Physical Sciences

Using diglycolamides to improve rare-earth element separation

The family of 17 elements known as the “rare earth elements” are difficult to produce economically. Despite this, they are described as “critical raw materials” because of their unique properties and their various technological applications. This means their use is accelerating globally. Separation of these elements is a fundamental challenge, but this does not daunt Dr Santa Jansone-Popova and her […]

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Physical Sciences

Modelling the growth of minerals

What do precious gems, seashells, and bones have in common? The answer is minerals. Minerals are chemically complex solids that are mostly formed naturally by Earth’s and space’s geological processes but can also be produced by many living species, including humans. Dr Raffaella Demichelis, at Curtin University, Australia, is using computational chemistry to see how these minerals form and how […]

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Physical Sciences

Improving product quality in pharmaceutical ball milling

Ball milling is used in the pharmaceutical industry to reduce the size of particulate material such as pharmaceutical granules. Dr Alexander Krok and Dr Sandra Lenihan from Munster Technological University, Ireland, have developed a computational approach to achieve optimal, energy-efficient size reduction in ball milling resulting in the production of high-quality particulate material (i.e. granules) of homogeneous shape and size. […]

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Physical Sciences

‘Pool and split’ high-throughput experimentation: Turning complex designs into simple assays

High-throughput experimentation (HTE) protocols enable scientists to perform multiple experiments and test multiple hypotheses, in parallel and with minimal consumption of resources and materials. Dr Marco Santagostino from the Chemical Process Development Department at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma, Germany and his collaborators Philipp Kollmus and Raphael Steimbach devised a new protocol that greatly reduces the number of experiments needed in HTE. […]

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Physical Sciences

How to make noisy drones a little less irritating

Unmanned drones hold the potential to transform many aspects of our society for the better. So far, however, their perception by the public has been held back by the annoying noise they make. In his research, Dr Antonio Torija Martinez at the University of Salford in Manchester studies how the impact of drone noises on communities can be reduced – […]

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Physical Sciences

Sustainable energy and water collection

The intense energy demand of the modern world is a major driver for the burning of fossil fuels. If humanity is to stand a chance of controlling climate change, we must move towards sustainable energy. Professor Bin Su and Dr Zheng Ma, of the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China, have created technology that allows for the conversion […]

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Physical Sciences

All’s swell: Greener replacements for hazardous solvents in peptide synthesis

There is growing awareness of the impact that solvents have on pollution, energy usage, contributions to air quality, and climate change. Consequently, sustainable solvents are a topic of growing interest, both within the research community and the chemical industry. A research team at Ipsen, Dublin, are forging the way ahead in the development of new, greener ways of manufacturing. Notably, […]

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Physical Sciences

Unravelling the Mysteries of Deep-Blue Luminescence

Some molecules glow as brilliantly as fireflies through a process known as luminescence. Different molecules can emit different colours of light, including red, green, and blue. However, not all colours are as easy to generate as others. Dr Masahito Oh-e at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, together with his collaborator Dr Akira Nagasawa, Professor Emeritus of Saitama University in Japan, […]

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Physical Sciences

RadiaBeam: Safer X-ray sources with smaller particle accelerators

Many important technologies rely on the production of high-energy radiation, yet without the right precautions, the radioactive sources involved in these processes can be incredibly dangerous. Dr Sergey Kutsaev, together with a team at RadiaBeam Technologies, has now shown how these sources could be replaced by compact, low-cost, and flexible particle accelerators, capable of producing high-energy X-rays on demand. His […]

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Physical Sciences

Keplerian nest of polyhedral structures in different symmetry groups

Research being carried out by Professor Di Sun, from Shandong University, and Professor Stan Schein, from UCLA, unites two research streams. In the first, they synthesized Ag90, a Keplerian nest with one icosahedral and two octahedral shells. In the second, they realized that the nesting maximized the number of shared axes of rotation, just how the late mathematician John Conway […]

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