Science News

Scientists detect new subatomic particle in a ‘semimetal’ material

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A subatomic particle that was first predicted to exist before the discovery of Pluto, 85 years ago, has finally been spotted on Earth. Known as Weyl fermions, they are like electrons. But unlike electrons, they have no mass. Physicists found them inside a material made of the elements tantalum and arsenic. These fermions dart around and through it in strange and exciting ways.
The newfound particles’ behavior gives metal-like features. Called a “semimetal,” it shares features with materials such as graphene, which is a sheet of carbon that’s just one atom thick. Its novel structure gives graphene unusual superstrong characteristics that have excited researchers over the last decade or so. “There are a lot of reasons to be interested in these materials,” notes Balents, who was not involved with the new fermion discovery.
Some scientists think that like graphene, tantalum arsenide could change the future of electronics. It could let devices use a fast-moving electrical current that easily evades any bumps or valleys in its path. Physicists can also use tantalum arsenide to learn more about Weyl fermions. These particles are stuck inside the material. But some physicists suspect free-floating Weyl fermions might also exist.

Scientist have developed a way of storing vast information in a single DNA for a million years.

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Scientists have developed a way of storing vast quantities of information for up to a million years in a single molecule of DNA.
The scientific breakthrough could lead to digital archives of everything from ancient texts to Wikipedia changes being stored in the form of DNA that could in theory survive for hundreds of thousands of years without any loss of data. Scientists have pioneered a process of encapsulated DNA in glass that is equivalent to creating a fossilized form of data storage.
They have also developed a mathematical algorithm normally used in long-distance radio transmissions to eliminate any errors when deciphering the data written in the digital genetic code of DNA.

Scientists grow almost fully formed human brain in a lab for the first time

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Scientists have succeeded in growing an almost fully formed human brain in a lab for the first time ever.
The miniature brain is about the size of a pencil eraser and resembles that of a five-week old foetus.
It contains 99 per cent of the genes present in the human foetal brain and has an identifiable structure.The brain has been created by scientists at Ohio State University. Professor Rene Anand from the department explains: “It not only looks like the developing brain, its diverse cell types express nearly all genes like a brain.
“We’ve struggled for a long time trying to solve complex brain disease problems that cause tremendous pain and suffering. The power of their brain model bodes very well for human health because it gives us better and more relevant options to test and develop therapeutics other than rodents.” He said.
Previously, mouse brains have been a primary source of research for scientists exploring human brain development. However, whilst rodents share many similarities, the fundamental differences have been limiting scientific research in the field.

Did you know? That CERN is developing a miniature linear accelerator (mini-Linac) designed for use in hospital for imaging and the treatment of cancer.
CERN is developing a miniature linear accelerator (mini-Linac) of two meter long. The miniature linear accelerator (mini-Linac) is designed for use in hospitals for imaging and the treatment of cancer. It consists of a radiofrequency quadrupole (RFQ), a component found at the start of all proton accelerator chains around the world, from the smallest to the largest. RFQs are designed to produce high-intensity beams at a very high energy. The challenge for the mini-Linac was to double the operating frequency of the RFQ in order to shorten its length. This desired high frequency had never before been achieved. “Thanks to new beam dynamics and innovative ideas for the radiofrequency and mechanical aspects, we came up with an accelerator design that was much better adapted to the practical requirements of medical applications,” says Alessandra Lombardi, in charge of the design of the RFQ.
The “mini-RFQ” can produce low-intensity beams, with no significant losses, of just a few microamps that are grouped at a frequency of 750 MHz. These specifications make the “mini-RFQ” a perfect injector for the new generation of high-frequency, compact linear accelerators used for the treatment of cancer with protons.
The “mini-RFQ” will also be capable of accelerating alpha particles for advanced radiotherapy. As the accelerator can be fairly easily transported, it could also be used for other purposes, such as the analysis of archaeological materials.

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