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April 10, 2010

Electrochemical Solar Cells Solves to Hurdles to Large Scale Commercialization of Dye-sensitized solar Cells

Ad Support : Nano Technology   Netbook    Technology News &nbsp  Computer Software Professor Marsan and his team have been working for several years on the design of an electrochemical solar cell. His work has involved novel technologies, for which he has received numerous patents. In considering the problems of the cell developed by his Swiss colleague, Professor Marsan realized that two of the technologies developed for the electrochemical cell could also be applied to the Graetzel solar cell, specifically: * For the electrolyte, entirely new molecules have been created in the laboratory whose concentration has been increased through the contribution of Professor Livain Breau, also of the Chemistry Department. The resulting liquid or gel is transparent and non-corrosive and can increase the photovoltage, thus improving the cell's output and stability. * For the cathode, the platinum can be replaced by cobalt sulphide, which is far less expensive. It is also more efficient, more stable and easier to produce in the laboratory.

Fiber Photovoltaics Can Double Flat Solar Cell Energy at a Fraction of the Cost

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Wake Forest has received the first patent for a new solar-cell technology that can double the energy production of today’s flat cells at a fraction of the cost.

The new solar cells are made from millions of miniscule plastic fibers that can collect sunlight at oblique angles – even when the sun is rising and setting. Flat-cell technology captures light primarily when the sun is directly above

April 09, 2010

NC State research may revolutionize ceramics manufacturing

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Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new way to shape ceramics using a modest electric field, making the process significantly more energy efficient. The process should result in significant cost savings for ceramics manufacturing over traditional manufacturing methods.

Ceramics make up significant components of an array of products, including insulators, spark plugs, fuel cells, body armor, gas turbines, nuclear rods, high temperature ball bearings, high temperature structural materials and heat shields.

Philosophical Magazine - Influence of an applied dc electric field on the plastic deformation kinetics of oxide ceramics


New Biomarker Could Mean early detection of liver cancer and increased cure rates

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The candidate liver cancer biomarker is Golgi Protein-73 (GP73), which was first discovered in Dr. Fimmel’s lab in 1998. Subsequent studies have shown that the blood levels of GP73 are consistently higher in patients with liver cancer than in healthy individuals. In addition, levels were not significantly higher in patients with diseases other than liver disease. We are on the verge of understanding what switches GP73 on and how we can use it for diagnostic purpose.

Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world and one of the deadliest cancers since it is rarely diagnosed until late in its development.

Petrobank Group CEO Talks Game Changing THAI Oil Recovery Process and How Not Looking at New Technology is the Bigger Risk



CTV has an interview with John Wright, CEO of the Petrobank Group of companies His perspective of technology and categorizing risk and how to plan for the future are things that I agree with.

Petrobank is working on toe-to-heel air injection (THAI), a process using underground combustion to achieved higher heavy-oil recovery rates with a lower environmental footprint. But Petrobank has been dogged by production glitches at its test site that have delayed development. With the technology facing both fans and detractors, Mr. Wright argues that THAI is in the home stretch to commercial use

* People who don't look at new technologies are taking bigger risks
* People do not quantify real risk correctly

The latest drilling economics of the THAI process and Petrobakken are here

Exoskeletons and Other Technology to Mitigate or Reverse the Frailty of the Elderly



1. The Toyama Lab in Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology has the Wearable Agri Robot It is an exoskeleton for aging japanese farmers that should be commercially available in Japan in 2012 for about one million yen (about $10,000). They hope to halve if the device is mass-produced.


According to the Japanese census, half the number of the farm workers are elderly people who is 65 years old or more. Motors are installed in the joint of shoulders, elbows, waists and knees. These motors assist in movements of the wearer. We are able to lift things more than 20 kg which is needed in the farming

The current model is heavy - about 26 kg. The goal is less than 10 kg.
They are also working on improving the speed of responses and longer battery life. The suits can reduce the user’s physical effort by 62 per cent on average.

Brown Dwarf Found Ten light Years Away And Is Among the Ten Closest Stars

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UK astronomers (working with astronomers and observatories in Chile, Australia, Japan and Hawaii) have discovered a very cool brown dwarf, which is amongst the ten nearest stars to the Solar System

Brown dwarfs are bodies with masses in the range between those of giant planets and the lightest stars. Some are isolated, while others orbit normal stars or exist in star clusters. Since 1995, more than 100 methane brown dwarfs, or T dwarfs, have been found with spectra similar to that of the planet Jupiter and effective temperatures in the range 500-1300 K. The detection of even cooler bodies will open up a new arena for atmospheric physics and help to determine the formation rate of stars and brown dwarfs in our Galaxy as a function of both mass and of time. Here we report the discovery in the UKIDSS Galactic Plane Survey of a brown dwarf, UGPS J0722-05, that is not only far less luminous and significantly cooler than previously known objects but also the nearest to the Solar System. The measured distance is 2.9 +/- 0.4 pc, from which we deduce an effective temperature in the range 400-500 K. The Gemini/NIRI near infrared spectrum displays deeper water vapour and methane absorption bands than the coolest known T dwarfs, and an unidentified absorption feature at 1.275 microns. Time will tell whether this object is regarded as a T10 dwarf or the first example of a new spectral type.

US Ethanol production at 818 Thousand Barrels per Day For January 2010

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From page 9 of the EIA Monthly reports Petroleum supply report

EIA Monthly report shows that US ethanol production in January 2010 was 818,000 barrels per day The United States uses about 20 million barrels per day of oil.

Dwave Publishes Experiments Consistents with Quantum Computing and Support Claim of At Least Quantum Annealing

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Dwave Systems publishes an eight page paper Experimental Investigation of an Eight Qubit Unit Cell in a Superconducting Optimization Processor Dwave Systems has previously announced their 128 qubit adiabatic quantum computer system. There is controversy over the quantumness of the system. Critics question if the computing system is actually in a quantum state and able to take advantage of quantum effects. This is important because a system that can actually leverage quantum effects can be far faster than a classical computer.

Dwave feels the results allow them to claim that they have demonstrated Quantum Annealing but not Adiabiatic Quantum computing. Quantum Annealing can still result in a speedup of up to one million times for some problems over classical non-quantum computers.

Given the limited bandwidth of our external bias lines, we were unable to elicit a substantial change in population statistics. Thus, we were restricted to studying the regime in which the thermalization times were much shorter than the annealing time. Consequently, we can only claim to have demonstrated QA, not AQO.

April 08, 2010

China Rumored to be Within Days of Again Allowing the Yuan to Appreciate

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A New York Times report late Thursday that cited unnamed sources as saying the Chinese government is within days of announcing a revision of its currency policy also spurred late-session dollar declines in the onshore and offshore markets

Xinhua- China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan indicated last month the current exchange rate policy was part of the country's stimulus package, and the country would cautiously choose the timing to move from the "special policy" to a "regular policy."

The NY Times gathered some economists to analyze the impact and meaning of China allowing its currency to appreciate.

Lack of Chronic Worm Infections Leads to More Allergies and Asthma and other Inflammation diseases

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Technology Review reports mounting evidence in both humans and animals suggests that infection with these parasitic worms seems to protect against a number of inflammatory diseases, including asthma and allergy, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, and type 1 diabetes

We became dependent on helminths [parasitic worms] and made ourselves vulnerable to immunologic diseases. A number of epidemiological studies have shown that people infected with parasitic worms suffer less from allergies and other immune diseases, and research in animal models designed to mimic these diseases supports these findings. The rise in allergies and other ailments in rich countries over the last few decades has been matched by a decrease in parasitic worm infection, among other factors. Researchers found that people with parasitic infections have these unique protein fragments in their bloodstreams, while unaffected people have few or none.

Memristor Test Chips on Standard 300 MM Wafers Now and Possible Brain Emulation Scale Hardware by 2025

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Stan Williams, a senior fellow at HP and director of the company's information and quantum systems lab, says his group is testing the first batch of sample memristor memory devices made at an undisclosed semiconductor fab. The sample memristor arrays are being built on standard 300-millimeter silicon wafers.

Williams says it's time for memristors to scale up. "Our lab results have been good, and it's time to test memristors in the fab."

Memristors have similar physical behavior as synapses in the human brain. Production scale memristor memory with tens of billions of memristors should mean that memristors that mimic over one hundred billion synapses could only be a few years away. The human brain has one hundred trillion synapses. A human scale emulation of one hundred trillion synapses might only take one hundred near term memristor chips. Having comparable hardware in terms of numbers of similar components does not mean you can make them behave like a brain, but getting hardware with the right number of neurons and synapses would give researchers a reasonable chance at human brain emulation. The hardware could be ready in the 2020-2025 timeframe for neurons and synapses.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers.

Graphene in Practical Application Form has Thermal Conductivity Over Two Times Better than Copper

A one-atom thick sheet of graphene (highlighted in the circular window) on top of a silicon dioxide support proves to be an excellent thermal conductor, according to new research published in the journal Science. Although the interaction with the silicon dioxide suppressed the thermal conductivity of graphene compared to its freestanding form, supported graphene still demonstrated much higher heat conducting capability than silicon and copper nanostructures. This finding combined with graphene's superior strength and electron mobility make it a promising candidate for use in next-generation nano-electronic devices.

1. When suspended, graphene has extremely high thermal conductivity of 3,000 to 5,000 watts per meter per Kelvin. But for practical applications, the chicken-wire like graphene lattice would be attached to a substrate. Boston College Researchers found supported graphene still has thermal conductivity as high as 600 watts per meter per Kelvin near room temperature. That far exceeds the thermal conductivities of copper, approximately 250 watts, and silicon, only 10 watts, thin films currently used in electronic devices.

Waste Heat Recovery for Ships and Cars

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1. Swiss Researchers are developing thermoelectrics that are integrated into a muffler This would recover 5% of the energy that is wasted by cars now. By integrating it with the muffler it will be more feasible to retrofit existing cars to provide the equivalent of 1 or 2 mpg of extra efficiency. It would be most practical to use the electricity that is generated to power air conditioning and other electronics on the car. Hybrid cars could use the power to more directly improve mileage.


University of Calgary Researchers Use Nanoparticle "Vaccine" to Cure Type 1 Diabetes in Mice

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Using an innovative nanotechnology-based "vaccine," researchers were able to successfully restore normal blood sugar in mice with type 1 diabetes, and also slow the onset of diabetes in mice at risk for the disease. The study, co-funded by JDRF and published today in the online edition of the journal Immunity, has several key implications:

* First, it provides important new insights into how to stop the immune attack that causes type 1 diabetes.

* Second, it underscores the potential of "antigen-specific" therapies. Because the nanoparticle vaccine was designed with specific immune system proteins, it effectively blunted the targeted autoimmune response that causes diabetes without compromising the overall immune system - an issue that continues to be a challenge in developing treatments for diabetes.

* And third, it suggests that antigen-specific nanovaccines, because of the effectiveness shown here, might also be developed to treat other autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. That could make the science more attractive to drug development companies.

Canadian Dollar At Par, GDP Growth for First Quarter over 5%

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Canada's GDP (Gross domestic product) at market prices at the end of 2009 was $1.56 trillion)

The Canadian dollar is again on par with the United States dollar and is expected to stay there or stronger for the foreseeable future and the first quarter GDP growth in 2010 was 5.1%

Canada's GDP is now about US$1.6 trillion.

HP Promises 20 Gigabyte per Square Centimeter Memristor Memory by 2013

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NY Times reports Stan Williams said that H.P. now has working 3-nanometer memristors that can switch on and off in about a nanosecond, or a billionth of a second

* memristor memory will be a competitor to flash memory in three years that would have a capacity of 20 gigabytes a square centimeter.
* memristor memory will be faster and use less memory than phase-change memory. In Phase change memory, heat is used to shift a glassy material from an amorphous to a crystalline state and back.
* in the two years since announcing working devices, HP had increased memristor switching speed to match today’s conventional silicon transistors. The researchers had tested them in the laboratory, he added, proving they could reliably make hundreds of thousands of reads and writes.

UK Register also has coverage

HP thinks it can do even better and scale the technology to far lower process geometries than flash. The HP target is to double the density of flash in 2013 and have faster speed.

Flash density could be increased by upping the cell count in multi-layer cells (MLC). Two-bit flash is common now, three bit is coming and SanDisk has four-bit MLC patents. But flash write performance and endurance slows as more bits are added to cells, and flash controllers have to overcome this obstacle to make 3X and 4X MLC flash usable

Equipment for Roll to Roll Atomic Layer Deposition

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In the wake of the breaking news of new findings in barrier coatings manufactured by atomic layer deposition (ALD), Beneq is developing the equipment that will take ALD firmly into the field of Roll-to Roll industrial production.

Beneq already offers the world’s first and only research equipment for continuous ALD (CALD), the TFS 200R Thin Film System. In an article published by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE), research scientist Terhi Hirvikorpi tells about superior barrier layer properties enabled by ALD: ALD-coating has the potential to reduce the need of aluminum in juice cartons by more than 99%. The thin film coating applied by ALD efficiently replaces the need for the present solution, which is a thick layer of aluminum on the inside of the carton.

Beneq Oy, based in Finland, is a supplier of equipment and coating technology for global markets. Beneq turns innovations into success by developing applications and equipment for cleantech and renewable energy fields, especially in glass, solar and emerging thin film markets. Coating applications include optics, barriers and passivation layers, as well as energy generation and conservation. Beneq also offers complete coating services. Beneq's coating applications are based on two enabling nanotechnology platforms:Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) and aerosol coating (nHALO® and nAEROTM).

April 07, 2010

Carnival of Space 148 - fusion space planes and black hole time travel

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The Carnival of Space 148 is up Celestial Spider

This site provided:

A summary of a George Miley presentation on nuclear fusion rockets and spaceplanes using dense plasma focus fusion and it reviews other nuclear fusion rocket proposals (lots of pictures). The nuclear fusion enabled spaceplane can go single stage to orbit with about 2000 ISP.


A summary of the Selenian Boondocks look at using superconductors for Aerobraking which would greatly reduce the challenge of making a reusable heat shield and could be used to reduce weight for earth to moon vehicles. This is also reviews my own look at the latest in stronger superconducting magnets and a new method for making charging of permanant superconductor magnets cheap and easy

Weird warp looks at how to measure the atmosphere of an exoplanet

The iPad and Beyond

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Jason Calacanis has a 48 point iPad review

I will select a few key observations and then add my own opinion.

The iPad will probably replace a laptop and even a full-featured desktop for 1/3rd of "light computing" users. (Read: people who don't use specialized software and spend their time inside Safari's crippled browser).

Should You Buy an iPad ?

1. If you're rich or don't care about wasting $1,000 this month only to replace it in a year: Yes! Why do you care about replacing
anything? Give this to your nephew when you upgrade.

2. If you're a student on a budget: No. Get a Dell laptop for $500
with 10x the features.

3. If you've got kids and can afford it: Probably. I've seen my
friends' kids turn from wild tree monkeys into zoned-out stoners from
the glow of an iPod Touch. The iPad is kid-grade heroin: one dose and
they will be out for hours.

4. You're a normal person of normal means: Only if you're a tech
junkie. There are going to be much, much better Android tablets in
6-12 months with a USB port, camera, removable batteries, a memory
card and a non-crippled OS.

The iPad 2.0 next year will be vastly improved and there will be a more open Android competitor soon. There will be a lot more drastic improvements and changes coming soon.

Some have complained that the size of the iPad is not quite right for them. I think there will be several sizes of iPad and Android Pads and other competing in this area. Perhaps two sizes that are intermediate between iPhones and the current iPad and two sizes that are bigger.

The next step in form factors will be with picoprojectors and rollup screens that wirelessly connects to a smaller mostly CPU device.

Flexible screens that can be rolled up should be in mass market production by 2013. Apple's version will probably be called something like the iScroll.

By 2020 we could have 20 million transistor power chips implanted into Living cells which would also have Computer controlled Movement

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What looks possible by 2020 if the research from five different research groups can be combined ?

Here is the five things to combine -

1. Montreal researchers have created computer controlled bacteria to make nanopyramids.

Magnetic nanoparticles under computer control - determine how the cilia operate.

2. Other researchers have placed 3 micron X 3 micron by half a micron chips inside living cells and

3. in the same article as number 2 other researchers have used magnetized nanoparticles to control cells and hold them in desired positions and shapes

4. From the exclusive nextbigufuture interview with an executive from Tilera, a company that makes One hundred core CPUs that use 7 times less energy for the same processing power as Intel chips.

Tilera forecast making 3D cube chips with 1000 cores by 2020.

5. Memristor-CMOS hybrid chips are close - probably first one commercial within 3 years.

FPGA like processes can make memristor-CMOS chips.
Memristor nanowires scale down to 5 nanometer feature size.
Each memristor can do the work of 10 transistors

Therefore the 2020 possibility combining the above - 5 nanometer feature size, 20 layer chips with only half micron thickness.

300 by 300 by 20 layers of memristors would be equal to about 2 million memristors with a performance of 20 million transistors implantable into a
living cell. If the living cells have flagella they would have with computer controlled movement.



Other Highlights

Caltech makes sound bullets using metamaterial lenses, could blast cancer tumors, submarines or underground caves or say bunkers in Iran

Biotime reversed the aging of human cells - restores telomeres to embryonic state. Aging REVERSED in human cells.

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April 06, 2010

Sound Bullets Generated by Metamaterials for Killing Cancer Tumors or Submarines

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PNAS - Generation and control of sound bullets with a nonlinear acoustic lens

Acoustic lenses are employed in a variety of applications, from biomedical imaging and surgery to defense systems and damage detection in materials. Focused acoustic signals, for example, enable ultrasonic transducers to image the interior of the human body. Currently however the performance of acoustic devices is limited by their linear operational envelope, which implies relatively inaccurate focusing and low focal power. Here we show a dramatic focusing effect and the generation of compact acoustic pulses (sound bullets) in solid and fluid media, with energies orders of magnitude greater than previously achievable. This focusing is made possible by a tunable, nonlinear acoustic lens, which consists of ordered arrays of granular chains. The amplitude, size, and location of the sound bullets can be controlled by varying the static precompression of the chains. Theory and numerical simulations demonstrate the focusing effect, and photoelasticity experiments corroborate it. Our nonlinear lens permits a qualitatively new way of generating high-energy acoustic pulses, which may improve imaging capabilities through increased accuracy and signal-to-noise ratios and may lead to more effective nonintrusive scalpels, for example, for cancer treatment.

Discovery News has coverage

The simple set up belies the power of the new metamaterial. Not only did the scientists focus all of the sound waves onto one specific area; they also amplified those waves more than 100 times than what any other metamaterial had previously produced. Those numbers could easily go higher, said Daraio.

The sound waves Daraio and Spadonia manipulated were too high pitched for human ears to detect. Properly adapted to audible sound, the new metamaterial could turn a normal sentence into a split second ear drum rupturing explosion.

If these sound bullets were actual bullets, the metamaterial would be like transforming hot lead projectiles into rocket propelled grenades, all converging on one place at one time. The damage such concentrated waves of pressure could create would be devastating.

Like normal bullets, sound bullets can travel through air. Unlike normal bullets, sound bullets can also easily travel through liquids and solids. Sound bullets could be used by the military to create submarine melting waves of pressure or shock waves powerful enough to destroy caves otherwise untouchable by conventional weapons.

Biotime Reverses the Aging of Human Cells

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BioTime and its collaborators reported on March 16, 2010 in a scientific paper titled “Spontaneous Reversal of the Developmental Aging of Normal Human Cells Following Transcriptional Reprogramming” the reversal of human cellular aging (Journal of Regenerative Medicine)

* The Company reported that by selecting for cells with sufficient levels of the immortalizing protein telomerase, they were able to reset the clock of aging back to the embryonic state.

* Using the new technologies of reprogramming, BioTime scientists showed that time’s arrow of development, as well as aging, could be reversed.

* BioTime revealed why existing Induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cell lines being studied showed signs of premature aging, and a means to overcome that roadblock.

* This new capability does not require the use of human embryos or egg cells.

* BioTime’s reversal of developmental aging may be the seed for future technologies that will one day allow young cells of any kind to be produced that might be useful for aging patients in repairing the heart, the blood system, the brain, and the retina, as well as many others applications. In this way, we might increase the “healthspan,” that is, the years free from expensive and debilitating disease.




In BioTime’s report, we show that the premature aging observed in the existing iPS cell lines studied was due to the fact that the telomere clock of cellular aging in at least many of the lines being used in the scientific community is set at a relatively old (short) level. However, using a system where cells with the same DNA type at young embryonic states, as well as aged states were used, BioTime scientists reported that by looking for cells with sufficient levels of the immortalizing protein telomerase, they were able to reset the clock of aging back to the embryonic state. So, both the process of development wherein the germ-line cells specialize into the cells of the body, and also the telomere clock of aging was reported in the study. This reversal of developmental aging may be the seed for future technologies that will one day allow young cells of any kind to be produced for aging patients for use in repairing the heart, the blood system, the brain, and the retina, as well as many others applications.

In the article, BioTime and its collaborators demonstrate the successful reversal of the developmental aging of normal human cells. Using precise genetic modifications, normal human cells were induced to reverse both the "clock" of differentiation (the process by which an embryonic stem cell becomes the many specialized differentiated cell types of the body), and the "clock" of cellular aging (telomere length). As a result, aged differentiated cells became young stem cells capable of regeneration.

The paper sheds light on the recent controversy over the aged status of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. iPS cell technology has excited the scientific community because it has been demonstrated to be a method of transforming adult human cells back to a state very similar to embryonic stem cells (reversing the process of development) without the use of human embryos. However, recent reports have suggested that iPS cells, though very similar to embryonic stem cells in many respects, may not have the normal replicative potential of embryonic stem cells (that is, the iPS cells may be prematurely old). This problem has been called "the Achilles heel of iPS cell technology." BioTime scientists and their collaborators show in this paper that many iPS cell lines currently being circulated in the scientific community have short telomeres, meaning that their clock of cellular aging is still set at the age of relatively old cells. However, among these prematurely old cells, other cells can be found with sufficient levels of telomerase (a protein that keeps reproductive cells young) that allow these cells to reverse cellular aging all the way back to the very beginning of the human life cycle.













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Another Piece of the Superconducting Puzzle - Particle-Hole Symmetry Breaking in the Pseudogap State of Bi2201

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Work by the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science provides a new understanding of how high-temperature superconductors work—with potential applications toward the design of new superconductors that work at or near room temperature, allowing them to be used in everything from electronics to smart grids that deliver energy with dramatically higher efficiency.

"In 2006, our group published a paper suggesting that there are two types of distinct energy gaps," He said. "This more recent work provides a conclusive argument that there are two different mechanisms involved here."



The researchers trained the X-ray beam of SLAC's Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource on a high-temperature superconductor to reveal the material's electronic structure and explore the nature of the pseudogap. They were on a hunt for evidence of the electron pairing seen in conventional superconductors, in the form of what's called "electron-hole symmetry"; if it were present in the pseudogap, then the road to designing even higher temperature superconductors would be to make the pairs dance together instead of resting dormant.

But that's not what the researchers found; under the bright X-ray beam, the high-temperature superconductor showed a clear lack of the telltale symmetry—and thus of electron pairing. This suggests that the electron pairs were not lying dormant; they were simply not there.

The researchers posit that the electrons do not pair in this temperature range and instead travel in a wave; what they observed at SSRL were crests and troughs of electron density. The electrons' tendency to travel in a density wave may compete with their efforts to pair, suggesting that scientists will need a different approach in order to create a room-temperature superconductor.

"This is a very difficult problem, but an important one to solve," said Hashimoto. "We don't yet know the details of the density wave, but by extending our studies to different materials we are now seeking to understand it."

Once researchers better understand how electrons travel in high-temperature superconductors, they can then begin trying to design materials that superconduct at even higher temperatures. So far, high-temperature superconductors have been found only through serendipity. A robust understanding of how electrons travel at high temperatures may allow researchers to design new superconductors from the ground up, pinpointing the most useful temperature range for each application.

"If we can figure out the elusive recipe for making a superconductor," said SIMES Co-deputy Director and paper co-author Tom Devereaux, "we can begin designing them for important

Nature Physics - Particle–hole symmetry breaking in the pseudogap state of Bi2201

In conventional superconductors, a gap exists in the energy absorption spectrum only below the transition temperature (Tc), corresponding to the price to pay in energy for breaking a Cooper pair of electrons and creating two excited states. In high-Tc cuprate superconductors above Tc but below a temperature T*, an energy gap called the pseudogap1 exists, and is controversially attributed either to pre-formed superconducting pairs, which would show particle–hole symmetry, or to competing phases that would typically break it. Scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) studies suggest that the pseudogap stems from lattice translational symmetry breaking and is associated with a different characteristic spectrum for adding or removing electrons (particle–hole asymmetry). However, no signature of either energy or spatial symmetry breaking of the pseudogap has previously been observed by angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES). Here we report ARPES data from Bi2201, which reveal both particle–hole symmetry breaking and pronounced spectral broadening—indicative of spatial symmetry breaking without long-range order at the opening of the pseudogap. Our finding supports the STM proposal that the pseudogap state is a broken-symmetry state that is distinct from homogeneous superconductivity

13 page of supplemental information



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Bakken Oil Update - North Dakota Expects 50% More Oil Rigs

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As of March 31, 2010, 103 rigs were actively drilling in the state, according to statistics from the North Dakota Industrial Commission's Oil and Gas Division. During the fall and winter months, estimates had the rig count approaching 125. Now some estimates put the rig count as high as 150. On average, each rig requires in the neighborhood of 70-80 workers to operate and get online. If the rig count reaches anywhere from the 125-150 range, western North Dakota is looking at an influx of a few thousand workers. The Bakken Formation is an oil-rich, expansive underground rock formation that spans over 200,000 square miles underneath North Dakota, Montana and Saskatchewan.

There are roughly 4,500 producing oil wells in North Dakota with about 1,000 new wells that came into production in the past two years. So each oil rig is drilling about 5 new wells each year.

North Dakota ranks fourth in the nation in crude oil production at about 250,000 barrels a day coming out of the ground, but that could increase dramatically with companies tapping into a new formation, the Three Forks-Sanish, that lies beneath the Bakken Formation.



As good as things are now, estimates are North Dakota’s oil production could hit 300,000 to 400,000 barrels a day and sustain that level for 10 to 15 years, Helms said.

Helms said in a recent Bloomberg Business Week article, the new projection comes on the heels of recent discoveries by companies like Continental Resources Inc. The Bakken Formation contributed to a 7.5 percent gain in U.S. crude output in 2008, Bloomberg reported. Helms said the Three Forks-Sanish has the potential to produce at least half as much oil as the Middle Bakken. He said the 4.3 billion barrel projection by the USGS does not include the Three Forks-Sanish formation.

Brigham Exploration plans to use the roughly $213 million generated by the sale to increase its rig count from four to eight by may of next year. The new programme calls for Brigham to drill 76 net Bakken and Three Forks wells over the next two years.

A long horizontal well completed in the Bakken formation has produced oil and gas at an early 24-hr peak flow back rate, said Brigham Exploration Co

Rate was 4,335 barrels of oil per day of oil and 4.79 MMcfd of gas at the Sorenson 29-32 1H, for a combined rate of 5,133 boe/d. That rate represents an apparent record production level for the more than 2,700 horizontal wells in the Williston basin based on publicly reported date, the company said.

Brigham has a 95% working interest in the well, which was completed with 27 frac stages, perf and plug, and ceramic proppant. The well is in the Ross area of Mountrail County.

Based on this updated production performance, Brigham has completed five long-lateral high-frac stage wells in Ross with an average early 24-hr peak flow back rate of about 2,980 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

This is almost 15,000 barrels of oil per day from just five wells. This initial level usually declines to about half of that level for more sustained operations.



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Wormhole Research Suggests that Universes are Nested Like Russian Dolls

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Could our universe be located within the interior of a wormhole which itself is part of a black hole that lies within a much larger universe?

Such a scenario in which the universe is born from inside a wormhole (also called an Einstein-Rosen Bridge) is suggested in a paper from Indiana University theoretical physicist Nikodem Poplawski in Physics Letters B.

The full 4 page Radial motion into the Einstein-Rosen bridge paper is also here at arxiv



In studying the radial motion through the event horizon (a black hole's boundary) of two different types of black holes -- Schwarzschild and Einstein-Rosen, both of which are mathematically legitimate solutions of general relativity -- Poplawski admits that only experiment or observation can reveal the motion of a particle falling into an actual black hole. But he also notes that since observers can only see the outside of the black hole, the interior cannot be observed unless an observer enters or resides within.

"This condition would be satisfied if our universe were the interior of a black hole existing in a bigger universe," he said. "Because Einstein's general theory of relativity does not choose a time orientation, if a black hole can form from the gravitational collapse of matter through an event horizon in the future then the reverse process is also possible. Such a process would describe an exploding white hole: matter emerging from an event horizon in the past, like the expanding universe."

A white hole is connected to a black hole by an Einstein-Rosen bridge (wormhole) and is hypothetically the time reversal of a black hole. Poplawski's paper suggests that all astrophysical black holes, not just Schwarzschild and Einstein-Rosen black holes, may have Einstein-Rosen bridges, each with a new universe inside that formed simultaneously with the black hole.

"From that it follows that our universe could have itself formed from inside a black hole existing inside another universe," he said.

By continuing to study the gravitational collapse of a sphere of dust in isotropic coordinates, and by applying the current research to other types of black holes, views where the universe is born from the interior of an Einstein-Rosen black hole could avoid problems seen by scientists with the Big Bang theory and the black hole information loss problem which claims all information about matter is lost as it goes over the event horizon (in turn defying the laws of quantum physics).

We consider the radial geodesic motion of a massive particle into a black hole in isotropic coordinates, which represents the exterior region of the Einstein-Rosen bridge (wormhole). The particle enters the interior region, which is regular and physically equivalent to the asymptotically flat exterior of a white hole, and the particle’s proper time extends to infinity. Since the radial motion into a wormhole after passing the event horizon is physically different from the motion into a Schwarzschild black hole, Einstein-Rosen and Schwarzschild black holes are different, though indistinguishable for distant observers, physical realizations of general relativity. We show that timelike geodesics in the field of a wormhole are complete because the expansion scalar in the Raychaudhuri equation has a discontinuity at the horizon, and because the Einstein-Rosen bridge is represented by the Kruskal diagram with Rindler’s elliptic identification of the two antipodal future event horizons.

The Einstein-Rosen bridge is the spherically symmetric solution to the Einstein field equations in vacuum if we solve these equations using isotropic coordinates, while the Schwarzschild metric is the spherically symmetric solution to the Einstein field equations in vacuum if we solve these equations using the Schwarzschild coordinates. The Schwarzschild black hole solution, singular at the center, does not exist in isotropic coordinates, while the Einstein-Rosen bridge solution, regular everywhere, exists in the Schwarzschild coordinates if we glue two Schwarzschild exterior sheets at their common event horizon. Both black hole solutions are mathematically legitimate.

Since the two solutions are indistinguishable for distant observers, which can only see the exterior sheet, the nature of the interior of a physical black hole cannot be satisfactorily determined, unless an observer enters or resides in the interior region. This condition would be satisfied if the universe were the interior of a black hole existing in a bigger universe. Because Einstein’s general theory of relativity does not choose an orientation for time, if a black hole can exist in the forward time collapse of a mass through an event horizon, then the time reversal of this process is possible: a white hole explosion of matter emerging from an event horizon in the past, like the expanding universe. Scenarios in which the universe is born from the interior of an Einstein-Rosen black hole may avoid many of the problems of the standard Big-Bang cosmology and the black hole information-loss problem. These scenarios, involving gravitational collapse of a sphere of dust in isotropic coordinates, and generalization of the results of the present paper to Schwarzschild-de Sitter and Kerr black holes, will be the subjects of subsequent papers.

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Genetic key discovered to increase Hybrid Tomato Yields 60%

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Researchers have discovered the yield-boosting power (up to 60% more yield) of a single gene, which controls when plants make flowers and that works in different varieties of tomato and, crucially, across a range of environmental conditions.

The team made the discovery while hunting for genes that boost hybrid vigor, a revolutionary breeding principle that spurred the production of outstanding hybrid crops like corn and rice a century ago. Hybrid vigor, also known as heterosis, is the phenomenon by which intercrossing two varieties of plants produces more vigorous hybrid offspring with higher yields


A theory for heterosis, supported by this new Hebrew University-Cold Spring discovery, postulates that improved vigor stems from only a single gene – an effect called "superdominance" or "overdominance."

To find such overdominant genes, the US-Israeli team developed a novel approach by turning to a vast tomato "mutant library" – a collection of 5000 plants, each of which has a single mutation in a single gene that causes defects in various aspects of tomato growth, such as fruit size, leaf shape, etc. Selecting 33 mutant plants, most of which produced low yield, the team crossed each mutant with its normal counterpart and searched for hybrids with improved yield. Among several cases, the most dramatic example increased yield by a whopping 60%.

This hybrid, the team found, produced greater yields because there was one normal copy and one mutated copy of only a single gene that produces a protein called florigen. This protein, touted as the breakthrough discovery of the year in 2004 in Science magazine, instructs plants when to stop making leaves and start making flowers, which in turn produce fruit.

In plants such as tomatoes, flowering (and therefore yield) is controlled by a delicate balance between the florigen protein, which promotes flowering, and another related protein that delays flowering. A mutation in only one copy of the florigen gene causes the hybrid to produce more flowers in less time – the key to improved yield. What the researchers found is that to maximize yield, there can't be too much or too little florigen. A mutation in one copy of the gene results in the exact dose of florigen required to cause heterosis.

The scientists have observed the gene's heterosis effect in different varieties of tomatoes and in plants grown in different climate and soil conditions, both in Israel and in New York at CSHL and the Cornell Horticultural Experiment Station at Riverhead, N.Y.

In addition to superior yield, the hybrids also display another, perhaps equally important quality – taste. Tomato plants only produce a finite amount of sugar, which they distribute equally among their fruits. So higher yields usually result in each fruit having a lower sugar content. But, remarkably, the florigen gene also boosted sugar content and sweetness of the individual fruits.

This study marks the first example of a single gene that consistently causes heterosis. The scientists are now looking to team up with agricultural companies to develop the hybrids for commercial use. The concept that mutations in one copy of a single gene can improve yield has broad implications for breeders. Mutant plants are usually thrown away because of the notion that mutations would have negative effects on growth, but this study suggests that hybrid mutations might lead the next revolution of improved crops.

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MIT Make Mechanical Muscles with up to Six Times as Much Torque as Electric Motors But Twenty Times Less Weight

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MIT researchers have found a new way to use shape-memory alloys — metals that change shape when heated — to create small mechanical “muscles” for electronic devices. The mechanical muscles — or actuators — can produce three to six times as much torque as electric motors of similar size but weigh no more than one-20th as much.



Previous experimental actuators have used springs made from shape-memory alloys. But the new actuator is easier to manufacture, since it can be cut out of a flat sheet of metal, and to mount, since the sheet can be bolted to a mechanical device’s moving parts. And since only a small section of the new actuator heats up when electrically charged — as opposed to the entire length of the spring — it should dissipate heat more easily and consume less energy.

Eduardo Torres-Jara, a postdoctoral associate in the lab of Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Daniela Rus, designed the actuators and fabricated them with the help of graduate student Kyle Gilpin and research assistant Josh Karges. The researchers envision the actuators’ use in devices too small for electric motors, such as the moving parts at the tips of minimally invasive surgical devices, or the tiny cameras built into laptops.

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Bacteria Trained to Build Nanopyramids - Bacteria Moses Demands They be Freed

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The nanopyramid which was built initially with only 6 blocks may not look as good as the human-made Step pyramid, but the nanopyramid only took approximately 15 minutes using blocks with overall sizes and weight with were much more difficult to work with

Nanowerk reports that Montreal researchers have trained bacteria to build nanopyramids Will a bacteria Moses demand Let my People Go ? A video of the nanopyramid construction is below.

Seriously hybrid microrobots have huge medical applications (to deliver treatment and drugs to tumors and perform other actions.

Using a Swarm of Self-propelled Natural Microrobots in the Form of Flagellated Bacteria to Perform Complex Micro-assembly Tasks (6 pages)

Many science fiction novels have envisioned swarms of artificial microrobots capable of performing complex collective tasks. Unfortunately, today’s technological constraints have prevented such powerful concept to be a reality when considering artificial microrobots. In this paper, we show that a swarm of computer-controlled flagellated Magnetotactic Bacteria (MTB) acting as natural microrobots of approximately 1 to 2 micrometers in diameter can perform many of the same complex collective tasks envisioned with these futuristic self-propelled artificial microrobots. To prove the concept, magnetotaxis-based control has been used to coordinate a swarm made of thousands of these self-propelled natural microrobots to build in a collective effort, a miniature version of an ancient Egyptian pyramid.

Note - the human body has more bacterial cells than human cells. There are interesting transhuman possibilites if there was computer control and synthetic enhancement of all of the bacteria of the human body.



The propulsion force provided by the flagella being connected to molecular motors embedded in the bacterial cell and the chain of nanoparticles referred to as magnetosomes acting as a miniature steering mechanism under the control of an external computer, can be exploited to replace current technologies being presently used in macro-scale robotics but which could not be implemented at the micro-scale due to technological constraints. This strategy relies on harnessing instead of mimicking nature to compensate for unavailable technologies, by using flagellated bacteria and more specifically Magnetotactic Bacteria (MTB) for not only propulsion and transport, but also for the controlled steering or computerized directional swimming control of bacterial micro- nanorobots, i.e. micro- nanorobots being propelled by bacteria. The latter aimed at embedding natural with artificial or synthetic components to construct what we refer to as hybrid microrobots.

Connecting artificial or synthetic components to a natural self-propelled entity that can be controlled by computer is a very powerful concept with many potential applications. For instance, antibodies can be used to attach functionalized polymeric nanoparticles containing therapeutic agents to the cell of a flagellated bacterium. A swarm of such hybrid microrobots operating under computer control can then be used for targeting tumoral lesions in the human body for the delivery of therapeutic agents. It was shown in that the flagellated molecular motors embedded in each MC-1 bacterium being propelled by two flagella bundles providing a thrust force exceeding 4pN, were more suitable than any other technologies when operating in the microvasculature while being trackable in the human body using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Compared to self-assembly, controlled assembly is extremely versatile allowing the assembly of complex heterogeneous micro-structures. But a scaleable and flexible approach to controlled assembly where high levels of costeffective parallelisms can be achieved is required while being independent of the dielectric properties of the components being manipulated. Optical tweezers have been used extensively to manipulate micron-sized dielectric particles using trapping force in the typical range of 1-100 pN. For larger force, a mechanical approach becomes necessary. In all cases, issues such as complexity, power and overall size of the each platform prevent them to be considered for cost-effective mass-scale micro-assembly processes. Here we show that micro-components can be manipulated accurately from the thrust force generated by flagellated Magnetotactic Bacteria (MTB) to assemble micro-structures. The force exerted on the components is not only independent of the dielectric property and scalable from a few pN with increments in the order of 4 pN while being able to reach levels beyond the range of forces possible with optical tweezers, but the approach is highly scalable suggesting its potential for the implementation of cost effective mass-scale micro-assembly



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Advanced Materials - Ultrahigh-Energy-Density Microbatteries, bulk metamaterials proposal, 1-Nanometer-Sized Quantum-Dot Transistor

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1. Ultrahigh-Energy-Density Microbatteries Enabled by New Electrode Architecture and Micropackaging Design

Monolithic cathodes of optimized porosity prepared by sintering LiCoO2 powders provide high volume utilization and surprising stability under electrochemical cycling. Combined with a novel packaging approach, ultrahigh energy densities in small volumes are enabled. The microbatteries have volumes < 6 mm3 and provide sustained 2.5 h discharges with energy densities of 400-650 W h L-1.


5 pages of supporting material

2. Advanced Optical Metamaterials

A new class of bulk metamaterials is proposed, which are assembled of functional layers with differing layout properties, as shown in the figure. These enhanced degrees of freedom allow to design metamaterials, which perform optically in a predefined manner. We apply this approach to design isotropic metamaterials and metamaterials in which light propagates free of diffraction.

Boron Nanowire Makes Lightweight and Flexible Armor for T-shirts, Cars and Aircraft

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Researchers at the University of South Carolina, collaborating with others from China and Switzerland, drastically increased the toughness of a T-shirt by combining the carbon in the shirt’s cotton with boron – the third hardest material on earth. The result is a lightweight shirt reinforced with boron carbide, the same material used to protect tanks.

“The currently used boron-carbide bulk material is brittle,” Li said. “The boron-carbide nanowires we synthesized keep the same strength and stiffness of the bulk boron carbide but have super-elasticity. They are not only lightweight but also flexible. We should be able to fabricate much tougher body armors using this new technique. It could even be used to produce lightweight, fuel-efficient cars and aircrafts.”

The resulting boron-carbide fabric can also block almost all ultraviolet rays, Li said.



A simple cotton T-shirt may one day be converted into tougher, more comfortable body armor for soldiers or police officers.

Researchers at the University of South Carolina, collaborating with others from China and Switzerland, drastically increased the toughness of a T-shirt by combining the carbon in the shirt’s cotton with boron – the third hardest material on earth. The result is a lightweight shirt reinforced with boron carbide, the same material used to protect tanks.

Dr. Xiaodong Li, USC College of Engineering and Computing Distinguished Professor in Mechanical Engineering, co-authored the recent article on the research in the journal, Advanced Materials.

“USC is playing a leading role in this area. This is a true breakthrough,” Li said, calling the research “a conceptual change in fabricating lightweight, fuel-efficient, super-strong and ultra-tough materials. This groundbreaking new study opens up unprecedented opportunities.”

The scientists started with plain, white T-shirts that were cut into thin strips and dipped into a boron solution. The strips were later removed from the solution and heated in an oven. The heat changes the cotton fibers into carbon fibers, which react with the boron solution and produce boron carbide.

The result is a fabric that’s lightweight but tougher and stiffer than the original T-shirt, yet flexible enough that it can be bent, said Li, who led the group from USC. That flexibility is an improvement over the heavy boron-carbide plates used in bulletproof vests and body armor.

X. Y. Tao, L. X. Dong, X. N. Wang, B. J. Nelson, X. D. Li, "B4C Nanowire - Carbon Microfiber Hybrid Structures and Composites from Cotton T-shirts", Advanced Materials, No. 22, March 2010.
B4C-nanowire/carbon-microfiber hybrid structures are synthesized using cotton T-shirts as both the template and carbon source. The B4C nanowires exhibit a high elastic modulus of 428.1 ± 9.3 GPa and elastic recovery after multiple high-strain bending cycles without brittle failure or obvious residual deformation for the strain up to 45%. The hybrid structures can block 99.8% UV irradiation and achieve a superior reinforcing effect in epoxy composites.

Xiaodong (Chris) Li website at the university of South Carolina

Publications list of the Nanostructures and Reliability Laboratory

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