Science & Tech

U of A chemists confirm importance of nano-sizing silicon to improve lithium ion batteries.

14
January
2019

University of Alberta chemists have taken a critical step toward creating a new generation of silicon-based lithium ion batteries with 10 times the charge capacity of current cells.

“We wanted to test how different sizes of silicon nanoparticles could affect fracturing inside these batteries,” said Jillian Buriak, a U of A chemist and Canada Research Chair in Nanomaterials for Energy.

Silicon shows promise for building much higher-capacity batteries because it’s abundant and can absorb much more lithium than the graphite used in current lithium ion batteries. The problem is that silicon is prone to fracturing and breaking after numerous charge-and-discharge cycles, because it expands and contracts as it absorbs and releases lithium ions.

Existing research shows that shaping silicon into nano-scale particles, wires or tubes hel...

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18
January
2019

Four reasons to look to the skies in 2019

A lunar eclipse, a momentous anniversary and great views of four planets in our solar system make this a good year for stargazing, says U of A astrophysicist.

The skies of 2019 will light up with lots for stargazers to enjoy, especially at the beginning and end of the year, says a University of Alberta astrophysicist. “There are a lot of interesting
17
January
2019

New U of A laser technology shows promise to treat leading causes of blindness

Nir Katchinskiy launches startup to bring new treatment technique to market.

A platform that combines cutting-edge diagnostic tools and ultra-fast laser technology developed at the University of Alberta could usher in a new era of non-invasive medical interventions for eye
16
January
2019

Biochar can be tailor-made for range of environmental benefits, research shows

Soil-enriching charcoal can be optimized for agriculture, water treatment or even carbon storage.

A low-cost, versatile type of charcoal known as biochar can be tailored for specific uses including treating water, removing contaminants from soil and even storing carbon, according to new research
10
January
2019

Making AI accountable easier said than done, says U of A expert

As artificial intelligence reshapes society, experts discuss how to make it transparent and accountable to the people it’s meant to serve.

If you had to program a self-driving car, which option would you choose if only two were available: hit a pedestrian who suddenly appears in front of the vehicle or veer off into a baby carriage on
09
January
2019

U of A students create probiotic to help honeybees fight deadly fungus

Student team taking steps to commercialize their product that took first prize in international genetic engineering competition.

A team of University of Alberta students are hoping to market a probiotic they created to help honeybees ward off a fungal infection that has wiped out entire hives. APIS, short for “antifungal
08
January
2019

Computer simulation sheds new light on colliding stars

First-ever 3-D model by U of A astrophysicist provides fuller picture of what happens when two neutron stars collide.

Unprecedented detail of the aftermath of a collision between two neutron stars depicted in a 3-D computer model created by a University of Alberta astrophysicist provides a better understanding of
24
December
2018

The top 10 stories of 2018

A critical look at NAFTA, the fate of Scientology and an alarming sign of climate change topped this year’s most-read headlines.

1. COMMENTARY || Should Canada give up on NAFTA? Yes. Political economist Gordon Laxer argued that NAFTA amounted to little more than a “corporate rights agreement” that was preventing Canada from
20
December
2018

Tiny zooplankton could help predict how climate change will affect mountain lakes: study

U of A biologists find that zooplankton are excellent indicators of health for alpine lakes in North America.

The best tool for assessing the health of mountain lakes comes in a very small package, according to new research by University of Alberta biologists. “Our work shows that alpine zooplankton
20
December
2018

The top 10 research stories of 2018

U of A researchers made promising inroads against cancer and MS, unearthed new insights into climate change and shed light on mysteries from ancient history to the far reaches of the universe.

1. Once thriving Church of Scientology faces extinction, says cult tracker High-profile celebrity defections, exposed secrets and rigid adherence to outmoded social attitudes could spell the end
19
December
2018

Snowed in: Wolves stay put when it’s snowing, study shows

U of A biologists examine impact of snowfall events on wolves in northeastern Alberta.

Wolves travel shorter distances and move slower during snowfall events, according to new research by University of Alberta biologists. The effects were most pronounced at night, when wolves hunt,
19
December
2018

Why AI robot toys could be good for kids

A new generation of AI-powered robots could help children learn digital-age skills—and may even encourage empathy, says U of A machine learning expert.

A new generation of robot toys with personalities powered by artificial intelligence could give kids more than just a holiday plaything, according to a University of Alberta researcher. Unlike