Tech

Scientists at Penn State University, in collaboration with institutes in the US, Finland, Germany and the UK, have figured out the long-sought structure of a layer of C60 – carbon buckyballs – on a silver surface. The results, which could help in the design of carbon nanostructure-based electronics are reported in Physical Review Letters and highlighted in the July 27th issue of APS's on-line journal Physics (physics.aps.org).

By studying gold nanoparticles with highly uniform sizes and shapes, scientists now understand how they lose energy, a key step towards producing nanoscale detectors for weighing any single atom.

Such ultrasensitive measurements could ultimately be used in areas such as medical research and diagnostics, enabling the detection of minuscule disease-causing agents such as viruses and prions at the single molecule level.

Researchers are interested in nanosized materials because the smaller the components of a detection device, the more sensitive it is.

Mine shafts on the point of being closed down could be used to provide geothermal energy to local towns. This is the conclusion of two engineers from the University of Oviedo, whose research is being published this month in the journal Renewable Energy. The method they have developed makes it possible to estimate the amount of heat that a tunnel could potentially provide.

Scientists are closer to understanding how to grow replacement bones with stem cell technology, thanks to research published today in the journal Nature Materials.

Many scientists are currently trying to create bone-like materials, derived from stem cells, to implant into patients who have damaged or fractured bones, or who have had parts of diseased bones removed. The idea is that, ultimately, these bone-like materials could be inserted into cavities so that real bone could meld with it and repair the bone.

Graphene is nature's thinnest elastic material and displays exceptional mechanical and electronic properties. Its one-atom thickness, planar geometry, high current-carrying capacity and thermal conductivity make it ideally suited for further miniaturizing electronics through ultra-small devices and components for semiconductor circuits and computers.

Concerns about dwindling fossil fuel resources, current levels of petroleum consumption, and growing pressure to shift to more sustainable energy sources are among the many factors prompting the transition from our current energy infrastructure to one that uses less carbon and requires the efficient conversion of energy. This necessitates collecting energy from ambient sources including wind, solar, and geothermal power, and converting it into appropriate forms for distributing electricity.

The air in Beijing during the 2008 Olympics was cleaner than the previous year's, due to aggressive efforts by the Chinese government to curtail traffic, increase emissions standards and halt construction in preparation for the games, according to a Cornell study.

Led by Max Zhang, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, the study indicates that such measures as regulating traffic density and encouraging public transportation can have a significant impact on local air quality.

Researchers in Israel and Kenya have shown that the contribution of variable degrees of immune suppression, either due to existing chronic infections such as parasitemias and/or nutrition, in different populations may influence and prolong the serological-diagnostic window period of HIV. However, the immunosuppression can be overcome, by in-vitro enhancement of antibody production (termed- Stimmunology).

DOVER, Del. – Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) can be an important part of the solution to America's energy crisis, says Dr. Andrew Goudy of Delaware State University. He is leading a research team striving to solve a key technical FCV puzzle.

The Chair of Delaware State's Chemistry Department explains that hydrogen FCVs are powered by electric motors that derive energy from on-board fuel cells. The fuel cells convert pure hydrogen and oxygen into electricity.

Experts in intensive care and anaesthesia have predicted that the current swine flu pandemic could overwhelm critical care beds and ventilators in England, with hospitals on the South East Coast, and in the South West, East of England and East Midlands, being worst hit.

The research, fast-tracked for online publication by Anaesthesia, suggests that demand for critical care beds could outstrip supply by up to 130 per cent, with up to 20 per cent excess demand for ventilators in some regions.

The EUREKA E! 3722 4 SAVE project has resulted in a design for high tech polyvalent rescue vehicles able to take paramedics to a disaster area and immediately carry up to four patients away for treatment. The key element was the development of a completely new type of four-stretcher support that can be installed in different vehicles. The box kit uses high performance materials and can be adapted to a range of vehicles while offering weight reductions of up to 50% compared with previous products.

SPOKANE, Wash. - Acoustic tags and numerical river models are two technologies developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory that are helping improve salmon passage at the Columbia Basin's hydroelectric dams.

A combination of biochemical and MRI markers will allow improved measurement of osteoarthritis (OA) progression. The biomarkers, described in BioMed Central's open access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy, will be useful for the design and interpretation of trials of new disease modifying drugs.

Much as meteorologists predict the path and intensity of hurricanes, Indiana University's Alessandro Vespignani believes we will one day predict with unprecedented foresight, specificity, and scale such things as the economic and social effects of billions of new Internet users in China and India, or the exact location and number of airline flights to cancel around the world in order to halt the spread of a pandemic.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A supercomputer named Novo-G described by its lead designer as likely the most powerful computer of its kind in the world became operational this week at the University of Florida.