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Science news with a spectral twist

My latest science updates on SpectroscopyNOW.com:

  • Soft solar cell – US researchers have demonstrated that water-gel-based solar devices can act like "artificial leaves" heralding the possibility of soft matter solar energy conversion devices.
  • X-Ray resistance – An X-ray structure determined by US researchers reveals details of the only remaining class of multidrug resistance transporters that remained to be described. The work has implications for antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, as well as for developing hardy strains of agricultural crops.
  • Ionic liquids are a gas – A gas-phase Raman spectroscopic study of the "green" solvents known as room temperature ionic liquids has been used to offer a clearer understanding of the nature of their underlying chemistry. The study reveals that in the gas phase each ion of the pair exists as a distinct molecule.
  • NMR goes up to 11 (and beyond) – A technique to amplify nuclear magnetic resonance signals 50-fold or more can be applied to the surfaces of solid-state samples, according to research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
  • Stable dyes – New dyes that have sharp absorptions and fluorescence emission bands in the red or near infrared as well high molar absorption coefficients and high fluorescence quantum yields could be used widely optical engineering, analytical chemistry, biological imaging and sensors, as well as in materials science.
  • Noble medical thermometer – "Thermometry based on hyperpolarized xenon sensors improves the accuracy of currently available MRI thermometry methods," the researchers conclude, "potentially it could give rise to biomedical applications of biosensors functionalized for binding to specific target molecules."
  • It’s like, okay to say like – Teenage vernacular has always confused adults, particularly when the terminology seems to fly in the face of conventional grammar. Of course, any cunning linguist will tell you that language evolves and that yesterday's perfect grammar rule is often tomorrow's quaintly archaic phrasing. Moreover, the errant use of the word "like", which often like litters youthful conversation is merely the current filler word, the um and ah if you will of street and schoolyard vernacular. It's merely a part of yoof culture, innit? Get over it, Emma, why don't ya?
  • Is chemistry worth it? – One in every five pounds in the UK economy is dependent on developments in chemistry research (£250billion, in other words), according to a new report published today. Science is Vital. It really is. Cut the cuts.
  • Enjoy yourself…it’s later than you think! – There is a 50 per cent chance that time will end within the next 3.7 billion years, according to a new model of the universe.
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