blog navigation

Physical Sciences

blog posts

  • Molecular scale resolution achieved in polymer nanoimprinting technique

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Scientists using molds derived from carbon nanotubes have approached the ultimate resolution - defined by molecular scale dimensions - in a widely used polymer nanoimprinting technique. By accurately replicating features with nanometer dimensions, the technique could play future roles in fabricating structures in fields as diverse as microelectronics, nanofluidics and biotechnology.

  • Satellite data reveal immense pollution pool over Bihar, India

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Scientists studying satellite data have discovered an immense wintertime pool of pollution over the northern Indian state of Bihar. Blanketing around 100 million people, primarily in the Ganges Valley, the pollution levels are about five times larger than those typically found over Los Angeles.

  • Engineering Open House at Illinois highlights creativity

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Wild and wacky Rube Goldberg machines, robots launching mini basketballs, and more than 130 entertaining and educational exhibits are among the attractions awaiting visitors to the 85th annual Engineering Open House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • National Science Olympiad to take place May 20-21 at Illinois

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - About 2,400 students in middle school and high school are expected to compete in the 21st annual National Science Olympiad May 20-21 at the University of Illinois. The students, representing more than 120 teams of champions from across the country, will compete in more than three dozen events, such as bridge building, computing, chemistry and astronomy.

  • Illinois student programmers to compete in 'Battle of the Brains'

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Three computer science students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will travel to Shanghai, China, April 3-7 to participate in the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest.

  • High-intensity ultrasound creates hollow nanospheres and nanocrystals

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Using high-intensity ultrasound, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created hollow nanospheres and the first hollow nanocrystals. The nanospheres could be used in microelectronics, drug delivery and as catalysts for making environmentally friendly fuels.

  • High-fidelity patterns form spontaneously when solvent evaporates

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Resembling neatly stacked rows of driftwood abandoned by receding tides, particles left by a confined, evaporating droplet can create beautiful and complex patterns. The natural, pattern-forming process could find use in fields such as nanotechnology and optoelectronics.

  • Chemists synthesize molecule that helps body battle cancers, malaria

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The first synthesis of QS-21A, a medicinally important molecule that helps the body battle disease, has been achieved by chemists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Temperature inside collapsing bubble four times that of sun

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Using a technique employed by astronomers to determine stellar surface temperatures, chemists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have measured the temperature inside a single, acoustically driven collapsing bubble.

  • Bill Hammack, U. of I. engineering professor, named Jefferson Science Fellow

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Bill Hammack, a professor of chemical and of biomolecular engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been named a Jefferson Science Fellow by the U.S. Department of State.

  • Membraneless fuel cell is tiny, versatile

  • Nanotechnologist plans to build things with bricklike corn molecules

    UI nanotechnologist Graciela Wild Padua is intrigued by the bricklike shape of the corn zein molecule. She thinks it’s particularly suited as a building block for tiny structures small enough to be measured in nanometers: cages, for example, that could carry biocompounds to targeted sites in the human body or scaffolds on which to grow neat sheets of skin cells instead of bulky clumps of tissue.

  • Membraneless fuel cell is tiny, versatile

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A fuel cell designed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign can operate without a solid membrane separating fuel and oxidant, and functions with alkaline chemistry in addition to the more common acidic chemistry.

  • Point-contact spectroscopy deepens mystery of heavy-fermion superconductors

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Theoretical understanding of heavy-fermion superconductors has just slipped a notch or two, says a team of experimentalists.

  • Theories of high-temperature superconductivity violate Pauli Principle

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Scientists seeking to explain high-temperature superconductivity have been violating the Pauli exclusion principle, a team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Rutgers University report. Any theory that does not embrace the Pauli principle has a lot of explaining to do, they say.

  • Improved dielectric developed for chip-level copper circuitry

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new dielectric material, developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, could facilitate the use of copper circuitry at the chip level. The thermally stable aromatic polymer has a low dielectric constant of 1.85, good mechanical properties and excellent adhesion.

  • Weather forecasts may be predictors for prevalence of West Nile virus

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Weather forecasts could become barometers for predicting the potential threat of West Nile virus to humans and wildlife, according to scientists at two state agencies based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Interim-dean designate named, pending board approval, for engineering college

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Ilesanmi Adesida has been named interim-dean designate of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pending approval of the U. of I. board of trustees.

  • University of Illinois to host state championship Rube Goldberg contest

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois State Championship Rube Goldberg Machine Contest for High Schools will be held in the Newmark Civil Engineering Building, 205 N. Mathews Ave., Urbana, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 9.

  • Molecular motors cooperate in moving cellular cargo, study shows

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers using an extremely fast and accurate imaging technique have shed light on the tiny movements of molecular motors that shuttle material within living cells. The motors cooperate in a delicate choreography of steps, rather than engaging in the brute-force tug of war many scientists had imagined.

  • New material structure produces world's fastest transistor

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new type of transistor structure, invented by scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has broken the 600 gigahertz speed barrier. The goal of a terahertz transistor for high-speed computing and communications applications could now be within reach.

  • Synergistic SuperGrid for transporting energy moves closer to reality

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The concept of a high-capacity superconducting energy pipeline, or SuperGrid, moved closer to reality when experts from industry, government and academia attended a recent workshop at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • European modernism and information society focus of U. of I. conference

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Scholars representing disciplines as diverse as architecture, urban planning, science, technology, cultural studies and library and information science - will gather May 6-8 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a conference on "European Modernism and the Information Society: Informing the Present, Understanding the Past."

  • Geologist digs deep - the Pito Deep, 6,000 meters beneath the ocean

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Late last January, while most people were battling winter's cold and snow, University of Illinois structural geologist Stephen Hurst left for a month long cruise in the South Pacific. It was no vacation, though. Hurst joined a team of scientists, engineers and technicians who set sail from Easter Island to explore the Pito Deep, a rift in Earth's crust nearly 6,000 meters deep.

  • Biosphere is source, not sink, for carbon dioxide emissions, study shows

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Converting forests into croplands and pastures reduces carbon storage, say scientists who studied the impacts of human-induced change on terrestrial ecosystems. The study results have important implications for predicting carbon dioxide levels, and will help provide a more complete understanding of Earth's carbon cycle.

  • U. of I. scholars elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Frederick K. Lamb and Ralph G. Nuzzo, professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • Researchers to receive EPA award for efforts to protect ozone layer

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Donald Wuebbles, a professor and head of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his fellow members of the Ozone Science Tiger Team will receive the 2005 Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the Environmental Protection Agency. The award will be presented Wednesday (May 4) at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

  • Flexible tactile sensors could help robots work better

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A robot's sensitivity to touch could be vastly improved by an array of polymer-based tactile sensors that has been combined with a robust signal-processing algorithm to classify surface textures. The work, performed by a team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is an essential step in the development of robots that can identify and manipulate objects in unstructured environments.

  • Two Illinois researchers to receive Presidential Early Career Awards

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Two University of Illinois researchers are among 58 young researchers named today (June 13) as recipients of the 2004 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on young professionals at the outset of their independent research careers. They will receive their awards today in a White House ceremony.

  • Thin films of silicon nanoparticles roll into flexible nanotubes

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - By depositing nanoparticles onto a charged surface, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have crafted nanotubes from silicon that are flexible and nearly as soft as rubber.

  • Superconducting nanowires show ability to measure magnetic fields

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - By using DNA molecules as scaffolds, scientists have created superconducting nanodevices that demonstrate a new type of quantum interference and could be used to measure magnetic fields and map regions of superconductivity.

  • 'Strange' physics experiment is unraveling structure of proton

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - An international team of nuclear physicists has determined that particles called strange quarks do, indeed, contribute to the ordinary properties of the proton.

  • Macromolecules on surface control mobility in phospholipid bilayers

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Phospholipid bilayers serve as the framework in biological membranes in which other components are embedded. Fundamental not only in biology, lipid bilayers are also essential in applications such as biosensors and nanoreactors.

  • DNA constraints control structure of attached macromolecules

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new method for manipulating macromolecules has been developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The technique uses double-stranded DNA to direct the behavior of other molecules.

  • Space shuttle Columbia's last flight formed clouds over Antarctica

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A burst of mesospheric cloud activity over Antarctica in January 2003 was caused by the exhaust plume of the space shuttle Columbia during its final flight, reports a team of scientists who studied satellite and ground-based data from three different experiments. The data also call into question the role these clouds may play in monitoring global climate change.

  • Illinois chemists spray their way to better catalysts

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Using a technique called ultrasonic spray pyrolysis, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created an improved catalyst for removing smelly sulfur-containing compounds from gasoline and other fossil fuels. The improved catalyst is a form of molybdenum disulfide, most commonly recognized as the black lubricant used to grease automobiles and machinery.

  • Microreactor efficiently regenerates cofactors for biocatalysis

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- One of the longstanding challenges in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food additives is the continuous regeneration of molecules called cofactors that permit the synthesis through inexpensive and environmentally friendly biocatalytic processes.

  • Catalyst support structures facilitate high-temperature fuel reforming

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The catalytic reforming of liquid fuels offers an attractive solution to supplying hydrogen to fuel cells while avoiding the safety and storage issues related to gaseous hydrogen. Existing catalytic support structures, however, tend to break down at the high temperatures needed to prevent fouling of the catalytic surface by soot.

  • 'Cookbook recipes' would cure disease with nontoxic DNA delivery systems

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Scientists studying the structure and interaction of negatively charged lipids and DNA molecules have created a "cookbook" for a class of nontoxic DNA delivery systems that will assist doctors and clinicians in the safe and effective delivery of genetic medicine.

  • New center at Illinois will examine how to safeguard nation's power grid

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be the home of a national center that will address the challenge of how to protect the nation's power grid, the National Science Foundation announced today. The NSF has awarded $7.5 million over five years to the project, which will be led by the U. of I. and also involve researchers at Cornell University, Dartmouth College, and Washington State University. The Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security have pledged to join NSF in funding and managing the effort.

  • Earth's core rotates faster than its crust, scientists say

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Scientists have ended a 9-year-old debate by proving that Earth's core rotates faster than its surface, by about 0.3 to 0.5 degree per year.

  • New techniques study the brain's chemistry, neuron by neuron

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The human brain is composed of billions of cells, each a separate entity that communicates with others. The chemical interaction of those cells determines personality, controls behavior and encodes memory; but much remains to be understood.

  • Climate change will affect carbon sequestration in oceans, model shows

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - An Earth System model developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign indicates that the best location to store carbon dioxide in the deep ocean will change with climate change.

  • U. of I. chemistry professor wins $500,000 MacArthur Fellow Award

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Todd Martinez, a theoretical chemist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Martinez is among 25 individuals who will each receive $500,000 in "no strings attached" support over the next five years.

  • Room-temperature transistor laser is step closer to commercialization

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated the room-temperature operation of a heterojunction bipolar transistor laser, moving it an important step closer to commercialization. The scientists describe their work in the Sept. 26 issue of the journal Applied Physics Letters.

  • Shredded tires a cheap, environmentally friendly way to cover landfills

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Placing shredded tires on top of - rather than in - landfills can save money and benefit the environment, researchers from the University of Illinois say.

  • Beneficial effects of no-till farming depend upon future climate change

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - By storing carbon in their fields through no-till farming practice, farmers can help countries meet targeted reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide and reduce the harmful effects of global warming.

  • Proofreading and error-correction in nanomaterials inspired by nature

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Mimicking nature, a procedure developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign can find and correct defects in self-assembled nanomaterials. The new proofreading and error-removal process is based on catalytic DNA and represents a paradigm shift in nanoscale science and engineering.

  • Six professors at Illinois elected as 2005 AAAS Fellows

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Six faculty members of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science: David F. Clayton, Evan H. DeLucia, Dana D. Dlott, Ravishankar K. Iyer, Deborah E. Leckband and Lawrence B. Schook.

  • U. of I. professor recognized by Scientific American magazine

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - John Rogers, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been named to the 2005 Scientific American 50, a list of people and organizations whose contributions to science and technology are recognized by Scientific American, the nation's premier science magazine.