ScienceDaily: Technology - October 30, 2023
Top technology research news
As urbanization advances around the globe, the quality of the urban physical environment will become increasingly critical to human well-being and to sustainable development initiatives. However, measuring and tracking the quality of an urban environment, its evolution and its spatial disparities is difficult due to the amount of on-the-ground data needed to capture these patterns.
Researchers have created new technology for more accessible, real-time wireless connectivity.
Researchers studying how lithium batteries fail have developed a new technology that could enable next-generation electric vehicles (EVs) and other devices that are less prone to battery fires while increasing energy storage.
Researchers have developed a souped-up telepresence robot that responds automatically and in real-time to a remote user's movements and gestures made in virtual reality.
PFAS, a family of highly fluorinated substances, represent a danger for humans and the environment. Particularly problematic members of this family, such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) appear to cause organ damage and cancer, as well as disrupting the endocrine system. Researchers have now introduced a new method for an economical, easy-to-use fluorescence sensor for sensitive on-site testing for PFAS in water samples.
How fast does a droplet flow along a fiber? It depends on the diameter of the fiber... and also on its substructure! These are the findings of a study conducted by researchers who are interested in microfluidics, especially water harvesting in arid/semi-arid regions of our planet.
Using a new 3D printing technique, researchers have developed special ceramic structures for a solar reactor. Initial experimental testing show that these structures can boost the production yield of solar fuels.
The privacy policies and practices of online games contain dark design patterns which could be deceptive, misleading, or coercive to users, according to a new study.
Quantum physicists have shown that it's possible to control and manipulate spin waves on a chip using superconductors for the first time. These tiny waves in magnets may offer an alternative to electronics in the future, interesting for energy-efficient information technology or connecting pieces in a quantum computer, for example. The breakthrough primarily gives physicists new insight into the interaction between magnets and superconductors.
A new process yields 2D halide perovskite crystal layers of ideal thickness and purity through dynamic control of the crystallization process -- a key step toward ensuring device stability for optoelectronics and photovoltaics.
New research shows that the electronic structure of metals can strongly affect their mechanical properties.
The search is on for better semiconductors. A team of chemists describes the fastest and most efficient semiconductor yet: a superatomic material called Re6Se8Cl2.
The hardness of a material normally is set by the strength of chemical bonds between electrons of neighboring atoms, not by freely flowing conduction electrons. Now a team of scientists has shown that current-carrying electrons can make the lattice much softer than usual in the material Sr2RuO4.
Researchers report a significant advance in quantum computing. They have prolonged the coherence time of their single-electron qubit to an impressive 0.1 milliseconds, nearly a thousand-fold improvement.
A computer scientist has developed an AI-ready architecture that is twice as powerful as comparable in-memory computing approaches. The researcher applies a new computational paradigm using special circuits known as ferroelectric field effect transistors (FeFETs). Within a few years, this could prove useful for generative AI, deep learning algorithms and robotic applications.
Experimental physicists have demonstrated a new quantum effect aptly named the 'spinaron.' In a meticulously controlled environment and using an advanced set of instruments, they managed to prove the unusual state a cobalt atom assumes on a copper surface. This revelation challenges the long-held Kondo effect -- a theoretical concept developed in the 1960s, and which has been considered the standard model for the interaction of magnetic materials with metals since the 1980s.
Smart, stretchable and highly sensitive, a new soft sensor opens the door to a wide range of applications in robotics and prosthetics. When applied to the surface of a prosthetic arm or a robotic limb, the sensor skin provides touch sensitivity and dexterity, enabling tasks that can be difficult for machines such as picking up a piece of soft fruit. The sensor is also soft to the touch, like human skin, which helps make human interactions safer and more lifelike.
Astronomers confirm the existence of an infrared (IR) aurora on Uranus. This could help astronomers identify exoplanets that might support life, a large number of which are icy worlds.
Endangered whales and dolphins live year-round in an area of the Mediterranean earmarked for oil and gas exploration, new research shows.
Researchers have developed a new hydrogen energy carrier material capable storing hydrogen energy efficiently and potentially more cheaply. Each molecule can store one electron from hydrogen at room temperature, store it for up the three months, and can be its own catalyst to extract said electron. Moreover, as the compound is made primarily of nickel, its cost is relatively low.
Researchers have improved flaw detection to increase confidence in metal parts that are 3D-printed using laser powder bed fusion.
Dyes widely used in the textile, food and pharmaceutical industries pose a pressing threat to plant, animal and human health, as well as natural environments around the world, a new study has found. Billions of tons of dye-containing wastewater enter water systems every year, and a group of researchers say that new sustainable technologies including new membrane-based nano-scale filtration are needed to solve the issue, adding that legislation is needed to compel industrial producers to eliminate colorants before they reach public sewage systems or waterways.
The use of images in scientific papers is more popular than ever, but there have been no common standards for their publication -- until now.
FibeRobo is a liquid crystal elastomer fiber that can change its shape in response to thermal stimuli. Compatible with existing textile manufacturing machinery, it could be used to make morphing textiles, like a jacket that changes its insulating properties.
In physics, quasiparticles are used to describe complex processes in solids. In ultracold quantum gases, these quasiparticles can be reproduced and studied. Now scientists have been able to observe in experiments how Fermi polarons -- a special type of quasiparticle -- can interact with each other.
Researchers introduce a pioneering breakthrough in the world of nanomotors -- the DNA origami nanoturbine. This nanoscale device could represent a paradigm shift, harnessing power from ion gradients or electrical potential across a solid-state nanopore to drive the turbine into mechanical rotations. The core of this pioneering discovery is the design, construction, and driven motion of a 'DNA origami' turbine, which features three chiral blades, all within a minuscule 25-nanometer frame, operating in a solid-state nanopore. By ingeniously designing two chiral turbines, researchers now have the capability to dictate the direction of rotation, clockwise or anticlockwise.
Venus, may have once had tectonic plate movements similar to those believed to have occurred on early Earth, a new study found. The finding sets up tantalizing scenarios regarding the possibility of early life on Venus, its evolutionary past and the history of the solar system.
Supernovae, exploding stars, play a critical role in the formation and evolution of galaxies. However, key aspects of them are notoriously difficult to simulate accurately in reasonably short amounts of time. For the first time, a team of researchers apply deep learning to the problem of supernova simulation. Their approach can speed up the simulation of supernovae, and therefore of galaxy formation and evolution as well. These simulations include the evolution of the chemistry which led to life.
Smart glasses that use a technique similar to a bat's echolocation could help blind and low-vision people navigate their surroundings, according to researchers.
Large chunks of the Navajo Nation in the Southwest lack access to clean drinkable water, a trend that has been rising in many parts of the U.S. in recent years. A research team aims to change that.
Researchers have developed a system that uses atomic vacancies in silicon carbide to measure the stability and quality of acoustic resonators. What's more, these vacancies could also be used for acoustically-controlled quantum information processing, providing a new way to manipulate quantum states embedded in this commonly-used material.
Mathematicians have invented a new statistical tool to analyze multiple outcomes from clinical trials, replacing the 60-year-old standard tool that could only look at binary outcomes (survived/ did not survive). This will allow researchers to ask more complex research questions with trials that involve fewer patients, thereby streamlining the process of getting effective treatments to patients.
Researchers have now developed a technique that advances the ability of these tools, such as ChatGPT, to make compositional generalizations. This technique, Meta-learning for Compositionality, outperforms existing approaches and is on par with, and in some cases better than, human performance.
In a breakthrough discovery that changes how we understand T cells and with implications of how we can better engineer custom immune responses to fight disease, researchers showed that the different disease-fighting functions of different T cells are determined by the genetically encoded T-cell receptor sequence that are unique to those cells.
Researchers have built a superconducting camera containing 400,000 pixels -- 400 times more than any other device of its type. Having more pixels could open up many new applications in science and biomedical research.
Scientists have observed the creation of rare chemical elements in the second-brightest gamma-ray burst ever seen -- casting new light on how heavy elements are made.
NASA's InSight mission to Mars helped scientists map out Mars' internal structure, including the size and composition of its core, and provided general hints about its tumultuous formation. But findings from a new paper could lead to reanalysis of that data. An international team of researchers discovered the presence of a molten silicate layer overlying Mars' metallic core -- providing new insights into how Mars formed, evolved and became the barren planet it is today.
Human populations in Neolithic Europe fluctuated with changing climates, according to a new study.
A new study provides evidence that pigeons tackle some problems just as artificial intelligence would -- allowing them to solve difficult tasks that would vex humans.
Researchers report that a single, simplified model can predict population fluctuations in three unrelated realms: urban employment, human gut microbiomes and tropical forests. The model will help economists, ecologists, public health authorities and others predict and respond to variability in multiple domains.
Dispersions of polymer particles in a liquid phase (latexes) have many important applications in coatings technology, medical imaging, and cell biology. A team of researchers has now developed a method to produce stable polystyrene dispersions with unprecedentedly large, and uniform, particle sizes. Narrow size distributions are essential in many advanced technologies, but were previously difficult to produce photochemically.
More than 100,000 tons of diapers are disposed of annually in Germany. Vast amounts of valuable resources, such as diaper liners, end up in the trash. The liners consist of special polymers, so-called superabsorbers. Researchers have now succeeded in considerably improving their complex recycling process. They use UV radiation to degrade the chemical chains that keep the polymers together. No chemicals are needed. Recycling at room temperature is 200 times faster than conventional recycling. The recycled polymers can then be processed to new adhesives and dyes.
Opening a clamshell of berries and seeing them coated in fuzzy mold is a downer. And it's no small problem. Gray mold and other fungi, which cause fruit to rot, lead to significant economic losses and food waste. Now, researchers report that compounds from sunflower crop waste prevented rotting in blueberries. They suggest the food industry could use these natural compounds to protect against post-harvest diseases.
Developing a new, light-activated method to produce the molecule opens doors for future biomedical applications.
Scientists have discovered a new route to produce the low-calorie sugar allulose (D-psicose) at lower cost with high yield.
As bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have grown in market share, they've been criticized for their heavy carbon footprint: Cryptocurrency mining is an energy-intensive endeavor. Mining has massive water and land footprints as well, according to a new study that is the first to detail country-by-country environmental impacts of bitcoin mining.
Researchers have identified buried kimberlite, the rocky home of diamonds, by testing the DNA of microbes in the surface soil. These 'biological fingerprints' can reveal what minerals are buried tens of meters below the earth's surface without having to drill. The researchers believe it is the first use of modern DNA sequencing of microbial communities in the search for buried minerals. The research represents a new tool for mineral exploration, where a full toolbox could save prospectors time and a lot of money,
Next-generation solar materials are cheaper and more sustainable to produce than traditional silicon solar cells, but hurdles remain in making the devices durable enough to withstand real-world conditions. A new technique could simplify the development of efficient and stable perovskite solar cells, named for their unique crystalline structure that excels at absorbing visible light.
A novel device developed by researchers in a new study utilizes ions and an electric field to effectively capture infectious droplets and aerosols, while letting light and sound pass through to allow communication. The innovation is significant in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, since it shows promise in preventing airborne infection while facilitating communication.
It's viable to produce low-cost, lightweight solar panels that can generate energy in space, according to new research.
Astrophysicists are scanning the Universe for 'technosignatures' emanating from distant planets that would provide support for the existence of intelligent, alien life. Researchers plan to monitor millions of star systems.
New analysis of data from the Curiosity rover reveals that much of the craters on Mars today could have once been habitable rivers.
Researchers have proposed a new way of using quantum light to 'see' quantum sound. A new paper reveals the quantum-mechanical interplay between vibrations and particles of light, known as photons, in molecules. It is hoped that the discovery may help scientists better understand the interactions between light and matter on molecular scales. And it potentially paves the way for addressing fundamental questions about the importance of quantum effects in applications ranging from new quantum technologies to biological systems.
A new smartphone attachment could enable people to screen for a variety of neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease and traumatic brain injury, at low cost -- and do so accurately regardless of their skin tone. The attachment fits over a smartphone's camera to capture clear video of pupil size changes, which can offer clues about an individual's neurological functions. The device helps the camera see the pupil easily in dark eye colors.
One problem in gene therapy is that not all genes transfer equally well into the target cells. Researchers have now developed a flexible method to transfer large genes efficiently and without significant side effects. The approach has strong potential for therapeutic use.
Layered lithium cobalt oxide, a key component of lithium-ion batteries, has been synthesized at temperatures as low as 300°C and durations as short as 30 minutes.
Researchers have recorded images of a solar eclipse with the 'ring of fire' effect in radio waves.
Two years after the striking discovery that a near-Earth asteroid could be a chunk of the moon, another UArizona research group has found that a rare pathway could have enabled this to happen.
A revised method to create hydrophobic surfaces has implications for any technology where water meets a solid surface, from optics and microfluidics to cooking.
Researchers report a significant advance in quantum squeezing, which allows them to measure undulations in space-time across the entire range of gravitational frequencies detected by LIGO.