The Zeolite Crystal Growth (ZCG) experiment got off to a successful start this week aboard the International Space Station.
Expedition Six Commander Ken Bowersox uses a portable plastic enclosure called the Maintenance Work Area on Dec. 16, 2002, to prepare Zeolite Crystal Growth sample tubes for processing. Hard as a rock, yet able to absorb liquids and gases like a sponge, zeolites form the backbone of the chemical processes industry on Earth. By using the International Space Stations microgravity environment to grow larger, better quality crystals, NASA and its commercial partners hope to improve petroleum manufacturing and other processes. (Credit: NASA/JSC)
Hard as a rock, yet able to absorb liquids and gases like a sponge, zeolites form the backbone of the chemical processes industry. Virtually all the world’s gasoline is produced or upgraded using zeolites. Improving zeolites could make gasoline production more efficient or lead to ways of storing clean-burning hydrogen for fuel. Zeolites can also be applied to detergents, optical cables, gas and vapor detectors for environmental monitoring.
The microgravity environment of the Space Station allows scientists to grow higher-quality crystals that are 100 to 500 times larger than normal for analysis and test the crystallization process in “slow motion” without being rushed by the effects of gravity.
Steve Roy | EurekAlert!
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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