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Blog Category: Research

NIST's Second 'Quantum Logic Clock' is Now World's Most Precise Clock

Image of clock compared to the size of a quarter. Click for larger image.

Physicists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built an enhanced version of an experimental atomic clock based on a single aluminum atom that is now the world’s most precise clock, more than twice as precise as the previous pacesetter based on a mercury atom. The new clock is the second version of NIST’s “quantum logic clock,” so called because it borrows the logical processing used for atoms storing data in experimental quantum computing, another major focus of the same NIST research group. (More)

NOAA, Google Join Forces to Visualize Scientific Data

NOAA logo. Click to go to NOAA home page.

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and Google have signed a cooperative research and development agreement outlining how they will work together to create state-of-the-art visualizations of scientific data to illustrate how our planet works. Under the agreement, NOAA and Google plan to work together on research and development to join NOAA’s oceanographic, meteorological, biological, and climatological data with Google’s software capabilities. The wide availability of Google’s Internet tools has the potential to bring visualizations of NOAA data to new audiences around the world. (More)

NOAA Produces Images of Haiti for First Responders

Photo of plane. Click for larger image.

A specially-equipped NOAA jet conducted aerial surveys of earthquake-stricken Haiti on Jan. 17 and 18 as part of the agency’s effort to help responders assess damage and plan recovery efforts. The aircraft is equipped with high-resolution digital cameras and other sensors that collect data vital to disaster response, scientific research and environmental resource management efforts. “NOAA maintains some of the nation’s premier emergency response services,” said Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We are proud to be of service in offering experts and expertise to help the people of Haiti during this heartbreaking time.” (More) (Haiti Earthquake Relief Web site)

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Announces Plans for Forum on R&D Commercialization at Universities

Locke at podium. Click for larger image.

Photo: National Press Club

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today his plans to host a forum with university leaders and key stakeholders on the roles of universities in innovation, economic development, job creation, and commercialization of federally funded research next month in Washington, D.C. “It’s not tenable for the United States to continue with the status quo,” Locke said at the Kauffman Foundation’s State of Entrepreneurship event. (More) (Remarks)

NIST Awards $27 Million in Recovery Act Grants to Construct New Research Facilities

Artist's drawing of proposed facility at Nova Southeastern Niversity. Click for larger image.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded more than $123 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to support the construction of new scientific research facilities at 11 universities and one non-profit research organization. With ultimate research targets ranging from off-shore wind power and coral reef ecology to quantum physics and nanotechnology, the 12 projects will launch more than $250 million in new laboratory construction projects beginning early this year. (More)

Glider Completes Historic Crossing: New Technology Advances Climate Understanding

Photo of the Scarlet Knight. Click for larger image.

The first-ever 7,300-mile Atlantic Ocean crossing by an unmanned underwater glider is opening up a new world of ocean technology. A ceremony on Dec. 9 in Baiona, Spain, will celebrate the partnership effort among the U.S. interagency Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) through Rutgers University, NOAA, Puertos Del Estado (Spanish Port Authority), the National Oceanographic Partnership Program, and other European partners. “It is through efforts like this that we will continue to learn more about the wonders of the ocean at a critical time for our planet,” said Richard Spinrad, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research. (More)

NOAA: North American 2008 Cooling Attributed to Natural Causes

NOAA map

Cooler North American temperatures in 2008 resulted from a strong natural effect, and the overall warming trend that has been observed since 1970 is likely to resume, according to university and NOAA scientists. “Our work shows that there can be cold periods, but that does not mean the end of global warming. The recent coolness was caused by transitory natural factors that temporarily masked the human-caused signal,” said Judith Perlwitz, lead author of the study and a researcher with the Cooperative Institute for Research Environmental Sciences, and NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory. (More)

NIST: Small Nanoparticles Bring Big Improvement to Medical Imaging

Human red blood cells, in which membrane proteins are targeted and labeled with quantum dots, reveal the clustering behavior of the proteins. The number of purple features, which indicate the nuclei of malaria parasites, increases as malaria development progresses. The NIST logo at bottom was made by a photo lithography technique on a thin film of quantum dots, taking advantage of the property that clustered dots exhibit increased photoluminescence. (White bars: 1 μm; red: 10 μm.)

Credit: H. Kang / NIST and F. Tokumasu / NIAID

Click for larger image.

A joint research team, working at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has discovered a method of using nanoparticles to illuminate the cellular interior to reveal these slow processes. Nanoparticles, thousands of times smaller than a cell, have a variety of applications. One type of nanoparticle called a quantum dot glows when exposed to light. These semiconductor particles can be coated with organic materials, which are tailored to be attracted to specific proteins within the part of a cell a scientist wishes to examine. (More)

NOAA Scientists Undertake In-Flight Study of Global Levels of Greenhouse Gas Distribution

Image of research plane with mountains in the background. Click for larger image.

Scientists from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began the second phase of a mission that will provide a detailed view of how carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are distributed globally. “Missions such as this one are critical to understanding the impacts of greenhouse gases and particulates,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., NOAA Administrator. “The data collected are also essential to help verify if policies to reduce these heat trapping pollutants are having their intended effect.” (More)

Therapeutic Nanoparticles Offer Potential as Cancer-Killers

NIST logo. Click for image: An iron-centered nanoparticle (left) has a coating of the sugar dextran, whose tendrils prevent groups of the particles from clumping. When tumor cells ingest them (right), the particles still congregate closely enough to share heat when stimulated by a magnetic field, killing the cells. White arrow indicates a red blood cell.

A research team at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) studying sugar-coated nanoparticles for use as a possible cancer therapy, has uncovered a delicate balancing act that makes the particles more effective than conventional thinking says they should be. In cooperation with The Johns Hopkins University, Dartmouth College, the University of Manitoba and two biopharmaceutical companies, the NIST team has demonstrated that the particles are potent cancer-killers because they interact with one another in ways that smaller nanoparticles do not. Click on NIST logo above for image and description or here. (More)