Week in Science (11 – 17 Apr 2021)

Updated: Apr 21

Science News related to Following Atoms in Real Time, Oxygen False Positives, 3D Printed Ivory Substitute, Measuring Super-Fast and Free Electron Laser Pulses, Self-Assembling Nanofibers, AI Pinpoints Local Pollution Hotspots, Bat-Inspired Design, Biodegradable Surfactants, Entanglement-Based Quantum Network, The Whitest Paint, 'Time Machine' Technique


Note: None of the news bits (and cover picture) given here are written/owned by NewAnced's authors. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. Content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.

1. Following Atoms in Real Time Could Lead to Better Materials Design


Source: University of Cambridge 12 Apr 2021


Researchers have used a technique similar to MRI to follow the movement of individual atoms in real time as they cluster together to form two-dimensional materials, which are a single atomic layer thick. The results could be used to design new types of materials and quantum technology devices. The researchers captured the movement of the atoms at speeds that are eight orders of magnitude too fast for conventional microscopes.


The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License

2. Study Warns Of ‘Oxygen False Positives’ in Search for Signs of Life on Other Planets


Source: University of California - Santa Cruz 13 Apr 2021


In the search for life on other planets, the presence of oxygen in a planet’s atmosphere is one potential sign of biological activity that might be detected by future telescopes. A new study, however, describes several scenarios in which a lifeless rocky planet around a sun-like star could evolve to have oxygen in its atmosphere.


Original written by: Tim Stephens

3. 3D-printed Material to Replace Ivory


Source: Vienna University of Technology 13 Apr 2021


Researchers have now developed a high-tech substitute for Ivory called Digory. The novel material "Digory" consists of synthetic resin and calcium phosphate particles. It is processed in a hot, liquid state and hardened in the 3D printer with UV rays, exactly in the desired shape. It can then be polished and colour-matched to create a deceptively authentic-looking ivory substitute.

4. New Method Measures Super-Fast, Free Electron Laser Pulses


Sources: DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory 14 Apr 2021


New research shows how to measure the super-short bursts of high-frequency light emitted from free electron lasers (FELs). By using the light-induced ionization itself to create a femtosecond optical shutter, the technique encodes the electric field of the FEL pulse in a visible light pulse so that it can be measured with a standard, slow, visible-light camera.

5. Self-Assembling Nanofibers Prevent Damage from Inflammation


Source: Duke University 14 Apr 2021


Biomedical engineers have developed a self-assembling nanomaterial that can help limit damage caused by inflammatory diseases by activating key cells in the immune system. In mouse models of psoriasis, the nanofiber-based drug has been shown to mitigate damaging inflammation as effectively as a gold-standard therapy.


Original written by: Michaela Kane

6. AI Pinpoints Local Pollution Hotspots Using Satellite Images

Source: Duke University 15 Apr 2021


Researchers have developed a method that uses machine learning, satellite imagery and weather data to autonomously find hotspots of heavy air pollution, city block by city block. The technique could be a boon for finding and mitigating sources of hazardous aerosols, studying the effects of air pollution on human health, and making better informed, socially just public policy decisions.


Original written by: Ken Kingery

7. Bat-Inspired Design to Develop New Approach to Sound Location


Source: Virginia Tech 15 Apr 2021


Inspired by the workings of a bat’s ear, researchers have created bio-inspired technology that determines the location of a sound’s origin. Their development works from a simpler and more accurate model of sound location than previous approaches, which have traditionally been modeled after the human ear. Their work marks the first new insight for determining sound location in 50 years.


Original written by: Alex Parrish.

8. Plastics Could See A Second Life as Biodegradable Surfactants


Source: DOE/Ames Laboratory 15 Apr 2021


Scientists have discovered a chemical process that provides biodegradable, valuable chemicals, which are used as surfactants and detergents in a range of applications, from discarded plastics. The process has the potential to create more sustainable and economically favorable lifecycles for plastics.

9. The First Entanglement-Based Quantum Network


Source: Delft University of Technology 15 Apr 2021


A team of researchers reports realization of the first multi-node quantum network, connecting three quantum processors. In addition, they achieved a proof-of-principle demonstration of key quantum network protocols. Their findings mark an important milestone towards the future quantum internet and have now been published in Science.

10. The Whitest Paint Is Here – And It’s the Coolest. Literally


Source: Purdue University 15 Apr 2021


In an effort to curb global warming, engineers have created the whitest paint yet. Coating buildings with this paint may one day cool them off enough to reduce the need for air conditioning, the researchers say.


Original written by: Kayla Wiles

11. Researchers Unveil New 'Time Machine' Technique to Measure Cells


Source: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute 16 Apr 2021


Using a new single-cell technique, researchers have uncovered a way to understand the programming behind how stem cells make particular cell types. The research uncovered 30 new genes that program stem cells to make the dendritic cells that kick-start the immune response.


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