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2-D devices may be possible soon

Rice University scientists have come closer to creating two-dimensional electronics with a process to make patterns in atom-thick layers that combine a conductor and an insulator.

The materials at play – graphene and hexagonal boron nitride – have been merged into sheets and built into a variety of patterns at nanoscale dimensions.

Rice introduced a technique to stitch the identically structured materials together nearly three years ago. Since then, the idea has received a lot of attention from researchers interested in the prospect of building 2-D, atomic-layer circuits, said Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan, who is one of the authors of the new work.

In particular, Ajayan noted that Cornell University scientists reported an advance late last year on the art of making atomic-layer heterostructures through sequential growth schemes. This week’s contribution by Rice offers manufacturers the possibility of shrinking electronic devices into even smaller packages.

Graphene-based electronics require similar, compatible 2-D materials for other components, and researchers have found hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) works nicely as an insulator.

H-BN looks like graphene, with the same chicken-wire atomic array. The earlier work at Rice showed that merging graphene and h-BN via chemical vapor deposition (CVD) created sheets with pools of the two that afforded some control of the material’s electronic properties.

How to disinfect your home from flu and cold viruses

A self-described germ freak has revealed that cold and flu viruses can stay alive on surfaces for up to three hours. And there are certain spots in our homes that are particularly infested. So click through the slideshow below to learn the 7 best ways to rid your house of what’s been “going around.”

Allison Janse, co-author of ‘The Germ Freak’s Guide To Outwitting Colds and Flu’, starts with advising people to throw disposable paper towels – use throw-away cleaning tools exclusively while there are sick people at home. If you do use a sponge or brush to wash dishes, clean these items in your dishwasher every day.

 Scrub the bathroom sink – this area is a flu and cold hotspot, so make sure to disinfect it well. Clean out the bowl, faucet and knobs with a disinfectant on a daily basis. And make sure to pay careful attention to a communal toothbrush holder, the Huffington Post reported.

 In fact, it’s best not to store your family’s toothbrushes together so there is no cross-contamination, and don’t share the toothpaste either. It goes without saying to replace your toothbrush or boil it in the microwave after your sickness as well. Lastly, don’t forget to wipe the bathroom’s light switch and doorknob.

Waste heat from cities affect temperature in many places

In a new study that shows the extent to which human activities are influencing the atmosphere, scientists have concluded that the heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas alters the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems.

This affects temperatures across thousands of miles, significantly warming some areas and cooling others, according to the study.

The extra “waste heat” generated from buildings, cars, and other sources in major Northern Hemisphere urban areas causes winter warming across large areas of northern North American and northern Asia.

Temperatures in some remote areas increase by as much as 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the research by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego; Florida State University; and theNational Center for Atmospheric Research.

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