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A touch of gold and silver

Metals are usually characterized by good electrical conductivity. This applies in particular to gold and silver. However, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, together with partners in Pisa and Lund, have now discovered that some precious metals lose this property if they are thin enough. The extreme of a layer only one atom thick thus behaves like a semiconductor. This once again demonstrates that electrons behave differently in the two-dimensional layer of a material than in three-dimensional structures. The new properties could potentially lead to applications, for example in microelectronics and sensor technology.

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Scientists discover what an armored dinosaur ate for its last meal

More than 110 million years ago, a lumbering 1,300-kilogram, armor-plated dinosaur ate its last meal, died, and was washed out to sea in what is now northern Alberta. This ancient beast then sank onto its thorny back, churning up mud in the seabed that entombed it—until its fossilized body was discovered in a mine near Fort McMurray in 2011.

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New optical technique provides more efficient probe of nanomagnet dynamics

The performance of magnetic storage and memory devices depends on the magnetization dynamics of nanometer-scale magnetic elements called nanomagnets. Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have developed a new optical technique that enables efficient analysis of single nanomagnets as small as 75 nanometers in diameter, enabling them to extract critical information for optimizing device performance.

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Biophysicists reveal how optogenetic tool works

An international research team has for the first time obtained the structure of the light-sensitive sodium-pumping KR2 protein in its active state. The discovery provides a description of the mechanism behind the light-driven sodium ion transfer across the cell membrane. The paper came out in Nature Communications.

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