May 06, 2015

Architecture for improved scaling for Ion Trap Quantum Computers

Arxiv - Ball-grid array architecture for microfabricated ion traps

State-of-the-art microfabricated ion traps for quantum information research are approaching nearly one hundred control electrodes. We report here on the development and testing of a new architecture for microfabricated ion traps, built around ball-grid array (BGA) connections, that is suitable for increasingly complex trap designs. In the BGA trap, through-substrate vias bring electrical signals from the back side of the trap die to the surface trap structure on the top side. Gold-ball bump bonds connect the back side of the trap die to an interposer for signal routing from the carrier. Trench capacitors fabricated into the trap die replace area-intensive surface or edge capacitors. Wirebonds in the BGA architecture are moved to the interposer. These last two features allow the trap die to be reduced to only the area required to produce trapping fields. The smaller trap dimensions allow tight focusing of an addressing laser beam for fast single-qubit rotations. Performance of the BGA trap as characterized with 40Ca+ ions is comparable to previous surface-electrode traps in terms of ion heating rate, mode frequency stability, and storage lifetime. We demonstrate two-qubit entanglement operations with 171Yb+ ions in a second BGA trap.

A ball-grid array architecture offers significant improvements in size and scalability for microfabricated ion traps. Trench capacitors fabricated into the trap die replace surface filter capacitors, providing a 30× reduction in trap die area over traps with planar capacitors. Through-substrate vias connect the electrodes to pads on the back side of the trap die, eliminating wirebonds from the trap surface. The trap die is bump-bonded to a separate interposer chip for signal routing to a CPGA carrier. Optical access to a trapped ion is improved by the reduced BGA trap chip area and the absence of wirebond obstructions, allowing tighter focusing of laser beams for qubit operations and addressing.

1. Overview of the BGA design: (a) Die bond region of the CPGA showing the BGA trap and the interposer footprint. (b) Side view. (c) Fully packaged BGA trap. The long bond wire supplies the trap RF signal.

Journal of Applied Physics - Ball-grid array architecture for microfabricated ion traps

May 05, 2015

Silk reinforced carbon nanotubes spun by spiders is 3.5 times stronger than unaltered silk

The protein matrix and hard tissues of insects, worms, ants and spiders naturally incorporates metals, such as zinc, manganese and copper. This leads to mechanical hardening of teeth, jaws, mandibles, ovipositors and to an enhancement of silk toughness. Thus, the artificial incorporation of metals, or even insulating or semiconducting materials, into these protein structures could be exploited to obtain a reinforced matrix. A number of groups reported the introduction of metals, such as zinc, titanium, aluminium, copper and lead in the protein structure of spider silk through multiple pulsed vapor-phase infiltrations. This allowed us to increase its toughness modulus from 131 MPa up to 1.5 GPa. Biomaterials with increased mechanical or conductive properties could find innovative applications in garment textiles and medical nerve regeneration. It was suggested to coat spider silks with amine - functionalized multi-wall carbon nanotubes, to produce electrically conducting fibers, or with cadmium telluride, magnetite or gold nanoparticles, for fluorescent, magnetic and electronic applications. However, to the best of our knowledge, the incorporation of materials in the inner protein structure of spider silk has not been achieved to date. Here, we report the production of silk incorporating graphene and carbon nanotubes directly by spider spinning, after spraying spiders with the corresponding aqueous dispersions. We observe a significant increment of the mechanical properties with respect to the pristine silk, in terms of fracture strength, Young’s and toughness moduli. We measure a fracture strength up to~5.4 GPa, a Young’s modulus up to ~47.8 GPa and a toughness modulus up to ~2.1 GPa, or 1567 J/g, which , to the best of our knowledge, is the highest reported to date , even when compared to the current toughest knotted fibers . This approach could be extended to other animals and plants and could lead to a new class of bionic materials for ultimate applications.

Arxiv - Silk reinforced with graphene or carbon nanotubes spun by spiders

New inexpensive centimeter-accurate GPS system could transform mainstream applications

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a centimeter-accurate GPS-based positioning system that could revolutionize geolocation on virtual reality headsets, cellphones and other technologies, making global positioning and orientation far more precise than what is currently available on a mobile device.

The researchers' new system could allow unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver packages to a specific spot on a consumer's back porch, enable collision avoidance technologies on cars and allow virtual reality (VR) headsets to be used outdoors. The researchers' new centimeter-accurate GPS coupled with a smartphone camera could be used to quickly build a globally referenced 3-D map of one's surroundings that would greatly expand the radius of a VR game. Currently, VR does not use GPS, which limits its use to indoors and usually a two- to three-foot radius.

The smartphone antenna’s poor multipath suppression and irregular gain pattern result in large time-correlated phase errors that significantly increase the time to integer ambiguity resolution as compared to even a low-quality stand-alone patch antenna. The time to integer resolution — and to a centimeter-accurate fix — is significantly reduced when more GNSS signals are tracked or when the smartphone experiences gentle wavelength-scale random motion.

GNSS chipsets are now ubiquitous in smartphones and tablets. Yet the underlying positioning accuracy of these consumer-grade GNSS receivers has stagnated over the past decade. The latest clock, orbit, and atmospheric models have improved ranging accuracy to a meter or so, leaving receiver-dependent multipath and front-end-noise-induced variations as the dominant sources of error in current consumer devices. Under good multipath conditions, 2-to-3-meter-accurate positioning is typical; under adverse multipath, accuracy degrades to 10 meters or worse.

Test architecture designed for an in-situ study of a smartphone-grade GNSS antenna. The analog GNSS signal is tapped off after the phone’s internal bandpass filter and low-noise amplifier and is directed to a dedicated RF front-end for downconversion and digitization. Data are stored to file for subsequent post-processing by a software GNSS receiver and CDGNSS filter.

Centimeter Positioning with a Smartphone-Quality GNSS Antenna (10 pages)

China has upgraded SU-27 copy but still buying generation 4.5 Russian Su-35

The upgraded D variant of China’s J-11 fighter jet, a copy of the Russian Sukhoi Su-27, has made its maiden flight, Chinese media reported. The jet reportedly has new radar and an air refueling system.

The J-11D model, which was tested in the air for the first time on Wednesday, incorporates technologies developed for the J-16 fighter jet.

It is reported to have better active phased array radar, use more composite materials in its wings and tail, and be capable of firing more advanced air-to-air missiles like PL-10 and PL-15.

The J-11D is the latest in Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC)'s family fighters licensed and modified from the Russian Sukhoi Su-27 "Flanker." SAC has built well over 200 Su-27 and J-11s, such as the licensed produced J-11A and indigenously upgraded J-11B, which had better engines and radar, and a lighter airframe. It is possible that improvements from other Chinese Flanker variants, like the J-15 carrier fighter and J-16 strike fighter, have been applied to the J-11D.

China's acquisition of Su-35 supermaneuverable multirole fighters from Russia is necessary despite the development of the J-11D air superiority fighter, writes the Beijing-based Sina Military Network.

The J-11D, an upgraded version of the J-11B, conducted its maiden flight on April 29, just as China is preparing to receive its first batch of 24 Su-35 aircraft from Russia.


New Night Vision Goggles that look like Ballastic Eyewear, Railguns and other ONR Future Force Technology

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is helping to shape the future force by investing in science and technology research to support tomorrow's advanced defense capabilities.

Ballard gives a rich talk of the potential of the ocean, extreme life, rich minerals and more

Oceanographer and explorer Dr. Bob Ballard discusses science, technology, engineering and mathematics to an overflow crowd Feb. 4 at the Naval Future Force Science and Technology EXPO. Among his many accomplishments, Ballard is known for leading the research to find the Titanic.

* he discusses the terrain on the ocean floor and how the next submarine should be like a tank and use terrain, instead of being like a blimp above it
* he talks about finding Titanic
* he talks about using unmanned exploration systems from a surface ship to get more bottom time exploration
* There are 100,000 Seamounts (active volcano, mountains that have rich life above and them and are creating rich mineral deposits)
* NASA has 1000 time the budget for exploring space as the budget for ocean exploration
* Ballard talks about his collaboration with the Office of Naval Research

May 04, 2015

EMDrive, possible Warp or hyperspace indications and more Goatguy fame

Adam Crowl provides a summary of the EMdrive research and the recent hype.

EMdrive could enable a huge leap in travel around the solar system and interstellar travel and possibly even open up exotic warp or hyperspace physics.

Adam Crowl is writing on a broad variety of interstellar and SETI topics while changing day-jobs. Adam is on the board of Directors for Icarus Interstellar. He is a member on the Starship Congress Committee.

Adam Crowl is also a designer on the Icarus interstellar spaceship project.

Adam Crowl is a designer on the Project Forward Beamed Propulsion project

Adam Crowl is a designer on Project Tin Tin. This is an effort to lay the foundations for cost-effective technology and engineering validation Cubesat missions, leading up to the first interstellar precursor mission to Alpha Centauri. The objective of Project Tin Tin is to motivate interstellar exploration by pushing the envelope of what is currently possible for deep space exploration.

Adam Crowl noted the years of coverage of the EMdrive provided by Nextbigfuture

Nextbigfuture has over 24 articles on EMDrive

The EMDrive tests seem to also be detecting some indication of warping of space at 4 times the level of the measurement error. This was reported in the NASAflightforum discussion.

Adam Crowl Noted Nextbigfuture reporting and Goatguys Hyperdrive comment

Brian Wang’s Next Big Future has reported on the EM-Drive/Q-Drive effort for years and the forum arguments there have raged as well, with the well-meant sceptics led by GoatGuy, whose physics knowledge and clear writing is very welcome in an often fractious, noisy forum. This little post was the possible vanguard of the current Hype-Storm:

Magnetron powered EM-drive construction expected to take two months …in which the EM-Drive, with Sonny White’s computations, might produce 1250 newtons thrust from 100 kW of microwave power.

The basic device which has most recently produced positive results, in vacuum chamber tests, is based on Roger Shawyer’s EM-Drive, an earlier and equally controversial propellantless propulsion system. What particularly irks orthodox physicists (and mathematical physicists, like Greg Egan) is Shawyer’s claim that his EM-Drive works in a way that obeys relativity. That it violates conservation of momentum while doing so immediately hinted that Shawyer’s mathematical treatment of his concept was incomplete – as Greg Egan was quick to point out.

Unfortunately for Shawyer’s critics, positive results from his experiments, a Chinese team, and now Eagleworks, suggests that something is missing in our current best theoretical understanding of how the world works. But what? I made this comment recently on Facebook:

It’s arguable whether it could be called a “hyper-space drive”, but it’s not a bad title. Here’s why: currently Sonny’s warp-drive concept requires the existence of the 5th dimension aka “Hyper-space” to work. If the Q-Drive/EM-Drive thingie is also confirmed, and is genetically related to the warp-drive, then it too probably works by some sort of 5-D effect. It almost certainly doesn’t work via the dubious physics that Shawyer has invoked. The recent interferometer test which has produced data *suggestive* of a space-warp being generated via the modified Q-Drive rig would not work if plain vanilla General Relativity is 100% correct. There’s just not enough energy density in the test device to warp space in an observable way. To produce a warp – as Sonny has said all along – requires the *existence* of Hyper-space. IFF the warp really is a warp, and not experimental noise, then it’s evidence of Hyper-space. In some ways that’s an even more incredible experimental outcome than some minor “violation” of action-reaction laws.

Russia pledged $18 billion for the BRIC Bank

Despite problems hitting its economy, Russia has pledged to contribute US$18 billion to the reserve fund that will create the US$100 billion BRICS fund that will rival the United States’ dominated global banking institution IMF. The BRICS group is composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, described as five leading emerging economies in the world today.

Moscow’s contribution, ratified via an accord on Saturday by President Vladimir Putin, could be the second biggest to be pooled into the fund. China had promised US$41 billion after an agreement calling for the creation of the fund was signed in Brazil in July 2014.

The main goal of the BRICS bank is basically to provide capital infusion money for infrastructure and development projects in BRICS countries alone

Canada's economic growth forecast by province through

The BMO Blue Book ( BMO Investment Banking Group, Bank of Montreal, 26 page blue book), uses the expertise of BMO economists and information given to commercial bankers from local businesspeople. It projected B.C.’s real gross domestic product (GDP) would expand 2.6% this year before falling to 2.5% in 2016.

Alberta’s GDP, which grew at a rate of 4.4% last year, is projected to fall to 0.4% this year as oil prices have declined worldwide. Canada's national growth rate is estimated to fall from 2.5% last year to 1.8% in 2015.

150 kilowatt Solid State combat laser is ready this year

The General Atomics 150-kw Hellads (high energy laser) will be tested this summer at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico The third generation solid state laser is to be demonstrated in 2018 on the USS Paul Foster, a decommissioned Spruance-class destroyer that now serves as the U.S. Navy’s ship-defense test vessel at Port Hueneme in California.

The Gen 3 (third generation laser) has increased electrical-to-optical efficiency, improved beam quality and further reduced size and weight.

The module includes high-power-density lithium-ion batteries, liquid cooling for the laser and batteries, one or more laser unit cells and optics to clean up and stabilize the beam before it enters the platform-specific beam-director telescope, says Davis.

The unit cell is a laser oscillator that produces a single 75-kw beam. Modules can be ganged together to produce a 150- or 300-kw beam. There is no beam-combining, Davis says, as there is in systems that use multiple lower-power fiber lasers.

The Pentagon and several other manufacturers have shifted focus to fiber lasers because they are a commercial technology and have higher electrical-to-optical “wallplug” efficiency than diode lasers previously demonstrated at power levels exceeding 100 kw.

The Gen 3’s efficiency is at the level of fiber lasers, Davis says, adding that the company has worked for several years to improve beam quality and achieved “excellent quality” in the latest tests. Adaptive optics adjust the beam to compensate for atmospheric distortion.
Mockup shows one 75-kw laser unit cell (gold), although the tactical module has room for two, for a 150-kw laser weapon. Credit: Graham Warwick/AW&ST

May 03, 2015

US Navy Ground Based Combat Laser

The Ground-Based Air Defense On-the-Move is a vehicle-based, mobile, high-energy laser that is a cost-effective defense against asymmetric threats like UAVs. GBAD's evolution has mirrored that of other directed-energy programs sponsored by ONR, including the Laser Weapon System (LaWS).

A three vehicle laser system should be demoed with on the move downing of drones using a 30 kilowatt laser in 2017.

* one vehicle has the 30 kw laser
* one has 360 radar and tracking
* one has command and control and communication

The volumetric search RADAR locates unmanned aerial system (UAS) targets of interest and passes the information to the C3 platform. The C3 platform performs an analysis of the threat and passes the radar information to the laser platform, which then locates and begins tracking the UAS utilizing a day/night capable sensor system. This then allows the C3 platform to perform visual confirmation and aim point selection. If a kill decision is made, the threat is lased until destruction.

GBAD will demonstrate the capability of a rugged, expeditionary HEL system that can be cued by a radar capable of detecting low radar cross-section threats. It will be able to perform hard kills of UASs to prevent reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting and acquisition of expeditionary forces. It also will demonstrate a C2 interface that is optimized for operational use.

Significant laser and vehicle modeling and simulation, coupled with a detailed trade-off analysis, led to a sophisticated design strategy. This led to the selection of a palletized laser weapon system design using a planar wave guide laser for 30 kW nominal power; a lightweight reflective beam director; on-board vehicle power enhancements; lithium Ion batteries for power storage; and phase-change material cooling systems that conform to the size, weight and power constraints of using a tactical vehicle platform.

This five-year development effort includes three key demonstrations of increased capabilities and culminating in an on the move end-to-end engagement of UASs in FY17.

FY15: Completely stationary end-to-end engagement
FY16: Demonstrate an at-the-halt single engagement, with mobile cueing / tracking
FY17: Demonstrate full mobility between multiple engagements

May 02, 2015

Making viable hypersonic commercial airplane designs including a Mach 8 cruise passenger vehicle

HEXAFLY aims to create a multi-disciplinary platform where several breakthrough technologies can be mounted on board for testing in free flight at high speed. This approach will create the basis to increase gradually the Technology Readiness Level (TRL).

The emerging technologies and breakthrough methodologies strongly depending on envisaged flight tests at high speed can be grouped around the 6 major axes:

* High-Speed Vehicle Concepts to assess the overall vehicle performance in terms of cruise-efficiency, range potential, aero-propulsive balance, aero-thermal-structural integration, etc...

* High-Speed Aerodynamicsto assess aerodynamic vehicle shapes with high L/D (lift to drag ratio), aerodynamic manoeuvrability, stability, etc…

* High-Speed Propulsion to evaluate the performance of high-speed propulsive devices such as intakes, air-breathing engines (ABE), nozzles (SERN) including phenomena such as high-speed combustion, injection-mixing processes, etc…

* High-Temperature Materials and Structures to flight test under realistic conditions high temperature lightweight materials, active/passive cooling concepts, reusability aspects in terms oxidation, fatigue, etc…

* High-Speed Flight Control requiring real-time testing of GNC (Guidance Navigation Control) in combination with HMS/FDI technologies (Health Monitoring Systems/ Fault Detection and Isolation)

* High-Speed Environmental Impact focusing on reduction techniques for sonic boom and sensitivities of high-altitude emissions of H20, CO2, NOx on the stratosphere.

Current Mach 8 designs would use about 600 liters of fuel per passenger for a 12000 mile trip. At $1 per liter this would be about $600 per passenger for the fuel. The ticket for the flight would still need to cover the cost of the vehicle, insurance, salaries for all the support and flight staff and profit.

Long-range potential of high-speed vehicles in function of flight Mach number: Red: achievable with classical designs with minimal integration; Green: present designs based upon strongly integrated propulsion-vehicle designs with a potential limit (dashed line)

A paper describes the MR2, a Mach 8 cruise passenger vehicle, conceptually designed for antipodal flight from Brussels to Sydney in less than 4 hours. This is one of the different concepts studied within the LAPCAT II project. It is an evolution of a previous vehicle, the MR1 based upon a dorsal mounted engine, as a result of multiple optimization iterations leading to the MR2.4 concepts. The main driver was the optimal integration of a high performance propulsion unit within an aerodynamically efficient wave rider design, whilst guaranteeing sufficient volume for tankage, payload and other subsystems.

It is conceptually feasible provided liquid hydrogen is used as a fuel. With a GTOW of 400tons and a fuel burn of 180tons, the antipodal range from Brussels to Sydney is achievable within 3 hours.

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