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Thermal vision of snakes inspires soft pyroelectric materials

26-Oct-2020

Converting heat into electricity is a property thought to be reserved only for stiff materials like crystals. However, researchers--inspired by the infrared (IR) vision of snakes--developed a mathematical model for converting soft, organic structures into so-called "pyroelectric" materials. The ...

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Chemists create the brightest-ever fluorescent materials

11-Aug-2020

By formulating positively charged fluorescent dyes into a new class of materials called small-molecule ionic isolation lattices (SMILES), a compound's brilliant glow can be seamlessly transferred to a solid, crystalline state, researchers report August 6 in the journal Chem. The advance overcomes ...

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Bacteria and sand engineered into living concrete

17-Jan-2020

Cement and concrete haven't changed much as technology in over a hundred years, but researchers in Colorado are revolutionizing building materials by literally bringing them to life. The method developed, presented January 15 in the journal Matter, combines sand and bacteria to build a living ...

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Like Pavlov's dog, this thermoplastic is learning a new trick: Walking

06-Dec-2019

Researchers in Finland are "training" pieces of plastic to walk under the command of light. The method developed, published December 4 in the journal Matter, is the first time a synthetic actuator "learns" to do new "tricks" based on its past experiences, without computer programming. These ...

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Mussels are inspiring new technology that could help purify water and clean up oil spills

12-Jul-2019

Mussels are notorious maritime stowaways known for damaging the hulls of boats, but these same adhesive properties have widespread engineering applications, scientists in China and the United states write in review published in the journal Matter. They suggest that the chemistry of mussel threads ...

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Caffeine gives solar cells an energy boost

The idea began as a joke over morning coffee

29-Apr-2019

Scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Solargiga Energy in China have discovered that caffeine can help make a promising alternative to traditional solar cells more efficient at converting light to electricity. Their research may enable this cost-effective renewable ...

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This computer program makes pharma patents airtight

21-Jan-2019

Routes to making life-saving medications and other pharmaceutical compounds are among the most carefully protected trade secrets in global industry. Building on recent work programming computers to identify synthetic pathways leading to pharmaceutically complex molecules, researchers in Poland ...

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Efficient electrochemical cells for CO2 conversion

29-Oct-2018

Scientists at Stanford University have developed electrochemical cells that convert carbon monoxide (CO) derived from CO2 into commercially viable compounds more effectively and efficiently than existing technologies. Their research provides a new strategy for capturing CO2 and converting it into ...

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Material could help windows both power your home and control its temperature

05-Jul-2018

Environmentally friendly building trends have boosted the popularity of window coatings that keep heating and cooling costs down by blocking out unneeded parts of sunlight. They have also inspired scientists and engineers to create thin, see-through solar cells to turn windows into miniature ...

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A plastic-eating caterpillar

26-Apr-2017

Generally speaking, plastic is incredibly resistant to breaking down. That's certainly true of the trillion polyethylene plastic bags that people use each and every year. But researchers reporting in Current Biology on April 24 may be on track to find a solution to plastic waste. The key is a ...

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