The widespread adoption of thermoelectric devices that can directly convert electricity into thermal energy for cooling and heating has been hindered, in part, by the lack of materials that are both inexpensive and highly efficient at room temperature. Now researchers from the University of Houston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have reported the discovery of a new material that works efficiently at room temperature while requiring almost no costly tellurium, a major component of the current state-of-the-art material.
Researchers at the University of Sussex have identified how differences in the genetic sequence of the two main strains of the cancer-associated Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) can alter the way the virus behaves when it infects white blood cells.
The art of tattooing may have found a diagnostic twist. A team of scientists in Germany have developed permanent dermal sensors that can be applied as artistic tattoos. As detailed in the journal Angewandte Chemie, a colorimetric analytic formulation was injected into the skin instead of tattoo ink. The pigmented skin areas varied their color when blood pH or other health indicators changed.
A study by Marco Ce, a physicist based at the Helmholtz-Institut Mainz in Germany, and recently published in EPJ Plus describes a new technique for simulating particle ensembles that are 'large' (at least by the standards of particle physics). The technique improves the signal-to-noise ratio and thus the precision of the simulation; crucially, it can also be used to model ensembles of baryons: a category of elementary particles that includes the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei.
In a study published in EPJ D, physicists led by Wen-Shan Duan at Northwest Normal University, and Lei Yang at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, show that 'magnetic mirrors' plasma leaks can be minimised if specific conditions are met. The insights gathered by Duan and Yang's team could solve a decades-old problem of low plasma confinement times and high loss rates in magnetic mirrors.
Porous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have many applications like carbon capture and water-cleaning. However, MOFs with large pores tend to collapse. Chemists and chemical engineers at EPFL have now solved the problem by adding small amounts of a polymer into the MOF pores, an act that impedes pore collapse.
Ribosomes need regenerating. This process is important for the quality of the proteins produced and thus for the whole cell homeostasis as well as for developmental and biological processes. Biochemists from Goethe University Frankfurt together with biophysicists at LMU Munich have now watched one of the most important enzymes for ribosome recycling at work -- ABCE1 -- and shown that it is unexpectedly versatile in terms of structure.
The molten rock that feeds volcanoes can be stored in the Earth's crust for as long as a thousand years, a result which may help with volcanic hazard management and better forecasting of when eruptions might occur.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are working on membranes that could separate chemicals without using energy-intensive distillation processes.
When scientists from different disciplines collaborate -- as is increasingly necessary to confront the complexity of challenging research problems -- interpersonal tussles often arise. One scientist may accuse another of stealing her ideas. Or, a researcher may feel he is not getting credit for his work or doesn't have access to important data. A free, online training tool developed by Northwestern, teamscience.net, has been proven to develop skills to work with other scientists outside their own discipline.