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Science News and Current Events for January 24, 2018


Earth's core and mantle separated in a disorderly fashion
Plumes of hot rock surging upward from the Earth's mantle at volcanic hotspots contain evidence that the Earth's formative years may have been even more chaotic than previously thought, according to new work from a team of Carnegie and Smithsonian scientists published in Nature.
Simple breathing training with a physiotherapist before surgery prevents postoperative pneumonia
Pneumonia, and other serious lung complications, after major abdominal surgery were halved when patients were seen by a physiotherapist before surgery and taught breathing exercises that the patient needed to start performing immediately on waking from the operation, finds a trial published by The BMJ today.
Zebrafish study provides new insights into autism spectrum disorder research
Exposure to a compound used to treat migraines and seizures causes characteristics associated with autism, groundbreaking research with zebrafish has demonstrated.
Novel device and staff education lead to lower blood culture contamination rates
A Medical University of South Carolina study found that use of a mechanical initial specimen diversion device (ISDD®) and staff education led to a nearly four-fold decrease in contaminated blood cultures that was sustained over 20 months.
New technology standard could shape the future of electronics design
Scientists at the University of Southampton have discovered a way of enhancing the capabilities of an emerging nanotechnology that could open the door to a new generation of electronics.
Infants recognize foreign languages as a form of communication
Infants recognize that speech in a language not their own is used for communication, finds a new psychology study.
Fat cat? Here's how much to feed to lose weight
Does your cat lay around all day, only getting up to eat and visit the litter box?
New discovery could improve organic solar cell performance
Scientists who are members of a new energy materials-related science center based at Berkeley Lab have solved a mystery that could lead to gains in efficiency for organic solar cells.
Will supplements help your workout or diet routine?
The new year is a time to set new goals, and for many people this means losing weight and improving fitness.
Decision support systems may improve quality of patient surgical care
New research published in the February issue of Anesthesiology, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), illustrates how physician anesthesiologists are investigating the challenges and opportunities of integrating patient data, to aid clinicians in patient management, through clinical decision support technologies.
New biosensor could monitor glucose levels in tears and sweat
Constantly tracking a person's glucose levels through their tears or sweat could be one step closer to providing people with diabetes an improved monitoring tool.
NASA GOLD Mission to image Earth's interface to space
On Jan. 25, 2018, NASA launches Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, or GOLD, a hosted instrument aboard SES-14 that will inspect the dynamic intermingling of space and Earth's uppermost atmosphere.
More stroke patients may receive crucial treatments under new guideline
A new guideline for treating acute ischemic stroke recommends an increased treatment window for mechanical clot removal from six hours to up to 24 hours in certain patients with clots in large vessels.
Eating insects might seem yucky, but they are nutritious and there is no reason you can't
Almost all living primates still have working versions of the gene needed to produce a stomach enzyme that breaks down exoskeletons.
New meta-analysis: Recreational football is broad-spectrum medicine
The most popular sport in the world is much more than entertainment: football is broad-spectrum medicine against lifestyle diseases.
Targeting bladder cancer's Achilles heel: stem cells
Two different proteins work separately as well as synergistically to feed a small pool of stem cells that help bladder cancer resist chemotherapy, research led by a Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientist suggests.
Record jump in 2014-2016 global temperatures largest since 1900
Global surface temperatures surged by a record amount from 2014 to 2016, boosting the total amount of warming since the start of the last century by more than 25 percent in just three years, according to a new University of Arizona-led paper.
Tidal cycles could help predict volcanic eruptions, study suggests
A study of a New Zealand volcano suggests that a volcanic system's response to tidal forces could provide a tool for predicting a certain type of eruption.
Scientists culture human placenta stem cells for first time
Scientists have derived and grown trophoblast stem cells for the first time, which will lead to better understanding of the human placenta.
Coyotes and red foxes may coexist within urban landscapes
Coyotes and red foxes may select different types of habitats for their home ranges, helping them to coexist in urban environments, according to a study published Jan.
New sensor for measuring electric field strength
Standard Sensors for measuring electrical fields have one big problem: they usually distort the electric field they are supposed to measure.
Century of data shows sea-level rise shifting tides in Delaware, Chesapeake bays
The warming climate is expected to affect coastal regions worldwide as glaciers and ice sheets melt, raising sea level globally.
Cancer immunotherapy found safe in patients with rheumatologic diseases
In the largest single-center study of patients with rheumatologic diseases who were prescribed modern cancer immunotherapy with what are called immune checkpoint inhibitors, only a minority of patients experienced a flare of their rheumatologic disease or immune-related side effects.
Herbal products may compromise prescription drugs and cause serious side effects
An analysis of published studies and reports indicates that a number of herbal products may affect the properties of prescription drugs, leading to alterations in the drugs' effectiveness as well as potentially dangerous side effects.
Rare type of stroke increasing among pregnant women
Strokes caused by various reasons including a ruptured vessel on the brain's surface are increasingly being recognized among pregnant women.
Scientists reveal the fundamental limitation in the key material for solid-state lighting
For the first time an international research group has revealed the core mechanism that limits the indium content in indium gallium nitride thin films -- the key material for blue light emitting diodes (LED).
Vitamin C in the body can be tracked by fluorescence
A Japanese research team led by The University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science bio-imaged vitamin C in mice.
Discovery may advance neural stem cell treatments for brain disorders
New research from SBP reveals a novel gene regulatory system that may advance stem cell therapies and gene-targeting treatments for neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and mental health disorders that affect cognitive abilities.
Researchers use wild rice to predict health of Minnesota lakes and streams
By studying wild rice in lakes and streams, a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota has discovered that sulfate in waterways is converted into toxic levels of sulfide and increases other harmful elements.
Scientific breakthrough could lead to better antipsychotic drugs
'If we want to create better medications, the first step is to see what the D2 receptor looks like in high-resolution detail when it's bound tightly to a drug,' said senior author Bryan L.
Ultrathin needle can deliver drugs directly to the brain
MIT researchers have devised a miniaturized system that can deliver tiny quantities of medicine to brain regions as small as 1 cubic millimeter.
Nanoparticle vaccine offers universal protection against influenza a viruses, study finds
Researchers have developed a universal vaccine to combat influenza A viruses that produces long-lasting immunity in mice and protects them against the limitations of seasonal flu vaccines, according to a study led by Georgia State University.
Warming temperatures may cause birds to shrink
Biologists have known for a long time that animals living in colder climates tend to have larger bodies, supposedly as an adaptation to reduce heat loss.
Tracking wastewater's path to wells, groundwater
We often 'flush it and forget it' when it comes to waste from toilets and sinks.
For global invasion, Argentine ants use chemical weapons
In a paper published today in Scientific Reports, researchers at the University of California, Riverside show how Argentine ants use chemical secretions as weapons in their interactions with harvester ants, which are native to California.
Wisdom at the end of life
In a paper publishing Jan. 24 in the journal International Psychogeriatrics, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine asked 21 hospice patients, ages 58 to 97 and in the last six months of their lives, to describe the core characteristics of wisdom and whether their terminal illnesses had changed or impacted their understanding of wisdom.
Study provides new guidelines for assessing severity of head and neck cancers
Cedars-Sinai investigators have developed a new, more accurate set of guidelines for assessing the severity of head and neck cancers and predicting patient survival.
Can cruise vacations contribute to well-being?
A new International Journal of Tourism Research study indicates that cruise vacations are not only for fun but can also be beneficial for individuals' happiness and well-being.
Cloud seeding for snow: Does it work? Scientists report first quantifiable observations
For the first time, scientists have obtained direct, quantifiable observations of cloud seeding for increased snowfall -- from the growth of ice crystals, through the processes that occur in clouds, to the eventual snowfall.
Social media use linked to lack of sleep in students
Greater use of social media was associated with a greater likelihood of getting too little sleep in an Acta Paediatrica study of Canadian students aged 11-20 years.
Do terrorist attacks affect ethnic discrimination in the labor market?
Terrorist attacks are known to influence public opinion, but do they also change behaviour?
Finding the root cause of bronchiolitis symptoms
'By treating all bronchiolitis patients with a single agent, we could be comparing apples with oranges,' says Robert J.
Could underwater sound waves be the key to early tsunami warnings?
Mathematicians have devised a way of calculating the size of a tsunami and its destructive force well in advance of it making landfall by measuring fast-moving underwater sound waves, opening up the possibility of a real-time early warning system.
People with tetraplegia gain rapid use of brain-computer interface
A new approach to calibrating the pioneering BrainGate brain-computer interface allowed three clinical trial participants with tetraplegia to gain control of a computer cursor after just one simple calibration step.
Brain-scan guided emergency stroke treatment can save more lives
Advances in brain imaging can identify a greater number of stroke patients who can receive therapy later than previously believed, according to a new study.
New study sheds light on teenagers' online habits
Teenagers are far more critical users of social media than we give them credit for, and need to be better supported in reaping the benefits social media can have.
Unexpected helpers in wound healing
Nerve cells in the skin help wounds to heal. When an injury occurs, cells known as glial cells change into repair cells and disseminate into the wound, where they help the skin to regenerate, researchers from the University of Zurich have shown.
New 'big-armed fly' species named after former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
A new fly species with bulging forelegs is named after former California governor and famous bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Alzheimer's drug targeting soluble amyloid falls short in a large clinical trial
A paper published today in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that solanezumab, a monoclonal antibody-based treatment for Alzheimer's disease developed by Eli Lilly that targets amyloid plaques, did not significantly slow cognitive decline.
Is species richness increasing? Insight into an intense ecological debate
Could biodiversity be remaining steady at locations around the world, even as species go extinct and biodiversity declines globally?
Vitamin D supplements could ease painful IBS symptoms
Vitamin D supplements could help to ease painful Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms, a new study from the University of Sheffield has found.
Better than a hologram: Research produces 3-D images floating in 'thin air'
In the original Star Wars film, R2D2 projects an image of Princess Leia in distress.
Optimizing recycling of scrap car parts yields big savings
Detailed sorting of scrap car parts could boost recycling rates to over 97 percent, saving billions and slashing greenhouse gas emissions.
Viral gene therapy could improve results from breast reconstruction after cancer treatment
A new treatment helps healthy tissue protect itself from radiotherapy damage.
Just one cigarette a day carries greater risk of heart disease and stroke than expected, warn expert
Smoking just one cigarette a day has a much higher risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke than expected -- about half the risk of smoking 20 per day -- concludes a review of the evidence published by The BMJ today.
Working in female-dominated workplaces means worse access to flexible working arrangements
Workers in female-dominated workplaces have worse access to flexible working arrangements than those in gender-neutral and even male-dominated workplaces, new research from the University of Kent has found.
Racism linked to uptake of smoking in young people
Adolescents who have experienced some form of racism between the ages of 11 and 23 are more likely to take up smoking than those who have not, according to a new study led by King's College London.
Meet Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, the first monkey clones produced by method that made Dolly
The first primate clones made by somatic cell nuclear transfer are two genetically identical long-tailed macaques born recently at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai.
Researchers from Basel and Bochum achieve resolutions in the 30 nanometer range
Objects smaller than half the wavelength of the utilised light cannot be viewed with the aid of traditional light microscopes.
CCNY IUSL scientists study optical biopsy tool that detects disease in seconds
A recent IUSL paper published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology reports how Resonance Raman spectroscopy, a tool previously used to provide molecular information in science, is now being used in medicine and biomedicine to provide an optical biopsy that offers more detailed, faster detection.
Stanford-led clinical trial shows broader benefits of acute-stroke therapy
A 38-center clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine has shown that far more people than previously thought can benefit from an emergency procedure for acute ischemic stroke.
Changes to nursing home quality ratings system caused consumers to choose better providers
Health care report cards and quality ratings are intended to give consumers more information when choosing a care provider like a hospital or nursing home.
Four in 10 cardiomyopathies -- a major cause of sudden death in young people -- are genetic
Four in 10 cardiomyopathies -- a major cause of sudden cardiac death and heart failure in young people -- are genetic, according to a European Society of Cardiology (ESC) study published today in European Heart Journal.
Many stroke survivors don't receive timely rehab
Whether they are referred to home-based or outpatient rehabilitation after hospital discharge, many stroke patients don't receive rehabilitation services, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2018, a world premier meeting dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease for researchers and clinicians.
Implantable medical devices bolstered by next-gen surface modification
A discovery by Australian researchers could underpin a new class of implantable devices that provide biological signals to surrounding tissue for better integration with the body and reduced risk of infection.
How wind turbines annoy residents and how to reduce it
When falling asleep, relaxing or undertaking recreational activities, nearly a third of residents living near a wind farm are not at all annoyed or only slightly annoyed by the noise of wind turbines.
Mathematicians develop model for how new ideas emerge
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London have developed a mathematical model for the emergence of innovations.
Making milestones against non-small cell lung cancer
Progress concerning Lung cancer has been enormous in the past 20 years, according to a new review from researchers at Yale Cancer Center.
Lyosomes and mitochondria chat each other up in cell
Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered that two key cellular structures, called mitochondria and lysosomes, come into direct contact with each other in the cell to regulate their respective functions.
Link found between genes in mosquitos and the spread of diseases
Researchers at the University of Missouri have found a link between genetic molecules in mosquitos and dengue fever.
Many older individuals with type 2 diabetes are over-treated
In a recent Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism analysis of individuals aged 70 years with type 2 diabetes, almost 40 percent with recommended HbA1c levels (which indicate blood glucose levels) were over-treated.
Is your sandwich bad for the environment?
The carbon footprint of your sandwich could be having a major impact on greenhouse gas emissions according to new research.
Study provides first systematic survey of metabolites across tumor types
In an advance reminiscent of the earliest maps of genomic mutations in cancer, investigators at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have completed the first systematic survey of the products of biochemical reactions within cancer and their relation to the progress of the disease.
Which bone measures predict fractures in postmenopausal women?
When investigators compared initial bone parameters with changes in those parameters over time in postmenopausal women, they found that initial measurements were significantly associated with women's risk of fracture.
Medicaid expansion linked with better, more timely surgical care
The Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion was linked to better access to surgery and higher quality surgical care, according to a new study from Harvard T.H.
Viral replication discovery could spur new broad-spectrum antivirals
Scientists at the Morgridge Institute for Research have discovered a new Achilles heel in the replication process of positive-strand RNA viruses, a class responsible for health threats such as Zika, polio, chikungunya and hepatitis C.
Substantial inequalities in cesarean births persist in many countries
A study published by The BMJ today shows that cesarean section rates have increased in most countries during the past decade, particularly among the richest fifth, indicating an increase in wealth related inequality over time.
Imagining a successful future can help students overcome everyday difficulties
Having a clear picture in mind of what their future will look like can motivate students to keep going despite the challenges of college life.
The impact of lower total knee replacement rates in black Americans
The impact of lower total knee replacement rates in black Americans.
Predator control can have unintended consequences
Introduced predators pose threats to biodiversity and are implicated in the extinction of many native species.
Air pollution may shorten telomeres in newborns -- a sign of increased health risks
A study conducted before and after the 2004 closure of a coal-burning power plant in Tongliang, China, found children born before the closure had shorter telomeres than those conceived and born after the plant stopped polluting the air.
How smelly is your rubbish?
A new method is being developed to assess the odorous impact of composting.
Study finds a third of households -- double previous estimates -- struggle to get food
The struggle to get enough nutritious food could be far worse than previously understood, according to a new study examining the intersection between hunger and the types of foods found at nearby stores.
Augmented reality system lets doctors see under patients' skin without the scalpel
New technology is bringing the power of augmented reality into clinical practice.
Discount distortions
A 25-year-old drug discount program aimed at boosting resources for hospitals treating low-income patients did not deliver on its promise to enhance care for the needy, according to research from Harvard Medical School and the NYU School of Medicine.
Artificial sweetener could someday provide cancer treatments with fewer side effects
Artificial sweeteners are used in diet drinks and foods but also could someday be used as treatments targeting carbonic anhydrase IX (CA IX), a protein associated with aggressive cancers.
Leprosy's drug resistance and origin revealed by genome analysis
Scientists led by EPFL have isolated leprosy bacteria directly from human samples, and analyzed the purified genomes to identify mutations that confer drug resistance to the bacterium, as well as gain insights into the origins of the disease.
Previously unknown ocean virus family may also populate the human gut
A newly discovered family of viruses appears to play a major role in killing marine bacteria and maintaining the ocean's ecology.
Scientists create a 3-D model of molecules in yeast linked to enzyme that lengthens chromosome tips
Through the haze of a sonogram screen, an expectant mother catches a glimpse of the growing baby within her.
Feelings determine from which side we embrace each other
In emotionally charged situations, we tend to hug each other from the left side more often than in neutral contexts.
Star-gazing on the reef
Scientists have discovered the first evidence that brittle stars living in vibrant coral reefs use thousands of light sensors to navigate their way through their complex environments.
Augmented and virtual reality will involve human senses in verifying the operations of information systems
Many new applications aim to make information systems and machines identify their users and take their individual needs and emotions into account.
Blast, bubble and brain injury
Researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington used supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center to simulate how bubbles caused by explosions may damage neurons in the brain.
Drug may help those with dementia with Lewy bodies
New help may be on the way for people with dementia with Lewy bodies, which is the second most common neurodegenerative type of dementia after Alzheimer's disease.
Prediction of titanic nitride proved unsinkable
A team of experimental and computational scientists led by Carnegie's Tim Strobel and Venkata Bhadram have synthesized a long sought-after form of titanium nitride, Ti3N4, which has promising mechanical and optoelectronic properties.
Rise in severity of hottest days outpaces global average temperature increase
While our planet's average annual temperature has increased at a steady pace in recent decades, there has been an alarming jump in the severity of the hottest days of the year during that same period, with the most lethal effects in the world's largest cities.
A new ecosystem approach to fight antibiotic resistance
The World Health Organization has deemed antibiotic resistance to be one of the greatest threats to human health, as bacteria become increasingly resistant and too few treatments are being developed to combat them.
tRNA fragments in mosquitos may play role in spreading disease
tRNA fragments -- small sections of transfer RNA molecules -- have recently been discovered to play active roles in the biology of diverse organisms.
NASA covers wildfires from many sources
NASA's satellite instruments are often the first to detect wildfires burning in remote regions, and the locations of new fires are sent directly to land managers worldwide within hours of the satellite overpass.
Positive attitude toward math predicts math achievement in kids, Stanford study finds
For the first time, scientists have identified the brain pathway that links a positive attitude toward math to achievement in the subject.
Weather patterns, farm income, other factors, may be influencing opioid crisis
The overprescribing of opioid-based painkillers may be the main driver of the increased abuse of opioids in rural America, but economists say that other factors, including declining farm income, extreme weather and other natural disasters, may affect a crisis that is killing thousands of citizens and costing the country billions of dollars.
Endangered woodpeckers persist, but still struggle, on private land
The US Fish and Wildlife Service's Safe Harbor was established to encourage private landowners to take steps to benefit endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers on their land.
Ultralow power consumption for data recording
Researchers have made a discovery that could see a drastic reduction in power consumption for data recording.
A new 'atmospheric disequilibrium' could help detect life on other planets
A new study has found a simple approach to look for life that might be more promising than just looking for oxygen.
European-Russian space mission steps up the search for life on Mars
In 2013, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos -- the Russian governmental body responsible for space research -- agreed to cooperate on ExoMars, the first joint interplanetary mission between ESA and Russia.
New type of virus found in the ocean
Researchers at MIT and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have identified a new type of virus that is abundant in the world's oceans but has escaped detection until now.
How expectations impact actual exam scores
Confidence in good results is related to academic progress, as confirmed by the results of a study conducted by researchers from the Higher School of Economics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Tinbergen Institute.
Physicists have learned to change the wavelength of Tamm plasmons
Scientists from Siberian Federal University (SFU) and the L. V.
Decoding the Axolotl genome
The sequencing of the largest genome to date lays the foundation for novel insights into tissue regeneration.
Guidelines support telemedicine as an effective tool for allergists
A position paper by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology provides guidance to allergists interested in providing telemedicine care to their patients.
A new genome for regeneration research
The first complete genome assembly of planarian flatworm reveals a treasure trove on the function and evolution of genes.
High-res imaging gives an unparalleled view of how fungi grow
Many fungus species grow through a process of vesicle secretion that can be applied in a biotechnology setting to make commercial or medical products.
'Smart' contact lenses monitor glucose levels in tears
A soft, flexible contact lens can monitor glucose levels in tears and deliver sensing results through the lens display, according to a new report, alerting the user if glucose levels are too high by turning off a tiny embedded LED light.
Tracking down T cell targets to tamp down HIV infection
Scientists have narrowed in on a group of gut-residing immune cells that might predispose women to increased HIV infection risk and more severe disease.
Chasing dark matter with the oldest stars in the Milky Way
Just how quickly is the dark matter near Earth zipping around?
Pearly material for bendable heating elements (video)
The iridescent shimmer of a string of pearls may one day be more than pretty adornment.
A call for greater attention to older women's sexual health
A new Journal of the American Geriatrics Society article reviews common issues in caring for the sexual health of older women, noting that physicians often lack sufficient training.
ACA's Medicaid expansion associated with greater likelihood of patients receiving optimal care for serious surgical conditions
Bottom Line: The Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) Medicaid expansion was associated with significant increases in insurance coverage among patients with serious surgical conditions such as appendicitis or aortic aneurysm, and a greater likelihood of these patients receiving timely, optimal care.
Mitigation techniques fall short of preventing electrocution of golden eagles on power poles
Despite efforts to retrofit power poles and to build new poles to avian-friendly standards, electrocution remains a substantial cause of death for the golden eagle.
Study links gut-homing protein levels with HIV infection risk, disease progression
For the first time, scientists have shown a relationship between the proportion of key immune cells that display high levels of a gut-homing protein called alpha-4 beta-7 at the time of HIV infection and health outcomes.
Quantum cocktail provides insights on memory control
Experiments based on atoms in a shaken artificial crystal made of light offer novel insight into the physics of quantum many-body systems -- which might help in the development of future data-storage technologies.
Protein YAP in early life influences adult spinocerebellar ataxia pathology
YAP and its neuronal isoform YAPdeltaC are involved in expression and regulation of genes.
Adipose tissue depots compromise heart health
Researchers from the Institute of Pharmacology of the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have shown that the release of fatty acids from body fat has a major impact on heart health.
Advances in lasers get to the long and short of it
Chiral nematic liquid crystals are an emerging class of lasing devices that are poised to shape how lasers are used in the future.
New research can put an end to allergic reactions
Scientists from Denmark and Germany have discovered an antibody, which through a complex biochemical process prevents the human allergy antibody (IgE) from attaching to cells, thus keeping all allergic symptoms from occurring.
Rare traces of a volatile gas
Nitrogen monoxide (NO) belongs to the group of nitrogen oxides which are infamous as toxic emissions in urban agglomerations.
MMV malaria box phenotyped against plasmodium and toxoplasma
A Singapore-India collaborative research project between the Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD) and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratories (NCL) completed phenotypic screening of a large collection of potent chemical inhibitors (known as MMV Malaria Box), against pathogenic parasites toxoplasma gondii and plasmodium falciparum, causative agents of human toxoplasmosis and malaria.
Primordial oceans had oxygen 250 million years before the atmosphere
Research by a University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) graduate student Mojtaba Fakhraee and Associate Professor Sergei Katsev has pushed a major milestone in the evolution of the Earth's environment back by about 250 million years.
A simple new approach to plastic solar cells
Osaka University researchers built on their previous work to develop new advanced organic polymer.

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