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Saturday, October 11, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

Getting sharp images from dull detectors

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 12:52 PM PDT

Observing the quantum behavior of light is a big part of Alan Migdall's research at the Joint Quantum Institute. Many of his experiments depend on observing light in the form of photons -- the particle complement of light waves -- and sometimes only one photon at a time, using "smart" detectors that can count the number of individual photons in a pulse. Furthermore, to observe quantum effects, it is normally necessary to use a beam of coherent light, light for which knowing the phase or intensity for one part of the beam allows you to know things about distant parts of the same beam.

Physics determined ammonite shell shape

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 10:43 AM PDT

Ammonites are a group of extinct cephalopod mollusks with ribbed spiral shells. They are exceptionally diverse and well known to fossil lovers. Researchers have developed the first biomechanical model explaining how these shells form and why they are so diverse. Their approach provides new paths for interpreting the evolution of ammonites and nautili, their smooth-shelled distant "cousins" that still populate the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Mineralization of sand particles boosts microbial water filtration

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 08:17 AM PDT

Mineral coatings on sand particles actually encourage microbial activity in the rapid sand filters that are used to treat groundwater for drinking, according to a paper. These findings resoundingly refute, for the first time, the conventional wisdom that the mineral deposits interfere with microbial colonization of the sand particles.

Preparing for Mars-grazing Comet Siding Spring

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 08:16 AM PDT

Up to and during Comet Siding Spring's flyby of Mars on Oct. 19, NASA's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars will attempt to capture data about the comet that are unobtainable from Earth.

sensor invented that uses radio waves to detect subtle changes in pressure

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 07:10 AM PDT

A new sensor has been developed by engineers that is made of a special rubber layer between two strips of copper that act like radio antennas; the rubber is an insulator. Pressure squeezes the antennas infinitesimally closer, altering the electrical characteristics of the device. Radio waves beamed through the device change frequency as pressure changes, providing a way to gauge pressure wirelessly. The underlying technology could lead to prosthetic devices with an electronic sense of touch.

Rare 'baby rattle' molecules reveal new quantum properties of H<sub>2</sub>O and H<sub>2</sub>

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 07:09 AM PDT

Neutron scattering experiments have revealed the existence of quantum selection rules in molecules, the first experimental confirmation of its kind. Small molecules such as water and hydrogen were inserted into C-60 buckyballs to form rare compounds ideal for testing the predictions of quantum theory. Similar confinement techniques could open the door to new insights about the quantum properties of molecules by providing a unique testing ground for quantum theory.

Potential of autochthonous bacteria for use as biofertilizers

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 07:08 AM PDT

Scientists are working to select autochthonous bacteria with a biofertilizing potential as a result of the stimulating effect they have on the take-up of nutrients by plants, phytohormone production and phytopathogen control. The research is of great interest for farmers because bacteria-based biofertilizers constitute an alternative to conventional chemical fertilizers that are expensive and less sustainable from an environmental point of view.

Leaky, star-forming galaxies leads to better understand the universe

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 07:08 AM PDT

Focusing on large, star-forming galaxies, researchers were able to measure radiation leaks in an effort to better understand how the universe evolved as the first stars were formed.

Flying robots to save lives in the Alps

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 05:40 AM PDT

Scientists at the University of Twente are working on robots that are expected to save lives in calamity situations in the Alps. The emphasis within this SHERPA project is on cooperation between human rescue workers, the ground robot ('ground rover') with a robotic arm and flying robots.

Sustainable city concepts going into action

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 05:40 AM PDT

Researchers are starting work on a Smart Cities and Communities initiative. This project will transform designated urban districts into smart quarters in three forerunner cities and then transfer the concepts to three further cities.

Long-span construction: Ultra light-weight cloud arch architectural technology for sustainable construction

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 05:40 AM PDT

First-of-its-kind, light-as-cloud architectural technology boasts lower setup cost and time, and is set to revolutionize long-span architecture and construction.

Old textbook knowledge reconfirmed: Decay rates of radioactive substances are constant

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 05:38 AM PDT

Researchers refute the assumption that the decay rate of some radioactive nuclides depends on the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

New technique enables increasingly accurate PET scan to detect cancer, heart conditions

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 05:38 AM PDT

A novel technique that reduces image degradation caused by respiratory motion during a PET scan was developed through a recent study. PET scanning is routinely used to detect cancer and heart conditions. The new technique is based on bioimpedance measurement and it allows for image reconstruction at a specific phase of the patient's breathing pattern. This, in turn, makes it possible to reduce image degradation caused by motion.

Electrically conductive plastics promising for batteries, transparent solar cells

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:04 PM PDT

An emerging class of electrically conductive plastics called 'radical polymers' may bring low-cost, transparent solar cells, flexible and lightweight batteries and ultra-thin antistatic coatings for consumer electronics and aircraft.

Radio frequency technology being developed to localize breast tumors

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:03 PM PDT

Breast cancer may inspire more public discussion, advocacy and charitable giving than almost any other disease besides HIV and AIDS. But people rarely talk about the specific experiences to which cancer patients are subjected. Especially the localization wire. For a group of engineers and clinicians, that presented an opportunity to develop a solution that is technologically elegant, precise and patient-centric.

DNA nano-foundries cast custom-shaped metal nanoparticles

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Researchers have unveiled a new method to form tiny 3-D metal nanoparticles in prescribed shapes and dimensions using DNA, nature's building block, as a construction mold. The ability to mold inorganic nanoparticles out of materials such as gold and silver in precisely designed 3D shapes is a significant breakthrough that has the potential to advance laser technology, microscopy, solar cells, electronics, environmental testing, disease detection and more.

New investigational cardiac pacemaker as small as a vitamin

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 12:38 PM PDT

Cardiologists have implanted an investigational cardiac pacemaker the size of a multivitamin. The first implantable pacemakers, developed in the late-1950s, were nearer the size of a transistor radio.

Tumor segmentation software receives 510k clearance from FDA

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 11:15 AM PDT

New imaging software that facilitates 3-D lung tumor segmentation has been incorporated into the Smart Segmentation® module of Varian's Eclipse™ treatment planning system and has received FDA 510k clearance.

Computer science: 'Data smashing' could unshackle automated discovery

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 09:56 AM PDT

Computing researchers have come up with a new principle they call 'data smashing' for estimating the similarities between streams of arbitrary data without human intervention, and without access to the data sources.

Gene that drives aggressive brain cancer found by new computational approach

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 09:49 AM PDT

Using an innovative algorithm that analyzes gene regulatory and signaling networks, researchers have found that loss of a gene called KLHL9 is the driving force behind the most aggressive form of glioblastoma, the most common form of brain cancer.

Chemists uncover new role of a key base in organic synthesis

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 08:27 AM PDT

An international team of chemists has discovered a new piece to the puzzle of how a powerful base used in organic synthesis, cesium carbonate, plays a pivotal role during a catalytic reaction.

All that glitters is... slimy? Gold nanoparticles measure stickiness of mucus in airways

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 08:27 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a way to use gold nanoparticles and light to measure the stickiness of mucus in the airways. Their research could help doctors better monitor and treat lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

More efficient transformer materials

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:17 AM PDT

Almost every electronic device contains a transformer. An important material used in their construction is electrical steel. Researchers have found a way to improve the performance of electrical steel and manufacture it more efficiently, using an optimized laser process.

Minimally invasive surgery with hydraulic assistance

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:17 AM PDT

Endoscopic surgery requires great manual dexterity on the part of the operating surgeon. Future endoscopic instruments equipped with a hydraulic control system will provide added support during minimally invasive procedures. Their outstanding sensitivity simplifies the biopsy procedure.

Analyzing gold and steel – rapidly, precisely

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:17 AM PDT

Optical emission spectrometers are widely used in the steel industry but the instruments currently employed are relatively large and bulky. A novel sensor makes it possible to significantly reduce their size and, moreover, enables a more precise analysis in half the time previously required.

Miniature camera may lead to fewer accidents

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:17 AM PDT

Measuring only a few cubic millimeters, a new type of camera module might soon be integrated into future driver assistance systems to help car drivers facing critical situations. The little gadget can be built into the vehicle without taking up space. The way it works is particularly reliable, thanks to its special encapsulation.

Engineering new, efficient vehicle powertrains

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 06:16 AM PDT

Car engines – whether driven by gasoline, diesel, or electricity – waste an abundance of energy. Researchers are working on ways to stem this wastefulness. Ultramodern test facilities are helping them to optimize the entire development process of the engine. In the laboratory, they have already raised the degree of efficiency by up to ten percent.

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