Tag Archives: sensor

Nanopore Sequencing: DNA Prefers to Dive Head First into Nanopores

In the 1960s, Nobel laureate Pierre-Gilles de Gennes postulated that someday researchers could test his theories of polymer networks by observing single molecules. Researchers at Brown observed single molecules of DNA being drawn through nanopores by electrical current and figured out why they most often travel head first.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — If you want to understand a novel, it helps to start from the beginning rather than trying to pick up the plot from somewhere in the middle. The same goes for analyzing a strand of DNA. The best way to make sense of it is to look at it head to tail.

Luckily, according to a new study by physicists at Brown University, DNA molecules have a convenient tendency to cooperate. (more…)

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Experiment Would Test Cloud Geoengineering as Way to Slow Warming

Even though it sounds like science fiction, researchers are taking a second look at a controversial idea that uses futuristic ships to shoot salt water high into the sky over the oceans, creating clouds that reflect sunlight and thus counter global warming.

University of Washington atmospheric physicist Rob Wood describes a possible way to run an experiment to test the concept on a small scale in a comprehensive paper published this month in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

The point of the paper — which includes updates on the latest study into what kind of ship would be best to spray the salt water into the sky, how large the water droplets should be and the potential climatological impacts — is to encourage more scientists to consider the idea of marine cloud brightening and even poke holes in it. In the paper, he and a colleague detail an experiment to test the concept. (more…)

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Going Big

UD researchers report progress in development of carbon nanotube-based continuous fibers

The Chou research group in the University of Delaware’s College of Engineering recently reported on advances in carbon nanotube-based continuous fibers with invited articles in Advanced Materials and Materials Today, two high impact scientific journals.

According to Tsu-Wei Chou, Pierre S. du Pont Chair of Engineering, who co-authored the articles with colleagues Weibang Lu and Amanda Wu, there has been a concerted scientific effort over the last decade to “go big” – to translate the superb physical and mechanical properties of nanoscale carbon nanotubes to the macroscale. (more…)

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Nerve Gas Litmus Test Could Sense Airborne Chemical Weapons

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— Nerve gases are colorless, odorless, tasteless and deadly. While today’s soldiers carry masks and other protective gear, they don’t have reliable ways of knowing when they need them in time. That could change, thanks to a new litmus-like paper sensor made at the University of Michigan.

The paper strips are designed to change color from blue to pink within 30 second of exposure to trace amounts of nerve gas. (more…)

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NASA Radar to Study Hawaii’s Most Active Volcano

An airborne radar developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has returned to Hawaii to continue its study of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii’s current most active volcano.

The Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar, or UAVSAR, mounted in a pod under NASA’s G-III research aircraft from NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., returned to Hawaii’s Big Island on Jan. 7. The one-week airborne campaign will help scientists better understand processes occurring under Earth’s surface at Kilauea. (more…)

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WHOI Study Reports Microbes Consumed Oil in Gulf Slick at Unexpected Rates

More than a year after the largest oil spill in history, perhaps the dominant lingering question about the Deepwater Horizon spill is, “What happened to the oil?” Now, in the first published study to explain the role of microbes in breaking down the oil slick on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers have come up with answers that represent both surprisingly good news and a head-scratching mystery.

In research scheduled to be published in the Aug. 2 online edition of Environmental Research Letters, the WHOI team studied samples from the surface oil slick and surrounding Gulf waters. They found that bacterial microbes inside the slick degraded the oil at a rate five times faster than microbes outside the slick—accounting in large part for the disappearance of the slick some three weeks after Deepwater Horizon’s Macondo well was shut off. (more…)

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Gulf Coast Monitor: Sensor Designed to Detect Oil Contaminants in Saltwater

With more than 20,000 abandoned and active gas and oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico, oil leaks and spills pose a continuous threat to the region’s ecosystem. Monitoring the health of the ecosystems helps ensure the sustainability of natural resources, and helps protect human health and the environment.

Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) are developing an advanced-warning system to detect the presence of oil in saltwater. The sensor-based system offers the potential for remotely, autonomously and continuously monitoring bodies of water for oil. (more…)

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