Tech

Researchers from Northwestern University have developed a carbon-based material that could revolutionize the way solar power is harvested. The new solar cell material – a transparent conductor made of carbon nanotubes – provides an alternative to current technology, which is mechanically brittle and reliant on a relatively rare mineral.

Ground beetles can immobilize and devour amphibian prey many times their size. Now Gil Wizen, a graduate student of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology, has discovered that they have an additional advantage — the larvae of these beetles, like their fully grown adult counterparts, have a unique method for luring and feeding off amphibians.

Wizen's research revealed that, like the sirens who lured Ulysses' sailors to their demise, larvae have a lethal method for attracting the attention of amphibians — tricking the toads into thinking they will be tasty prey.

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has developed a world-leading pvT (pressure-volume-temperature) and thermal conductivity test kit.

The kit is based on more than nine years of extensive research at NPL. It can be used to help improve the design and processing of plastics, including the injection moulding process used to make specialised polymers and everyday plastic items such as CDs

The integration of electronics into textiles is a burgeoning field of research that may soon enable smart fabrics and wearable electronics. Bringing this technology one step closer to fruition, Jin-Woo Han and Meyya Meyyappan at the Center for Nanotechnology at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have developed a new flexible memory fabric woven together from interlocking strands of copper and copper-oxide wires. At each juncture, or stitch along the fabric, a nanoscale dab of platinum is placed between the fibers.

By measuring the radioactive isotope carbon-14, scientists at Karolinska Institutet have revealed an association between lipid cell dysfunction and diseases such as obesity, diabetes and blood lipid disorders. The study, which is presented in the journal Nature, can lead to new approaches to combating metabolic diseases.

The results show that fat cells in overweight people have a higher capacity for storing fats but a lower capacity for ridding themselves of them.

A team of physicians, engineers and materials scientists at Children's Hospital Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have used nanotechnology and tiny gold wires to engineer cardiac patches, with cells all beating in time, that could someday help heart attack patients.

As reported online by Nature Nanotechnology on September 25, the addition of gold wires to the engineered heart tissue make it electrically conductive, potentially improving on existing cardiac patches. Such patches are starting to go into clinical trials for heart patients.

A hole in an inflatable boat is only a disaster if the air escapes too quickly to reach the safety of land. It's somewhat less dramatic but nonetheless uncomfortable to spend the night on a leaky air mattress. Even in this case, though, you can get some uninterrupted sleep if only the air leaks out slowly enough. In future, self-repairing layers of porous material should ensure that the membranes of inflatable objects are not only water and airtight but also that they can plug up any holes on their own, at least temporarily.

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have built a very simple nanoantenna that directs red and blue colours in opposite directions, even though the antenna is smaller than the wavelength of light. The findings – published in the online journal Nature Communications this week – can lead to optical nanosensors being able to detect very low concentrations of gases or biomolecules.

It currently takes 90 minutes to transmit high-resolution images from Mars, but NASA would like to dramatically reduce that time to just minutes. A new optical communications system that NASA plans to demonstrate in 2016 will lead the way and even allow the streaming of high-definition video from distances beyond the Moon.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Low-income youth are more apt to vote if they are engaged in political activism and influenced by friends and family, according to a study by Michigan State University education scholars that sheds new light on voting behavior.

Previous research held that poor youth tend to either vote or get involved in political activism such as peaceful protests, but not generally both. The new study, however, found a connection between political activism and the ballot box.

Not long after the development of the first laser in 1960 scientists discovered that shining a beam through certain crystals produced light of a different color; more specifically, it produced light of exactly twice the frequency of the original. The phenomenon was dubbed second harmonic generation.

Physicists at the RUB, working in collaboration with researchers from Grenoble and Tokyo, have succeeded in taking a decisive step towards the development of more powerful computers. They were able to define two little quantum dots (QDs), occupied with electrons, in a semiconductor and to select a single electron from one of them using a sound wave, and then to transport it to the neighbouring QD. A single electron "surfs" thus from one quantum dot to the next like a fish on a wave.

University of Southampton and British School at Rome (BSR) archaeologists, leading an international excavation of Portus – the ancient port of Rome, believe they have discovered a large Roman shipyard.

The team, working with the Italian Archaeological Superintendancy of Rome, has uncovered the remains of a massive building close to the distinctive hexagonal basin or 'harbour', at the centre of the port complex.

People prefer to make friends with others who share their beliefs, values, and interests. The more choice people have, the more their friends are alike, according to research published in Group Processes and Intergroup Relations (published by SAGE).

Usually it's the frog that catches the unsuspecting bug for a tasty snack, but in an unprecedented predator-prey role reversal, a certain group of ground beetle larvae are able to lure their amphibious would-be predators and consume them with almost 100% success. In a report published today in the online journal PLoS ONE, researchers begin to describe how these larvae are able to pull off this feat.