Top 10 Science and Technology Inventions for the Week of October 15, 2021

01. First-in-Class Nerve Agent Antidote Crosses Blood-Brain Barrier to Aid Central Nervous System 02. A rare feat: Material protects against both biological and chemical threats 03. An electrolyte design strategy for making divalent metal batteries 04. Photon-phonon breakthrough 05. Researchers develop sensitive new way of detecting transistor defects 06. Energetic ferroelectrics 07. A highly simplified way to predict quantum light-matter interactions 08. Storing data as mixtures of fluorescent dyes 09. Novel treatment technology ‘could reduce UK nuclear waste burden’ 10. Research on levitating oil droplets may help reduce air pollution And others… The discovery of red blood cells acting as […]

An electrolyte design strategy for making divalent metal batteries  October 8, 2021 Rechargeable magnesium and calcium metal batteries (RMBs and RCBs) are promising alternatives to lithium-ion batteries because of the high crustal abundance and capacity of magnesium and calcium. But they are plagued by sluggish kinetics and parasitic reactions. A team of researchers in the US (USA – University of Maryland, US Army, China) found a family of methoxyethyl-amine chelants that greatly promote interfacial charge transfer kinetics and suppress side reactions on both the cathode and metal anode through solvation sheath reorganization, thus enabling stable and highly reversible cycling of the RMB and RCB full cells with energy […]

The discovery of red blood cells acting as micro-electrodes opens new doors in medical research  October 8, 2021 Through intricate experiments with red blood cells an international team of researchers (UK, France) has shown that the voltage appears outside the cell as well. This means that cells effectively act as tiny transmitters, electrically changing the environment around them. Similar results in other types of biological cells could play a significant role in determining new types of medical treatment. They demonstrated that the electrical characteristics of red blood cells exhibit circadian rhythms with peaks coinciding with the time of day when most cardiovascular disease events occur, such as heart attacks and strokes, presenting an important […]

Energetic ferroelectrics

Nanowerk  October 14, 2021 A team of researchers in the US (SUNY Buffalo, University of Maryland, US Army Aberdeen Proving Ground) tested if two dissimilar materials – molecular energetic materials and ferroelectrics – can be combined to obtain a chemically driven electrical energy source with high-power density. They designed energetic molecular ferroelectrics consisting of imidazolium cations (energetic ion) and perchlorate anions (oxidizer) and described its thermal wave energy conversion with a specific power of 1.8 kW kg−1. They showed that chemically driven energy generator is a result of the coupling between energetic thermal and shock waves and a pyroelectric effect in molecular […]

First-in-Class Nerve Agent Antidote Crosses Blood-Brain Barrier to Aid Central Nervous System

Global Biodefense  October 12, 2021 Chemical weapon nerve agents like Sarin or Novichok typically function by blocking the transmission of messages from the central nervous system to the peripheral nervous system, which controls many processes, including respiration. Historically countermeasures cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, and only protect against damage to the peripheral nervous system. After laboratory and computational testing, a team of researchers in the US (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD) ) has a compound called “LLNL-02” that protects both the central and peripheral nervous systems against the effects of the nerve agent […]

A highly simplified way to predict quantum light-matter interactions  October 13, 2021 Calculating quantum light-matter takes enormous amounts of time and computing power—it also becomes very cumbersome. An international team of researchers (Germany, Sweden, Austria) has found a simple way to circumvent this problem by reshaping the equation so that the material part itself accounts for the quantum mechanical uncertainty of the light, far fewer additional photons are needed to describe the combined system of quantum light and matter. The new approach can capture most features of this extreme limit without the need to consider any photon at all. Adding just a few photons is enough to provide […]

How to better identify dangerous volcanoes  October 12, 2021 Volcano eruption style is thought to be strongly controlled by fast conduit processes, limiting our ability for prediction. To understand if the eruptive behaviour is predetermined by the state of the magma in the subvolcanic reservoir an international team of researchers (Switzerland, USA – Brown University) analysed the pre-eruptive storage conditions of 245 units from volcanoes around the world. They showed that pre-eruptive crystallinity, dissolved water content and the presence of exsolved volatiles in the chamber exert a primary control on eruptive styles. Magmas erupt explosively over a well-defined range in dissolved water content (~4–5.5 wt%) and […]

Lightning strikes may trigger short-term thinning in the ozone layer  October 11, 2021 An international team of researchers (USA – University of Colorado, Finland) used detailed computer simulations to follow what happened in the atmosphere after Hurricane Patricia that struck Texas and Mexico in 2015 and had more than 33,000 lightning strikes over the span of just two-and-a-half hours, the May 1917 storm in the Caribbean, and the 2013 storm over Nebraska. As the storms progressed, the electron energy raining down to Earth began to react with gasses high in Earth’s atmosphere, concentrations of certain molecules in the air, including hydrogen oxides and nitrogen oxides, shot up almost at […]

Liquid metal proven to be cheap and efficient CO2 converter  October 13, 2021 An international team of researchers (Australia, USA – UCLA, North Carolina State University) has developed technology to capture carbon that uses suspensions of gallium liquid metal to reduce CO2 into carbonaceous solid products and O2 at near room temperature. The nonpolar nature of the liquid gallium interface allows the solid products to instantaneously exfoliate, hence keeping active sites accessible. The solid co-contributor of silver-gallium rods ensures a cyclic sustainable process. The overall process relies on mechanical energy as the input, which drives nano dimensional triboelectrochemical reactions. When a gallium/silver fluoride mix at 7:1 mass ratio was […]

Mathematical model offers new insights into spread of epidemics  October 8, 2021 The complexity of real-world scenarios still poses new theoretical challenges for mathematical modeling of epidemic spreading. Existing network models of epidemic spreading often focus on contacts between pairs of individuals while co-location of individuals such as in the workplace, restaurants, or gym typically include more than two people. An international team of researchers (Canada, UK, USA – University of Vermont) has developed a new approach to epidemic modeling that considers interactions between two or more people in the same location and for different amounts of time and considered emerging evidence that suggests a minimal infective dose […]