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Guiding the way to improved solar cell performance
Small molecules could hold the key to enhancing the efficiency of organic solar cells. (2020-11-24)

COVID-19: Air quality influences the pandemic
An interdisciplinary team from the University of Geneva and the ETH Zürich spin-off Meteodat investigated possible interactions between acutely elevated levels of fine particulate matter and the virulence of the coronavirus disease. Their results suggest that high concentrations of particles less than 2.5 micrometers in size may modulate, or even amplify, the waves of SARS-CoV-2 contamination and explain in part the particular profile of the COVID-19 pandemic. (2020-11-24)

Scientists make sound-waves from a quantum vacuum at the Black Hole laboratory
Researchers have developed a new theory for observing a quantum vacuum that could lead to new insights into the behaviour of black holes. (2020-11-23)

Biophysics - geometry supersedes simulations
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich physicists have introduced a new method that allows biological pattern-forming systems to be systematically characterized with the aid of mathematical analysis. The trick lies in the use of geometry to characterize the dynamics. (2020-11-20)

Building better diffusion models for active systems
Research published in EPJ E has led to new theories detailing how some unusual diffusion behaviours can be reproduced in generalised mathematical models. (2020-11-19)

Predicting forces between oddly shaped nanoparticles
Materials scientists at Duke University have devised a simplified method for calculating the forces that cause nanoparticles to self-assemble. With this new model and graphical user interface, researchers will be able to make previously impossible predictions about how nanoparticles with a wide variety of shapes will interact with one another. The new method offers opportunities for rationally designing such particles for a wide range of applications from harnessing solar energy to driving catalytic reactions. (2020-11-19)

UIC researchers describe fundamental processes behind movement of magnetic particles
Researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago describe several fundamental processes associated with the motion of magnetic particles through fluids as they are pulled by a magnetic field. (2020-11-18)

Magnetic spray: Giving inanimate objects new bionergy
Recently, researchers from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with the City University of Hong Kong (CityU), have developed an agglutinate, reprogrammable, disintegrable and biocompatible magnetic spray (M-spray) that can easily turn inanimate objects into millirobots. (2020-11-18)

Surprises in 'active' aging
Aging is a process that affects not only living beings. Many materials, like plastics and glasses, also age -- ie they change slowly as their particles try to pack better. Biological materials, such as living tissue, show similar behaviour to glasses except that the particles are actual cells with their own propulsion. Researchers at Göttingen University used computer simulations to explore the aging behaviour of these ''living'' glassy systems. Research was published in Physical Review Letters. (2020-11-18)

Seeking the most effective polymers for personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment, like face masks and gowns, is generally made of polymers. But not much attention is typically given to the selection of polymers used beyond their physical properties. To help with the identification of materials that will bind to a virus and speed its inactivation for use in PPE, researchers have developed a high-throughput approach for analyzing the interactions between materials and viruslike particles. They report their method in the journal Biointerphases. (2020-11-17)

Surrey reveals simple method to produce high performing Lithium Selenium batteries
Engineers at the University of Surrey have developed a simple and elegant method of producing high-powered lithium-selenium (Li-Se) batteries. (2020-11-16)

Analysis paves way for more sensitive quantum sensors
Theoretical researchers at Pritzker Molecular Engineering have found a way to make quantum sensors exponentially more sensitive by harnessing a unique physics phenomenon. (2020-11-16)

Plastic pollution is everywhere. Study reveals how it travels
A study reveals the mechanism by which microplastics, like Styrofoam, and particulate pollutants are carried long distances through soil and other porous media, with implications for preventing the spread and accumulation of contaminants in food and water sources. (2020-11-13)

CCNY & partners in quantum algorithm breakthrough
Researchers led by City College of New York physicist Pouyan Ghaemi report the development of a quantum algorithm with the potential to study a class of many-electron quantums system using quantum computers. Their paper, entitled ''Creating and Manipulating a Laughlin-Type ν=1/3 Fractional Quantum Hall State on a Quantum Computer with Linear Depth Circuits,'' appears in the December issue of PRX Quantum, a journal of the American Physical Society. (2020-11-13)

3D printing -- a 'dusty' business?
3D printers are becoming increasingly popular. They can be used to create a wide variety of three-dimensional objects based on computer templates. For example, depending on the method used, objects can be printed using plastics, synthetic resins, ceramics or metal. The material is applied layer by layer and, in doing so, building the printed object. But what about health risks from the extremely fine particles and volatile chemical substances that might be released and inhaled during printing? (2020-11-12)

Advancing fusion energy through improved understanding of fast plasma particles
PPPL scientists have developed a unique program to track the zig-zagging dance of hot, charged plasma particles that fuel fusion reactions. (2020-11-12)

Are the movements of tiny hairlike structures a key to our health?
New research from USC scholars identifies the mechanisms in play for cilia to work effectively and productively to push particles and fluid along, which is especially important given their critical role in health and in even ensuring reproduction. (2020-11-12)

UCLA researchers create armored emulsions as tiny test tubes for parallel reactions
UCLA bioengineers and mathematicians have invented the first-ever 'armored' emulsions. The armor comes in the form of tiny soft U-shaped cups, about a half-millimeter in length. With a hydrophobic (water-repelling) exterior and hydrophilic (water-attracting) interior, each U-shaped particle captures a fluid droplet resulting in an emulsion that stays intact following mixing. The research was published in Science Advances. (2020-11-12)

Improving high-energy lithium-ion batteries with carbon filler
Lithium-ion batteries are the major rechargeable power source for many portable devices as well as electric vehicles, but their use is limited, because they do not provide high power output while simultaneously allowing reversible energy storage. Research reported in Applied Physics Reviews aims to offer a solution by showing how the inclusion of conductive fillers improves battery performance. (2020-11-10)

Researchers 3D print biomedical parts with supersonic speed
Forget glue, screws, heat or other traditional bonding methods. A Cornell University-led collaboration has developed a 3D printing technique that creates cellular metallic materials by smashing together powder particles at supersonic speed. (2020-11-10)

No matter the size of a nuclear party, some protons and neutrons will pair up and dance
No matter the size of a nuclear party, certain protons and neutrons will always pair up and dance, a new MIT study finds. The results will help map the workings within neutron stars and heavy radioactive nuclei. (2020-11-09)

The burning question of Bonfire Night pollution
Bonfire Night celebrations contaminate our air with 100 times more soot than usual. The particles, also known as black carbon are so small, they can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause irritation. Long term exposure can cause harmful effects on the heart and lungs and contributes to millions of deaths worldwide each year. (2020-11-05)

Understanding the spread of infectious diseases
Physicists at Münster University (Germany) have shown in model simulations that the COVID-19 infection rates decrease significantly through social distancing. For this, they combined the dynamical density functional theory to describe interacting particles and the SIR model, a theory to describe the spread of infectious diseases. (2020-11-04)

The importance of good neighbors in catalysis
Are you affected by your neighbors? So are nanoparticles in catalysts. New research from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, published in the journals Science Advances and Nature Communications, reveals how the nearest neighbors determine how well nanoparticles work in a catalyst. (2020-11-03)

Study measures effectiveness of different face mask materials when coughing
A team of researchers have tested everything from t-shirts and socks to jeans and vacuum bags to determine what type of mask material is most effective at trapping the ultrafine particles which may contain viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. (2020-10-29)

Weak equivalence principle violated in gravitational waves
New research published in EPJ C proves theoretically that the Weak Equivalence Principle can be violated by quantum particles in gravitational waves - the ripples in spacetime caused by colossal events such as merging black holes. (2020-10-28)

Turning a coronavirus protein into a nanoparticle could be key for COVID-19 vaccine
One of the proteins on the virus - located on the characteristic COVID spike - has a component called the receptor-binding domain, or RBD, which is its ''Achilles heel.'' That is, he said, antibodies against this part of the virus have the potential to the neutralize the virus. (2020-10-28)

Marine biology -- Sponges as biomonitors of micropollution
Sponges are filter feeders that live on particulate matter -- but they can also ingest microscopic fragments of plastics and other pollutants of anthropogenic origin. They can therefore serve as useful bioindicators of the health of marine ecosystems. (2020-10-23)

New data on increasing cloth mask effectiveness
A new study published in Risk Analysis, 'Reinventing cloth masks in the face of pandemics,' by Stephen Salter, P.Eng., describes how Effective Fiber Mask Programs (EFMPs) can help communities find a balance between the economy and curbing community spread. (2020-10-23)

For the first time: Realistic simulation of plasma edge instabilities in tokamaks
Among the loads to which the plasma vessel in a fusion device may be exposed, so-called edge localised modes are particularly undesirable. By computer simulations the origin and the course of this plasma-edge instability could now be explained for the first time in detail. (2020-10-22)

Keeping COVID-19 out of classrooms: Open windows, use glass screens in front of desks
Flow velocity distribution and particle size are key in aerosol transport, which is one of the main ways COVID-19 spreads, when aerosol particles are released during exhalation, talking, coughing, or sneezing. In Physics of Fluids, researchers used computational fluid-particle dynamics to explore aerosol transport within an air-conditioned classroom model. They discovered opening windows increases the fraction of particles that exit the system by nearly 40%, while also reducing aerosol transmission between people within. (2020-10-20)

A billion tiny pendulums could detect the universe's missing mass
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues have proposed a novel method for finding dark matter, the cosmos' mystery material that has eluded detection for decades. (2020-10-14)

Scientists develop detector for investigating the sun
Researchers from MIPT have developed a prototype detector of solar particles. The device is capable of picking up protons at kinetic energies between 10 and 100 megaelectronvolts, and electrons at 1-10 MeV. This covers most of the high-energy particle flux coming from the sun. The new detector can improve radiation protection for astronauts and spaceships, as well as advancing our understanding of solar flares. (2020-10-13)

New study shows which medical procedures pose COVID-19 risk to health-care providers
Autopsy, airway suctioning and cardiopulmonary resuscitation are among the list of medical procedures that pose a risk of spreading COVID-19 from a patient to their health-care provider by creating aerosols, according to new research published in the journal BMJ Open Respiratory Research. The team, led by UAlberta medicine professor Sebastian Straube, carried out a systematic review of public health guidelines, research papers and policy documents from around the globe to determine which procedures are classified as aerosol-generating. (2020-10-13)

Stress-free gel
Researchers at The University of Tokyo studied a new mechanism of gelation using colloidal particles. By delaying the formation of gel networks after rigid-cluster formation, the final structure had less mechanical stress, leading to new gel production methods. (2020-10-08)

Detecting SARS-CoV-2 in the environment
Researchers have outlined an approach to characterize and develop an effective environmental monitoring methodology for SARS CoV-2 virus, that can be used to better understand viral persistence in built environments. The investigators from 7 institutions published their research this week in mSystems, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. (2020-10-07)

RUDN University Chemist created a niobium-silica catalyst to boost petrochemical reactions
Alkylation reactions are used in the petrochemical industry to obtain high-octane number components for gasolines. A chemist from RUDN University found a way to speed this process up to 24 times. To do so, he developed a catalyst based on silica and niobium. (2020-10-06)

Energy-harvesting plastics pass the acid test
Air-stable coatings can improve the longevity of wearable devices that tap into body heat. (2020-10-06)

Evidence of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's & MND in brains of young people exposed to dirty air
After examining the brainstems of 186 young Mexico City residents aged between 11 months and 27 years of age, researchers, including Professor Barbara Maher from Lancaster University, found markers not only of Alzheimer's disease, but also of Parkinson's and of motor neurone disease (MND) too. These markers of disease were coupled with the presence of tiny, distinctive nanoparticles within the brainstem - their appearance and composition indicating they were likely to come from vehicle pollution. (2020-10-06)

Revising climate models with new aerosol field data
Advanced field measurements of how quickly aerosol particles are pulled out of the air can help improve climate predictions - and air quality forecasts. (2020-10-06)

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