In an effort to plug gaps of knowledge about key ocean processes, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have been awarded nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation to develop a new breed of ocean-probing instruments. 

Scripps researchers Jules Jaffe and Peter Franks will be spearheading an effort to design and deploy autonomous underwater explorers, or AUEs, which will trace fine details of fundamental oceanographic mechanisms that are vital to tiny marine inhabitants. 

In the future, asthmatic children may be able to monitor their condition using breath analysing sensors built into their mobile phones. Thanks to a UK company who have embedded a carbon nanotube sensor, which can monitor nitric oxide (NO) levels in exhaled breath, into mobiles.

'200 different chemicals are exhaled in your breath,' says Victor Higgs, managing director of Applied Nanodetectors, during a demonstration of his company's latest prototype at the Nano and emerging technologies forum 09 in London this week. And these can be used to monitor and diagnose a wide range of diseases.

'We focused on asthmatics first, because the NO measuring process is already FDA [US Food and drug administration] medically approved,' he told Chemistry World. Exhaled nitric oxide has been used as a biomarker for monitoring asthma since 1995, because inflammation in the airways causes elevated levels of NO in breath. 

The evolution of NDCX-II

Imagine yourself at the core of Jupiter, a planet 300 times the mass of Earth. At 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit, you and I might think it’s hot in here, but to a physicist it’s merely warm – warm dense matter, to be precise, stuff that hasn’t quite undergone thermonuclear fusion yet.

Warm dense matter exists not only in the interiors of gas giant planets but in other high-temperature, high-pressure regimes as well – in a just-triggered nuclear bomb, for example, or when a fuel capsule in an inertial fusion experiment starts to implode.

A collection of metamaterial rings efficiently absorbs microwave radiation the way black holes gobble up matter and light, and an optical-light analogue may not be far behind

Two researchers say they have built a cylinder that acts as an ersatz electromagnetic black hole, soaking up radiation in the microwave regime like the astrophysical version sucks up matter and light.

Qiang Cheng and Tie Jun Cui of the State Key Laboratory of Millimeter Waves at Southeast University in Nanjing, China, detailed their creation in a paper posted to the online physics preprint Web site arXiv.org last week. Cheng and Cui report engineering a thin cylinder 21.6 centimeters in diameter comprising 60 concentric rings of so-called metamaterials—composite structures specifically crafted to possess unique light-bending capabilities.

Researchers at Queen's University Belfast are pioneering a new technique for the use of banana plants in the production of plastic products.

The Polymer Processing Research Centre at Queen's is taking part in a €1 million study known as the Badana project. The project will develop new procedures to incorporate by-products from banana plantations in the Canary Islands into the production of rotationally moulded plastics. In addition to the environmental benefits, the project will increase the profitability of the plantation owners and help job security for those working in the area.

Dr. Erez Allouche, assistant professor of civil engineering at Louisiana Tech University and associate director of the Trenchless Technology Center, is conducting innovative research on geopolymer concrete and providing ways to use a waste byproduct from coal fired power plants and help curb carbon dioxide emissions.

Inorganic polymer concrete (geopolymer) is an emerging class of cementitious materials that utilize "fly ash", one of the most abundant industrial by-products on earth, as a substitute for Portland cement, the most widely produced man-made material on earth.

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