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May 21, 2010

Diamond Nanotechnology - Diamond Nanowire Arrays Could Enable Large Scale Quantum Information Processing

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An optical nanostructure based on single-crystal nanowire diamond may be used as an efficient source of single photons.

One exciting application at the forefront of diamond research is in quantum science. Nonclassical (single-photon) light sources based on individual color centers in diamond, most notably the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center have been used for secure communication based on quantum-cryptography protocols. Coupling between the NV center's electronic spin and nearby nuclear spins can be used to form a large qubit register an essential ingredient for a quantum computer. Recently, techniques designed to manipulate the NV center have been applied to nanoscale magnetic-field sensing based on single spins. But practical implementations of these technologies require efficient excitation and extraction of single photons from NV centers using a simple optical system. This is a challenge because of the high refractive index of the diamond host, so that the majority of photons emitted from an embedded color center are not accessible even to sophisticated setups.

Diamond nanowire with an embedded NV center acts as an antenna that enables efficient incoupling of the pump power used to drive the NV center's optical transition, as well as efficient outcoupling of emitted photons to an objective lens: see Figure 1(a). The diamond nanowires, ~2μm long and ~200nm in diameter, are fabricated from type Ib diamond (which contains randomly distributed NV centers) using electron-beam lithography and reactive ion etching see Figure 1(b).

Australia Demonstrates 1.28 tbps Photonic Communication Chip and Expects Commercialization around 2015

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Sydney University demonstrated a photonic chip components and demonstration of terabit internet.

The chip enables optical time division multiplexing (OTDM) and could increase the efficiency and capacity of current optical systems by processing communications optically, rather than electrically. By avoiding the usual electrical-optical-electrical conversion in fibre networks, the researchers expect to achieve a hundredfold increase in network speeds. Lead Researcher Vo set up a Tbps network with optical chips installed at the transmitter and receiver. One chip generated a high bit-rate signal at the transmitter, and another successfully received and demultiplexed the data at 1.28 Tbps. The chip is at least five years from being commercially ready.

Zeroloft Aerogel Jackets Provides Better Cold Protection than a Down Jacket Ten Times Thicker

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Canadian adventurer Jamie Clarke is putting the zeroloft aerogel material to the ultimate test by climbing part of Mount Everest in a thin jacket made by Champion that contains Zeroloft. The 0.15-inch-thick windbreaker is as warm as a goose down jacket 1.6 inches thick.

Successful Liftoff of what Could be the First Successful Deployment of a Solar Sail by any country has been made by Japan

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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Ikaros solar sail today aboard the H-IIA Launch Vehicle (H-IIA F17). IKAROS is a space yacht that gathers energy for propulsion from sunlight pressure (photons) by means of a square membrane measuring 20 meters (65.6 ft) diagonally.

The Akatsuki special site at JAXA is here

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 2 - china build, thorium and more

The second blog carnival of nuclear energy is up at nuclear green.

This site supplied these three articles
1. Just one of China's nuclear companies is looking to add twelve more AP1000 nuclear reactors beyond the current official plan and Russia, China, France and Japan are in talks for a 4th generation nuclear project

2. A chinese historian recently indicated that the Soviets were close to attacking China with nuclear weapons in 1969 until there was intervention by the USA (Nixon and Kissinger). Haldeman's memoirs from 1978 tell a similar but different tale of that period.

3. Examination of designs for nuclear fusion space plane based on magneto hydrodynamics and the inertial electrostatic confinement reactor. This design could be realized by 2025 and some research (in range of $5-30 million per year for each) is going towards both MHD and IEC fusion and the combination of them into a spaceplane. Eventually this will have to head towards $10 billion or more in funding to make a serious attempt at achieving this vision.

Nuclear Roundup - Russia and Namibia to Cooperate on Uranium, China Will Start Reactor in 2010, and 2010 Nuclear Generation Statistics

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1. Russia is ready to invest about $1 billion to develop uranium deposits in Namibia, the world’s fourth-biggest producer of the metal, said Sergei Kiriyenko, chief executive officer of Rosatom Corp. Namibia has the world’s eighth-largest proven uranium reserves, and this will increase since parts of the country are yet to be explored. Russia, the fifth-largest uranium miner according to the World Nuclear Association, signed a cooperation agreement with Namibia on exploration and production during Pohamba’s visit, a move that may allow them to challenge the top three producers, Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia.

Toyota Partners with Telsa Motors

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Telsa Motors, an electric car company, is partnering with Toyota to re-open the Nummi car plant in California.

* Toyota has agreed to purchase $50 million of Tesla’s common stock issued in a private placement to close immediately subsequent to the closing of Tesla’s currently planned initial public offering
* Toyota has produced approximately 2.5 million hybrids.
* In late 2009, Toyota started lease of Prius Plug-in Hybrids, which can be charged using an external power source such as a household electric outlet. The company also plans to introduce EVs into the market by 2012.
* Tesla has delivered more than 1000 Roadsters to customers in North America, Europe and Asia

May 20, 2010

First Observation of Plasmarons in Graphene

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At Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source, scientists working with graphene have made the first observation of the energy bands of complex particles known as plasmarons. Their discovery may hasten the day when graphene can be used to build ultrafast computers and other electronic, photonic, and plasmonic devices on the nanoscale. Understanding the relationships among these three kinds of particles—charge carriers, plasmons, and plasmarons—may hasten the day when graphene can be used for “plasmonics” to build ultrafast computers—perhaps even room-temperature quantum computers—plus a wide range of other tools and applications.

“The interesting properties of graphene are all collective phenomena,” says Rotenberg, an ALS senior staff scientist responsible for the scientific program at ALS beamline 7, where the work was performed. “Graphene’s true electronic structure can’t be understood without understanding the many complex interactions of electrons with other particles.”

The electric charge carriers in graphene are negative electrons and positive holes, which in turn are affected by plasmons—density oscillations that move like sound waves through the “liquid” of all the electrons in the material. A plasmaron is a composite particle, a charge carrier coupled with a plasmon.


World's First 25Gbps Data Communication Using Quantum Dot Laser

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Quantum dot laser featuring an active layer containing high-density arrays of quantum dots
Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., and the University of Tokyo today announced the world's first quantum dot laser-based 25 Gbps high-speed data transmission.

Quantum dot lasers are a type of laser being anticipated as a next-generation semiconductor laser capable of handling high-speed data transmissions while consuming minimal power. As increasing the number of quantum dots is known to improve a quantum dot laser's operation speed, layers of quantum dots with a higher density than conventionally employed were stacked, thereby doubling the laser's operation speed and enabling a significant improvement over previous technologies. This new technology is expected to be employed for optical sources for next-generation high-speed data communications that aim to achieve data transmission speeds of 100 Gbps, ten times faster than current data transmission speeds.


China and Taiwan Relations Update

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40% of Taiwan's exports go to Hong Kong and China. A new Trade deal between China and Taiwan will lead to tighter relations between China and Taiwan and China will then allow Taiwan to remove economic barriers with the rest of Asia, the EU, and the USA


1. Focus Taiwan - the proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) between Taiwan and China is a "lean and necessary" trade deal for Taiwan rather than a fully fledged free trade agreement said Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan.

President Ma Ying-jeou's administration hopes that the ECFA can be signed in June as a means of sharpening Taiwan's international competitiveness, but has met strong opposition from the DPP, which is concerned that it will make Taiwan over-dependent on China.


2. Wall Street Journal - Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou played down fears that a planned free-trade pact with China would leave Taipei over-reliant on its former rival, saying the deal could lead to similar ones with other countries that would help diversify the island's economy

Eight Synthetic Biology Experts Talk about Life After the First Synthetic Cell

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Nature has a three page feature with the opinions of eight prominent synthetic biology experts about life after the first replicating synthetic cell.

Nature asked eight synthetic-biology experts about the implications for science and society of the “synthetic cell” made by the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). The institute’s team assembled, modified and implanted a synthesized genome into a DNA-free bacterial shell to make a self-replicating Mycoplasma mycoides
George Church Says we Need to Lower Costs

What we now need are ways to construct and test billions of genome combinations using protein and RNA biosensors for many or all metabolic intermediates and cell-signalling states. In combination with the sort of techniques that the JCVI has just demonstrated — but at much lower cost — this would enable researchers to select for important products such as pharmaceuticals, fuels, chiral chemicals and novel materials.

University of Illinois lower-cost method of manufacturing compound semiconductors such as GaAs


The University of Illinois claims to have developed a lower-cost method of manufacturing compound semiconductors such as GaAs for many electronic device applications, including solar cells.

Gallium arsenide (GaAs) and related compounds claim to offer nearly twice the efficiency as silicon in solar cells. But solar cells based on these materials are expensive to make.

'If you grow 10 layers in one growth, you only have to load the wafer one time,' said Li, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. 'If you do this in 10 growths, loading and unloading with temperature ramp-up and ramp-down take a lot of time. If you consider what is required for each growth - the machine, the preparation, the time, the people - the overhead saving our approach offers is a significant cost reduction.'

In a paper to be published online May 20 in the journal Nature, the group describes its methods and demonstrates three types of devices using gallium arsenide chips manufactured in multilayer stacks: light sensors, high-speed transistors and solar cells. The authors also provide a detailed cost comparison.

Another advantage of the multilayer technique is the release from area constraints, especially important for solar cells. As the layers are removed from the stack, they can be laid out side-by-side on another substrate to produce a much larger surface area, whereas the typical single-layer process limits area to the size of the wafer.


Craig Venter and his Team have Made Artificial Life

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Craig Venters team copied an existing bacterial genome. They sequenced its genetic code and then used synthesis machines to chemically construct a copy. The synthetic DNA was transferred to a host cell. The resulting microbe then looked and behaved like the species "dictated" by the synthetic DNA.

"We've now been able to take that synthetic chromosome, transplant it into a recipient cell - a different organism," Dr Venter told BBC News. "As soon as this new software goes into the cell, that cell reads that software and converts the cell into the species specified in that genetic code." The resulting cells have replicated over a billion times, producing copies of cells with the constructed, synthetic DNA. "This is the first time any synthetic DNA has been in complete control of a cell," said Dr Venter.


South Korea confirms a North Korean Torpedoa Sank Their Cruiser and North Korea Promises All Out War if There is Retaliation by South Korea

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UK Telegraph reports that South Korea has determined that a North Korean torpedo was found to be responsible for the sinking of the Cheonan, a 300-ft South Korean warship, which sank on March 26 with the loss of 46 lives.

An official report, carried out by South Korean investigators together with teams from the United States, Britain, Australia and Sweden, said the evidence pointed "overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine." It added: "There is no other plausible explanation."

North Korea strongly denied responsibility for the attack, calling the investigation a "fabrication orchestrated by a group of traitors". It said it would "promptly" react to any retaliation and further sanctions with "various forms of tough measures including an all-out war". In recent weeks, North Korea has begun massing more troops on the border with the South.

Open quantum systems approach to atomtronics

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Atomtronics has the goal of developing a one-to-one analogy of electronic systems, components and devices with ultracold atoms trapped in optical lattices. It is being researched at the University of Colorado. The Atomtronic Anderson Group of Optical Physics

Their atom-optical analogy to electronic circuits begins with the definition of the `atomtronic battery', which is composed of two reservoirs of ultracold atoms having different chemical potentials (corresponding to different electric potentials at the terminals of a conventional battery). The `wires' and atomtronic components are composed of optical lattices, and current refers to the number of atoms that pass a specific point in a given amount of time. The atomtronic diode is a device that allows an atomic flux to flow across it in essentially only one direction. The desired function of an atomtronic transistor is to enable a weak atomtronic current to be amplified or to switch,either on or off, a much larger one.


the Colorado atomtronic researchers have published an Open quantum systems approach to atomtronics in Arxiv

We derive a quantum master equation to treat quantum systems interacting with multiple reservoirs. The formalism is used to investigate atomic transport across a variety of lattice configurations. We demonstrate how the behavior of an electronic diode, a field-effect transistor, and a bipolar junction transistor can be realized with neutral, ultracold atoms trapped in optical lattices. An analysis of the current fluctuations is provided for the case of the atomtronic diode. Finally, we show that it is possible to demonstrate AND logic gate behavior in an optical lattice.


Boston University Solid State Nanopore DNA Sequencing Licensed to NobelGen Biosciences

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This site covered the work at Boston University to develop cheaper and faster DNA sequencing using solid state nanopores in Dec, 2009. There has been some more recent discussion and development of this work.


Nature Nanotechnology: Electrostatic focusing of unlabelled DNA into nanoscale pores using a salt gradient

The technique uses electrical fields to feed long strands of DNA through four-nanometer-wide pores, much like threading a needle. The method uses sensitive electrical current measurements to detect single DNA molecules as they pass through the nanopores. The need for DNA amplification is reduced by 10,000 times.
Solid-state nanopores are sensors capable of analysing individual unlabelled DNA molecules in solution.

Licensing intellectual property from Boston University and Harvard University, Meller and his collaborators recently founded NobleGen Biosciences to develop and commercialize nanopore sequencing based on the new method.

May 19, 2010

Combining MHD Airbreathing and IEC Fusion Rocket Propulsion for Earth-to-Orbit Flight

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A Rocket-Based-Combined-Cycle (RBCC) propulsion system employing ducted rocket operation and MHD airbreathing to accelerate the vehicle to Mach 12 in about 4 minutes within earth’s atmosphere, and then fusion rocket propulsion to continue vehicle acceleration above the sensible atmosphere for 28 minutes until Mach 26 (orbital speed) is reached. And, here, 18 metric tons of payload can be placed in low earth orbit with a takeoff weight of only 162 tons - about the same payload and takeoff weight as that of medium size airline passenger jets.

The main MHD air breathing and IEC fusion rocket paper was presented at Space Technology and Applications International Forum (STAIF) in 2005 and was written by H. D. Froning and George Miley and Nie Luo, Yang Yang, H. Momota E. Burton. The abstract is at americanantigravity below. Froning also worked with Robert Bussard on various Fusion rocket papers which are linked to below. NASA is continuing theoretical, computational and some experimental work on MHD propulsion for space planes.
Single-State-to-Orbit (SSTO) vehicle propellant can be reduced by Magnets-Hydro-Dynamic (MHD) processes that minimize airbreathing propulsion losses and propellant consumption during atmospheric flight. Similarly additional reduction in SSTO propellant is enabled by Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusion, whose more energetic reactions reduce rocket propellant needs. MHD airbreathing propulsion during an SSTO vehicle’s initial atmospheric flight phase and IEC fusion propulsion during its final exo-atmospheric flight phase is therefore being explored. Accomplished work is not yet sufficient for claiming such a vehicle’s feasibility. But takeoff and propellant mass for an MHD airbreathing and IEC fusion vehicle could be as much as 25 and 40 percent less than one with ordinary airbreathing and IEC fusion; and as much as 50 and 70 percent less than SSTO takeoff and propellant mass with MHD airbreathing and chemical rocket propulsion. Thus this unusual combined cycle engine shows great promise for performance gains beyond contemporary combined-cycle airbreathing engines

Studies in Russia, Europe, and the US have shown that Magneto-Hydro-Dynamic (MHD) processes can extract electricity for vehicle and propulsion power from slowed airflow within airbreathing engines while reducing propulsive losses and propellant consumption during high-speed atmospheric flight.

Sharkskin Paint to lower the fuel consumption of airplanes and ships and Hydrophobic ferns could also lower drag for ships

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1. Sharkskin inspired paint made with Nanoparticles reduce drag and lower fuel consumption. If the paint were applied to every airplane every year throughout the world, the paint could save a volume of 4.48 million tons of fuel. The team was able to reduce wall friction by more than five percent in a test with a ship construction testing facility. Extrapolated over one year, that means a potential savings of 2,000 tons of fuel for a large container ship. The nanoparticles which ensure that the paint withstands UV radiation, temperature change and mechanical loads, on an enduring basis. Paint is applied as the outermost coating on the plane, so that no other layer of material is required. It adds no additional weight, and even when the airplane is stripped – about every five years, the paint has to be completely removed and reapplied – no additional costs are incurred. In addition, it can be applied to complex three-dimensional surfaces without a problem."

Triple Junction Solar Cell Reaches Record 41.1%

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Dr. Frank Dimroth and his team made a metamorphic triple-junction solar cell that reached a record efficiency of 41.1%. To accomplish this, researchers created a multi-junction solar cell made of III-V compound semiconductors by stacking three single-junction cells on top of each other, each one particularly efficient in converting a limited spectral bandwidth of sunlight to electricity. The result: efficiency levels that nearly double the efficiency of conventional silicon-based solar cells.

Russian Population May be Stabilizing

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Russia's population may have stopped its decline and this is important for future GDP projections as well as geopolitical forecasts.

Russia has bucked a long-term trend of population decline by recording its first annual increase in 15 years, its health minister has announced.

The population grew in 2009 by between 15,000 and 25,000 to more than 141.9 million, Tatyana Golikova said, quoting preliminary figures.

Much of the growth is due to a falling death rate and increasing migration. But births also rose, with 2.8% more babies born last year than in 2008

China Soviet and American Relations During the 1960s and Proposed and Blocked Nuclear Attacks

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The UK Telegraph publised an article which repeats an assertion that the Soviet Union was on the brink of launching a nuclear attack against China in 1969 and only backed down after the US told Moscow such a move would start World War Three, according to a Chinese historian, Liu Chenshan.

Liu Chenshan, the author of a series of articles that chronicle the five times China has faced a nuclear threat since 1949, wrote that the most serious threat came in 1969 at the height of a bitter border dispute between Moscow and Beijing that left more than one thousand people dead on both sides. Liu Chenshan writing was in a publication sanctioned by China's ruling Communist Party


Note: Getting a true understanding of the geopolitical events and relationships is important for understanding how relations between Russia, China and the United States are likely to develop in the future. It is also important to understand the actual level of risks for wars of the nuclear and non-nuclear variety.

The Foreign Policy Journal indicates that this is old news and that they believe the memoirs of Richard Nixon’s aide John Haldeman who seems to have first broken the nuclear attack story in his memoirs in 1978.

Haldeman stated that for years the USSR had been trying to warn the USA not to allow China to become a nuclear power. This claim by Haldeman seems to directly contradict the claim by Liu that Nixon, when responding to the 1969 Soviet request for neutrality, did so not only because he regarded China as a means of containing Russia, but also because he was still “smarting from a Soviet refusal five years earlier to stage a joint attack on China’s nascent nuclear programme.”

Carnival of Space 154 - Rivers on Titan, Mars Colonization and More

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A bright river on Xanadu's southwest: In this Cassini RADAR view captured on May 28, 2008, an unusually bright river valley exits the Xanadu region to the north. Credit: NASA / JPL

Carnival of Space 154 is up at Weird Warp

This site submitted the article on details of proposed Vasimr plasma rocket space missions to the moon, Mars and Jupiter.

The Planetary Society blog reports that the NASA Cassini RADAR team has spotted some river channels on Titan that shine so brightly in radar images, there must be something special going on to explain that brightness.

What we're seeing is the same phenomenon that makes reflective paint on street signs shine brightly in headlights. But instead of tiny plastic beads embedded in reflective paint, we're seeing the internal reflections from pebbles and cobbles of ice, as big as tennis balls or even footballs, lining Titan's river beds.


Blake Ross, Co-founder of Firefox, Predicts Bleak Future for Firefox due to Bureaucracy of Mozilla Organization

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Blake thinks that Firefox will decline from 25-30% browser market share to single digit market sharein 3-5 years.

I’m pretty skeptical. I think the Mozilla Organization has gradually reverted back to its old ways of being too timid, passive and consensus-driven to release breakthrough products quickly.

China Adding Twelve More AP1000 Nuclear Reactor to Existing Build Plans and China, Russia, Japan and France in Fourth Generation Nuclear Reactor Talks

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1. China Power Investment Corp., one of China’s five largest electricity producers, plans to build nuclear plants in southern, central and northeastern China as domestic energy demand surges.

China Power plans to build four AP1000 units at its Pengze plant in Jiangxi province. The project may be approved soon. Six more units may be added to the Haiyang reactor in Shangdong. The company received government approval to start work on Haiyang in 2007. The plant may eventually have eight AP1000 units, compared with six in the original plan.

Glucose BioFuel Cell Can Power Implants and Artifiical Organs and Burn off Extra Calories to Solve Obesity

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PLoS One - A Glucose BioFuel Cell Implanted in Rats

The team surgically implanted the sugar powered device in the abdominal cavity of two rats. The maximum power of the device was 6.5 microwatts, which approaches the 10 microwatts required by pacemakers. They calculated they obtained a maximum specific power of 24.4 microwatts per milliliter, which exceeds a pacemaker’s requirement of 10 microwatts. The technology could be used for a range of applications, such as neural and bone-growth stimulators, drug delivery devices, insulin pumps, and biosensors, says Eileen Yu, a chemical engineer at Newcastle University. But whether enzymes remain stable for a long period of time is a concern, she says. And the efficiency of transfer of electrons between enzymes and electrodes should be improved. Cinquin believes his team can improve its efficiency. "I'm optimistic that we will get tens of milliwatts in future versions," he says. They hope to see them developed for use in humans within five to 10 years.

Keith Henson noted that the burning of excess sugar (calories) could help solve obesity and increased power could be used for devices like cellphones or implanted computers.

Technology Review has coverage

May 18, 2010

Lensless Quantum Dot Infrared Detector with Double Detectivity Now and 20 Times More Detectivity In a Few Years

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Researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new nanotechnology-based “microlens” that uses gold to boost the strength of infrared imaging and could lead to a new generation of ultra-powerful satellite cameras and night-vision devices.

By leveraging the unique properties of nanoscale gold to “squeeze” light into tiny holes in the surface of the device, the researchers have doubled the detectivity of a quantum dot-based infrared detector. With some refinements, the researchers expect this new technology should be able to enhance detectivity by up to 20 times
“I think that, within a few years, we will be able to create a gold-based QDIP device with a 20-fold enhancement in signal from what we have today,” Lin said. “It’s a very reasonable goal, and could open up a whole new range of applications from better night-vision goggles for soldiers to more accurate medical imaging devices.”

Electric Taxis in China, Chinese Partner for Ecomotors and Mercedes Robotic Test Driver

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1. Forty all-electric taxis, believed to be the first to go into service in China, were officially launched Monday in southern Guangdong Province's Shenzhen City.
The five-passenger BYD E6, with a maximum speed of 140 km/h, consumed 21.5 KWH of power per 100 km and could run about 300 km on one charge, a record for a vehicle of its kind. BYD plans to have 100 E6 taxis on Shenzhen's roads by the end of June. The company expects to start selling E6 cars to the United States through its headquarters in Los Angeles later this year, he said. Wang said BYD would try to roll out E6 in the European market in February 2011. If all-electric taxis could be promoted across China, it would greatly improve the air quality in cities.

2. EcoMotors International CEO Don Runkle announced today that Zhongding Holding (Group) Co., Ltd. has signed a letter of intent to fund further development of EcoMotors’ innovative opoc® (Opposed piston oppposed cylinder) engine technology.

Hybrid Porsche With Magnetically Loaded Flywheel Almost Won the 24 Hour Nurburgring Race

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Magnetically Loaded Composite (MLC) technology was invented by engineers at British Nuclear Fuels and Urenco working on the design of uranium enrichment centrifuges.

Instead of using discrete permanent magnets to form the rotor of a flywheel’s integrated motor/generator, magnetic powder is mixed into the composite matrix. After the flywheel has been manufactured using filament winding, flash magnetisation of the integrated magnetic particles generates the required field configuration forming the rotor. With no large metallic structures in the MLC flywheel rotor, eddy current losses and heating are negligible resulting in very high electrical efficiencies. The lack of rotor heating gives MLC flywheels a unique advantage over other composite flywheel designs: they can be continuously deep-cycled at high power with no detriment to performance or reduction in life. The wholly composite MLC flywheel design also improves system safety: in the event of a failure, there are no metallic fragments requiring containment. In common with other flywheels, they can operate efficiently at extreme ambient temperatures – unlike chemical batteries and capacitors.


Greencarcongress - The 911 GT3 R Hybrid features an electrical front axle drive with two electric motors developing 60 kW each supplementing the 480-bhp (358 kW) four-liter flat-six at the rear of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid.
The flywheel generator itself is an electric motor with its rotor spinning at speeds of up to 40,000 rpm, storing energy mechanically as rotation energy. The flywheel generator is charged whenever the driver applies the brakes, with the two electric motors reversing their function on the front axle and acting themselves as generators. The flywheel is slowed down electromagnetically in the generator mode in order to supply up to 120 kW to the two electric motors at the front from its kinetic energy. This additional power is available to the driver after each charge process for approximately 6 - 8 seconds.

Software Tool Helps Tap Into The Power Of Graphics Processing and Nvidia GPGPU in 1U servers and IBM GPGPU Datacenters

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1. North Carolina State University has developed software that could make it easier for traditional software programs to take advantage of powerful GPUs. (graphical processing units) The CPU from an average computer has about 10 gigaflops of computing power – or 10 billion operations per second. That sounds like a lot until you consider that the GPU from an average modern computer has 1 teraflop of computing power – which is 1 trillion operations per second.

Zhou’s research team tested a series of standard programs to determine whether programs translated by their compiler software actually operated more efficiently than code that had been manually optimized for GPU use by leading GPU developers. Their results showed that programs translated by their compiler software ran approximately 30 percent more quickly than those optimized by the GPU developers. The paper, “A GPGPU Compiler for Memory Optimization and Parallelism Management,” was co-authored by Zhou, NC State Ph.D. student Yi Yang, and University of Central Florida Ph.D. students Ping Xiang and Jingfei Kong.

Hyperion Power Generation Will Apply for a License Starting in 2011 For Its 25 MW Uranium Nitride Reactor

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Businessweek - John Deal, chief executive officer of Hyperion Power Generation Inc., intends to apply for a license “within a year” for plants that would power a small factory or town too remote for traditional utility grid connections.

Hyperion has more than 150 purchase commitments from customers such as mining and telecom companies, provided its technology gets licensed for operation. Hyperion plans to build 25-megawatt reactor and sell them for $50 million each.

Hyperion Power Generation has more details on their planned factory mass produced small modular nuclear reactors.

May 17, 2010

Roads for robocars and Transitioning to Lightweight electric Cars with Doubling One Traffic Lane Into Two

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Brad Templeton has another good article about the advantages of robocars and how to structure things to take maximum advantage of robocars.

* Most robocars, if we are efficient, will be small light vehicles meant for 1-2 people, with a few larger ones for 4-5 people.

* Small, lightweight vehicles require far less expensive road. Various estimates I have seen for multi-use paths suitable for people, bikes and golf carts range around $100K to $200K per mile, though I have heard of projects which, thanks to the wonders of government contracting, get up to $1M per mile. On the other hand, typical urban streets cost $2M to $3M per mile, an order of magnitude more.


Transitioning to Small and Light Electric Cars

Electric bicycles and Scooters are able to drive 65 mph on small battery packs that are we are technically able to produce in large volumes. China has 140 million electric bicycles now and is adding about 25-30 million more each year. Light weight 3 or 4 wheel electric vehicles like the Aptera

DuPont has developed a printing process to make bigger and cheaper OLED screens

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DuPont Displays announced the development of a manufacturing process that the company says can be used to print large, high-performance OLED televisions at volumes that should bring down costs. Using a custom-made printer from Japanese manufacturer Dainippon Screen, DuPont says it can print a 50 inch-television in under two minutes, and testing of the displays shows their performance is reliable--the displays should last 15 years. DuPont's process is simple enough to compete on cost with LCDs. Many other companies are working on OLED inks, including Universal Display Corporation in the United States, Merck in Germany, and Sumitomo Chemical in Japan. And Kateeva, a startup in Menlo Park, CA, is developing OLED-printing equipment that combines the volume of ink-jet printing with the performance of devices made through shadow-mask fabrication.

Whites are five times richer than blacks in the US and World Household Wealth Distribution

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A typical white family is now five times richer than its African-American counterpart of the same class, according to a report released today by Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
I am putting the World Wealth distribution figures along side to show that poor people at the midpoint level of many very poor countries are able to accumulate more wealth than African-Americans with far higher incomes. This predominantly has to do with not understanding how to save and invest and avoiding high interest credit card debt and depreciating assets (like cars and electronics). I am aware of immigrant families from Vietnam who moved to the United States and then two or three families moved into one house that they purchased and then sold after a few years of appreciation with enough accumulated net worth for each family to buy their own home.
From 1984-2007, the racial wealth gap increased by $75,000 – from $20,000 to $95,000. Financial assets, excluding home equity, among white families grew from a median value of $22,000 to $100,000 during that period while African Americans saw very little increase in assets in real dollars and had a median wealth of $5,000 in 2007 (up from $2000 in 1984).
NOTE: The asset figures seem more than five times.

BP Oil Siphon is Capturing 1000 barrels per day now but will ramp up to 5000 barrels per day in Next 24 hours

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BP is capturing one fifth of the oil leak now but could capture five times more as they ramp up over the next 24 hours.

The well is leaking at an estimated rate of 5,000 barrels a day, according to BP, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That estimate was challenged May 14 by U.S. Representative Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, citing analysis by independent researchers that it may be more than 10 times higher.

BP said yesterday it successfully installed the 4-inch (10.2-centimeter) diameter tube into the 21-inch severed pipe, the main source of leaking oil. At least 94,000 barrels (3.9 million gallons) have leaked into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20 and sank two days later, causing the death of 11 crew members.

Euro, Dollars, Yen ,Yuan, Gold and Future Reserve Currency

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For decades, the U.S. dollar has been the reserve currency of the world. With both the U.S. dollar and the Euro looking shaky, investors have been searching somewhere safe to put their money. Increasingly, they have been turning to gold.

In Business Week Christopher Wood, chief equity strategist at CLSA Asia Pacific Markets predicts the euro will be on par with the U.S dollar “sooner or later” as the region’s debt crisis worsens and gold prices may reach at least $3,500 per ounce in the “bull market” for the commodity, according to Wood, three times more than the current value.

The minimum target for gold in this bull market is $3,500,” Wood said. “Gold will go parabolic when the dollar ceases to become reserve currency.”

China will revalue the yuan before the G20 meeting next month, Andy Rothman, CLSA’s China Macro strategist, said at a CLSA media briefing. The Chinese currency may gain at an annualized rate of between 5 percent and 7 percent against the dollar once that happens, Rothman said.


Shrink Solar Achieves 12.6% Optical Efficiency with Quantum Dot Solar Cells

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Shrink Solar has quantum dot solar cells that promise the high efficiencies of first generation cells but also the affordability of many second generation solar cells.
QuantumSol Solar PV can be applied over existed PV cells to enable the capture solar power from infrared frequencies.

Shrink Solar's scientific founder, Dr. Michelle Khine, Ph.D., was named by MIT Technology Review as one of the top 35 global innovators under the age of 35 (in 2009).

Shrink Solar's Quantum Dot Technology Achieves 12.6% Optical Efficiency in a study published in Applied Physics Letters

Applied Physics Letters - Viability of using near infrared PbS quantum dots as active materials in luminescent solar concentrators

The performance of chemically synthesized lead sulfide (PbS) quantum dots (QDs) in planar, nontracking luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) is evaluated using spectroscopic and photovoltaic techniques. Spatially resolved measurements are used to investigate and analyze the role of reduced self-absorption on the LSC efficiency. From comparative measurements of samples with Rhodamine B and CdSe/ZnS QDs it is established that PbS LSCs generate nearly twice the photocurrent in silicon cells than the other materials, achieving an integrated optical efficiency of 12.6%. This is attributed primarily to the broadband absorption of PbS which allows optimum harvesting of the solar spectrum.

Pregnenolone Sulphate Steroids could protect against heart disease and improve energy, vision and memory

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The University of Leeds biologists have identified a previously-unknown ion channel in human blood vessels that can limit the production of inflammatory cytokines - proteins that drive the early stages of heart disease. They found that this protective effect can be triggered by pregnenolone sulphate - a molecule that is part of a family of 'fountain-of-youth' steroids. These steroids are so-called because of their apparent ability to improve energy, vision and memory.

Ultrahigh Density Ferroelectric Nanoislands Enabling High Density ferroelectric random access memory

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Nanoletters - Ultrahigh Density Array of Epitaxial Ferroelectric Nanoislands on Conducting Substrates

An ultrahigh density array of epitaxial PbTiO3 (PTO) nanoislands with uniform size was fabricated on a single-crystalline Nb-doped SrTiO3 (100) substrate over a large area (cm^2 scale) by simple but robust method utilizing polystyrene-block-poly(4-vinylpridine) copolymer micelles. Each nanoisland has an average volume of 2.6 × 10^3 nm^3 (a height of 7 nm and a diameter of 22 nm). Because of uniform nanoislands over a large area, a synchrotron X-ray diffraction experiment was successfully employed to analyze the domain structures of PTO nanoislands. They showed well-defined epitaxy on the substrate, which was also confirmed by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. All of the nanoislands existing in the entire area showed distinct piezoresponse that confirms the existence of ferroelectricity at this size. The results indicate that the critical size of ferroelectrics could be scaled-down further, thereby much increasing the density of ferroelectric devices.

May 16, 2010

BP Oil Siphon Is Working NOW After Initial Setbacks

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UPDATE: BP says it has successfully started to siphon oil from its leaking Gulf of Mexico well to a tanker on the surface. BP executive Kent Wells would not say how much oil was being siphoned but said the process was "working well". BP succeeded on its third attempt to insert a long narrow tube into the leaking pipe, using underwater robots.
BP PLC said Saturday its latest effort to contain a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by siphoning crude from the deepwater well faced an initial setback, but could be operational overnight.

The U.K. oil giant is trying to reduce the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf by threading a tube into broken piping coming from the well. The tube would carry oil to a tanker at the surface, stemming at least 5,000 barrels of oil leaking into the Gulf a day.

Iraq Targets Adding 600,000 barrels pre day of new oil by the end of 2011

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Iraq expects to add 600,000 barrels per day of new oil to boost output to 3.2 million bpd by end 2011, Iraqi deputy oil minister for upstream was quoted as saying.

The contract for Rumaila, Iraq’s largest oilfield, with BP and China’s CNPC, is expected to add 100,000 bpd by the end of this year, he said, and others will come on stream gradually.

German Electric Plane on Display

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PC-Aero, a German aircraft design, engineering and consulting company for general and business aviation, will display its prototype electric-powered aircraft, the Elektra One, at “the electric avenue 10, the Expo for Sustainable Mobility”, in Friedrichshafen, Germany, 3-6 June.

The 1-seater Elektra One is the first member of a planned E-Plane family including electric aircrafts from 2 (Elektra Two) up to 4 passengers (Elektra Four. The battery and solar-cell powered Elektra One is built of lightweight fiber composite structures. The plane is sailplane-like, with a glide ratio of more than 20 at 160 km/h cruise. Maximum power is 16-20 kW, and range is more than 400 km (249 miles) with a flight time of up to more than 3 hours. The prototype of the Elektra One is in the final stage of fabrication. Elektra Two and Elektra Four are in an advanced design phase

The family of electric glider planes is described at the PC Aero site

MIT Led Team Envisions Planes that use 70% Less Fuel for 2035 and Near Term 50% Fuel Savings

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MIT reports NASA has the next generation Plus three (planes for 2035) project whose objective is to develop concepts for, and evaluate the potential of, quieter subsonic commercial planes that would burn 70% less fuel and emit 75% less NOx than today’s commercial planes. [Note updated to MIT link] NASA also wanted an aircraft that could take off from shorter runways

MIT, Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation and Pratt and Whitney met NASA’s challenge by developing two designs: the 180-passenger D “double bubble” series to replace the Boeing 737 class aircraft, currently used for domestic flights, and the 350 passenger H “hybrid wing body” series to replace the 777 class aircraft now used for international flights

Some Predict the Euro will Be Even with the US Dollar by Early 2011

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Barrons - "Large investors will think twice about further investment in the euro, at least until such uncertainties are resolved," notes BNP Paribas' currency strategist, Hans-Guenter Redeker. Most investors have yet to pencil in much weakness beyond this year, and a survey of global banks pegs the euro at $1.30 for 2011. Still, dollar bulls like BNP and Brown Brothers see the euro pushing down to parity, or $1, early next year.