The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy.”

The awardees are as follows: Eric Betzig, 54, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, VA.; Stefan W. Hell, 51, of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Gottingen, and the German Cancer Research Center in Heidlberg, Germany; and William E. (W.E.) Moerner, 61, of Stanford University.

Because of these men, it is possible for us to obtain optical images at the nanometer scale and understand molecules.

This from The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences:

For a long time optical microscopy was held back by a presumed limitation: that it would never obtain a better resolution than half the wavelength of light. Helped by fluorescent molecules the Nobel Laureates in Chemistry 2014 ingeniously circumvented this limitation. Their ground-breaking work has brought optical microscopy into the nanodimension.

Read the full article here.

The committee noted the importance of these achievements, by which we’re able to see how proteins in fertilized eggs divide into embryos and track proteins involved in Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

“Due to their achievements, the optical microscope can now peer into the nanoworld,” said the committee.

Find out more information on the discoveries of the winners at Chemical & Engineering News.

Also, check out our past issue of Interface entitled, “25 Years of Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy.” The journal is completely open access, allowing everyone to partake in and share this wealth of information.

Harvard students test the flow rate from one of the newly installed tap stands.Credit: Christopher Lombardo

Harvard students test the flow rate from one of the newly installed tap stands.
Credit: Christopher Lombardo

A group of students from Harvard have been working to help restore clean water to the rural town of Pinalito in the Dominican Republic. Now, for the first time in a long time, the water in Pinalito is clean again.

This from Harvard Gazette:

For the past 2½ years, students in the Harvard University chapter of Engineers Without Borders have been rehabilitating and improving a potable water system in the rural town in the Dominican Republic. After the most recent visit, the students returned to campus in late August having successfully worked with the community to upgrade the water quality and distribution system.

Read the full article here.

The residents now have clean water – something that wasn’t available prior due to the failed well built by a government contractor. The well installed by the Harvard students can produce 27 gallons a minute, according to Christopher Lombardo – assistant director for undergraduate studies in engineering sciences at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

During their time in Pinalito, the students made sure to integrate the community into the design and building of the well in order to combat skepticism and foster relationships.

Not only does this experience provide the rural town with clean water, but it also shows the students that there are many other perspective they’ll need to consider when they go further in the field of engineering, and they won’t always have access to a state-of-the-art lab.

At ECS, we’re also joining the fight to provide clean water though innovation and research to those in need. We are in Cancun right now working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to find and fund new research to combat some of the world’s most serious water and sanitation issues.

Stay connected with us to see the grant winners and their solutions to bridge the critical technology gaps in water, sanitation, and hygiene challenges being faced around the world.

Michael Gordin discuses the universal language of science and the issue of pressure put on scientists to publish new discoveries in English.Credit: Frank Wojciechowski

Michael Gordin discusses the universal language of science and the demand for scientists to publish new discoveries in English.
Credit: Frank Wojciechowski

The words “permafrost,” “oxygen,” and “hydrogen” may look like the language of science, but these words really have Russian, Greek and French origins. So how is it that English has become the universal language of science? That is the question Michael Gordin, professor the history of science at Princeton, sets out to answer in his interview with PRI.

“If you look around the world in 1900, and someone told you, ‘Guess what the universal language of science will be in the year 2000?’ You would first of all laugh at them because it was obvious that no one language would be the language of science, but a mixture of French, German and English would be the right answer,” Gordin said in his interview.

Gordin goes on to describe how German – the dominant language of science – collapsed during WWI when a boycott was organized against scientists in Germany and Austria, prohibiting them from attending conferences or publishing in Western European journals. Pair this with the anti-German hysteria taking place in the United States and the rise of American scientific establishments, and you being to see how English started to take over as the universal language of science.

“And you have a set of people who don’t speak foreign languages,” said Gordin, “They’re comfortable in English, they read English, they can get by in English because the most exciting stuff in their mind is happening in English. So you end up with a very American-centric, and therefore very English-centric community of science after World War II.”

Here at ECS, due to our vast number of international members, we know science doesn’t conform to a specific mold or language. Through open access (OA) publication, we hope to break this rigidity and focus on the more important issue – the free dissemination of scientific research for the benefit of all. Find out more about ECS’ bold move toward open access publication and publish your paper as OA today.

Listen to Gordin’s full interview below.

The new solar battery stores power by "breathing" air to decompose and re-form lithium peroxide.Credit: Yiying Wu/Ohio State University

The new solar battery stores power by “breathing” air to decompose and re-form lithium peroxide.
Credit: Yiying Wu/Ohio State University

Is it a solar cell? Is it a rechargeable battery? Well, technically it’s both.

The scientists at Ohio State University have developed the world’s first solar battery that can recharge itself using light and air. The findings from the patent-pending device were published in the October 3, 2014 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

This from Ohio State University:

Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery.

Read the full article here.

The university plans to license the solar battery to industry.

“The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy,” said Yiying Wu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State University. “We’ve integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost.”

The device also tackles the issue of solar energy efficiency by eliminating the loss of electricity that normally occurs when electrons have to travel between a solar cell and an external battery. Where typically only 80 percent of electrons make it from the solar cell into the battery, the new solar battery saves nearly 100 percent of electrons.

Want to know more about what’s going on with solar batteries? Check out the latest research in ECS’s Digital Library and find out what our scientists think the future looks like.

ECS Connections to 2014 Physics Nobel Prize

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Shuji Nakamura, a professor at the University of California

Shuji Nakamura, the recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics and former ECS Plenary speaker, is awarded for his invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes.
Credit: Randall Lamb

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Shuji Nakamura, professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California and 2010 ECS Plenary speaker.

The prize is for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes, which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources, and is shared with ECS member Isamu Akasaki of Meijo University and Nagoya University, Japan; and Hiroshi Amano of Nagoya University.

In his plenary talk at the 218th ECS Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, Nakamura described the current status of III-nitride based light emitting diodes (LEDs) and laser diodes. Nitride-based white LEDs have been used for many application such as LCD TV backlight, lighting for inside/outside applications and others.

According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, when Nakamura, Akasaki and Amono “produced bright blue light beams from their semiconductors in the early 1990s, they triggered a fundamental transformation of lighting technology. Red and green diodes had been around for a long time, but without blue light, white lamps could not be created. Despite considerable efforts, both in the scientific community and in industry, the blue LED had remained a challenge for three decades.”

The LED lamp “holds great promise for increasing the quality of life for over 1.5 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity grids,” the academy continued.

Here’s a list of articles in the ECS Digital Library written by the 2014 Physics Nobel Prize Winners. You can look at them for free:

Hiroshi Amano and Isamu Akasaki

Widegap Column-III Nitride Semiconductors for UV/Blue Light Emitting Devices

Growth and Luminescence Properties of Mg-Doped GaN Prepared by MOVPE

Isamu Akasaki

Epitaxial Growth and Properties of AIxGal.xN by MOVPE

Etching Characteristics and Light Figures of the {111} Surfaces of GaAs

Shuji Nakamura

Piezoelectric Field in Semi-Polar InGaN/GaN Quantum Wells

Read more about Shuji Nakamura’s plenary talk.

Read more about 2014 Nobel Prize winners for Physics.

The transparent bandage displays an oxygen-sensitive colormap.Credit: Li/Wellman Center for Photomedicine

The transparent bandage displays an oxygen-sensitive colormap.
Credit: Li/Wellman Center for Photomedicine

A paint-on, see-through bandage – fully equipped with oxygenation sensors – has been developed with the purpose of better aiding wounded soldiers and improving the success of surgeries to restore limbs and physical functions.

Not only does it protect wounds and burns as any bandage should, but it also enables direct measurement and mapping of tissue oxygen.

The “smart” bandage was developed by an international, multidisciplinary team of researchers led by Assistant Professor Conor L. Evans at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine of Massachusetts Generall Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS). The group’s findings have been recently published in The Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express.

This from The Optical Society:

Now, the “smart” bandage developed by the team provides direct, noninvasive measurement of tissue oxygenation by combining three simple, compact and inexpensive components: a bright sensor molecule with a long phosphorescence lifetime and appropriate dynamic range; a bandage material compatible with the sensor molecule that conforms to the skin’s surface to form an airtight seal; and an imaging device capable of capturing the oxygen-dependent signals from the bandage with high signal-to-noise ratio.

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ECS Transactions

ECS Transactions (ECST) is the online database containing full-text content of proceedings from ECS meetings and ECS-sponsored meetings.

The 2014 ECS and SMEQ Joint International Meet “at meeting” issues of ECS Transactions have now been published. Have a look.

In addition, all reminding proceedings from the 225th Spring ECS Meeting in Orlando, FL have now been published in ECS Transactions.

4 New Job Postings in Electrochemistry

Find openings in your area via the ECS job board.

Find openings in your area via the ECS job board.

ECS’s job board keeps you up-to-date with the latest career opportunities in electrochemical and solid-state science. Check out the latest openings that have been added to the board:

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Photoelectrochemical Materials
The University of Toledo – Toledo, Ohio
The Ohio’s Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization at The University of Toledo, Ohio invites applications for a postdoctoral fellowship opportunity. The postdoctoral position is expected to conduct research in synthesis and characterization of oxide materials for the application of photoelectrochemical hydrogen production via water splitting.

Postdoctoral Position-Layered Semiconductor Materials
Temple University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A postdoctoral position is available in the Chemistry Department at Temple University. The position resides within the confines of a newly funded Department of Energy – Energy Frontier Research Center. The focus of the Center is the rational design of layered semiconductor materials for use in energy applications, such as water splitting and carbon dioxide reduction.

Chemistry Formulation Engineer (Electroplating)
Xtalic Corporation – Marlborough, Massachusetts
Xtalic Corporation, a dynamic, growing Boston-area company, develops commercial electrolytic processes that create new metal alloys based on nanotechnology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  We are seeking an energetic, results-oriented engineer to join our development team.

Membrane Technologist – Electrochemist for Fuel Cells
W.L. Gore – Elkton, Maryland
Gore is a technology-driven global company built on entrepreneurial innovation, integrity, and teamwork. Our diverse portfolio includes everything from high-performance fabrics and implantable medical devices to industrial manufacturing components and aerospace electronics. Through our product leadership, we’ve been changing lives and changing industries for more than 50 years.

Adequate Sanitation Is a Basic Human Right

The lack of adequate sanitation facilities accounts for 4,100 preventable deaths every day.Credit: Kofi Opoku, West Virginia University

The lack of adequate sanitation facilities accounts for 4,100 preventable deaths every day.
Credit: Kofi Opoku, West Virginia University

With our Energy and Water Summit right around the corner, we’ve only got one thing on our mind: poop.

Forty percent of the world’s population – 2.5 billion people – practice open defecation or lack adequate sanitation facilities, and the consequences can be devastating for human health as well as the environment.

The Electrochemical Society and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation know there is no easy solution to this problem, but we are dedicated to finding and funding innovative research to reinvent the sanitation infrastructure.

In Francis de los Reyes’ TEDTalk entitled, “Sanitation is a basic human right,” the environmental engineer and sanitation activist makes his case for the total reinvention of the sanitation landscape as we know it.

“For the past 14-years, I’ve been teaching crap,” Reyes says.

And that he has. Reyes has dedicated his time to studying and researching human waste. The problem is especially relevant in India, where open deification is putting citizens at major health risks.


This from Reuters:

Less than a third of India’s 1.2 billion people have access to sanitation and more than 186,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation, according to the charity WaterAid.

The United Nations said in May half of India’s people defecate outside – putting people at risk of cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid.

Read the full article here.

With India accounting for 818 million of the 2.5 billion people who lack adequate sanitation, most of the country’s rivers and lakes are polluted with sewage and industrial effluents.

So why can’t we just build western style flush-toilets in countries such as India?

“It’s just not possible,” Reyes says.

In these developing worlds, there is often time not enough water or energy to take on such a feat. Also, laying out sewer lines would cost governments tens of trillions of dollars.

Through our partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we hope to help solve these issues.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
-Arthur C. Clarke

Doctoral student Joseph Choi is pictured with a a multidirectional `perfect paraxial’ cloak using 4 lenses.Credit: University of Rochester Newscenter

Doctoral student Joseph Choi is pictured with a a multidirectional `perfect paraxial’ cloak using 4 lenses.
Credit: University of Rochester Newscenter

Scientists at the University of Rochester have developed a real-world invisibility cloak. This Harry Potter-esque cloak has the ability to hide objects from view, and is surprisingly inexpensive due to the readily available materials in its novel configuration.

“There’ve been many high tech approaches to cloaking and the basic idea behind these is to take light and have it pass around something as if it isn’t there, often using high-tech or exotic materials,” said John Howell, a professor of physics at the University of Rochester.

The Rochester Cloak is different from its predecessors, because unlike invisibility cloaks of the past, this cloak maintains an object’s invisibility even when the viewer changes his or her angle and creates a different viewpoint.

“This is the first device that we know of that can do three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking, which works for transmitting rays in the visible spectrum,” said Joseph Choi, a PhD student at Rochester’s Institute of Optics who is working with physics professor John Howell at the university.

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