnosky joined climate scientists this morning at a press conference at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., to summarize a new report issued today focusing on the short-term effects of climate change and the need to monitor them closely.
Optical fibers carry data in the form of pulses of light over distances of thousands of miles at amazing speeds. They are one of the glories of modern telecommunications technology. However, their capacity is limited, because the pulses of light need to be lined up one after the other in the fiber with a minimum distance between them so the signals don't interfere with each other. This leaves unused empty space for data in the fiber.
(Phys.org) —A UK company's prototype has shown how cars can be immobilized by blasting electromagnetic waves. RF Safe-Stop is a system that stops engines. Its ability to send electronic pulses out towards targeted vehicles forces those vehicles' engines to cut out. As a non-lethal weapon, the unit can disable the engines of not only cars but also small boats, doing the job, in just seconds, at a distance up to 50m. One suggested defense use, in temporarily disabling a vehicle's electronic systems, would be to thwart drivers using their vehicles as car bombs as well as to defend sensitive locations from cars that refuse to stop.
(Phys.org) —It's going to be a ball when NASA's Dawn spacecraft finally arrives at the dwarf planet Ceres, and mission managers have now inked in the schedule on Dawn's dance card.
(Phys.org) —Astronomers have spotted what appear to be two supermassive black holes at the heart of a remote galaxy, circling each other like dance partners. The incredibly rare sighting was made with the help of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.
Highly insulating triple-pane windows keep a house snug and cozy, but it takes two decades or more for the windows to pay off financially based on utility-bill savings, according to a report by energy efficiency experts at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Bees have a much greater economic value than is widely known, according to a scientific probe into strawberry-growing published on Wednesday.
A star is formed when a large cloud of gas and dust condenses and eventually becomes so dense that it collapses into a ball of gas, where the pressure heats the matter, creating a glowing gas ball – a star is born. New research from the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, shows that a young, newly formed star in the Milky Way had such an explosive growth, that it was initially about 100 times brighter than it is now. The results are published in the scientific journal, Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Like humans, some song sparrows are more effusive than others, at least when it comes to defending their territories. New findings from the University of Washington show that consistent individual differences exist not only for how aggressive individual song sparrows are but also for how much they use their signals to communicate their aggressive intentions.
The private US company SpaceX said it successfully launched on Tuesday its first commercial satellite, designed to provide telecommunications services to China and other Asian countries.
Longtime NASA expert James Hansen has issued a call for new approaches to stop global warming, saying solutions are needed and that currently accepted targets are too dangerous.
Superpedestrian, a Cambridge-based start-up, started making the Copenhagen Wheel available for preorders on Tuesday. According to the company, shipping begins spring 2014. For those following the development of the Copenhagen Wheel, this is news, as the wheel, which is designed to turn ordinary bicycles into smart electric hybrids, first made its debut in 2009 at the UN Climate Change Conference. A key feature of the device is that it can compensate with additional power whenever needed. Riding with the Copenhagen Wheel in place, the user can capture the energy dissipated while braking and cycling and save it for times when a boost is needed.