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Spiky 'Hedgehog Particles' for Safer Paints, Fewer VOC Emissions

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A new process that can sprout microscopic spikes on nearly any type of particle may lead to more environmentally friendly paints and a variety of other innovations.

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'Bulletproof' Battery: Kevlar Membrane for Safer, Thinner Lithium Rechargeables

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New battery technology from the University of Michigan should be able to prevent the kind of fires that grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliners in 2013.

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Nanoshuttle Wear and Tear: It’s the Mileage, Not the Age

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As nanomachine design advances, researchers are moving from wondering if the nanomachine works to how long it will work—an important question as there are so many potential applications, e.g., for medical uses including drug delivery and early diagnosis. Columbia Engineering Professor Henry Hess observed a molecular shuttle powered by kinesin motor proteins and found it to degrade when operating, marking the first time degradation has been studied in detail in an active, autonomous nanomachine.

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Self-Assembled Nanotextures Create Antireflective Surface on Silicon Solar Cells

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Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory show that etching a nanoscale texture onto silicon creates an antireflective surface that works as well as state-of-the-art thin-film multilayer antireflective coatings for solar cells.

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Light Replaces the Needle

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Empa and the University Hospital Zurich have joined forces to develop a sensor that gages the blood sugar through skin contact. And best of all: No blood samples are necessary, not even to calibrate the sensor. “Glucolight” is initially to be used in premature babies to avoid hypoglycemia and subsequent brain damage.

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UW Computer Scientists Enhance Robotic Manufacturing

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Manufacturers have begun experimenting with a new generation of “cobots” designed to work side-by-side with humans, and UW-Madison researchers are playing an important role in making these human-robot collaborations more natural and efficient. Bilge Mutlu, an assistant professor of computer sciences, is working with counterparts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to determine best practices for effectively integrating human-robot teams within manufacturing environments. Their research is funded by a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of its National Robotics Initiative program.

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University of Texas at Austin Expert Available to Talk About Oil Prices and the Keystone Pipeline

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New High-Speed 3D Microscope—Scape—Gives Deeper View of Living Things

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Columbia Engineering professor Elizabeth Hillman has developed SCAPE, a new microscope that images living things in 3D at very high speeds. Her approach uses a simple, single-objective imaging geometry that requires no sample mounting or translation, making it possible to image freely moving living samples. SCAPE’s ability to perform real-time 3D imaging at cellular resolution in behaving organisms could be transformative for biomedical and neuroscience research. (Study published on Nature Photonics's website 1/19/2015.)

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Humanity Has Exceeded 4 of 9 ‘Planetary Boundaries,’ According to Researchers

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An international team of researchers says climate change, the loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, and altered biogeochemical cycles like phosphorus and nitrogen runoff have all passed beyond levels that put humanity in a “safe operating space.” Civilization has crossed four of nine so-called planetary boundaries as the result of human activity, according to a report published today in Science by the 18-member research team.

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Chemical Dial Controls Attraction Between Water-Repelling Molecules

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A group of University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers has provided new insights on hydrophobic interactions within complex systems. In a study published today in the journal Nature, the researchers show how the nearby presence of polar (water-attracted, or hydrophilic) substances can change the way the nonpolar hydrophobic groups want to stick to each other.