Earth

UO-industry collaboration points to improved nanomaterials

UO-industry collaboration points to improved nanomaterials

EUGENE, Ore. -- Nov. 20, 2014 -- A potential path to identify imperfections and improve the quality of nanomaterials for use in next-generation solar cells has emerged from a collaboration of University of Oregon and industry researchers.

To increase light-harvesting efficiency of solar cells beyond silicon's limit of about 29 percent, manufacturers have used layers of chemically synthesized semiconductor nanocrystals. Properties of quantum dots that are produced are manipulated by controlling the synthetic process and surface chemical structure.

Caltech geologists discover ancient buried canyon in South Tibet

Caltech geologists discover ancient buried canyon in South Tibet

A team of researchers from Caltech and the China Earthquake Administration has discovered an ancient, deep canyon buried along the Yarlung Tsangpo River in south Tibet, north of the eastern end of the Himalayas. The geologists say that the ancient canyon--thousands of feet deep in places--effectively rules out a popular model used to explain how the massive and picturesque gorges of the Himalayas became so steep, so fast.

Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites

Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites

Enzymes carry out fundamental biological processes such as photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation and respiration, with the help of clusters of metal atoms as "active" sites. But scientists lack basic information about their function because the states thought to be critical to their chemical abilities cannot be experimentally observed.

Laser from a plane discovers Roman goldmines in Spain

Laser from a plane discovers Roman goldmines in Spain

Las Médulas in León is considered to be the largest opencast goldmine of the Roman Empire, but the search for this metal extended many kilometres further south-east to the Erica river valley. Thanks to a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) laser system attached to an aircraft, the ancient mining works of the area and the complex hydraulics system used by the Romans in the 1st century BC to extract gold (including channels, reservoirs and a double river diversion) have been discovered.

Mediterranean meteorological tide has increased by over a millimetre a year since 1989

Mediterranean meteorological tide has increased by over a millimetre a year since 1989

A new database developed by the University of Cantabria (Spain) provides data on sea level variation due to atmospheric changes in the south of Europe between 1948 and 2009. Over the last two decades sea levels have increased in the Mediterranean basin.

Scientists do glass a solid -- with new theory on how it transitions from a liquid

How does glass transition from a liquid to its familiar solid state? How does this common material transport heat and sound? And what microscopic changes occur when a glass gains rigidity as it cools?

A team of researchers at NYU's Center for Soft Matter Research offers a theoretical explanation for these processes in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Discovery sheds light on nuclear reactor fuel behavior during a severe event

A new discovery about the atomic structure of uranium dioxide will help scientists select the best computational model to simulate severe nuclear reactor accidents.

Using the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility, researchers from DOE's Argonne National Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory, along with Materials Development, Inc., Stony Brook University, and Carnegie Institution of Washington, found that the atomic structure of uranium dioxide (UO2) changes significantly when it melts.

Economic burden of prediabetes up 74 percent over five years

The economic burden of diabetes in America continues to climb, exceeding more than $322 billion in excess medical costs and lost productivity in 2012, or more than $1,000 for every American, according to a study being published in the December issue of Diabetes Care that also includes a state-by-state breakdown of the prevalence and costs associated with diabetes. Additionally, increased costs associated with prediabetes and undiagnosed diabetes highlight the growing importance of prevention and early intervention.

Climate change will slow China's progress in reducing infectioius diseases

China has made significant progress increasing access to tap water and sanitation services, and has sharply reduced the burden of waterborne and water-related infectious diseases over the past two decades. However, in a study published in the latest edition of Nature Climate Change, researchers from Emory University found that climate change will blunt China's efforts at further reducing these diseases in the decades to come.

Queen's researchers prove for the first time that ash clouds can cross Atlantic Ocean

Scientists at Queen's University Belfast have led the discovery of a volcanic ash cloud that travelled from Alaska to Northern Ireland and beyond - overturning previously held assumptions about how far ash deposits can drift, with major implications for the airline industry.