117 articles from TUESDAY 7.9.2021

Scientists unravel the mysteries of irreversibility in electrochromic thin films

Tungsten oxide, an electrochromic (EC) material with immense potential for technical applications such as in smart windows, has attracted much interest for its energy-saving qualities. However, after multiple cycles, such EC devices exhibit degradation in optical modulation and reversibility owing to lithium-ion trapping. Now, scientists have adopted a quantitative approach to understand the...

Emoji are proposed as a powerful way for patients and doctors to communicate

Emoji could particularly enhance interaction with young children, people with disabilities, and patients who speak other languages, a physician and others argue in a new commentary. The opportunity exists for medical societies and physician committees to proactively shape emoji that best represent their fields, then work with the standards-setting body for emoji to get them approved and put into...

How do pathogens evolve novel virulence activities, and why does it matter?

Understanding how pathogens evolve is a fundamental component of learning how to protect ourselves and our world from pests and diseases. Yet we are constantly underestimating pathogen evolution, such as in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, which some believed had been conquered until the arrival of the Delta variant. Similarly, we are often a step or two behind plant pathogens, which is why the...

Scientists develop films with tunable elongation and fracture for various uses

Elastic polymers, or 'elastomers,' have various applications, including in car tires and shock absorbers, and their properties are governed by the density of cross-linked polymer chains. However, these properties are usually not modifiable, leading to excessive synthesis requirements. Now, scientists have come up with a novel elastomer film whose elasticity can be 'tuned' in a post-preparation...

New study puts focus on early symptoms of Huntington’s disease

Psychiatric and cognitive symptoms emerge at an early stage in Huntington's disease. However, research so far has mainly focused on movement impairment, a symptom associated with the more advanced stages of the disease. A new study now shows that the emotional brain - the limbic system - is affected earlier in the course of the disease, and should therefore be given more attention in the...

Officials leading hurricane response need ‘risk literacy’

New research shows that the most numerate officials were almost twice as likely as less numerate ones to provide additional evacuation times to their coastal communities during a hurricane. Less numerate ones, on the other hand, gave their communities less advance warning, and when they finally did issue evacuations, over-evacuated tens of thousands more people.

Under loading ceramics self-heal cracks by forming kink-bands

Ceramics are resilient to heat and extreme environments but they are fragile and crack easily. Researchers have discovered a self-healing mechanism within a type of ceramics, called MAX phases. They have shown that these engineered ceramics form natural faults or kink-bands during loading that can not only effectively stop cracks from growing, but can also close and heal them, thereby preventing...

Water-repellent nanomaterial inspired by nature

Researchers have created a new nanomaterial that repels water and can stay dry even when submerged underwater. The discovery could open the door to the development of more efficient water-repellent surfaces, fuel cells and electronic sensors to detect toxins.