Titanium Atom That Exists in Two Places at Once in Crystal to Blame for Unusual Phenomenon

Researchers discover why a perfect crystal is not good at conducting heat, although it seemingly should be.

The crystalline solid BaTiS3 (barium titanium sulfide) is terrible at conducting heat, and it turns out that a wayward titanium atom that exists in two places at the same time is to blame.

This high-resolution scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of BaTiS3 crystals is overlaid with illustrations showing the orientation of individual atoms in the crystal. Despite the atomic perfection of the crystal, it is unexpectedly poor at transporting thermal energy. Image credit: Caltech/USC/ORNL

The discovery, made by researchers from Caltech, USC,

Read More

Scanning electron microscope opens new avenues of research

During re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, temperatures on the surface of NASA’s space shuttle would reach a searing 1,650 degrees Celsius. Yet, inside the orbiter, astronauts sat safe and sound, protected from the fiery descent by special tiles that also preserved the shuttle’s critical components.

Engineers spent months developing those tiles, subjecting them to a process called materials characterization, in which the mechanical and microstructural properties of substances such as metals and composites are tested and examined under extreme conditions.

University of Miami researchers James Coakley and Giacomo Po know the process better than anyone. And now, their research—which ranges

Read More

Photonics meets surface science in a cheap and accurate sensor for biological liquids

Skoltech researchers and their colleagues from Russia and Israel have come up with a new, simple and inexpensive method of testing liquid biological samples that can be further developed to work in clinical settings, including real-time testing during surgery. The paper was published in the journal Light: Science & Applications.

Image credit: Pixabay (Free Pixabay license)

The most common method of real-time diagnostic testing for biological samples (such as urine or saliva) that is used in the healthcare system, optical label-free sensors, are highly sensitive, but that sensitivity comes at a cost in terms of time and resources. Looking for

Read More

How plants compete for underground real estate affects climate change and food production

You might have observed plants competing for sunlight — the way they stretch upwards and outwards to block each other’s access to the sun’s rays — but out of sight, another type of competition is happening underground. In the same way that you might change the way you forage for free snacks in the break room when your colleagues are present, plants change their use of underground resources when they’re planted alongside other plants.

In a paper published in Science (and featured on the cover), an international team of researchers led by Princeton graduate student Ciro Cabal sheds light

Read More

Sensors for a ‘smart’ wound bandage may track healing, immune response: study

Researchers from Skoltech and the University of Texas at Austin have presented a proof-of-concept for a wearable sensor that can track healing in sores, ulcers and other kinds of chronic skin wounds, even without the need to remove the bandages. The paper was published in the journal ACS Sensors.

Image credit: Pixabay (Free Pixabay license)

Chronic wounds that fail to heal quickly, such as diabetic foot ulcers or pressure ulcers, can be very tricky to manage for healthcare professionals and a nightmare for patients. To monitor the healing process and assess the need for treatment, doctors and nurses normally

Read More

Radiation – Video game visualization

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are developing a first-of-a-kind toolkit drawing on video game development software to visualize radiation data.

The image shows a visualization of a radiation transport simulation for a spaceflight radioisotope power system and complex interactions of radiation fields with operational environments. Credit: Michael B. R. Smith and M. Scott Greenwood/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Using data sets originally produced by ORNL for analysis of NASA radioisotope power systems, the toolkit leverages gaming development software such as Unreal Engine® to couple three-dimensional radiation transport results with CAD geometries in a cinematic — yet scientific —

Read More