Unlocking the Secrets of Ebola

Scientists have identified a set of biomarkers that indicate which patients infected with the Ebola virus are most at risk of dying from the disease. The results come from one of the most in-depth studies ever of blood samples from patients with Ebola.

Scientists Make First Observations of How a Meteor-Like Shock Turns Silica Into Glass

Studies at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have made the first real-time observations of how silica - an abundant material in the Earth's crust - easily transforms into a dense glass when hit with a massive shock wave like one generated from a meteor impact.

How Fungal Enzymes Break Down Plant Cell Walls

Lignocellulose-degrading enzyme complexes could improve biofuel production.

Stretching to Perfection of 2-D Semiconductors

Scientists use heat and mismatched surfaces to stretch films that can potentially improve the efficient operation of devices.

Simple is Beautiful in Quantum Computing

Defect spins in diamond were controlled with a simpler, geometric method, leading to faster computing.

Replace or Wait? Study Says Swap All Incandescent Bulbs Now, but Hold on to CFLs, older LEDs

LED light bulbs are getting cheaper and more energy efficient every year. So, does it make sense to replace less-efficient bulbs with the latest light-emitting diodes now, or should you wait for future improvements and even lower costs?

Are Petite Poplars the Future of Biofuels? UW Studies Say Yes

A University of Washington team is trying to make poplar a viable competitor in the biofuels market by testing the production of younger poplar trees that could be harvested more frequently -- after only two or three years -- instead of the usual 10- to 20-year cycle.

UCI Chemists' Solar-Powered Device Generates Electricity Through Ion Transport

By binding photosensitive dyes to common plastic membranes and adding water, chemists at the University of California, Irvine have made a new type of solar power generator. The device is similar to familiar silicon photovoltaic cells but differs in a fundamental way: Instead of being produced via electrons, its electricity comes from the motion of ions.

Volatility Surprises Arise in Removing Excess Hydrogen

Sometimes during catalytic hydrogenation, the partially hydrogenated products become volatile, melting and evaporating away before they can bind to more hydrogen atoms. Now, researchers have explored how and why this volatility varies during hydrogenation, suggesting that a previously underappreciated effect from carbon-hydrogen bonds in the molecule is the main culprit. The new analysis, published in The Journal of Chemical Physics, can help chemists identify the ideal conditions needed for catalytic hydrogenation so they can better remove excess hydrogen.

X-Rays Reveal the Biting Truth About Parrotfish Teeth

A new study has revealed a chain mail-like woven microstructure that gives parrotfish teeth their remarkable ability to chomp on coral all day long - the structure could serve as a blueprint for designing ultra-durable synthetic materials.

Electron Backscatter Diffraction Yields Microstructure Insights

Soft magnetic core engineering plays a key role in high-efficiency electric motors, but for higher-frequency applications, soft magnetic composites are also promising. Each stage of motor construction affects the material's microstructure, and understanding the details of the microstructure is paramount to reaching higher efficiency for electrical motors. In this week's AIP Advances, researchers created an advanced characterization method to closely examine microscale structural characteristics and changes during manufacturing processes using electron backscatter diffraction.

Are Multiple H-Coils Needed to Accurately Measure Magnetic Field Strengths?

Is more always better? Researchers in Kyoto, Japan, sought to find out if that was the case for measuring magnetic field strengths. Their paper, appearing this week in AIP Advances, from AIP Publishing, examines whether a double H-coil method or a single H-coil method is a more accurate way to measure magnetic field strength.

To Find New Biofuel Enzymes, It Can Take a Microbial Village

In search of new plant enzymes? Try looking in compost. Researchers at JBEI have demonstrated the importance of microbial communities as a source of stable enzymes that could be used to convert plants to biofuels. This approach yields robust enzymes that researchers can't easily obtain from isolates.

'Criticality' Experiments Enhance Nuclear Safety

Livermore researchers conducted the first Livermore-designed "criticality" experiment in 40 years. It was one in a series that aims to help ensure plutonium operations - which are key to assessing the U.S. nuclear stockpile without testing - continue to be conducted safely.

Neutrons Probe Oxygen-Generating Enzyme for a Greener Approach to Clean Water

An international researcher team used neutron analysis at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, x-ray crystallography and other techniques to study chlorite dismutase, an enzyme that breaks down the environmental pollutant chlorite into harmless byproducts. The results shed light on the catalytic process and open possibilities for bioremediation.

SLAC X-ray Laser Reveals How Extreme Shocks Deform a Metal's Atomic Structure

When hit by a powerful shock wave, materials can change their shape - a property known as plasticity - yet keep their lattice-like atomic structure. Now scientists have used the X-ray laser at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to see, for the first time, how a material's atomic structure deforms when shocked by pressures nearly as extreme as the ones at the center of the Earth.

Fuel Cell X-Ray Study Details Effects of Temperature and Moisture on Performance

To find the right balance of moisture and temperature in a specialized type of hydrogen fuel cell, Berkeley Lab scientists have used X-rays to explore the inner workings of its components at tiny scales.

Plasma From Lasers Can Shed Light on Cosmic Rays, Solar Eruptions

A team of researchers led by PPPL physicist Will Fox recently used lasers to create conditions that mimic astrophysical behavior. The laboratory technique enables the study of outer-space-like plasma in a controlled and reproducible environment.

New Routes to Renewables: Sandia Speeds Transformation of Biofuel Waste Into Wealth

A Sandia National Laboratories-led team has demonstrated faster, more efficient ways to turn discarded plant matter into chemicals worth billions. The team's findings could help transform the economics of making fuels and other products from domestically grown renewable sources.

The Society for Risk Analysis Presents New Research on Who Really Benefits from Energy Efficient Manufacturing

Regulators claim that the value of the energy savings to consumers exceeds the incremental costs to manufacturers for delivering greater energy efficiency. This energy paradox challenges fundamental notions of how markets work. Four studies presented at the 2017 Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) Annual Meeting will present new evidence relating to this paradox.

Cool Textiles to Beat the Heat

Air-conditioned buildings bring welcome relief to people coming in from the heat. But creatingthat comfort comes with a cost to our wallets and the environment in the form of increased energy bills andgreenhouse gas emissions.

New Study: Scientists Narrow Down the Search for Dark Photons Using Decade-Old Particle Collider Data

A fresh analysis of particle-collider data, co-led by Berkeley Lab physicists, limits some of the hiding places for one type of theorized particle - the dark photon, also known as the heavy photon - that was proposed to help explain the mystery of dark matter.

Lessons from Marine Sponges Could Lead to Novel Glass Technology

Israeli and German scientists have uncovered some clues about the abilities of some marine creatures to form glass structures in cold water. The findings could lead to nature-inspired recipes for creating novel glass technologies at room temperature.

Neutron Spectroscopy Reveals Common 'Oxygen Sponge' Catalyst Soaks Up Hydrogen Too

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and their collaborators discovered that a workhorse catalyst of vehicle exhaust systems--an "oxygen sponge" that can soak up oxygen from air and store it for later use in oxidation reactions--may also be a "hydrogen sponge."

Improving Sensor Accuracy to Prevent Electrical Grid Overload

Electrical physicists from Czech Technical University have provided additional evidence that new current sensors introduce errors when assessing current through iron conductors. The researchers show how a difference in a conductor's magnetic permeability, the degree of material's magnetization response in a magnetic field, affects the precision of new sensors. They also provide recommendations for improving sensor accuracy. The results are published this week in AIP Advances.