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Last update07:19:32 PM GMT

Bright future for alternative energy with greener solar cells

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Ayomi Perera, a doctoral student in chemistry, Sri Lanka, is working under Stefan Bossmann, professor of chemistry, to improve dye-sensitized solar cells. The cells are a solar technology that use a dye to help generate energy from sunlight. By creating a less toxic dye and combining it with a bacteria, Perera's solar cells are friendlier to the environment and living organisms -- making an alternative energy solution to fossil fuels even greener.

"Dye-sensitized solar cells, which are solar cells with light-absorbing dye, have been around for more than 20 years, but their highest efficiency has stayed close to 11 percent for some time," Perera said. "So the thought was that rather than trying to increase the efficiency, let's...

Faster, cheaper way found to cool electronic devices

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A North Carolina State University researcher has developed a more efficient, less expensive way of cooling electronic devices -- particularly devices that generate a lot of heat, such as lasers and power devices.

The technique uses a "heat spreader" made of a copper-graphene composite, which is attached to the electronic device using an indium-graphene interface film "Both the copper-graphene and indium-graphene have higher thermal conductivity, allowing the device to cool...

Nanotechnology used to hunt for hidden pathogens

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Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a novel technique that may give doctors a faster and more sensitive tool to detect pathogens associated with inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease.

The new nanoparticle-based technique also may be used for detection of other microbes that have challenged scientists for centuries because they hide deep in human tissue and are able to reprogram cells to successfully evade the immune system.

The microbes...

Opening the gate to robust quantum computing: New technique for solid-state quantum info processing

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Scientists have overcome a major hurdle facing quantum computing: how to protect quantum information from degradation by the environment while simultaneously performing computation in a solid-state quantum system. The research was reported in the April 5 issue of Nature.

A group led by U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory physicist Viatsheslav Dobrovitski and including scientists at Delft University of Technology; the University of California, Santa Barbara; and University of...

'Nanobubbles' plus chemotherapy equals single-cell cancer targeting

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Using light-harvesting nanoparticles to convert laser energy into "plasmonic nanobubbles," researchers at Rice University, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) are developing new methods to inject drugs and genetic payloads directly into cancer cells. In tests on drug-resistant cancer cells, the researchers found that delivering chemotherapy drugs with nanobubbles was up to 30 times more deadly to cancer cells than traditional drug...

Controlling quantum tunneling with light: Novel particle opens door to taming mysteries of tunneling

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(Apr. 5, 2012) — Scientists at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge have used light to help push electrons through a classically impenetrable barrier. While quantum tunnelling is at the heart of the peculiar wave nature of particles, this is the first time that it has been controlled by light.

Their research is published 05 April, in the journal Science.

Particles cannot normally pass through walls, but if they are small enough quantum mechanics says that it can happen...

Initial stages by which giant gypsum crystals form

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(Apr. 5, 2012) — Gypsum is a naturally occurring mineral which is often used in industrial processes and which in nature, if left alone for thousands of years, can grow into huge translucent, towering and eerie, crystals more than 10 metres tall. These are famed for their beauty in places such as the Cave of Crystals in Mexico. Nevertheless, the formation of gypsum has until now been largely unexplored.

A study by researchers from the School of Earth and Environment at the...

LHC physics data taking gets underway at new record collision energy of 8TeV

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(Apr. 5, 2012) — At 00:38 CEST this morning, the LHC shift crew declared 'stable beams' as two 4 TeV proton beams were brought into collision at the LHC's four interaction points. This signals the start of physics data taking by the LHC experiments for 2012. The collision energy of 8 TeV is a new world record, and increases the machine's discovery potential considerably.

"The experience of two good years of running at 3.5 TeV per beam gave us the confidence to increase the...

Tiny hitchhikers attack cancer cells: Gold nanostars first to deliver drug directly to cancer cell nucleus

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(Apr. 5, 2012) — Nanotechnology offers powerful new possibilities for targeted cancer therapies, but the design challenges are many. Northwestern University scientists now are the first to develop a simple but specialized nanoparticle that can deliver a drug directly to a cancer cell's nucleus -- an important feature for effective treatment.

They also are the first to directly image at nanoscale dimensions how nanoparticles interact with a cancer cell's nucleus.