Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category

May 19, 2022

NASA Reveals Early Plans to Send Two Astronauts to Surface of Mars

Posted by in categories: chemistry, habitats, space travel

During a high-level talk on NASA’s objectives for human space exploration, we got an early glimpse of what a 30 day crewed mission to the surface of Mars could eventually look like.

It’s an exciting prospect that, while many years if not decades away, shows the agency’s commitment to fulfilling humanity’s dreams of setting foot on the Red Planet for the first time in history.

NASA director of space architectures Kurt “Spuds” Vogel outlined what such a mission could entail. The agency is envisioning a habitat spacecraft to make the months long journey there, which uses a hybrid rocket stage that combines chemical and electric propulsion.

May 19, 2022

Cartographers of the Brain

Posted by in categories: chemistry, neuroscience

Scientists are attempting to map the wiring of the nearly 100 billion neurons in the human brain. Are we close to uncovering the mysteries of the mind or are we only at the beginning of a new frontier?

PARTICIPANTS: Deanna Barch, Jeff Lichtman, Nim Tottenham, David Van Essen.
MODERATOR: John Hockenberry.
Original program date: JUNE 4, 2017

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May 18, 2022

The crucial role of functional motifs—microstructural units that govern material functions—in material research

Posted by in categories: chemistry, materials

The traditional trial-and-error method in material research cannot meet the growing demand of various high performance materials, so developing a new effective paradigm of material science is extremely urgent. A study led by Dr. Xiao-Ming Jiang and Prof. Guo-Cong Guo (Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter, Chinese Academy of Sciences) proposes a new research paradigm for material studies based on the “functional motif” concept.

Functional motif was defined as the critical microstructure units (e.g., constituent components and ) that play a decisive role in generating certain material functions. These units could not be replaced with other structure units without losing or significantly suppressing the relevant functions. The functional motif paradigm starts with the main aspects of microscopic structures and the properties of materials. On the basis of this understanding, the functional motifs governing the can be extracted and the quantitative relationships between them can be investigated, and the results could be further developed as the “functional motif theory.” The latter should be useful as a guideline for creating new materials and as a tool for predicting the physicochemical properties of materials.

The properties of materials are determined by their functional motifs and how they are arranged in the materials, with the latter determining the quantitative structure–property relationships. Uncovering the functional motifs and their arrangements is crucial in understanding the properties of materials, and the functional motif exploration enables the rational design of new materials with desired properties.

May 18, 2022

Imperial students find innovative new use for lobster shell waste

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, sustainability

The four students are studying Innovation Design Engineering, a course delivered jointly by Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art. They have built a series of machines that extract, form and recycle the material, which they believe could be used as a replacement for various single-use plastics.

The project uses chitin, the world’s second most abundant biopolymer, (a naturally produced plastic). Chitin is found in crustaceans, insects and fungi, but needs to be chemically extracted from the source before it can be turned into the material.

The group of students have developed new manufacturing processes to transform lobster shell waste into biodegradable, recyclable bioplastic.

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May 18, 2022

Mercedes-Benz And Sila Announce Breakthrough In Silicon Anode Chemistry

Posted by in categories: chemistry, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

Adam FordAdmin.

I’m sure that’s not Deepmind’s official position atm — Nando de Freitas’s tweet was probably reactionary.

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May 18, 2022

A new technique to delete single atoms can speed up molecule design

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry

Every time a new cancer drug is announced, it represents hundreds of researchers spending years behind the scenes working to design and test a new molecule. The drug has to be not only effective, but also as safe as possible and easy to manufacture—and these researchers have to choose among thousands of possible options for its chemical structure.

But building each possible molecular structure for testing is a laborious process, even if researchers simply want to change a single carbon atom.

A new technique published by University of Chicago chemists and the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. in the journal Science offers a way to leapfrog that process, allowing scientists to quickly and easily produce new molecules of interest.

May 16, 2022

Rapid Neutron Capture: Astronomers Discover “Gold Standard” Star in Milky Way

Posted by in categories: chemistry, physics, space

A team of astronomers led by University of Michigan’s Ian Roederer and including Carnegie’s Erika Holmbeck have identified the widest range of elements yet observed in a star beyond our own Sun. Their findings will be published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

The researchers identified 65 elements in the star, which is called HD 222925. Of these, 42 are from the bottom of the periodic table. Their identification will help astronomers better understand rapid neutron capture process — one of the main methods by which the universe’s heavy elements were created.

“To the best of my knowledge, that’s a record for any object beyond our Solar System. And what makes this star so unique is that it has a very high relative proportion of the elements listed along the bottom two-thirds of the periodic table. We even detected gold,” explained Roederer, a former Carnegie postdoc. “These elements were made by the rapid neutron capture process. That’s really the thing we’re trying to study: the physics in understanding how, where and when those elements were made.”

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May 13, 2022

Researchers invent world’s smallest biomechanical linkage

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, engineering

Researchers at Princeton University have built the world’s smallest mechanically interlocked biological structure, a deceptively simple two-ring chain made from tiny strands of amino acids called peptides.

In a published August 23 in Nature Chemistry, the team detailed a library of such structures made in their lab—two interlocked rings, a ring on a dumbbell, a daisy chain and an interlocked double lasso—each around one billionth of a meter in size. The study also demonstrates that some of these structures can toggle between at least two shapes, laying the groundwork for a biomolecular switch.

“We’ve been able to build a bunch of structures that no one’s been able to build before,” said A. James Link, professor of chemical and , the study’s principal investigator. “These are the smallest threaded or interlocking structures you can make out of peptides.”

May 12, 2022

Study reveals lunar soil can support plant growth

Posted by in categories: chemistry, space

The chemical composition and presence of metallic fragments also make lunar soil-less suitable for plant growth as compared to volcanic ash. However, the biggest takeaway from this experiment is still that scientists have somehow grown a plant in a soil sample taken from the Moon.

Emphasizing the importance of this result co-author and geologist Stephen Elardo said, from a geology standpoint, I look at this soil as being very very different from any soil you will find here on Earth. I think it’s amazing the plant still grows, right. It’s stressed, but it doesn’t die. It doesn’t fail to grow at all, it adapts.

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May 12, 2022

Photosynthesis used to power a microprocessor for over six months

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy

System represents a breakthrough in the real-life applicability of biophotovotaic devices.

Microprocessors can be powered using photosynthetic microorganisms in ambient light without the need for an external power source, new research shows. Led by Emre Ozer from Arm and Christopher Howe from the University of Cambridge, researchers in the UK, Italy and Norway introduced cyanobacteria Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 into an aluminium–air battery to create a biophotovoltaic device. The device is a similar size to an AA battery, is made from durable and mainly recyclable materials and does not require a dedicated light source to function. It is the first reported bioelectrochemical system capable of continuously powering a microprocessor outside of laboratory-controlled conditions.

‘We decided that we didn’t want to operate the system with a dedicated source of energy. We needed to prove that we can operate under ambient light, and we were able to do it,’ comments Paolo Bombelli, one of the lead researchers from the University of Cambridge.

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