Science X Newsletter Friday, Apr 10

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 10, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A perovskite-based diode capable of both light emission and detection

Self-powered X-ray detector to revolutionize imaging for medicine, security and research

First sighting of mysterious Majorana fermion on a common metal

Video games improve the visual attention of expert players

Study: Money can't buy love – or friendship

Cats are far more susceptible to new coronavirus than dogs are, but people shouldn't be 'fearful' of their pets: study

Geneticists discover regulatory mechanism of chromosome inheritance

3-D printers help override biometric security measures

New protocol identifies fascinating quantum states

The effect of social distancing on the spread of disease

Using alveolar epithelia as a model for coronavirus infection

Reducing delays in wireless networks

Deforestation surged following end of armed conflict in Colombia

A model for better predicting the unpredictable byproducts of genetic modification

In a first, researchers use ultrafast 'electron camera' to learn about molecules in liquid samples

Physics news

A perovskite-based diode capable of both light emission and detection

Light sources and detectors are key components of countless technological devices on the market today. For instance, light emitting diodes (LEDs) are often used as a source of light in displays and other technologies, while photodiodes are used to detect light in sensors, imaging and fiber optic communication tools.

Self-powered X-ray detector to revolutionize imaging for medicine, security and research

A new X-ray detector prototype is on the brink of revolutionizing medical imaging, with dramatic reduction in radiation exposure and the associated health risks, while also boosting resolution in security scanners and research applications, thanks to a collaboration between Los Alamos National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory researchers.

First sighting of mysterious Majorana fermion on a common metal

Physicists at MIT and elsewhere have observed evidence of Majorana fermions—particles that are theorized to also be their own antiparticle—on the surface of a common metal: gold. This is the first sighting of Majorana fermions on a platform that can potentially be scaled up. The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are a major step toward isolating the particles as stable, error-proof qubits for quantum computing.

New protocol identifies fascinating quantum states

Topological materials attract great interest and may provide the basis for a new era in materials development. In Science Advances, physicists around Andreas Elben, Jinlong Yu, Peter Zoller and Benoit Vermersch now present a new measuring method to identify and characterize so-called topological invariants on various experimental platforms.

In a first, researchers use ultrafast 'electron camera' to learn about molecules in liquid samples

High-speed "electron cameras" can detect tiny molecular movements in a material by scattering a powerful beam of electrons off a sample. Until recently, researchers had only used this technique to study gases and solids. But some of the most important biological and chemical processes, in particular the conversion of light into energy, happen in molecules in a solution.

The cold eyes of DUNE: International Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment

How do you detect a particle that has almost no mass, feels only two of the four fundamental forces, and can travel unhindered through solid lead for an entire light-year without ever interacting with matter? This is the problem posed by neutrinos, ghostly particles that are generated in the trillions by nuclear reactions in stars, including our sun, and on Earth. Scientists can also produce neutrinos to study in controlled experiments using particle accelerators. One of the ways neutrinos can be detected is with large vats filled with liquid argon and wrapped with a complex web of integrated circuitry that can operate in temperatures colder than the average day on Neptune.

Anyon evidence observed using tiny anyon collider

A team of researchers from Sorbonne Université and Université de Paris has reported observational evidence of a quasiparticle called an anyon. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes the tiny anyon collider they built in the lab their results. Dmitri Feldman, with Brown University has published a Perspective piece on the work in the same journal issue.

Research links elastodynamic and electromagnetic wave phenomena

Imagine the advances to predictive modeling if you could infer something about how light amplifies colors in a bird's plumage from the way seismic waves propagate through mountain systems.

Researchers demonstrate a platform for future optical transistors

Leading research groups in the field of nanophotonics are working toward developing optical transistors—key components for future optical computers. These devices will process information with photons instead of electrons, thus reducing the heat and increasing the operation speed. However, photons do not interact with each other well, which creates a big problem for microelectronics engineers. A group of researchers from ITMO University, together with colleagues, have come up with a new solution to this problem by creating a planar system where photons couple to other particles, which enables them to interact with each other. The principle demonstrated in their experiment can provide a platform for developing future optical transistors. The results of their work are published in Light: Science & Applications.

Magnet research takes giant leap

Researchers pushing the limits of magnets as a means to create faster electronics published their proof of concept findings today, April 10, in the journal Science. The University of Central Florida is the lead university in the multidisciplinary university research initiative (MURI) project. The team exploring methods for creating machines that operate at trillions of cycles per second includes the University of California, Santa Cruz and Riverside, Ohio State University, Oakland University (Michigan) and New York University, among others.

Astronomy and Space news

Rehearsal time for NASA's asteroid sampling spacecraft

In August, a robotic spacecraft will make NASA's first-ever attempt to descend to the surface of an asteroid, collect a sample, and ultimately bring it safely back to Earth. In order to achieve this challenging feat, the OSIRIS-REx mission team devised new techniques to operate in asteroid Bennu's microgravity environment—but they still need experience flying the spacecraft in close proximity to the asteroid in order to test them. So, before touching down at sample site Nightingale this summer, OSIRIS-REx will first rehearse the activities leading up to the event.

Mercury-bound spacecraft buzzes Earth, beams back pictures

A Mercury-bound spacecraft swooped past Earth on Friday, tweaking its roundabout path to the solar system's smallest and innermost planet.

After months in space, astronauts returning to changed world

Two NASA astronauts said Friday they expect it will be tough returning to such a drastically changed world next week, after more than half a year at the International Space Station.

Mars helicopter attached to NASA's Perseverance rover

With the launch period of NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover opening in 14 weeks, final preparations of the spacecraft continue at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In the past week, the assembly, test and launch operations team completed important milestones, fueling the descent stage—also known as the sky crane—and attaching the Mars Helicopter, which will be the first aircraft in history to attempt power-controlled flight on another planet.

NASA selects early-stage technology concepts for new, continued study

Future technologies that could enable quicker trips to Mars and robotic exploration of ocean worlds might have started out as NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC). The program, which invests in early-stage technology ideas from NASA, industry and academic researchers across the country, has selected 23 potentially revolutionary concepts with a total award value of $7 million.

Help pave the way for Artemis: Send NASA your mini moon payload designs

Future exploration of the Moon and beyond will require tools of all shapes and sizes—from sweeping orbiters to the tiniest of rovers. In addition to current planned scientific rovers like the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, NASA could one day send even smaller rovers to help scout the Moon's surface. These tiny robots would provide mission flexibility and collect key information about the lunar surface, its resources and the environment. The data collected by these rovers would be helpful for future lunar endeavors and NASA's Artemis program.

How did the TRAPPIST-1 planets get their water?

In 2017, an international team of astronomers announced a momentous discovery. Based on years of observations, they found that the TRAPPIST-1 system (an M-type red dwarf located 40 light-years from Earth) contained no less than seven rocky planets. Equally exciting was the fact that three of these planets were found within the star's habitable zone (HZ), and that the system itself has had 8 billion years to develop the chemistry for life.

Piercing the dark birthplaces of massive stars with Webb

High-mass stars, which are eight or more times the mass of our Sun, live hard and die young. They often end their short lives in violent explosions called supernovas, but their births are much more of a mystery. They form in very dense, cold clouds of gas and dust, but little is known about these regions. In 2021, shortly after the launch of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, scientists plan to study three of these clouds to understand their structure.

Technology news

3-D printers help override biometric security measures

Fingerprint recognition: It was once thought to be the ultimate fool-proof measure to secure computers, laptops and mobile devices.

Reducing delays in wireless networks

MIT researchers have designed a congestion-control scheme for wireless networks that could help reduce lag times and increase quality in video streaming, video chat, mobile gaming, and other web services.

Apple, Google to harness phones for virus infection tracking

Apple and Google launched a major joint effort to leverage smartphone technology to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Singapore stops Zoom for online education as hackers strike

Singapore has suspended the use of Zoom for online education after hackers hijacked a lesson and showed obscene images to students.

Videoconferencing skyrockets on Microsoft's Teams software

The number of calls made using Microsoft's Teams videoconferencing software surged 1,000 percent in March as people collaborated online due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said Thursday.

Uber to provide 'tens of millions' of masks in virus safety move

Uber said Thursday it planned to give out "tens of millions" of masks to drivers worldwide as part of its efforts to boost safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Afraid of Zoombombing? Try Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, WebEx for virtual classes

Many teachers have thrown up their hands in frustration about the recent wave of "Zoombombing" incidents on the Zoom video conference service and are looking for quick solutions elsewhere.

Zoom security feature let unapproved users view meetings, researchers find

Zoom, the videoconferencing service that has exploded into the vacuum created by the COVID-19 outbreak, has endured the revelation of a string of privacy and security flaws in recent days. Now researchers have identified just such a flaw in a feature marketed specifically as a way to make meetings more secure.

Germany gears up for virus tracing app: expert interview

In early April, the German government announced that it was working on a voluntary smartphone app using Bluetooth to trace possible chains of COVID-19 contagion.

Stanford researchers help develop privacy-focused coronavirus alert app

In late January, Tina White should have been finishing her dissertation, but instead, she found herself lying awake at night, feeling helpless that the COVID-19 outbreak in China might spread worldwide. Her anxiety increased as authorities in China and elsewhere began using cell phone data to track the movements of people infected with the disease.

Digital surveillance can help bring the coronavirus pandemic under control—and threatens privacy

Israel's top spy agency has been using secretly collected cellphone data to retrace the movements of those who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Working from home during the coronavirus pandemic creates new cybersecurity threats

COVID-19 has changed nearly every aspect of our daily lives, including how we shop, socialize, exercise and work. If you are a front-line worker or working from home, you must also consider how these adaptations will present opportunities for criminals wanting to exploit this crisis.

How to use smart city technology to measure social distancing

The UK and many other countries worldwide have introduced social distancing measures to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. To understand if these recommendations are effective, we need to assess how far they are being followed.

With everyone stuck indoors, esports are poised for time in the sun

Against a global backdrop of cancelled sports leagues, and as part of their season opening, National Rugby League (NRL) fans recently packed the stands of Townsville's new Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Amazon moves to create own lab for employee COVID-19 tests

Amazon is moving to create it own lab to test employees for coronavirus as the e-commerce giant struggles with safety issues amid the pandemic.

Engineers designing, building ventilators to aid in the fight against COVID-19

A group from Texas Tech University's Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering is using its time to create much-needed ventilators to aid the medical community.

Japan auto industry vows to protect jobs amid virus crisis

Toyota Chief Executive Akio Toyoda promised Friday that the Japanese auto industry would seek to protect jobs worldwide as it endures the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump says airline rescue plan coming soon

US President Donald Trump said Thursday his administration would present a plan this weekend to save the flagging airline industry, which is facing vastly reduced business as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

US threatens to block China Telecom from American market

The United States threatened Thursday to cut off Beijing-controlled China Telecom from serving the US market because of legal and security risks, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Crowdfunding fills gaps for virus-displaced workers

The coronavirus pandemic threatened game over for Endgame restaurant near Seattle.

Fearful of COVID-19, Amazon workers ask California to probe working conditions

Workers at Amazon's Eastvale, Calif., fulfillment center filed complaints with California and Riverside County regulators Wednesday, asking for investigations into what they say are dangerous working conditions that pose a threat to public health during the coronavirus pandemic.

LATAM airline suspends international flights

Latin America's biggest airline, the Brazilian-Chilean group LATAM, is suspending all international flights until May because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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