Tuesday, 27 March 2018

NASA’s Webb Telescope Faces More Setbacks

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The space agency announced on Tuesday that its successor to the Hubble telescope has hit a series of testing snags, pushing back a planned launch next year.
via New York Times

Newly-discovered planet is hot, metallic and dense as Mercury

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A hot, metallic, Earth-sized planet with a density similar to Mercury -- situated 260 million light years away -- has been detected and characterized by a global team of astronomers.
via Science Daily
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James Webb Space Telescope update: new launch window under review

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The James Webb Space Telescope is undergoing final integration and testing that will require more time to ensure a successful mission. Following a new assessment of the remaining tasks on the highly complex space observatory, the launch window is now targeted for about May 2020.


via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/James_Webb_Space_Telescope_update_new_launch_window_under_review

What interstellar visitor 'Oumuamua can teach us

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The first interstellar object ever seen in our solar system, named 'Oumuamua, is giving scientists a fresh perspective on how planets, asteroids and comets form.
via Science Daily
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Graphene oxide nanosheet propels lithium-metal battery use

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Lithium batteries compose a dominant portion of the global battery market. The reason for their popularity is because lithium is an excellent anode material, carrying the highest theoretical capacity and lowest electrochemical potential of all known candidate elements. Topped with the fact that elemental lithium is naturally abundant and inexpensive, it is no surprise that lithium batteries are powering most of our portable electronic devices, electric vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles and other devices.

Lithium batteries come in two dominant types: lithium-ion and lithium-metal. Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are a type of rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move between electrodes during charging and discharging. LIBs use an intercalated lithium compound as the material for one of the electrodes, as opposed to lithium-metal batteries (LMBs) that use metallic lithium electrodes. Although LMBs stand apart from other batteries in their high charge density (long life), two concerns have prevented their wide-scale use in consumer electronics: these batteries are non-rechargeable, because of degradation or dendrite formation on the electrodes, and the explosive reactivity of elemental lithium when exposed to water or even moisture from air.

New technology is now being put to use to bypass these two concerns, enabling LMBs for competition on energy-demanding markets such as electric vehicles. One recent solution makes use of phosphorus-sulfur chemical compounds that create a thin coating over the lithium electrode. The coating protects the electrode from accidental exposure to water. Another solution employs a thin film of graphene oxide (GO) as the protective layer.

Logo vector created by Freepik

Apart from protecting the lithium electrode from accidental exposure to water or air, the GO layer prevents formation of dendrites. Dendrites grow on lithium-metal electrodes during the charging cycle when lithium re-deposits on the electrode unevenly. These dendrites can eventually grow through the electrolyte, causing the two electrodes to touch, which in turn may cause the battery to explode. A thin GO layer, which is spray-coated on a standard fiberglass separator, slows the passage of lithium ions through the battery enough to prevent the formation of dendrites. The relation between the rate of passage of lithium ions and the way that they deposit on the counter-electrode was resolved with theoretical modeling and computation, in a paper recently published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

The potential of graphene to enhance battery technology and enable novel high-power, long-lasting solutions is a known fact, with a continuous stream of scientific results adding to the certainty that the material will play an important role in future energy storage solutions. This most recent result goes in a new direction, bringing lithium-metal batteries closer to wide-scale use.


via Graphenea

CERN experiment sees hints of a rare kaon decay

Understanding gravity: The nanoscale search for extra dimensions

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Scientists have used a pulsed slow neutron beamline to probe the deviation of the inverse square law of gravity below the wavelength of 0.1 nm. The experiment achieved the highest sensitivity for a neutron experiment demonstrated to date, and is a significant step toward determining whether the space we live in is really limited to the three dimensions most are familiar with.
via Science Daily
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Atomically thin light-emitting device opens the possibility for 'invisible' displays

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Engineers have built a bright-light emitting device that is millimeters wide and fully transparent when turned off. The light emitting material in this device is a monolayer semiconductor, which is just three atoms thick.
via Science Daily