Advancing Organic Semiconductors through Computational Research

Organic semiconductors form the cornerstone of modern technologies, powering the screens we use in many of our digital devices. On top of this, they are also key materials in organic solar cells and medical biosensing devices, amongst other innovative applications. Dr. Seyhan Salman and her colleagues at Clark Atlanta University have been investigating organic semiconductors …

Bioengineered Cotton Could Help Solve World Hunger

Humans have relied on cotton’s textile fiber for nearly seven millennia. However, utilizing cottonseed as food has been a long and unfulfilled goal of many plant breeders. Along with its abundant, high-quality protein, cottonseed also contains gossypol – a toxic chemical that renders the seed inedible. Cottonseed’s fate as a mostly unusable by-product seemed sealed …

Climate change transforming circulation patterns in Earth’s oceans and atmosphere – the results can be catastrophic

Large-scale circulation patterns can be found throughout Earth’s oceans and atmosphere, and play a crucial role in maintaining the stability of regional climates. As the climate warms, researchers find that these patterns are experiencing a fundamental transformation, which can result in catastrophic consequences. According to scientists, these changes could lead to hotter, drier conditions in …

Ocean Acidification: Mapping the Impact of Carbon Emissions on the Oceans

The climate crisis and the chemistry of the oceans are inextricably connected. The oceans have absorbed close to a third of our carbon dioxide emissions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, leading to an increasingly acidic environment (hence the term, the Ocean Acidification) and making it more difficult for organisms such as corals, mollusks, …

Quasicrystals and Their Real-World Applications: Exploring the Exotic New Family of Materials

Quasicrystals are among the newest and most exciting discoveries in the wider field of materials physics – but to date, many aspects of their exotic physical properties remain entirely unexplored. Since soon after their initial discovery, Dr. Zbigniew Stadnik at the University of Ottawa has made important contributions to our understanding of quasicrystals, including their …

Sustainable Pesticide Use with Intelligent Spraying

Pesticides may be essential in ensuring abundant and healthy yields of many crops, but so far, the techniques used to spray them have led to considerable environmental damage. In his research, Dr. Mark Gleason, a plant pathologist at Iowa State University, assesses the performance of new technologies that can deploy pesticides on apple trees in …

Developing the Hardest Material on Earth

What is the hardest material on Earth? Traditionally, because of its extreme hardness, diamond is used as a cutting material in a multitude of fields, from aerospace engineering to geothermal energy. Recently, using ultra-high pressures and temperatures, scientists have created a new form of diamond, which is now the hardest material known to humankind.

Competition and Cooperation in Evolution

Despite the old adage “nice guys finish last”, cooperation is common in life – from the scale of genes or cells through to entire societies. Although these two ideas seem to contradict each other, Dr. Egbert Giles Leigh Jr. has demonstrated throughout his career at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama that working together …

Search for Life Beyond Earth: Developing a Guidebook

Are we alone in the universe? Searching for life beyond our Solar System is one of the most ambitious efforts humans have ever undertaken. Because we do not have the ability to travel to distant exoplanets, scientists must rely on indirect clues that could help us find extraterrestrial life. Dr. Edward Schwieterman and his colleagues …

Monitoring Atmospheric Pollution with Laser Imaging

Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) is a laser-based remote sensing tool that can measure the concentration of small particles, called aerosols, in the atmosphere. Monitoring aerosols is crucial for climate modeling, air quality measurements, and understanding the health impacts of atmospheric pollution. However, existing lidar systems require sophisticated and expensive equipment and are usually deployed …