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Bubble Power

Tiny bubbles imploded by sound waves can make hydrogen nuclei fuse—and may one day become a revolutionary new energy source

15 min read
Photo of bubbles
Image: Sarkis Images/Alamy

For more than half a century, thermonuclear fusion has held out the promise of cheap, clean, and virtually limitless energy. Unleashed through a fusion reactor of some sort, the energy from 1 gram of deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen, would be equivalent to that produced by burning 7000 liters of gasoline. Deuterium is abundant in ocean water, and one cubic kilometer of seawater could, in principle, supply all the world’s energy needs for several hundred years.

So why haven’t we built any such reactors? Basically, because after spending billions of dollars on research, we have yet to identify an economically viable fusion-reactor technology that can consistently produce more energy than it consumes. Today, researchers are using enormous lasers or powerful magnetic fields to trigger limited fusion reactions among deuterium and other hydrogen isotopes. Results are promising and yet still modest—and so the challenge remains.

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Entangling Quantum Sensors Can Triple Accuracy

“Spooky sensing at a distance” via one combined device

3 min read
two pieces of light connected to each other
Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Using the strange quantum phenomenon known as entanglement, which Einstein dubbed “spooky action at a distance,” a new study reveals that scientists now can network multiple quantum sensors to form one united device. The findings could improve quantum sensors for a multitude of applications, such as helping detect hidden underground resources and structures for mining and the military, researchers say.

Quantum sensors are capable of performing tasks such as detecting the magnetic fields of thoughts with unprecedented levels of sensitivity. These devices rely on quantum effects such as entanglement, wherein multiple particles essentially act in sync regardless of how far apart they are. Quantum effects are incredibly vulnerable to outside interference, a fact that quantum sensors capitalize on to help detect the slightest disturbances in their surroundings.

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NYU Spearheads Project to Help Chemical Industry Go Green

NYU leads multi-year project to reduce carbon emissions in chemical manufacturing

5 min read
Renewable energy
NYU Tandon School of Engineering

A team at New York University's Tandon School of Engineering is playing a key role in forging a collaboration involving over a dozen US universities and national laboratories aimed at sparking — literally — a fundamental change in how the US chemical industry operates.

The goal is to address the most daunting task looming over the industry: how to make industrial chemistry — especially petrochemistry — greener and more sustainable, partly to meet the escalating demands of greenhouse emission regulations. The nascent, multi-institutional effort will be called “Decarbonizing Chemical Manufacturing Using Sustainable Electrification," or DC-MUSE.

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