New material ‘mines’ copper from toxic wastewater

New material 'mines' copper from toxic wastewater
From left: Schematic diagram of a ZIOS network; and a SEM (scanning electron microscopy) image of a ZIOS-copper sample on a silicon wafer. Credit: Berkeley Lab

We rely on water to quench our thirst and to irrigate bountiful farmland. But what do you do when that once pristine water is polluted with wastewater from abandoned copper mines?

A promising solution relies on materials that capture heavy metal atoms, such as copper ions, from wastewater through a separation process called adsorption. But commercially available copper-ion-capture products still lack the chemical specificity and load capacity to precisely separate heavy metals from water.

Now, a team of scientists led by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has designed a new material—called ZIOS (zinc imidazole salicylaldoxime)—that targets and traps copper ions from wastewater with unprecedented precision and speed. In a paper recently published in the journal Nature Communications, the

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Genes that give plant nucleus its shape discovered, also regulate copper tolerance — ScienceDaily

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have identified how the architecture of the cell nucleus can change gene activity in plants. This discovery reveals fundamental knowledge about genome regulation and points towards future methods for potentially manipulating the expression of many genes simultaneously.

The long strands of DNA and the protein machinery needed to turn gene expression on or off are contained, floating within the nuclei of cells. The nucleus is essentially a sack made of a flexible, double-membrane envelope that is supported by an inner, fine-mesh frame of proteins called the nuclear lamina.

“DNA does not drift aimlessly within the nucleus. We expect that there is nonrandom spatial positioning of genes around the nuclear lamina,” said Professor Sachihiro Matsunaga who led the research project from the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, recently published in Nature Communications.

Gene regulation is often studied at the one-dimensional level

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Ultrapure copper for an ultrasensitive dark matter detector

Ultrapure copper for an ultrasensitive dark matter detector
The SNOBOX — the device designed to detect dark matter particles for the SuperCDMS experiment — will use nesting copper cans similar to this one, which was used in the progenitor CDMS experiment at Soudan. Credit: Dan Bauer, Fermilab

In February and March, three batches of copper plates arrived at Fermilab and were rushed into storage 100 meters underground. The copper had been mined in Finland, rolled into plates in Germany and shipped across land and sea to the lab—all within 120 days. In the quest to detect dark matter, the mysterious substance making up 85% of the matter in the universe, every day that the copper spent above ground mattered.

“At the surface of the Earth, we’re in a shower of cosmic rays,” said Fermilab scientist Dan Bauer.

When these high-energy particles originating from space strike a copper atom, they can knock out protons and neutrons to produce another

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