New technique reveals 3D shape of nanostructure’s polariton interaction

Nanostructures are the holy grail of new materials.The wonder material graphene, for example, is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal pattern that, because of its conductivity, flexibility, transparency and strength, has the potential to create more efficient solar cells, smaller and faster electric circuits and microchips, transparent displays, and high density capacitors and batteries.

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Target for chikungunya treatment

Scientists have identified a molecule found on human cells and some animal cells that could be a useful target for drugs against chikungunya virus infection and related diseases, according to new research published in the journal Nature. A team led by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis conducted the research, which was funded in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

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Does pupil dilation occur before insight?

The Computer Science and Engineering Research Team at the Toyohashi University of Technology has measured the pupil (referred to as the “black part” of the eye) when a person is inspired by an object. It is known that the pupil dilates and narrows to adjust the amount of light entering the eye, and that the extent of dilation/narrowing varies depending on the emotional state of the person. In the present study, we measured the reaction of the pupil when a person is shown a video made to elicit inspiration (a video in which an object gradually appears). Reactions at the moment of inspiration were compared to reactions when no inspiration occurred, and it was found that the extent of pupil dilation varies depending on whether or not a person is inspired by an object and also that the pupil is already largely dilated at a previous stage. The results of the present study were published in the British scientific journal Scientific Reports on May 2nd.

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Reading the minds of pilots on the fly

After a plane engine blew apart at 32,000 feet in the air last month, the pilot flying Southwest Flight 1380 safely brought the Boeing 737 to an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Captain Tammie Jo Shults was heralded a hero, but a different flier may not have been able to respond as adeptly.

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Brain stimulation may reduce food cravings as obesity treatment

Stimulating the brain to alter its intrinsic reward system shows promise in the treatment of obesity, according to results presented in Barcelona at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting, ECE 2018. The technique has yielded positive results after just a single treatment session, revealing its potential to become a safer alternative to treat obesity, avoiding invasive surgery and drug side effects.

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A better way to control crystal vibrations

The vibrational motion of an atom in a crystal propagates to neighboring atoms, which leads to wavelike propagation of the vibrations throughout the crystal. The way in which these natural vibrations travel through the crystalline structure determine fundamental properties of the material. For example, these vibrations determine how well heat and electrons can traverse the material, and how the material interacts with light.

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Synchrotron radiations shed light on formation mechanism of aromatic polyimide precursor

Aromatic polyimide is one of the most thermal- and chemical-resistant polymers with high mechanical strength, which is widely used for electrical insulation materials and aerospace materials. One of the major polyimides is made from tetramethyl biphenyltetracarboxylate, which is prepared by dehydrogenative coupling of dimethyl phthalate catalyzed by conventional [Pd(OAc)2]/[Cu(OAc)2]/1,10-phenanthroline (phen) system. However, the product yield is normally less than 10%. Nevertheless, this process is used for the industrial production. The mechanism had remained largely unknown because the process needed harsh conditions (over 200 degrees Celsius), cross-linked catalyses using Pd and Cu complexes, and very diluted catalyst conditions.

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