November 21, 2009

Latest on Four Small Nuclear Reactors

Idaho Samizdat has the latest on NuScale, Babcock & Wilcox mPower, Hyperion Power Generation and Toshiba 4S from the American Nuclear Society Winter Meeting

Hyperion Takes Steps to Speed to Market Within Four Years

Hyperion Power Generation (HPG) uranium nitride fuel burns would begin before the end of the year. He said that Los Alamos National Laboratory, from whom Hyperion has licenced some of the technology, has researched uranium nitride. It said that the Russian military has used uranium nitride fuel and the lead-bismuth coolant.

* HPG plans to rely on the supply chain for producing the first units.
* HPG is looking to find six launch customers, some of which would run a prototype, including customers based in the US and UK. Letters of intent have been signed
* in order to have operating units within four years, HPG is considering building its first pilot units in facilities that do not require approval from a nuclear regulator, such as US Department of Energy facilities, or military facilities.
* HPG has signed up TetraTec as the architect-engineer-constructor, supported by Chamberlain.

Hyperion Power Generation More Technical Details

Nuclear Engineering International:
Although the Hyperion Power Generation had originally been aiming to create a TRIGA reactor burning uranium hydride, it has decided for reasons of speed-to-market to focus on commercialising a liquid-metal-cooled fast reactor instead.

The Hyperion Power Module has a core of 24 assemblies of a metal fuel, uranium nitride, that is 20% enriched set in HT-9 cladding tubes. Flowing around the pins is liquid lead-bismuth eutectic coolant. Quartz is used as a radial reflector. A gas plenum is at one end of the 2-3m long fuel pins.

Two sets of boron carbide control rods keep the reactivity of the core under control. One set of 12 control rods advance about 0.5mm/day to moderate the reaction. A second set of 6 shutdown rods close to the centre of the reactor would automatically drop into the core in case of an accident. The centre of the core is hollow. Inside that void space marbles of boron carbide would be dropped in case of an emergency.

The hot (500 degrees C) coolant transfers its heat through an intermediate heat exchanger to another lead-bismuth loop, through another intermediate heat exchanger to a tertiary circuit with an undisclosed fluid, and then through a third heat exchanger to water (at about 200 degrees C). The reactor is not only designed to deliver electricity, but also process heat or co-generation. Hyperion Power president and CEO John 'Grizz' Deal told NEI that the configurations of the secondary and tertiary circuit would depend on the reactor's uses.

The reason why the 70MWt reactor has a relatively low electrical efficiency of 36%, or 25MWe, is because the steam loop does not run through the inside of the reactor, for simplicity and safety.

B & W mPower

* mPower small reactor, a 125 MW LWR design that is still being completed on the drawing boards in Lynchburg, VA.

* The reactor will use 5% enriched uranium in fuel rod assemblies which are similar in design to those used in 1,000 MW plants.

* At a hypothetical price of $3,000/Kw, a single unit would cost $375 million

* One of the intended uses of the mPower reactor is to “repower carbon-intensive plants where the transmission and distribution infrastructure is already in place. (coal to nuclear ? )

* First units could be received by customers by 2018 and that the reactor can can be shipped by truck and rail to a customer site and installed below grade by skilled trades without complex training.

* three years from signed contracts to operational units

Rod Adams has more info on the mPower

Nuclear Engineering International has more info on mPower

B&W boasts that when the mPower goes on the market in 2012, each 125MWe reactor would be made in a factory, cost about half a billion dollars firm fixed price, and could be built and installed, in multiples of two or four reactors, in only three years.

mPower - main data

Reactor type: Integral PWR
Power: ~125MWe, ~400MWt
Reactor coolant: <14MPa (2000psia), ~600K (620F)core outlet
Steam conditions: <7MPa (1000psia), superheated
Reactor vessel diameter: ~3.6m (12ft)
Height: ~22m (70ft)
Fuel assemblies Sixty-nine 17x17, uranium dioxide
Height: ~half of standard fuel assembly
Fuel assembly pitch: 21.5cm
Active core height: ~200cm
Core diameter (flat to flat): ~200cm
Fuel inventory: <20t
Average specific power: ~20kW/kgU
Core average fuel burnup: <40GWd/tU
Target fuel cycle length: ~5 years
Maximum enrichment: <5%
Reactivity control: Control rods
Other features: No soluble boron, air cooled condenser,spent fuel stored in containment for 60 year design life


*NuScale’s 45 MW reactor is a traditional LWR design, it doesn’t have to fabricate or test new fuels.

* NuScale has a one-third test facility at Oregon State University

*NuScale was also the first to announce a modular approach to selling its reactors to customers. The idea is that a utility could buy a six-pack or eight-pack of the 45 MW units.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Not Efficient or Strategic and has an incompetent Direction

Idaho Samizdat also details that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not currently able to certify nuclear reactors other than existing light water designs and variations of those designs. I would think that the nuclear regulatory commission should be able to figure out and license nuclear reactor designs of any type in a timely fashion. The 4-5+ years that they take to certify a designs that are variants on light water designs seems to slow.

The staff of the NRC are probably competent but the mandate of the NRC and the top people setting the direction and strategic plans are not competent. The situation at the NRC is similar to how NASA flounders about with a crappy space program. The NRC needs to be part of a larger national energy plan.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was created as an independent agency by Congress in 1974 to enable the nation to safely use radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while ensuring that people and the environment are protected.

In the 35 years since it was set up the reactor designs that have been licensed are

Advanced Boiling Water Reactor design by GE Nuclear Energy (May 1997);

System 80+ design by Westinghouse (formerly ABB-Combustion Engineering) (May 1997);

AP600 design by Westinghouse (December 1999); and

AP1000 design (pictured at left) by Westinghouse (January 2006).

Designs Under Active Review by the NRC:
AP1000 (Amendment) – Westinghouse submitted an application to amend the AP1000 design in July 2007. The rulemaking is tentatively scheduled for completion in 2010.

ESBWR - General Electric submitted certification application on Aug. 24, 2005. The staff accepted the application for review in a letter dated Dec. 1, 2005, and expects the certification process to continue through 2010.

EPR - Areva submitted Dec. 11, 2007. The staff expects the certification process to continue through 2011.

US-APWR - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries submitted Dec. 31, 2007. The staff expects the certification process to continue through 2011

A Dissolving Wound Dressing to Fight Deadly Infections

Tel Aviv University (TAU) has a dissolving wound dressing to fight deadly infections.

Seventy percent of all people with severe burns die from related infections. Now a new wound-dressing technology from Tel Aviv University could cut that figure dramatically.

Prof. Meital Zilberman of TAU`s Department of Biomedical Engineering has developed new soluble fibers that can be used to deliver infection-fighting antibiotics, then dissolve when the job is done. Now in clinical trials on animal models, Prof. Zilberman`s new material can help avoid the constant wound cleaning and redressing that leads to infection, allowing the human body to do the work on its own.

Gentamicin-eluting bioresorbable composite fibers for wound healing applications

New gentamicin-eluting bioresorbable core/shell fiber structures were developed and studied. These structures were composed of a polyglyconate core and a porous poly(DL-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PDLGA) shell loaded with the antibiotic agent gentamicin, prepared using freeze drying of inverted emulsions. These unique fibers are designed to be used as basic elements of bioresorbable burn and ulcer dressings. The investigation focused on the effects of the emulsion's composition (formulation) on the shell's microstructure, on the drug release profile from the fibers, and on bacterial inhibition. The release profiles generally exhibited an initial burst effect accompanied by a decrease in release rates with time. Albumin was found to be the most effective surfactant for stabilizing the inverted emulsions. All three formulation parameters had a significant effect on gentamicin's release profile. An increase in the polymer and organic:aqueous phase ratio or a decrease in the drug content resulted in a lower burst release and a more moderate release profile. The released gentamicin also resulted in a significant decrease in bacterial viability and practically no bacteria survived after 2 days when using bacterial concentrations of 1 × 10^7 CFU/mL. Thus, our new fiber structures are effective against the relevant bacterial strains and can be used as basic elements of bioresorbable drug-eluting wound dressings.

November 20, 2009

Intel Predicts Brain waves will replace keyboard and mouse, dial phones and change TV channels by 2020

By the year 2020, you won't need a keyboard and mouse to control your computer, say Intel Corp. researchers. Instead, users will open documents and surf the Web using nothing more than their brain waves. (H/T Sander Olson)

Scientists at Intel's research lab in Pittsburgh are working to find ways to read and harness human brain waves so they can be used to operate computers, television sets and cell phones. The brain waves would be harnessed with Intel-developed sensors implanted in people's brains.

To get to that point Pomerleau and his research teammates from Intel, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, are currently working on decoding human brain activity.

Pomerleau said the team has used Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) machines to determine that blood flow changes in specific areas of the brain based on what word or image someone is thinking of. People tend to show the same brain patterns for similar thoughts, he added.

For instance, if two people think of the image of a bear or hear the word bear or even hear a bear growl, a neuroimage would show similar brain activity. Basically, there are standard patterns that show up in the brain for different words or images.

Pomerleau said researchers are close to gaining the ability to build brain sensing technology into a head set that culd be used to manipulate a computer. The next step is development of a tiny, far less cumbersome sensor that could be implanted inside the brain.

Today, Intel's Pomerleau said various research facilities are developing technologies to sense activity from inside the skull.

"If we can get to the point where we can accurately detect specific words, you could mentally type," he added. "You could compose characters or words by thinking about letters flashing on the screen or typing whole words rather than their individual characters."

Pomerleau also noted that the more scientists figure out about the brain, it will help them design better microprocessors. He said, "If we can see how the brain does it, then we could build smarter computers."

Presbyopia Surgery

PresbyLASIK is a surgical technique for presbyopic visual correction using Excimer LASER ablation.

Singapore and India offer the treatment now and Canada and the USA have advanced clinical trials, which are showing promising results.

PresbyLASIK treatment uses the principles of LASIK surgery to create a multifocal corneal surface aimed at reducing near vision spectacle dependence in presbyopic patients. Among the presbyLASIK techniques, the Excimer LASER ablation creates a central area, which is hyperpositive for near vision leaving the midperipheral cornea for far vision

Presbyopia describes the condition where the eye exhibits a progressively diminished ability to focus on near objects with age.

During recent clinical trials using modified monovision with PresbyLASIK, 91.3 percent of all patients no longer needed to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. Among nearsighted (myopic) patients, 92 percent no longer needed glasses or contact lenses. Of those who were farsighted (hyperopic), 89 percent were spectacle-free.

This study involved 75 patients with myopia and 28 with hyperopia; average age was 53.3 years. Standard wavefront-guided LASIK provided monocular (single vision) distance vision in the dominant eye, and presbyLASIK for vision at multiple distances was used to correct the nondominant eye. Results are after 1.2 years to 3.9 years of followup. Statistics apply to use of both eyes together, or binocular vision. (Reported July 2008 in Journal of Refractive Surgery.)

If you develop cataracts after multifocal LASIK surgery, you will still be able to have cataract surgery. But changes made to your cornea during the LASIK procedure make it a bit more challenging for your cataract surgeon to determine the correct power for your intraocular lens to give you a perfect visual outcome after cataract surgery.

It's possible you may need to wear eyeglasses after cataract surgery or you may need additional corneal refractive surgery to regain acceptable vision for driving and/or reading without glasses.

Finally, there is no guarantee that results of your multifocal LASIK surgery will be permanent. If your eyes change as the years go by after your LASIK surgery, future surgical enhancements may be needed. Another possible complication associated with the procedure can include an inability to see as well as you once did, even with the help of glasses or contact lenses after surgery

Myostatin Inhibiting Gene Therapy Success in Monkeys

One person in a million has natural myostatin inhibition genes

Work was done on Macaque monkeys. Commonly scientific work is on rhesus macaques.

Researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital have shown that a gene delivery strategy that produces follistatin -- a naturally occurring protein that inhibits myostatin, a growth factor expressed specifically in skeletal muscle -- directly to the quadriceps of non-human primates results in long-term gene expression with muscle enhancing effects, including larger muscles with greater strength. The muscles were 15% bigger, 78% stronger and the effect lasted for the 15 month study with no negative health effects. The treatment produced no obvious negative side-effects and human clinical trials are expected to start next year.

Myostatin inhibition occurs naturally in about one in one million people. Studies with mice indicate myostatin inhibition is four times more effective than high doses of steroids. Myostatin inhibition can have various health benefits and not just performance enhancment. It can be used to counter the muscle wasting in old people and help old people stay mobile longer. Mobile people stay healthier longer. Another potential benefit is help people with weight control and reduction of obesity. Muscles consume more calories than fat so someone with Myostatin inhibition should find it easier to manage their weight. Having fewer obese people should improve public health and could also help with national medical costs.

A previous study of myostatin inhibitors on mice has shown protection against obesity and hardening of the arteries

Obesity increases the risk of atherosclerosis, which accounts for 75% of all cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes. The mice with deleted myostatin gene had much less body fat and 30 percent lower fasting blood sugar and 80% lower fasting insulin levels, showing a reduction in obesity and a strong resistance to developing diabetes, the authors reported. They also had 50 percent lower low-density-lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol and 30 to 60 percent lower levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides (fats in the blood), respectively. These results indicate protection against the development of atherosclerosis.

So safe (potentially health improving) and very effective muscle enhancement appears to be close. At the end of this article is other option which is already being used by people now (SARMs - produce a steroid like effect that only goes to the muscles).

Estimates are that 7 million people take steroids to boost their muscles (in spite of the health risks) and most do it for enhanced appearance and not for sports.

Steroid like effects with no health risks and potentially health benefits would seem likely to be very widely used. If the protection against obesity and artery hardening holds up in human trials then it would make sense for everyone to have the myostatin inhibition treatment to protect and cardiovascular disease and death which is the number one cause of death. Abut 30% of all deaths are cause by heart disease

This more recent study produced similar results in non-human primates, in a translational study to demonstrate efficacy in safety in a species more closely related to humans. Non-human primates that received the injection of the follistatin transgene experienced pronounced and durable increases in muscle size and strength. Muscle growth occurred for 12 weeks after treatment, after which time the growth rates appeared to stabilize and were well tolerated, with no adverse events noted over the course of the 15-month study.

"Our studies indicate that this relatively non-invasive approach could have long-term effects, involve few risks and could potentially be effective in various types of degenerative muscle disorders including multiple forms of muscular dystrophy," said the study's corresponding author, Brian Kaspar, PhD, principal investigator in the Center for Gene Therapy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Times UK has more info

After the treatment, the monkeys’ leg muscles grew steadily, and were 15 per cent bigger in circumference on average after eight weeks.

Using electrical muscle stimulation, the scientists showed that the treated legs were also significantly stronger than the untreated legs. In one monkey, the treated leg was 78 per cent stronger. .

The enhanced size and power were retained 15 months after the treatment and caused no apparent health problems.

Follistatin Gene Delivery Enhances Muscle Growth and Strength in Nonhuman Primates

Antagonists of myostatin, a blood-borne negative regulator of muscle growth produced in muscle cells, have shown considerable promise for enhancing muscle mass and strength in rodent studies and could serve as potential therapeutic agents for human muscle diseases. One of the most potent of these agents, follistatin, is both safe and effective in mice, but similar tests have not been performed in nonhuman primates. To assess this important criterion for clinical translation, we tested an alternatively spliced form of human follistatin that affects skeletal muscle but that has only minimal effects on nonmuscle cells. When injected into the quadriceps of cynomolgus macaque monkeys, a follistatin isoform expressed from an adeno-associated virus serotype 1 vector, AAV1-FS344, induced pronounced and durable increases in muscle size and strength. Long-term expression of the transgene did not produce any abnormal changes in the morphology or function of key organs, indicating the safety of gene delivery by intramuscular injection of an AAV1 vector. Our results, together with the findings in mice, suggest that therapy with AAV1-FS344 may improve muscle mass and function in patients with certain degenerative muscle disorders.

Supplemental Material

Supplemental material in a 6 page pdf

The treatment did not cause sperm or menstrual cycles to go outside of normal ranges.

Fig. S1. MCK-FS causes myofiber hypertrophy and predominantly affects fast-twitch type 2 myofibers in the quadriceps muscle.
Fig. S2. Morphological effects on sperm from male cynomologus macaques treated with AAV1-FS344.
Table S1. Menstrual cycles in untreated control and AAV1-FS344–treated cynomolgus macaques.
Table S2. Sperm motility and morphology of untreated control and AAV1- FS344–treated cynomolgus macaques.
Table S3. Primer and probe sets used in quantitative polymerase chain reaction (QPCR) for vector genome quantification.

Seperate Product/Method for Potentially Safe Muscle Boosting
Steroid like effects that are theorized to be safer are available online from SARMs.

SARMs work similarly to testosterone but in a more targeted way. "They are effective by binding to the steroid receptor in only specific tissue, like muscle," says Evans, who is also a scientific advisor to GTx, a company developing the drugs. "They are not steroid drugs, but they produce the anabolic effect of the steroids." GTx, based in Memphis, TN, has shown in a clinical trial that one compound being developed for muscle wasting and bone loss can significantly boost lean muscle mass in older people.


The current black market use of SARMs (before clinical trials are done, phase 3 clinical trials not started) via online purchase and the online sale of fake myostatin inhibitors and fake SARMs shows the massive demand that will be there for the real thing. Especially after they do clear clinical trials for Muscle wasting diseases. I expect to be having some type of myostatin inhibitor treatment within ten years. Maintain muscles before getting too hold and maintaining as I get older, less risk of falling and breaking a hip later, heart health, weight control. do not care about the sports aspect. The real sports competitors will doing this and ten other riskier things. I had LASIK done over ten years ago and have not regretted it. Was able to get 20-15 vision (so better than the old good vision standard of 20-20).

The "clean" sports leagues will look like childrens little league compared to the open enhancement leagues.

2020 expectation:
SARMs and Myostatin inhibition widespread (tens of millions)
20-5 vision common from advanced LASIK and other treatments
Next generation cognitive enhancement drugs
robotic and cyber enhancements
Augmented reality vision (goggles/visors)
Mind machine interfaces

The next level after those will be transgenic (gorilla strength, 40 mph speed, super leaping, cognitive remodelling - stem cells, gene therapy, superdrugs 300IQ-1000IQ and may more), molecular nanotechnology enhancement. Although the performance enhancement is interesting, it will be the enhancements for
- super immune systems
- life extension and health enhancement
- radiation and other resistence
- cognitive enhancement
- regeneration

that will be the big impacters of civilization.

human enhancement overview

whole body gene therapy progress

Japanese create transgenic monkeys

Transgenic genetic engineering update

Future Colliders

The New Scientist looks at the future of particle colliders beyond the Large Hadron Collider Regardless of what is found particle wise (Higgs or no Higgs Boson) there will be new physics to investigate or models of the universe to refine (standard model or something else, supersymmetry or string theory).

Super Large Hadron Collider (sLHC)

The sLHC would be a massively upgraded LHC. If all goes to plan, it will come online in around a decade (2018, about 1 billion euro) after upgrades. The beams would be 10 times as bright, which would involve increasing the number of protons in each beam by a factor of 10, and result in 10 times as many collisions per hour.

The International Linear Collider (ILC)

If the project receives financial backing after technical reports due in 2012, the ILC would be a 35-kilometre-long straight accelerator.

Complete in the 2020s for about $8 billion.

The Compact Linear Collider (CLIC)
The CLIC would be a positron and electron linear accelerator like the ILC - and is also yet to be approved - but it would be shorter and have collisions at higher energies. 2020s and cost about ~$10 billion. Equal to an ILC 140 kilometers long.

Other proposals include the Very Large Hadron Collider, which would have a collision energy of 40 to 200 TeV and would have to be built from scratch. Muon colliders, and an LHeC - smashing an electron beam into a proton beam - are also being considered

Plasma Acceleration Could Transform the Future of Colliders

Plasma acceleration is a technique for accelerating charged particles, such as electrons, positrons and ions, using an electric field associated with an electron plasma wave. The wave is created either using electron pulses or through the passage of a very brief laser pulses, a technique known as laser plasma acceleration. These techniques appear to offer a way to build high performance particle accelerators of much smaller size than conventional devices at the expense of coherency. Current experimental devices show accelerating gradients several orders of magnitude better than current particle accelerators. For example, an experimental laser plasma accelerator at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory accelerates electrons to 1 GeV over about 3.3 cm,[1] whereas the SLAC conventional accelerator requires 64 m to reach the same energy. A recent experiment performed by a team at SLAC achieved an energy gain to 42 GeV over 85 cm using a plasma wakefield accelerator

It is hoped that a compact particle accelerator can be created based on plasma acceleration techniques or accelerators for much higher energy can be built, if long accelerators are realizable with an accelerating field of 10 GV/m.

Plasma acceleration is categorized into several types according to how the electron plasma wave is formed:

* plasma wakefield acceleration (PWFA): The electron plasma wave is formed by an electron bunch
* laser wakefield acceleration (LWFA): A laser pulse is introduced to form an electron plasma wave.
* laser beat-wave acceleration (LBWA): The electron plasma wave arises based on different frequency generation of two laser pulses.
* self-modulated laser wakefield acceleration (SMLWFA): The formation of an electron plasma wave is achieved by a laser pulse modulated by stimulated Raman forward scattering instability.

Design considerations for a Trillion Electron Volt (TEV) laser plasma accelerator Lasers need to keep improving to enable really powerful laser plasma accelerators.

Plasma Afterburners for Linear Colliders

Plasma wakefield acceleration can sustain acceleration gradients three orders of magnitude larger than conventional RF accelerator. In the recent E164X experiment, substantial energy gain of about 3 − 4 GeV has been observed. Thus, a plasma afterburner, which has been proposed to double the incoming beam energy for a future linear collider, is now of great interest

Presentation from 2004 With Technical Details

Advanced Accelerators Near and Far Future Options -

Petavolt Accelerators

Here is an older paper on a path to petavolt colliders.

Very large hadron collider (not a petavolt design but up to 200 Tev) design documents

November 19, 2009

Gigahertz Dynamics of a Strongly Driven Single Quantum Spin

UC Santa Barbara researchers have demonstrated the ability to electrically manipulate, at gigahertz rates, the quantum states of electrons trapped on individual defects in diamond crystals. This could aid in the development of quantum computers that could use electron spins to perform computations at unprecedented speed. Using electromagnetic waveguides on diamond-based chips, the researchers were able to generate magnetic fields large enough to change the quantum state of an atomic-scale defect in less than one billionth of a second. The microwave techniques used in the experiment are analogous to those that underlie magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.

Two-level systems are at the core of numerous real-world technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging and atomic clocks. Coherent control of the state is achieved with an oscillating field that drives dynamics at a rate determined by its amplitude. As the strength of the field is increased, a different regime emerges where linear scaling of the manipulation rate breaks down and complex dynamics are expected. Employing a single spin as a canonical two-level system, we have measured the room-temperature "strong-driving" dynamics of a single nitrogen vacancy center in diamond. Using an adiabatic passage to calibrate the spin rotation, we observe dynamics on subnanosecond time scales. Contrary to conventional thinking, this breakdown of the rotating wave approximation provides opportunities for time-optimal quantum control of a single spin

13 pages of supplemental material

Real SARM Steroids Are Available for Online Purchase

MIT Technology review reports that a group from the German Sport University Cologne in Germany detected the real SARM (selective androgen receptor modulators)in a product called Andarine, available online for $100 and labeled as green tea extracts and face moisturizer.

Selective androgen receptor modulators have steroid effects but are believed to be safer, without many of the harmful side effects of steroids.

SARMs work similarly to testosterone but in a more targeted way. "They are effective by binding to the steroid receptor in only specific tissue, like muscle," says Evans, who is also a scientific advisor to GTx, a company developing the drugs. "They are not steroid drugs, but they produce the anabolic effect of the steroids." GTx, based in Memphis, TN, has shown in a clinical trial that one compound being developed for muscle wasting and bone loss can significantly boost lean muscle mass in older people.

Analysis of the solution revealed the presence of S-4 at approximately 150 mg/mL with equal amounts in each container, yielding a total of 4.5 g of the SARM

There are some posted logs and journals where people track the results of their SARM S4 usage.

There is a lot of fake SARMs being sold as well.

Intel invests in Europe exascale computing center and Reviewing Big Numbers and Unit Prefixes

Goal is supercomputers with 1 one million trillion (a quintillion) instructions per second [IEEE had an error with a terascale trillion instructions per second]

The Exascale Computing Research Center will integrate multi petaFLOPS systems, develop advanced performance optimization techniques, and collaborate with end users to optimize supercomputer performance in areas such as energy, seismology, computational fluid dynamics and health care.

The lab will employ about a dozen people initially and is expected to eventually grow to about three times that number.

Names of large numbers and unit prefixes of large numbers

trillion 10^12 terascale
quadrillion 10^15 petascale
quintillion 10^18 exascale
sextillion 10^21 zettaascale
septillion 10^24 yottascale
octillion 10^27

A list with a few more number names

November 18, 2009

Commodity Company Estimates China and India Per Capita PPP Income

Rio Tinto, mining company, projects the per capita GDP of India and China and other countries

The nearly $20,000 per person PPP in China in 2025 translates to an overall economy of about $30 trillion PPP in China.

Estimates of Rising Urbanization and Electricity Usage

Quantum coupling for Super-efficient conversion of heat to electricity

link to 242 page paper on the Quantum-coupled single-electron thermal
to electric conversion scheme.(a PHD thesis)

Quantum dot coupling is to restrict number of states and increase efficiency. Columb coupling is to avoid the blackbody limit.

This is a follow up of

Getting Thermoelectrics four to nine times more efficient than current 10% efficient commercial systems

Another recent 9 page research paper on micro gap thermal conversion

The current quantum-mechanical resonant-coupling model confirms the predictions of both n2 and “beyond n2” enhancement, which removes a major limitation in thermophotovoltaics. Not only can the efficiency of TPV converters be increased, the emitter radiative efficiency can also be improved because energy that would otherwise be lost (in the form of long-wavelength light or heat) is recycled and selectively coupled into a resonant TPV converter. This selectivity further allows a reduction in the temperature of the emitter, while maintaining useful overall system efficiencies. A key feature to remember is that the new energy-transfer mechanism does not depend only on release of the blackbody radiation trapped within the emitter (as does the classical n2 effect). The additional energy source is the non-propagating photon modes that are normally dissipated in self-excitation of the emitter atoms and in resonance-coupling effects. This means that the blackbody law of power emission (which pertains only to the propagating modes) is not violated. We can not get more power out than we put in. However, we can extract energy more rapidly and more selectively at any emitter temperature. Therefore, with microgap coupling and a given thermal-energy input, the emitter can be kept at a lower temperature and still operate at a higher efficiency than previously possible. This is important in that it opens the possibility of selecting emitter materials and structures that would not survive higher temperatures.

Uranium to 2020 Update

world uranium production by country up to 2008

The Ux Consulting Company (UxC) has the Uranium Suppliers Annual. This is a report that nuclear industry businesses pay money to get.

They are projecting Kazakhstan increasing their uranium production to about 40,000 tons/year. Kazakhstan will continue its growth until 2015-2017. Kazakhstan is producing about 12,500-13,000 tons in 2009. In 2008, Kazakhstan produced 8521 tons.

UxC is projecting large gains in new mines in Africa, Canada, Russia and Australia.

Canada has had some delays because of some water flooding problems at the Cigar Lake mine. Also, the Midwest mine in Saskatchewan was shelved until uranium prices are higher. Currently uranium is at $45/pound.

target=blank>Canada's production does look to be back up from 2008. Cameco (which produces most of Canada's uranium) production at the end of the third quarter of 2009 was 9.3 million pounds U3O8 compared to 8.5 million pounds over the same period in 2008. We continue to expect our share of production to be 13.1 million pounds in 2009.

the first 9 months are up 2700 tons of Uranium. Canada should be up 3000 tons from 2008.

Another attempt is being made to dewater the Cigar Lake mine

The inflow on the 420 metre level that forced suspension of dewatering on August 12, 2008 has been remediated by remotely placing an inflatable seal between the shaft and the source of the inflow and subsequently backfilling and sealing the entire development behind the seal with concrete and grout. The 420 level is not part of future mine plans.

It is currently expected to take six to 12 months to dewater and secure the mine depending on what conditions are found in the shaft and the underground workings

Michael Dittmar has been getting some notice around the internet about a claim that uranium supplies cannot/will not be increased from uranium mines around the world Many people who are using his report do not have time to read through more than the highlights and assume that his work is thorough.

Dittmar is biased. Problems and errors with his four papers have been pointed out to him and he ignores it. Also, his work as a particle physicist is not very good either as he is willing to be scientifically dishonest and misinterpret research papers even when the authors are in the room during his presentation and telling him he is wrong.

The link being one of the top ten that comes up when we search his name. dittmar's particle physics presentation

The Dorigo presentation (PHd, works at Tevetron and Harvard)

[dittmar physics talk] most definitely places a strong claim on the prize of the most obnoxious talk of the year. Unfortunately for all, it was just as much an incorrect, scientifically dishonest, and dilettantesque lamentation, plus a defamation of a community of 1300 respected physicists.

He ignored the interpretation of the people who wrote the papers he quoted in a presentation he was giving. He had a predetermined point of view and interpreted things to substantiate that view.

Namibia's Valencia mine is expected to produce 1,000 tU/year. It is expected to open in 2010, which is a delay from 2009.

A previous look at a mining forecast until 2020 There have been some delayed projects and the low price is a factor ($45/lb). A lot of new uranium capacity is being brought online and the resources from delayed project

The Malawi Kayelekera began exporting uranium on Sept, 2009 It will be producing 1269 tons per year.

On Oct. 29, 2009, Paladin Energy Ltd announced that is to conduct an optimisation study at Kayelekera whereby it intends exploiting some additional resource by extending the west wall of the current planned pit. This study will be targeting an increased production rate of 3.8 Mlb U3O8 [1,462 t U] pa (from current 3.3 Mlb U3O8 [1,269 t U] pa) with minimal capital requirement (estimated at US$10-$15M) by utilising existing excess capacity. It is expected this production rate will be achieved by mid calendar 2012.

Paladin Energy: delays to an upgrade at the Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia and the replacement of equipment at the Kayelekera venture in Malawi meant production rose at a slower-than-anticipated pace. The Australian miner said it plans to more than double output from its African operations during the next five years by spending as much as $365 million on expansion.

The Olympic dam mine in Australia is expected to be expanded. A decision will be made by the Australian government July 2010

There was an accident at the Olympic dam mine, but production will be fully restored by the third quarter of 2010.

Niger is heading to 10,000 tons per year of uranium production (around 2012-2014). They are finding quality uranium mines in Niger using $5 million per year in exploration spending.

In Niger, Areva should invest 1.2 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in the Imouraren project, scheduled to come on stream in 2012. The project is already delayed a year because of political turbulence in the country. "We will decide in 2011-2012 whether we should scale it for 2,000 tons or 5,000 tons or even 7,000 tons," Sébastien de Montessus, director of Areva's mining business unit said. The current uranium price (US$ 55 / lb U3O8) wouldn't be enough to make an investment of $500 million to $1.5 billion profitable, De Montessus said. "The market price has to go up to $70 to $80." Bloomberg June 23, 2009

Details of the new mine results and exploration at Rossing (Namibia)

We believe a total resource of 500 Mlbs (250,000 tons) is achievable from targets already defined. The Company is now well advanced with the Rossing South Feasibility Study on Zones 1 and 2 and the project is shaping up to be one of the world's largest uranium mines, capable of producing 15 Mlbs of U3O8 per year. (7500 tons per year)

Namibia is mining friendly. Paladin commissioned Langer Heinrich in 2007 on time and on budget, and continues with the process of ramping production to what could amount to 3000 tons of uranium a year, at a cash cost of USD 25/lb, by the second half of 2010.

Namibia's more recent potential was startlingly highlighted by the August 2007 purchase by French transnational Areva for USD 2.5bn of Uramin. Trekkopje will be a big mine.

Berkeley has 26m pounds of 450 parts per million uranium oxide at its Spanish projects; analysts familiar with the company reckon this resource will potentially triple in 2010 as Berkeley moves onto the Toronto Stock Exchange, and into production at around 1000 tons a year by 2012.

Berkeley's Salamanca project would be the restart of an old mine, one shut down in 2000 by Spanish state company ENUSA following sustained low uranium prices. Relative to other projects with a similar deposit base, Salamanca rates as very low cost on capital expenditure, with operating expenditure likely to be around USD 30/lb.

Rossing and Trekkopje will be expanding and ramping up production over the next few years.

Energy Resources (Rio Tinto Subsidiary) reported uranium production for the first three quarters of the year was 4,100 tons, up 11% on 2008. [over 400 ton increase]

Jordan has discovered some shallow easy to mine uranium deposits

Jordan already had a lot of uranium in phosphate deposits. China National Nuclear Corporation General Manager Kang Rixin expects that the first batch of uranium from Jordanian resources will be transported home in 2010; the total quantity probably will be 700 tons. (Caijing Magazine July 5, 2009). It has been expected that the uranium from Jordan phosphate would scale to 2000 tons per year.

Russia is developing the Elkon mine

Russia is developing the Gornoe mine (600 tons) for 2010-2012.

2009 should have 50,000+ tons of production

2010 should have 56,000+ tons of production
another 3000 tons from Kazakhstan, Valencia in Namibia, Full year of Malawi production

The world is going to over 100,000 tons of uranium per year in a business as usual mode before 2020. A lot more than the IAEA/OECD projection seem likely from Kazakhstan and less from Canada until Cigar Lake gets sorted out and depending upon which projects proceed based on uranium prices.

Backstopping regular mining is the large supplies of HEU, LEU in Russia and the US (75,000 ton surplus at the DOE). Another backstop is the depleted uranium.

Eventually prices will go up and some deferred projects like 2300/t per year Midwest mine in Saskatchwan, Canada and full scale up Imouraren in Niger will occur (smaller scale opening likely)

In part 1 of Dittmars uranium doom prediction he offers a bet

For those interested, I am offering a bet that the 2009 and 2010 numbers will not be higher than 45,000 tons and 47,000 tons, respectively.

I am willing to take those bets as stated. I would win and be correct if the 2009 world uranium mining production numbers come out to 45,001 tons or higher and the 2010 production numbers to 47,001 tons or higher.

As indicated, I think 2009 and 2010 should come out much higher even with some delayed projects and the accident at Olympic Dam.

I also predict that Cigar Lake will be producing 4000 tons per year or more before 2020.

Africa and Kazakhstan will be where most of the new uranium production is added leading to 2020. Increases from Canada, Australia, Russia, Jordan and other places as well.

Beyond the highly enriched uranium that Russia is supplying (downblended from decommissioned nuclear bombs or unmade bombs.) The US Department of Energy (DOE) also has 75,000 tons of uranium. Shortfalls in uranium mining from delays can be made up for by nuclear utilities being willing to pay Russia enough or to make arrangements with the DOE. The million tons of depleted Uranium can also be enriched to make several tens of thousand tons of fuel.

Highly enriched uranium can be downblended to be about 18 times as low enriched reactor fuel

There will be no problem powering nuclear reactors with fuel before 2020 and there is plenty of time for prudent steps to be taken. Around 2012-2013 there will be price increases in uranium which will make some of delayed mines profitable.

The table takes the WNA numbers for 2008, 2007 and what I have pieced together for the larger countries for the first 9 months. The numbers are uranium producedin tons. Plus the expected new mines and production in Namibia and Kazakhstan and expected operational expansions or sustained production. Small countries were just carried forward

Hyperion Power Generation Reactor Design

Here are 18 pages of slides, 8 pages on the Hyperion Power Generation Uranium HydrideNitride Reactor (H/T Idaho Samizdat)

Fuel will be enriched to between 15-19.6% because this small reactor needs more highly enriched fuel to get power levels to point of economic value. Fuel is a uranium nitride alloy. No fuel has been fabricated or tested so far. A system engineer at Hyperion said in an interview INL’s ATR is an option for testing fuel.

Hyperion Power Generation Press Release
It has been changed from uranium hydride to uranium nitride-fueled, lead bismuth-cooled, fast reactor for their 'launch' design.

The design that Hyperion Power intends to have licensed and manufactured first will include all of the company's original design criteria, but is expected to take less time for regulators to review and certify than the initial concept created by Dr. Otis "Pete" Peterson during his tenure at Los Alamos National Laboratory. "We have every intention of producing Dr. Peterson's uranium hydride-fueled reactor; it is an important breakthrough technology for the nuclear power industry," noted Deal. "However, in our research of the global market for small, modular nuclear power reactors – aka SMRs – we have found a great need for the technology. Our clients do not want to wait for regulatory systems around the globe, to learn about and be able to approve a uranium hydride system. A true SMR design, that delivers a safe, simple and small source of clean, emission-free, robust and reliable power is needed today – not years from now. As we construct and deploy this launch design, we will continue to work towards licensing Dr. Peterson's design."

Kept quiet until today, this initial design for the company's small, modular, nuclear power reactor (SMR) is the first of several that have been under co-development with staff from Los Alamos National Laboratory. Hyperion Power's market goals include the distribution of at least 4,000 of its transportable, sealed, self-contained, simple-to-operate fission-generated power units

The Design
Overnight costs are estimated by the firm to be $2,000 - $3,000 per KW capacity. The market goal is to generate electricity for < ten US cents per kWh anywhere in the world.

The reactor is intended to meet requirements for dedicated power by hospitals, factories, foundries, government centers, water treatment, or irrigation and desalinization. Resource intensive uses at remote sites include mining and oil production & refining. Military facilities that cannot compromise tactical readiness relative to having enough electricity may find the small footprint of the reactor and ease of transport to be of interest.

Four Times Current Efficiency for Converting Waste Heat to Electricity

In experiments involving a different new technology, thermal diodes, Peter Hagelstein (MIT) worked with Yan Kucherov, now a consultant for the Naval Research Laboratory, and coworkers to demonstrate efficiency as high as 40 percent of the Carnot Limit. Moreover, the calculations show that this new kind of system could ultimately reach as much as 90 percent of that ceiling. Current commercial thermoelectric devices only achieve about one-tenth of the Carnot limit.

Hagelstein, Wu and others started from scratch rather than trying to improve the performance of existing devices. They carried out their analysis using a very simple system in which power was generated by a single quantum-dot device — a type of semiconductor in which the electrons and holes, which carry the electrical charges in the device, are very tightly confined in all three dimensions. By controlling all aspects of the device, they hoped to better understand how to design the ideal thermal-to-electric converter.

Hagelstein says that with present systems it’s possible to efficiently convert heat into electricity, but with very little power. It’s also possible to get plenty of electrical power — what is known as high-throughput power — from a less efficient, and therefore larger and more expensive system. “It’s a tradeoff. You either get high efficiency or high throughput,” says Hagelstein. But the team found that using their new system, it would be possible to get both at once, he says.

A key to the improved throughput was reducing the separation between the hot surface and the conversion device. A recent paper by MIT professor Gang Chen reported on an analysis showing that heat transfer could take place between very closely spaced surfaces at a rate that is orders of magnitude higher than predicted by theory. The new report takes that finding a step further, showing how the heat can not only be transferred, but converted into electricity so that it can be harnessed.

A company called MTPV Corp. (for Micron-gap Thermal Photo-Voltaics), founded by Robert DiMatteo SM ’96, MBA ‘06, is already working on the development of “a new technology closely related to the work described in this paper,” Hagelstein says.

Micron gap thermal photovoltaics was covered here in January, 2009

The 1000 times greater heat transfer was covered here at the end of July, 2009

DiMatteo says he hopes eventually to commercialize Hagelstein’s new idea. In the meantime, he says the technology now being developed by his company, which he expects to have on the market next year, could produce a tenfold improvement in throughput power over existing photovoltaic devices, while the further advance described in this new paper could make an additional tenfold or greater improvement possible. The work described in this paper “is potentially a major finding,” he says.

DiMatteo says that worldwide, about 60 percent of all the energy produced by burning fuels or generated in powerplants is wasted, mostly as excess heat, and that this technology could “make it possible to reclaim a significant fraction of that wasted energy.”

While it may take a few years for the necessary technology for building affordable quantum-dot devices to reach commercialization, Hagelstein says, “there’s no reason, in principle, you couldn’t get another order of magnitude or more” improvement in throughput power, as well as an improvement in efficiency.

Why Thermoelectrics Are Huge for Energy Efficiency
Industrial waste heat is 7 quads in the USA. There is more waste heat from power plants and from cars. Applying thermoelectrics to our current power plants would be like adding 10-30 nuclear power plants and 150-375 coal plants and 500-1500 natural gas plants that would not use any more fuel because it would be from more efficient use of existing power plants.

Heat flows in a car and using thermoelectrics to tap the waste heat. The standard combustion engine is about 30% efficient, but regular diesel engines are about 38% efficient. New diesel engine and free piston engines can reach 50% efficiency or more. The energy for cooling can also be reduced using thermoelectrics.

The 30% energy efficiency is triple the efficiency of todays common thermoelectrics and double most advanced systems and would get to range of using solid state thermoelectrics to replace refrigerators [thermoelectrics can help cool as well as convert heat to electricity] and many small car sized engines. Typical conversion systems become less efficient as they are scaled down to small size. This means there is a crossover point: below some power level thermoelectric technology will tend to be more efficient. Increasing ZT will move the crossover point to higher power levels, increasing the range of applications where thermoelectrics compete. Thus the ZT of 3 to compete with current best car size and refrigerator mechanical systems.

Past coverage of thermoelectrics and refrigerators.

Thermoelectric Figure of Merit
The primary criterion for thermoelectric device viability is the figure of merit given by:

which depends on the Seebeck coefficient, S, thermal conductivity, λ, and electrical conductivity, σ.

High temperature thermoelectrics and ZT, figure of merit

The New Research Paper

Quantum-coupled single-electron thermal to electric conversion scheme

Thermal to electric energy conversion with thermophotovoltaics relies on radiation emitted by a hot body, which limits the power per unit area to that of a blackbody. Microgap thermophotovoltaics take advantage of evanescent waves to obtain higher throughput, with the power per unit area limited by the internal blackbody, which is n^2 higher. We propose that even higher power per unit area can be achieved by taking advantage of thermal fluctuations in the near-surface electric fields. For this, we require a converter that couples to dipoles on the hot side, transferring excitation to promote carriers on the cold side which can be used to drive an electrical load. We analyze the simplest implementation of the scheme, in which excitation transfer occurs between matched quantum dots. Next, we examine thermal to electric conversion with a lossy dielectric (aluminum oxide) hot-side surface layer. We show that the throughput power per unit active area can exceed the n^2 blackbody limit with this kind of converter. With the use of small quantum dots, the scheme becomes very efficient theoretically, but will require advances in technology to fabricate.

IBM Has Achieved Cat Scale Brain Simulation Which are 15 times the scale of Previous Rat Brain Simulations

The Cat is Out of the Bag and BlueMatter

Today at SC 09, the supercomputing conference in Portland, Oregon, IBM is announcing progress toward creating a computer system that simulates the way the brain works. (Brain Emulation) Two major milestones indicate the feasibility of building a cognitive computing chip: unprecedented advances in large-scale cortical simulation and a new algorithm that synthesizes neurological data. This work is on track to human brain scale simulations in 2018.

12 page pdf on IBMs cat brain emulation

IBM simulated a model with 0.9 * 10^9 neurons and 0.9 * 10^13 synapses, using probabilistic connectivity and a simulation time step of 1 ms, only 83 times slower than real-time per Hertz of average neuronal ring rate.

In the quest for cognitive computing, we have built a massively parallel cortical simulator, C2, that incorporates a number of innovations in computation, memory, and communication. Using C2 on LLNL's Dawn Blue Gene/P supercomputer with 146,456 CPUs and 144 TB of main memory, we report two cortical simulations { at unprecedented scale { that e®ectively saturate the entire memory capacity and refresh it at least every simulated second. The first simulation consists of 1.6 billion neurons and 8.87 trillion synapses with experimentally-measured gray matter thalamocortical connectivity. The second simulation has 900 million neurons and 9 trillion synapses with probabilistic connectivity. We demonstrate nearly perfect weak scaling and attractive strong scaling. The simulations, which incorporate phenomenological spiking neurons, individual learning synapses, axonal delays, and dynamic synaptic channels, exceed the scale of the cat cortex, marking the dawn of a new era in the scale of cortical simulations.

The cat brain has 15 times as many neurons as a rat and 50 times as many as a mouse. The cat has 13 times as many synapses as a rat and and 35 times as many synapses as a mouse. The new simulations are 4.5% of the size of human cortex simulations. They need to be sped up to full speed (they are 83 times slower than real brains.)

Cognition and computation arise from the cerebral cortex; a truly complex system that contains roughly 20 billion neurons and 200 trillion synapses.

Weak Scaling of C2 in each of the three Blue Gene/P modes: SMP (one CPU per node), DUAL (two CPUs per node) and VN (four CPUs per node). The plots show that in each mode, as the number of MPI Processes is increased (x-axis), a proportionately larger size of the model, quanti¯ed with number of synapses, can be successfully simulated (y-axis). Both axes are on a logarithmic scale (with base 2) and the straight line curves have a slope of 1, demonstrating a doubling of model size with doubling of available CPUs. This is nearly perfect weak scaling in memory. The overall model size is enlarged by increasing the number of groups of neurons: for every 1024 nodes added to the simulation, the number of neuron groups was increased by 32,768. This choice of number of neuron groups allows a good degree of load balancing, and also allows the group sizes to be uniform across all the models. The horizontal lines are provided for reference and indicate the number of synapses in the cortex of various mammals of interest (see table in the introduction). On a half-rack system with 512 nodes, we were able to simulate at a scale of the mouse cortex, comparable to our prior work on 2 racks with 2,048 nodes, we were able to simulate at a scale of the rat cortex, comparable to our previous report. Representing previously unattained scales, on 4 racks with 4,096 nodes, we are able to simulate at a scale of the ultimate objective of the SyNAPSE program; with a little over 24,756 nodes and 24 racks, we simulated a 6.1 trillion synapses at the scale of the cat cortex. Finally, the largest model size consists of 900 million neurons and 9 trillion synapses, in 1,179,648 groups of 763 neurons each. This corresponds to a scale of 4.5% of the human cortex.

Using a state-of-the-art Blue Gene/P with 147,456 processors and 144 TB of main memory, we were able to simulate a thalamocortical model at an unprecedented scale of 10^9 neurons and 10^13 synapses. Compared to the human cortex, our simulation has a scale that is roughly 1 to 2 orders smaller and has a speed that is 2 to 3 orders slower than real-time. Our work opens the doors for bottom-up, actual-scale models of the thalamocortical system derived from biologically-measured data. In the very near future, we are planning to further enrich the models with long-distance white-matter connectivity [35]. We are also working to increase the spatial topographic resolution of thalamocortical gray-matter connectivity 100 times { from hypercolumn (» 10,000 neurons) to minicolumn (» 100 neurons).

What does BlueMatter mean?
BlueMatter is a highly parallelized algorithm for identifying white matter projectomes written to take advantage of the Blue Gene supercomputing architecture. Hence, the term BlueMatter.

Can you please provide more details on BlueMatter?
Our software, BlueMatter, is able to provide unique visualization and measurement of the long range circuitry (interior white matter) that allow geographically separated regions of the brain to communicate. The labels or colors of the fibers represent divisions of these fibrous networks that we are measuring. The colors and names are as follows:

Red - Interhemispheric fibers projecting between the corpus callosum and frontal cortex.
Green - Interhemispheric fibers projecting between primary visual cortex and the corpus callosum.
Yellow - Interhemispheric fibers projecting from corpus callosum and not Red or Green.
Brown - Fibers of the superior longitudinal fasciculus, connecting regions critical for language processing.
Orange - Fibers of inferior longitudinal fasciculus and uncinate fasciculus, connecting regions to cortex responsible for memory.
Purple - Projections between parietal lobe and lateral cortex
Blue - Fibers connecting local regions of the frontal cortex

Immortality Inc Ronald Bailey covered the Manhattan Beach Project. Over the weekend Maximum Life Foundation president David Kekich gathered a group of scientists, entrepreneurs, and visionaries to meet for three days with the goal of developing a scientific and business strategy to make extreme human life extension a real possibility within a couple of decades.

How much cash is needed to get a good start on the goal of stopping aging by 2024 and demonstrating that it can be reversed by 2029? Kekich crunched numbers to come with a figure of a mere $63 million to jump start a future of perpetual youth. Of course some avenues are already being explored by well-funded biotech and pharmaceutical companies, e.g. calorie restriction mimetics like sirtuins. After batting around a few ideas, the group finally focused on a proposal by Bill Faloon to create a public life extension research company. The goal of the corporation would be raise money to invest specifically in companies that research technologies aiming to stop and reverse aging, not just treat diseases. The Manhattan Beach Project participants would seek to raise an initial $5 million before bringing the company to the public. Faloon and another participant committed a million dollars to the project. One idea was to call it MaxLife Capital, but my favorite proposed corporate moniker was Immortality, Inc.

* University of California, Riverside biochemist Stephen Spindler reported on his research seeking caloric restriction mimetics. He presented early results that show that some compounds, like cholesterol lowering statin drugs and the immune suppressant rapamycin, do seem to increase mouse lifespans. However, Spindler added that more is not necessarily better. Mice receiving combinations of compounds are not living any longer. The good news is that several major pharmaceutical companies are working on calorie restriction mimetics known as sirtuins.

* Michael Rose has produced fruit flies that live four times longer than normal, the human equivalent of being healthy at age 300. The Methuselah flies are more fecund and better at handling environmental stresses than are normal flies. Since fruit flies and humans share many similar genes, insights garnered from the genomics of long-lived flies are being used by Genescient LLC to develop anti-aging supplements for people. The company plans to release its first product in 2010. “In my world biological immortality is possible,” said Rose.

* William Andrews, head of Sierra Sciences (motto “Cure Aging or Die Trying”) talked about his company’s project to identify compounds that lengthen telomeres. Why do that? Telomeres are repeated sequences of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes to keep them from unraveling and to keep them from binding to other chromosomes. At conception, telomeres are about 15,000 repeats long. Each time a cell divides it loses about 100 repeats, growing ever shorter. When the repeats get short enough, cells generally receive a signal that tells them to die. Andrews argues that telomeres control aging in cells and thus control aging in us. A new study this month reports that centenarians have longer telomeres than controls do.

* The goal of Sierra Sciences is to develop compounds that will reactivate telomerase in somatic cells to stop telomere shortening. After screening more than 160,000 compounds, Sierra has come up with 33 that activate telomerase and lengthen telomeres. “This would be the biggest thing to hit the planet, if we can turn these into drugs,’ said Andrews. Also represented at the summit was TA Sciences which manufactures a telomerase activator as a supplement called TA 65, which is derived from the astragalus plant. Cost? A mere $8,000 for a six month supply.

* Former biotech company founder Robert Bradbury proposed that the accumulation of misrepaired double strand breaks in the DNA that makes up our genes as a significant cause of aging. By age 70, each cell averages several thousand double strand breaks. However, some cells are unscathed by these breaks. Bradbury is developing techniques to identify these “pristine stem cells” which he believes may be used to grow new organs and tissues to replace damaged or old ones.

* Theoretical biogerontologist, Aubrey de Grey, the founder of the SENS Foundation and the Methuselah Foundation, is the energizer bunny of anti-aging scientific research and advocacy. SENS stands for Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, which De Grey defines as “an integrated set of medical techniques designed to restore youthful molecular and cellular structure to aged tissues and organs.”

finFETs Could be Smaller and at least Five Times Faster than silicon Transistors

Researchers are making progress in developing new types of transistors, called finFETs, which use a finlike structure instead of the conventional flat design, possibly enabling engineers to create faster and more compact circuits and computer chips. The fins are made not of silicon, but from a material called indium-gallium-arsenide, as shown in this illustration. (Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University)

Purdue University researchers are making progress in developing a new type of transistor that uses a finlike structure instead of the conventional flat design, possibly enabling engineers to create faster and more compact circuits and computer chips.

The fins are made not of silicon, like conventional transistors, but from a material called indium-gallium-arsenide. Called finFETs, for fin field-effect-transistors, researchers from around the world have been working to perfect the devices as potential replacements for conventional transistors.

The Purdue researchers are the first to create finFETs using a technology called atomic layer deposition. Because atomic layer deposition is commonly used in industry, the new finFET technique may represent a practical solution to the coming limits of conventional silicon transistors.

In addition to making smaller transistors possible, finFETs also might conduct electrons at least five times faster than conventional silicon transistors, called MOSFETs, or metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors.

"The potential increase in speed is very important," Ye said. "The finFETs could enable industry to not only create smaller devices, but also much faster computer processors."

First Experimental Demonstration of 100 nm Inversion-mode InGaAs FinFET through Damage-free Sidewall Etching

The first well-behaved inversion-mode InGaAs FinFET with gate length down to 100 nm with ALD Al2O3 as gate dielectric has been demonstrated. Using a damage-free sidewall etching method, FinFETs with Lch down to 100 nm and WFin down to 40 nm are fabricated and characterized. In contrast to the severe short-channel effect (SCE) of the planar InGaAs MOSFETs at similar gate lengths, finFETs have much better electro-static control and show improved S.S., DIBL and VT roll-off and less degradation at elevated temperatures. The SCE of III-V MOSFETs is greatly improved by the 3D structure design. The more accurate Dit estimation from the S.S. is also presented.

Missile Delivered UAVs

The US Army is funding Missile Delivered UAVs amongst dozens of other projects

A10-006 Missile Delivered UAV
A10-010 Real-time Visualization Tool for Distributed Intrusion Detection System Data
A10-011 Intelligent Agents for Improved Sensor Deployment and Surveillance
A10-012 Coordinated Responses through Knowledge Sharing in Mobile Agent-Based Intrusion Detection Systems
A10-013 Intrusion Detection System (IDS) With Automatic Signature Generation for Self Healing Networks
A10-014 Spoofing Network Architectures in Response to Hostile Reconnaissance
A10-015 Linearity Improvement of MMIC Power Amplifiers at Reduced Output Power Backoff
A10-016 Wideband Multi-Carrier Digital Up-Converter
A10-017 Indium Surface Preparation for Improved Flip-Chip Hybridization
A10-018 In-Vacuo Passivation of High Aspect Ratio HgCdTe Surfaces
A10-019 Electronically Switchable infrared Beam Splitter Technology
A10-020 Advanced Molded Glass Lenses
A10-021 Lightweight, Wide Field-Of-View Wave-guided Head-mounted Display
A10-022 Innovative Annealing Apparatus for Mercury-Based, Compound Semiconductors
A10-023 Untethered Real Time Low Cost Head Tracking
A10-024 Real-Time Vis-SWIR Multispectral Sensor for Day/Night Operations
A10-025 Large Format Dual Band FPA ROIC for Low Flux Environments
A10-026 A Viable Method for Metal Nano-Coating of Graphite Microfibers
A10-027 Improved Methods of Explosively Disseminating Bi-Spectral Obscurant Materials

A10-028 Innovative and Novel Concepts for Eye-Safe Wavelength High Power Fiber Lasers for Increased Performance
A10-029 Flux Compression Generators
A10-030 Electromagnetic Attack Detector
A10-031 Lightweight Nanosatellite Propulsion System to Enhance Battlespace Awareness and Battle Command Capabilities
A10-032 Information Security and Trust in a Space Communications Network


To develop innovative concepts to provide near real-time situational awareness on the battlefield with the possibility of providing a quick response attack.


ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) platforms delivered from missiles can potentially provide battlefield information that is only seconds old when transmitted from long ranges. This information is particularly valuable since it is so current. It provides the potential for striking a very mobile enemy before he has time to alter his position. In addition, it also offers the possibility of a deep strike by the platform itself.

Among the potential ISR platforms that have recently been proposed/developed/built are a large number of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and LAM (loiter-attack missile) concepts. Some of these concepts have the potential of being packaged in a missile and carried for long distances from their launch point. Obviously, the quicker the missile arrives in the vicinity of the targets, the more valuable the information being transmitted to the war fighter for use in targeting the enemy and/or providing situational awareness and/or providing battle damage information. The use of any existing components for this system obviously is important since the cost of the system is directly affected.

PHASE I: This solicitation seeks innovative concepts to deliver an ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) platform that reports back in near real-time and provides the possibility of a long-range strike mission at the end of the ISR mission. Technical approaches formulated in Phase-I shall place emphasis on minimization of the delay in providing battle field information and attacking the enemy target complex. Phase-I concept development shall include simulated fly-outs of the system to determine flight parameters of interest (area-time coverage, maximum and minimum range, dispense altitude, operational altitude, etc.) and, thus, establish the potential for Phase-II success.

PHASE II: The technical approach formulated in Phase-I will be developed and refined for full-scale flight simulation. The contractor shall pay particular attention to the dispense of the ISR platform from the missile accounting for any aero-propulsion interference between the platform and missile. The contractor will also pay particular attention to the missile proposed for delivery of the ISR system to insure there are no incompatibilities between the delivery mission and the original operational requirements of the missile (center-of-gravity, angle-of-attack, flight velocity, etc.). The critical flight phase of the concept shall be refined and the dispense of the ISR platform planned for a test in a full scale, Government owned ground test facility using instrumented tunnel models at a fidelity level deemed appropriate at that time. Tunnel time will be provided as GFE; tunnel models will be developed under Phase-II.

PHASE III: If successful, the end result of this Phase-I/Phase-II research effort will be a validated concept and set of validated research tools for the dispense, by AMRDEC, of a ISR platform from a tactical missile. The transition of this product will require additional upgrades of the software tool set for a user-friendly environment along with the concurrent development of application specific data bases to include the required input parameters such as vehicle geometries, aerodynamic and aero-propulsion properties, and performance parameters.

For military applications, this technology is directly applicable to the battle field awareness provided from UAVs and other ISR platforms. Currently, this information is near real-time and is not provided for any long range battle field situations. There are no known commercial applications for this technology at this time; however, it is conceivable that search/rescue and wild fire control operations that have a very short time line could benefit directly from this technology product.

The most likely customer and source of Government funding for Phase-III will be those service project offices responsible for the development of battle field situational awareness specifically using UAV ISR platforms. Indeed, the expansion of UAV capabilities and missions throughout the armed services continues as one of the most promising areas of research as evident in Reference 1 which forecasts a combined service and industry near term investment of over $20 billion.

A10-004 Modular, rapid, common hardware-in-the-loop framework development

Reduce latency in a multi-node communication architecture and lead to a modular and re-usable communications architecture for the hardware-in-the-loop (HWIL) test environment.

A10-008 Synthesis of Sulfide Nanopowders for Durable Optical Ceramics

Develop processes to produce multi-kilogram quantities of high purity nanometer sized sulfide powders suitable for producing fully dense bulk nanocrytalline optical ceramics.

Multimode sensors are being employed on missiles to maximize their modes of operation and target engagement. The dome or window used to protect the internal components must be transparent to all sensed wavelengths of the internal sensors. Very few materials are sufficiently transparent at both the semi-active laser wavelengths and long-wave infrared wavelengths (8-12 microns). The current benchmark material is multispectral ZnS, but it lacks the physical durability to survive in severe rain, sand, or shock environments. It has been demonstrated that reducing the grain size in oxide ceramic materials can improve mechanical properties. Long-wave infrared transmitting materials also should greatly benefit from reduced grain size.

Optical nanomaterials enable a new way of optimizing the mechanical properties without sacrificing optical properties. For long-wave infrared applications, sulfide based nanomaterials are required. The wavelengths of interest in these materials are visible through LWIR. In order to fabricate nanocrystalline sulfide optical ceramics using suitable powder consolidation techniques, extremely fine, pure sulfide powders with narrow powder size distribution are required. The powders must be minimally agglomerated, have an average particle diameter of 35 nm to 50 nm with no more that 10% less than 10 nm and no more than 10% greater than 70nm, and a maximum particle diameter of 100 nm. Spherical powders are more desirable than powders having higher aspect ratios. The sintering characteristics and optical properties of ceramic powders are highly influenced by residual impurity levels. It is desirable to synthesize nanosized sulfide powders with minimum impurity content. The target sulfide purity is 99.99%. Impurities must be less than 10 ppm oxygen, less than 10 ppm carbon, and impurity transition metals less than detectable levels by GDMS. It is also desirable that the powders remains free flowing, resistant to agglomeration, and have good sintering kinetics.

The Army is seeking the following: (1) inexpensive, robust, and scalable method(s) for synthesizing nanosized (i.e., 10 – 100 nm) high purity sulfide powder with the characteristics described above; and (2) an inexpensive, robust, and scalable method to mass produce the nanosized sulfide powders. The process must produce repeatable powder characteristics such as particle size, chemical properties, and physical characteristics. The cost goal for this effort is less than $500/kg.

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