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Two-Dimensional Semiconductor Comes Clean

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Columbia Engineering Professor James Hone led a team in 2013 that dramatically improved the performance of graphene by encapsulating it in boron nitride. They’ve now shown they can similarly improve the performance of another 2D material, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2. Their findings provide a demonstration of how to study all 2D materials and hold great promise for a broad range of applications including high-performance electronics, detection and emission of light, and chemical/bio-sensing. Nature Nanotechnology , week of April 27, 2015

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Neurons Constantly Rewrite Their DNA

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Scientists have discovered that neurons are risk takers: They use minor “DNA surgeries” to toggle their activity levels all day, every day. Since these activity levels are important in learning, memory and brain disorders, the researchers think their finding will shed light on a range of important questions.

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EMBARGOED

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 1-May-2015 12:00 AM EDT

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Artificial Spin Ice: A New Playground to Better Understand Magnetism

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For the first time, nanomagnet islands or arrays were arranged into an exotic structure (called “shakti”) that does not directly relate to any known natural material. The “shakti” artificial spin ice configuration was fabricated and reproduced experimentally. The arrays are theoretical predictions of multiple ground states that are characteristic of frustrated magnetic materials. The results open the door to experiments on other artificial spin-ice lattices, predicted to host interesting phenomena.

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Healthy Soils and Roots Capture Water

In celebration of the International Year of Soil 2015 (IYS), the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is coordinating a series of activities throughout to educate the public about the importance of soil. April’s theme is “Soils Clean and Capture Water”. In SSSA’s April 15 Soils Matter blog post, experts explain how scientists are looking to tap a different water source for agriculture: “green water”.

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How a Swarthmore Biologist Used eBay and 3D Printing to Enhance His Laboratory

In need of a microscope to heat shock and image transgenic plants but with a limited budget, Associate Professor of Biology Nick Kaplinsky turned to eBay, finding the hardware he needed to build his custom RootScope for under $10,000.

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New Magnetic Phase Confirms Theoretical Predictions Related to Unconventional Superconductivity

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The emergence of a new magnetic phase with a square lattice before the onset of superconductivity is revealed in some iron arsenide compounds, confirming theoretical predictions of the effects of doping on magnetic interactions between the iron atoms and their relationship to high temperature superconductivity. Understanding the origin of thermodynamic phases is vital in developing a unified theory for the elusive microscopic mechanism underlying high-temperature superconductivity.

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U of A Research Team Invents Electrical Power Converter for Renewable Energy

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Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have invented a novel electrical power converter system that simultaneously accepts power from a variety of energy sources and converts it for use in the electrical grid system.

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Computer Cooling System Could Save U.S. $6.3 Billion in Electricity a Year

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A patented passive cooling system for computer processors invented at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) could save U.S. consumers more than $6.3 billion per year in energy costs.

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Could Smell Hold the Key to Ending Pesticide Use?

Scientists may have uncovered a natural way of avoiding the use of pesticides and help save plants from attack by recreating a natural insect repellent.