Thin films of molybdenum and sulfur belong to a class of materials that can be considered for use as photocatalysts. Inexpensive catalysts such as these are needed to produce hydrogen as a fuel using solar energy. However, they are still not very efficient as catalysts. A new instrument at the Helmholtz-Berlin Zentrum's BESSY II now shows how a light pulse alters the surface properties of the thin film and activates the material as a catalyst.
The capacity of lithium-ion batteries decreases over time partly due to the degradation of the binder that protects the graphite anode. To address this problem, scientists from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology are investigating a new copolymer binder that can preserve the capacity of the anode at 95% of its original value even after >1700 charge cycles. Their findings can significantly enhance battery life for electric vehicles, artificial organs, and consumer electronics.
Autophagy is an intracellular degradation process of cytosolic materials and damaged organelles. Targeted cargo are engulfed by membranes called autophagosome, then delivered to lysosomes where they are degraded. This process is complex, especially in mammals, with many regulatory factors. Researchers in the Ubiquitin Project of Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science (TMIMS) discovered mammalian BCAS3-C16orf70 as novel proteins that associate with the autophagosome membranes via interaction with phosphoinositide. These studies were published in Autophagy.
A team of researchers from Nagoya University, Japan, and Technical University of Darmstadt have developed a technique for quantitatively studying the effect of light on nanoscale mechanical properties of thin wafers of semiconductors or any other crystalline material. The group has found clear evidence that propagation of dislocations - slippages of crystal planes - in semiconductors is suppressed by light. The likely cause is interaction between dislocations and electrons and holes excited by the light.
University of Tsukuba and Institute of High Pressure Physics scientists mapped the spin-density distribution of electrons travelling through a molybdenum disulfide transistor cooled to almost absolute zero. This work may help advance the field of spin-based electronics that would be faster and more efficient compared with current devices.
A combined treatment of irradiation and essential oil vapors could effectively destroy insects, bacteria and mold in stored grains. The team of INRS Professor Monique Lacroix has demonstrated the effect of this process on insects affecting rice. The study was published in the Radiation Physics and Chemistry journal.
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) found large quantities of previously undetectable compounds from the family of chemicals known as PFAS in six watersheds on Cape Cod using a new method to quantify and identify PFAS compounds. Exposures to some PFAS, widely used for their ability to repel heat, water, and oil, are linked to a range of health risks including cancer, immune suppression, diabetes, and low infant birth weight.
Researchers have developed a new quantum version of a 150-year-old thermodynamical thought experiment that could pave the way for the development of quantum heat engines.
In order to monitor and contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 it is necessary to test large numbers of people on a regular basis in decentralized settings. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Hospital St. Georg in Leipzig, Germany, have developed improved protocols for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. The method can detect a positive sample in a pool with 25 uninfected samples in less than one hour.
The cell must provide its various organelles with all the energy elements they need, which are formed in the Golgi apparatus. But how do the proteins that carry these cargoes - the kinesins - find their way within the cell's "road network" to deliver them at the right place? Researchers (UNIGE) have discovered a fluorescent chemical dye, making it possible for the first time to track the transport activity of a specific motor protein within a cell.