September 04, 2010

R-jet Engineering of Israel is developing a more efficient jet engine

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The Economist magazine had recent coverage of R-Jet Engineerings orbiting combustion nozzle (OCN) engine.
To ease its entry into the market, R-Jet reckons OCN engines could be used first as generators to produce electricity or to power an unmanned drone. With operating experience, the engines could then migrate to airliners.

R-Jet Engineering, has been developing a gas turbine engine that intends to improve fuel efficiency and cut harmful greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 percent. The new engine has fewer components, half the size of a conventional jet engine of the same power and is lighter weight than conventional engines. It also significantly cuts operation and maintenance costs.

NASA Prepares Solar Probe Plus for 2018 Launch

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NASA's Solar Probe Plus will be an extraordinary and historic mission, exploring what is arguably the last region of the solar system to be visited by a spacecraft, the Sun’s outer atmosphere or corona as it extends out into space.
Solar Probe Plus is a Nasa designed mission to go to 8.5 solar radii above the surface of the sun.

Five science projects, with a total of $180 million in budget, related to Solar Probe Plus have been announced.

Harvard makes auto differential like device one million times smaller for Micro UAVs

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Engineers at Harvard University have created a millionth-scale automobile differential to govern the flight of minuscule aerial robots that could someday be used to probe environmental hazards, forest fires, and other places too perilous for people.. The device is literally one one-millionth the size of what you’d find in your car.

Their new approach is the first to passively balance the aerodynamic forces encountered by these miniature flying devices, letting their wings flap asymmetrically in response to gusts of wind, wing damage, and other real-world impediments.

“The drivetrain for an aerial microrobot shares many characteristics with a two-wheel-drive automobile,” said Pratheev S. Sreetharan, a graduate student in Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Both deliver power from a single source to a pair of wheels or wings. But our PARITy differential generates torques up to 10 million times smaller than in a car, is 5 millimeters long, and weighs about one-hundredth of a gram.” PARITy is an acronym for Passive Aeromechanical Regulation of Imbalanced Torques.

September 03, 2010

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 17

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1. Dan Yurman of Idaho Samizdat reports Turkey may have another major nuclear reactor deal in the works.

According to English language press reports from Ankara, South Korea is positioned to sign contracts by November to build a $10 billion project. An energy official said the Sinop plant would have four reactors and a total capacity of 5.6 GWe.

Brian Wang will Present and Discuss - Uncommon Wisdom about Energy at TEDxBayArea

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TED (short for Technology, Entertainment, Design) is devoted to what it calls "ideas worth spreading"

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxBayArea. At our TEDxBayArea event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

On October 5th, 2010 at 1077 Independence Avenue, Mountain View from 6:30-8:30 Brian Wang of will discuss

Uncommon wisdom about Energy - What is and is not dangerous and what are the best options.

What are the deaths per TWH for all energy sources? How should this factor into energy plans
What is the big view of energy subsidies and energy infrastructure costs ?
75% of the energy over the next few decades will be built outside the OECD (not north america or europe), so cost estimates for making a US nuclear reactor is not that important.

Where will the real energy future be ?
What are the costs and timeframes and supply chains ?
Why proliferation from commercial nuclear reactors was never that important and will be even less important.

The importance of advanced uprating and factory mass production.
Advances in nuclear fission technology
Promising Nuclear fusion possibilities for 2015-2025
Wind - kite generation and 1000 foot turbines
What are the best ways to improve energy efficiency ?
Biofuel - seaweed, weeds and algae

China's building a high speed rail economy and could achieve a 1 to 1.2 billion person single city effect by 2040

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China has become the country with the fastest development, most complete systematic technologies, strongest assembly capacity, the greatest length of track, highest operational speed and the largest project scale of high-speed railways in the world. High speed rail seems to be providing a 1.0 to 1.5% annual GDP boost to regional economies. China could use low pressure maglev to create a 1 to 1.2 billion person megacity by 2040 and a 1.4 billion person megacity by 2050. A large number of high passenger and freight capacity maglev with 1500-2000 mile per hour speed could connect all of the cities in China by 2050. A UN report discusses the merging of cities into mega-regions and the is the largest megaregion is Hong Kong-Shenhzen-Guangzhou region in China, home to about 120 million people already. Super high speed rail will enable dense cities to physically connect for more productivity and economic growth. If China proceeds down this path and achieves success there will be high speed rail links to the European high speed rail network, Japans high speed rail network and then connections across to the Americas.

China has put 355 multiple-unit trains into operation, including 234 trains that can reach 250 kilometers per hour and 121 trains that can reach 350 kilometers per hour

China's high-speed railways are mainly in the three large economic zones, the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei economic zone. Just in 2009, the average local GDP of the three zones had increased by as high as 10 percent, 1.7 percentage points higher than the growth rate of China's total GDP.

In the same year, the GDP of the three zones accounted for 44 percent of the GDP of China, up three percentage points compared to that of 2008. Experts believe that China's high-speed railways have become a booster for China's regional economic integration.

Carbon nanotube sheet can make better sonar systems and create anti-sonar frequencies

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Research scientist Ali Aliev, of the University of Texas at Dallas, has determined that the low-frequency sound waves created by carbon nanotube sheets can be used by sonar systems to determine the location, depth, and speed of underwater objects. Aliev and his team also determined that the sheets could be tuned to transmit specific frequencies that would cancel out certain noises... noises such as those that a submarine makes while passing through the water, for instance.

Role of Kinetic Factors in Chemical Vapor Deposition Synthesis of Uniform Large Area Graphene Using Copper Catalyst

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This is research towards make large area graphene using copper catalyst with chemical vapor deposition

In this article, the role of kinetics, in particular, the pressure of the reaction chamber in the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) synthesis of graphene using low carbon solid solubility catalysts (Cu), on both the large area thickness uniformity and the defect density are presented. Although the thermodynamics of the synthesis system remains the same, based on whether the process is performed at atmospheric pressure (AP), low pressure (LP) (0.1−1 Torr) or under ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) conditions, the kinetics of the growth phenomenon are different, leading to a variation in the uniformity of the resulting graphene growth over large areas (wafer scale). The kinetic models for APCVD and LPCVD are discussed, thereby providing insight for understanding the differences between APCVD vs LPCVD/UHVCVD graphene syntheses. Interestingly, graphene syntheses using a Cu catalyst in APCVD processes at higher methane concentrations revealed that the growth is not self-limiting, which is in contrast to previous observations for the LPCVD case. Additionally, nanoribbons and nanostrips with widths ranging from 20 to 100 nm were also observed on the APCVD grown graphene. Interactions between graphene nanofeatures (edges, folds) and the contaminant metal nanoparticles from the Cu etchant were observed, suggesting that these samples could potentially be employed to investigate the chemical reactivity of single molecules, DNA, and nanoparticles with monolayer graphene.

Graphene Transistors Should reach 700-1400 Gigahertz with 45-100 nanometer channels

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Nanoletters - Sub-100 nm Channel Length Graphene Transistors

Here we report high-performance sub-100 nm channel length graphene transistors fabricated using a self-aligned approach. The graphene transistors are fabricated using a highly doped GaN nanowire as the local gate with the source and drain electrodes defined through a self-aligned process and the channel length defined by the nanowire size. This fabrication approach allows the preservation of the high carrier mobility in graphene and ensures nearly perfect alignment between source, drain, and gate electrodes. It therefore affords transistor performance not previously possible. Graphene transistors with 45−100 nm channel lengths have been fabricated with the scaled transconductance exceeding 2 mS/μm, comparable to the best performed high electron mobility transistors with similar channel lengths. Analysis of and the device characteristics gives a transit time of 120−220 fs and the projected intrinsic cutoff frequency (fT) reaching 700−1400 GHz. This study demonstrates the exciting potential of graphene based electronics in terahertz electronics.

Heated tip of Atomic Force Microscope transforms Graphene Oxide to ten thousand times more conductive Reduced GO isomer

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12 nanometer graphene oxide circuits can be produced using heated atomic force microscope tips.

Journal Science - Nanoscale Tunable Reduction of Graphene Oxide for Graphene Electronics

The reduced form of graphene oxide (GO) is an attractive alternative to graphene for producing large-scale flexible conductors and for creating devices that require an electronic gap. We report on a means to tune the topographical and electrical properties of reduced GO (rGO) with nanoscopic resolution by local thermal reduction of GO with a heated atomic force microscope tip. The rGO regions are up to four orders of magnitude more conductive than pristine GO. No sign of tip wear or sample tearing was observed. Variably conductive nanoribbons with dimensions down to 12 nanometers could be produced in oxidized epitaxial graphene films in a single step that is clean, rapid, and reliable.

Accidents that Caused Immediate deaths by Energy Source

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This is OECD's analysis, Comparing Nuclear Accident Risks with Those from Other Energy Sources, is meant to help policymakers understand how accident risks are managed at nuclear plants and illustrate that with a comparison of risks from other energy sources. The intergovernmental body presented data compiled by the Paul Scherrer Institute on every accident causing five or more prompt deaths in the energy industry between 1969 and 2000.

Previously this site has looked at deaths per terawatt hour for all energy sources. Those included latent deaths from air pollution.

Summary of severe accidents that occurred in fossil, hydro and nuclear energy chains in the period 1969-2000


                   OECD                 Non-OECD

Energy chain   Accidents Deaths Deaths/ Accidents  Deaths Deaths/
                                GWey                      GWey
Coal              75     2259   0.157     1044   18,017   0.597

(China 1994-1999)                          819   11,334   6.169

(without China)                            102     4831   0.597  

Oil              165     3713   0.132      232   16,505   0.897

Natural Gas       90     1043   0.085      45      1000   0.111

LPG               59     1905   1.957      46      2016  14.896

Hydro              1       14   0.003      10    29,924  10.285

Nuclear            0        0   -           1        31*  0.048

Total            390     8934            1480    72,324   
* These are immediate fatalities only GWey: Gigawatt-year of electric power Source: Data provided to the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency by the Paul Scherrer Institute

September 02, 2010

Caltech Chemists Develop Simple Technique to Visualize Atomic-Scale Structures

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Atomic force micrograph of a one-atom thick sheet of graphene trapping water on a mica surface. The ice crystals (lightest blue) are the height of a two-water-molecule thick ice crystal. This first layer of water is ice, even at room temperature. At high humidity levels, a second layer of water will coat the first layer, also as ice. At very high humidity levels, additional layers of water will coat the surface as droplets. [Credit: Heath group/Caltech]
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have devised a new technique—using a sheet of carbon just one atom thick—to visualize the structure of molecules. The technique, which was used to obtain the first direct images of how water coats surfaces at room temperature, can also be used to image a potentially unlimited number of other molecules, including antibodies and other biomolecules

RNA Interference Success Versus Cancer

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Popular Science reports that biotech company Alnylam announced in June that its drug ALN-VSP cut off blood flow to 62 percent of liver-cancer tumors in those 19 patients, by triggering a rarely used defense mechanism in the body to silence cancerous genes. Whereas conventional drugs stop disease-causing proteins, ALN-VSP uses RNA interference (RNAi) therapy to stop cells from making proteins in the first place, a tactic that could work for just about any disease. “Imagine that your kitchen floods,” says biochemist and Alnylam CEO John Maraganore. “Today’s medicines mop it up. RNAi technology turns off the faucet.”

Novel Lipid Nanoparticles enabled systematic RNAi with one times more potency.

The Speculist has coverage

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. made a total of 16 oral presentations at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2010 240th National Meeting & Exposition in Boston from August 22-26, 2010

Notable highlights from their presentations include results showing superior properties of canonical siRNAs compared with so-called 'dicer substrate' constructs, the application of 'click chemistry' approaches to the synthesis of siRNA conjugates, and the synthesis of novel cationic lipids for systemic delivery of siRNAs with lipid nanoparticles

UCSF unveils model for implantable artificial kidney to replace dialysis

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A model of the implantable bioartificial kidney shows the two-stage system. Thousands of nanoscale filters remove toxins from the blood, while a BioCartridge of renal tubule cells mimics the metabolic and water-balance roles of the human kidney.
UCSF researchers today unveiled a prototype model of the first implantable artificial kidney, in a development that one day could eliminate the need for dialysis. The device, which would include thousands of microscopic filters as well as a bioreactor to mimic the metabolic and water-balancing roles of a real kidney, is being developed in a collaborative effort by engineers, biologists and physicians nationwide, led by Shuvo Roy, PhD, in the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences.

The team has established the feasibility of an implantable model in animal models and plans to be ready for clinical trials in five to seven years.

End-stage renal disease, or chronic kidney failure, affects more than 500,000 people per year in the United States alone, and currently is only fully treated with a kidney transplant. That number has been rising between 5-7 percent per year, Roy said, in part because of the kidney damage associated with diabetes and hypertension.

Yet transplants are difficult to obtain: a mere 17,000 donated kidneys were available for transplant last year, while the number of patients on the transplant waiting list currently exceeds 85,000, according to the Organ Procurement ant Transplant Network.

Roughly 350,000 patients are reliant on kidney dialysis, Roy explained, which comes at a tremendous cost. The Medicare system alone spends $25 billion on treatments for kidney failure – more than 6 percent of the total budget – while the disease affects only 1 percent of Medicare recipients

Robots Getting out of the Lab and Pick up Garbage

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Call up DustCart from your cell phone, and it will roll along on its Segway base to your home, text you to let you know it has arrived, and thrust forth a receptacle for your garbage, which it then shuttles back to a dumping station. (Dustbot can haul 70 pounds of trash at once, and its battery lets it travel 10 miles before a charge.

Many residents of Peccioli live in old streets too narrow for an old-fashioned garbage truck to navigate. So the town decided to give DustCart a real-world audition this summer. A pair of DustCarts served some one hundred homes for a period of months.
Dustbot is summoned by phone call or SMS, and uses GPS to automatically make its way to the customer, collect the rubbish, and take it to a dustbin. In addition, the Dustbots carry environmental sensors to monitor the pollution levels over, for example, a pedestrian area. The Dustbot system, consisting of the DustCart and the DustClean robots, is designed to work in tight urban areas where large trucks find it difficult to operate.

Alphabet Energy has a Thermoelectric Chip that Could convert Waste Heat to Electricity for less than $1 per watt

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Alphabet Energy is a startup that has a a thermoelectric chip that can be inserted into any exhaust flue or engine to convert heat into electrical power.

lphabet says its innovation is in both the choice of material and proprietary technology that gives it low thermal conductivity, and makes it highly suitable for both scale and miniaturization—for use in small devices as well as in large factory flues. The device is connected by wire to the plant’s electrical system or to the grid, so it feeds in power converted by heat in real time. Only a year old, Alphabet has the ambitious goal of leading what it believes could be a $200 billion global market for technology at the core of waste heat recovery systems.

Alphabet says its chip is produced in a way that’s similar to how microchips for electronic devices are made. Tapping into the semiconductor industry's economies of scale will allow the company to slash costs enough to install its systems for "well under $1 a watt," said Scullin, compared to installation costs double or triple that amount for some competing waste heat recapture systems.

Depending on the flow rate, chemical composition, and temperatures of the exhaust coming out of an industrial flue, he said, Alphabet's technology could deliver a payback time of two to four years for a manufacturer.

According to Scullin, Alphabet plans to complete a pilot installation at an industrial facility with a large waste heat source next year, with an aim of winning commercial customers by 2012. So far, most of the potential customers in discussion with Alphabet are multinational corporations
Recycled Energy Development (RED) aims to retrofit large factories to convert waste heat into electricity and useful thermal energy (typically steam or hot water), and then sell it to the grid, host, or nearby facilities.

Femtotech Speculation

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Artificial intelligence researcher Hugo deGaris has speculated on Femtotechnology.

He has considered -
a) Nucleon Chemistry on the surface of neutron stars?
b) Stranglets (agglomerations of S(trange) quarks)?

At Hplusmagazine Hugo deGaris again mentions femtotechnology but does not provide any more progress to a path to achieving it. He also discusses artificial intelligence and a conflict that he expects between those who fully embrace greater than human artificial intelligence and those who do not.

Femtotech has been examined more closely by Bolonkin who has considered getting neutron sources and attempting to contain and control them sufficiently to generate femtoscale matter (custom nuclei).

Various other means are under consideration for generation of AB-Matter, what is certain however is that once the first small amounts have been achieved, larger and larger amounts will be produced with ever increasing ease. Consider for example, that once we have achieved the ability to make a solid AB-Matter film (a sliced plane through a solid block of AB-matter) and then developed the ability to place holes with precision through it one nucleon wide, a modified extrusion technique may produce AB-Matter strings (thin fiber), by passage of conventional matter in gas, liquid or solid state through the AB-Matter matrix (mask). This would be a ‘femto-die’ as Joseph Friedlander of Shave Shomron, Israel, has labeled it. Re-assembling these strings with perfect precision and alignment would produce more AB-matter film; leaving deliberate gaps would reproduce the ‘holes’ in the initial ‘femto-die’.

The developing of femtotechnology is easier, in one sense, than the developing of fully controllable nanotechnology because we have only three main particles (protons, neutrons, their ready combination of nuclei 2D, 3T, 4He and electrons) as construction material and developed methods of their energy control, focusing and direction.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Versus Apple iPad

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Here is a link to the iPad technical specifications

The Samsung galaxy tab specifications and official information is here

Phone   Samsung Galaxy Tab             Apple iPad     
Price     no official                  $629 (16GB), $729 (32 GB)
          price                        $829 (64GB)
          Expected $200-300
          16 GB, 32 GB

OS        Android 2.2                  iOS4

Data  HSDPA (900,1900, 2100 MHz)       UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
      GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900)  GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
                                       Data only
      Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)            Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
      Bluetooth 3.0                    Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology

Best Coverage
Real World  unknown                   1.3-1.8 Mbps  

Best coverage
Real World  unknown                   386kbps      

Network      unknown                  ATT             
         the Samsung Galaxy S
         smartphone is on Sprint
         Verizon and US Cellular

Screen   7 inch TFT Multitouch        9.7 inch LED multitouch 
         1024 X 600                   1024 X 768

Rear     3.2 MP                       none

Front    1.3 MP                       no

Micro SD   up to 32GB

Weight       13.4 ounces             25.6 ounces

Processors   1 GHz Hummingbird       1 Ghz A4 Processor   

Apps         About 70,000            About 250,000

Flash        Flashplayer 10.1        no

Phone         speakerphone           no, unless you load skype
             bluetooth headset        

Battery     7 hours                  8 hours (3G) to 9.25 hours (Wifi)

Both have GPS

Samsung Galaxy Tab Has Phone Capabilities, Android 2.2 and About Half the Price of the Apple iPad

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab features a 7-inch LCD display and Google's latest Android 2.2 operating system, which allows for access to Flash videos and the Android app market. Samsung will also provide its own set of apps for the device.

The ‘Readers Hub,’ Samsung’s unique e-reading application, provides easy access to a vast digital library – from classical literature to the latest bestsellers and reference materials. At the same time, Samsung unveils ‘Media Hub,’ a gateway to a world of films and videos, and ‘Music Hub,’ an application giving access to a wide range of music tunes.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is expected to sell for 200 to 300 dollars in 16 Gigabyte and 32 gigabyte versions and can also take up to 32 gigabytes of microSD. It has a 3 megapixel and a 1.3 megapixel camera. The battery should last for 7 hours of video playing.

This looks like it crushes the Apple iPad on features. The Apple iPad does have a larger screen and a larger set of available applications but it does not have the phone capabilities and the android marketplace of applications is very large. I am definitely more interested in the Samsung Galaxy Tab than the Apple iPad.

Samsung recently announced that they have sold one million of the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone in 45 days of availability in the USA.
The high end smartphone boasts a super-thin form factor with 4-inch Super-AMOLED display and a speedy 1GHz Hummingbird processor.

Samsung aims to record 10 million in sales with its Galaxy S globally. Apple is targeting about 15.8 million iPhone sales in the USA in 2010.

Lasermotive Demonstrates Laser Powered UAV Helicopter

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Lasermotive, who won the space elevator power beaming contest, has demonstrated a laser powered helicopter.

The demonstration model, which uses a tethered remote-controlled helicopter, is eye-safe and has been designed to fit inside LaserMotive’s booth at the show. In lab tests conducted by LaserMotive, the laser-powered helicopter has flown for nearly two hours, making it the longest duration laser-powered helicopter flight on record. The helicopter will be flown all day long during the four-day Conference, the company said.

This is a demonstration of their goal of scaling up UAV power links

UCLA makes 300 Gigahertz Graphene Transistor and Targets 1 Terahertz

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University of California Los Angeles researchers have used a nanowire to build a transistor based on graphene.

The resulting field-effect transistor switches at the highest speed reported so far: 300 gigahertz in a device with a channel length (the distance between the source and the drain) of 140 nanometers. That’s roughly twice as fast as the best silicon metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor of similar proportions and comparable to transistors made of indium phosphide or gallium arsenide, which are expensive compound semiconductors.

The channel length is defined by the diameter of the nanowire, which in the transistors built by Duan’s team was 100 to 300 nm. That’s relatively thick, and Duan would like to get the diameter under 100 nm. He hopes to get to about 50 nm, which would allow him to build devices that could reach terahertz speeds.

Conventional processes for building the electrodes that act as the transistors’ gates, sources, and drains introduces defects into the carbon lattice, slowing down the flow of charge. The UCLA group got around this problem by using a nanoscale wire as both a component of and a template for the transistor.

Czech Republic May Build Five Nuclear reactors and China and Russia will cooporate on floating Nuclear reactors

September 01, 2010

New process promises to revolutionize manufacturing of products

Scientific breakthrough to pave the way for human stem cell factories

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Large scale, cost-effective stem cell factories able to keep up with demand for new therapies to treat a range of human illnesses are a step closer to reality, thanks to a scientific breakthrough involving researchers at The University of Nottingham.

In a paper published in the September edition of the prestigious journal Nature Materials, a team of Nottingham scientists led by Professor Morgan Alexander in the University’s School of Pharmacy, reveal they have discovered some man-made acrylate polymers which allow stem cells to reproduce while maintaining their pluripotency.

Professor Alexander said: “This is an important breakthrough which could have significant implications for a wide range of stem cell therapies, including cancer, heart failure, muscle damage and a number of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Rice University and Privatran silicon oxide circuits are memristors

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Memristors made from pure silicon could enable resistive random access memory (ReRAM) that are simpler and cheaper to manufacture than Hewlett-Packard Co.'s titanium-based formulation, according to researchers at Rice University. In collaboration with fabless chip design house PrivaTran Inc. the team demonstrated a proof-of-concept ReRAM that packs only 1-kbit, but which they claim can be scaled beyond the densities of flash.

By carefully crafting the voltage pulses going through it, thin layers of silicon dioxide can be made to change their resistance from near infinite to near zero, according to Rice and PrivaTran (Austin, Texas). SanDisk Corp. in fact has used this phenomenon to create write-once memories, but now Rice and PrivaTran claim to have made the process reversible, thereby enabling pure silicon ReRAMs.

Several Lab on a Chip and microfluidic Advances for more accurate diagnosis in minutes instead of hours or days

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University of Florida researchers have helped to develop a device that quickly identifies genes and proteins in body fluids — a technique that could make a vital difference to the trauma patients doctors treat.

Previous devices required 4 to 8 milliliters of fluids, the work of a highly skilled technician and several hours to complete analysis.

“We’re getting 100 nanograms of RNA with 0.15 (milliliters) of blood and we’re doing it all in 30 minutes,” said Kenneth Kotz, a research fellow in the department of surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. “No one’s really ever been able to do this for neutrophils. No one’s been able to demonstrate the speed and the sample quality with these small blood volumes.”

Kotz built the device, which is laced with antibodies that capture the individual cells when a sample of fluid, such as blood or urine, is pumped through it. Nucleic acids or proteins from the cells are then extracted from the cassette, allowing researchers to analyze how specific genes are expressed.

Testing showed the device yielded pure samples of neutrophils, and their gene expression pattern was consistent with results from tests performed in previous studies.

“We’ve identified 63 genes that are differentially expressed,” Moldawer said, “so that when you are admitted to the emergency room after severe trauma, we can hopefully tell with better certainty whether you’re going to have a good or bad outcome (by looking at these genes).”

An Experiment on Quantum Entanglement based on String Theory Predictions

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The Imperial college of London has proposed the first experiment that will test predictions of quantum entanglement based on string theory.

String theory was originally developed to describe the fundamental particles and forces that make up our universe. The new research, led by a team from Imperial College London, describes the unexpected discovery that string theory also seems to predict the behaviour of entangled quantum particles. As this prediction can be tested in the laboratory, researchers can now test one aspect of string theory.

UCLA Researchers clear hurdle on path toward gene-therapy treatment for disease

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A multidisciplinary research group at UCLA has now teamed up to not only visualize a virus but to use the results to adapt the virus so that it can deliver medication instead of disease. They constructed a model of the virus to a resolution of 3.6 angstroms (0.36 nanometers).

In a paper published last week in the journal Science, Hongrong Liu, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher in microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, and colleagues reveal an atomically accurate structure of the adenovirus that shows the interactions among its protein networks. The work provides critical structural information for researchers around the world attempting to modify the adenovirus for use in vaccine and gene-therapy treatments for cancer.

To modify a virus for gene therapy, researchers remove its disease-causing DNA, replace it with medications and use the virus shell, which has been optimized by millions of years of evolution, as a delivery vehicle

Arctic Estimated to have 160 billion barrels of oil and 1.67 trillion cubic feet of natural gas

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A study from 2009 estimates Arctic oil reserves to be 160 billion barrels of oil. Most of the reserves are in shallow waters -- less than 500 meters (about 1/3rd of a mile) -- making extraction relatively easy.

Previous US geological surveys indicates that there was an estimated 90 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic.

While the geologists estimate 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil lies in the region, they also estimate that the region holds 30 percent of the planet's undiscovered natural gas reserves.

1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids may remain to be found in the Arctic, of which approximately 84 percent is expected to occur in offshore areas.

Brian Wang on Blog Talk Radio with the Speculist Tonight

Interview of David Criswell Who Advocates Solar Power on the Moon by Sander Olson

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Here is the David Criswell interview by Sander Olson. Dr. Criswell is an advocate of building solar power stations on the moon to generate solar power that can be beamed to the earth. Dr. Criswell believes that a series of solar power stations on the moon could be made from materials found in lunar regolith, and that these stations could continuously send electricity to earth. Such stations would only need to take up .2% of the lunar surface in order to meet the current energy needs of earth.

Question: How much continuous power does a sustainably prosperous Earth require?
Answer: Today Earth’s 6.7 billion people are provided an average of 225 2250 watts of thermal power per person. They need at least 6,000 to 7,000 watts of thermal power per person to enable the level of power consumption and prosperity achieved by the 1 billion people in the developed nations. The developed nations are slowly converting to consuming electric power. Electric power is approximately 3 times more economically productive than thermal power. Future power systems need to provide at least 2,000 watts of electric power per person to achieve the same or greater economic output as in the developed nations. This implies 20,000,000,000,000 watts of electric power for 10 billion people. In scientific notation the power is 20•10^12 watts-electric or 20 terawatts-electric.

Measuring Yoctonewtons of force or the Weight of one Copper atom

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The NIST force sensor is a crystal of ions (charged atoms) trapped inside the upper region of the copper cylinder. A laser beam directed upward through the trap cools the ions. A force is applied in the form of oscillating electric field, and a detector (not shown) measures the light reflected off the ions. Credit: Bollinger/NIST

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have used a small crystal of ions (electrically charged atoms) to detect forces at the scale of yoctonewtons. Measurements of slight forces—one yoctonewton is equivalent to the weight of a single copper atom on Earth—can be useful in force microscopy, nanoscale science, and tests of fundamental physics theories.

New Material May Reveal Inner Workings of Hi-temp Superconductors

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Measurements taken at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) may help physicists develop a clearer understanding of high-temperature superconductors, whose behavior remains in many ways mysterious decades after their discovery. A new copper-based compound exhibits properties never before seen in a superconductor and could be a step toward solving part of the mystery.

Copper-based high-temperature superconductors are created by taking a nonconducting material called a Mott insulator and either adding or removing some electrons from its crystal structure. As the quantity of electrons is raised or lowered, the material undergoes a gradual transformation to one that, at certain temperatures, conducts electricity utterly without resistance. Until now, all materials that fit the bill could only be pushed toward superconductivity either by adding or removing electrons—but not both.

August 31, 2010

How Africa can become the next Bric, Nigeria and Egypt are Key

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Africa's combined current gross domestic product is reasonably similar to that of Brazil and Russia, and slightly above that of India. The Financial Times has writeup by the chief economist of Goldman Sachs.

If you were to think about Africa collectively, and consider it in the same framework that informs our 2050 scenarios for the Bric, next 11 and other major economies, you would see an economy as big as some of the Brics. If you then look at the potential of the 11 largest African economies for the next 40 years (by studying their likely demographics, the resulting changes in their working population and their productivity) their combined GDP by 2050 would reach more than $13 trillion making them bigger than either Brazil or Russia, although not China or India.

Nearly half of this GDP would originate from Egypt and Nigeria, so the progress of those two nations is crucial to the continent’s potential. Among the other 11, South Africa has a critical role to play as it is more developed than the others, and also somewhat of a gateway to southern Africa. South Africa itself however does not have enough people – just 45m – to be a Bric in itself. But Nigeria, at 180m or more, is not far off 20 per cent of Africa’s population. It could, if it got everything right, be bigger than any of Canada, Italy or South Korea by 2050

HP Collaborates with Hynix to Bring the Memristor to Market in Next-generation Memory

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HP today announced that it has entered into a joint development agreement with Hynix Semiconductor Inc., a world-leading memory supplier, to bring memristor, a new circuit element first intentionally demonstrated in HP Labs, to market in future memory products Hynix Semiconductor Inc. (HSI) of Icheon, Korea, is the world’s top tier memory semiconductor supplier offering Dynamic Random Access Memory chips (DRAMs), Flash memory chips (NAND Flash) and CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) for a wide range of distinguished customers globally.

* The two companies will jointly develop new materials and process integration technology to transfer the memristor technology from research to commercial development in the form of Resistive Random Access Memory (ReRAM). Hynix will implement the memristor technology in its research and development fab.
* ReRAM is non-volatile memory with low power consumption that holds the potential to replace Flash memory currently used in mobile phones and MP3 players. It also has the potential to serve as a universal storage medium – that is, memory that can behave as Flash, DRAM or even a hard drive.
* One of the first goals will be to create a computer you can “turn on and off like a light bulb

EETimes has more details on the terms of the HP-Hynix agreement. It is non-exclusive.

FeRAM, MRAM, phase-change and ReRAM are next-generation memory technologies. ReRAM is non-volatile memory with low power consumption that holds the potential to replace flash memory; it also has the potential to serve as a universal storage medium – that is, memory that can behave as flash, DRAM or even a hard drive, according to HP. End-user products based on ReRAMs are due out by the end of 2013, Williams said. ''This is a darkhorse technology,'' Williams said. ''We think this will break out of the pack.

MIT Techonology Review also has coverage

Superconducting Nanomesh Films Achieve Critical Current of 600 billion Amps per square meter, 8 to 60 times better than previous bests and will enable high performance magsails

Nanoletters -Achieving the Theoretical Depairing Current Limit in Superconducting Nanomesh Films
This critical current level of 600 billion amps per square meter is eight times better than the best thin film and sixty times higher than previous wires. Depairing current is the theoretically maximum critical current that you can achieve on a given superconducting material as per thermodynamics without losing superconductivity).

We show the theoretical depairing current limit can be achieved in a robust fashion in highly ordered superconductor nanomesh films having spatial periodicities smaller than both the superconducting coherence length and the magnetic penetration depth. For a niobium nanomesh film with 34 nm spatial periodicity, the experimental critical current density is enhanced by more than 17 times over the continuous film and is in good agreement with the depairing limit over the entire measured temperature range. The nanomesh superconductors are also less susceptible to thermal fluctuations when compared to nanowire superconductors. Tc values similar to the bulk film are achieved, and the nanomeshes are capable of retaining superconductivity to higher fields relative to the bulk. In addition, periodic oscillations in Tc are observed as a function of field, reflecting the highly ordered nanomesh structure.

Michigan Makes advanced display technology with pixels eight times smaller than iPhone4 pixels

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(a) Schematic diagram of the proposed plasmonic nanoresonators. The white arrow represents the incident white light and the red, yellow, green and blue arrows represent the transmitted coloured light from the different stack arrays. Grey, pink and blue in the structure indicate the material of aluminium, zinc selenide and magnesium fluoride respectively. Inset is the scanning electron microscopy image of the fabricated device. Scale bar, 1 μm. (b) Plasmon dispersions in MIM stack array. Red, green and blue dots correspond to the case of filtering primary RGB colours. Red and blue curves correspond to antisymmetric and symmetric modes respectively. The shaded region indicates the visible range. (c) Simulated transmission spectra for the RGB filters. The solid and dash curves correspond to TM and TE illuminations respectively. The stack period for RGB filters is 360, 270 and 230 nm. (d) Cross-section of the time-average magnetic field intensity and electric displacement distribution (red arrow) inside the MIM stack at a wavelength of 650 nm with 360 nm stack period. The colours on the right side represent the constitutive materials, defined as in a
A University of Michigan professor has developed a new type of color filter made of nano-thin sheets of metal with precisely spaced gratings.

The pixels in Guo's displays are about an order of magnitude smaller than those on a typical computer screen. They're about eight times smaller than the pixels on the iPhone 4, which are about 78 microns. He envisions that this pixel size could make this technology useful in projection displays, as well as wearable, bendable or extremely compact displays. They are also simpler to make and more efficient.

Nature Communications - Plasmonic nanoresonators for high-resolution colour filtering and spectral imaging

Colour and spectral imaging systems typically use filters and glass prisms to disperse light of different wavelengths. With the miniaturization of integrated devices, current research on imaging sensors focuses on novel designs aiming at high efficiency, low power consumption and slim dimension, which poses great challenges to the traditional colourant-based filtering and prism-based spectral splitting techniques. In this context, surface plasmon-based nanostructures are attractive due to their small dimensions and the ability to efficiently manipulate light. In this article we use selective conversion between free-space waves and spatially confined modes in plasmonic nanoresonators formed by subwavelength metal–insulator–metal stack arrays to show that the transmission spectra through such arrays can be well controlled by using simple design rules, and high-efficiency colour filters capable of transmitting arbitrary colours can be achieved. These artificial nanostructures provide an approach for high spatial resolution colour filtering and spectral imaging with extremely compact device architectures.

White LED lights with 135 Lumens per Watt About Ten Times Better than Incandescent

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Previously white LEDs had a max of about 60 lumens per watt but the new White LEDs have 135 lumens per watt and match the best lighting alternatives
The new LED can replace traditional fluorescent bulbs for all general lighting applications, and also be used for automobile headlights and LCD backlighting.
Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics - White light emitting diodes with super-high luminous efficacy

We fabricated three types of high luminous efficacy white light emitting diodes (LEDs). The first was a white LED with a high luminous efficacy (ηL) of 249 lm W−1 and a high luminous flux (phiv) of 14.4 lm at a forward-bias current of 20 mA. This ηL was approximately triple that of a tri-phosphor fluorescent lamp (90 lm W−1). The blue LED used as the excitation source in this white LED had a high output power (phie) of 47.1 mW and a high external quantum efficiency (ηex) of 84.3%. The second was a high-power white LED, fabricated from the above high-power blue LED, and had a high phie of 756 mW at 350 mA. phiv and ηL of the high-power white LED were 203 lm and 183 lm W−1 at 350 mA, respectively. The third was a high-power white LED fabricated from four high-power blue LED dies. phiv and ηL of the high-power white LED were 1913 lm and 135 lm W−1 at 1 A, respectively. The white LED had a higher flux than a 20 W-class fluorescent lamp and 1.5 times the luminous efficacy of a tri-phosphor fluorescent lamp (90 lm W−1)

Rice University and Privatran are creating 5 nanometer silicon oxide circuits

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Rice University and Privatran are creating 5 nanometer silicon oxide circuits

Rice University scientists have created the first two-terminal memory chips that use only silicon, one of the most common substances on the planet, in a way that should be easily adaptable to nanoelectronic manufacturing techniques and promises to extend the limits of miniaturization subject to Moore's Law. Nanocrystal conductors could lead to massive, robust 3-D storage. The nanocrystal wires are as small as 5 nanometers (billionths of a meter) wide, far smaller than circuitry in even the most advanced computers and electronic devices.

"The beauty of it is its simplicity," said Tour, Rice's T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry as well as a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of computer science. That, he said, will be key to the technology's scalability. Silicon oxide switches or memory locations require only two terminals, not three (as in flash memory), because the physical process doesn't require the device to hold a charge.

It also means layers of silicon-oxide memory can be stacked in tiny but capacious three-dimensional arrays. "I've been told by industry that if you're not in the 3-D memory business in four years, you're not going to be in the memory business. This is perfectly suited for that," Tour said.

Silicon-oxide memories are compatible with conventional transistor manufacturing technology, said Tour, who recently attended a workshop by the National Science Foundation and IBM on breaking the barriers to Moore's Law, which states the number of devices on a circuit doubles every 18 to 24 months.

Austin tech design company PrivaTran is already bench testing a silicon-oxide chip with 1,000 memory elements built in collaboration with the Tour lab. "We're real excited about where the data is going here," said PrivaTran CEO Glenn Mortland, who is using the technology in several projects supported by the Army Research Office, National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

August 30, 2010

UK Telegraph supports new Thorium Energy Amplifier Subcritical Accelerator Driven Reactor Project

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The UK Telegraph has written an article in support of new Thorium nuclear reactors based on the work of Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia, CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research).
A detailed study estimated that the Rubbia thorium energy amplifier (subcritical reactor) would be twice as cheap as current nuclear power.
Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal – named after the Norse god of thunder, who also gave us Thor’s day or Thursday - produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal. The Norwegian group Aker Solutions has bought Dr Rubbia’s patent for the thorium fuel-cycle, and is working on his design for a proton accelerator at its UK operation.

Victoria Ashley, the project manager, said it could lead to a network of pint-sized 600MW reactors that are lodged underground, can supply small grids, and do not require a safety citadel. It will take £2bn to build the first one, and Aker needs £100mn for the next test phase. Aker is looking for tie-ups with the US, Russia, or China.
Aker solutions web page for its novel thorium reactor
Here is a 2009 presentation on the Rubbia reactor (18 pages_

Graphite Foam Can Cool LED Lights and Lower Maintenance Costs

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Oak Ridge National Lab has graphite foam for cooling LED lighting to double the lifespan and reduce costs.

This technology will reduce temperatures and increase the life of the LED lighting systems, what it will really do is save municipalities millions of dollars every year in replacement fixture costs as well as maintenance.

UAV Flying Minicopter with Robotic Hand

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A new remote-controlled helicopter is the first to have a robotic hand to pick objects off the ground and fly away with them.

The helicopter can fly up to 80 miles per hour while carrying objects that weight as much as 4.5 pounds. It could pick up bombs or packages from areas that are too steep or rough for ground-based robots to access. They could even become a form of automated courier in urban areas, moving small packages from point to point in cities where trucks would have a hard time getting around.

Its robotic hand has four fingers and runs on a single motor. The hand is made out of a material that helps to absorb shock and vibration, which helps the helicopter remain stable while hovering above the ground

Making Intense Attosecond Laser Pulses using a Conventional Femtosecond laser system

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A new concept opens the door to creating an intense isolated attosecond pulse using a conventional femtosecond laser system.

Physical Review Letters - Infrared Two-Color Multicycle Laser Field Synthesis for Generating an Intense Attosecond Pulse

We propose and demonstrate the generation of a continuum high-order harmonic spectrum by mixing multicycle two-color (TC) laser fields with the aim of obtaining an intense isolated attosecond pulse. By optimizing the wavelength of a supplementary infrared pulse in a TC field, a continuum harmonic spectrum was created around the cutoff region without carrier-envelope phase stabilization. The obtained harmonic spectra clearly show the possibility of generating isolated attosecond pulses from a multicycle TC laser field, which is generated by an 800 nm, 30 fs pulse mixed with a 1300 nm, 40 fs pulse. Our proposed method enables us not only to relax the requirements for the pump pulse duration but also to reduce ionization of the harmonic medium. This concept opens the door to create an intense isolated attosecond pulse using a conventional femtosecond laser system

Simple Method for Setting zones of Exercise Intensity Training

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Kerry Litka, a competitive cyclist from Nashua and a graduate student in exercise science at UNH, prepares to perform the three-minute all-out cycling test in UNH's Robert Kertzer Exercise Physiology Laboratory. Credit: Jay Francis.

For competitive bicyclists faster cycling comes from training regimens based on various zones of exercise intensity. New research from exercise scientists at the University of New Hampshire has found that effective training regimens, which generally are created after expensive, time-consuming laboratory tests, can be developed from a relatively simple, do-it-yourself test.

Using two tools most competitive cyclists already own -- a power meter, an increasingly common training device that mounts on a bicycle’s rear wheel, and a stationary bicycle trainer – UNH graduate student Jay Francis ’09 modified a three-minute all-out cycling test and found that it is as effective as more lab-intensive measurements for determining exercise intensity.

LG will Mass Produce 19 inch Flexible e-Paper and 9.7 inch Color E-paper by the end of 2010

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Korean elecronics manufacturer LG, who makes the screens for the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle, has revealed in SEC filings that they are continuing to break new ground with e-paper technology, moving forward with plans for both color and flexible models that will work with both e-readers and tablets.

LG Display has developed the world's largest flexible electronic-paper screen measuring 25cm by 40cm, which translates into a 19-inch screen size. With 0.3mm thickness and 130g weight, it utilizes a metal foil instead of a traditional glass to make itself both flexible and durable.

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