Science X Newsletter Monday, Jan 27

Dear ymilog,

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

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A template for silk growth: Peptides bring control on many levels

Researchers discover a unique orbital texture in single-layer of 3-D material

Collaborative simultaneous localization and mapping technique uses available Wi-Fi networks

Detection of very high frequency magnetic resonance could revolutionize electronics

Patterns of thinning of Antarctica's biggest glacier are opposite to previously observed

Oceanographers predict increase in phytoplankton by 2100

Current model for storing nuclear waste is incomplete

Parkinson's disease may start before birth

Researchers hope to make needle pricks for diabetics a thing of the past

For cheaper solar cells, thinner really is better

Lab turns trash into valuable graphene in a flash

Researchers identify opportunities to advance genomic medicine

Earth's most biodiverse ecosystems face a perfect storm

Prescription drug improves symptoms of autism by targeting brain's chemical messengers

New research exposes security risk for e-scooters and riders

Physics news

A template for silk growth: Peptides bring control on many levels

Applications of silk fibers have ballooned in recent years. Traditionally attractive in textiles for its compact strength and luxurious soft sheen, silk has potential applications including filtration membranes and coatings to preserve foods, substrates for implantable electronics, and high-sensitivity biosensors. These technologies exploit not just the mechanical properties, but also the material's biocompatibility, biodegradability and intrinsic photonic properties, as well as the ability to dress the surface with optically active substances like quantum dots. No surprise, then, that scientists around the world have been hard at it to produce customized materials that exploit silk's multiple functional properties. Yet there remains a snag with silk-based biomaterials—getting the right material in scalable quantities. Now, researchers at MIT have demonstrated a way of templating the growth of silk that combines molecular control with scalable production.

Researchers discover a unique orbital texture in single-layer of 3-D material

New physical behavior, such as Mott insulating behavior, unconventional superconductivity and quantum spin liquid behavior, occurs when electrons inside a material interact with each other. When electrons are confined to lower dimensions such as 2-D planes, these effects can become even stronger.

Detection of very high frequency magnetic resonance could revolutionize electronics

A team of physicists has discovered an electrical detection method for terahertz electromagnetic waves, which are extremely difficult to detect. The discovery could help miniaturize the detection equipment on microchips and enhance sensitivity.

Topological defects produce exotic mechanics in complex metamaterials

Metamaterials have properties that depend on their shape and architecture. Researchers at AMOLF, Leiden University and Tel Aviv University have found a new way of designing these metamaterials and their properties by deliberately incorporating small errors. They have published their results in Nature Physics.

Quantum computers offer another look at classic physics concepts

"Think what we can do if we teach a quantum computer to do statistical mechanics," posed Michael McGuigan, a computational scientist with the Computational Science Initiative at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Waves of ice inside a droplet

A droplet falling on a surface that is considerably supercooled has been found to freeze in a way never observed before. Instead of the well-known growth of crystals, a colder surface results in moving circular ice fronts. These fronts move out of the center to the edge of the freezing drop. Scientists of the University of Twente and the Max Planck Center for Complex Fluid Dynamics have demonstrated this effect for the first time, and give an explanation for the physical mechanism involved in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

How to take a picture of a light pulse

Until now, complex experimental equipment was required to measure the shape of a light pulse. A team from TU Wien (Vienna), MPI Garching and LMU Munich has now made this much easier.

Discovery of a new liquid-liquid interfacial deformation by partial miscibility

The international collaborative team of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT, Japan), IIT Ropar (India), Osaka Univ. (Japan) has discovered that "partially miscibility," in which two liquids do not mix completely with finite solubility, is capable of deforming the liquid-liquid interface. This interfacial deformation originates due to the spontaneous motion driven by phase separation between the soluble species, and is a phenomenon that cannot be seen with completely mixed (fully miscible) with infinite solubility or (almost) immiscible with no solubility.

Astronomy & Space news

Flying solo: Solar Orbiter will take first-ever direct images of solar poles

Solar Orbiter will orbit our nearest star, the sun, observing it up close. It will take the first-ever direct images of its poles, while also studying the inner heliosphere—the bubble-like region around the sun created by the stream of energized, charged particles released in the solar wind.

How Earth climate models help picture life on unimaginable worlds

In a generic brick building on the northwestern edge of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center campus in Greenbelt, Maryland, thousands of computers packed in racks the size of vending machines hum in a deafening chorus of data crunching. Day and night, they spit out 7 quadrillion calculations per second. These machines collectively are known as NASA's Discover supercomputer and they are tasked with running sophisticated climate models to predict Earth's future climate.

Tarantula Nebula spins web of mystery in Spitzer image

The Tarantula Nebula, seen in this image by the Spitzer Space Telescope, was one of the first targets studied by the infrared observatory after its launch in 2003, and the telescope has revisited it many times since. Now that Spitzer is set to be retired on Jan. 30, 2020, scientists have generated a new view of the nebula from Spitzer data.

In a rare sighting, astronomers observe burst of activity as a massive star forms

Here on Earth, we pay quite a lot of attention to the sun. It's visible to us, after all, and central to our lives. But it is only one of the billions of stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. It's also quite small compared to other stars—many are at least eight times more massive.

Image: Hubble sees dusty galaxy with supermassive center

This peculiar galaxy, beautifully streaked with tendrils of reddish dust, is captured here in wonderful detail by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Technology news

Collaborative simultaneous localization and mapping technique uses available Wi-Fi networks

In recent years, research teams worldwide have developed new methods for simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). These techniques can be used to construct or update maps of a given environment in real time, while simultaneously tracking an artificial agent or robot's location within these maps.

For cheaper solar cells, thinner really is better

Costs of solar panels have plummeted over the last several years, leading to rates of solar installations far greater than most analysts had expected. But with most of the potential areas for cost savings already pushed to the extreme, further cost reductions are becoming more challenging to find.

New research exposes security risk for e-scooters and riders

Micromobility vehicles, such as e-scooters, zip in and out of traffic. In San Antonio alone, over 12,000 scooters are on the road. For this reason, micromobility is seen as an alleviating trend to help tackle traffic congestion.

Researchers advance solar material production

A Washington State University team has developed a more efficient, safer, and cost-effective way to produce cadmium telluride (CdTe) material for solar cells or other applications, a discovery that could advance the solar industry and make it more competitive.

Hundreds of Amazon employees criticize firm's climate stance

Hundreds of Amazon employees Sunday openly criticized the online retail giant's environmental record, defying the company's communications policy.

Johnson says can square Huawei 5G role with security concerns

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday insisted the UK can have technological progress while preserving national security, as he prepared to approve a role for Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in developing its 5G telecoms network despite strong US opposition.

GM to invest $2.2B in Detroit to build electric vehicles

General Motors is spending $2.2 billion to refurbish an underused Detroit factory so it can build a series of electric and self-driving vehicles, eventually employing 2,200 people.

Testing new turbines goes swimmingly with sensor fish

Working on top of Ice Harbor Dam, a team of PNNL researchers had little time to appreciate the view. It was a beautiful, sunny fall day in early October and the team was on its 4th day of releasing Sensor Fish to travel through the dam.

New standard allows stacked dies in 3-D integrated circuits to connect with test equipment

This week, IMEC, a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, announced that IEEE Std 1838TM-2019—recently approved by the IEEE Standards Association—will be included in IEEE Xplore Digital Library from February 2020 onward. The new standard allows die makers to design dies which, if compliant to this standard, constitute, once stacked in a 3-D-IC by a stack integrator, a consistent stack-level test access architecture. The standardization effort of the 3-D-DfT (design-for-test) was initiated by IMEC.

Thin radio-frequency detector monitors capacity of commercial lithium-ion battery

A new paper-thin radio-frequency detector designed to work inside a lithium-ion battery provides information about the battery's health while charging and discharging.

Facebook, government urge court to approve $5-billion FTC settlement

Facebook and the Justice Department are urging a federal judge to approve the $5-billion deal the Federal Trade Commission reached with Facebook to settle Cambridge Analytica privacy complaints.

Banks, Bitcoin, bond funds: Where is your money safe in an era of cyberattacks?

For almost a decade, John Luksic used a Bitcoin exchange to invest money in cryptocurrencies, trying to build a nest egg while caring for his parents in Saginaw, Michigan.

New Delhi to sell full stake in debt-ridden Air India

New Delhi intends to sell its entire stake in the debt-crippled national carrier Air India, the government announced Monday, after failing previously to secure any bids for a majority share.

'I did it': Portugal hacker says he exposed African tycoon

A Portuguese hacker is claiming responsibility for leaking confidential documents implicating the billionaire daughter of a former prominent African leader in alleged murky international business deals.

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