Tag Archives: structure

Deceptive-looking vortex line in superfluid led to twice-mistaken identity

So long, solitons: University of Chicago physicists have shown that a group of scientists were incorrect when they concluded that a mysterious effect found in superfluids indicated the presence of solitons—exotic, solitary waves. Instead, they explain, the result was due to more pedestrian, whirlpool-like structures in the fluid. They published their explanation in the Sept. 19 issue of Physical Review Letters. (more…)

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Self-fertilizing plants contribute to their own demise

TORONTO, ON – Many plants are self-fertilizing, meaning they act as both mother and father to their own seeds. This strategy – known as selfing – guarantees reproduction but, over time, leads to reduced diversity and the accumulation of harmful mutations. A new study published in the scientific journal Nature Genetics shows that these negative consequences are apparent across a selfing plant’s genome, and can arise more rapidly than previously thought.

In the study, an international consortium led by Stephen Wright in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto and Detlef Weigel at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology sequenced the genome of the plant species Capsella rubella, commonly known as Red Shepherd’s Purse. They found clear evidence that harmful mutations were accumulating over the species’ relatively short existence. (more…)

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Moth-Inspired Nanostructures Take the Color Out of Thin Films

Inspired by the structure of moth eyes, researchers at North Carolina State University have developed nanostructures that limit reflection at the interfaces where two thin films meet, suppressing the “thin-film interference” phenomenon commonly observed in nature. This can potentially improve the efficiency of thin-film solar cells and other optoelectronic devices.

Thin-film interference occurs when a thin film of one substance lies on top of a second substance. For example, thin-film interference is what causes the rainbow sheen we see when there is gasoline in a puddle of water. (more…)

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Virus Caught in the Act of Infecting a Cell

About the video: watch an animation showing the changes in the structure of a T7 virus as it infects an E. coli bacterium.

AUSTIN, Texas — The detailed changes in the structure of a virus as it infects an E. coli bacterium have been observed for the first time, report researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health) Medical School this week in Science Express. (more…)

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Researchers Reveal Structure of Carbon’s ‘Hoyle State’

A North Carolina State University researcher has taken a “snapshot” of the way particles combine to form carbon-12, the element that makes all life on Earth possible. And the picture looks like a bent arm.

Carbon-12 can only exist when three alpha particles, or helium-4 nuclei, combine in a very specific way. This combination is known as the Hoyle state. NC State physicist Dean Lee and German colleagues Evgeny Epelbaum, Hermann Krebs and Ulf-G. Meissner had previously confirmed the existence of the Hoyle state using a numerical lattice that allowed the researchers to simulate how the protons and neutrons interact. When the researchers ran their simulations on the lattice, the Hoyle state appeared together with other observed states of carbon-12, proving the theory correct from first principles. (more…)

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Improving Batteries

UD doctoral student studies ways to improve lithium battery performance

Lithium batteries are used in many devices such as cell phones, computers and cameras, among others.

University of Delaware doctoral student Wei-Fan Kuan is investigating ways to improve membranes used in lithium batteries by capitalizing on the innate properties of block copolymers.

It is work that he believes will become increasingly important as the components in electronic devices continue to get smaller. (more…)

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Researchers Create ‘Nanoflowers’ for Energy Storage, Solar Cells

Researchers from North Carolina State University have created flower-like structures out of germanium sulfide (GeS) – a semiconductor material – that have extremely thin petals with an enormous surface area. The GeS flower holds promise for next-generation energy storage devices and solar cells.

“Creating these GeS nanoflowers is exciting because it gives us a huge surface area in a small amount of space,” says Dr. Linyou Cao, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper on the research. “This could significantly increase the capacity of lithium-ion batteries, for instance, since the thinner structure with larger surface area can hold more lithium ions. By the same token, this GeS flower structure could lead to increased capacity for supercapacitors, which are also used for energy storage.” (more…)

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Scientists Uncover Vast Differences in Earth’s Polar Ocean Microbial Communities

ANN ARBOR— An international team of scientists, including a University of Michigan graduate student, has demonstrated that a clear difference exists between the marine microbial communities in the Southern and Arctic oceans, contributing to a better understanding of the biodiversity of marine life at the poles.

The most comprehensive comparison of microbial diversity at both of Earth’s polar oceans showed that about 75 percent of the organisms at each pole are different. This insight sheds light on newly recognized biodiversity patterns and reinforces the importance of studying Earth’s polar regions in the face of a changing climate. And it highlights the need for further research on the impacts of sea ice, seasonal shifts and freshwater input in both regions. (more…)

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