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How to avoid water wars between 'fracking' industry and residents

25-04-2014

The shale gas boom has transformed the energy landscape in the U.S., but in some drier locations, it could cause conflict among the energy industry, residents and agricultural interests over already-scarce water resources, say researchers. They add that degraded water quality is a potential risk ...

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When things get glassy, molecules go fractal

Explaining the mysterious dynamics of glassy materials

25-04-2014

Colorful church windows, beads on a necklace and many of our favorite plastics share something in common -- they all belong to a state of matter known as glasses. School children learn the difference between liquids and gases, but centuries of scholarship have failed to produce consensus about ...

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A new shape using rubber bands

Form not found in nature could spur creation of new molecules

25-04-2014

While setting out to fabricate new springs to support a cephalopod-inspired imaging project, a group of Harvard researchers stumbled upon a surprising discovery: the hemihelix, a shape rarely seen in nature. This made the researchers wonder: Were the three-dimensional structures they observed ...

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Halving hydrogen

First view of nature-inspired catalyst after ripping hydrogen apart provides insights for better, cheaper fuel cells

25-04-2014

Like a hungry diner ripping open a dinner roll, a fuel cell catalyst that converts hydrogen into electricity must tear open a hydrogen molecule. Now researchers have captured a view of such a catalyst holding onto the two halves of its hydrogen feast. The view confirms previous hypotheses and ...

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'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin

23-04-2014

Researchers from Cornell University and Brookhaven National Laboratory have shown how to switch a particular transition metal oxide, a lanthanum nickelate (LaNiO3), from a metal to an insulator by making the material less than a nanometer thick. Ever-shrinking electronic devices could get down to ...

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Flipping the switch

Physicists design quantum switches which can be activated by single photons

23-04-2014

Harvard researchers have succeeded in creating quantum switches that can be turned on and off using a single photon, a technological achievement that could pave the way for the creation of highly secure quantum networks. Built from single atoms, the first-of-their-kind switches could one day be ...

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MRI, on a molecular scale

Researchers develop system that could one day peer into the atomic structure of individual molecules

23-04-2014

For decades, scientists have used techniques like X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMR) to gain invaluable insight into the atomic structure of molecules, but such efforts have long been hampered by the fact that they demand large quantities of a specific molecule and ...

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Doubt on climate benefit of biofuels from corn residue

23-04-2014

Using corn crop residue to make ethanol and other biofuels reduces soil carbon and can generate more greenhouse gases than gasoline, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The findings by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln team of researchers cast doubt on whether corn ...

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Understanding of valley-wide stream chemistry

Analysis reveals unexpected patterns in chemical components

23-04-2014

A geostatistical approach for studying environmental conditions in stream networks and landscapes has been successfully applied at a valley-wide scale to assess headwater stream chemistry at high resolution, revealing unexpected patterns in natural chemical components. "Headwater streams make up ...

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Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

22-04-2014

Scientists at Yale have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. They report their results in Nature. High-quality quantum switches are essential for the development of ...

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