Berkeley Labs creates first fully magnetic liquids

A Berkeley Lab team has created the first magnetic liquid droplets

Magnets as we know them are always solid, but the closest thing we have to a magnetic liquid is a class called of liquids called ferrofluids. Made up of iron-oxide particles suspended in liquids, these materials are only magnetic temporarily, when exposed to other magnets. But now, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have managed to create the first permanently magnetic liquids, which could open up new avenues for electronics and robotics.

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Category: Materials

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Laser tech is set to measure earthquake damage to buildings

A diagram illustrating how the Discrete Diode Position Sensor works

How safe would you feel, going back into a multi-story building that had just been through an earthquake? A new sensor system could allay your fears, as it optically measures how much a building has swayed, and thus how damaged it may be.

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Category: Science

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Melted remains of Hiroshima discovered on beaches seven miles from nuclear bomb site

Particles collected from the sands near Hiroshima, some of which were coated in layers of silica, ...

Tiny glassy particles that litter the beaches near Hiroshima in Japan are likely the resolidified remains of the city destroyed by a US atomic bomb on the morning of August 6, 1945, according to the results of a newly published study. The A-bomb dropped by the "Enola Gay" Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber effectively levelled the city and caused the deaths of over 145,000 people from both the initial blast and subsequent radiation poisoning.

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New recyclable plastic can break its molecular bonds and start over

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a new type of plastic (not pictured) that can be broken ...

Plastics are useful and ubiquitous – but that's not always a good combination. The vast majority of plastic waste can't be recycled, meaning it ends up in landfills at best or the ocean at worst. To help curb the problem, researchers at Berkeley Lab have now designed a new type of plastic that can apparently be reduced right back to its molecular parts, before being remade over and over.

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Category: Materials

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Dark Energy instrument snaps its first shot of the sky

The

The first images from a revolutionary new telescope have been snapped this week. The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) is designed to hunt for clues about a mysterious force that permeates the universe, by building a comprehensive 3D map of the sky. On April 1 DESI achieved "first light" with a mesmerizing image of the Whirlpool Galaxy.

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Category: Space

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DNA study shows bacteria mixing and matching genes to survive

Researchers have found a new way to study the genes that bacteria swap to give each ...

The smallest creatures can have some of the biggest impacts on the planet. You can get a sense of how healthy a given environment is by taking a census of the health and types of microorganisms that call it home. Now researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a new way to get a larger snapshot of what's going on, by looking specifically at the genes bacteria pass around to help each other adapt to a changing world.

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Category: Environment

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Fluoride-based battery challenges lithium for stability and stamina

A fluoride ion (pink) floating in a liquid BTFE electrolyte

Fluoride is most commonly associated with healthy teeth, but a new study shows how it might be put to work in better batteries. Researchers at Caltech, JPL, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Honda Research Institute have developed fluoride-based batteries that could potentially last much longer than existing lithium-ion-based devices.

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Category: Energy

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