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SwRI-led study finds that a comet's tail may shed light on solar wind heating
We can't see the wind, but we can learn about it by observing things that are being blown about. And by studying changes in a comet's bright tail of gas and ions, scientists are on the trail to solving two big mysteries about the solar wind, the supersonic outflow of electrically charged gas from the Sun's million-degree upper atmosphere or corona. (2015-10-13)

New research maps areas most vulnerable to ocean acidification
New NOAA-led research maps the distribution of aragonite saturation state in both surface and subsurface waters of the global ocean and provides further evidence that ocean acidification is happening on a global scale. The study identifies the Arctic and Antarctic oceans, and the upwelling ocean waters off the west coasts of North America, South America and Africa as regions that are especially vulnerable to ocean acidification. (2015-10-13)

Unexpected connections: Calcium refill mechanisms in nerve cells affects gene expression
SOCE (Store Operated Calcium Entry) is a process by which Calcium ions slowly enter cells to refill depleted calcium stores. This process in nerve cells is now thought to play a role in maintaining the levels of dopamine, a vital neurotransmitter in the brains of Drosophila flies. If SOCE operates in a similar way in mammalian neurons, it might provide new pathways to explore the treatment of Parkinson's disease. (2015-10-08)

The long anticipated structure of an ion channel reveals how excited neurons settle down
The channel, Slo2.2, helps restore neurons' internal electrical state, and so prevents them from firing at too high a frequency for too long, which has the potential to damage the cells. With the new information about Slo2.2's configuration, researchers can better understand how it accomplishes this. (2015-10-05)

Big range of behaviors for tiny graphene pores
Researchers at MIT have created tiny pores in single sheets of graphene that have an array of preferences and characteristics similar to those of ion channels in living cells. (2015-10-05)

World's largest atom smashers produce world's smallest droplets
A series of experiments conducted recently at the Large Hadron Collider and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider have created the tiniest drops of quark-gluon plasma ever made. (2015-10-02)

Researchers measure how specific atoms move in dielectric materials
Researchers have measured the behavior of specific atoms in dielectric materials when exposed to an electric field. The work advances our understanding of dielectric materials, which are used in a wide variety of applications -- from handheld electronics to defibrillators. (2015-10-01)

Extending a battery's lifetime with heat
Over time, the electrodes inside a rechargeable battery cell can grow tiny, branch-like filaments called dendrites, causing short circuits that kill the battery or even ignite it in flames. But thanks to new experiments and computer simulations, researchers from the California Institute of Technology have explored in detail how higher temperatures can break down these dendrites -- and possibly extend battery lifetimes. They discuss their findings in this week's Journal of Chemical Physics. (2015-10-01)

New processes in modern ReRAM memory cells decoded
Resistive memory cells or ReRAMs for short are deemed to be the new super information-storage solution of the future. At present, two basic concepts are being pursued, which, up to now, were associated with different types of active ions. But this is not quite correct, as Jülich researchers working together with their Korean, Japanese and American colleagues were surprised to discover. The effect enables switching characteristics to be modified as required. (2015-09-29)

Finding about how water gets into neurons provides new treatment targets for deadly brain swelling
High-efficiency transporters that work like a shuttle system to constantly move ions into and out of neurons appear to slam into reverse following a stroke or other injury and start delivering instead too much water, scientists have found. (2015-09-28)

Nano-mechanical study offers new assessment of silicon for next-gen batteries
A detailed nano-mechanical study of mechanical degradation processes in silicon structures containing varying levels of lithium ions offers good news for researchers attempting to develop reliable next-generation rechargeable batteries using silicon-based electrodes. (2015-09-24)

Gel study uncovers unexpected dynamics
Research by scientists at the University of York has revealed important new information about the dynamics of bacterial gels which could ultimately suggest new ways of helping prevent or better control diseases such as cystic fibrosis. (2015-09-24)

Southampton chemists create switchable gold catalyst
A gold catalyst whose behavior can be controlled by the addition of acid or metal ion cofactors has been designed by chemists from the University of Southampton. (2015-09-23)

Chemistry for the methanol economy
Unstable crude oil prices and limited oil resources have made the production of petrochemicals from methanol increasingly popular -- above all in China. Scientists at ETH Zurich have now deciphered the complex chemistry behind the start of this process. (2015-09-22)

Experiment confirms fundamental symmetry in nature
Scientists working with ALICE, a heavy-ion detector on the Large Hadron Collider ring, have made precise measurements of particle mass and electric charge that confirm the existence of a fundamental symmetry in nature. The findings, reported in a paper published online in Nature Physics on Aug. 17, led the researchers to confirm a fundamental symmetry between the nuclei of the particles and their antiparticles in terms of charge, parity and time. (2015-09-21)

Application of new spectroscopy method to capture reactions in photosynthesis
A new spectroscopy method is bringing researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute closer to understanding -- and artificially replicating -- the solar water-splitting reaction at the heart of photosynthetic energy production. (2015-09-14)

Strategies to decrease bacterial colonization
Among the bacterial infections that are most difficult to treat, chronic infections associated with bacterial biofilms are one of the most hazardous. Bacterial biofilms are densely packed communities of microbial cells surrounded with secreted polymers. In her doctoral thesis, chemist Shoghik Hakbyan has studied ways to decrease the bacterial colonization at Umeå University in Sweden. (2015-09-14)

Ocean waves may hold secret to efficient renewable energy
A National Science Foundation-funded UC researcher receives global recognition for improving methods to calculate electrical surface potential where air and water meet. (2015-09-08)

Nano-dunes with the ion beam
Many semiconductor devices in modern technology are based on nanostructures. Producing arrays of regular nanostructures usually requires substantial effort. If they were self-organized, the production of such devices would be considerably faster and the costs would therefore sink. Dr. Stefan Facsko from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and Dr. Xin Ou from the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology have now demonstrated a method for self-organization of nanostructured arrays via broad ion beam irradiation. (2015-09-08)

Resin may provide medicine against epilepsy
Sticky resin from conifers contains substances that could relieve or cure epilepsy. Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have synthesized and tested 71 substances known as resin acids, of which twelve are prime candidates for new drugs. (2015-09-08)

Synthetic proteins help solve structure of the fluoride ion channel
Through the use of custom-engineered synthetic proteins known as monobodies, scientists have resolved the atomic structure of the fluoride ion channel, revealing a unique 'double-barreled' architecture that contains two pathways through which fluoride ions flow -- a potentially new mechanism of ion transport. The study, published in Nature, sheds light on the evolution of these channels and enables new approaches to modify their function, with potential applications such as the development of novel antibiotics. (2015-09-07)

Stanford soil sleuths solve mystery of arsenic-contaminated water
Stanford Earth scientist Scott Fendorf helped discover how trace amounts of arsenic were moving from sediments into groundwater aquifers in Southern California. (2015-09-02)

Tracking down the causes of Alzheimer's
Genes are not only important for regular memory performance, but also for the development of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers at the University of Basel now identified a specific group of genes that plays a central role in both processes. This group of molecules controls the concentration of calcium ions inside the cell. Their results appear in the current issue of the journal JAMA Psychiatry. (2015-09-02)

Tiny drops of early universe 'perfect' fluid
New data from the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider confirm that small nuclei can create tiny droplets of a perfect liquid primordial soup when they collide with larger nuclei. (2015-08-31)

Pitt team identifies cause of resilience to tinnitus, potential drug therapy
Researchers have identified in an animal model the molecular mechanisms behind resilience to noise-induced tinnitus and a possible drug therapy that could reduce susceptibility to this chronic and sometimes debilitating condition. The findings by a team from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine were published online in the journal eLife. (2015-08-27)

Methanotrophs: Could bacteria help protect our environment?
New insight into methanotrophs, bacteria that can oxidise methane, may help us develop an array of biotechnological applications that exploit methane and protect our environment from this potent greenhouse gas. (2015-08-26)

Tackling the root cause of cystic fibrosis
Treatments for cystic fibrosis (CF) have added years to the lives of thousands of Americans. But they can be difficult to administer, and most don't fix the underlying cause. Scientists have now found that a small molecule, when tested in yeast, can substitute for a protein and restore a key cellular function related to those missing in people with CF and similar conditions. Their report appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. (2015-08-26)

NASA awards $1 million for development of platform to detect amino acids
Purnendu 'Sandy' Dasgupta, Hamish Small Chair in Ion Analysis of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The University of Texas at Arlington, has been awarded a $1 million NASA grant to further the search for amino acids. (2015-08-26)

Researchers combine disciplines, computational programs to determine atomic structure
Researchers, led by a team from the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, combined the power of two computational programs to determine the atomic structure of the abiological molecule cyanostar. This breakthrough will allow researchers to investigate the structure of more abiological molecules, which are relatively unknown. (2015-08-25)

iPS cells discover drug target for muscle disease
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is disease that leads to the degeneration of muscle due to dysfunctional expression of the protein dystrophin. A new iPS cell model found that the early stages of DMD development can be attributed to a specific family of ion channels that allows an abnormal influx of calcium to enter the cell. This same model can be used for drug discovery to correct the channel behavior. (2015-08-20)

Quantum computing advance locates neutral atoms
For any computer, being able to manipulate information is essential, but for quantum computing, singling out one data location without influencing any of the surrounding locations is difficult. Now, a team of Penn State physicists has a method for addressing individual neutral atoms without changing surrounding atoms. (2015-08-12)

Rice U. discovery may boost memory technology
Scientists at Rice University have created a solid-state memory technology that allows for high-density storage with a minimum of errors. (2015-08-10)

Ranier Blatt wins Bell Prize for trailblazing quantum research
On Aug. 20th, 2015, world-renowned quantum physicist Rainer Blatt will be awarded a prestigious prize for his contributions to the development of quantum information technologies, during the Conference on Quantum Information and Quantum Control being held at the Fields Institute at the University of Toronto. (2015-08-10)

'Yolks' and 'shells' improve rechargeable batteries
Nanoparticles with 'yolks' and 'shells' make for high-capacity batteries. (2015-08-05)

New benchmarks for molecular spectroscopy
Researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing have recently used a technique called zero-kinetic energy photoelectron spectroscopy to obtain a list in unprecedented detail of the quantum energy levels of the cyanoacetylene cation, a linear, five-atom molecule that exhibits nuclear and electronic coupling effects and is found in interstellar clouds and in the atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon Titan. (2015-08-04)

Don't call them stiff: Metal organic frameworks show unexpected flexibility
Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) are proving to be incredibly flexible with a myriad of potential applications including as antimicrobial agents, hydrogen-storage materials and solar-cell components. And despite their rigid-sounding name, researchers are reporting that MOF structures are also dynamic -- much more so than previously thought. They report this discovery, which could lead to the synthesis of brand-new types of materials, in ACS Central Science. (2015-07-29)

Lobster-Eye imager detects soft X-ray emissions
This week in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments, from AIP Publishing, the group describes developing and launching their imager, which centers on 'Lobster-Eye optics,' as well as its capabilities and future applications in space exploration. (2015-07-28)

Make mine a decaf: Breakthrough in knowledge of how nanoparticles grow
University of Leicester and CNRS researchers observe how nanoparticles grow when exposed to helium. (2015-07-23)

An easy, scalable and direct method for synthesizing graphene in silicon microelectronics
Graphene has been studied intensively for its unique properties, and now researchers have developed a microelectronics-compatible method to grow it and have synthesized wafer-scale, high-quality graphene on silicon substrates. The method is based on an ion implantation technique, a process in which ions are accelerated under an electrical field and smashed into a semiconductor. In Applied Physics Letters, the researchers describe their work, which takes graphene a step closer to commercial applications in silicon microelectronics. (2015-07-21)

Revolutionizing the revolutionary technology of optogenetics
Optogenetics, a technology that allows scientists to control cells with light, has blown the doors wide open in neuroscience since its debut a decade ago. With a new $1-million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation, a team of neuroscientists at Brown University and Central Michigan University will strive to make it even more powerful in the brain and beyond. (2015-07-16)

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