Top 10 Science and Technology Inventions for the Week of January 17, 2020

01. Can solar geoengineering mitigate both climate change and income inequality? 02. Bacteria-shredding tech to fight drug-resistant superbugs 03. Engineers develop ‘chameleon metals’ that change surfaces in response to heat 04. New approach for controlling qubits via microwave pulses reduces error rates and increases efficiency 05. Satellite constellations harvest energy for near-total global coverage 06. Slow light to speed up LiDAR sensors development 07. Influential electrons? Physicists uncover a quantum relationship 08. Carbon nanotube film produces aerospace-grade composites with no need for huge ovens or autoclaves. 09. Solving complex problems at the speed of light 10. Physicists design ‘super-human’ red […]

Bacteria-shredding tech to fight drug-resistant superbugs

Science Daily  January 13, 2020 An international team of researchers (Australia, USA – North Carolina State University) has shown that when gallium-based liquid metal (LM) droplets are exposed to a low-intensity rotating magnetic field, the LM droplets become physically actuated and transform their shape, developing sharp edges. When placed in contact with a bacterial biofilm, the movement of the particles resulting from the magnetic field physically ruptures the bacterial cells and the dense biofilm matrix is broken down. They tested the efficacy of the magnetically activated LM particles against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial biofilms. After 90 min over 99% […]

Can solar geoengineering mitigate both climate change and income inequality?

Science Daily  January 13, 2020 An international team of researchers (University of California, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of California, Cornell University, Switzerland, Canada) applied macroeconomic impact models and combined historical evidence with climate simulations of mean annual temperature and precipitation. They found that the impacts of climate changes on global GDP-per-capita by the end of the century are temperature-driven, highly dispersed, and model dependent. Across all model specifications, however, income inequality between countries is lower with solar geoengineering. They found that precipitation has little to no effect on GDP growth in our results, but there is a relationship for […]

Carbon nanotube film produces aerospace-grade composites with no need for huge ovens or autoclaves.

MIT News  January 13, 2020 A team of researchers in the US (MIT, industry) utilized a nanomaterial with morphology‐controlled nanoscale capillaries to manufacture aerospace‐grade advanced carbon fiber composites without utilizing pressure from an autoclave. They demonstrated that the capillary pressure from a nanoporous film replaces the need for applied pressure to manufacture void‐free layered polymeric architectures. The nanomaterial‐enabled capillary pressure is quantified as 50% greater than typical pressures used in such processing. The technique may help to speed up the manufacturing of airplanes and other large, high-performance composite structures, such as blades for wind turbines…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE

Engineers develop ‘chameleon metals’ that change surfaces in response to heat

Phys.org  January 13, 2020 Researchers at Iowa State University started with a liquid metal alloy of gallium, indium and tin synthesized into particles covered with a smooth oxide shell that has been chemically stabilized. As the particles are heated, the surface thickens and stiffens and begins to behave more like a solid. Eventually the surface breaks, allowing the liquid metal inside to come to the surface. The most reactive, gallium, breaks through first. More heat brings indium to the surface. And the highest heat—about 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit—brings out florets of tin. Time, temperature and oxygen levels are carefully controlled by […]

Foreign Interference in NIH Research: Policy Implications

Global Biodefense  January 12, 2020 An NIH investigation, conducted in partnership with FBI uncovered numerous potential violations of laws and policies (some confirmed, others subject to ongoing investigation), including: Scientists involved in the NIH peer review process sharing details of research proposals with foreign entities; Failure of scientists to disclose foreign ties or funding from foreign governments; and Research fraud, involving scientists signing employment contracts and earning salary from both U.S. and foreign institutions for concurrent positions. The focus of current concern was China—but this issue is not unique to China. NIH highlighted the Thousand Talents recruitment program, which encourages […]

Influential electrons? Physicists uncover a quantum relationship

Science Daily  January 13, 2020 Topological insulators’ surface states can be manipulated by the interface environment to display various emergent phenomena. An international team of researchers (New York University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, MIT) used spectromicroscopy, which can track how the motion of surface electrons differs from region to region within a material, to study bismuth selenide collecting data from nearly 1,000 smaller regions. They observed signatures of quantum hybridization in the relationships between moving electrons, such as a repulsion between electronic states that come close to one another in energy. Measurements from this method […]

Low-temp photocatalyst could slash the carbon footprint for syngas

Science Daily  January 10, 2020 Traditional thermocatalytic processes to produce syngas require high temperatures and suffer from coke-induced instability. A team of researchers in the US (Rice University, Princeton University, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara) has developed a plasmonic photocatalyst consisting of a Cu nanoparticle ‘antenna’ with single-Ru atomic ‘reactor’ sites on the nanoparticle surface, ideal for low-temperature, light-driven methane dry reforming. This catalyst provides high light energy efficiency when illuminated at room temperature. In contrast to thermocatalysis, long-term stability (50 h) and high selectivity (>99%) were achieved in photocatalysis. This photocatalyst design could be relevant for future energy-efficient industrial processes…read more. […]

New approach for controlling qubits via microwave pulses reduces error rates and increases efficiency

Phys.org  January 10, 2020 Microwave trapped-ion quantum logic gates avoid spontaneous emission as a fundamental source of decoherence. However, microwave two-qubit gates are still slower than laser-induced gates and hence more sensitive to fluctuations and noise of the motional mode frequency. In order to reduce error rates even further and provide reliable operations much faster researchers in Germany have developed a method where ions are trapped under vacuum by using electric fields above a chip structure. Qubit operations are implemented by sending microwave signals through special conductor loops embedded in the chip structure. Using microwave fields has the advantage that […]

Physicists design ‘super-human’ red blood cells to deliver drugs to specific targets

Science Daily  January 16, 2020 An international team of researchers (Canada, Germany) has developed a method to combine synthetic material with biological material and created a new structure. They opened the red blood cell, modified its outer cell wall, and replaced its contents with a drug molecule, which would then be injected back into the body. The hybrid appears and behaves as a normal red blood cell but has a sticky surface which can attach itself to bacteria, for example, open and release antibiotics exactly where they are needed. This targeted delivery method could help to minimize dosages and therefore, […]