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Friday, February 6, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

Novel method projects growth potential of new firms: Which tech businesses will thrive?

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:29 AM PST

New businesses spring up all the time in the U.S. But which ones have the greatest ability to become big? A new method based on an empirical study, projects the growth potential of high-tech firms with new precision -- and could help local or regional policymakers assess their growth prospects.

How oxygen is like kryptonite to titanium

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:29 AM PST

Scientists have found the mechanism by which titanium, prized for its high strength-to-weight ratio and natural resistance to corrosion, becomes brittle with just a few extra atoms of oxygen. The discovery could potentially lead to more practical, cost-effective use of titanium in a broader range of applications, including vehicles, buildings and bridges.

Fine-tuned supramolecular polymerization

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:29 AM PST

Researchers have demonstrated a new method for artificially building and dismantling supramolecular polymers in a tightly controlled and selective way, following the methods of traditional polymer chemistry by taking advantage of the monomer elements' own tendency to self-organize. This opens the way to the creation, though precision supramolecular engineering, or polymers with a wide range of properties that could be exploited for new applications.

Acoustic tweezers device expands the range of x-ray crystallography

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:28 AM PST

A device for precisely positioning small objects using acoustic waves has now been used to position fragile protein crystals a few micrometers or less in size in the path of a crystallography X-ray beam.

Cesium atoms shaken, not stirred, to create elusive excitation in superfluid

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:12 AM PST

In 1941, future Nobel laureate Lev Landau predicted that superfluid helium-4 should contain an exotic, particle-like excitation called a roton. Roton structure has been a matter of debate ever since. Physicists have now created roton structure in the laboratory.

Prototype of a robotic system with emotion and memory

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:11 AM PST

Researchers have developed a prototype of a social robot which supports independent living for the elderly, working in partnership with their relatives or carers. 

Cosmology: First stars were born much later than thought

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 10:12 AM PST

New maps from ESA's Planck satellite uncover the 'polarized' light from the early Universe across the entire sky, revealing that the first stars formed much later than previously thought.

Similar statistics play role in decision-making and World War II code breaking

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 10:12 AM PST

"The brain reaches a decision by combining samples of evidence in much the way a good statistician would," says a researcher. He demonstrates this theory by monitoring the decision-making process in rhesus monkeys to determine how much and what information they need to confidently choose a correct answer.

March of the moons: Hubble captures rare triple-moon conjunction

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 07:19 AM PST

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured the rare occurrence of three of Jupiter's largest moons racing across the banded face of the gas-giant planet: Europa, Callisto, and Io on Jan. 24, 2015.

New type of membrane permits cheaper and more efficient water purification

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 06:52 AM PST

New selective membranes in the form of thin hollow straws can improve water purification. The membranes make it possible to purify water in a single process step, while preliminary treatment is always required in existing water treatment plants. The most important benefits of the new membranes are that they can make the provision of drinking water easier and therefore cheaper and can improve the removal of micropollutants such as pharmaceutical residues.

How many licks to finish a lollipop? Formula models how water currents shape and dissolve solids

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 06:50 AM PST

A team of scientists has identified the complex process by which materials are shaped and ultimately dissolved by surrounding water currents.

Preventing greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 05:37 AM PST

A novel class of materials that enable a safer, cheaper, and more energy-efficient process for removing greenhouse gas from power plant emissions has been developed by a multi-institution team of researchers. The approach could be an important advance in carbon capture and sequestration.

Probing qualities at the tips of nanocones

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 05:30 AM PST

New understanding of electron behavior at the tips of carbon nanocones could help provide candidates for use as a novel probe in atomic force microscopy. One of the ways of improving electrons manipulation is though better control over one of their inner characteristics, called spin. This approach is the object of an entire field of study, known as spintronics.

The power of light-matter coupling

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 05:30 AM PST

A theoretical study shows that strong ties between light and organic matter at the nanoscale open the door to modifying these coupled systems' optical, electronic or chemical properties. Light and matter can be so strongly linked that their characteristics become indistinguishable. These light-matter couplings are referred to as polaritons. Their energy oscillates continuously between both systems, giving rise to attractive new physical phenomena. Now, scientists have explained why such polaritons can remain for an unusual long time at the lowest energy levels, in such a way that alters the microscopic and macroscopic characteristics of their constituting matter.

Octopus robot makes waves with ultra-fast propulsion

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 05:30 AM PST

Scientists have developed an octopus-like robot, which can zoom through water with ultra-fast propulsion and acceleration never before seen in human-made underwater vehicles. Most fast aquatic animals are sleek and slender to help them move easily through the water but cephalopods, such as the octopus, are capable of high-speed escapes by filling their bodies with water and then quickly expelling it to dart away. Inspired by this, scientists built a deformable octopus-like robot with a 3D printed skeleton with no moving parts and no energy storage device, other than a thin elastic outer hull.

Tiny robotic 'hand' could improve cancer diagnostics, drug delivery

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 07:26 AM PST

Many people imagine robots today as clunky, metal versions of humans, but scientists are forging new territory in the field of 'soft robotics.' One of the latest advances is a flexible, microscopic hand-like gripper. The development could help doctors perform remotely guided surgical procedures or perform biopsies. The materials also could someday deliver therapeutic drugs to hard-to-reach places.

Understanding air pollution from biomass burners used for heating

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 07:26 AM PST

As many places in the US and Europe increasingly turn to biomass rather than fossil fuels for power and heat, scientists are focusing on what this trend might mean for air quality -- and people's health. One such study on wood-chip burners' particulate emissions, which can cause heart and lung problems. The scientists say the findings could help manufacturers reduce the negative impact of this fuel in the future.

Electricity: A smart grid, simply self-organized, decentralized, and hack resistant

Posted: 04 Feb 2015 07:26 AM PST

Electrical supply and demand can be coordinated in an entirely decentralized way with the help of a new type of smart grid control.

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