Mining for gold with a laptop

Engineers from Texas A&M University and Virginia Tech record important new insights into nanoporous gold — a cloth with growing packages in several areas, such as energy garage and biomedical devices — all without moving into a lab. Instead of undertaking additional experiments, the team used an image-evaluation software program advanced in-residence to “mine” the prevailing literature on nanoporous gold (NPG). Specifically, the software analyzed photos of NPG from some a hundred and fifty peer-reviewed papers, quickly measuring key features of the material that the researchers then correlated with written descriptions of how the samples had been organized. One of the results? A recipe, of sorts, for how to make NPG with precise traits.

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“We were able to return out a quantitative regulation that explains how you could change NPG functions by way of changing the processing instances and temperatures,” stated Ian McCue, a postdoctoral researcher inside the Texas A&M Department of Materials Science and Engineering. McCue is the lead writer of a paper published online inside the April 30 difficulty of Scientific Reports. The crew also identified a new parameter associated with NPG that might be used to tune the material for particular applications. “Before our paintings, engineers knew of 1 tunable ‘knob’ for NPG. Now we have a 2d one that might deliver us even extra manage over the cloth’s residences,” said Josh Stucker, a graduate pupil at Virginia Tech and co-writer of the paper. Stucker developed the software that allowed the new insights.

Other authors are Dr. Michael J. Demkowicz, companion professor inside the materials technology and engineering department at Texas A&M, and Dr. Mitsu Murayama, accomplice professor at Virginia Tech. Nanoporous gold has been studied for some 15 years. Still, little is recognized about its bodily characteristics and the limits of its tunability for specific applications, the group writes in Scientific Reports.

The fabric is a 3-dimensional porous community of interweaving strands or ligaments. Multiple ligaments, in turn, connect at factors known as nodes. All of these features are almost unimaginably small. Stucker notes, for instance, that some of the smaller pores would suit approximately three strands of DNA facet via the aspect. As a result, McCue said the overall structure is very complicated. It has been tough and time-consuming to degree capabilities like the lengths between nodes and the diameters of ligaments. But Stockner’s software has modified that.

“Manually, it’d take 20 mins to over an hour to the degree the functions related to one picture,” Stucker said. “We can do it in a minute, or maybe simply inform the laptop to measure an entire slew of images whilst we walk away.”

Earlier tries to degree NPG functions led to minimal statistics sets of 5 or six information points. The Texas A&M/Virginia Tech crew has checked out around 80 information points. That, in turn, allowed the team to create a brand new quantitative description of NPG capabilities associated with extraordinary processing strategies. All that without doing any actual experiments, simply clever statistics-mining and evaluation, stated McCue.

The work has additionally led to new ebook hints for destiny researchers. Of the two,000 papers the team at first analyzed, the simplest 150 had useful statistics.

“We had to throw out several statistics due to negative image first-class or a lack of written information on how a given NPG become processed,” McCue said. “The new hints could save you that, ultimately allowing higher statistics mining not most effective for NPG but different materials.”

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