SciTech Briefs

Large Hadron Collider breaks own record

Last Friday, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) managed to accelerate two beams of protons up to 3.5 trillion electron volts, breaking its own previously set record. Last November, the LHC had accelerated particles up to 1.18 trillion electron volts, beating all records set by other particle accelerators.

CERN, the European institute that currently controls the LHC, has announced that it will try to cause two of the high-energy beams to collide with each other, producing an energy of 7 trillion electron volts. The particle accelerator will attempt to simulate the amount of energy and the events that happened during the Big Bang.

CERN plans to release a schedule of when it will carry out this collision soon. This collision will perhaps be the last high-energy collision in the LHC before it shuts down in 2012 for servicing and repair. The LHC will remain out of operation for around 18 to 24 months before it can resume working again.

Source: Scientific American

Scientists show light can twist nanofibers

Researchers at the University of Michigan have discovered light is capable of twisting strings of nanoparticles. In the study published in the journal Science, nanoparticles of cadmium telluride were observed when kept in the light and when left in the dark. After 24 hours in the light, these particles formed long, flat ribbons. After 72 hours, the ribbons had twisted and had formed clumps. When the particles were kept in the dark, they formed flat ribbons but did not twist. The researchers have proposed that light causes the nanoribbons to twist by causing strong repulsion between the individual nanoparticles in the ribbon.

This discovery could have a number of applications in diverse fields. Light-controlled electromechanical systems could be created to help processes such as microchip assembly. Scientists are also studying the effect of light on other shapes of nanoparticle aggregates, such as spiral-shaped aggregates. If the spirals are able to rotate, they can be used for drug delivery into humans.

Source: ScienceDaily

Mediterranean diet linked to fertility

Studies performed on couples undergoing fertility treatment showed that women who were on a Mediterranean-style diet had higher chances of getting pregnant. A Mediterranean diet contains large amounts of vegetables, vegetable oils, and fish — those on such a diet were 40 percent more likely to become pregnant than those who were not on a similar diet.

The study was conducted on 161 couples undergoing fertility treatment in the Netherlands and was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility. The results were generated after the couples were asked to fill out questionnaires regarding their eating habits. Most women either had a Mediterranean-style diet or a health-conscious diet, which was high in fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, and beans. The study discovered that the health-conscious diet did not have a significant effect on the chances of pregnancy, but that the Mediterranean diet significantly increased chances of pregnancy.

Source: Reuters