Science X Newsletter Friday, Sep 4

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for September 4, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Correcting anode-free cell failure to enable higher-energy-density batteries

Deep underground forces explain quakes on San Andreas Fault

Quantum leap for speed limit bounds

'Floppy' atomic dynamics help turn heat into electricity

Opto-thermoelectric microswimmers

New E Ink color display features flicker-free video

New evidence that the quantum world is even stranger than we thought

How screen time and green time may affect youth psychological outcomes

Striving and stumbling towards sustainability amongst pandas and people

The genetics of blood: A global perspective

'Mammoth central' found at Mexico airport construction site

Uncovering the genetics behind heart attacks that surprise young, healthy women

Ocean carbon uptake widely underestimated

Relief for people who struggle with CPAP masks

Unlocking the mystery of tau for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases

Physics news

Quantum leap for speed limit bounds

Nature's speed limits aren't posted on road signs, but Rice University physicists have discovered a new way to deduce them that is better—infinitely better, in some cases—than previous methods.

'Floppy' atomic dynamics help turn heat into electricity

Materials scientists at Duke University have uncovered an atomic mechanism that makes certain thermoelectric materials incredibly efficient near high-temperature phase transitions. The information will help fill critical knowledge gaps in the computational modeling of such materials, potentially allowing researchers to discover new and better options for technologies that rely on transforming heat into electricity.

Opto-thermoelectric microswimmers

In a recent report, Xiaolei Peng and a team of scientists in materials science and engineering at the University of Texas, U.S., and the Tsinghua University, China, developed opto-thermoelectric microswimmers bioinspired by the motion behaviors of Escherichia coli (E. coli). They engineered the microswimmers using dielectric gold Janus particles driven by a self-sustained electric field arising from the optothermal response of the particles. When they illuminated the constructs with a laser beam, the Janus particles showed an optically generated temperature gradient along the particle surfaces, forming an opto-thermoelectrical field to propel themselves along.

New evidence that the quantum world is even stranger than we thought

New experimental evidence of a collective behavior of electrons to form "quasiparticles" called "anyons" has been reported by a team of scientists at Purdue University.

Looking skin deep at the growth of neutron stars

In atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons share energy and momentum in tight quarters. But exactly how they share the energy that keeps them bound within the nucleus—and even where they are within the nucleus—remain key puzzles for nuclear physicists.

A step toward a better understanding of molecular dynamics

EPFL researchers, working at the boundary between classical and quantum physics, have developed a method for quickly spotting molecules with particularly interesting electron properties.

Low-temperature plasma device may lead to more efficient engines

Low-temperature plasmas offer promise for applications in medicine, water purification, agriculture, pollutant removal, nanomaterial synthesis and more. Yet making these plasmas by conventional methods takes several thousand volts of electricity, says David Go, an aerospace and mechanical engineer at the University of Notre Dame. That limits their use outside high-voltage power settings.

Extracting order from a quantum measurement finally shown experimentally

In physics, it is essential to be able to show a theoretical assumption in actual, physical experiments. For more than a hundred years, physicists have been aware of the link between the concepts of disorder in a system, and information obtained by measurement. However, a clean experimental assessment of this link in common monitored systems, that is systems which are continuously measured over time, was missing so far.

New technology lets quantum bits hold information for 10,000 times longer than previous record

Quantum bits, or qubits, can hold quantum information much longer now thanks to efforts by an international research team. The researchers have increased the retention time, or coherence time, to 10 milliseconds—10,000 times longer than the previous record—by combining the orbital motion and spinning inside an atom. Such a boost in information retention has major implications for information technology developments since the longer coherence time makes spin-orbit qubits the ideal candidate for building large quantum computers.

Researchers find unexpected electrical current that could stabilize fusion reactions

Electric current is everywhere, from powering homes to controlling the plasma that fuels fusion reactions to possibly giving rise to vast cosmic magnetic fields. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found that electrical currents can form in ways not known before. The novel findings could give researchers greater ability to bring the fusion energy that drives the sun and stars to Earth.

Electric current is manipulated by light in an organic superconductor

A polarized petahertz current is driven by an ultrashort laser in an organic superconductor. This is in contrast to the common sense belief which is justified by Ohm's law, i.e., a net current cannot be induced by an oscillating electric field of light. The current enhances near the superconducting transition temperature. The light-driven petahertz current opens a way to high-speed operation of computers which is one million times faster than conventional ones.

Astronomy and Space news

Geologic age of Finsen Crater on far side of the moon found to be 3.5 billion years

The absolute model age (AMA), or geologic age of Finsen crater on the moon's far side is determined to be about 3.5 billion years (Ga) based on crater counting method, according to a study published in Icarus.

Solar eclipse measured on Mars, affects interior

NASA's InSight mission provides data from the surface of Mars. Its seismometer, equipped with electronics built at ETH Zurich, not only records marsquakes, but unexpectedly reacts to solar eclipses as well. When the Martian moon, Phobos moves directly in front of the sun, the instrument tips slightly to one side. This miniscule effect could aid researchers in determining the planet's interior.

Technology news

Correcting anode-free cell failure to enable higher-energy-density batteries

Batteries with high energy densities could enable the creation of a wider range of electric vehicles, including flying vehicles that can transport humans in urban environments. Past studies predict that to support the operation of vehicles capable of take-off and landing, batteries require energy densities of approximately 400 Wh kg-1 at the cell level, which is approximately 30% higher than the energy density of most existing lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells.

New E Ink color display features flicker-free video

A Chinese multinational electronics company has developed a new type of screen technology that provides sharper graphics than traditional E Ink displays, with less power consumption, no backlight and an ability to display flicker-free video.

Helping companies prioritize their cybersecurity investments

One reason that cyberattacks have continued to grow in recent years is that we never actually learn all that much about how they happen. Companies fear that reporting attacks will tarnish their public image, and even those who do report them don't share many details because they worry that their competitors will gain insight into their security practices.

Researchers study why neural networks are efficient in their predictions

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and neural networks are terms that are increasingly being used in daily life. Face recognition, object detection, and person classification and segmentation are common tasks for machine learning algorithms which are now in widespread use. Underlying all these processes is machine learning, which means that computers can capture the essential properties or the key characteristics of processes in which the relationships between objects are very complex. The learning process involves good and bad examples with no previous knowledge about the objects or the underlying laws of physics.

Apple delays debut of anti-tracking tool in iPhone software

Apple is delaying a new privacy feature in the next version of its iPhone operating system that will make it more difficult for app makers to track people online to help sell digital ads.

Now you see it, now you don't: Adding chameleon-like capabilities to defense drones

In conjunction with the Department of Defense, University of South Australia material scientists have developed a range of lightweight panels that can change color on demand, allowing drones to match their appearance to the background colors of the sky.

Can I still be hacked with 2FA enabled?

Cybersecurity is like a game of whack-a-mole. As soon as the good guys put a stop to one type of attack, another pops up.

Body heat into electricity: Scientists develop a new way to charge gadgets

Scientists from NUST MISIS have developed a new type of energy-efficient devices: thermocells that convert heat into energy. This will make possible creation of portable batteries that can be applied to virtually any surface, including clothing, to generate electricity directly from the surface of the body. The results are presented in Renewable Energy.

Dutch solar car serves as a battery on wheels

A fresh cup of coffee while camping in the wild? No problem! Power outlets are no longer needed if you have a solar car. The Solar Team Eindhoven demonstrated that today.

New Swiss Alps tunnel set to transform Europe's rail links

Switzerland opened its Ceneri tunnel on Friday—completing a mammoth project cutting a new route through the Alps which should transform rail links between northern and southern Europe.

An intelligent model simulator that maps complex phenomena of memristor memory

Memristor memory technology is set to revolutionize computers the world over as it is touted as one of the most promising candidates used for next-generation edge computing. This technology is attracting a lot of attention for replacing flash due to its implementations in high-efficient in-memory computing, machine learning and neuromorphic computation. Realizing a model to predict the phenomena of memristor memory technology accurately is essential as this will allow engineers to design systems with more efficient behaviors for making a cheaper, faster memory.

Amazon to add 10,000 jobs in Seattle suburb

Amazon plans to add 10,000 permanent jobs to a suburb of the west coast US city of Seattle in the coming years in the growing tech behemoth's latest expansion near its headquarters, the company said Friday.

Qualcomm continues push to bring fast 5G connectivity to affordable phones

Qualcomm said this week it will roll out processors to bring fast, reliable 5G connectivity to smartphones that cost as little as $125, doubling down on its bid to rapidly expand the popularity of this latest generation of mobile broadband.

Virgin Australia airline to be sold to US-based Bain Capital

Virgin Australia's creditors agreed Friday to sell the airline to Boston-based Bain Capital in a deal that will see the carrier cut 3,000 jobs and end many of its international flights.

Virgin Atlantic completes rescue plan; 1,150 jobs lost

Virgin Atlantic completed its 1.2 billion-pound ($1.6 billion) restructuring plan and cut 1,150 jobs Friday as the airline sought to rebuild following the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scandal-tarnished Nissan shows off production innovation

Nissan says it has developed a new way to produce high-tech auto parts that highlights the Japanese automaker's engineering finesse, even as it faces a criminal trial in an ongoing scandal involving former Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Construction starts on Britain's high-speed rail project

Construction formally began Friday on Britain's 106 billion-pound ($140 billion) high-speed railway project, aiming to forge better connections between cities for decades to come.

Intelligent software for district renewable energy management

New homes are increasingly being outfitted with solar panels, heat pumps, rechargeable batteries and other means of producing and storing heat, electricity and gas, all of which interconnect with the electrical grid. At the level of an entire neighborhood, these decentralized, intermittent energy sources form a complex network, which can also include energy-consuming installations such as electric vehicle charging stations.

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