physorg.com:Spotlight stories

Walking with atoms—chemical bond making and breaking recorded in action Ever since it was proposed that atoms are building blocks of the world, scientists have been trying to understand how and why they bond to each other. Be it a molecule (which is a group of atoms joined together in a particular fashion), or a block of material or a whole living organism, ultimately, everything is controlled by the way atoms bond, and the way bonds break.
Ingestible medical devices can be broken down with light A variety of medical devices can be inserted into the gastrointestinal tract to treat, diagnose, or monitor GI disorders. Many of these have to be removed by endoscopic surgery once their job is done. However, MIT engineers have now come up with a way to trigger such devices to break down inside the body when they are exposed to light from an ingestible LED.
Spider-Man-style robotic graspers defy gravity Specially designed vacuum suction units allow humans to climb walls. Scientists have developed a suction unit that can be used on rough surfaces, no matter how textured, and that has applications in the development of climbing robots and robotic arms with grasping capabilities.
Scientists measure the evolving energy of a solar flare's explosive first minutes Toward the end of 2017, a massive new region of magnetic field erupted on the Sun's surface next to an existing sunspot. The powerful collision of magnetic energy produced a series of potent solar flares, causing turbulent space weather conditions at Earth. These were the first flares to be captured, in their moment-by-moment progression, by NJIT's then recently opened Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA) radio telescope.
Not all of nature's layered structures are tough as animal shells and antlers, study finds Nacre—the iridescent part of mollusk shells—is a poster child for biologically inspired design. Despite being made of brittle chalk, the intricately layered microstructure of nacre gives it a remarkable ability to resist the spread of cracks, a material property known as toughness.
A new method for dating ancient earthquakes Constraining the history of earthquakes produced by bedrock fracturing is important for predicting seismic activity and plate tectonic evolution. In a new study published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports Jan 17, 2020, a team of researchers presents a new microscale technique to determine the age of crystals grown during repeated activation of natural rock fractures over a time range of billions of years.
Material developed which is heat-insulating and heat-conducting at the same time Styrofoam or copper—both materials have very different properties with regard to their ability to conduct heat. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz and the University of Bayreuth have now jointly developed and characterized a novel, extremely thin and transparent material that has different thermal conduction properties depending on the direction. While it can conduct heat extremely well in one direction, it shows good thermal insulation in the other direction.
Climate may play a bigger role than deforestation in rainforest biodiversity "Save the rainforests" is a snappy slogan, but it doesn't tell the full story of how complicated it is to do just that. Before conservationists can even begin restoring habitats and advocating for laws that protect land from poachers and loggers, scientists need to figure out what's living, what's dying, and which patterns explain why. Tackling these questions—in other words, finding out what drives a region's biodiversity—is no small task.
Mysterious little red jellies: A case of mistaken identity Little red jellies are commonplace near the deep seafloor in Monterey Bay and around the world. Most of them are small—less than five centimeters (two inches) across—and a ruddy red color, but we know little else about them. Though MBARI researchers have observed them for decades, their role in the food web, what they eat, and what eats them, still largely remain mysteries. Now scientists are finding that even their evolution and relationships to one another are probably incorrect.
Newly developed screening processes will accelerate carbon capture research University of Alberta researchers have developed techniques that save a significant amount of time in developing more efficient carbon capture technologies, which may help lower the costs to use the technologies and increase their adoption as a way to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions.
Using waste carbon dioxide to separate metals from ores A combined team of researchers from the University of Lyon and the University of Turin has developed a way to use waste CO2 to separate metals used in products. In their paper published in the journal Nature Chemistry, the group describes their process and why they believe it can be used as a global warming mitigation tool.
Using machine learning to fine-tune views of the ancient past A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in China and two in the U.S. has developed a way to use machine learning to get a better look at the past. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes how they used machine learning to analyze records of the past.
Human-caused biodiversity decline started millions of years ago The human-caused biodiversity decline started much earlier than researchers used to believe. According to a new study published in the scientific journal Ecology Letters the process was not started by our own species but by some of our ancestors.
How biology creates networks that are cheap, robust, and efficient From veins that deliver oxygen to tissues to xylem that send water into stems and leaves, vascular networks are a crucial component of life. In biology, there is a wide range of unique patterns, like the individualized structures found on leaves, along with many conserved structures, such as named arteries and veins in the human body. These two observations led scientists to think that vascular networks evolved from a common design, but how, exactly, could nature create so many complex structures from a single starting point?
Surveying all the proteins on a neuron's surface Scientists have found a new way to home in on the proteins covering a particular cell's surface. The feat offers insight into how brain cells form intricate networks during development.