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  • Science Visualized

    See the ‘periodic table’ of molecular knots

    Like a scouting handbook for the molecular realm, a new chart reveals how to tie molecules up in knots of increasing complexity.

    Mathematicians have cataloged billions of distinct knot types, but researchers have been able to make only a few molecular versions. Scientists craft the minuscule knots using a solution filled with building blocks of curved strings of atoms, which glom onto...

    08/27/2018 - 07:00 Chemistry, Physics, Materials
  • News

    Lithium-oxygen batteries are getting an energy boost

    A new type of lithium-oxygen battery could pack more energy and last longer than its predecessors.

    Lithium-oxygen batteries, which are more energy-dense and made of more sustainable materials than typical lithium-ion cells, are promising candidates for the next generation of rechargeable batteries (SN: 1/21/17, p. 22). But lithium-oxygen batteries aren’t widely used yet because they die...

    08/23/2018 - 14:00 Chemistry, Technology
  • The –est

    Cheese found in an Egyptian tomb is at least 3,200 years old

    What may be the oldest known solid cheese has been found in an ancient Egyptian tomb.

    Made from a mixture of cow milk and either sheep or goat milk, the cheese filled a broken clay jar unearthed from a 13th century B.C. tomb for Ptahmes, the mayor of the ancient city of Memphis, researchers report online July 25 in Analytical Chemistry.

    Chemist Enrico Greco, who did the work while...

    08/17/2018 - 08:53 Science & Society, Archaeology, Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    A filter that turns saltwater into freshwater just got an upgrade

    Smoothing out the rough patches of a material widely used to filter saltwater could make producing freshwater more affordable, researchers report in the Aug. 17 Science.

    Desalination plants around the world typically strain salt out of seawater by pumping it through films made of polyamide — a synthetic polymer riddled with tiny pores that allow water molecules to squeeze through, but...

    08/16/2018 - 14:00 Materials, Chemistry, Sustainability
  • News

    A new kind of spray is loaded with microscopic electronic sensors

    Talk about cloud-connected devices.

    Using tiny 2-D materials, researchers have built microscopic chemical sensors that can be sprayed in an aerosol mist. Spritzes of such minuscule electronic chips, described online July 23 in Nature Nanotechnology, could one day help monitor environmental pollution or diagnose diseases.

    Each sensor comprises a polymer chip about 1 micrometer thick...

    07/23/2018 - 11:00 Technology, Chemistry, Materials
  • Science Visualized

    How a particle accelerator helped recover tarnished 19th century images

    With the aid of a particle accelerator, scientists are bringing back ghosts from the past, revealing portraits hidden underneath the tarnished surface of two roughly 150-year-old silver photographic plates.

    Researchers used an accelerator called a synchrotron to produce strong, but nondamaging beams of X-rays to scan the damaged photographs, called daguerreotypes, and map their chemical...

    07/09/2018 - 07:00 Chemistry, Physics
  • News

    Sunshine is making Deepwater Horizon oil stick around

    Sunlight shapes oil spills’ long-term legacies.

    In the days and weeks after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, sunlight hit the oil slicks on the surface of the water. That triggered chemical reactions that added oxygen to oil molecules that once were just chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms. These oxygenated hydrocarbons are still sticking around eight years...

    06/12/2018 - 07:00 Pollution, Chemistry
  • News

    This plastic can be recycled over and over and over again

    There’s a great future in plastics.

    A new kind of plastic can, when exposed to the right chemicals, break down into the same basic building blocks that it came from and be rebuilt again and again. The recyclable material is more durable than previous attempts to create reusable plastics, researchers report inthe April 27 Science.

    Designing plastics that can be easily reused is one...

    04/26/2018 - 15:40 Pollution, Chemistry, Materials
  • Scicurious

    Want to build a dragon? Science is here for you

    No fantasy world is complete without a fire-breathing dragon. SpaceX founder Elon Musk even wants to make a cyborg version a reality, or so he tweeted April 25. But if someone was going to make a dragon happen, how would it get its flame? Nature, it seems, has all the parts a dragon needs to set the world on fire, no flamethrower required. The creature just needs a few chemicals, some microbes...

    04/26/2018 - 12:15 Chemistry, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Using laser tweezers, chemists nudged two atoms to bond

    For the first time, researchers have played matchmaker between two specific atoms, joining them together to form a molecule.

    Typically, chemists make molecules by mixing up many constituent atoms, some of which stick to each other to form the desired compounds. In the new, supercontrolled chemical reaction, researchers trapped a single sodium atom in one optical tweezer — a device that...

    04/12/2018 - 14:00 Chemistry, Technology