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271,479 articles from PhysOrg

Study shows unexpected expansion of rare earth element mining activities in Myanmar-China border region

As the demand for rare earth elements increases world-wide, so too do the mining activities associated with rare earth element extraction. Rare earth elements are listed as 15 elements on the periodic table constituting what is known as the lanthanide series, ranging in atomic number from 57 (lanthanum) to 71 (lutetium), as well as scandium (Sc) and yttrium (Y), which serve as essential inputs for...

Control over friction, from small to large scales

Friction is hard to predict and control, especially since surfaces that come in contact are rarely perfectly flat. New experiments demonstrate that the amount of friction between two silicon surfaces, even at large scales, is determined by the forming and rupturing of microscopic chemical bonds between them. This makes it possible to control the amount of friction using surface chemistry...

Detoxifying gold mining

Jacqueline "Jackie" Gerson knows very well how "artisanal gold mining" sounds to people who haven't heard the phrase before.

Researchers decode aqueous amino acid's potential for direct air capture of CO₂

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have made a significant stride toward understanding a viable process for direct air capture, or DAC, of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This DAC process is in early development with the aim of achieving negative emissions, where the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the envelope of gases surrounding Earth exceeds the...

Meteorites likely source of nitrogen for early Earth, Ryugu samples study finds

Micrometeorites originating from icy celestial bodies in the outer solar system may be responsible for transporting nitrogen to the near-Earth region in the early days of our solar system. That discovery was published in Nature Astronomy by an international team of researchers, including University of Hawai'i at Mānoa scientists, led by Kyoto University.

Paleolithic humans may have understood the properties of rocks for making stone tools

A research group led by the Nagoya University Museum and Graduate School of Environmental Studies in Japan has clarified differences in the physical characteristics of rocks used by early humans during the Paleolithic. They found that humans selected rock for a variety of reasons and not just because of how easy it was to break off. This suggests that early humans had the technical skill to...

An anomalous relativistic emission arising from the intense interaction of lasers with plasma mirrors

Interactions between intense laser pulses and plasma mirrors have been the focus of several recent physics studies due to the interesting effects they produce. Experiments have revealed that these interactions can generate a non-linear physical process known as high-order harmonics, characterized by the emission of extreme ultraviolet radiation (XUV) and brief flashes of laser light (i.e.,...

Making menstrual pads from succulents could improve access to sanitary products

A method for producing a highly absorbent material from sisal (Agave sisalana)—a drought-tolerant succulent plant—is described in a study published in Communications Engineering. The authors suggest that, with further development, their method could be used to produce locally sourced disposable menstrual pads in rural and semi-arid regions.

A sun protection mechanism helps plants to survive

Just as people can get sunburned, plants can also suffer from too much sunlight. To stay healthy, they use an internal "sun protection mechanism." Pierrick Bru, a Ph.D. student working with Alizée Malnoë at Umeå Plant Science Centre and Umeå University, has been studying a special component of this mechanism, called qH, and has found that it is quite adaptable.

Molecular rulers for high-resolution microscopy

There is good news for researchers working with high-resolution fluorescence microscopy: Biocompatible molecular rulers are available for the first time to calibrate the latest super-resolution microscopy methods.