Bomb dropped on Hiroshima was far more dangerous than thought

Scientists have found evidence that the Hiroshima bomb may have killed many more people than we realize.

The bomb that was dropped on the Japanese city of Herioshima back in 1945 obliterated about 80,000 people, and the lingering effects of radiation continued to kill tens of thousands more. But a new report claims that the bomb may have been far more devastating than we give it credit for.

The study, published by Brazilian scientists in the journal PLoS One, involved using a technique called “electron spin resonance spectroscopy” to determine the true devastation of the mob. They found the Hiroshima bombing contained 9.46 grays of radiation, which compares to one or two Gy absorbed over a few hours that is enough to cause radiation sickness, and four to five Gy being fatal.

“We used a technique known as electron spin resonance spectroscopy to perform retrospective dosimetry. Currently, there’s renewed interest in this kind of methodology due to the risk of terrorist attacks in countries like the United States,” Oswaldo Baffa, Full Professor at the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto School of Philosophy, Science & Letters, said in a statement.

New process could reveals mechanism behind smartphone battery fires

Scientists have discovered a process that could limit, and potentially end, overheating in smartphones

A group of researchers from Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory may have discovered why smartphone batteries overheat and catch fire, according to a new research published in the journal Science.

In the study, the team used cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) — a process where samples are flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen — to study lithium batteries. That then shed light on finger-like growths called dendrites, which can breach battery compartment barriers and cause both short circuits and fires.

The new process, which won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year, could give scientists a new way to look at molecules at the atomic scale, even when they are moving.

“This is super exciting and opens up amazing opportunities,” said lead author Yi Cui, a researcher from the National Accelerator Laboratory SLAC, in a statement. “With cryo-EM, you can look at a material that’s fragile and chemically unstable and you can preserve its pristine state – what it looks like in a real battery ­– and look at it under high resolution.”

To study these properties, the researchers looked at how lithium metal dendrites and their coatings reacted with various electrolytes. This showed that, while dendrites are crystalline when viewed at the atomic level, they form solid structures as they grow. In addition, scientists found that when they added a chemical known to improve performance to the coating, it became more orderly. That could then prevent dendrites and shut down potential overheating. 

This is the first time researchers have been able to study dendrites as they form. As a result, the information in the study could help stop overheating and create safer batteries in the future.

However, there is still a long way to go. While the study is a step in the right direction, many more trials need to be run on the new process. If that goes well, it could then lead to huge technological advancements, such as electric cars that can go weeks on a single charge.

“We were really excited. said study co-author Yanbin Li, a researcher at Stanford University, according to Science Alert. “This was the first time we were able to get such detailed images of a dendrite, and we also saw the nanostructure of the SEI layer for the first time. This tool can help us understand what different electrolytes do and why certain ones work better than others.”

Liquid metal could help lead to faster electronics

Researchers have found a technique that creates extremely thin metal for use in electronics.

A team of researchers from RMIT University have uncovered a new technique to make atomically thin flakes of different materials, a process that could lead to faster, more efficient electronics.

In this method, certain metals are dissolved in liquid metal. Then, the resulting super-thin oxide layer is peeled off and can be used for various purposes. While it has not been extensively tested yet, the technique is predicted to work on roughly one-third of the periodic table.

As a proof of concept, scientists have used the method to create hafnium oxide with a thickness of just three atoms. That is roughly five to ten times thinner than hafnium oxide layers produced with other techniques. To get that thinness, researchers worked with the material for 18 long months.

“Here we found an extraordinary, yet very simple method to create atomically thin flakes of materials that don’t naturally exist as layered structures,” said study co-author Dr Torben Daeneke, a researcher at RMIT’s School of Engineering, according to Gizmodo Australia.

To do this, scientists use non-toxic alloys of gallium — a metal similar to aluminum — as a reaction medium to cover the surface of the liquid metal with atomically thin oxide layers of the added metal rather than the naturally occurring gallium oxide. Then, they exfoliate the oxide layer by touching the liquid metal with a smooth surface. Not only that but, as gallium alloy is liquid at room temperature, the process can be done safely at ambient conditions.

The new research is important because it could help scientists create semiconducting and dielectric components. Both of those are key for a lot of current technology. By making such components extremely thin, the team may be able to create stronger, more energy efficient electronics. The products could have applications in devices like batteries as well.

“The most important outcome of our work is that we introduce liquid metals as a reaction solvent which opens the door to a whole new type of chemistry,” added Daeneke, according to Yahoo News.

The recent findings are outlined in the journal Science.