BBC: Until now, liquids have been difficult to view at the same resolution as solids using transmission electron microscopes (TEMs), which require liquids to be placed in some sort of container. Silicon nitride or silicon oxide capsules are traditionally used, but they don’t provide a clear view to the liquid contained inside. Jong Min Yuk at the University of California, Berkeley and colleagues have shown that pockets formed in sheets of graphene can be used instead. Because graphene is so thin, it is very nearly transparent and allows for clear, atomic, resolution using TEMs. Yuk and his colleagues used cells made of graphene to observe the formation of platinum nanocrystals in solution. Their technique may allow observation of other nanometer-scale phenomena that take place in liquids.
Science: Yesterday Spain’s national government announced its long-delayed 2012 budget, which includes a severe 25% funding cut in scientific research. The Spanish scientific community was especially disappointed because the cuts were even larger than had been proposed last December and the decrease in science money is larger than the average drop in funding across all the ministries, which is around 17%, writes Elisabeth Pain for Science. This marks the third year in a row that scientists have seen a severe setback in funding.