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  • At molecular scale, vibrational couplings define heat conduction

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Too much heat can destroy a sturdy automobile engine or a miniature microchip. As scientists and engineers strive to make ever-smaller nanoscale devices, from molecular motors and switches to single-molecule transistors, the control of heat is becoming a burning issue.

  • Nanocrystals of cadmium selenide, known for their brilliant luminescence, display intriguing chemical behavior resulting from positive cooperation between atoms, a behavior akin to that found in biomolecules.

    Atoms in a nanocrystal cooperate, much like in biomolecules

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers have long thought that biological molecules and synthetic nanocrystals were similar only in size. Now, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign chemists have found that they can add reactivity to the list of shared traits. Atoms in a nanocrystal can cooperate with each other to facilitate binding or switching, a phenomenon widely found in biological molecules.

  • A team of researchers developed a new broad-spectrum antibiotic that kills bacteria by punching holes in their membranes. Front row, from left: materials science and engineering professor Jianjun and postdoctoral researcher Yan Bao. Back row, from left: postdoctoral researcher Menghau Xiong, graduate students Ziyuan Song and Rachael Mansbach, materials science and engineering professor Andrew Ferguson, and biochemistry professor Lin-Feng Cheng.

    Bacterial hole puncher could be new broad-spectrum antibiotic

    Bacteria have many methods of adapting to resist antibiotics, but a new class of spiral polypeptides developed at the University of Illinois targets one thing no bacterium can live without: an outer membrane.

  • Topography of a red blood cell as measured by the SLIM optical technique. Though the cell keeps its shape as it ages, the membrane becomes less flexible.

    Banked blood grows stiffer with age, study finds

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - It may look like fresh blood and flow like fresh blood, but the longer blood is stored, the less it can carry oxygen into the tiny microcapillaries of the body, says a new study from University of Illinois researchers.

  • Paul Braun, professor of materials science and engineering, center, led the research group of graduate student Xindi Yu, left, and postdoctoral researcher Huigang Zhang that developed a three-dimensional nanostructure for battery cathodes that allows for dramatically faster charging and discharging without sacrificing energy storage capacity.

    Batteries charge very quickly and retain capacity, thanks to new structure

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The batteries in Illinois professor Paul Braun's lab look like any others, but they pack a surprise inside.

  • Battery technology could charge up water desalination

    The technology that charges batteries for electronic devices could provide fresh water from salty seas, says a new study by University of Illinois engineers. Electricity running through a salt water-filled battery draws the salt ions out of the water.

  • Baym wins Hans A. Bethe Prize from the American Physical Society

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Gordon A. Baym, Center for Advanced Study Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois, has been selected as the 2002 recipient of the Hans A. Bethe Prize from the American Physical Society.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bill Nye the Science Guy among attractions at Engineering Open House March 8, 9

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Wild and wacky Rube Goldberg machines, robots fighting for possession of a bowling ball, lively talks by Bill Nye the Science Guy, and more than 150 fun-filled exhibits are among the attractions awaiting visitors to the 82nd annual Engineering Open House at the University of Illinois.

  • Illinois Sustainable Technology Center researchers Elizabeth Meschewski, left, and Nancy Holm and collaborators developed a systematic study to test the effectiveness of the soil additive biochar and found that it may not be as effective as previously thought.

    Biochar may boost carbon storage, but benefits to germination and growth appear scant

    Biochar may not be the miracle soil additive that many farmers and researchers hoped it to be, according to a new University of Illinois study. Biochar may boost the agricultural yield of some soils – especially poor quality ones – but there is no consensus on its effectiveness. Researchers tested different soils’ responses to multiple biochar types and were unable to verify their ability to increase plant growth. However, the study did show biochar’s ability to affect soil greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Civil and environmental engineering professor Praveen Kumar led research that determined bioenergy crops such as miscanthus can store more carbon in the soil than traditional corn or soybean crops.

    Bioenergy crops could store more carbon in soil

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In addition to providing renewable energy, grass crops like switchgrass and miscanthus could store some of the carbon they pull from the atmosphere in the soil, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.

  • Biologically inspired sensors can augment sonar, vision system in submarines

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - To find prey and avoid being preyed upon, fish rely on a row of specialized sensory organs along the sides of their bodies, called the lateral line. Now, a research team led by Chang Liu at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has built an artificial lateral line that can provide the same functions in underwater vehicles.

  • University of Illinois postdoctoral researcher Prabuddha Mukherjee, left, bioengineering professors Rohit Bhargava and Dipanjan Pan, and postdoctoral researcher Santosh Misra report the development of a new class of carbon nanoparticles for biomedical use.

    Biomedical breakthrough: Carbon nanoparticles you can make at home

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers have found an easy way to produce carbon nanoparticles that are small enough to evade the body’s immune system, reflect light in the near-infrared range for easy detection, and carry payloads of pharmaceutical drugs to targeted tissues.

  • 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.

  • Tami Bond

    Black carbon's huge contribution to global warming

    A Minute With™... Tami Bond, a professor of civil and environmental engineering

  • An artist’s impression of an accretion disk rotating around an unseen supermassive black hole.

    Black hole size revealed by its eating pattern

    The feeding patterns of black holes offer insight into their size, researchers report. A new study revealed that the flickering in the brightness observed in actively feeding supermassive black holes is related to their mass.

  • "Life at the Center of the Energy Crisis: A Technologist's Search for a Black Swan," published by World Scientific, was written by George H. Miley, a professor emeritus of nuclear, plasma and radiological engineering.  Click photo to enlarge

    Book Corner: Emeritus professor chronicles his quest for a black swan

    The history of nuclear energy research from the height of the Cold War into space colonization of the future is detailed through one man's career in the new book "Life at the Center of the Energy Crisis: A Technologist's Search for a Black Swan," published by World Scientific.

  • Landscape architecture professor Mary Pat McGuire

    Book looks at how landscape design helps solve water issues

    Landscape design research can help solve environmental problems related to water systems.

  • Boppart named one of the world's top young innovators by Technology Review

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Stephen A. Boppart, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been chosen as one of the world's 100 Top Young Innovators by Technology Review, the world's oldest technology magazine.

  • Materials science and engineering professor Shen Dillion uses electron microscopy and targeted laser heating for ultra-high temperature testing of aeronautical materials.

    Breaking the temperature barrier in small-scale materials testing

    Researchers have demonstrated a new method for testing microscopic aeronautical materials at ultra-high temperatures. By combining electron microscopy and laser heating, scientists can evaluate these materials much more quickly and inexpensively than with traditional testing.

  • Nick Holonyak Jr., the godfather of light-emitting diode, will be the subject of a program to premiere on the Big Ten Network July 28.

    BTN to premiere 'A Brilliant Idea: Nick Holonyak and the LED' July 28

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Nick Holonyak Jr. is called the godfather of the light-emitting diode. His scientific career, spanning more than 50 years, has changed the world and is the subject of a program to premiere on the Big Ten Network July 28 at 7 a.m. (CDT).

  • Portrait of the researchers observing a laboratory experiment

    Bubbling up: Previously hidden environmental impact of bursting bubbles exposed in new study

    Bubbles are common in nature and can form when ocean waves break and when raindrops impact surfaces. When bubbles burst, they send tiny jets of water and other materials into the air. A new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign examines how the interplay between bubble surfaces and water that contains organic materials contributes to the transport of aerosolized organic materials – some of which are linked to the spread of disease or contamination – into the atmosphere.

  • Campus ceremony will celebrate new stamp for physicist John Bardeen

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A stamp commemorating the achievements of former University of Illinois faculty member and two-time Nobel Prize-winner John Bardeen will be unveiled at a ceremony on campus March 6 (Thursday).

  • Professor Sheldon Jacobson

    Can data analytics help you fill out a March Madness bracket?

    Fill in your March Madness bracket from the center out, says bracketologist Sheldon H. Jacobson.

  • Can 'fracking' and other human activities cause earthquakes?

    A Minute With...™ Robert Bauer, an engineering geologist with the Illinois State Geological Survey

  • Photo of professor Roy Campbell

    Can the FBI hack the iPhone?

    A Minute With...™ computer scientist Roy H. Campbell

  • Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel, who is retiring in December, discusses his career, climate change and the recently released National Climate Assessment.

    Can we talk about the Illinois climate?

    Jim Angel, the Illinois state climatologist, has announced that he will retire in December 2018 after 34 years at the Illinois State Water Survey. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian spoke with him about his career, climate change and the National Climate Assessment released on Black Friday.

  • University of Illinois chemistry professor Alexander Scheeline developed a cell-phone spectrometer for high school chemistry classes. He wrote free software that analyzes JPEG images taken by students' cellular phones.

    Can you analyze me now? Cell phones bring spectroscopy to the classroom

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois chemistry professor Alexander Scheeline wants to see high school students using their cell phones in class. Not for texting or surfing the Web, but as an analytical chemistry instrument.

  • Illinois professor Andrew Gerwith and graduate student Jason Varnell developed a method to isolate active catalyst nanoparticles from a mixture of iron-containing compounds, a finding that could help researchers refine the catalyst to make fuel cells more active.

    Carbon-coated iron catalyst structure could lead to more-active fuel cells

    Researchers at the University of Illinois and collaborators have identified the active form of an iron-containing catalyst for the trickiest part of the process: reducing oxygen gas. The finding could help researchers refine better catalysts, making fuel cells a more energy- and cost-efficient option for powering vehicles and other applications.

  • Electrical and computer engineering professor Eric Pop, from left, worked with undergraduate Yang Zhao and graduate student Albert Liao, both in ECE, to demonstrate a remarkable increase in the current-carrying capacity of carbon nanotubes.

    Carbon nanotube avalanche process nearly doubles current

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - By pushing carbon nanotubes close to their breaking point, researchers at the University of Illinois have demonstrated a remarkable increase in the current-carrying capacity of the nanotubes, well beyond what was previously thought possible.

  • The lack of a settled legal framework that balances private property rights while maximizing the public good ultimately hinders the large-scale commercial deployment of geologic carbon sequestration, according to research by A. Bryan Endres, a professor of agricultural law at Illinois.  Click photo to enlarge

    Carbon sequestration policy must balance private property, public good

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The lack of a settled legal framework that balances private property rights while maximizing the public good ultimately hinders the large-scale commercial deployment of geologic carbon sequestration, according to published research by a University of Illinois expert in renewable energy law.

  • Robert J. Finley, principal investigator on the Illinois Basin - Decatur Project, turns the main valve to start injection of CO2 into the Mount Simon Sandstone.

    Carbon-storage project combines innovation and outreach

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Geologists are hoping to learn a great deal about geologic carbon sequestration from injecting 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into sandstone 7,000 feet beneath Decatur, Ill. And they're hoping the public learns a lot from the endeavor, too.

  • Illinois researchers used ultrafast pulses of tailored light to make neurons fire in different patterns, the first example of coherent control in a living cell.

    Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity

    Specially tailored, ultrafast pulses of light can trigger neurons to fire and could one day help patients with light-sensitive circadian or mood problems, according to a new study in mice at the University of Illinois.

  • CARMA groundbreaking set for March 27

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Astronomers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be major participants in the construction and operation of a new millimeter-wave telescope array to be located in the high desert of California. Groundbreaking for the facility - called the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy - is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday (March 27) at Cedar Flat in the Inyo Mountains near Bishop.

  • University of Illinois chemists led by professor Christina White (center) developed a new catalyst based on the metal manganese that is both highly reactive and highly selective, traits previously thought to be inversive. Graduate students, from left: Shauna Paradine, Shannon Miller, Jinpeng Zhao, Aaron Petronico and Jennifer Griffin.

    Catalyst combining reactivity and selectivity could speed drug development

    Chemists have long believed that inserting nitrogen – a beneficial ingredient for making many pharmaceuticals and other biologically active molecules – into a carbon-hydrogen bond requires a trade-off between catalyst reactivity and selectivity. But a new manganese-based catalyst developed by University of Illinois chemists has given researchers both in one efficient, lower-cost package.

  • Catalyst-free chemistry makes self-healing materials more practical

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new catalyst-free, self-healing material system developed by researchers at the University of Illinois offers a far less expensive and far more practical way to repair composite materials used in structural applications ranging from airplane fuselages to wind-farm propeller blades.

  • 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.

  • Professor Ning Wang led a team that found that tumor-repopulating cancer cells can go dormant in stiffer tissues but wake up and multiply when placed in a softer environment.

    Cell mechanics may hold key to how cancer spreads and recurs

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Cancer cells that break away from tumors to go looking for a new home may prefer to settle into a soft bed, according to new findings from researchers at the University of Illinois.

  • Ceramic microreactors developed for on-site hydrogen production

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have designed and built ceramic microreactors for the on-site reforming of hydrocarbon fuels, such as propane, into hydrogen for use in fuel cells and other portable power sources.

  • Illinois researchers Praveen Kumar and graduate student Susana Roque-Malo examined the significance of nonextreme precipitation in context of global climate change.

    Changes in nonextreme precipitation may have not-so-subtle consequences

    Major floods and droughts receive a lot of attention in the context of climate change, but University of Illinois researchers analyzed over five decades of precipitation data from North America to find that changes in nonextreme precipitation are more significant than previously realized and larger than those in extreme precipitation. These changes can have a strong effect on ecosystems, agriculture, infrastructure design and resource management, and point to a need to examine precipitation in a more nuanced, multifaceted way.

  • Portrait of professor Gary Parker at the Sangamon River in Mahomet, Illinois.

    Channel migration plays leading role in river network evolution, study finds

    Satellite views of Earth’s major river systems reveal their familiar treelike drainage patterns. The pattern – called dendritic – and its prevalence suggests that it may be the optimal state in which rivers exist. Challenged by the knowledge that numerical models of drainage evolution have yet to substantiate this assumption, researchers are now thinking of rivers as existing in a persistent reorganizational state instead of being in a set, stable configuration. Understanding this has implications for land use and infrastructure management decisions.

  • Illinois professor Alek Aksimentiev and graduate student Manish Shankla found that it is possible to control how DNA goes through a graphene nanopore for sequencing by applying an electric charge to the graphene.

    Charged graphene gives DNA a stage to perform molecular gymnastics

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When Illinois researchers set out to investigate a method to control how DNA moves through a tiny sequencing device, they did not know they were about to witness a display of molecular gymnastics.

  • A portrait of University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign researchers Martin Gruebele, right, and graduate student Huy Nguyen.

    Cheap, nontoxic carbon nanodots poised to be quantum dots of the future

    Tiny fluorescent semiconductor dots, called quantum dots, are useful in a variety of health and electronic technologies but are made of toxic, expensive metals. Nontoxic and economic carbon-based dots are easy to produce, but they emit less light. A new study that uses ultrafast nanometric imaging found good and bad emitters among populations of carbon dots. This observation suggests that by selecting only super-emitters, carbon nanodots can be purified to replace toxic metal quantum dots in many applications, the researchers said.

  • Illinois researchers developed a method to etch tall, thin transistors for high performance with less error. Pictured, from left: professor Ilesanmi Adesida, graduate student Yi Song and professor Xiuling Li.

    Chemical etching method helps transistors stand tall

    University of Illinois researchers have developed a way to etch very tall, narrow finFETs, a type of transistor that forms a tall semiconductor “fin” for the current to travel over.

  • Photo of researchers Yun Liu and Jeffrey Moore

    Chemical reactions break free from energy barriers using flyby trajectories

    A new study shows that it is possible to use mechanical force to deliberately alter chemical reactions and increase chemical selectivity – a grand challenge of the field.  

  • Civil and environmental engineering professor Helen Nguyen has found that water-softening additives may increase the risk of pathogen release into drinking water by weakening the grip that bacteria have on pipe interiors.

    Chemicals that keep drinking water flowing may also cause fouling

    Many city drinking water systems add softening agents to keep plumbing free of pipe-clogging mineral buildup. According to new research, these additives may amplify the risk of pathogen release into drinking water by weakening the grip that bacteria – like those responsible for Legionnaires’ disease – have on pipe interiors.  

  • Chemist Herbert S. Gutowsky, pioneer of MRI, dies at 80

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Herbert S. Gutowsky, a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Illinois and a pioneer in the field of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, died Jan. 13 at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. He was 80 years old.

  • Chemists led by Illinois professor Eric Oldfield, center, determined the structure of a key enzyme that could lead to more efficient drugs to treat staph infections, parasites and high cholesterol. The research team, from left, research scientist Yonghui Zhang, graduate student Fu-Yang Lin, research scientist Rong Cao and postdoctoral associate Ke Wang.

    Chemists document workings of key staph enzyme - and how to block it

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers have determined the structure and mechanism of an enzyme that performs the crucial first step in the formation of cholesterol and a key virulence factor in staph bacteria.

  • 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.