All life is cellular, but the origins of cellularity remain unknown. Scientists at the Earth-Life Science Institute have discovered that simple organic compounds like glycolic and lactic acid polymerize and self-assemble into cell-sized droplets when dried and rewetted, as might have happened along primitive beaches and drying puddles. These cell-like compartments can trap and concentrate biomolecules, and can merge and separate, forming versatile and heterogeneous cell-like containers possibly critical for the origin of life.
University of Illinois electrical engineers have cleared another hurdle in high-power semiconductor fabrication by adding the field's hottest material -- beta-gallium oxide -- to their arsenal. Beta-gallium oxide is readily available and promises to convert power faster and more efficiently than today's leading semiconductor materials -- gallium nitride and silicon, the researchers said.
A research team comprising scientists from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) and three other universities and research institutes has recently devised a novel mechanism to transport droplets at record-high velocity and distance without extra energy input, and droplets can be moved upward along a vertical surface, which has never been achieved before. The new strategy to control droplet motion can open up new potential in applications in microfluidic devices, bio-analytical devices and beyond.
Simulations from researchers in Japan provide new insights into the reactions occurring in solid-oxide fuel cells by using realistic atomic-scale models of the electrode active site based on microscope observations instead of the simplified and idealized atomic structures employed in previous studies. This better understanding of how the structures in the cells affect the reactions could give clues on ways to improve performance and durability in future devices.
A World-first study by Monash University, published in Nature Communications, has discovered a technique for creating stronger, lightweight magnesium alloys. This finding could be of significant benefit to the automobile and aerospace industries.
With high-energy X-rays, such as those that will be produced by the upgrade to Argonne's Advanced Photon Source comes a potential hitch -- the more penetrating the X-rays are, the higher a likelihood that researchers could run into problems with the image data. In a new study, researchers at Argonne have found a novel way to combat this image degradation.
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.
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.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are working on membranes that could separate chemicals without using energy-intensive distillation processes.
A stealthy new drug-delivery system disguises chemotherapeutics as fat in order to outsmart, penetrate and destroy tumors. Thinking the drugs are tasty fats, tumors invite the drug inside. Once there, the targeted drug activates, immediately suppressing tumor growth.