Study: 'Legacy' phosphorus delays water quality improvements in Gulf of Mexico Feb 7, 2024 10:30 am446 views The same phosphorous that fertilizes the thriving agriculture of the Midwest is also responsible for a vast “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico near the Mississippi Delta. Efforts to reduce the amount of phosphorus that enters the Mississippi River system are underway, but research led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign suggests that remnants of the contaminant are left behind in riverbeds for years after introduction and pose an overlooked – and lingering – problem. Microbial division of labor produces higher biofuel yields Feb 5, 2024 8:00 am588 views Scientists have found a way to boost ethanol production via yeast fermentation, a standard method for converting plant sugars into biofuels. Their approach, detailed in the journal Nature Communications, relies on careful timing and a tight division of labor among synthetic yeast strains to yield more ethanol per unit of plant sugars than previous approaches have achieved. Genetic sequencing uncovers unexpected source of pathogens in floodwaters Dec 18, 2023 9:30 am1090 views Researchers report in the journal Geohealth that local rivers and streams were the source of the Salmonella enterica contamination along coastal North Carolina after Hurricane Florence in 2018 – not the previously suspected high number of pig farms in the region. Researchers engineer a material that can perform different tasks depending on temperature Nov 28, 2023 10:00 am545 views Researchers report that they have developed a new composite material designed to change behaviors depending on temperature in order to perform specific tasks. These materials are poised to be part of the next generation of autonomous robotics that will interact with the environment. Researchers identify unexpected twist while developing new polymer-based semiconductors Nov 14, 2023 9:15 am828 views A new study led by chemists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign brings fresh insight into the development of semiconductor materials that can do things their traditional silicon counterparts cannot – harness the power of chirality, a non-superimposable mirror image. Collaborative learning experiences crucial in preparing engineering students for the workforce Nov 3, 2023 7:00 am1298 views An innovative pair of faculty members in education and engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are partnering to provide experiential learning projects that cultivate the collaborative skills engineering students need for educational and career success. Rashid Bashir elected to National Academy of Medicine Oct 9, 2023 9:00 am1185 views Rashid Bashir, the dean of The Grainger College of Engineering and a professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine. A pioneer at the intersection of engineering and medicine, Bashir was elected “for seminal contributions and visionary leadership in micro and nanoscale biosensors and diagnostics, bioengineering early detection of infection and sepsis, and education in engineering-based medicine with helping to establish the world's first engineering-based medical school.” Researchers propose a unified, scalable framework to measure agricultural greenhouse gas emissions Sep 27, 2023 1:00 pm748 views Increased government investment in climate change mitigation is prompting agricultural sectors to find reliable methods for measuring their contribution to climate change. With that in mind, a team led by scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign proposed a supercomputing solution to help measure individual farm field-level greenhouse gas emissions. Although locally tested in the Midwest, the new approach can be scaled up to national and global levels and help the industry grasp the best practices for reducing emissions. Fast, automated, affordable test for cement durability Jul 5, 2023 7:30 am2385 views Engineers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have developed a new test that can predict the durability of cement in seconds to minutes – rather than the hours it takes using current methods. The test measures the behavior of water droplets on cement surfaces using computer vision on a device that costs less than $200. The researchers said the new study could help the cement industry move toward rapid and automated quality control of their materials. Displays controlled by flexible fins and liquid droplets more versatile, efficient than LED screens Jun 30, 2023 1:00 pm1011 views Flexible displays that can change color, convey information and even send veiled messages via infrared radiation are now possible, thanks to new research from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Engineers inspired by the morphing skins of animals like chameleons and octopuses have developed capillary-controlled robotic flapping fins to create switchable optical and infrared light multipixel displays that are 1,000 times more energy efficient than light-emitting devices. What is the state of underwater geolocation technology? Jun 23, 2023 9:15 am1295 views The loss of OceanGate's Titan submersible this week has triggered questions about how underwater craft navigate and how these vehicles can improve their geolocation abilities. Electrical and computer engineering professor Viktor Gruev spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about the current state of the science behind underwater geolocation, and some advances his team is working on now. Mechanical engineers lend fresh insight into battery-based desalination technology Jun 7, 2023 11:45 am1647 views To achieve more effective saltwater desalination, mechanical engineers focused on fluid movement rather than new materials in a new study. By adding microchannels to the inside of battery-like electrodes made of Prussian blue – an intense blue pigment often used in art that also has special chemical properties – researchers increased the extent of seawater desalination five times over their non-channeled counterparts to reach salinity levels below the freshwater threshold. Imaging agents light up two cancer biomarkers at once to give more complete picture of tumor Jun 5, 2023 11:00 am1243 views Cancer surgeons may soon have a more complete view of tumors during surgery thanks to new imaging agents that can illuminate multiple biomarkers at once, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers report. The fluorescent nanoparticles, wrapped in the membranes of red blood cells, target tumors better than current clinically approved dyes and can emit two distinct signals in response to just one beam of surgical light, a feature that could help doctors distinguish tumor borders and identify metastatic cancers. Webb Space Telescope detects universe’s most distant complex organic molecules Jun 5, 2023 10:00 am4265 views Researchers have detected complex organic molecules in a galaxy more than 12 billion light-years away from Earth – the most distant galaxy in which these molecules are now known to exist. Thanks to the capabilities of the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope and careful analyses from the research team, a new study lends critical insight into the complex chemical interactions that occur in the first galaxies in the early universe. Smart surgical implant coatings provide early failure warning while preventing infection May 5, 2023 12:30 pm3575 views Newly developed “smart” coatings for surgical orthopedic implants can monitor strain on the devices to provide early warning of implant failures while killing infection-causing bacteria, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers report. The coatings integrate flexible sensors with a nanostructured antibacterial surface inspired by the wings of dragonflies and cicadas. U of I to lead National Artificial Intelligence Research Institute focused on STEM learning May 4, 2023 8:15 am4734 views Scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will lead a National Artificial Intelligence Research Institute focused on developing learning technologies that will accelerate youths' STEM learning and broaden diversity in related occupations. New metric allows researchers to better understand soft material behavior Apr 27, 2023 8:30 am880 views The mechanics behind the collapse of soft materials structure have befuddled researchers for decades. In a new study, researchers uncover a metric that finally correlates microscopic-level processes with what is seen at the macroscopic level. Three Illinois scientists elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences Apr 24, 2023 10:15 am2002 views Three University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign scientists have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Researchers reveal real-time glimpse into growth habits of nanoparticles Mar 30, 2023 10:00 am2634 views For the first time, researchers have observed the process of nanoparticles self-assembling and crystalizing into solid materials. In new videos produced by the team, particles can be seen raining down, tumbling along stairsteps and sliding around before finally snapping into place to form a crystal’s signature stacked layers. Advanced electrode to help remediation of stubborn new 'forever chemicals' Mar 27, 2023 2:45 pm1395 views As new environmental regulations are rolling out to mitigate the industry-retired long-chain chemicals known as PFAS in drinking water, there are concerns regarding a new breed of “forever chemicals” called short-chain PFAS. Research from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is helping shift the focus to include mitigation of the chemicals – which researchers say are just as persistent as, more mobile and harder to remove from the environment than their long-chain counterparts. Theory sorts order from chaos in complex quantum systems Feb 24, 2023 9:45 am2304 views It’s not easy to make sense of quantum-scale motion, but a new mathematical theory could help, providing insight into the various computing, electrochemical and biological systems. Chenghao Zhang, a physics graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and chemistry professor Martin Gruebele performed a computational analysis of the new mathematical theory developed by Rice University theorist Peter Wolynes and theoretical chemist David Logan at Oxford University. The theory gives a simple prediction for the threshold at which large quantum systems switch from orderly motion like a clock to random, erratic motion like asteroids moving around in the early solar system. Study demonstrates energy-efficient conversion of nitrate pollutants into ammonia Feb 16, 2023 2:30 pm1766 views The nitrate runoff problem, a source of carcinogens and a cause of suffocating algal blooms in U.S. waterways, may not be all gloom and doom. A new study led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign demonstrates an approach for the integrated capture and conversion of nitrate-contaminated waters into valuable ammonia within a single electrochemical cell. Researchers illuminate gaps in public transportation access, equity Feb 15, 2023 12:30 pm1343 views Public transit systems offering broad coverage of stops and routes may still underserve the communities that rely on them the most, according to a new University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign study. The study, by former civil and environmental engineering student Dale Robbennolt and Applied Research Institute senior research scientist Ann-Perry Witmer, applies contextual engineering to help determine lapses in equity in public bus transportation access using data from the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District as a case study. Seven Illinois faculty members elected to AAAS Jan 31, 2023 9:00 am3509 views Seven professors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2022 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Fellows are chosen by their peers for outstanding contribution to the field. Geothermal 'battery' repurposes abandoned oil and gas well in Illinois, researchers report Jan 25, 2023 1:15 pm2336 views Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have successfully demonstrated efficient geothermal heat storage while simultaneously repurposing an abandoned oil and gas well. A new study, led by civil and environmental engineering professor Tugce Baser, is the first field investigation of a geothermal energy storage system within the Illinois Basin – a geologic structure located deep within the subsurface. Click beetle-inspired robots jump using elastic energy Jan 23, 2023 2:00 pm888 views Researchers have made a significant leap forward in developing insect-sized jumping robots capable of performing tasks in the small spaces often found in mechanical, agricultural and search-and-rescue settings. A new study led by mechanical science and engineering professor Sameh Tawfick demonstrates a series of click beetle-sized robots small enough to fit into tight spaces, powerful enough to maneuver over obstacles and fast enough to match an insect’s rapid escape time. Microelectronics give researchers a remote control for biological robots Jan 18, 2023 1:00 pm4578 views First, they walked. Then, they saw the light. Now, miniature biological robots have gained a new trick: remote control. The hybrid “eBiobots” are the first to combine soft materials, living muscle and microelectronics, said researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University and collaborating institutions. Researchers propose new structures to harvest untapped source of fresh water Dec 6, 2022 4:00 am10127 views An almost limitless supply of fresh water exists in the form of water vapor above Earth’s oceans, yet remains untapped, researchers said. A new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is the first to suggest an investment in new infrastructure capable of harvesting oceanic water vapor as a solution to limited supplies of fresh water in various locations around the world. Organizing nanoparticles into pinwheel shapes offers new twist on engineered materials Nov 28, 2022 10:00 am1471 views Researchers have developed a new strategy to help build materials with unique optical, magnetic, electronic and catalytic properties. These pinwheel-shaped structures self-assemble from nanoparticles and exhibit a characteristic called chirality – one of nature’s strategies to build complexity into structures at all scales, from molecules to galaxies. Nine Illinois scientists rank among world's most influential Nov 15, 2022 8:00 am7366 views Nine U. of I. researchers have been named to the 2022 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list. The list recognizes research scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated exceptional influence – reflected through their publication of multiple papers frequently cited by their peers during the last decade. This year’s list includes 6,938 individuals from around the world whose papers rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in the Web of Science. Previously unseen processes reveal path to better rechargeable battery performance Nov 9, 2022 12:00 pm1423 views To design better rechargeable ion batteries, engineers and chemists from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign collaborated to combine a powerful new electron microscopy technique and data mining to visually pinpoint areas of chemical and physical alteration within ion batteries. What is place-based adaptation to climate change? Oct 10, 2022 1:30 pm2311 views A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll states that roughly half of registered voters say climate change is either “very important” or “one of the most important issues” in their vote for Congress this year. However, many citizens struggle to understand their place in this global issue. Applied Research Institute senior research scientist Ann-Perry Witmer, also a lecturer in agricultural and biological engineering, spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about a more digestible approach to the climate crisis and encouraged readers to participate in a public panel discussion this week. DNA nets capture COVID-19 virus in low-cost rapid-testing platform Sep 23, 2022 11:00 am1892 views Tiny nets woven from DNA strands can ensnare the spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19, lighting up the virus for a fast-yet-sensitive diagnostic test – and also impeding the virus from infecting cells, opening a new possible route to antiviral treatment, according to a new study led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Deformation fingerprints will help researchers identify, design better metallic materials Sep 19, 2022 8:00 am1740 views Engineers can now capture and predict the strength of metallic materials subjected to cycling loading, or fatigue strength, in a matter of hours – not the months or years it takes using current methods. Nick Holonyak Jr., pioneer of LED lighting, dies Sep 18, 2022 3:00 pm16517 views Nick Holonyak Jr., a renowned innovator of illumination, has died. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professor was 93 years old. Holonyak (pronounced huh-LON-yak) is credited with the development of the first practical visible-spectrum LED, now commonly used in light bulbs, device displays and lasers worldwide. Can we evacuate from hurricanes in electric vehicles? Aug 31, 2022 2:00 pm2341 views As emergency coordinators across the U.S. prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, they are busy planning evacuation routes. Currently, these plans don’t anticipate the needs of people driving electric vehicles, which have shorter driving ranges than gas vehicles and require recharging at stations with charging ports. Civil and environmental engineering professor Eleftheria Kontou spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about this issue and her newly published study. Layered limestone deposits give unique insight to Roman aqueducts Aug 8, 2022 12:15 pm2701 views Mineral-rich waters originating from the Apennine Mountains of Italy flowed through ancient Rome’s Anio Novus aqueduct and left behind a detailed rock record of past hydraulic conditions, researchers said. Two studies characterizing layered limestone – called travertine – deposits within the Anio Novus are the first to document the occurrence of anti-gravity growth ripples and establish that these features lend clues to the history of ancient water conveyance and storage systems. Nanoscale observations simplify how scientists describe earthquake movement Aug 2, 2022 11:45 am1279 views Using single calcite crystals with varying surface roughness allows engineers to simplify the complex physics that describes fault movement. In a new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, researchers show how this simplification may lead to better earthquake prediction. SHIELD program a model for effective pandemic management, data show Jun 9, 2022 7:30 am3878 views In the fall of 2020, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign welcomed students back for in-person instruction amid the powerful first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The university successfully maintained operations throughout the semester – with zero COVID-19-related deaths or hospitalizations in the campus community – thanks to its “SHIELD: Target, Test, Tell” program. In a sweeping report, the team behind the campuswide collaboration details the innovations in modeling, saliva testing and results reporting that helped mitigate the spread of the virus, and shares the data collected and lessons learned through the process. Lake Michigan water-level rise affects inland waterways, study finds May 31, 2022 8:00 am2238 views 2020 marked Lake Michigan’s highest water level in 120 years, experts said, and climate variance makes future water levels challenging to predict. Coastal impacts are well-documented, but the effect of lake level rise on the area’s inland waterways is poorly understood. A University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign study examined how Lake Michigan’s rising levels affect water quality, flood control and invasive species management within the Chicago-area waterway system that connects the lake to Illinois, Indiana and the Mississippi River basin. Illinois astronomers help capture first image of Milky Way's black hole May 12, 2022 8:15 am4167 views A team of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers led by physics and astronomy professor Charles Gammie is part of a large international collaboration that unveiled the first image of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. This result provides evidence that the object is indeed a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such giants, which researchers think reside at the center of most galaxies. Engineering professor Nancy Sottos elected to National Academy of Sciences May 4, 2022 11:30 am1274 views University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign materials science and engineering professor Nancy Sottos has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest professional honors a scientist can receive. She is among 120 members and 30 international members elected this year to recognize their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Two Illinois faculty members elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences Apr 29, 2022 8:30 am1234 views University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign materials science and engineering professor Nancy Sottos and history professor Maria Todorova have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest honor societies in the nation. They are among 261 new members elected to the academy this year in recognition of their accomplishments and leadership in academia, the arts, industry, public policy and research. Portable, point-of-care COVID-19 test discerns alpha variant from earlier strains Apr 19, 2022 11:30 am1477 views A point-of-care COVID-19 test developed by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign can now detect and differentiate the alpha variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from earlier strains in saliva samples. Why is the use of hypersonic missiles in the Russia-Ukraine conflict significant? Mar 22, 2022 8:15 am11525 views The U.S. recently confirmed that the Russian Ministry of Defence fired a hypersonic ballistic missile to destroy an underground arms depot in western Ukraine. This event marks Russia’s first use of the Kinzhal ballistic missile in this war and the first known use of a hypersonic missile in combat. Mechanical science and engineering professor Kelly Stephani spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about the significance of this technology. New approach to flexible robotics and metamaterials design mimics nature, encourages sustainability Feb 28, 2022 2:00 pm2215 views A new study challenges the conventional approach to designing soft robotics and a class of materials called metamaterials by utilizing the power of computer algorithms. Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Technical University of Denmark can now build multimaterial structures without dependence on human intuition or trial-and-error to produce highly efficient actuators and energy absorbers that mimic designs found in nature. Studies examine effects of California's push for computer science education Feb 24, 2022 8:15 am1916 views Despite California’s push for computer science education, race and gender disparities persist among the high schools offering these courses, the students enrolled in them and the teachers. Water filtration membranes morph like cells Feb 23, 2022 1:00 pm1367 views Morphogenesis is nature’s way of building diverse structures and functions out of a fixed set of components. While nature is rich with examples of morphogenesis – cell differentiation, embryonic development and cytoskeleton formation, for example – research into the phenomenon in synthetic materials is scant. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers are taking a step forward using electron tomography, fluid dynamics theories and machine learning to watch soft polymers as the polymers learn from nature. 'Molecular Velcro' enables tissues to sense, react to mechanical force Feb 9, 2022 1:45 pm857 views The Velcro-like cellular proteins that hold cells and tissues together also perform critical functions when they experience increased tension. A new University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign study observed that when tugged upon in a controlled manner, these proteins – called cadherins – communicate with growth factors to influence in vitro tumor growth in human carcinoma cells. Rural air pollution may be as hazardous as urban, study finds Jan 26, 2022 2:00 pm4223 views New research shows that chemical reactivity, seasonality and distribution of airborne particulate matter are critical metrics when considering air pollution’s impact on human health. Current environmental regulations focus on the mass of pollutant particles, and researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are pushing to refocus regulatory efforts on more regional and health-relevant factors.