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Jul 26, 2021

Acoustic Tweezers Can Pick Objects Up With Sound Waves – Without Any Physical Contact

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, particle physics

Hemispherical array of ultrasound transducers lifts objects off reflective surfaces.

Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have developed a new technology which allows non-contact manipulation of small objects using sound waves. They used a hemispherical array of ultrasound transducers to generate a 3D acoustic fields which stably trapped and lifted a small polystyrene ball from a reflective surface. Although their technique employs a method similar to laser trapping in biology, adaptable to a wider range of particle sizes and materials.

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Jul 25, 2021

50 Years Ago, Scientists Caught Their First Glimpse of Amino Acids From Outer Space

Posted by in categories: chemistry, education, space

OEC promoting STEM education globally.


In 1970, scientists detected amino acids in a meteorite. Fifty years later, a variety of chemical ingredients for life have been found in other space rocks.

Jul 25, 2021

Solar cells: Layer of three crystals produces a thousand times more power

Posted by in categories: chemistry, solar power, sustainability

The photovoltaic effect of ferroelectric crystals can be increased by a factor of 1000 if three different materials are arranged periodically in a lattice. This has been revealed in a study by researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU). They achieved this by creating crystalline layers of barium titanate, strontium titanate and calcium titanate which they alternately placed on top of one another. Their findings, which could significantly increase the efficiency of solar cells, were published in the journal Science Advances.

Most solar cells are currently silicon based; however, their efficiency is limited. This has prompted researchers to examine new materials, such as ferroelectrics like barium , a mixed oxide made of barium and titanium. “Ferroelectric means that the material has spatially separated positive and negative charges,” explains physicist Dr Akash Bhatnagar from MLU’s Centre for Innovation Competence SiLi-nano. “The charge separation leads to an asymmetric structure that enables electricity to be generated from light.” Unlike silicon, ferroelectric crystals do not require a so-called pn junction to create the photovoltaic effect, in other words, no positively and negatively doped layers. This makes it much easier to produce the solar panels.

However, pure barium titanate does not absorb much sunlight and consequently generates a comparatively low photocurrent. The latest research has shown that combining extremely thin layers of different materials significantly increases the solar energy yield. “The important thing here is that a ferroelectric material is alternated with a paraelectric material. Although the latter does not have separated charges, it can become ferroelectric under certain conditions, for example at low temperatures or when its is slightly modified,” explains Bhatnagar.

Jul 24, 2021

Multi-day iron-air batteries reach commercialization… at one tenth of the cost of lithium

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, sustainability

Boston startup Form Energy has secured $200 million Series D funding for the development of what is being called a breakthrough in energy storage. #solarenergy #solarpv #solar


Solar and wind power have variability in their productive hours, as multi-day weather events can impact output. Therefore, multi-day storage that is cost effective is important in grid reliability.

Boston startup Form Energy developed technology to address this need, revealing recently the chemistry behind their iron-air batteries. The company said its iron-air batteries can deliver renewables-sourced electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with conventional power plants. At full-scale production, Form Energy said the modules would deliver electricity at tenth the cost of lithium-ion batteries.

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Jul 24, 2021

Extending Human Lifespans: Using Artificial Intelligence To Find Anti-Aging Chemical Compounds

Posted by in categories: chemistry, life extension, robotics/AI

The University of Surrey has built an artificial intelligence (AI) model that identifies chemical compounds that promote healthy aging — paving the way towards pharmaceutical innovations that extend a person’s lifespan.

In a paper published by Nature Communication’s Scientific Reports, a team of chemists from Surrey built a machine learning model based on the information from the DrugAge database to predict whether a compound can extend the life of Caenorhabditis elegans — a translucent worm that shares a similar metabolism to humans. The worm’s shorter lifespan gave the researchers the opportunity to see the impact of the chemical compounds.

The AI singled out three compounds that have an 80 percent chance of increasing the lifespan of elegans:

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Jul 23, 2021

Stanford Device Enables Thousands of Synthetic DNA Enzyme Experiments To Run Simultaneously

Posted by in categories: alien life, chemistry, computing, physics

A new tool that enables thousands of tiny experiments to run simultaneously on a single polymer chip will let scientists study enzymes faster and more comprehensively than ever before.

For much of human history, animals and plants were perceived to follow a different set of rules than rest of the universe. In the 18th and 19th centuries, this culminated in a belief that living organisms were infused by a non-physical energy or “life force” that allowed them to perform remarkable transformations that couldn’t be explained by conventional chemistry or physics alone.

Scientists now understand that these transformations are powered by enzymes – protein molecules comprised of chains of amino acids that act to speed up, or catalyze, the conversion of one kind of molecule (substrates) into another (products). In so doing, they enable reactions such as digestion and fermentation – and all of the chemical events that happen in every one of our cells – that, left alone, would happen extraordinarily slowly.

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Jul 23, 2021

Surrey builds AI to find anti-ageing chemical compounds

Posted by in categories: chemistry, life extension, robotics/AI

The University of Surrey has built an artificial intelligence (AI) model that identifies chemical compounds that promote healthy aging—paving the way towards pharmaceutical innovations that extend a person’s lifespan.

Jul 22, 2021

Making clean hydrogen is hard, but researchers just solved a major hurdle

Posted by in categories: chemistry, information science, solar power, sustainability

For decades, researchers around the world have searched for ways to use solar power to generate the key reaction for producing hydrogen as a clean energy source—splitting water molecules to form hydrogen and oxygen. However, such efforts have mostly failed because doing it well was too costly, and trying to do it at a low cost led to poor performance.

Now, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have found a low-cost way to solve one half of the equation, using sunlight to efficiently split off oxygen molecules from water. The finding, published recently in Nature Communications, represents a step forward toward greater adoption of hydrogen as a key part of our energy infrastructure.

As early as the 1970s, researchers were investigating the possibility of using solar energy to generate hydrogen. But the inability to find materials with the combination of properties needed for a device that can perform the key chemical reactions efficiently has kept it from becoming a mainstream method.

Jul 21, 2021

Brain ‘Noise’ Keeps Nerve Connections Young

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, genetics, life extension, neuroscience

The findings, published in Nature Communications, could have important implications for human health: minis have been found at every type of synapse studied so far, and defects in miniature neurotransmission have been linked to range of neurodevelopmental disorders in children. Figuring out how a reduction in miniature neurotransmission changes the structure of synapses, and how that in turn affects behavior, could help to better understand neurodegenerative disorders and other brain conditions.


Summary: Study reveals how miniature release events help to keep neurons intact and preserve motor neuron function in aging insects.

Source: EPFL

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Jul 20, 2021

Chemists Found an Effective Remedy for “Aged” Brain Diseases

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, neuroscience

Summary: Newly synthesized compounds can halt the degradation of neurons in a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, researchers say.

Source: Ural Federal University

Russian scientists have synthesized chemical compounds that can stop the degeneration of neurons in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other severe brain pathologies. These substances can provide a breakthrough in the treatment of neurodegenerative pathologies.

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