June 27, 2009

Changes That Will Allow Vastly Improved Small Nuclear Reactors to be Developed

Dan Yurman at Idaho Samizdat has several recommendations for improving the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and actions for small and large nuclear reactor companies

1. Change the formula by which the NRC recovers costs from small reactors for design certification reviews. Instead of requiring the start-ups to pay for all of the costs, require them to pay for a complete application.

2. Establish a line item appropriation to fund the NRC to conduct the design certification reviews of new reactors that are docketed and which meet certain technical criteria. Examples include power (less than 500 MW), the benefits of simplified design and below grade installation, in terms of reduced risk of coolant and core damage accidents, less fuel handling due to longer period of burn up of initial fuel load, and so on.

3. Large reactor vendors are well positioned to help sell and service these reactor designs once they are certified by the NRC.

4. The small reactors should consider forming a trade group to promote their interests which includes legislative proposals like this one. The cost of a lawyer and an engineer in Washington, DC, for a year probably could be had for less than $500,000. These firms should also form technical and regulatory working groups to provide input to the NRC on how it could streamline the current reactor design certification process for their innovative reactors without compromising safety.

5. Take the show on the road to the large reactor vendors. Convince them that there are potential profits to be had through joint ventures for manufacturing, sales, and services. Investors in small reactors want the fastest path possible to a return on investment.

June 26, 2009

Berkeley Lab Targets 1 Meter Long 10 GeV laser based Table top Particle Accelerator for 2013

A laser pulse traveling through a plasma accelerates free electrons in its wake

Berkeley Lab scientists are leading in a race to develop laser-based accelerator capable of zapping electron beams to energies exceeding 10 GeV in a distance of just one meter. Groups in the UK and France are working feverishly to best the record set by Leemans’ group in 2006. China has also deemed it a high-priority growth area.

In about four years, the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator, or BELLA, will demonstrate the promise of a novel and compact method of accelerating high-energy particles, by making use of a series of synchronized laser systems.

This group achieved a major breakthrough in 2006 when they broke the world record for laser-wakefield acceleration, a technique in which particles are accelerated by waves in plasma generated by intense pulses of laser light. In the wake of the laser pulse, electrons surf the waves of the ionized gas. Leemans and coworkers used this concept to accelerate electron beams to energies of more than 1 GeV in a distance of just 3.3 centimeters. Compare that to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, or SLAC, which takes 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) to boost electrons to 50 GeV.

Although the main purpose of the project is to develop a new generation of more compact accelerators for high energy physics research, laser plasma wakefield technology has several potential applications.

100 of the 10GeV accelerators could enable a 100 meter long teravolt accelerator.

A multi-GeV beam could be used to produce highly-collimated, high-energy photons that could penetrate cargo in a nondestructive way, allowing inspectors to remotely “see” inside a package, which would be highly useful for national security. BELLA could also be used to build free-electron lasers (FEL). Like all lasers, FELs emit energetic beams of light. But unlike conventional lasers, they operate on a different set of principles that make them highly tunable. Because of this property, free-electron lasers can provide extraordinarily valuable tools for materials scientists, chemists, biologists, and researchers in various fields working on problems in fundamental energy research, allowing them to probe ultrashort, nanoscale phenomena. Their tunability also makes them useful for medical diagnosis.

Finally, with some modification, BELLA could produce a narrow bandwidth x-ray beam that could be used to take very high-resolution x-ray images for medical use. If the laser technology that drives the laser plasma accelerators keeps on improving by becoming less expensive and more compact, it could one day be an alternative to conventional x-ray machines, offering a new technique for better images with reduced x-ray dose.

Completing BELLA will require:

Completing BELLA will require a 1-Hz, 1-PW laser — the highest average power (40 W) petawatt-class laser in the world.

To achieve BELLA’s main objective of 10-GeV electrons, a new and much more powerful laser will have to be put in place, a state-of-the-art laser that can fire a 40-joule pulse in a brief 40 femtoseconds, then build up to fire again and again, once every second, a repetition rate of one hertz (1 Hz). Such a laser will have an average power of 40 W and a peak power of a quadrillion watts — a petawatt, 1 PW.

“Since the time we designed and built the LOASIS 40-TW laser ourselves, there has been a revolution in the field of laser technology,” Leemans says. “Advances are now driven by commercial companies, and by military requirements, and we have been talking with two companies who want to build a laser for BELLA under our supervision.”

Plasma Accleration at wikipedia

Sematech : Leading Ways to Continue Moore's Law

During a presentation on June 26, 2009 chip-making consortium Sematech outlined ways to enable Moore's Law

Sematech also warned about a gap in Extreme Ultra-violet mask inspection tools.

To enable EUV in mass production fabs, IC makers must get their hands on defect-free photomasks. Today's EUV masks have 1 defect per cm^2 at 18-nm. The ultimate goal is to devise EUV masks with 0.003 defects per cm^2 at 18-nm. In other words, there is a ''25X gap'' in terms of enabling defect-free masks for EUV pilot production and a ''100X gap'' for EUV fab production

Technology that can help continue Moore's Law
1. Zero low-k interface. In current 45-nm designs from Intel Corp., there is the silicon substrate and the high-k/metal-gate scheme. A low-k material sits between the silicon and high-k structure. But with a zero low-k interface, the low-k material is removed, enabling more drive current and less leakage. This is an option for the 16-nm node or sooner.

2. Single metal gate stack. Instead of a traditional transistor, a high-k/metal-gate scheme makes use of a single metal gate stack. This improves the performance but lowers the power consumption of the device.

3. Gate stacks on III-V semiconductors. Intel, Sematech and others have talked about using an InGaAs/high-k interface for future designs. Would also boost performance and lower power.

4. Quantum-well MOSFETs. The use of silicon-germanium on silicon as a means to boost performance. Intel recently demonstrated a high-speed, low-power quantum well field effect transistor. The p-channel structure will be based on a 40-nm indium antimonide (InSb) material.

III-V MOSFETs for future CMOS transistor applications

Cross-sectional schematic view of a) a PHEMT and b) a III-V quantum well MOSFET with virtual drain/source extensions.

5. 3-D chips using through-silicon-via (TSVs). Sematech on Friday disclosed plans to set up a 300-mm R&D ''test bed'' [by 2010] for the production of 3-D devices based on TSV technology.

Report progress in areas such as next generation high-k/metal gate (HKMG) materials, advanced flash memory, planar and non-planar CMOS technologies and HKMG defect metrology

La-doped Metal/High-K nMOSFET for Sub-32nm HP and LSTP Application – Investigates the suitability of nMOSFETs with the La-doped high-k/metal gate stack to see its suitability for sub-32nm low standby power (LSTP) and high performance applications.

Extending spectroscopic ellipsometry for identification of electrically active defects in Si/SiO2/high-k/metal gate stacks – Explores a new method using spectroscopic ellipsometry to non-invasively identify oxygen vacancy defects in the bottom interfacial SiO2 layer of the scaled high-k/metal gate stacks.

Reliability Assessment of Low Vt Metal High-k Gate Stacks for High Performance Applications – Describes of reliability characterization techniques and models targeting HKMG lifetime predictions.

Additive Mobility Enhancement and Off-State Current Reduction in SiGe Channel pMOSFETs with Optimized Si Cap and High-k Metal Gate Stacks – Demonstrates high mobility pMOSFETs with high quality epitaxial SiGe films selectively grown on Si (100) substrates.

Band Engineered Tunnel Oxides for Improved TANOS-type Flash Program/Erase with Good Retention and 100K Cycle Endurance – Demonstrates, for the first time, that band-engineered tunnel oxides integrated with a high-k/metal gate can improve program, erase, and endurance in charge-trapped flash memory devices.

High Mobility SiGe Shell-Si Core Omega Gate PFETs – Explores the use of Omega gate-type pFETs with a SiGe shell (high mobility channel) on a Si core.

Power Plant Costs are Falling and India may Export Low Cost Small Reactors

New levelized cost of powerplants being built now and being completed and ready in 2016. The costs are without state and federal subsidies

The latest IHS CERA Power Capital Costs Index (PCCI) shows the costs of constructing new power plants fell an additional three percent over the past six months, signaling a broader downward trend that has now spread beyond nuclear to all classes of power plants. H/T Nuclear Green

Wind has shown the sharpest decrease at 11 percent due to a combined drop in wind turbine and tower costs and a short-term slowdown in orders. Wind was also the most impacted by the current economic and financial crisis, which led to a drying up of tax equity and debt investors. Lower costs for turbines, towers and construction and civils could lead to a continued decrease in costs in the near term.

The decline in nuclear plant costs slowed over the past six months, falling by one percent, due to lower materials costs and additional manufacturing capability for key components. Despite an active pipeline, falling steel prices are likely to push costs down further in the near term

India also seems to be preparing to develop and then export low cost small nuclear reactors. Again a H/T to Nuclear Green's Charles Barton

Reportedly capital costs of small Indian Reactors may run as low as $0.90 per watt [$200 million for 220 megawatts], but such cost estimates are based on prevailing Indian wage rates. An unnamed official of NPCIL told Hindu Business Line, “Currently, India is perhaps the only country to have an actively working technology, design and infrastructure for manufacture of small reactors with a unit capacity of 220 MWe. These units have a great potential for exports, particularly to nations with small grids that are planning nuclear forays with relatively lower investment levels.”

Nuclear Green also has a EIA cost projection of levelized energy costs to 2016.

Half of all Premature Deaths in Russia are Alcohol Related and 4% of Worldwide Deaths are From Alcohol

In Russia, 59% of deaths in men and 33% of deaths in women between the ages of 15-54 were caused by alcohol. Most of these alcohol-attributed deaths were from alcohol poisoning, accidents, violence, or one of eight disease groups strongly related to alcohol, such as TB, pneumonia, pancreatitis or liver disease.

Professor Sir Richard Peto of the Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU) at the University of Oxford, who led the statistical analyses said: ‘If current Russian death rates continue, then about 5% of all young women and 25% of all young men will die before age 55 years from the direct or indirect effects of drinking.

Russian deaths from disease are further aggravated by widespread smoking. Male lung cancer rates (which are driven by smoking and not by drinking) are about 50% higher in Russia than in Western Europe or North America. After the age of 55, tobacco may well cause more deaths than alcohol, but at younger ages alcohol has been shown to cause, in Russia, even more deaths than tobacco.

National mortality statistics show that the overall risk of death among people of working age in Russia is now more than four times as great as in Western Europe

Alcohol May Be Related to 3.8% of Global Deaths

The study, published in The Lancet, estimates the percentage of alcohol-related deaths based on accidents, alcohol abuse, and various health conditions -- including certain cancers, high blood pressure, and liver problems -- in which alcohol may play a role.

The researchers -- who included Jurgen Rehm, PhD, of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto -- analyzed 2003 data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations, and other sources.

Curious Case of Brooke Greenberg :Ageless 16 year old Toddler

Scientists wonder if Brooke Greenberg, now 16, will help point the way to new discoveries about the genetics of aging. Pictured from left to right on Brooke's 12th birthday are sister Caitlin, 15; Brooke; sister Emily, 18; mom Melanie Greenberg; and sister Carly, 9.

Brooke Greenberg does not age normally and is immune to growth hormone. ABC's 20-20 news show will feature her Friday, June 26, 2009. Brooke's story is also to be shown in a documentary, "Child Frozen In Time," Sunday, Aug. 2 at 10 p.m. on TLC.

Brooke hasn't aged in the conventional sense. Dr. Richard Walker of the University of South Florida College of Medicine, in Tampa, says Brooke's body is not developing as a coordinated unit, but as independent parts that are out of sync. She has never been diagnosed with any known genetic syndrome or chromosomal abnormality that would help explain why.

In a recent paper for the journal "Mechanisms of Ageing and Development," Walker and his co-authors, who include Pakula and All Children's Hospital (St. Petersburg, Fla.) geneticist Maxine Sutcliffe chronicled a baffling range of inconsistencies in Brooke's aging process. She still has baby teeth at 16, for instance. And her bone age is estimated to be more like 10 years old.

"There've been very minimal changes in Brooke's brain," Walker said. "Various parts of her body, rather than all being at the same stage, seem to be disconnected."

UPDATE: Recent research led by Richard Walker indicates potential useful genetic insights in aging based on studying Brooke Greenberg

Ten photos are here.

In her first six years, Brooke went through a series of medical emergencies from which she recovered, often without explanation. She survived surgery for seven perforated stomach ulcers. She suffered a brain seizure followed by what was diagnosed as a stroke that weeks later left no apparent damage.

At 4, she fell into a lethargy that caused her to sleep for 14 days. Then, doctors diagnosed a brain tumor, and the Greenbergs bought a casket for her.

"We were preparing for our child to die," Howard Greenberg said. "We were saying goodbye. And, then, we got a call that there was some change; that Brooke had opened her eyes and she was fine. There was no tumor. She overcomes every obstacle that is thrown her way."

Brooke's doctor said the source of her sudden illnesses remains a mystery.

ABC News video of Brooke Greenberg

To try to determine why Brooke's aging process has been so irregular -- and what it means to the understanding of our genetic makeup -- Walker and Sutcliffe have studied samples of Brooke's cells and DNA to look for what they think may be a genetic mutation never seen before that has affected the way she ages.

Walker, of the University of South Florida, believes that if the gene can be isolated, it may provide clues to questions about why we age and die.

"Without being sensational, I'd say this is an opportunity for us to answer the question, why we're mortal, or at least to test it," Walker said. "And if we're wrong, we can discard it. But if we're right, we've got the golden ring."

If the gene -- or complex of genes -- is identified, Walker plans to test laboratory animals to determine whether the gene can be switched off and, if so, whether it will cause the animal's aging to slow.

New Scientist magazine reports on this as well.

Walker thinks that Brooke is the first recorded case of what he describes as "developmental disorganization". His hypothesis is that the cause is disruption of an as-yet unidentified gene, or genes, that hold the key to ageing by orchestrating how an organism matures to adulthood, reproduces, then gradually ages and dies. Walker believes that Brooke lacks this "regulator" of development

Video from 2005 of Brooke Greenberg


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June 25, 2009

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor and Space Based Solar

1. Kirk Sorensen will be presenting an upgraded molten-salt reactor (the liquid-fluoride thorium reactor, or LFTR) concept as one of a dozen finalists at the Manchester Festival. Kirk will also be presenting at Google as part of the Google Talk series in July.

A dozen of the most promising applicants will be invited to present their idea to a high-calibre panel of experts in front of a live audience at Manchester Town Hall on the weekend of 4 and 5 July. The panel, chaired by Lord Bingham, previously the UK's chief justice, and featuring leading lights from the worlds of science, business and policy, will rate the various ideas in terms of their feasibility, impact and commercial potential. .

The results of this landmark event will form the basis of a report – the Manchester Report – to be published two weeks later at the end of the festival. The report will not only be made available online but also sent to policy-makers, to help them decide which low-carbon solutions to support in the run up to this year's crucial climate summit in Copenhagen.

A previous presentation of the liquid fluoride reactor concept. (60 minutes long) This site had an article which summarizes the factory mass produced concept of liquid fluoride reactors that would burn almost all of the thorium and uranium (almost zero nuclear waste/zero unburned fuel)

2. A presentation was made of research work on fluoride reactors in the Czech Republic. They have been working towards an actinide burning reactor for several years.

3. New Energy and Fuel has an article that PowerSat Corp. has filed a provisional patent for two technologies called BrightStar and Solar Power Orbital Transfer, that are expected make the transmission of space solar power more cost-effective by reducing the price for launch and operation of systems as large as 2,500 megawatts by about $1 billion.

Off topic: Celebrity Deaths Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett and Steve Jobs Illness Comment

Michael Jackson suffered a cardiac arrest and is dead.

Megamix of Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits.

25th Anniversary of Thriller Teaser Video

Farrah Fawcett's death from cancer was not unexpected.

There was some speculation that Steve Jobs used his wealth to jump the queue for his liver transplant. Someone with money can get on more transplant waiting lists and be able to fly their within the required 7-8 hours to get the transplant. Someone with money can hire people to perform inquiries at all the transplant hospitals and jurisdictions to find the shortest waiting lists. My comment on that is any billionaire would be an idiot to not use their money to get preferential access to life saving care.

Also, billionaires are foolish not to follow the example of Peter Thiel and put significant funds to SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) and the Methuselah Foundation to help achieve medical breakthroughs in life extension. They could also follow the example of Dr. Don Listwin who founded the Canary Foundation which is developing effective screening procedures and technology for early detection of cancer.

The Best Ways to Lower Healthcare Costs by Enabling Cheap Disease Prevention and Affordable Cures

The five most costly medical conditions in 2002 for the USA.

The Center for Disease Control looks at the top chronic diseases by deaths caused.

- The medical care costs of people with chronic diseases account for more than 75% of the nation’s $2 trillion medical care costs.
- Chronic diseases account for one-third of the years of potential life lost before age 65.
- The direct and indirect costs of diabetes is $174 billion a year.
- Each year, arthritis results in estimated medical care costs of nearly $81 billion, and estimated total costs (medical care and lost productivity) of $128 billion.
- The estimated direct and indirect costs associated with smoking exceed $193 billion annually.
- In 2008, the cost of heart disease and stroke in the U.S. is projected to be $448 billion.
- The estimated total costs of obesity was nearly $117 billion in 2000.
- Cancer costs the nation an estimated $89 billion annually in direct medical costs.
- Nearly $98.6 billion is spent on dental services each year.

Concentration of healthcare expenses.

-Five percent of the population accounts for almost half (49 percent) of total health care expenses.
- The 15 most expensive health conditions account for 44 percent of total health care expenses.
- Patients with multiple chronic conditions cost up to seven times as much as patients with only one chronic condition.
- The top-spending 25 percent of Medicare beneficiaries incurred average per-person costs of $24,800. In this group, 42 percent had coronary artery disease, 30 percent had congestive heart failure, and 30 percent had diabetes.

Existing Cost Effective Prevention

An analysis of the cost of disease prevention methods shows that not all disease prevention is cost effective.

- For every $1 spent on water fluoridation, $38 is saved in dental restorative treatment costs.
- Implementing proven clinical smoking cessation interventions would cost an estimated $2,587 for each year of life saved, the most cost-effective of all clinical preventative services.
- For each $1 spent on the Safer Choice Program (a school-based HIV, other STD, and pregnancy prevention program), about $2.65 is saved on medical and social costs.
- Every $1 spent on preconception care programs for women with diabetes, can reduce health costs by up to $5.19 by preventing costly complications in both mothers and babies.
- Implementing the Arthritis Self-Help Course among 10,000 individuals with arthritis will yield a net savings of more than $2.5 million while simultaneously reducing pain by 18 percent among participants.
- A mammogram every 2 years for women aged 50–69 costs only about $9,000 per year of life saved. This cost compares favorably with other widely used clinical preventive services.

Strategic research investments and accelerated approval of treatments and more effective and cheaper detection would enable a dramatic drop in the costs of chronic disease and increase the rate of cures and improve the health of the population. The diseases are chronic because we do not have actual cures, but can only manage the diseases.

There are possibilities for cheap diabetes cures and/or prevention.

Cancer costs could be greatly reduced with effective early detection when cancer is cheaper to treat and treatments are more effective and new immune system boosting cures and more effective and affordable cancer drugs

The Current Most Cost Effective Screening Tests for Heart Disease
On June 22, 2009Governor Rick Perry of Texas signed HB1290, the nation's first preventive cardiovascular screening bill for early detection of coronary artery disease

The preventive screening [for heart and cardiovascular disease] of asymptomatic [no symptom] men and women could have the following outcomes:

- Prevent more than 4,300 deaths from cardiovascular disease each year in Texas.
- Reduce the history of heart attack– currently estimated to be 1.4 million – by as much as 25 percent in the Texas Population.
- Save approximately $1.6 billion in healthcare costs annually [Texas alone].

The legislation, which will take effect on September 1, requires Texas insurers to pay up to $200 for a either a non-contrast computed tomography (CT) scan measuring coronary artery calcification, commonly known as a Calcium scoring exam, or ultrasonography for measuring carotid intima-media thickness and plaque.

The reimbursement is being made available to men between 45 and 76 years of age and women between 55 and 76 who are either diabetic or who have an intermediate or higher risk of developing coronary artery disease, based on the Framingham Heart Study coronary prediction algorithm. The test may be conducted every five years by a certified laboratory.

New Cheaper Heart and Cardio Health Tests
A new credit-card sized device could provide a way to test people for heart disease using a pinprick of blood. Developed by a team of researchers from Harvard and Northeastern universities in Boston the device can measure and collect a type of cells, called endothelial progenitor cells, using just 200 microliters of blood.

The depletion or ageing of these bone-marrow derived endothelial progenitor cells is a risk factor for vascular disease, as they can enter the bloodstream and go to areas of blood vessel injury to help repair damage. This is because they have the ability to become the cells that make up the lining of the blood vessels (endothelial cells). So the device, which enables the easy collection of these cells, could also bring efforts to create tissue in the laboratory for vascular bypass surgeries another step closer to reality. The device works much more easily than current techniques for collecting endothelial progenitor cells.

Five ways to boost your HDL [HDL stands for high density lipoprotein. It helps the body get rid of bad cholesterol, which protects it against heart disease.]

Progress in Understanding Calorie Restricted Life Extension

The enzyme WWP-1, shown in green, is a key player in the signaling cascade that links dietary restriction to longevity in roundworms. Sensory neurons are shown in red. Image: Courtesy of Dr. Andrea C. Carrano, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a pivotal role for two enzymes that work together to determine the health benefits of diet restriction.

- enzyme wwp-1 is required and specific for the extension of lifespan by dietary restriction.
- WWP-1 ubiquitin ligase activity is essential for diet-restriction-induced longevity.
- WWP-1 exhibits ubiquitin ligase activity in a UBC-18 dependent manner in vitro.
- WWP-1 and UBC-18 function together to regulate diet-restriction-induced longevity.

a, Lifespan analysis of eat-2(ad1116) mutant worms fed bacteria expressing ubc-18 dsRNA or control vector initiated after hatching of eggs (L1) or day 1 adults (D1). b, c, Lifespan analysis of isp-1(qm150) (b) and daf-2(e1368) (c) fed bacteria expressing ubc-18 dsRNA or control vector. d, Lifespan analysis of eat-2(ad1116) mutant animals fed bacteria expressing wwp-1 dsRNA and vector (wwp-1 RNAi), ubc-18 dsRNA and vector (ubc-18 RNAi), wwp-1 and ubc-18 dsRNA (wwp-1 + ubc-18 RNAi), or control vector. e, Lifespan analysis of wwp-1 overexpressing worms (GFP::WWP-1) or control worms (GFP) fed bacteria expressing ubc-18 dsRNA or control vector.

There are only three known genetic networks that ensure youthfulness when manipulated. One centers on the insulin/insulin growth factor-1, which regulates metabolism and growth; the second is driven by mitochondria, the cell's power plants; and the third is linked to diet restriction.

Author Andrea C. Carrano, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in American Cancer Society Professor Tony Hunter's laboratory, hadn't set out to unravel the molecular connection between dietary restriction and increased lifespan when she started to investigate the role of the mammalian enzyme WWP-1. "I only knew that WWP-1 was a ubiquitin ligase and that mammalian cells contain three copies, which would make it difficult to study its function."

Ubiquitin ligases work in tandem with so called ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes to attach a chain of ubiquitin molecules to other proteins. This process, called ubiquitination, flags protein substrates for destruction but can also serve as a regulatory signal.

Since the laboratory roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans only contains one copy, Carrano teamed up with Salk researcher Dillin, who studies aging and longevity in C. elegans. Initial experiments revealed that worms without the WWP-1 gene seemed normal but were more susceptible to various forms of stress. "This finding was the first hint that WWP-1 might play a role in the aging process since mutations that affect stress very often correlate with longevity," she says.

Prompted by the findings, Carrano's next set of experiments focused on WWP-1's potential role in the regulation of lifespan. When she genetically engineered worms to overexpress WWP-1, well-fed worms lived on average 20 percent longer. Deleting PHA-4, which was discovered in Dillin's lab and so far is the only gene known to be essential for lifespan extension in response to diet restriction, abolished the life-extending effects of additional WWP-1 placing the ubiquitin ligase as a central rung on the same genetic ladder as PHA-4. Without WWP-1, cutting down on calories no longer staved off death.

When a study by others found that UBC-18 interacts with WWP-1, Carrano wondered whether it could play a role in diet-restriction-induced longevity as well. She first confirmed that the UBC-18 functions as an ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme and gives WWP-1 a hand. She then tested whether it played a role in lifespan regulation. "Overexpression of UBC-18 was not enough to extend the lifespan of worms but depleting it negated the effects of caloric restriction," says Carrano, who is busy looking for potential substrates of the UBC-18-WWP-1 ubiquitination complex.

Journal Nature: A conserved ubiquitination pathway determines longevity in response to diet restriction

Dietary restriction extends longevity in diverse species, suggesting that there is a conserved mechanism for nutrient regulation and prosurvival responses. Here we show a role for the HECT (homologous to E6AP carboxy terminus) E3 ubiquitin ligase WWP-1 as a positive regulator of lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans in response to dietary restriction. We find that overexpression of wwp-1 in worms extends lifespan by up to 20% under conditions of ad libitum feeding. This extension is dependent on the FOXA transcription factor pha-4, and independent of the FOXO transcription factor daf-16. Reduction of wwp-1 completely suppresses the extended longevity of diet-restricted animals. However, the loss of wwp-1 does not affect the long lifespan of animals with compromised mitochondrial function or reduced insulin/IGF-1 signalling. Overexpression of a mutant form of WWP-1 lacking catalytic activity suppresses the increased lifespan of diet-restricted animals, indicating that WWP-1 ubiquitin ligase activity is essential for longevity. Furthermore, we find that the E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzyme, UBC-18, is essential and specific for diet-restriction-induced longevity. UBC-18 interacts with WWP-1 and is required for the ubiquitin ligase activity of WWP-1 and the extended longevity of worms overexpressing wwp-1. Taken together, our results indicate that WWP-1 and UBC-18 function to ubiquitinate substrates that regulate diet-restriction-induced longevity.

12 megabyte pdf with supplemental information.

June 24, 2009

Growing evidence of liquid salt water ocean on Saturn's moon Enceledus and Enceledus is a Strong Candidate for Possible Life

BBC News coverage: Scientists tell Nature magazine that the liquid water may reside in caverns just below the surface of the moon.

If confirmed, it is a stunning result. It means the Saturnian satellite may be one of the most promising places in the Solar System to search for signs of extraterrestrial life.

New interpretation of the Cassini spacecraft finding of water near Saturn's moon Enceledus. According to Schneider, both his team and Kempf’s now agree that the jets of water vapor emanating from Enceladus’ jets shouldn’t be viewed as “near-surface geysers connected to an ocean” near the surface, as first proposed. The lack of sodium in the jets suggest that the jets arise from a gentle, gradual evaporation of water from a deep ocean rather than a more violent, geyser-like process from a liquid reservoir near the surface.

From 2005 to 2009, the Cassini spacecraft has found strong evidence that Saturn’s tiny moon Enceladus has an ocean beneath its icy surface. If the liquid water finding is confirmed, it would suggest that the moon may be one of the most promising places in the solar system to search for signs of past or present extraterrestrial life.

Cassini flybys planned for the fall could glean more information on the ocean-geyser link.

The water and other key life ingredients such as organic material found in the plumes, could provide a suitable environment for life precursors, said lead researcher Frank Postberg of the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany.

Jupiter's Europa, Ganymede and Callisto also are strong candidates for liquid oceans.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita Predictions on Iran

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita predictions from February 2009 on Iran. The above is a 20 minute TED presentation.

- Prediction based on self-interest
- Need to look at all of the influencers on the key decision maker
- 5 people is 120 interactions, 10 people is 3.6 million interactions
- CIA notes that the computer model is right 90% of the time when the experts who provide the inputs are wrong
- Inputs are what what people have a stake in a decision, people say they want, how focused are they on the issue, how much influence do they have

Predictions on Iran

1. Iranian government will tone down its nuclear ambitions to the point where it will develop weapons-grade nuclear material only for research purposes

2. Real power rests not with the mullahs or even with the Supreme Leader, but with what he calls the “moneyed interests” of Iranian society: “the banker, the oil people, the bazaris”. Currently quiet and moderate mullahs will become more vocal.

3. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad influence will decline and has been in decline.

UPDATE: Current situational analysis:
A backstage struggle among Iran's ruling clerics burst into the open Sunday when the government said it had arrested the daughter and other relatives of an ayatollah who is one of the country's most powerful men.

Rafsanjani heads the cleric-run Assembly of Experts, which can remove the supreme leader, the country's most powerful figure. He also chairs the Expediency Council, a body that arbitrates disputes between parliament and the unelected Guardian Council.

H. Richard Sindelar, a professor of foreign policy at the University of St. Thomas, served as the State Department’s deputy director of the Office of Near East & South Asia Analysis, which included the Iran portfolio.

The mullahs have miscalculated, and the fascinating panorama that is Iran now seems destined for a severe, long-term and possibly regime-changing crisis. The question will be whether protesters are willing to become martyrs.

there is the 18th of Tir factor, the anniversary of violent student protests in 1999 that arrives July 8-9. A declaration confirming Ahmadinejad as victor would almost certainly inspire more protests and a predictably harsh regime response, and this new round of violence could then segue into renewed anniversary rioting “honoring” the 18th of Tir protests.

Iran faces potentially a month or more of leadership fracturing, popular discontent, crackdowns and thuggery, all vectoring toward regime instability. Whether the protesters have the will to persist over many days in these wide-ranging and massive demonstrations — and publicly risk death in the streets as their brethren did in 1978-79 — remains uncertain; time and lack of success in the shorter term have a way of dissipating interest.

The final ingredient in the stew, in the eyes of those in the street, is presidential challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi himself. He possesses a quiet charisma and is well-respected as a former prime minister who exhibited solid leadership during the troubling 1980s. Protesters from all walks of life, faced with accepting Ahmadinejad’s flailing leadership, may prove tenacious in supporting a change to Mousavi.

In the end, the protests may not bring the fall of the Islamic regime itself, but they might cost Khamenei his role, and could bring to power a president with the ability to stabilize Iran economically and politically. A reformer in the Iran context, Mousavi is still a very conservative leader by Western standards. He is also a pragmatist willing to engage the West.

One of Iran's shrewdest political operators, Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran's parliament, is the country's perennial political bellwether. Ali Larijani could be the kingmaker who decides how events in Iran turn. Uniquely and deeply loyal to the Supreme Leader, Larijani is a bedrock conservative, and a former member of the Revolutionary Guard. But he also has a PhD in Western Philosophy and has written four books on Kant, and is generally seen as someone open to better ties with the West.

What began as groundswell protest of alleged vote fraud increasingly appears to be splintering into random acts of rage and frustration against emboldened and well-armed security forces determined to hold their ground.

Many experts in Iranian affairs do not believe the dwindling street protests signal an end for the challenges to Khamenei and the regime. Many foresee lower-risk but still potent acts of dissent such as general strikes, blocking traffic with sit-ins, and the nightly cries of protest from rooftops and balconies.

"It will carry on until the regime changes: Weeks, months, years. You'd be a fool to predict," said Robert Hunter, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO and head of Middle East Affairs in the Carter administration. "But the beast of the desire for something different is on the prowl."

Senior Israeli Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad said that he sees no "signs of Ahmadinejad's regime collapsing any time soon."

"The intelligence community worldwide were surprised by the protests," he said.

There are still signs of life in the protest movement. Small groups battled police Wednesday and there were calls on reformist Web sites for a gathering Thursday at the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

An analysis of the Iranian situation from the point of view of Israel.


Previous article discusses Bruce Bueno de Mesquita game theory political and global predictions.

Time Magazine: In Iran, One Woman's Death May Have Many Consequences

Although it is not yet clear who shot Neda (a soldier? a pro-government militant? an accidental misfiring?), her death may have changed everything. The cycles of mourning in Shi'ite Islam actually provide a schedule for political combat — a way to generate or revive momentum. Shi'ite Muslims mourn their dead on the third, seventh and 40th days after a death, and these commemorations are a pivotal part of Iran's rich history. During the revolution, the pattern of confrontations between the Shah's security forces and the revolutionaries often played out in 40-day cycles.

Neda is already being hailed as a martyr, a second important concept in Shi'ism. With the reported deaths of 19 people on June 20, martyrdom provides a potent force that could further deepen public anger at Iran's regime.

The revolutionaries exploited the deep passion of martyrdom as well as the timetable of Shi'ite mourning in whipping up greater opposition to Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. With the deaths of Neda and others, they may now find the same phenomena used against them.

Here is a 17 page look chapter by chapter at Bueno de Mesquita's book Principles of International Politics, 2nd Edition.

De Mequita book Predictioners Game is coming out Sept 2009


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Update on China and South Africa Nuclear Reactor Construction and Wall Street Journal on Small Nuclear Reactors

1. South African nuclear technology firm PBMR plans to have its first 80 megawatt (MW) power and heat processing plant based on its pebble-fuel technology by 2018. Previously there was a target date of 2014, but the project was cancelled for a few months, but appears to be back on track.

The global economic slowdown has forced the company to change the design to include industrial applications as well, using PBMR's ability to create high temperatures to attract buyers among companies including those active in Canada's oil sands projects and petrochemicals group Sasol (SOLJ.J).

Ferreira said that while the first plant would take some four years to be built from the time the company expects to take a final commercial decision in 2014, the next ones would take only two years to be constructed.

China is scheduled to start construction of its 200 MWe pebble reactor in Sept, 2009.

2. Work to build a new reactor at Fuqing, China has been officially launched - three months ahead of schedule. Construction at various stages is now ongoing for six units at the site.

Preliminary permission was granted for the other four units in April by the National Development and Reform Commission with ground being broken for units 3 and 4 early this month, and excavation for units 5 and 6 already about 30% complete. The overall 6000 MWe project is expected to cost 100 billion yuan ($14.7 billion).

China National Nuclear Company (CNNC) said that preliminary design work for units 1 and 2 is complete and it is satisfied that construction and equipment design work meets the requirements for the project. Procurement of major components is running on schedule, with contracts for units 3 to 6 under development.

The astonishing pace of nuclear development in China - Fuqing is just one of seven multiple reactor power plants currently being built - is part of a national plan to have 72 GWe of nuclear capacity by 2020

3. Bob Metcalfe, a venture capitalist with Polaris Venture Partners wrote a pro nuclear energy piece in the Wall Street Journal. He is a trustee of MIT and a 2005 recipient of the National Medal of Technology for leadership in the invention, standardization and commercialization of Ethernet.

Today, 20% of our electricity is provided by 104 nuclear energy plants in the United States. These are already cheaper and cleaner than burning coal, oil and gas with all their pollutants, especially CO2. But these plants are all run on big old nuclear reactors, which nobody but the utility companies likes very much.

The good news is that the big names in nuclear energy -- like Areva, Hitachi, General Electric and Toshiba -- have recently been joined by a bevy of high-tech start-ups seeking to develop advanced nuclear-reactor designs for both fission and fusion energy production. So far, there are five fission and two fusion start-ups [actually there are more nuclear fusion and fission startups. He is probably just counting Tri Alpha Energy and EMC2 Fusion and not General Fusion or Lawrenceville Plasma], among them Hyperion, NuScale and Tri Alpha.

The fission-reactor designs of the start-ups are very different from the existing plants and even from the advanced designs put out by the established players. Rather than proposing a few more big nuclear reactors, the start-ups are advocating many small nuclear reactors, variously called small, right-sized or modular. Though big power plants might still be built, they'll run on numerous small reactors.

These new small reactors meet important criteria for nuclear power plants. With no control rods to jam, they are far safer than the old models -- you might well call them nuclear batteries. By not using weapons-grade enriched fuels, they are nonproliferating. They minimize nuclear waste. And they're economical.

Small enough to fit on a large kitchen table, the new reactors can be manufactured at very low cost and shipped by truck to power-plant sites. As an Internet guy, these small fission reactors seem to me like the microprocessors that took over from the huge, air-conditioned, glasshouse mainframe computers.

As venture capitalists, we at Polaris might have invested in one or two of these fission-energy start-ups. Alas, we had to pass. The problem with their business plans weren't their designs, but the high costs and astronomical risks of designing nuclear reactors for certification in Washington.

The start-ups estimate that it will cost each of them roughly $100 million and five years to get their small reactor designs certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. About $50 million of each $100 million would go to the commission itself. That's a lot of risk capital for any venture-backed start-up, especially considering that not one new commercial nuclear reactor design has been approved and built in the United States for 30 years.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy were both formed in the 1970s to develop nuclear energy and thereby reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But neither has reduced our dependence on foreign oil, especially not with nuclear energy. To find out why start by watching the movie "The China Syndrome," which came out in the 1970s immediately before the Three Mile Island nuclear incident. Since then, the Greens have been anti-nuke obstructionists.

4. GE’s Eric Loewen made a public presentation about a PRISM reactor. PRISM is GE’s name for an integral fast reactor, or IFR. It would be a fourth-generation nuclear power station which runs on the nuclear waste generated by all the previous generations of nuclear power stations. A GE-led industrial team has completed the advanced conceptual design, which is an evolution of the Power Reactor Innovative Small Module.

One nice thing about the S-PRISM is that they’re modular units and of relatively low output (one power block of two will provide 760 MW). They could be emplaced in excavations at existing coal plants and utilize the same turbines, condensers (towers or others), and grid infrastructure as the coal plants currently use, and the proper number of reactor vessels could be used to match the capabilities of those facilities. Essentially all you’d be replacing is the burner (and you’d have to build a new control room, of course, or drastically modify the current one). Thus you avoid most of the stranded costs. If stranded costs can thus be kept to a minimum, both here and, more importantly, in China, we’ll be able to talk realistically not just about stopping to build new coal plants but replacing the existing ones, even the newest ones.

And best of all they’re eminently affordable: Loewen showed that they could be profitable selling energy at just 5 cents per KwH — which means that you don’t need to price carbon emissions at all to make these power stations economically attractive. With pricing on carbon emissions, of course, they become even economically compelling.

Here is an 11 page 2007 presentation of PRISM by Loewen. This will get converted into its own article with whatever other updates can be found.

Previous coverage of China's nuclear construction.

Nanoscale Might Allow Fairly Efficient Maxwell Demon: Possible Entropy reduction

A recent study has shown that, on the nanoscale, Maxwell’s demon might be able to do its work with much less energy than previously thought due to tiny thermal fluctuations that occur in small systems.

Dillenschneider and Lutz have accounted for the impact of tiny thermal fluctuations on memory erasure in their nanoparticle-based memory system. Through calculations and simulations, they’ve shown that the nanosystem can be erased with an amount of heat that is less than Landauer’s bound. The finding shows that the macroscopic formulation of Landauer’s principle does not hold on nanoscale systems, and should be generalized to include heat fluctuations in a way similar to the second law.

The result also presents the possibility that Maxwell’s demon might not create as much entropy as it reduces, although the exact difference is still unknown. The scientists noted that large fluctuations are suppressed, even in nanoscale systems, in agreement with the macroscopic formulation of Landauer’s principle.

Wikipedia on Maxwell's Demon

Maxwell's demon is a thought experiment, first formulated in 1867 by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, meant to encourage questions about the possibility of violating the second law of thermodynamics.

Maxwell imagines one container divided into two parts, A and B. Both parts are filled with the same gas at equal temperatures and placed next to each other. Observing the molecules on both sides, an imaginary demon guards a trapdoor between the two parts. When a faster-than-average molecule from A flies towards the trapdoor, the demon opens it, and the molecule will fly from A to B. The average speed of the molecules in B will have increased while in A they will have slowed down on average. Since average molecular speed corresponds to temperature, the temperature decreases in A and increases in B, contrary to the second law of thermodynamics.

Abstract: Memory Erasure in Small Systems in the Physical Review Letters.

We consider an overdamped nanoparticle in a driven double-well potential as a generic model of an erasable 1-bit memory. We study in detail the statistics of the heat dissipated during an erasure process and show that full erasure may be achieved by dissipating less heat than the Landauer bound. We quantify the occurrence of such events and propose a single-particle experiment to verify our predictions. Our results show that Landauer's principle has to be generalized at the nanoscale to accommodate heat fluctuations.

Wikipedia on Entropy

Wikipedia on the Second law of thermodynamics.

1 Gbit Phase Change Memory Chip at the end of 2009 and 2014 for new MEMS Enabled Terabit Memory

1. Numonyx has silicon of the 45-nm 1-Gbit memory internally and the chip is in "debug" at present. "The cells are doing what we expect them to do," he said. The memory is set to be sampled to wireless OEMs in a progressive program during the second-half of 2009, and go into production by the end of the year. Numonyx will continue to offer NOR flash pin-compatible phase-change memory at the 128-Mbit and eventually at the 1-Gbit capacity.

Phase-change memory offers faster read and write speeds at lower power than conventional NOR and NAND flash memory, and allows for bit-alterability normally seen in RAM.

2. MEMS enabled storage technology could provide a storage density of 4Tb/in^2 When this technology is fully developed, it will be possible for a storage device to be reduced to the size of a fingernail, with a capacity of 1 Tb, (20025 DVDs) and energy consumption remains extremely low. MEMS storage combines the advantages of a disc (inexpensive) and a memory card (energy efficient).

Industry reaction to the Samsung/Numonyx agreement on phase change memory is generally positive

Phase Change memory could allow computers and cellphones to be instantly turned on. In 2010, it will cost about $100-150 [Forbes article quotes Ed Doller, CTO of Numonyx. He won't disclose with whom he's having those conversations, but says the first big market will likely be in high-end PCs and laptops. At this point, adding PCM chips to make a laptop turn on "instantly" would add about $100 to $150 to the cost of building the PC, Doller estimates. ] to add the phase change memory (PCM) to allow for computers that do not need to have boot up time. The PCM would hold operating system and machine state ready to be used.

The new MEMS, (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) discovery will allow video camera batteries to increase their charging life approximately 2-1/2 times, consume 1/5th of the energy of disc storage and store 1-Tb on a postage stamp size device. Dr. Khatib expects this new technology to be available to the public within the next five-years.

Numonyx PCM chips is reviewed by Chipworks labs at semiconductor.net.

Numonyx signed a deal with Virident (startup) to supply NAND flash, and PCM for use as sub-DRAM tiers of storage in Virident's Green Gateway servers. The PCM could theoretically be a DRAM replacement, as it is said to be as fast as DRAM while still being non-volatile. There are several other NAND successor candidates, including STT RAM, and Programmable Metallization Cell memory.

Qimonda had carbon resistive memory, but Qimonda is going through bankruptcy now. It is unclear what will happen with the advanced memory technology they were working on.

Numonyx website

June 23, 2009

Idaho National Labs Makes Key Progress for Enabling Fourth Generation Nuclear Reactors

Key milestones have been passed after three years of planning, machining, wiring and welding, in the progress of the Advanced Graphite Capsule project. This six-phase project will test over 2,000 different samples of graphite in INL's Advanced Test Reactor facility over a roughly 10-year period that will last until 2020.

Today, nuclear experts envision two different versions of gas cooled VHTRs for next-generation use. Both designs will require large amounts of high-quality graphite.

The "pebble-bed" style reactor uses billiard-ball-size "pebbles" of nuclear fuel particles coated with several layers of silicon-carbide and carbon. The pebbles enter the reactor from the top, work their way down through and exit the reactor from the bottom. There, they are monitored for remaining fuel to make another pass. Or, if the useable fuel is consumed by the time it reaches the bottom, it is collected for disposal. A second design utilizes a honeycomb block of graphite into which fuel rods would be inserted.

A critical step in developing new Very High Temperature Reactors (VHTR) is certifying the graphite that is used in many parts of the reactor's core. Take the welding, for example. On the 14-foot section of the capsule that will be entered into the reactor core, 13 super precise welds cause less than twenty-thousandths of an inch in variation from one end of the capsule to the other.

With the capsule finished and inspected, it will enter INL's Advanced Test Reactor in June. There, it will endure average temperatures of 600 degrees Celsius (six times the temperature of boiling water) for almost two years. Five similar Advanced Graphite Capsule experiments will follow the first one.

The capsules will be exposed to successively increased temperatures so the last capsule will experience temperatures of over 1,200 degrees Celsius. Experimenters will also expose the samples to varying levels of radiation, all several times what they would experience in a normal reactor. The higher radiation levels give researchers a sense of how the material will behave under the prolonged irradiation the graphite would experience over many years in a next-generation reactor.

After data from each test is gathered and each capsule is removed from the reactor, more work awaits the team. Post Irradiation Examination will involve removing the graphite samples and measuring and recording the differences in each one's characteristics compared to before its trip to the reactor.

Every detail of the half-inch diameter samples will be considered. Researchers will construct a new database after measuring how the irradiation changed the physical dimensions of the pieces, examining their "thermal diffusivity" using lasers, and recording other specifications.

This information will allow those who build advanced nuclear reactors to be sure that communities will, for generations, reap the benefits of clean, safe, inexpensive and abundant energy to power their progress

Double, Triple and Quadruple Patterning and Future Lithography

Four different kinds of double lithography. Click on the image for larger view

Double patterning is a class of technologies developed for photolithography to enhance the feature density of computer chips. The resolution of a photoresist pattern begins to blur at around 45 nm half-pitch. Double patterning is the only lithography technique to be used for the 32 nm and 22 nm half-pitch nodes in 2008-2009 and 2011-2012, respectively, using tools already available today.

State-of-the-art 193 nm tool with a numerical aperture of 1.35 can extend its resolution to 18 nm half-pitch with double patterning. Even electron beam lithography may eventually require double patterning (due to secondary electron scattering) to achieve comparable half-pitch resolution, for instance, in the fabrication of 15 nm half-pitch X-ray zone plates. Due to this ability to use coarse patterns to define finer patterns, it offers an immediate opportunity to achieve resolution below 30 nm without the need to address the technical challenges of expensive next-generation lithography technologies such as EUV. Brion Technologies has targeted the double patterning software market down to 22 nm. Hynix has already endorsed Brion's Tachyon DPT software as a key part of the double patterning solution

Double Exposure
Double exposure is a sequence of two separate exposures of the same photoresist layer using two different photomasks. As long as double exposure can be used effectively and is kept within alignment tolerances, it is the preferred patterning approach since it does not require additional follow-up process steps.

Self-aligned Spacer

A spacer is a film layer formed on the sidewall of a pre-patterned feature. A spacer is formed by deposition or reaction of the film on the previous pattern, followed by etching to remove all the film material on the horizontal surfaces, leaving only the material on the sidewalls. By removing the original patterned feature, only the spacer is left. However, since there are two spacers for every line, the line density has now doubled.

Double Expose, Double Etch (mesas)

A first exposure of photoresist is transferred to an underlying hardmask layer. After the photoresist is removed following the hardmask pattern transfer, a second layer of photoresist is coated onto the sample. This second layer undergoes a second exposure, imaging features in between the features patterned in the hardmask layer. The surface pattern is therefore a set of photoresist features in between hardmask features, which can be transferred into the final layer underneath. This allows a doubling of feature density.

Double Expose, Double Etch (trenches)
A "brute force" approach for patterning trenches involves a sequence of (at least) two separate exposures and etchings of independent patterns into the same layer. For each exposure, a different photoresist coating is required. When the sequence is completed, the pattern is a composite of the previously etched subpatterns. By interleaving the subpatterns, the pattern density can theoretically be increased indefinitely, the half-pitch being inversely proportional to the number of subpatterns used. For example, a 25 nm half-pitch pattern can be generated from interleaving two 50 nm half-pitch patterns, three 75 nm half-pitch patterns, or four 100 nm half-pitch patterns.

Triple and Quadruple Patterning

Compared to single patterning, double/triple/quadruple patterning increases processing steps (coating, lithography, etching) by a factor of 2/3/4 for linear (1D) pattern layers. For 2D arrays, direct exposure would lead to a squaring of this increase (4/9/16 respectively) for fabricating a single layer, but self-aligned processing would only lead to doubling (4/6/8 respectively) for fabricating two separate layers. If the diagonal design rule is lithographically allowed, the 4 exposures required for 2D double patterning could be halved to 2.

Synopsys has begun consideration of triple patterning decomposition of layers which are less easy to split into two patterns, such as contact layers.[19] While only increasing the number of processing steps by 50% (compared to 100% for the insertion of double patterning), triple patterning would enable 16 nm node patterning on a 45 nm node lithography tool. Likewise, quadruple patterning would enable 11 nm node patterning on the same 45 nm node lithography tool, with only 33% additional steps over triple patterning.

October 2008 Discussion of the Readiness of Next Generation Lithography (NIL)

Why isn't NIL in production (for ICs)? Throughput is only at 4wph [full scale lithorgraphy is at a speed of about 120 wafers per hour]; overlay is at 15nm (nanometers). Inspection and repair infrastructure is not ready. The risk of repeating defects on the production line also needs to be addressed. How can people monitor for such problems and remove a template for cleaning when a printing defect is observed?


It appears the IC industry will finally adopt EUV for some layers at the 22nm node and for many more layers at the 16nm node.

Outlook for 15 Nanometer CMOS Status (National Device Labs Taiwan)

32 page presentation on the outlook for 15 nanometer CMOS from May 2009.

Some are quite optimistic for 15 nanometer EUV (Extreme Ultra Violet) Lithography for 2012-2014.

E Beam Lithography

E-beam lithography hinges on increasing the throughput with many parallel beams


Nanoimprint is getting more durable with higher resolution.

Materials for 15 nanometers

Risks Getting to 15nm

Nanopatterning market study projects Global Nanopatterning Market to Reach $481.48 million by 2012.

Nanoimprint Lithography (NIL) exhibits the most promising outlook. With anticipation that NIL emerges successful for commercial semiconductor manufacturing at 32nm node in the near future, the market for NIL is projected to grow the fastest between 2008 and 2015. Of the NIL techniques, UV nanoimprint lithography is projected to grow the fastest from 2008 to 2015. Another NIL technique expected to perform exceedingly well is hot embossing lithography.

The second largest nanopatterning market, Scanning Probe Lithography, would see its share decline from 2008 to 2015. Among the diverse applications, semiconductor applications and microelectronics fabrication represent the largest nanopatterning application.

CO2 Removal from the Atmosphere

Professor Klaus Lackner, Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University have developed a sorbent that is "close to the ideal," in that it uses a relatively small amount of energy to release the CO2 and is not prohibitively expensive.

"By the time we make liquid CO2 we have spent approximately 50 kilojoules [of electricity] per mole of CO2." Compare that, Lackner said, to the average power plant in the U.S. which produces one mole of CO2 with every 230 kilojoules of electricity.

"In other words, if we simply plugged our device in to the power grid to satisfy its energy needs, for every roughly 1000 kilograms [of carbon dioxide] we collected we would re-emit 200, so 800 we can chalk up as having been successful," he said.

The biggest cost was at the "back-end" of the collector, primarily the technology used to release the CO2 from the sorbent. He said for that reason, on a cost-basis, the "synthetic tree" could not compete with modern coal-fired power plants that are designed to release fewer carbon emissions than their older predecessors. But he said when compared to the cost of retro-fitting an existing coal plant, the "synthetic tree" becomes more viable.

"Each unit would take out a ton of CO2 a day -- which would be the amount of CO2 produced by 20 average automobiles in the U.S.A. And the cost of each unit would be about the cost of a Toyota. So that would mean if you added a five percent surcharge on automobile purchases that money could go to building units to remove the CO2 those vehicles are going to create."

The technology is not being developed as an alternative to the carbon capture and storage methods currently being tested for large-scale use on coal-fired power stations. He's targeting carbon that's already in the air.

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