June 11, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever launched in Europe and Australia on June 10, 2011 and will launch in North America June 14, 2011

Duke Nukem forever has been released.

Take-Two Interactive Software, which publishes the game, launched in Europe and Australia on Friday. The game debuts on Tuesday in the USA, Canada and Mexico for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PCs.

Metacritic reviews for the PC version are 76 out of 100

Don't expect a miracle. Duke is still the hero we love, but struggles to keep up with modern times. Crude humor and classic weaponry keep him in the game.

It's a great shooter for fans but of course suffers from the bad graphics and some boring levels.


China’s GPU Supercomputing producing scientific results in solar energy research

China's GPU supercomputers, like the Tianhe-1A, are just a small part of the investments that China is making in science and technology sectors – especially the high-performance computing (HPC) space. Tianhe-1A, the world’s fastest supercomputer based on NVIDIA Tesla GPUs, has proven that it is a true scientific tool.

Scientists at the Institute of Process Engineering (IPE) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced a record-breaking scientific simulation on the Tianhe-1A GPU supercomputer that furthers their research in solar energy. CAS-IPE scientists ran a complex molecular dynamics (MD) simulation on all 7,168 NVIDIA Tesla GPUs to achieve a performance of 1.87 petaflops per second – that’s about the same performance as 130,000 laptops. These scientists are simulating the structure of crystalline silicon which is used in solar panels and also in the semiconductor industry. And they were able to accomplish this world’s fastest MD simulation by writing just 2,000 lines of CUDA code.

Researchers Discover Superatoms with Magnetic Shells

A proposed assembly of FeMg8 magnetic superatoms where the directions of magnetic moment is indicated by arrows. Image courtesy of Victor Medel/VCU.

A team of Virginia Commonwealth University scientists has discovered a new class of ‘superatoms’ – a stable cluster of atoms that can mimic different elements of the periodic table – with unusual magnetic characteristics.

The superatom contains magnetized magnesium atoms, an element traditionally considered as non-magnetic. The metallic character of magnesium along with infused magnetism may one day be used to create molecular electronic devices for the next generation of faster processors, larger memory storage and quantum computers.

PNAS - Hund’s rule in superatoms with transition metal impurities

Sonic.net 1 Gbps fiber to the home for $70/month in projects with Google

California ISP Sonic.net this week roll out its new 1Gbps, fiber-to-the-home service for $69.99 a month.

Dane Jasper, Sonic.net's CEO, says the new fiber-to-the-home trial in Sebastopol, California deployment will reach about 700 homes when complete. "Honestly, only as those wrap up will we have a complete picture of the economic model," he says. "But I believe that fast service for a low cost is possible."

If the pilot in Sebastopol, California goes well, Sonic.net hopes to expand the service across the region.

Jasper doesn't think like a typical US Internet exec; in an interview last year, he made clear that his company tries to avoid artificial limits as a way to make more money. "The natural model when you have a simple duopoly capturing the majority of the market is segmentation: maximize ARPU [average revenue per user] by artificially limiting service in order to drive additional monthly spending. But fundamentally this is the wrong model for a service provider like us, and we have looked to Europe for inspiration… I believe that removing the artificial limits on speed, and including home phone with the product are both very exciting."

Sebastopol is in Sonoma county

The service will be available to about 60 homes on Florence Avenue in about a month, and will become available to an additional 640 homes by the end of the year, Jasper said.

The fastest connection, which will be 1 gigabit per second, will cost $69.95 per month and include two phone lines and unlimited long distance calling. The company will also offer a 100 megabit per second connection for $39.95 monthly, which will include one phone line with unlimited long distance calling.

Google chose Sonic.net to deliver fiber to the home for about 850 homes at Stanford University in Palo Alto

June 10, 2011

Japanese Ministry of Self-Defense Spends $1000 on Flying Robot Soccer Ball

Japan has the world's first truly spherical flying robot (this may or may not be true). It can buzz around at up to 60 kilometers per hour [about 40 mph] or hover stably in narrow spaces like hallways. But its neatest trick is to land by just smacking into the ground and rolling to a stop to absorb the impact. It's also ideal for operating indoors, since keeping all of the flying and steering components inside the robot lets it happily bounce off walls, doors, windows, light fixtures, and startled people.

The robot relies on one propeller for thrust and eight separate wings for control, and while it doesn't currently carry a payload, it's designed to mount a camera or other sensors. Next up is to instill this thing with some autonomy, and at only $1000 a pop

Plans for Decarbonizing Sources of Electricty over the next twenty years

Experts from around the world today unveiled a six-point game plan for "decarbonizing" the world's sources of electric power over the next 20 years.

The Equinox Summit's closing communique (5 pages) The ideas outlined in this Communiqué will form the basis of a detailed document that will be produced in coming months – the Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030.

Over the next four decades, global energy demand is expected to almost double from 16.5 terawatts to 30 terawatts. If we want to stabilize CO2 levels in our atmosphere at 550 parts per million, all of that growth needs to be met by non-carbon forms of energy.

Researchers get hearts to heal themselves and adult stem cells were expanded in number by ten thousand times

1. Researchers have gotten stem cells within mouse hearts to repair some of the damage of a heart attack They reactivating dormant stem cells within the heart's outer layer (the epicardium) using a simple protein pill. The heart function of mice treated with the protein improved by up to 25 percent.

UK Telegraph - British-based researchers claim they may be just a decade away from perfecting a way to persuade the heart to rejuvenate – a process thought to be impossible just five years ago.

That means that when a heart attack occurs, the muscles and blood vessels around the organ could rebuild themselves – massively reducing long term damage and improving the quality of life of the victim.

The researchers at University College London have discovered that a protein known as thymosin Beta 4, key to heart growth in the young, appears to reawaken dormant stem cells in the organ of adults.

2. — Researchers in the Department of Pathology at Stony Brook University School of Medicine have discovered a laboratory method to expand adult hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) using the SALL4 gene. Professor Yupo Ma, M.D., Ph.D., Lead Author, and colleagues used this method to produce a more than 10,000-fold increase in HSCs derived from normal human bone marrow. Their findings define a new mechanism of stem cell self-renewal, providing a means to produce large numbers of HSCs that could be used to treat hematological malignancies and other blood disorders

Ultrathin Copper-Oxide Layers Behave Like Quantum Spin Liquid

Magnetic studies of ultrathin slabs of copper-oxide materials reveal that at very low temperatures, the thinnest, isolated layers lose their long-range magnetic order and instead behave like a “quantum spin liquid” — a state of matter where the orientations of electron spins fluctuate wildly. This unexpected discovery by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and collaborators at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland may offer support for the idea that this novel condensed state of matter is a precursor to the emergence of high-temperature superconductivity — the ability to carry current with no resistance

Oregon develops thermally activated cooling system to use 80% of waste heat

This prototype of a "thermal activated cooling system" has been developed by engineers at Oregon State University, and promises important new advances in energy efficiency by using wasted heat. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

A “thermally activated cooling system” that gains much of its efficiency by using extraordinarily small microchannels which help to better meet the performance, size and weight challenges. It effectively combines a vapor compression cycle with an “organic Rankine cycle,” an existing energy conversion technology.

The new prototype completed at OSU succeeded in turning 80 percent of every kilowatt of waste heat into a kilowatt of cooling capability. Researchers say the conversion efficiency wouldn’t be nearly as high if the goal is to produce electricity – about 15-20 percent – but it’s still much better than the current approach, which is to waste the energy potential of all of the heat.

Aerojet has new Mach 7 plus reusable hypersonic vehicle plans

Aerojet is proposing development of a novel combined-cycle propulsion system for reusable hypersonic vehicles which packages current technology to achieve a seamless transition from a standing start to Mach 7 plus. Aerojet is a leading United States developer of ramjet and scramjet propulsion systems for missiles and is emerging as the leader in combined cycle propulsion for hypersonic cruise and space access applications.

Earlier work - Pyrojet was a kerosene burning turbine based combined cycle engine.
Pyrojet hypersonic engine

The TriJet concept is a near-term solution providing the Mach 0-7 propulsion capability which makes use of currently available Mach 2.5 turbine engines, supplemented by an ejector ramjet to bridge the thrust gap between the available turbine and dual-mode ramjet operation. A hydrocarbon-fueled (JP-10) 75-ft-long vehicle capable of Mach 7 cruise was selected into which to integrate these propulsion systems. Range was chosen as the figure of merit for comparison purposes. The results indicate that the range capabilities of the Pyrojet and Trijet are within 10% of each other.

Multi Gbps Wifi in 2012

New multi-gigabit per second wifi is coming in 2012.

EEE 802.11aa: Robust streaming of Audio Video Transport Streams (about Mar 2012)
IEEE 802.11ac: Very High Throughput less than 6 GHz; potential improvements over 802.11n: better modulation scheme (expected ~10% throughput increase); wider channels (80 or even 160 MHz), multi user MIMO; (about Dec 2012)
IEEE 802.11ad: Very High Throughput 60 GHz (~ Dec 2012)
IEEE 802.11ae: QoS Management (~ Dec 2011)
IEEE 802.11af: TV Whitespace (~ Mar 2012)
IEEE 802.11ah: Sub 1Ghz (~ July 2013)
IEEE 802.11ai: Fast Initial Link Setup

Speeds of past and future wifi standards

802.11b with a data-transfer speed of 11 megabits per second.
802.11g at 54Mbps
802.11n top speed of 450Mbps [NOW]
802.11ac at 1 gigabit per second [about Dec 2012] uses 5 GHz spectrum, coverage range of a house or with antennas similar to earlier wifi
802.11ad at 7 Gbps. [about Dec 2012] uses 60 GHz spectrum, range of coverage about one room. With antennas can get farther but tougher to get more range.

60 GHz spectrum is faster but the signals are stopped by water, by air, by walls.

New Super Varieties of Wheat is Rust resistant and can boost yield by 15%

Scientists say they're close to producing new "super varieties" of wheat that will resist a virulent fungus while boosting yields up to 15 percent, potentially easing a deadly threat to the world's food supply. The research is part of a global drive to protect wheat crops from the Ug99 strain of stem rust. It will be presented next week at a conference in St. Paul that's part of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, based at Cornell University

Flash Bainite (new type of steel) is the Strongest, Most Ductile, Lean Alloyed, Readily Weldable, Least Expensive Ultra Strength METAL known to man

Flash Bainite is the Strongest, Most Ductile, Lean Alloyed, Readily Weldable, Least Expensive Ultra Strength METAL known to man. A50 tensile ranges from 1100 to 2080MPa (160-302ksi) with 8 to 9% elongation. Total elongation up to 10-11% is not uncommon. Flash 4130 at 1900MPa and 9% elongation exceeds titanium-6Al-4V's strength to weight ratio making it pound per pound stronger at only 56% the volume. Flash4130 is just 10% the cost of Ti-64.

Cola Bainite Steel process - Rollers carried steel sheets through flames as hot as 1100 degrees Celsius and then into a cooling liquid bath. The typical temperature and length of time for hardening varies by industry, most steels are heat-treated at around 900 degrees Celsius for a few hours. Others are heated at similar temperatures for days. Cola's entire process took less than 10 seconds.

The resulting steel was 7 percent stronger than martensitic advanced high-strength steel. [Martensitic steel is so named because the internal microstructure is entirely composed of a crystal form called martensite.] Cola further claimed that his steel could be drawn – that is, thinned and lengthened – 30 percent more than martensitic steels without losing its enhanced strength.

Cola's process forms martensite microstructure inside the steel. But they also saw another form called bainite microstructure, scattered with carbon-rich compounds called carbides.

Flash Bainite is a steel with a unique microstructure containing bainite, martensite and carbides.

"Off the shelf" plate and tubing can be made into Flash Bainite. Triple the strength of Chrome Moly, Flash 4130 is pound for pound 2X stronger than the best aluminums. If you are "lightweighting" structure with aluminum, Flash Bainite will do a better job at less weight and lower cost.

Ohio State University engineers verified the claims of increase the strength of steel by seven percent and can make cars and other products 30% lighter while keeping the same strength. For armor it can provide the equal of the best protection with a 20% weight reduction.

* 20,000 ton per year capacity by July, 2011
* 40-48 inch prototype sheets (3/16 and 1/4 inch thickness) available since Q1 2011
* starting with defense market and then expanding
* Environmentally friendly, this process consumes only a Kwatt of energy per Kg of steel processed. Water is used instead of polluting oils or molten salt.


A powerpoint presentation on Bainite Steel

Aubrey de Grey interviewed on Aging and AI at HPlus Magazine

Ben Goertzel (Artificial Intelligence Researcher) interviews Aubrey de Grey about aging, life extension and Artificial Intelligence Aubrey was an AI researcher before he embarked on his current phase of focus on life extension.

Accumulation of damage and antagonistic pleiotropy (AP) are not alternative theories — they are answers to different questions. Damage accumulation is a mechanistic hypothesis for how aging occurs, and AP is an evolutionary hypothesis for why it occurs. There are certainly some types of damage accumulation with aging that are caused as side-effects of machinery that is useful in early life — an example would be the accumulation of potentially toxic senescent cells that have arrested as a way to stop them from becoming cancerous – and that’s basically all that the AP concept proposes. I don’t think Michael thinks that aging is a maladaptive continuation of development, or some other “programmed” process — I think he agrees with me and most other gerontologists that aging is caused by damage accumulation. The only question is how that damage accumulation changes with age.

A Practical Way to Make Invisibility Cloaks that will soon be several square feet in size

Light warp: This is the largest sheet ever made of a metamaterial that can bend near-infrared light backwards. Credit: John Rogers

MIT Technology Review - With a new printing technique, researchers can now make enough metamaterials to begin fabricating invisibility cloaks and superlenses.

A new printing method makes it possible to produce large sheets of metamaterials, a new class of materials designed to interact with light in ways no natural materials can. For several years, researchers working on these materials have promised invisibility cloaks, ultrahigh-resolution "superlenses," and other exotic optical devices straight from the pages of science fiction. But the materials were confined to small lab demonstrations because there was no way to make them in large enough quantities to demonstrate a practical device.

Rogers has developed a stamp-based printing method for generating large pieces of one of the most promising types of metamaterial, which can make near-infrared light bend the "wrong" way when it passes through. Materials with this so-called negative index of refraction are particularly promising for making superlenses, night-vision invisibility cloaks, and sophisticated waveguides for telecommunications.

Korea will benefit the most from a China, Korea, Japan free trade agreement

Rationale for a China-Japan-Korea FTA and Its Impact on the Korean Economy (124 pages)

The Korean economy will benefit the most from a CJK (china-japan-korea) FTA (free trade agreement) in terms of GDP growth and welfare. For instance, the macroeconomic effects of a CJK FTA in terms of GDP growth will be 5.14 percent for Korea, 1.54 percent for China and 1.21 percent for Japan. Furthermore, the simulation shows that the macroeconomic benefits from a CJK FTA for the Korean economy are greater than the sum of the benefits from a Korea-Japan FTA and a Korea-China FTA.

After concluding their third round of trilateral summit at the end of May, 2011 in Jeju island, South Korea, leaders from China, South Korea and Japan have agreed to complete a joint research task by 2012 on the feasibility of grouping the three nations into a free trade zone.

June 09, 2011

3D Printed Bikini is the first ready to wear 3D printed clothing and fitted exactly using body scanning

The N12 bikini is the world's first ready-to-wear, completely 3D-printed article of clothing. All of the pieces, closures included, are made directly by 3D printing and snap together without any sewing. N12 represents the beginning of what is possible for the near future.

The same process can be used to make shirts, dresses and suits that are custom fitted using body scanning. It is 0.7 millimeters (1/36th of a inch) thick
nylon.

N12 is named for the material it's made out of: Nylon 12. This solid nylon is created by the SLS 3D printing process. Shapeways calls this material "white, strong, and flexible", because its strength allows it to bend without breaking when printed very thin. With a minimum wall thickness of 0.7 mm (1/36th of an inch), it is possible to make working springs and almost thread-like connections. For a bikini, the nylon is beautifully functional because it is waterproof and remarkably comfortable when wet.

Shapeways describes the CAD process and customizing the fit exactly

The N12 was designed using Rhino 3D CAD software and specially written algorithmic script to create the structure of the 3D printed fabric. The algorithm uses a complex 'circle packing' equation on an arbitrarily doubly curved surface (the bikini). The size of the circles responds to curvature and edge conditions of the form, creating smooth edges and a responsive pattern.

The patterning starts with a curved surface, some geometry to indicate edges and value ranges for the circles sizes and tolerance parameters. The pattern begins placing circles at a point near the edge. Each subsequent circle tries to stay as near to the nearest edge geometry at possible. The circle’s size is determined using this nearness and the local curvature of the surface. Curvier areas get small circles and flatter areas larger, both to help with accurately approximating the surface and to ensure flexibility where it is needed and efficiency of pattern where it is not.

Every time a bend or elbow is encountered in the surface edge, a small gap will be left in the pattern. Gaps will also occur near the middle distances between edges where the placement of the next circle is less certain. After the first level of pattern has been created, these open areas are infilled with smaller circles to ensure complete coverage, and to create a more interesting aesthetic pattern.

One of the goals of the circle patterning system is to be able to adapt it to any surface, at any size. This means that future articles of clothing can be produced using the same algorithm, this could be taken a step further into absolute customization by using a body scan to make a bespoke article of clothing, 3D printed to exactly fit that person only.

25 Gbit/s over a distance of 100 meters using Plastic optical fiber

Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA demonstrated a plastic optical fiber data link using a VI Systems ultrahigh-speed 850 nm vertical cavity surface emitting laser to transmit data at 25 Gbit/s over a distance of 100 meters.

The Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA, USA demonstrated an error-free data transmission over 100 meters of 80 μm-diameter core plastic optical fiber (POF) at record 25 Gbit/s. The coupling tolerances to reach error-free transmission (defined as a bit error ratio less than 10^-12) were as high as ~35 µm.

Mobile broadband, Voip subscribers and other communication statistics and forecasts

The number of cellular mobile broadband subscribers jumped almost 60 per cent in 2010 to 558 million worldwide and should top two billion by 2015 Mobile broadband subscribers surpassed wireline broadband subscribers in 2010 (558 million vs. 500 million)

China Telecom plans to triple the number of users for its fibre-optic broadband service this year to reach 30 million. The company further aims to grow the user base to 100 million by the end of 2015.

China Telecom plans to cover every city in China with fiber broadband service in three years and convert all copper lines to fiber, the China Daily reported in February. Under the Five-Year Plan, the Chinese government will focus on developing the telecommunications infrastructure with total investments reaching CNY 2 trillion.

Fiber optics would provide those users with speeds of up to 100 Mbps, at prices cheaper than standard DSL connections. Japan and South Korea have already upgraded their networks, but China’s size makes the project especially difficult. When completed, China will have the largest fiber optic network in the world. The company plans to put the superior bandwidth to use by introducing high-definition IPTV, 3D media and encouraging device manufacturers to rely more on cloud computing

‘Artificial leaf’ moves closer to reality

MIT researchers develop a device that combines a solar cell with a catalyst to split water molecules and generate energy.

An important step toward realizing the dream of an inexpensive and simple “artificial leaf,” a device to harness solar energy by splitting water molecules, has been accomplished by two separate teams of researchers at MIT. Both teams produced devices that combine a standard silicon solar cell with a catalyst developed three years ago by professor Daniel Nocera. When submerged in water and exposed to sunlight, the devices cause bubbles of oxygen to separate out of the water.

PNAS - Photo-assisted water oxidation with cobalt-based catalyst formed from thin-film cobalt metal on silicon photoanodes


IBM has shown graphene can be used for 10 gigahertz frequency mixers and plans are to get to terahertz speeds

Graphene circuit: This integrates a graphene transistor (inside the red box) with two other elements, called inductors, on a single chip. The black devices at the sides and top of the image are electrical probes.
Credit: Science/AAAS


MIT Technology Review - Researchers at IBM have made the best integrated circuits yet from graphene, a material that promises much faster components than silicon allows but which has proven difficult to work with. The team made the circuits using existing manufacturing methods, showing that graphene could be used to make faster, more power-efficient radio communications circuitry for cell phones, and other wireless devices.

The IBM researchers report methods for making graphene integrated circuits on single chips using existing methods.

The IBM group made a type of circuit called a frequency mixer, combining one graphene transistor and two metal devices called inductors. "The frequency mixer is one of the basic building blocks of analog electronics, and wireless communications in particular," says IBM researcher Yu-Ming Lin. These devices are used in cell phones to convert the radio signal used to transmit information into another signal in a frequency range that the human ear can hear. That's accomplished by mixing the radio signal with a reference signal.

A Power Grid on a Chip

Photonics: Double twist for faster fiber optic communication and faster photonic circuits

A schematic diagram of a combined polarization rotator and mode converter provides mode conversion to reduce propagation loss in the waveguide while retaining the original polarization state

A silicon waveguide that converts the polarization mode of light could speed up the operation of photonic circuits.

Silicon is the dominant material for the fabrication of integrated circuits and is also becoming a popular material for making photonics circuits—miniaturized circuits that use light instead of electronic signals for processing information. One of the challenges in the field, however, has been silicon’s intrinsic sensitivity to the polarization of light, which can limit the rate of information transmission. Jing Zhang, Tsung-Yang Liow and co-workers at the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics have now developed a novel solution to this problem

Optics Express - Silicon waveguide based TE mode converter


Thermoelectric figure of merit calculations for semiconducting nanowires

It was previously believed that as nanowires became smaller that the the thermoelectric figure of merit would improve, but new work shows that improving heat to electricity conversion in nanowires is not that simple.

The prevailing notion that quantum confinement benefits the thermoelectric power factor is supported by the model when a single-subband dominates transport. When transport involves multiple subbands, the thermoelectric power factor in fact decreases to about 62% of the bulk value as the wire radius is initially reduced. This work correctly models the power factor for wire sizes ranging from the nanoscale to bulk and settles the discrepancies between theoretical and measured thermoelectric power factors in nanowires and other nanoscale systems

"Previous models told us that the use of nanomaterials at small dimensions would lead to an improvement in power generation efficiency," says Cornett. "The models also predicted that the smaller the nanostructure, the more significant the improvement would be. In practice, people weren't seeing the gains they thought they should when they designed thermoelectric devices with nanoscale components, which indicated to us that there might be an issue with the interpretation of the original models."

Rossi Energy Catalyzer — A Low Energy Nuclear Reactor updates

E-cat world has updates on the Rossi Energy Catalyzer

1. An article was published on the Italians site Social News written by Professor Loris Ferrari of the University of Bologna physics department in which he reviews the past research efforts into cold fusion, and anticipates to a new phase of its study and development. Ferrari, along with other Bologna professors Sergio Focardi, Ennio Bonetti, Enrico Campari, Giuseppe Levi and Mauro Villa will make up a research team looking at Rossi’s E-Cat technology.

Basic Transhumanism begins with maximizing health

George Dvorsky at Sentient Developments talks about basic transhumanism.

Transhumanism is something that's applied in the here-and-now; it’s a recognition of the radical present and all that it has to offer.

This is how the modern transhumanist can best unlock her biological potential.

In terms of specifics, these choices include the Paleolithic diet (also called the caveman diet), fully functional interval training executed at high intensity, and 7-8 hours of sleep each night in complete darkness.

Discussion of the recent and planned Mach Effect Experiments

Woodward, Brito, Mahood, White and Paul March have been trying to verify Mach Effect for propulsion over the last twenty years.

Paul March explains -
Hector Brito's battery powered MLT like devices, which were completely self contained, have also observed generated vxB forces on the order of tens of micro-Newtons where none should have been observed if there wasn't something real to this phenomenon.

Woodward's ARC-Lite Torque Pendulum's power feeds are brought through liquid metal contacts that can NOT transmit mechanical torques or linear forces. So in effect Woodward's ARC-Lite experiments are already running as an isolated force system. But I understand that one could point to electrical and/or magnetic fields "MIGHT" be bridging the liquid metal gaps in Jim's thrust system, so I point you back to Brito's battery powered experimental results.

My current MLT-2011 ~2.0 MHz experiment will be completely self-contained, being powered by a 33V, 1.0 Amp-hr Li-Poly battery pack that should give it approximately a total 20 minute runtime between charges. I hope to have that experiment on a thrust stand by the end of this year.

Robert Bigelow plans for a fully functional inflatable space station by 2016 and expects a lunar land grab when China withdraws from the 1967 Outer space treaty

Robert Bigelow is building orbital hotels. High-tech, low-cost inflatable space stations 228 miles above sea level. If the future for humanity is in space, and Bigelow believes it is, we will need a place to stay. Bigelow made a fortune in his lifetime building affordable places to stay on Earth. In the last 15 years he has spent $210 million of his own money, and he says he will spend up to $500 million overall, in order to prove that space is a safe place for a passionate entrepreneurs.

By 2016 Bigelow expects to have a fully functioning station in orbit and to begin charging rent for it. Prices start at $28,750,000 per astronaut for a 30-day tour. That's a lot of money, he admits, but says economies of scale will drive the price down quickly. He also points out it's still less than the estimated $35 million Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté paid in 2009 for 12 days aboard the International Space Station.

He now offers a wide variety of space rental options to suit. An two-astronaut three-month lease on a Sundancer station will cost you $97.5 million; a one-year lease costs $390 million. For those clients with truly cosmic aspirations, a top-of-the-line, 12-astronaut, four-year lease on a larger BA330 station is priced at $440 million a year.

Bigelow is even offering payment plans. Can't swing that $28.75 million for a 30-day visit? Buy now and spread out your lease over three 10-month periods, with only 30% of your total obligation due in 2012.

If all goes according to plan, by 2014 Bigelow will begin constructing an orbital space complex referred to as "Space Complex Alpha"--at least until he sells the naming rights. Alpha will consist of a complex of connected spacecraft: a Sundancer and a BA330 for customer use, a second Sundancer that will house Bigelow crew to maintain the station and a module that provides a power bus and docking node.
Overhead view of the expansion plans for Bigelow Aerospace factories and offices.

Bigelow Aerospace website

June 08, 2011

OECD Nuclear generation 185.6 TWh in March and Japan Nuclear at 17 TWh in April

The IEA's Monthly Electricity Statistics for March 2011 showed nuclear generation at 185.6 TWh (1.2 % ahead of March 2010). For the year to date up to March, 2011 the OECD is 13.5 TWh ahead of the pace of 2010.

Denser than diamond: Ab initio search for superdense carbon allotropes

Physical Review B - Denser than diamond: Ab initio search for superdense carbon allotropes

New Scientist explains

Carbon atoms can be combined in different configurations with widely varying properties. Graphite and diamond are the most familiar, while more exotic allotropes include graphene, with versatile electrical properties, and M-carbon and Bct-carbon, which rival diamond's legendary hardness.

To explore whether forms of carbon denser than diamond might be possible, Artem Oganov of Stony Brook University in New York and colleagues systematically simulated different configurations of carbon atoms at different temperatures and pressures. Three – named hP3, tI12 and tP12 – seemed stable enough to be made in principle.

Diamond has the highest number density (i.e., the number of atoms per unit volume) of all known substances and a remarkably high valence electron density. Searching for possible superdense carbon allotropes, we have found three structures (hP3, tI12, and tP12) that have significantly greater density. The hP3 and tP12 phases have strong analogy with two polymorphs of silica (β-quartz and keatite), while the tI12 phase is related to the high-pressure SiS2 polymorph. Furthermore, we found a collection of other superdense structures based on the motifs of the aforementioned structures, but with different ways of packing carbon tetrahedra, and among these the hP3 and tI12 structures are the densest. At ambient conditions, the hP3 phase is a semiconductor with the GW band gap of 3.0 eV, tI12 is an insulator with the band gap of 5.5 eV, while tP12 is an insulator, the band gap of which is remarkably high (7.3 eV), making it the widest-gap carbon allotrope. These allotropes are metastable and have comparable to diamond or slightly higher bulk moduli; their Vickers hardnesses are calculated to be 87.6 GPa for hP3, 87.2 GPa for tI12, and 88.3 GPa for tP12, respectively, thus making these allotropes nearly as hard as diamond (for which the same model gives the hardness of 94.3 GPa). Superdense carbon allotropes are predicted to have remarkably high refractive indices and strong dispersion of light.

Flower-like defects in graphene

Flower-like defects in graphene can occur during the fabrication process. The NIST team captured images of one of the defects (figures a and c) using a scanning tunneling microscope. A simulated image from their computer models (figure b) shows excellent agreement. Credit: Cockayne,Stroscio/NIST.

A class of decorative, flower-like defects in the nanomaterial graphene could have potentially important effects on the material's already unique electrical and mechanical properties, according to researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Georgia Tech. In a new paper,* the team for the first time describes a family of seven defects that could occur naturally or be induced to occur in graphene, one of which already has been observed.

NIST Tunes 'Metasurface' with Fluid in New Concept for Sensing and Chemistry

NIST's fluid-tunable "metasurface" consists of copper structures and plastic tubing mounted on composite board. The presence of water in the tubing changes the resonant frequency at which the metasurface absorbs and stores energy.

Like an opera singer hitting a note that shatters a glass, a signal at a particular resonant frequency can concentrate energy in a material and change its properties. And as with 18th century "musical glasses," adding a little water can change the critical pitch. Echoing both phenomena, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a unique fluid-tuned "metasurface," a concept that may be useful in biomedical sensors and microwave-assisted chemistry.

Seeding the regrowth of nerves with tamarind

Andrew Rodda developed injectable material to regrow nerves

Melbourne scientists have developed an injectable material that encourages nerves in the brain and spinal cord to regrow. Their work could lead to new ways of treating nerve-based injuries or conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

PhD student Andrew Rodda and colleagues in biomaterials research at Monash University have been studying a plant-based compound derived from the seeds of the tamarind tree, known as xyloglucan. It can be injected into an injury site as a liquid and gels upon reaching body temperature.

Andrew was able to show in rats that the gel can cause nerve regrowth within an injured brain. His work is being presented for the first time in public through Fresh Science, a communication boot camp for early career scientists held at the Melbourne Museum. Andrew was one of 16 winners from across Australia.

System for bringing engine oil to optimal temperature could increase fuel efficiency by 7% in old and new cars

Frank Will with the Formula SAE racing ca

A minor modification to your car could reduce fuel consumption by over seven per cent. The Deakin University (Australia) invention uses waste heat to reduce friction by warming the engine oil. A prototype has been built and tested and the inventors are now talking to the car manufacturers and developing an aftermarket conversion kit. The system, which can be retrofitted, works by diverting waste heat to bring engine oil up to its optimal operating temperature. It was developed by researchers at Deakin University led by Mr Frank Will of the School of Engineering during his PhD project.

Half of all oil usage is for gasoline in cars and trucks. A 7% fuel saving that can be applied to existing cars and new cars would save 2.8 million barrels per day worldwide. It could save 700,000 barrels per day in the United States.

June 07, 2011

Promise and hurdles to printed organs and some printed replacement parts in human trials by 2013 to 2016

“If the federal government created a ‘human organ project’ and wanted to make the kidney, I literally think it could happen in 10 years,” said chemical engineer Keith Murphy, co-founder of Organovo, a firm that makes and works with high-end bioprinters. But that would require a massive commitment of people, resources and billions of dollars.

Implantable fabricatable body parts

Bioprinting technology is years and possibly decades from producing such complex organs, but scientists have already printed skin and vertebral disks (the soft tissue that grows in the spine between the vertebrae) and put them into living bodies. So far, none of those bodies have been human, but a few types of printed replacement parts could be ready for human trials in two to five years.

Once scientists get over the financial and technical hurdles of bioprinting, they will have to square the process with the Food and Drug Administration, which will have to decide how to regulate something that is not simply a device, a biological product or a drug, but potentially all three.

Before printed organs are implanted into people, bioprinting may be used in other ways. Murphy’s group is working on a project that will replicate tissue for testing the effects of medications, particularly cancer drugs. This could eliminate some of the drawn-out, trial-and-error process of trying a series of drugs on a person before finding one that works.

Progress to mind controlled prostheses with a sense of touch

University of Chicago researchers aim to design prostheses that will not only be able to move, but would also provide amputees and quadriplegics a sense of touch.

Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and spurred by the return of injured Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, the research aims to design prostheses that will not only be able to move, but will also provide amputees and quadriplegics with a sense of touch.

Oncologists were willing to prescribe treatments that cost $245,972 per quality-adjusted life-year

Oncologists were willing to prescribe treatments that cost $245,972 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY; SD $243,663 per QALY) in life-prolonging situations v. only $119,082 per QALY (SD $197,048 per QALY) for treatments
that improve quality of life but do not prolong survival. This difference did not depend on age, gender, percentage of time in clinical work, or self-reported preparedness to use and interpret cost-effectiveness information.
It would interesting to see if new life extension treatments became available whether any kind of similar spending prescriptions would carry over. It would probably be difficult to sustain more than 20% of a persons income and 20% of tax revenue for effective life extension treatment.

Doing good without doing good enough- using the model of AIDS patient advocacy for longevity science advocacy

A long piece from Chronosphere covers a fair amount of ground, and holds up the AIDS patient advocacy of the 80s and 90s as a model of success that could be and should be emulated for longevity science advocacy.

Fightaging summarizes the lengthy Chronopause article.

[For example], mature, clinically available, and FDA-approved therapies to slow or halt brain cell loss are a decade, and likely closer to two decades, away. And when clinical application does come, it will likely be only for the most serious disease states, such as [Alzheimer's disease], Huntington's Disease (HD), and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Even in these conditions, access to treatment may be limited by many factors, including high cost and government regulation. Thus, for many of us, even another decade of waiting will be too long. ... One of the hardest things for people to understand is that it is possible to do good, without doing good enough; and nowhere is this more the case than in medical research

COURAGE and the ability to understand that human experimentation, preferably by those with the most to lose and the most to gain, is the only path to the development of fast and effective therapies. Animals are not people, just as certainly as people are not animals: and while animal research can provide useful leads, and help to explicate the mechanics of both disease processes and therapies, it is no substitute for human experimentation. The increasing absence of the latter has arguably become one of the most critical elements in slowing medical progress today.

Google Chromebook Economics and Market

The Worldwide professional PC market is about $160 billion per year (about 125 million professional desktop PCs).

Google's Chromebook is trying to capture a large piece of that market. Google unveiled a subscription program for businesses and schools to get Chromebooks. For businesses the cost is $28 per machine per month. And for schools, the cost is $20 per machine per month. The subscription fee includes the hardware, administrative support, hardware upgrades, and warranty.

People pay a monthly fee and get software, hardware and support for the Chromebook. Small and large users can drastically reduce the need for IT support staff by switching to Chromebook.

A business can weigh whether hiring more $60,000-100,000/year IT staff and costs and issues and limitations of their current IT desktop support model is more costly versus the Google Chromebook model.

Hong Kong researchers produce inexpensive thin film solar cells with 17% conversion efficiency

Hong Kong researchers achieved a conversion efficiency of 17% with a CIGS solar cell that is thin and portable. Thin-film solar cells can be installed on roofs and outer walls and can also be integrated into consumer products such as handbags and backpacks for charging electronic products instantly.

CIGS solar cell has the highest efficiency, comparable to crystalline solar cell, yet 50 times thinner and fabrication costing 50% less. When mass production technology matures and becomes widely adopted, we believe that CIGS will be the most cost competitive solar cell, demonstrating bright market prospects.”

Primus Power working on scaling up $500 per kilowatt hour flow batteries and has started a different $100 per kwh design

Primus Power has a low cost, versatile and power dense battery system that economically addresses a wide range of energy storage applications. They are working to commercialize, deploy and monitor a 25 MW • 75 MWh energy storage system for a California utility.

MIT Technology Review explains what Primus Power is doing to make flow batteries radically cheaper

Primus Power is trying to overcome one of the fundamental problems that have plagued flow batteries. The technology, in theory, at least, could be one of the cheapest forms of grid storage, since it requires inexpensive and abundant materials. But in practice, flow batteries have been very expensive, in part because they're large and have to be custom-built on site. Primus is hoping get around this with a new design that can be mass-produced in factories
.

June 06, 2011

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics working out solutions to achieve higher yield and fix insulation


1. As Lawrenceville Plasma Physics’s (LPP) research team suspected a few weeks ago, uneven tungsten pins at the inner edge of the cathode plate appear responsible for a markedly asymmetrical current sheath, which in turn led to the formation of the early beam and lower-than-predicted fusion yields.

Continuous knife-edge cathode base, previously produced, is ready for installation in June and expected to bring increase in yield (replaces the uneven pins). Soot contamination also to be improved.

Apple iCloud

Apple's iCloud works in the background to keep music, photos, and documents in sync across all Apple devices, mobile or otherwise.

iCloud will not make it possible for people to stream music purchased on iTunes over the airwaves from any device—leaving it short of a feature found in recently launched services from Amazon and Google. However, iCloud's capabilities extend beyond music and will become a central feature of all Apple products. Apple's previous cloud service, MobileMe, "no longer exists as a product," said Jobs.

Planar transistors are given a new lease on life

Suvolta released its Powershrink CMOS transistor technology that it claims will reduce the power consumption of CMOS circuits. The firm's Powershrink technology uses Deeply Depleted Channel (DDC) CMOS transistors and DDC-optimised circuits and design techniques.

The use of DDC allows chipmakers to reduce power supply voltages by up to 30 per cent and reduce power leakage by 80 per cent. Most importantly, DDC technology can be used in the fabrication of CPUs and system-on-chip packages built for use in smartphones and tablets.

New electronics enable an eight megapixel performance in a prototype 3D Television Display

Samsung has shown off a prototype of an ultra-high-definition 3-D television. The 70-inch prototype uses a novel electronic circuitry to control eight million pixels. It's not likely to go into volume production soon, and there isn't any content to display on it, says Paul Semenza, a senior analyst at Display Search.

Samsung is the latest TV manufacturer to demonstrate a technology that uses a type of backplane—the array of transistors used to switch the pixels on and off—based on metal oxide semiconductors. These materials offer higher performance than the amorphous silicon widely used today, without increasing costs. In April, manufacturer Sharp announced it will begin manufacturing displays based on metal oxide transistor arrays by the end of the year at its plant in Kameyana, Japan.

A detailed Qualitative Approach to the Cold Fusion Nuclear Reactions of H/Ni

Christos Stremmenos has presented a new theory about the Rossi and Focardi low energy nuclear reactions

The following two questions should be answered:

1. Which is the supposed mechanism that overcomes the powerful electrostatic repulse (Coulomb barrier) between the “shielded proton” and the Nickel nucleus?

2. For what reason there is almost no radiation of any kind (experimental observation), while according to the Focardi and Rossi’s hypothesis there should have been some γ radiation (511 KeV) produced by the predicted annihilation of the β+ and β- particles that are being created during the Fusion?

Stremmenos has thoughts based on general and elementary structures, data and principles of universal scientific acceptance, might shed some light to this exciting phenomenon. More specific, he refers to Bohr’s hydrogen atom, the speed of nuclear reactions (10^-20 sec) and the Uncertainty Principle of Heisenberg.

the Russia Competitiveness Report 2011

World Economic forum has the Russia Competitiveness Report 2011 (237 pages)

the report also has detailed analysis of the economic competitiveness of

Australia
Brazil
Canada
Chile
China
Czech Republic
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Hungary
India
Indonesia
Israel
Japan
Kazakhstan
Korea, Rep.
Macedonia, FYR
Norway
Poland
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Turkey
Ukraine
United States
Venezuela

Research creates nanoparticles perfectly formed to tackle cancer

Researchers from the University of Hull have discovered a way to load up nanoparticles with large numbers of light-sensitive molecules to create a more effective form of photodynamic therapy (PDT) for treating cancer.

The nanoparticles have been designed so the pressure in the blood vessels will push them through the space between the cells to get into the tumor tissue.

Minivectors renew gene therapy hopes for lung cancer and asthma treatments

Minivector™ DNA – very small circular therapeutic DNA molecules – survive the stress of aerosolization (being forced into suspension in air) and can carry gene therapy deep into the lungs, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine

The ability to get deep in the lungs means that the Minivectors could be a potential treatment for a host of lung diseases, including lung cancer and asthma. These Minivectors, developed in the laboratory of Dr. Lynn Zechiedrich, associate professor of molecular virology and microbiology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and pharmacology at BCM, are not toxic, unlike existing vectors that are typically modified viruses. They survive longer than plasmids (large DNA circles containing bacterial sequences that can be turned off in human cells) and continue to work longer than small interfering RNAs, which are used now to turn off genes in the laboratory setting.

Gene therapy reverses type 1 diabetes in mice with 78% success rate

An experimental cure for Type 1 diabetes has a nearly 80 percent success rate in curing diabetic mice. The results, to be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society's 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston, offer possible hope of curing a disease that affects 3 million Americans.

"With just one injection of this gene therapy, the mice remain diabetes-free long term and have a return of normal insulin levels in the body," said Vijay Yechoor, MD, the principal investigator and an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

MIT has new semi-solid flow batteries that have ten times the energy density of liquid flow batteries

A sample of 'Cambridge crude' — a black, gooey substance that can power a highly efficient new type of battery. A prototype of the semi-solid flow battery is seen behind the flask. Photo: Dominick Reuter

Flow batteries have existed for some time, but have used liquids with very low energy density (the amount of energy that can be stored in a given volume). Because of this, existing flow batteries take up much more space than fuel cells and require rapid pumping of their fluid, further reducing their efficiency.

The new semi-solid flow batteries pioneered by Chiang and colleagues overcome this limitation, providing a 10-fold improvement in energy density over present liquid flow-batteries, and lower-cost manufacturing than conventional lithium-ion batteries. Because the material has such a high energy density, it does not need to be pumped rapidly to deliver its power. “It kind of oozes,” Chiang says. Because the suspensions look and flow like black goo and could end up used in place of petroleum for transportation, Carter says, “We call it ‘Cambridge crude.’”

Progress to using stem cells to improve bone healing

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have shown in an animal study that transplantation of adult stem cells enriched with a bone-regenerating hormone can help mend bone fractures that are not healing properly.

The UNC study team led by Anna Spagnoli, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and biomedical engineering, demonstrated that stem cells manufactured with the regenerative hormone insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) become bone cells and also help the cells within broken bones repair the fracture, thereby speeding the healing.

The new findings were presented June 5, 2011 at The Endocrine Society's 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

A deficiency of fracture healing is a common problem affecting an estimated 600,000 people annually in North America. "This problem is even more serious in children with osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, and in elderly adults with osteoporosis, because their fragile bones can easily and repeatedly break, and bone graft surgical treatment is often not successful or feasible," Spagnoli said.

Approximately 7.9 million bone fractures occur every year in the United States alone, with an estimated cost of $70 billion. Of these, 10 to 20 percent fail to heal.

June 05, 2011

Scaling up Mach Effect Propulsion

We reported today that Dr. James Woodward is now seeing consistent thrust signatures that are reversible in the 1.0 micro-Newton thrust range as captured using his ARC-Lite torque pendulum, which has a force resolution of ~0.05 micro-Newtons.

Paul March has explained what scaling up could look like if development were to proceed smoothly from here:

Jim’s current speed of sound limited acoustical based PZT stack design can be scaled up to at least the 1-omega 600 kHz power frequency range before their manufacturing has to done with integrated circuit like production approaches due to the small sizes needed work with mechanically resonant systems. That should allow Woodward to increase his thrust levels by at least a factor of 100 or even 1,000 times his current 1.0 uN thrust levels especially if the 2-omega force rectification signal can be boosted from its currently abysmal ~2.0% to 5.0% of the amplitude of the applied 1-omega delta mass drive signal up to 100% or higher due to the bandwidth limitations of his Carvin amplifiers and homegrown matching transformers.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 55

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 55 is up at Yes Vermont Yankee.

Atomic Power Review discusses how this is a critical time for nuclear advocacy

As pro-nuclear advocates go, we may find ourselves at a watershed moment when nuclear literacy is in demand, when the NRC is being exposed for what it really is, when the NRC and the EPA might actually be thought of as being at odds (given the CO2 emissions that will increase if nuclear is abandoned) and when little media such as the blog you are reading is getting 1200 page views a day from all around the world, or better. At the surface it seems a bad moment for pro-nuclear advocacy but in point of fact there may be no better hour to act boldly, with confidence that what the public really wants is the truth, and results. something the EPA, global warming advocates, and the NRC cannot hope to produce.

Idaho Samizdat talks about Germanys Nuclear panic attack

In her blog post, Nuclear Power and the Witch Hunt, Margaret Harding shows that the spent fuel pools at Fukushima are a witch story. They didn’t burn, they did run out of water and caused problems for TEPCO, but we should not over-react in the need to “fix” a problem that isn’t there. There is risk that a fix could create other issues.

2011 and 2012 could be technical takeoff years for several super technologies

2011 and 2012 are shaping up to be years where key technologies establish a technical takeoff.

J Storrs Hall defines a technical takeoff
- Embodies the essential function of the proposed technology
- is proof that the concept works
- focuses technical effort
- is a vehicle for practical experience
- attracts financial (etc) resources
- forms a crack in the dam

1. Adiabatic quantum computers are thus well passed technical takeoff, with a $10 million commercial sale to Lockheed Martin. However, they are achieving an secondary technical takeoff where the tens of millions that have been invested are justified and further funding and development to the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollar level will be achieved. Billions of dollar will be needed to truly establish a vibrant quantum computer industry with million or billion qubit machines. Researchers are extending the superposition of quantum superconducting flux qubit using microwave pulses to 23 microseconds.

New generation asthma drug could improve metabolism for safe and effective fat burning and muscle building pill

Formoterol, a new generation asthma medication, shows great promise for improving fat and protein metabolism, say Australian researchers, who have tested this effect in a small sample of eight men.

The new drug is also more selective for a similar receptor found in muscle and fat. In theory at least, it should have beneficial metabolic effects – like the older class of medication – without affecting the heart.

Energy metabolism increased by more than 10%, fat burning increased by more than 25%, while protein burning fell by 15%.

So although whole body metabolism increased, these men burned fat while reducing the burning of protein. That's a good thing because in the long run these effects may lead to a loss in fat mass and an increase in muscle.

If the long term trials of a large population prove out - this could be a safe fat burning / muscle increasing pill.

Obesity can reduce life expectancy by several years. Since the drug has already been approved for use for treating asthma then it should be able to go right to phase 2 and 3 clinical trials. Or at least spend less time in phase 1 safety trials.

James Woodward reports a consistent and reversible 1 micronewtons Mach Effect

THE “ARC-LITE” Torque Pendulum THRUST BALANCE with latest Mach-Effect Data from Several PZT-Stacks Presented (24 pages)

Paul March explains that Dr. Woodward is now seeing consistent thrust signatures that are reversible in the 1.0 micro-Newton thrust range as captured using his ARC-Lite torque pendulum, which has a force resolution of ~0.05 micro-Newtons. The thrust magnitude and direction output of these PZT stacks are very phase dependent, so as these devices had their drive frequency swept through their mechanical resonant frequency just below 60 kHz, several thrust reversals are observed due to the phase reversals also observed between the 1-omega mass fluctuation signal and the 2-omega force rectification signal that was injected directly or generated in the PZT stack by its nonlinear response to its 1-omega drive signal. These M-E like forces are still very small, but they are now repeatable and appear to observe M-E scaling.

The effect is 3 times larger than the Seismic noise of 0.33 micronewtons. Woodward now thinks he understands the non-linear PZT-Stack's phase relationships between the 1-omega mass fluctuation and 2-omega force rectification drive signals well enough, to see a way forward. I.e., the engineering of usable M-E based thrusters can now start in earnest per Woodward. How many unknown, unknowns are yet to be tripped over on the way to making Paul March's M-E powered WarpStar concept vehicle a reality is yet to be determined. Paul March and James Woodward believe that a way forward now seems possible...

Woodward is of the opinion that he knows enough now to actually build the next M-E drive prototype that should produce at least an order of magnitude higher thrust than the current PZT unit’s ~1.0 uN.

Current ion thrusters produce 100 to 1000 millinewtons of thrust

There is 3 micronewtons in one direction and 2 micronewtons in the reverse. This sentence is referring to the negative going 3.0 uN force calibration pulse supplied by the two B-field coils attached to the ARC-Lite torque pendulum needed to calibrate the as built torque pendulum. This is the normal way one calibrates these kinds of torque pendulums and that is to use a know force supplied by the repulsion or attraction between two magnetic coils or two electrostatic plates. The PZT-Stack itself was only generating forces on the order of +/-1.0 uN with approximately 150V-p applied to the Stack dependent on the relative phase between the 1-omega drive signal and 2-omega force rectification signal.

Evidently, there is a thrust signal – at the level of about 1.0 uN – that reverses direction as the frequency sweeps down through the stack’s mechanical resonance at 60 KHz and below, (where the second harmonic of the voltage signal is not completely suppressed by the limitations of the power amplifier and low pass characteristics of the power circuit)

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