May 25, 2016

Bilayer Graphene Quantum Tunneling transistors are ultralow power and could achieve 100 gigahertz operations

Scientists have developed a new type of graphene-based transistor and using modelling they have demonstrated that it has ultralow power consumption compared with other similar transistor device. They could eventually achieve 100 gigahertz clock speeds.

Building transistors that are capable of switching at low voltages (less than 0.5 volts) is one of the greatest challenges of modern electronics. Tunnel transistors are the most promising candidates to solve this problem. Unlike in conventional transistors, where electrons "jump" through the energy barrier, in tunnel transistors the electrons "filter" through the barrier due to the quantum tunneling effect. However, in most semiconductors the tunneling current is very small and this prevents transistors that are based on these materials from being used in real circuits.

In a continuous search for the energy-efficient electronic switches, a great attention is focused on tunnel field-effect transistors (TFETs) demonstrating an abrupt dependence of the source-drain current on the gate voltage. Among all TFETs, those based on one-dimensional (1D) semiconductors exhibit the steepest current switching due to the singular density of states near the band edges, though the current in 1D structures is pretty low. In this paper, we propose a TFET based on 2D graphene bilayer which demonstrates a record steep subthreshold slope enabled by van Hove singularities in the density of states near the edges of conduction and valence bands. Our simulations show the accessibility of 35,000 ON/OFF current ratio with 150 mV gate voltage swing, and a maximum subthreshold slope of (20 μV/dec)^−1 just above the threshold. The high ON-state current of 0.8 mA / μm is enabled by a narrow (~0.3 eV) extrinsic band gap, while the smallness of the leakage current is due to an all-electrical doping of the source and drain contacts which suppresses the band tailing and trap-assisted tunneling.

(A) Layout of the proposed graphene bilayer TFET with electrically defined source and drain regions (B) Band diagram of graphene bilayer TFET for the optimal biasing conditions. At zero top gate bias, VG = 0, the TFET is switched on, while at VG less than 0 it is switched off.

Nature Scientific Reports - Abrupt current switching in graphene bilayer tunnel transistors enabled by van Hove singularities

Samsung and SK Telecom to build World-First Nationwide LoRaWAN Network Dedicated to Internet of Things

Samsung Electronics today announced a new contract with SK Telecom to deploy the world’s first commercial Internet of Things (IoT)-dedicated nationwide LoRaWAN network.

The network will be deployed across Korea using the 900 MHz frequency band. The commercial service is scheduled to launch in Daegu, Korea’s fourth largest city, next month and will be available nationwide by the middle of this year.

Low Power Wide Area Network and the Internet of Things

There can be no Internet of Things (IoT) without the network to support it. Sensors and gadgets will gather increasingly vast amounts of data. But the Internet of Things is about more than just gadgets and displays; the amount of data gathered will seriously impact the network, and the networking industry needs to evaluate possible implications.

Three areas of the IoT that will impact the network are data analytics, the need for network agility, and security.

The sheer volume of data created by the IoT will have unfathomable impact on the networking systems used today. Deep analytics will require distributed datacenters and real-time response to events. Fast, agile networks are crucial to enable the real-time analysis of sensor data. Given these requirements, it is very unlikely that today's networks will stand up to the demands of 2020.

The internet of things requires huge scalability in the network space to handle the surge of devices. IETF 6LoWPAN would be used to connect devices to IP networks. With billions of devices being added to the internet space, IPv6 will play a major role in handling the network layer scalability. IETF's Constrained Application Protocol, MQTT and ZeroMQ would provide lightweight data transport.

LoRaWAN is designed to provide Low Power Wide Area Network with features specifically needed to support low-cost, mobile, secure bi-directional communication for Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M), and smart city, and industrial applications. It is optimized for low power consumption and to support large networks with millions and millions of devices. It has innovative features, support redundant operation, location, low-cost, low-power and can even run on energy harvesting technologies enabling the mobility and ease of use to Internet of Things.

LoRaWAN network architecture is typically laid out in a star-of-stars topology in which gateways is a transparent bridge relaying messages between end-devices and a central network server in the backend. Gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections while end-devices use single-hop wireless communication to one or many gateways. All end-point communication is generally bi-directional, but also supports operation such as multicast enabling software upgrade over the air or other mass distribution messages to reduce the on air communication time.

Communication between end-devices and gateways is spread out on different frequency channels and data rates. The selection of the data rate is a trade-off between communication range and message duration. Due to the spread spectrum technology, communications with different data rates do not interfere with each other and create a set of "virtual" channels increasing the capacity of the gateway. LoRaWAN data rates range from 0.3 kbps to 50 kbps. To maximize both battery life of the end-devices and overall network capacity, the LoRaWAN network server is managing the data rate and RF output for each end-device individually by means of an adaptive data rate (ADR) scheme.

National wide networks targeting internet of things such as critical infrastructure, confidential personal data or critical functions for the society has a special need for secure communication. This has been solved by several layer of encryption:

  • Unique Network key (EUI64) and ensure security on network level
  • Unique Application key (EUI64) ensure end to end security on application level
  • Device specific key (EUI128)

LoRaWAN has several different classes of end-point devices to address the different needs reflected in the wide range of applications:
Bi-directional end-devices (Class A): End-devices of Class A allow for bi-directional communications whereby each end-device's uplink transmission is followed by two short downlink receive windows. The transmission slot scheduled by the end-device is based on its own communication needs with a small variation based on a random time basis (ALOHA-type of protocol). This Class A operation is the lowest power end-device system for applications that only require downlink communication from the server shortly after the end-device has sent an uplink transmission. Downlink communications from the server at any other time will have to wait until the next scheduled uplink.

Bi-directional end-devices with scheduled receive slots (Class B): In addition to the Class A random receive windows, Class B devices open extra receive windows at scheduled times. In order for the End-device to open its receive window at the scheduled time it receives a time synchronized Beacon from the gateway. This allows the server to know when the end-device is listening.

Bi-directional end-devices with maximal receive slots (Class C): End-devices of Class C have nearly continuously open receive windows, only closed when transmitting. Class C

Korea wide network

Daegu will serve as a test bed for the IoT network, and focus on setting up and adopting infrastructure for renewable energy solutions, cloud platforms and big data analytics of healthcare and medical services, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure for autonomous cars. For example, streetlights in the city will collect weather and traffic information using IoT sensors, enabling cost savings by automatically adjusting the lighting level and also sending air pollution status information.

“With the early deployment of a nationwide IoT network, SK Telecom will be able to maintain its position as pioneer in the field of telecommunications,” said Lee Jong-bong, Executive Vice President and Head of Infra Division at SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will continue to work closely with partners including Samsung to deliver new value and convenience to both individual and enterprise customers over the IoT network.”

Ohio Replacement SSBN-X Ballistic Missile Submarine Program Report to Congress

The Ohio ballistic submarine replacement program is about $97.0 billion in constant FY2016 dollars, including about $12.0 billion in research and development costs and about $85.1 billion in procurement costs. The Ohio replacement program (ORP) os a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy’s current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs.

The Navy wants to procure the first Ohio replacement boat in FY2021.

The Navy as of February 2015 estimated the procurement cost of the lead boat in the program at $14.5 billion in then-year dollars, including $5.7 billion in detailed design and nonrecurring engineering (DD/NRE) costs for the entire class, and $8.8 billion in construction costs for the ship itself

The Navy in January 2015 estimated the average procurement cost of boats 2 through 12 in the Ohio replacement program at about $5.2 billion each in FY2010 dollars, and is working to reduce that figure to a target of $4.9 billion each in FY2010 dollars. Even with this cost-reduction effort, observers are concerned about the impact the Ohio replacement program will have on the Navy’s ability to procure other types of ships at desired rates in the 2020s and early 2030s.

The U.S. Navy operates three kinds of submarines—nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines (SSGNs), and nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). The SSNs and SSGNs are multi-mission ships that perform a variety of peacetime and wartime missions. They do not carry nuclear weapons.

The SSBNs, in contrast, perform a specialized mission of strategic nuclear deterrence. To perform this mission, SSBNs are armed with submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), which are large, long-range missiles armed with multiple nuclear warheads. SSBNs launch their SLBMs from large-diameter vertical launch tubes located in the middle section of the boat. The SSBNs’ basic mission is to remain hidden at sea with their SLBMs, so as to deter a nuclear attack on the United States by another country by demonstrating to other countries that the United States has an assured second-strike capability, meaning a survivable system for carrying out a retaliatory nuclear attack.

Navy SSBNs, which are sometimes referred to informally as “boomers,” form one leg of the U.S. strategic nuclear deterrent force, or “triad,” which also includes land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and land-based long-range bombers. At any given moment, some of the Navy’s SSBNs are conducting nuclear deterrent patrols. The Navy’s report on its FY2011 30- year shipbuilding plan states: “These ships are the most survivable leg of the Nation’s strategic arsenal and provide the Nation’s only day-to-day assured nuclear response capability

  • Unlike the Ohio-class design, which requires a mid-life nuclear refueling, the SSBN(X) is to be equipped with a life-of-the-ship nuclear fuel core (a nuclear fuel core that is sufficient to power the ship for its entire expected service life). Although the SSBN(X) will not need a mid-life nuclear refueling, it will still need a mid-life non-refueling overhaul (i.e., an overhaul that does not include a nuclear refueling) to operate over its full 42-year life.
  • The SSBN(X) is to be equipped with an electric-drive propulsion train, as opposed to the mechanical-drive propulsion train used on other Navy submarines. The electric-drive system is expected to be quieter (i.e., stealthier) than a mechanical-drive system.
  • The SSBN(X) is to have SLBM launch tubes that are the same size as those on the Ohio class (i.e., tubes with a diameter of 87 inches and a length sufficient to accommodate a D-5 SLBM).
  • The SSBN(X) will have a beam (i.e., diameter) of 43 feet, compared to 42 feet on the Ohio-class design, and a length of 560 feet, the same as that of the Ohio class design.
  • Instead of 24 SLBM launch tubes, as on the Ohio-class design, the SSBN(X) is to have 16 SLBM launch tubes. (For further discussion of the decision to equip the boat with 16 tubes rather than 20)
  • Although the SSBN(X) is to have fewer launch tubes than the Ohio-class SSBN, it is to be larger than the Ohio-class SSBN design, with a reported submerged displacement of 20,815 tons (as of August 2014), compared to 18,750 tons for the Ohio-class design.

May 24, 2016

China to help Sudan develop East Africa's first nuclear plant

China and Sudan have signed a framework agreement for the construction of the east African country's first nuclear power plant.

Sudan - one of China's main suppliers of oil - was on the list of priorities for Chinese reactor sales in a State Council (cabinet) Energy Development Strategic Action Plan 2014-2020.

Sudan's Ministry of Energy and Mines initiated a nuclear power program in 2007, and in 2010 the country started considering the feasibility of a nuclear power plant. At that time, Sudan was envisaging a nuclear plant with four 300-600 MWe units operating by 2030.

The country's Atomic Energy Commission has been consulting the International Atomic Energy Agency on introducing nuclear energy.

In July 2015, the government's Geological Research Authority said that uranium exploration was a high priority and that any mining would be undertaken by Russian companies.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed last September, China General Nuclear and the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board are to discuss CGN's Hualong 1 technology, and carry out comprehensive cooperation in nuclear power development and capacity building in neighbouring Kenya. This will include research and development, construction, operation, fuel supply, nuclear safety, nuclear security, radioactive waste management and decommissioning.

Researchers microwave a graphene composite to toughen wellbore oil and gas well walls

Wellbores drilled to extract oil and gas can be dramatically reinforced with a small amount of modified graphene nanoribbons added to a polymer and microwaved, according to Rice University researchers.

The Rice labs of chemist James Tour and civil and environmental engineer Rouzbeh Shahsavari combined the nanoribbons with an oil-based thermoset polymer intended to make wells more stable and cut production costs. When cured in place with low-power microwaves emanating from the drill assembly, the composite would plug the microscopic fractures that allow drilling fluid to seep through and destabilize the walls.

ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces - Microwave Heating of Functionalized Graphene Nanoribbons in Thermoset Polymers for Wellbore Reinforcement

pCell being trialed by Nokia and VenueNext at large traffic indoor venues like stadiums

Nokia is testing Artemis™ pCell™ wireless technology in 2016 with wireless operators, initially in large indoor venues and other high density areas. pCell has the potential to enhance the capacity of conventional 4G TD-LTE networks in certain use cases, while remaining compatible with unmodified devices.

pCell uses data centers to calculate the shaping of wireless transmissions to target individual antennas of target users.

Early in 2015, pCell pioneer Artemis Networks is achieving 35X the spectral efficiency of conventional LTE networks.

LTE networks today achieve a spectral efficiency (SE) of 1.7 bps/Hz. Practical pCell systems today achieve average spectral efficiency of 59 bps/Hz, a 35X leapfrog with unmodified standard LTE devices, such as iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and Android devices, as well as Wi-Fi devices. pCell’s spectral efficiency scales indefinitely, while remaining compatible with legacy devices.

VenueNext, the mobile services provider for Levi’s Stadium, and other venues throughout the world, is trialing pCell in high-density, high-traffic venues, to enable concurrent usage by 10s of thousands of fans of HD video-rich services and high-bandwidth upstreaming of images and HD video

pCell technology accomplishes this through an entirely new approach to wireless: rather than avoiding interference like cellular or Wi-Fi systems, pCell embraces interference, utilizing interfering transmissions to synthesize a tiny personal cell, a “pCell”, around each individual user device, enabling every user to utilize the full capacity of the spectrum at once. Instead of many users sharing the limited capacity of one cell, resulting in steadily declining data rates as new subscribers join the network, with pCell technology, each user gets a personal cell

Shipping containers full of capacitors will enable flexible railgun designs for shipboard and fixed or mobile land based railguns

The US Navy will be taking its futuristic Railgun out of the lab where it has been tested for to past eight years. Over the next two years, railguns will be tested in open firing ranges and eventually at sea, where the futuristic electromagnetic gun will be able to demonstrate its full capacity to fire projectiles at targets 50-100 nautical miles (92 – 185 kilometers) away.

The Navy is evaluating two electromagnetic railgun models. A 32-megajoule prototype built by BAE Systems and the 32 megajoule Blitzer developed by General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS). The company has also developed a 3-megajoule railgun variant. In the future, the Navy plans to deploy railguns rated to 64-megajoule.

A railgun can deliver muzzle velocities greater than twice those of conventional guns. Using electromagnetic power, where magnetic fields created by strong electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor between two rails, the railgun achieves muzzle speeds of more than Mach 7.5 without the use of chemical propellant.

The railgun hyper-velocity projectiles (HVP) rely on kinetic energy for maximum effect and reduces the number of high explosives and propellant carried on ships. Against specific threats, the cost per engagement is orders of magnitude less expensive than comparable missile engagements. It also minimizes the dangers of unexploded ordnance remaining on the battlefield. BAE Systems is developing the HVP under a separate contract awarded by the Office of Naval Research. The new low drag, guided projectile will provide lethality and performance enhancements to current and future gun systems, including Navy 5-Inch; Navy, Marine Corps, and Army 155-mm systems and railguns. The HVP’s low-drag aerodynamic design enables high-velocity, maneuverability, and decreased time-to-target. HVP will have a range of more than 50 nm (93 km) from Mk 45 Mod 4 guns, and exceed 100 nm (185 km) from EM Railgun.

The first step toward mobilization of the new weapon was the delivery of the ‘Pulse Power Containers’ (PPC) – huge banks of capacitors or rechargeable batteries packed inside standard ISO containers. Each container packs enough energy to discharge 18 kilowatts for each shot. To enable the railgun to fire ten such shots per minute the PPC must recharge from the host ship in seconds and be able to store and discharge the energy in very short time while managing the thermal load generated by the process.

GE-AMS has already delivered a prototype of PPC for its weapon. Raytheon announced today the shipping of the first PPC units to the Navy. L-3 Applied Technologies is also expected to complete working on another version of PPC within a year.

Raytheon has completed the first examples of containerized pulse power packs designed to support field tests of the electromagnetic rail gun. Photo: Raytheon.

Navy officials are recommending to install the new rail gun on the third Zumwalt-class destroyer Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) where it will be used operationally.

Each of the three Zumwalt-class destroyers has two Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) mounting the BAE Systems 155/62 gun. The first two of the class, DDG 1000 and DDG 1001 will use the standard AGS but the last ship in this class, DDG 1002 could have the AGS in the first battery and the railgun in the second (rear). Both guns will be able to fire the hypervelocity projectiles designed for the rail gun, but the AGS will also be able to fire the Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) – a guided munition developed by Lockheed Martin, as well as standard 155mm projectiles.

Pulsed power capacitors in shipping containers will allow modular scaling of railguns for 3 megajoules to 64 megajoules

The PPC power source could become a critical factor in a land-based deployment of the railgun, as it enables fixed system to expand both railgun energy level and shot sequence, allowing for larger systems resulting in greater effective range. In such land-based installations, it would be used in fixed installation that will provide affordable, high capacity defense against massive threat raids of ballistic and cruise missiles. As such it will be used to reinforce tiered missile defense, providing terminal defense of key fixed assets.

The footprint of a land-based fixed railgun system has greater expandability than a shipboard or mobile application, allowing for larger systems resulting in greater effective range. A land-based fixed railgun system, integrated with other national assets, provides added capability in a layered defense architecture. Illustration: General Atomics.

10 megajoule mobile land based railgun design

Wafer scale carbon nanotube films

A simple filtration process helped Rice University researchers create flexible, wafer-scale films of highly aligned and closely packed carbon nanotubes.

Scientists at Rice, with support from Los Alamos National Laboratory, have made inch-wide films of densely packed, chirality-enriched single-walled carbon nanotubes

In the right solution of nanotubes and under the right conditions, the tubes assemble themselves by the millions into long rows that are aligned better than once thought possible, the researchers reported.

The thin films offer possibilities for making flexible electronic and photonic (light-manipulating) devices, said Rice physicist Junichiro Kono, whose lab led the study. Think of a bendable computer chip, rather than a brittle silicon one, and the potential becomes clear, he said.

“Once we have centimeter-sized crystals consisting of single-chirality nanotubes, that’s it,” Kono said. “That’s the holy grail for this field. For the last 20 years, people have been looking for this.”

The Rice lab is closing in, he said, but the films reported in the current paper are “chirality-enriched” rather than single-chirality. A carbon nanotube is a cylinder of graphene, with its atoms arranged in hexagons. How the hexagons are turned sets the tube’s chirality, and that determines its electronic properties. Some are semiconducting like silicon, and others are metallic conductors.

A film of perfectly aligned, single-chirality nanotubes would have specific electronic properties. Controlling the chirality would allow for tunable films, Kono said, but nanotubes grow in batches of random types.

For now, the Rice researchers use a simple process developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to separate nanotubes by chirality. While not perfect, it was good enough to let the researchers make enriched films with nanotubes of different types and diameters and then make terahertz polarizers and electronic transistors.

Fabrication and characterization of wafer-scale monodomain films of aligned CNT

Nature Nanotechnology - Wafer-scale monodomain films of spontaneously aligned single-walled carbon nanotubes

Australia and DARPA making separate advances in vastly lower cost night vision technology

A breakthrough by an Australian collaboration of researchers could make infra-red technology easy-to-use and cheap, potentially saving millions of dollars in defence and other areas using sensing devices, and boosting applications of technology to a host of new areas, such as agriculture.

Infra-red devices are used for improved vision through fog and for night vision and for observations not possible with visible light; high-quality detectors cost approximately $100,000 (including the device at the University of Sydney) some require cooling to -200°C.

Now, research spearheaded by researchers at the University of Sydney has demonstrated a dramatic increase in the absorption efficiency of light in a layer of semiconductor that is only a few hundred atoms thick - to almost 99 percent light absorption from the current inefficient 7.7 percent.

When light falls on a very thin, uniform layer almost all of it is reflected (right-hand arrows). By etching thin grooves in the film, the light is directed sideways and almost all of it is absorbed (left-hand arrows) even though the amount of material is very small. Insets show electron micrographs of the structuring. The absorbing layer is only 0.041 μm thick. CREDIT Dr Thomas P. White, Australian National University.

Optica Journal - Total absorption of visible light in ultrathin weakly absorbing semiconductor gratings

DARPA has a few programs to revolutionizing the cost of night vision

Defense Department scientists are working on a new, digital night vision and thermal device that’s smaller and lighter than the Army’s latest Enhanced Night Vision Goggle.

The analog night vision goggles (NVG) used by our troops to identify adversaries are limited to a single band of light. As NVGs also become available to adversaries as a commercial off-the-shelf product, the advantage in low- and no-light operation conditions is diminished. Current multi-band cameras, which may be used in a variety of environmental conditions, are too large and expensive for individual warfighters to carry.

DARPA’s PIXNET program aims to develop a low size, weight and power (SWaP); inexpensive; Soldier-portable digital infrared (IR) camera that will render real-time single and multiple-band imagery in both the thermal and reflective bands. The camera sought by DARPA would provide single band and multiple band fused imagery on demand, and afford troops with an enhanced situational understanding. A camera with these features would eliminate limitations posed by current assets to identify targets in multiple conditions: low-light, no-light, cluttered environment, etc.

PIXNET seeks significant reductions in SWaP, as well as low-cost manufacturing of IR sensors and coolers that may enable portability and wide deployment to all warfighters. The emphasis on a small form-factor naturally enables new applications, such as surveillance with small UAVs, rifle sights with multiple bands, and handheld surveillance systems.

PIXNET is a helmet-mounted camera that digitizes infrared capabilities. That saves a ton of weight; while an Enhanced Night Vision Goggle weighs around two pounds, the PIXNET camera weighs a fraction of a pound. It also would offer more settings, and be set up with a transmitter that could someday connect its signal to any of a series of devices, from a goggle to Family of Weapon Sights to a broader information technology platform like Nett Warrior.

The Low Cost Thermal Imager - Manufacturing (LCTI-M) program seeks to enable widespread use of infrared imaging technology by individual warfighters and insertion in small systems. The general use of infrared technology, at the individual warfighter level, may open possibilities for the implementation of new tactical procedures where a common view of the battlefield is essential for success. Infrared imaging has the capability to image through obscurants, providing valuable information even in environments with severely degraded visibility. Low cost infrared cameras will empower each warfighter with this essential capability. In addition, these cameras will enable the capture and transmission of electronic images for intelligence analysis and other critical situations.

The PIXNET camera is designed to provide small combat units with a helmet-mounted shortwave and longwave infrared blended imager with wireless networking capability. Photo: Matthew Cox,

Full scale Straddle bus is being built and will undergo testing in July and August

A Beijing-based company Transit Explore Bus is currently building a life-size model of the Straddle bus in Changzhou and they plan to test it in July or August.

Different versions will carry up to 1,200 passengers, with the larger versions being articulated to facilitate going around curves.

The bus will run along a fixed route, and its passenger compartment spans the width of two traffic lanes. Its undercarriage rides along the edges of the two lanes it straddles and the overall height is 4 to 4.5 m (13.1 to 14.8 ft). Vehicles lower than 2 m (6.6 ft) high will be able to pass underneath the bus, reducing the number of traffic jams caused by ordinary buses loading and unloading at bus stops.

Passengers on board the bus are expected to experience a ride comparable to riding in the upper level of a double decker bus. They will board and alight at stations at the side of the road with platforms at the bus floor height similar to stations of an elevated railway, or via stairs descending through the roof of the bus from a station similar to a pedestrian overpass. The bus will be electrically powered using overhead lines or other roof electrical contact systems designed for it, supplemented with photovoltaic panels, batteries or supercapacitors on board. It will travel at up to 60 km/h (37 mph)

The 3D Express Coach (straddling bus, straddle bus, or tunnel bus) was a proposed new bus designed by Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Company back in 2010. It was recognized by Time magazine as the innovation of the year in 2010.

A proposed trial project was to cost about 500 million yuan (~US$74.5 million) to build the bus with a 40 km (25 mi) guideway. This is claimed to be at 10% of the cost of building an equivalent subway, and is estimated to reduce traffic congestion by 20–30%. The Chairman of the company has said that it would only take a year for one to be built. 115 mi (185 km) of track was set for construction in the Mentougou District of Beijing for late 2010. The cities of Shijiazhuang, in Hebei Province, and Wuhu, in Anhui Province, were applying for financing.

There was a video in 2013 with refinements to the engineering. The video is by China TBS limited (which is a large shipping company).

The bus will have alarms to warn cars traveling too close to it, and signals to warn other vehicles when it is about to turn. It would have inflatable evacuation slides similar to those of an aircraft. Optional features could include sensors to keep it from colliding with a person or object (such as an overheight vehicle in front), warning lights and safety curtains at the rear to keep drivers of overheight vehicles from going underneath, repeater traffic signals underneath to relay the indications of traffic signals up ahead, and animated light displays to simulate stationary objects to prevent disorientation of drivers underneath.

Youzhou Song, the bus’s designer, estimates that it could replace up to 40 conventional buses, potentially saving 860 tons of fuel and avoiding 2,640 tons of carbon emissions that those 40 buses would produce in a yea

May 23, 2016

ORNL laser method could dramatically reduce cost of carbon fiber polymer composites for lightweight and more energy efficient cars

Joining carbon fiber composites and aluminum for lightweight cars and other multi-material high-end products could become less expensive and the joints more robust because of a new method that harnesses a laser’s power and precision.

The process, developed by a team led by Adrian Sabau of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, would replace the practice of preparing the surface of the materials by hand using abrasive pads, grit blasting and environmentally harmful solvents. Using a laser to remove layers of material from surfaces prior to bonding improves the performance of the joints and provides a path toward automation for high-volume use.

“Our technique is vastly superior to the conventional surface preparation methods,” Sabau said. “Combined with the potentially dramatic reduction in the cost of carbon fiber polymer composites, this represents an important step toward increasing the use of this lightweight high-strength material in automobiles, which could reduce the weight of cars and trucks by 750 pounds.”

Adrian Sabau and Jian Chen work with a laser to prepare the surface of carbon fiber composites and aluminum to create superior bonds that can absorb 200 percent more energy than conventional bonds

ARPA-E seeks Enabling Technologies for Ultra-Safe and Secure Modular Nuclear Energy Systems

ARPA-E is looking to fund projects that will enable accelerated development and regulatory acceptance of modular1 nuclear energy options involving either Gen III+ or Gen IV design features.

If made technically and economically viable, modular nuclear reactor technologies can augment large-scale reactors in providing clean, safe, secure, carbon-free electricity as well as heat energy for various non-electrical applications (e.g., industrial processes, mining activities, hydrogen production, and seawater desalination). ARPA-E is particularly interested in innovations that enable reactor designs to be:

1) inherently safe (beyond passive safety) with multiple safety mechanisms to prevent core melting in case of a loss of coolant accident (LOCA);
2) extremely secure without exposure of radioactive nuclides in case of LOCA or an enclosure breach with a zero or near zero emergency planning zone (EPZ);
3) quickly responsive to external load variations with control mechanisms that can also add safety beyond passive cool down;
4) long-lasting with operational durations of 10 to 20 years without refueling;
5) substantially autonomous in operations with minimal operator intervention; and
6) proliferation resistant.

Consistent with the agency’s mission, ARPA-E is seeking information on disruptive, novel technologies, relatively early in the R and D cycle, and not integration strategies for existing technologies

Paramount and CBS will drop the lawsuit against high quality fan film Star Trek Axanar thanks to J.J. Abrams and Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin

Just before 2016 began, the producers of a crowdfunded Star Trek fan film called Axanar received some bad news in the form of a lawsuit from Paramount Pictures.

Thanks to new franchise producer J.J. Abrams and Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin, and the Star Trak Axanar lawsuit will be dropped very soon.

Abrams noted that Star Trek Beyond’s director, Justin Lin, was outraged at the legal situation that had arisen:

“A few months back there was a fan film, Axonar, that was getting made and there was this lawsuit that happened between the studio and these fans and Justin, I’ll tell the story because he probably wouldn’t, was sort of outraged by this as a long time fan. We started talking about it and realized this was not an appropriate way to deal with the fans.

The fans should be celebrating this thing. Fans of Star Trek are part of this world. So he went to the studio and pushed them to stop this lawsuit and now, within the next few weeks, it will be announced this is going away, and that fans would be able to continue working on their project”

Axanar is a feature film, but will be broken down into four episodes following the four acts of the script. With an overall budget of approximately $960,000, that means each episode will cost approximately $240,000. Add to that a portion of the ongoing studio costs, and the cost of Indiegogo, payment processing, and perks (see below), and we are setting a goal of $330,000 per episode, or $1,320,000.

We can make Axanar one act at a time, if needed (although we'd prefer to make it all at once!). So, we are setting our first goal at $330,000. There will be stretch goals at $660,000, $990,000 and $1,320,000, with each stretch goal meaning another episode will get made. If we raise the entire $1,320,000, then we will have what we need to make all of Axanar.

Ananar productions is talking with top Intellectual Property law firms in the US today discussing taking on Axanar Productions on a pro-bono basis. I can say they were quite interested in representing us as they knew about the law suit and had already decided that this was going to be a very high profile case that could shape intellectual property law for the entertainment industry.

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