Science X Newsletter Friday, Mar 27

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 27, 2020:

Due to an increasing volume of information and news about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have split stories concerning the virus into a separate category in the MedicalXpress daily newsletter. As always, you may configure your email newsletter preferences in your ScienceX account.

Spotlight Stories Headlines

OmniTact: A compact and high-resolution tactile sensor for robotics applications

Reconfigurable structure and tunable transport in synchronized active spinner materials

Free range mitochondria are coming for you

Quantum copycat: Researchers find a new way in which bosons behave like fermions

Longer lives not dependent on increased energy use

Scientists identify microbe that could help degrade polyurethane-based plastics

Virus test results in minutes? Scientists question accuracy

Scientists identify gene that first slows, then accelerates, progression of ALS in mice

Capabilities of CRISPR gene editing expanded

Research into perovskite-silicon tandem cells shows new path to take

Three countries have kept coronavirus in check; here's how they did it

Study shows how brain gains knowledge through observation

Bubbles go with the flow: Simulating behavior of fluids moving through pipes

Multi-stage deformation process in high-entropy alloys at ultra-low temperatures revealed

Low-cost graphene-iron filters that selectively separate gaseous mixtures

Physics news

Reconfigurable structure and tunable transport in synchronized active spinner materials

Actuated colloids are excellent model systems to investigate emerging out-of-equilibrium structures, complex collective dynamics and design rules for next-generation materials. In a new report, Koohe Han and a research team suspended ferromagnetic microparticles at an air-water interface and energized them with an external rotating magnetic field to form dynamic ensembles of synchronized spinners. Each spinner generated strong hydrodynamic flows with collective interactions between multiple spinners to promote dynamic lattice formation. Using experiments and simulations they revealed structural transitions from liquid to near crystalline states, demonstrating the reconfigurable nature of dynamic spinner lattices. The materials showed self-healing behavior and transported embedded inert cargo particles, tuned by the parameters of external excitation. The findings are now published on Science Advances, and provide insight to the behavior of active spinner materials with reconfigurable structural order and tunable functionalities.

Quantum copycat: Researchers find a new way in which bosons behave like fermions

Bosons and fermions, the two classes into which all particles—from the sub-atomic to atoms themselves—can be sorted, behave very differently under most circumstances. While identical bosons like to congregate, identical fermions tend to be antisocial. However, in one dimension—imagine particles that can only move on a line—bosons can become as stand-offish as fermions, so that no two occupy the same position. Now, new research shows that the same thing—bosons acting like fermions—can happen with their velocities. The finding adds to our fundamental understanding of quantum systems and could inform the eventual development of quantum devices.

Bubbles go with the flow: Simulating behavior of fluids moving through pipes

Researchers at the Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo, used a sophisticated physical model to simulate the behavior of fluids moving through pipes. By including the possibility of shear-induced bubble formation, they find that, contrary to the assumptions of many previous works, fluids can experience significant slippage when in contact with fixed boundaries. This research may help reduce energy losses when pumping fluids, which is a significant concern in many industrial applications, such as gas and oil suppliers.

A device for the early detection of certain eyesight problems

EPFL researchers have developed a device that can zoom in on previously invisible cells at the back of the eye. The technology could be extremely useful for ophthalmologists, in particular for detecting age-related macular degeneration early and assessing new treatment options.

Optimizing efficiency of quantum circuits

Quantum circuits, the building blocks of quantum computers, use quantum mechanical effects to perform tasks. They are much faster and more accurate than the classical circuits that are found in electronic devices today. In reality, however, no quantum circuit is completely error-free. Maximising the efficiency of a quantum circuit is of great interest to scientists from around the world.

Scientists find a way to extract color from black

Scientists have developed a way of extracting a richer palette of colours from the available spectrum by harnessing disordered patterns inspired by nature that would typically be seen as black.

Researchers develop a black phosphorus all-fiber humidity sensor

A research group led by Prof. LI Jia and Prof. XU Xuefeng from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, along with Prof. YANG Dexing from Northwestern Polytechnical University, developed a highly responsive all-fiber humidity sensor with an ultrafast response time as fast as 7ms.

Scientists develop novel technology to stimulate biomass and astaxanthin accumulation in haematococcus

Chinese scientists with Institute of Technical Biology and Agriculture Engineering, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science applied low-temperature plasma technology to stimulate biomass and astaxanthin accumulation in Haematococcus pluvialis at appropriate conditions.

Researchers catch light in a funnel

Professor Ronny Thomale holds a chair for theoretical condensed matter physics, the TP1, at the Julius-Maximilian University of Würzburg. The discovery and theoretical description of new quantum states of matter is a prime objective of his research. "Developing a theory for a new physical phenomenon which then inspires new experiments seeking after this effect is one of the biggest moments in a theoretical physicist's practice," he says. In an ideal case, such an effect would even unlock unexpected technological potential.

Scientists grow novel Er3+ doped LuSGG mid-infrared laser crystal

A study team has grown an Er3+-doped lutetium scandium gallium garnet crystal with high doping concentration. And this was the first time to grow that kind of crystal by Czochralski method. The team also announced they have achieved 2.79 μm laser with high peak power and high beam quality.

Astronomy and Space news

Planetary defenders validate asteroid deflection code

Planetary defense researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) continue to validate their ability to accurately simulate how they might deflect an Earth-bound asteroid in a study that will be published in the April issue of the American Geophysical Union journal Earth and Space Science.

ALMA resolves gas impacted by young jets from supermassive black hole

Astronomers obtained the first resolved image of disturbed gaseous clouds in a galaxy 11 billion light-years away by using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The team found that the disruption is caused by young powerful jets ejected from a supermassive black hole residing at the center of the host galaxy. This result will cast light on the mystery of the evolutionary process of galaxies in the early Universe.

10.9 million names now aboard NASA's Perseverance Mars rover

NASA's "Send Your Name to Mars" campaign invited people around the world to submit their names to ride aboard the agency's next rover to the Red Planet. Some 10,932,295 people did just that. The names were stenciled by electron beam onto three fingernail-sized silicon chips, along with the essays of the 155 finalists in NASA's "Name the Rover" contest.The chips were then were attached to an aluminum plate on NASA's Perseverance Mars rover at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 16. Scheduled to launch this summer, Perseverance will land at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.

New mission would provide a road map in the search for alien atmospheres

A new spacecraft proposed by scientists at CU Boulder could soon be NASA's nose in space, sniffing out the environments beyond Earth's solar system that might host planets with thick atmospheres.

Technology news

OmniTact: A compact and high-resolution tactile sensor for robotics applications

In recent years, researchers worldwide have been trying to develop sensors that could replicate humans' sense of touch in robots and enhance their manipulation skills. While some of these sensors achieved remarkable results, most existing solutions have small sensitive fields or can only gather images with low-resolutions.

Putting hardware accelerators to work with automatic code translation

A new technique developed by researchers at the University of Michigan could enable broader adoption of post-Moore's Law computing components through automatic code translation. The system, called AutomataSynth, allows software engineers to tap into the power of hardware accelerators like FPGAs without specialized programming knowledge or needing to rewrite old, CPU-centric code.

Researchers develop faster way to replace bad data with accurate information

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the Army Research Office have demonstrated a new model of how competing pieces of information spread in online social networks and the Internet of Things (IoT). The findings could be used to disseminate accurate information more quickly, displacing false information about anything from computer security to public health.

Router phishing scam targets global fear over coronavirus

There is no tragedy serious enough that creeps somewhere around the world won't take advantage of. The cybersecurity organization Bitdefender reported this week that phishing scams preying on people's fears about coronavirus have been detected among users of Linksys and D-Link routers.

Internet firm restricts virus-themed website registrations

An internet firm is ending the automated registration of website names that include words or phrases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, an attempt to combat coronavirus-related fraud.

Working from home risks online security and privacy: How to stay protected

Remote working can be a blessing. More time with family, less commuting, and meetings from the comfort of your living room. But as millions across the world switch to working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they may be putting the security and privacy of themselves, their families and their employers at risk.

An expert in forming habits reveals how to work from home

Many of us aren't used to working at home, especially under the current circumstances. It can feel like you are your own worst enemy, trying to control all of the interruptions and distractions.

Can quantum cyberattacks be prevented? An EU initiative says yes, shows how

From defence and health information to social networking and banking transactions, communications increasingly rely on cryptographic security amid growing fears of cyberattacks. However, can such sensitive data be unhackable? Thanks to the EU's Future and Emerging Technologies Flagship on Quantum Technologies (QT), scientists have created novel prototypes that use quantum encryption protocols for secure transmission of sensitive information through the internet.

How well are we social distancing? Smartphone location data can rank the states

Health officials have begged Americans to practice social distancing and many states and cities have issued stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread of coronavirus. But not everyone is listening.

Apple offers free consultations to help teachers make the best of online learning

Teachers across the nation have been expected to flip the switch to online learning when schools started closing their doors in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.

Google offers $800 mn to pandemic-impacted businesses, health agencies

Google on Friday pledged $800 million worth of support in response to the coronavirus pandemic for health organizations, researchers and businesses impacted by the crisis.

Mideast airlines must tap handouts to survive virus crisis

As coronavirus grounds airlines, plunging the industry into unprecedented crisis, Middle East carriers that have been in the red for years must urgently tap assistance from governments facing their own revenue slump.

Social media has positive possibilities in pandemic

Social media has the power to both inform and deceive—and do both at speeds we have never experienced. That fact has, once again, been on display as the COVID-19 epidemic has dominated social media platforms for weeks.


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