April 24, 2001

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Nanotechnology offers a potential wellspring of benefits, from palm-sized supercomputers to synthesized antibodies to molecular-scale robots. These devices would be constructed from the ground up using building blocks that are billionths of a meter in size.  Now, scientists have taken a major step toward realizing this hope, concocting a relatively simple recipe for making nanocrystals that allows for the all-important control of crystal size and shape.

A third of the carbon currently emitted by human activity -- roughly two billion metric tons each year -- is absorbed in the oceans, but the process is not well understood.  To better understand the ocean's carbon cycle, the nation's first robotic carbon observers -- designed to descend to kilometer depths and collect information on the role of plankton and other living things -- have been launched in the northern Pacific Ocean.

The global market for disposable diapers is $20 billion annually, but manufacturers face a challenge.  To keep the baby dry, the diaper must be able to take up a large quantity of liquid and then, "hold it under load" as the baby moves around.  Recently, the people who manufacture the superabsorbent polymers used in disposable baby diapers came to the Lab's Advanced Light Source in search of knowledge on how to make a better baby diaper.


Energy Myths:
The energy crisis has bred multiple myths -- about the efficiency of halogen and fluorescent lighting, about vacuuming refrigerator coils, the efficiency of electric heating, and more. Our researchers debunk 11 energy myths.

A new breast cancer gene has been found that can affect natural restrictions on cell growth, thus increasing the chances for malignancy.

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