Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Jul 13

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 13, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Researchers demonstrate low-temperature and effective ex situ group V doping of polycrystalline solar cells

The demonstration of ultrafast switching to an insulating-like metastable state

Astronomers detect ultra-high energy gamma-ray source

Galactic gamma ray bursts predicted last year show up on schedule

NASA Lucy mission's message to the future

Study shows forests play greater role in depositing toxic mercury across the globe

Resilience, not collapse: What the Easter Island myth gets wrong

Neutron-clustering effect in nuclear reactors demonstrated for first time

Shape-memory alloys might help airplanes land without a peep

Study shows dire impacts downstream of Nile River dam

Discovery of 10 faces of plasma leads to new insights in fusion and plasma science

Optical singularities could be used for a wide range of applications from super resolution imaging to optical trapping

Satellite data helped indigenous Peruvians save rainforest: study

Researchers use prenatal editing in preclinical model to correct lysosomal storage disease

Electric signals between individual cardiac cells regulate heartbeat

Physics news

The demonstration of ultrafast switching to an insulating-like metastable state

In recent years, physicists and electronics engineers have been trying to devise strategies to control or produce quantum states of matter in different materials. Such strategies could ultimately prove valuable for the development of new technological devices.

Neutron-clustering effect in nuclear reactors demonstrated for first time

For the first time, the long-theorized neutron-clustering effect in nuclear reactors has been demonstrated, which could improve reactor safety and create more accurate simulations, according to a new study recently published in the journal Nature Communications Physics.

Discovery of 10 faces of plasma leads to new insights in fusion and plasma science

Scientists have discovered a novel way to classify magnetized plasmas that could possibly lead to advances in harvesting on Earth the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars. The discovery by theorists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) found that a magnetized plasma has 10 unique phases and the transitions between them might hold rich implications for practical development.

Optical singularities could be used for a wide range of applications from super resolution imaging to optical trapping

When we think about singularities, we tend to think of massive black holes in faraway galaxies or a distant future with runaway AI, but singularities are all around us. Singularities are simply a place where certain parameters are undefined. The North and South Pole, for example, are what's known as coordinate singularities because they don't have a defined longitude.

Particle physicists study 'little bangs' at the ATLAS experiment

A new result from the ATLAS Collaboration at CERN studies the interactions of photons—particles of light—with lead nuclei at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Using new data collection techniques, physicists revealed an unexpected similarity to the experimental signatures of the quark–gluon plasma.

Electrons in quantum liquid gain energy from laser pulses

The absorption of energy from laser light by free electrons in a liquid has been demonstrated for the first time. Until now, this process was observed only in the gas phase. The findings, led by Graz University of Technology, open new doors for ultra-fast electron microscopy.

Spectral-volumetric compressed ultrafast photography simultaneously captures 5D data in a single snapshot

Information-rich optical imaging can provide multidimensional information to enable observation and analysis of a detected target, contributing insights into mysterious and unknown worlds. With its ability to capture dynamic scenes on picosecond—and even femtosecond—timescales, ultrafast multidimensional optical imaging has important applications in the detection of the ultrafast phenomena in physics, chemistry, and biology.

A more efficient method for modeling electrons in materials

One of the most significant challenges in the global R&D effort towards better energy technologies—efficient and accurate material simulation—may be one step closer to being solved, based on new techniques released by UK-based quantum software startup Phasecraft.

Simulating microswimmers in nematic fluids

Artificial microswimmers have received much attention in recent years. By mimicking microbes which convert their surrounding energy into swimming motions, these particles could soon be exploited for many important applications. Yet before this can happen, researchers must develop methods to better control the trajectories of individual microswimmers in complex environments. In a new study published inEPJ E, Shubhadeep Mandal at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (India), and Marco Mazza at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation in Göttingen (Germany) and Loughborough University (UK), show how this control could be achieved using exotic materials named 'nematic liquid crystals' (LCs)—whose viscosity and elasticity can vary depending on the direction of an applied force.

Two-dome superconductivity in a kagome superconductor discovered under high pressure

Recently, a research team led by Prof. Yang Zhaorong from the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in collaboration with researchers from the Anhui University and other institutions, discovered pressure-induced two-dome superconductivity in the quasi-two-dimensional topological kagome superconductor CsV3Sb5. This work was published in Physical Review B and selected as Editors' Suggestion.

Astronomy and Space news

Astronomers detect ultra-high energy gamma-ray source

Astronomers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and elsewhere report the detection of a new ultra-high energy (UHE) gamma-ray source in the Galactic plane. The newly identified source, designated LHAASO J0341+5258, is extended and emission from it reaches up to 200 TeV. The finding is detailed in a paper published July 5 on

Galactic gamma ray bursts predicted last year show up on schedule

Magnetars are bizarre objects—massive, spinning neutron stars with magnetic fields among the most powerful known, capable of shooting off brief bursts of radio waves so bright they're visible across the universe.

NASA Lucy mission's message to the future

In the 1970s four spacecraft began their one-way trips out of our Solar System. As the first human-built objects to ever venture into interstellar space, NASA chose to place plaques on Pioneer 10 and 11 and golden records on Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft to serve as messages to any alien spacefarers that may someday encounter these spacecraft. Continuing this legacy, NASA's Lucy spacecraft will carry a similar plaque. However, because Lucy will not be venturing outside of our Solar System, Lucy's plaque is a time-capsule featuring messages to our descendants.

Newly discovered planets could help scientists learn more about Earth's 'teenage' years

Four newly discovered planets could help scientists learn more about how the Earth and our solar system developed during their 'teenage' years. The exoplanets reside around 130 light years away and orbit two known stars, TOI 2076 and TOI 1807, which can be found in the constellations of Boötes and Canes Venatici, respectively.

NASA's Mars helicopter reveals intriguing terrain for rover team

Images snapped on July 5 by NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter on its ambitious ninth flight have offered scientists and engineers working with the agency's Perseverance Mars rover an unprecedented opportunity to scout out the road ahead. Ingenuity provided new insight into where different rock layers begin and end, each layer serving as a time capsule for how conditions in the ancient climate changed at this location. The flight also revealed obstacles the rover may have to drive around as it explores Jezero Crater.

Germany launches 'space command' to protect infrastructure

The German military on Tuesday launched a "space command" tasked with overseeing satellites, watching for dangerous space junk and analyzing other countries' activities.

How to see tonight's conjunction of Venus and Mars in the evening sky

Venus has returned to our evening skies and is looking lovely in the north-west after sunset. Tonight, July 13, it will pair up with the red planet Mars and just above the two planets will be the waxing crescent Moon.

Bezos' Blue Origin gets OK to send him, 3 others to space

Jeff Bezos' rocket company has gotten government approval to launch people into space, himself included.

Richard Branson's flight sparks new optimism in New Mexico

With Virgin Galactic making its highest profile test flight to date with boss Richard Branson aboard, it's only a matter of time before paying customers get their chance and New Mexico realizes a dream that has been decades in the making.

Technology news

Researchers demonstrate low-temperature and effective ex situ group V doping of polycrystalline solar cells

In recent years, engineers have created a variety of solar technologies using different types of materials. These include solar cells based on cadmium telluride (CdTe), a stable crystalline semiconducting compound comprised of cadmium and tellurium.

Shape-memory alloys might help airplanes land without a peep

Having a home near a busy airport certainly has its perks. It is close to many establishments and alleviates the problem of wading through endless traffic to catch flights. But it does come at a cost—tolerating the jarring sounds of commercial airplanes during landing and takeoff.

Calling all couch potatoes: This finger wrap can let you power electronics while you sleep

A new wearable device turns the touch of a finger into a source of power for small electronics and sensors. Engineers at the University of California San Diego developed a thin, flexible strip that can be worn on a fingertip and generate small amounts of electricity when a person's finger sweats or presses on it.

Researchers develop fabric-friendly sensors

Sensors are part of modern-day technology. From contactless payment to key fobs, credit card chips to smart devices, near-field communication (NFC) allows for humans to communicate with objects.

Getting dressed with help from robots

Basic safety needs in the paleolithic era have largely evolved with the onset of the industrial and cognitive revolutions. We interact a little less with raw materials, and interface a little more with machines.

Fujifilm finds new niches, record profits amid pandemic

Scores of Japanese manufacturers less well known than Toyota and Sony are linchpins in world supply chains and innovation.

Commuters escape Mexico City gridlock in new cable car

Commuters soared over one of the world's biggest and most traffic-clogged cities as a new cable car system went into operation in the Mexican capital on Monday.

France fines Google 500 mn euros in news copyright row

France's competition watchdog on Tuesday slapped Google with a 500-million-euro ($593-million) fine for failing to negotiate "in good faith" with media companies over the use of their content under EU copyright rules.

Facial recognition tech fights coronavirus in Chinese city

Facial recognition tech linked to personal health codes has been rolled out in a Chinese city bordering Myanmar as authorities seek to squash a coronavirus outbreak.

Space-enabled drones deliver rapid coronavirus response

Satellite-enabled drones have accelerated the provision of life-saving medical supplies at NHS hospitals in Scotland, boosting the country's efforts to combat COVID-19.

Study: Oil demand likely to grow despite pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected both consumer and commercial transportation, but global oil demand will probably continue to grow through 2030, according to a new study.

Bitcoin alternatives could provide a green solution to energy-guzzling cryptocurrencies

The cryptocurrency bitcoin now uses up more electricity a year than the whole of Argentina, according to recent estimates from the University of Cambridge. That's because the creation of a bitcoin, in a process called mining, is achieved by powerful computers that work night and day to decode and solve complex mathematical problems.

Boeing to reduce 787 production after identifying new jet issue

Boeing is cutting production on the 787 after identifying a new problem with the plane, the company announced Tuesday in the latest in a series of setbacks as the aviation giant struggles to fully recover from a lengthy slump.

New platform allows autonomous vehicles to safely drive at small distances

Ph.D. student Robbin van Hoek has designed a new platform for automated vehicles that integrates the benefits of cooperative and autonomous vehicles. The framework is an important step toward autonomous vehicles that are capable of safely driving at small inter-vehicle distances, while preventing the harmonica effect that is often seen in human driven vehicles at the highway. Van Hoek, who is a researcher at the Dynamics and Control group at the department of Mechanical Engineering, succesfully defended his thesis on Tuesday July 6, 2021.

Transport in 2050: Safer, cleaner and cost efficient?

A Cornell University-led team has calculated that by the year 2050, vehicle electrification, driverless cars and ride sharing could slash U.S. petroleum consumption by 50% and carbon dioxide emissions by 75% while simultaneously preventing 5,500 premature deaths and saving $58 billion annually.

Electrify America to double EV charging stations by 2025

Electrify America, an electric vehicle charging network funded with money paid by Volkswagen as punishment for its emissions cheating scandal, says it plans to more than double its number of charging stations throughout the United States and Canada.

Employers bow down to tech workers in hottest job market seen since the dot-com era

There's an air of desperation among tech employers this summer. Software talent, it seems, is in such high demand that companies are morphing how they hire. And workers are the ones with the power.

Two-thirds of Americans, 227 million, play video games. For many games were an escape, stress relief in pandemic

Yes, we did play more video games during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ransomware gang goes offline, prompting questions

A Russian-based hacker group blamed for a massive ransomware attack went offline Tuesday, sparking speculation about whether the move was the result of a government-led action.

China tightens control over cybersecurity in data crackdown

Tech experts in China who find a weakness in computer security would be required to tell the government and couldn't sell that knowledge under rules further tightening the Communist Party's control over information.

Overcoming rough seas hurdle in offshore wind farm maintenance

How can work on offshore wind turbines be carried out in bad weather? Combining smart software with robotics maintenance can increase wind farm vessel working hours by 35%, researchers say.

Broadcom said to be in talks for SAS, raising software bet

Broadcom Inc., one of the world's largest chipmakers, is in talks to acquire closely held software company SAS Institute Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter.

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