Tag Archives: chemistry

A newly discovered form of communication between the bees and plants

A flower's electric field, right, with associated electric potential on the left. (Credit: Dominic Clarke)

A flower’s electric field, right, with associated electric potential on the left. (Credit: Dominic Clarke)

Researchers have found that bees and plants have a kind of “talk” in the form of weak electrical signals that help the bees to know about the nectar.

This research has been published online in the journal Science.

Plants have the ability to emit weak electrical signals as they have a negative electrical charge. On the other hand, bees’ flapping wings produce a positive electrical charge of up to 200 volts as they move from one flower to another flower.

In order to detect whether the bees are affected by the electrical charges of the plants or not, researchers exposed the bees to the artificial flowers. They charged electrically, half of the flowers along with the sugary reward and found that the bees started visiting the flowers with electrical charges while ignoring the others. When the researchers switched off the charges, bees started visiting the flowers randomly, showing that the bees respond to the electrical signals.

“Animals are just constantly surprising us as to how good their senses are,” Dominic Clarke, lead author of the study told the BBC. “More and more we’re starting to see that nature’s senses are almost as good as they could possibly be.”

Bees are attracted towards the flowers not only due to the fragrance and electrical signals but also due to the presence of bright colors and it has been found that bees see colors three times faster than humans. This attraction of bees towards the flowers is not only helpful for bees to get nectar for honey but also helpful for flowers to spread their pollens. Continue reading

Accidental finding of the growth of the molecules into microtubes

Scientists, accidently, found the mechanism by which the tiny single molecules grow into centimeter-long microtubes, when they leave the dish for a different experiment in the refrigerator.

This research was published in the journal Small.

In order to find the mechanism through which the small molecules grow into microtubes, researchers used various techniques including microscopy and spectroscopy techniques and work on the process from the nano to micro scale.

Microtubes (Credit: Small)

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Proton’s radius is 4% smaller than the previous estimates of 0.88 femtometers

ProtonScientists have reassured that the proton is 4% smaller than the previous research findings.

This research has been published online in the journal Science.

Although the new research has decreased the weight of the proton but the same new research has increased the chances of finding the new particles and/or forces.

Before 2010, there were only two methods for measuring the size of the proton. One was firing the electron beams at protons and measuring the deflection, and the other method was studying the behavior of electrons in hydrogen atoms. Both the methods showed that the radius of proton is nearly 0.88 femtometers, or 0.88 quadrillionths of a meter.

In 2010, scientists developed a new technique to check the proton size in which the muons, instead of electrons, were studied in hydrogen atoms. Muons are the elementary particles with 200 times the mass of the electron. After using this new technique, physicist Aldo Antognini at ETH Zurich and his team published a paper in Nature in which they reported that the proton’s radius is 0.84 femtometers i.e. about 4% less than previous measurements. Continue reading

Record breaking performance of Battery utilizing Nanotechnology


Scientists from Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have broken the previous record of energy storage by using the “yolk-shell” design in lithium-ion battery with sulfur cathode.

This research has been published online in the January 8th issue of the journal Nature Communications.

With this design, scientists stored five times more energy in the sulfur cathode of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery than usually is stored in the conventional batteries. Not only this but the cathode efficiency was also much improved with high level of performance, i.e. Coulombic efficiency of 98.4%, even after 1,000 charge/discharge cycles while today’s lithium ion batteries retain only 80% of the starting capacity after 500 charge/discharge cycles. Continue reading