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Rare Earth Metals in Smartphones Can Now Be Tracked

Extracting rare earths from the environment or from industrial samples, like waste water from mines or coal waste products, is generally very challenging and expensive.

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To develop the sensor, the researchers from Pennsylvania State University in the US used a protein they recently described and subsequently used to explore the biology of bacteria that use lanthanides. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a new protein-based sensor that can detect lanthanides, the rare earth metals used in smartphones and other technologies, in a more efficient and cost-effective way.

The sensor changes its fluorescence when it binds to these metals, according to the study published online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The protein undergoes a shape change when it binds to lanthanides, which is key for the sensor’s fluorescence to “turn on”, said the study.

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“These elements are called rare earths, and they include chemical elements of atomic weight 57 to 71 on the periodic table,” Cotruvo added. Pixabay

To develop the sensor, the researchers from Pennsylvania State University in the US used a protein they recently described and subsequently used to explore the biology of bacteria that use lanthanides.

“Lanthanides are used in a variety of current technologies, including the screens and electronics of smartphones, batteries of electric cars, satellites, and lasers,” said Joseph Cotruvo, Assistant Professor at Penn State and senior author of the study.

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The sensor changes its fluorescence when it binds to these metals, according to the study published online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Pixabay

“These elements are called rare earths, and they include chemical elements of atomic weight 57 to 71 on the periodic table,” Cotruvo added.

Also Read: Talks With IMF To Lower Natural Gas Price, The New President in Ukraine Takes Charge

Extracting rare earths from the environment or from industrial samples, like waste water from mines or coal waste products, is generally very challenging and expensive.

“We developed a protein-based sensor that can detect tiny amounts of lanthanides in a sample, letting us know if it’s worth investing resources to extract these important metals,” Cotruvo said. (IANS)

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Mobile Networks Suspending Orders for Huawei Smartphones: Report

The US export ban has forced Google to cut Huawei’s new devices off from its Android ecosystem

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Logo of Huawei is seen on the advert in front of the local offices of Huawei in Warsaw, Poland, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

Mobile networks in Asia and Europe have issued suspending orders for Huawei smartphones following the US decision last week to restrict the company’s access to American technology, the media reported.

The inclusion of Huawei on an export blacklist means the Chinese company can no longer source software or components from US suppliers without a license. Existing devices are unaffected but the restrictions threaten future Huawei products and its leading position in building super-fast next generation 5G networks, CNN reported.

Vodafone, the world’s second largest mobile operator, said on Wednesday that it had paused pre-orders in the UK for the Huawei Mate 20X (5G) smartphone.

“This is a temporary measure while uncertainty exists regarding new Huawei 5G devices,” a company spokesperson told CNN Business.

The UK’s biggest carrier, EE, is also delaying the introduction of Huawei’s new smartphones. The company had touted the Mate 20X in a preview of its 5G network last week.

Japan’s top mobile operators took similar steps against another device, the Huawei P30 Lite, earlier on Wednesday. The phone was scheduled to launch in the country later this month.

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A woman stands at a Huawei booth featuring 5G technology at the PT Expo in Beijing, China, Sept. 28, 2018. VOA

Leading Japanese telecoms firm NTT Docomo announced that it has stopped taking reservations for the phone, and is “looking into the impact of the US restrictions”, Docomo spokesperson Yoshikumi Kuroda said.

Rival carriers KDDI and SoftBank Corp. said they will delay the release of the new Huawei phone.

The suspension of orders is the first tangible evidence that US President Donald Trump’s administration’s latest escalation of its campaign against Huawei on grounds of national security is hurting the company’s business, CNN reported.

Also Read- Britain’s First 5G Service to be Launched in May

Huawei overtook Apple last year to become the world’s No. 2 smartphone brand behind Samsung, and it relies on markets outside of China for half of its sales.

The US export ban has forced Google to cut Huawei’s new devices off from its Android ecosystem.

A temporary reprieve by the US Commerce Department allows Google to service existing Huawei devices for the next 90 days. (IANS)