Researchers have observed individual atoms interacting for the first time

Researchers have observed individual atoms interacting for the first time:

For the first time, researchers have managed to capture images of individual potassium atoms distributed on an optical lattice, providing them with a unique opportunity to see how they interact with one another.

While capturing these images is a feat in itself, the technique could help researchers to better understand the conditions needed for individual atoms to come together and form exotic states of matter like superfluids and superconductors.

“Learning from this atomic model, we can understand what’s really going on in these superconductors, and what one should do to make higher-temperature superconductors, approaching hopefully room temperature,” team member Martin Zwierlein from MIT said in a statement.

To capture the images, the team took potassium gas, and cooled it only a few nanokelvins – just above absolute zero. To put that into perspective, 1 nanokelvin is -273 degrees Celsius (-460 degrees Fahrenheit).

At this extremely cold temperature, the potassium atoms slow to a crawl, which allowed the team to trap some of them inside a two-dimensional optical lattice – a complex series of overlapping lasers that can trap individual atoms inside different intensity waves.

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For the first time in 44 years a woman has won the prestigious…

For the first time in 44 years a woman has won the prestigious Arthur C. Cope Award (which is awarded every year to scientists who are responsible for major advancements in the field of Organic Chemistry).

Congrats Carolyn Bertozzi!

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There’s going to be more of a focus on Chemistry on this blog.Seeing as I’m a Chemistry major and…

There’s going to be more of a focus on Chemistry on this blog.

Seeing as I’m a Chemistry major and I’m back at university I’m making it a habit of tracking the Chemistry hashtag daily to keep topics refreshed and learn more.

The articles I post should be varied throughout all the branches of science that interests me (which is pretty much all of them), though.

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elvisomar: Tu Youyou 屠呦呦 (born 1930) Chemist and Nobel…

elvisomar:

Tu Youyou 屠呦呦

(born 1930) Chemist and Nobel laureate

Tu Youyou and her team extracted a substance from sweet wormwood which proved effective in reducing mortality rates for people stricken with malaria. The discovery of Artemisinin has led to the development of a new drug that has saved the lives of millions of people, halving the mortality rate of malaria during the past 15 years.

Number 40 in an ongoing series celebrating remarkable women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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cenchempics: COPPER The reaction of copper sulfate with sodium…

cenchempics:

COPPER

The reaction of copper sulfate with sodium hydroxide is a dramatic
example of a precipitation reaction. When a clear, blue CuSO4 solution
hits a clear, colorless NaOH solution, Cu(OH)2 rapidly forms as a
pale, blue solid. That solid can form a brittle skin at the interface of the
two liquids that slowly thickens, resulting in surreal inverted landscapes like
the one shown here.

CuSO4 (aqueous) +2 NaOH (aqueous) –> Cu(OH)2(solid)
+ Na2SO4 (aqueous)

This photograph is from a series of illustrated chemical demonstrations
available at beautifulchemistry.net. 

Credit: Yan Liang/University of Science & Technology of
China/BeautifulChemistry.net

Do science. Take Pictures. Win Money.

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Scientists just figured out why poison ivy makes us itch so much

Scientists just figured out why poison ivy makes us itch so much:

An international team of researchers has finally decoded the science behind a plant responsible for no small degree of human misery: poison ivy.

For the first time, we now know why poison ivy leaves – the bane of campers, hikers, and overly curious kids alike – make us itch, and the answer lies in a key molecule called CD1a, which scientists have long known about but didn’t fully understand until now.

“For over 35 years we have known CD1a is abundant in the skin,” says researcher Jerome Le Nours from Monash University in Australia. “Its role in inflammatory skin disorders has been difficult to investigate and until now has been really unclear.”

One of the reasons for that lack of clarity has been that many experiments on skin disorders involve animal testing – specifically lab mice. And mice don’t produce CD1a, effectively creating a kind of ‘blind spot’ in the studies up to this point.

To get around this and examine whether CD1a might play a part in how human skin reacts when we brush up against poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) and similar rash-inducing plants, the researchers genetically engineered mice that did produce the molecule.

In doing so, the team found that CD1a – a protein that plays an important role in our immune systems – triggers a skin-based allergic reaction when we come into contact with urushiol, the allergen that functions as the active ingredient in plants like poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.

When urushiol interacts with skin cells called Langerhans cells, the CD1a proteins (which are expressed by Langerhans cells) activate the immune system’s T cells. In turn, the T cells produce two proteins – interleukin 17 and interleukin 22 – which cause inflammation and itchiness.

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Elephant’s Toothpaste (slow motion) – Periodic Table of…

Elephant’s Toothpaste (slow motion) – Periodic Table of Videos

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Breakthrough in materials science: Research team can bond metals with nearly all surfaces

Breakthrough in materials science: Research team can bond metals with nearly all surfaces:

How metals can be used depends particularly on the characteristics of their surfaces. A research team at Kiel University has discovered how they can change the surface properties without affecting the mechanical stability of the metals or changing the metal characteristics themselves. This fundamentally new method is based on using an electrochemical etching process, in which the uppermost layer of a metal is roughened on a micrometer scale in a tightly controlled manner.

Through this “nanoscale-sculpturing” process, metals such as aluminium, titanium, or zinc can permanently be joined with nearly all other materials, become water-repellent, or improve their biocompatibility. The potential spectrum of applications of these “super connections” is extremely broad, ranging from metalwork in industry right through to safer implants in medical technology. Their results have now been published in the prestigious journal Nanoscale Horizons of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

“We have now applied a technology to metals that was previously only known from semiconductors. To use this process in such a way is completely new,” said Dr. Jürgen Carstensen, co-author of the publication. In the process, the surface of a metal is converted into a semiconductor, which can be chemically etched and thereby specifically modified as desired. “As such, we have developed a process which – unlike other etching processes – does not damage the metals, and does not affect their stability,” emphasised Professor Rainer Adelung, head of the “Functional Nanomaterials” team at the Institute for Materials Science. Adelung stressed the importance of the discovery: “In this way, we can permanently connect metals which could previously not be directly joined, such as copper and aluminium.”

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Canadian researchers develop eye drops that last longer

Canadian researchers develop eye drops that last longer:

allthecanadianpolitics:

The eye does a good job of defending itself against foreign substances, and that includes important drops used to treat such conditions as dry eye or glaucoma.

Literally, in the blink of an eye, most of the medicine that goes in comes right back out.

With that in mind, researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton say they have developed a better way to deliver medicine to the surface of the eye.

Chemical engineer Heather Sheardown said one of her graduate students was developing micelle-based formulations in her lab and they discussed how they could adapt them to treat diseases of the eye.

The team came up with eye drops featuring a drug-carrying aggregate of fatty molecules called a micelle, which gradually releases medicine.

With conventional drops, 95 per cent of the medicine is typically lost before it has a chance to work.

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