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Extraterrestrial molecules and the plausibility of life on earth

Latest scientific news with a spectroscopic angle

  • Extraterrestrial molecules – An astronomical infrared study reveals one of the most complex organic molecules yet found in the interstellar medium – anthracene – offering possible new clues to the way the building blocks of life might have emerged.
  • Wrinkles improve spectra – Polydimethylsiloxane can be used to produce wrinkles on a glass surface to pattern lines of gold which are twice as effective as conventional SERS substrates, according to German and Spanish researchers.
  • Chemical communications – A new system for non-electronic communication that can transmit alphanumeric information encoded as pulses of light, over intervals of hours, without needing electricity and so remaining operational even without batteries in remote, hazardous or poor locations.
  • Terrestrial life is plausible – A 2009 explanation for how the building blocks of life could have been activated now has new crystallographic evidence to support the emergence of the "RNA world" 4 billion years ago.
  • Cheating spectroscopy – REDOR, a new form of NMR has been used by researchers in the US to figure out why the cheatgrass weed out-strips soy crops, particularly in higher carbon dioxide. Their results have serious implications for agriculture in the face of climate change.
  • It is brain surgery, you know? – MRI scans allow surgeons to safely and effectively operate inside the human brain through small incisions in the natural creases of the eyelid rather than drilling through skull to get to the grey matter at the front of the brain.
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