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Supercomputers help explain why there is almost no anti-matter in our universe

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(Mar. 29, 2012) — Powerful supercomputers have shed light on the behaviour of key sub-atomic particles, in a development that could help explain why there is almost no anti-matter in the universe.

An international collaboration of scientists, including physicists from the Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton, has reported a landmark calculation of the decay of an elementary particle called a kaon, using breakthrough techniques on some of the world's fastest supercomputers.

The calculation took 54 million processor hours on the IBM BlueGene/P supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Class Facility (ALCF) at Argonne National Laboratory in the US.

The new research, reported in the March 30 issue of Physical...

Two-in-one device uses sewage as fuel to make electricity and clean the sewage

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(Mar. 28, 2012) — Scientists have described a new and more efficient version of an innovative device the size of a home washing machine that uses bacteria growing in municipal sewage to make electricity and clean up the sewage at the same time. Their report at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Diego on March 28 suggested that commercial versions of the two-in-one device could be a boon for the developing world and water-short parts...

Toward a test strip for detecting TNT and other explosives in water

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(Mar. 28, 2012) — Scientists have described development of a new explosives detector that can sense small amounts of TNT and other common explosives in liquids instantly with a sensitivity that rivals bomb-sniffing dogs, the current gold standard in protecting the public from terrorist bombs. They reported on the technology, suitable for incorporation into a TNT test strip, at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), being held in San Diego the...

Ripping electrons from their cores: Physicists mix two lasers to create light at many frequencies

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(Mar. 28, 2012) — A team of physicists at UC Santa Barbara has seen the light, and it comes in many different colors. By aiming high- and low-frequency laser beams at a semiconductor, the researchers caused electrons to be ripped from their cores, accelerated, and then smashed back into the cores they left behind. This recollision produced multiple frequencies of light simultaneously.

Their findings appear in the current issue of the science journal Nature.

"This is a...

How will widespread use of electric cars impact the power grid?

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(Mar. 28, 2012) — A resource to estimate the impact that greater use of electric vehicles will have on the national grid has been developed by a team of experts at Northumbria University.

Dr Ghanim Putrus, Reader in Electrical Power Engineering in the School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences, led the project to create an easy-to-use tool that allows policy makers to predict and prepare for the increased use of electric cars and how it will affect the power...

Playing at home energy savings

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(Mar. 28, 2012) — An approach to cutting domestic energy consumption based on playing a game -- Energy Battle -- can lead to household savings of up to 45% on electricity consumption and lead to better energy-saving habits, says a study published in the Journal of Design Research.

Daphne Geelen, David Keyson, Stella Boess and Han Brezet of Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands evaluated an energy-saving game in twenty student households that gives the occupants...

Building lightweight trains

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(Mar. 28, 2012) — The less trains weigh, the more economical they are to run. A new material capable of withstanding even extreme stresses has now been developed. It is suitable for a variety of applications, not least diesel engine housings on trains -- and it makes these components over 35 percent lighter than their steel and aluminum counterparts.

In their efforts to render cars and trains more economical, manufacturers are trying to find lighter materials to replace those...

Wave character of individual molecules revealed

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(Mar. 28, 2012) — Quantum theory describes the world of atoms very precisely. Still, it defies our macroscopic conception of the everyday world due to its many anti-intuitive predictions. The wave-particle dualism probably is the best known example and means that matter may spread and interfere like waves. Now, an international team of researchers has recorded the interference process of individual molecules.

The recordings were published by the journal Nature Nanotechnology...

Odd lipid out may illuminate evolution

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(Mar. 28, 2012) — Spectroscopic evidence for the unusual handedness of a mammalian lipid may advance our understanding of evolution.

Phospholipids are the main constituents of the cellular membranes in all organisms, ranging from single-celled archaea to highly complex plants and mammals. According to conventional wisdom, the chemical backbone of phospholipids in archaea is 'right-handed', but left-handed in all other organisms. The little-understood mammalian phospholipid...