July 09, 2011

Iraq oil production over 2.8 million barrels per day

Iraq is pumping more than 2.8 million barrels a day after production started at the Al-Ahdab oil field, Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said. Iraq oil production is up over 400,000 barrels per day over last year.

The Al-Ahdab oil field in central Iraq, operated by China National Petroleum Corp, began production July 1, 2011 with 60,000 barrels per day.

New LED bulb has the same color light as an incandescent bulb but uses about 5 times less electricity

SLATE - Compact-fluorescent bulbs, are awful. They've got three main shortcomings:
* They're ugly;
* they contain mercury,
* they put out harsh, white light that many people find unbearable.

Light from an incandescent bulb matches the light from a new Switch LED bulb.

With our unique City of Light™ Technology, Switch delivers the best of both worlds: bright, warm, incandescent-quality light in a bulb that dramatically reduces energy consumption and costs. It even rivals the incandescent in functionality — with uniform light dispersion, consistent color and a standard A19 form factor that works in any orientation. Switch can be used in most standard lighting fixtures, from floor lamps to overhead lights, and is an ideal choice for residential, commercial or hospitality settings.

Switch website

Robert E Godes explains Brillouin energy and a government lab

Robert E Godes has explained what Brillouin Energy is and will be doing with a government Lab in the comments to one of my prior articles

Brillouin Energy Corporation (BEC) technology uses the hydrogen in ordinary water in a nuclear process that produces no hazardous waste. The process stimulates a Controlled Electron Capture Reaction (CECR) in a catalyst. This process creates low energy neutrons. The neutrons generate heat as they are captured, building heavier elements.

BED is using a process with some similarities to Rossi energy catalyzer. They are not getting as much energy gain (a little more than double right now, but are targeting getting more than triple as they improve the current system). They are working at a few hundred watts (so about ten times less than what Rossi is claiming).

As for the nature of the experiments at a government lab, I [Robert Godes] only learned of them late in the day on Friday July 1 2011 and [scientist] was on his way out on a trip. He told me the experiment used 2 meters of .1mm Pd wire and 10A pulses. Started with high purity D and produced "lots of tritium."

Robert Godes sent him the following


I am looking forward to helping with the [lab] replication of BEC experiments. It would be helpful if you could send me an email with information about the experiments you have already performed and results with current pulses and gas loading.

His reply yesterday July 8 2011
I will do, but first we have to get a (classification review).

[scientist] at [government lab] was able to demonstrate nuclear reactions using a test he put together based on the brillouin energy PPT.

A Cubic-Millimeter Energy-Autonomous Wireless Intraocular Pressure Monitor

A Cubic-Millimeter Energy-Autonomous Wireless Intraocular Pressure Monitor (31 pages)

UN reports Global Investments in Green Energy Up Nearly a Third to US$211 billion

Wind farms in China and small-scale solar panels on rooftops in Europe were largely responsible for last year's 32% rise in green energy investments worldwide according to the latest annual report on renewable energy investment trends issued by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Last year, investors pumped a record US$211 billion into renewables - about one-third more than the US$160 billion invested in 2009, and a 540% rise since 2004. Positive trends in government research and development in renewables spotlighted-up over 120 per cent to well over US$5 billion.

The trends indicate that Green investments over the next 40 years could get close to the $76 trillion in global investment called for in another UN study.

The other report - The World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation (251 pages). The survey says $1.9 trillion per year will be needed over the next 40 years for incremental investments in green technologies to avoid "planetary catastrophe".

30 nanometer thick Nanofiltration Membrane

Close-packed nanoparticle monolayers self-assembled from dodecanethiol-ligated gold nanocrystals. TEM image (left) and atomistic simulation of tryptophan transport through a pore.

A recent collaboration between users at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago with the Center for Nanoscale Material's Electronic and Magnetic Materials and Devices Group has produced the thinnest nanofiltration membrane achieved thus far, at ~30 nm, made of just four layers of nanoparticles.

Nanoletters - Diffusion and Filtration Properties of Self-Assembled Gold Nanocrystal Membranes

Close-packed nanoparticle monolayers have recently been shown to form mechanically robust, free-standing membranes. We report the first measurements of molecular transport through such ultrathin sheets, self-assembled from dodecanethiol-ligated gold nanocrystals. For aqueous solutions we find filtration coefficients 2 orders of magnitude larger than those observed in polymer-based filters, sieving of large solutes, and for smaller solutes a pronounced dependence of rejection on being charged. These results open up new possibilities for controlled delivery and separation of nano-objects.

Ambient Electromagnetic Energy Harnessed for Small Electronic Devices

Georgia Tech - Researchers have discovered a way to capture and harness energy transmitted by such sources as radio and television transmitters, cell phone networks and satellite communications systems. By scavenging this ambient energy from the air around us, the technique could provide a new way to power networks of wireless sensors, microprocessors and communications chips.

Thinnest Possible Invisibility Cloak using graphene monolayers

A graphene cloak idea stems from the mantle cloaking concept, which Andrea Alù's group at the University of Texas at Austin have proposed at microwaves using frequency-selective surfaces.

ACS Nano - Atomically Thin Surface Cloak Using Graphene Monolayers

We discuss here the use of a graphene monolayer to realize the concept of “cloaking by a surface”, proposing the thinnest possible mantle cloak with operation in the far-infrared and terahertz (THz) regime. We show that an atomically thin graphene monolayer may drastically suppress the scattering of planar and cylindrical objects and, at the same time, preserve moderately broad bandwidth of operation. In addition, we exploit the large tunability of the graphene conductivity to provide active, dynamically tunable invisibility cloaks and versatile THz switching devices.

Carnival of Space 205

1. Universe Today had full coverage of the final launch of the space shuttle

Space shuttle Atlantis has launched for the final time, for the last mission of the space shuttle program. The crew of four is heading to the International Space Station. Launch occurred at 10:29 EDT (15:29 UTC), and despite an unfavorable weather forecast, Atlantis and her crew beat the 30% odds that was predicted for the probability of launch. There was a slight delay and a hold in the countdown (about 2 minutes) when a problem with the vent arm retraction on the launchpad (the “beanie cap” over the external tank) was detected. The launch control team was able to look at the issue, and determined it was safe to proceed with launch.

Here is a photo album of the last launch

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta predicts US is within reach of Strategically Defeating al Qaeda

The United States is "within reach of strategically defeating al Qaeda," Leon Panetta declared, as he traveled to Afghanistan for his first visit there as Secretary of Defense.

Panetta said intelligence gathered during the raid at Osama bin Laden's compound has lead the United States to target 10-20 key al Qaeda leaders.

"If we can go after them, I think we really can strategically defeat al Qaeda," Panetta said.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 60

The 60th Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers is up at the Atomic Power Review.

Idaho Samizdat reviews the progress and challenges to getting regulatory approval for the AP1000 reactor in the US and the UK.

There's more than just the four reactors at Vogtle and V.C. Summer riding on the outcome of the dueling press releases between Westinghouse and the NRC. There are plans for eight more AP1000 reactors – four in Florida, two in North Carolina, and two in South Carolina. The next two AP1000s likely to be built are to be located near Miami at the Turkey Point power station operated by Florida Power & Light. The approval of the AP1000 design is turning into a high stakes outcome with much of the future of nuclear reactor construction in the U.S. over the next two decades riding on it. No other reactor vendor comes close.

Google+ already passing Google Buzz and Future Social media scenario

Technology Review looks at the first 10 days of Google+

Google+ still lacks many things that are a core part of Facebook, omissions Google is sure to address soon. The ability to organize and invite people to events is one, a feature that drew many people into Facebook for the first time. Another is third party apps and games.

Searchengineland is reporting that various people report that their Google+ follower counts are passing their Google Buzz follower count.

July 08, 2011

Brillouin Energy will replicate a Government Lab and discusses the Rossi Energy Catalyzer

Cold Fusion Now reports that Brillouin Energy is fielding calls from new investors and will now be working with government Lab to replicate Brillouin’s work. First, a confirmation report from a nationally recognized lab, and then the funds.

Update - I have spoken to Robert E. Godes. President and Chief Technology Officer
Brillouin Energy Corp. He confirmed that they will be working with a government lab. He named a researcher at a government lab who independently replicated some of their work which confirmed nuclear processes. There will be follow up to investigate further.

Accelerated evolution machine being adapted to human stem cells and creates the new field of Recombineering

In May, 2010, Venter and his team successfully inserted a fully customized strand of DNA into a living cell, creating what they call the "first synthetic genome." Church says MAGE (Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering) can achieve similar results faster and cheaper. His lab's device will go on sale later this year for about $90,000, and at least a dozen companies, including chemical giant DuPont (DD) and biotech startup Amyris, are considering purchasing it.

The new term is recombineering.

Recombineering (recombination-mediated genetic engineering)is a genetic and molecular biology technique based on homologous recombination systems, as opposed to the older/more common method of using restriction enzymes and ligases to cut and glue DNA sequences. It has been developed in E. coli and now is expanding to other bacteria species and is used to modify DNA in a precise and simple manner. The procedure is widely used for bacterial genetics, in the generation of target vectors for making a conditional mouse knockout, and for modifying DNA of any source often contained on a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC).

New Scientist had updated coverage

The machine let the E. coli multiply, mixed them with the DNA strands, and applied an electric shock to open up the bacterial cells and let the DNA get inside. There, some of the added DNA was swapped with the matching target sequences in the cells' genomes. This process, called homologous recombination, is usually very rare, which is where the viral enzymes come in. They trick cells into treating the added DNA as its own, greatly increasing the chance of homologous recombination.

* Church is adapting MAGE for genetically modifying human stem cell lines. The work, funded by the US National Human Genome Research Institute, aims to create human cell lines with subtly different genomes in order to test ideas about which mutations cause disease and how.

Pure human blood stem cell isolated and able to regenerate entire blood system

Scientists have isolated a human blood stem cell in its purest form – as a single stem cell capable of regenerating the entire blood system. This breakthrough opens the door to harnessing the power of these life-producing cells to treat cancer and other debilitating diseases more effectively

Science journal - Isolation of Single Human Hematopoietic Stem Cells Capable of Long-Term Multilineage Engraftment

Artificial trachea built from scratch

The artificial trachea after two days of cell growth, and just before being implanted into the patient. Credit: Harvard Bioscience

Surgeons in Sweden have successfully transplanted a fully synthetic, tissue-engineered organ—a trachea—into a man with late-stage tracheal cancer. The synthetic trachea was created entirely in the lab, using a scaffold built out of a porous polymer, and tissue grown from the patient's own stem cells inside a bioreactor designed to protect the organ and promote cell growth.

Artificial organs would be superior to ordinary donor organs in several ways. They can be made to order more quickly than a donor organ can often be found; being grown from a patient's own cells, they also do not require dangerous immunosuppressant drugs to prevent rejection.

Building the scaffolding was slowed by this being a first-time effort, explains Seifalian. In future, he says, they could build a complete scaffold from CT scans in two days.

Russia puts nuclear energy in list of 27 technologies critical to Russia and Areva pushes ahead with Trekkopje uranium mine for 2013

1. Nuclear energy has been formally recognised as a critical technology in a decree that makes nuclear development a priority for Russia. President Dmitry Medvedev signed off a list of 27 technologies as critical to Russia, including nuclear energy, the nuclear fuel cycle, safety of radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel. Nuclear power, along with energy efficiency and energy conservation, appears in a list of eight priority areas for science, technology and engineering. Russia will allocate a budget of about 700 billion rubles (around $25 billion) for high-tech industries over the next three years.

Harvesting Low Quality Heat Using Economically Printed Flexible Nanostructured Stacked Thermoelectric Junctions

University of Illinois: Harvesting Low Quality Heat Using Economically Printed Flexible Nanostructured Stacked Thermoelectric Junctions

Low quality heat constitutes a 2 TW untapped source of energy in the US. High coefficient of performance thermoelectrics with a figure of merit (ZT) exceeding 1, can potentially harness approximately 4.3% of this waste heat and add up to 23% to the current electricity production at zero additional carbon or noise emission. Existing commercial thermoelectric materials based on Bi2Te3 possess ZT~1 at room temperatures but are not scalable due to the extremely low abundance of Te. The University of Illinois will collaborate with MC10, Inc. (a startup) to develop an economic and highly scalable approach to fabricate flexible thermoelectric junctions based on silicon nanotubes and optimize the energy conversion efficiency. The end of phase deliverable is a 1 square inch flexible thermoelectric module with effective ZT over 1.2. Such flexible modules will convert waste heat in power plants, data centers and automobiles.

Fukushima Daiichi 1 cover in progress

This is the lower third of a cover to be erected over Fukushima Daiichi 1, pictured yesterday during trial assembly. With a lightweight construction compared to the thick reinforced concrete of a reactor building, it will form a seal around the damaged building and reduce any ongoing emission of radioactivity and protect the building from the weather.

Defkalion has an email that describes terms for Rossi e-cat dealers in other countries

Defkalion who own the rights for the highly controversial Rossi-Focardi energy catalyzer is offering dealerships

- as of July 6, 2011 Defkalion has received expressions of interest from 63
countries and more than 850 companies

Defkalion international sales approach is as follows:
* We sell the rights to manufacture our products exclusively to one company
for a given country at a fixed royalty price of 40.5 million Euros per factory
producing 300,000 units annually.

Within this price, we will:
* Provide the blueprints to establish the factory according to our international standardized plans, including all details for the machinery/ software / technical know-how used in the factory.
* Provide transfer-of-knowledge (production, technical, after sales, maintenance) both in Greece as well as on location
* Additional royalties are paid to us for each product sold
* We sell and deliver the industrial secret as a component to the final product in a black box, plug-and-play module.
* Local company partnerships, marketing, points of sales, technical support remains the responsibility of the country rights holder.
* If additional factories need to be built, the same principles remain.
* Our business and pricing is structured to create lucrative win-win opportunities
for all.

100-MHz multi-terawatt femtosecond Ti:sapphire laser with a regenerative amplifier

100-MHz multi-terawatt femtosecond Ti:sapphire laser with a regenerative amplifier (3 pages 2007)

Chirped pulse amplification (CPA) has become a common technique for damage-free amplification of short optical pulses to terawatt levels and beyond.

Typical high-repetition-rate Ti:sapphire chirped pulse amplification laser systems using electro-optic pulse selection method operate at the range from 10 Hz to 20 kHz with an energy of ∼ mJ, whereas those using acousto-optic pulse selection method can operate at the range from 100 to 250 kHz with an energy of microJoule. The former is limited to approximate 20 kHz mainly by the repetition rate of the pump lasers and the operation repetition rate of Pockels cell. In this letter, a new
electro-optic regenerative amplifier is put forward, which can generate chirped pulses at higher repetition rate.

Warren Buffet predicts US jobs will return in a few years

Warren Buffet is predicting that unemployment in the USA will fall to about 6 percent within a few years, and the 2.5 million jobs lost in the recession will be replaced. The June unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent.

Buffet thinks people will be surprised how quickly employment improves once the excess houses are bought and normal levels of construction resume. "We will come back big-time on employment when residential construction comes back," Buffett said.

For a time, Buffett said the housing industry was building about 2 million homes a year while roughly 1 million households were being formed, and the nation is still working off that excess created during the housing bubble.

Phononic Devices’s should have more than double efficiency thermal electric devices commercially available by the end of 2012

Phononic Devices has advanced semiconductor materials for high efficiency thermoelectric devices. The DOE ARPA-E gave them $3 million in funding.

They expect to start selling the devices to electronics cooling-and- refrigeration customers near the end of 2012.

Phononic Devices materials and devices are expected to more than double thermal-electric efficiency -- compared to conventional thermoelectrics -- for the interval between room temperature, which is 73F, and 248F. At wider temperature differentials they indicate they can increase from the usual 10% to 30% conversion. This is expected to result in a $/W energy savings of 75% for power generation and 60% for cooling, respectively.

The claims of higher efficiency would suggest a thermoelectric figure of merit of about 3 (at least higher than 2).

What will happen with Uranium Supply

In 2010, I had won two uranium supply bets and one nuclear power generation bets that were made at the Oildrum against Michael Dittmar.

TheOildrum has an article about uranium supply and mentions the fact that I won my bets.

Michael Dittmar has a new uranium forecast after his last one in 2009 was wrong before 2009 had completed.

July 07, 2011

Laser Particle Acceleration: Status and Perspectives for Nuclear Physics

Laser Particle Acceleration: Status and Perspectives for Nuclear Physics (12 pages)

High power short-pulse lasers with peak powers presently reaching Terawatts and even Petawatt levels routinely reach focal intensities of 10^18–10^21 W/cm2. These lasers are able to produce a variety of secondary radiation, from relativistic electrons and multi-MeV/nucleon ions to high energetic X-rays and gamma-rays. In many laboratories world-wide large resources are presently devoted to a rapid development of this novel tool of particle acceleration, targeting nuclear, fundamental and high-field physics studies as well as various applications e.g. in medical technology for diagnostics and tumor therapy. Within the next 5 years a new EU-funded large-scale research infrastructure (ELI: Extreme Light Infrastructure) will be constructed, with one of its four pillars exclusively devoted to nuclear physics based on high intensity lasers (ELI-Nuclear Physics, to be built in Magurele/Bucharest). There the limits of laser intensity will be pushed by three orders of magnitude to yet unprecedented 10^24 W/cm2.

Fusion energy without radioactivity: laser ignition of solid hydrogen–boron (11) fuel

Fusion energy without radioactivity: laser ignition of solid hydrogen–boron (11) fuel (8 pages) by Heinrich Hora, George H. Miley, M. Ghoranneviss, B. Malekynia, N. Azizic and Xian-Tu. He.

(H/T Talk Polywell)

The advent of ultra-high power lasers allows laser power levels that are about 1000 times the power of all the power stations in the USA. This opens the way to new approaches for inertial confinement fusions (ICF) that in turn can drastically reduce the laser input energy needed to achieve practical ICF power. The specific approach discussed here involves inducing a fusion burn wave by laser-driven impact of a relatively large block of plasma on the outside of a solid density fusion target. This new method is specifically selected to enable the extremely attractive, but demanding, neutron-free proton–B-11 fusion that potentially can lead to the long sought goal of an ultra ‘‘clean’’ fusion power plant.

China will try to scale up Underground Coal Gasification

Last month British prime minister David Cameron and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao signed a $1.5-billion commercial partnership was launched to gasify six million tons of buried coal per year and generate 1,000 megawatts of power.

* Inner Mongolia has an estimated 280 billion tons of coal
* Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) can generate electricity from coal with less air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption than existing coal-fired power plants.
* The project will determine if UCG can operate at large scale without contaminating groundwater.

True industries and reasons for Space

Barney Pell tried to make the case for moon mining

However helium 3 requires that you first have working commercial aneutronic nuclear fusion. Even in my more optimistic assessment that is not until the 2020s. Earth can get billions of tons of rare earth materials off the ocean bottom (recent Japan find) or can get uranium from the ocean (Japan can do it for about $150 per pound, there is 4 billion tons in the ocean).

The true larger industries for space :
Information and satellite servicing

Sandia’s “Cooler” technology offers fundamental breakthrough in heat transfer for microelectronics, other cooling applications

In this diagram of the Sandia Cooler, heat is transferred to the rotating cooling fins. Rotation of the cooling fins eliminates the thermal bottleneck typically associated with a conventional CPU cooler. (Diagram courtesy of Jeff Koplow)

Sandia National Laboratories has developed a new technology with the potential to dramatically alter the air-cooling landscape in computing and microelectronics, and lab officials are now seeking licensees in the electronics chip cooling field to license and commercialize the device.

A Fundamentally New Approach to Air-cooled Heat Exchangers (48 pages)

In a conventional CPU cooler, the heat transfer bottleneck is the boundary layer of “dead air” that clings to the cooling fins. With the Sandia Cooler, heat is efficiently transferred across a narrow air gap from a stationary base to a rotating structure. The normally stagnant boundary layer of air enveloping the cooling fins is subjected to a powerful centrifugal pumping effect, causing the boundary layer thickness to be reduced to ten times thinner than normal. This reduction enables a dramatic improvement in cooling performance within a much smaller package.

Future mainstreaming of neuromorphic chips, trillions of sensors, robots and robotic vehicles

Here are several emerging technology trends which seem to have synergies.
Neuromorphic chips
Robotic cars and vehicles
Trillions of sensors

1. By the end of 2012, there will likely be integrated one square neuromorphic chips with about ~10 billion synapses and ~1 million neurons. In 2015, the neuromorphic chips are targeted to have 100 times more capability. The military is developing neuromorphic chips for autonomous, unmanned, robotic systems and natural human-machine interfaces and diverse sensory and information integration applications in the defense and civilian sector

The global semiconductor industry is forecast to be about $412 billion in 2015 up from $325 billion in 2011.

If neuromorphic chips become mainstream in the 2020s,they could be a $50 to 200 billion segment.

DARPA Synapse phase 2 targets integrated neuromorphic chip

The status of goals of the DARPA synapse brain emulation project. It appears on track for human scale brain emulation by 2019. It is funded at $30 million per year. Europe could kick off a $1.6 billion human brain emulation project with a target for 2024. It seems like there will be a human brain emulation race. China and other countries likely to join.

The vision of the Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) program is the development of biological-scale neuromorphic electronic systems for autonomous, unmanned, robotic systems where humans are currently the only viable option. The successful development of this technology will revolutionize warfare by providing intelligent terrestrial, underwater, and airborne systems that remove humans from dangerous environments and remove the limitations associated with today's remote-controlled robotic systems. Applications for neuromorphic electronics include not only robotic systems, but also natural human-machine interfaces and diverse sensory and information integration applications in the defense and civilian sectors. If successful, the program will also reinvigorate the maturing microelectronics industry by enabling a plethora of computer and consumer electronics applications.

FY 2010 17.025 million
FY 2011 27.608 million
FY 2012 31.000 million

HRL Labs, HP and IBM have gotten funding

In Phase 2, the team will pursue developing a fully integrated neuromorphic chip. “The chip design will ensure that the hardware is scalable to support very large-scale neuromorphic architectures,” Srinivasa said. The team will also demonstrate more complex behaviors in the areas of visual perception, planning and decision making and navigation via integration of brain architecture with a virtual environment.

By the end of 2012
- Design and verify a hardware neural system of ~10 billion synapses and ~1 million neurons.
- Demonstrate a chip fabrication process and development plan supporting ~10 billion synapses per square centimeter and ~1 million neurons per square centimeter

100 chips at the end of 2012 would achieve 100 million neurons and 1 trillion synapses

In 2015 the goal is a prototype chip simulating 10 billion neurons connected via 1 trillion synapses. The device must use 1 kilowatt or less (about what a space heater uses) and take up less than 2 liters in volume. 100 of the systems would have 1 trillion neurons and 100 trillion synapses and would be about the complexity of the human brain.

IBM research suggests that a full-scale model of the human brain—which has 20 billion neurons connected by about 200 trillion synapses—could be reached by 2019, given enough processing power. It would be a hardware model. This does not indicate the actual intelligence that would be in the system. It also does not specify the quality of the neurons and synapses that are part of the system.

Still being at human brain scale would be interesting and it would be interesting to see what could be possible and what will be learned. Refinement to better neurons and synapses could progress in the 2020s.

We covered the summary presentation after the end of the first phase

Henry Markram is in talks with the EU for $1.6 billion in funding through 2024 for his artificial human brain project (through 2024 and using multi-level simulation to reduce computational challenge)

Assuming that both Synapse and Markram are funded through 2024, then the total funding would be over $2 billion for human brain emulation. If there is even the smallest belief in the possibility of success with these projects there will also be comparable scale projects in China, Japan, India, Russia and other countries. It seems that any failure of the Singularity and human level general intelligence will not be from lack of funding, desire or effort. However, it could be like nuclear fusion where large sums are spent on approaches that are flawed.

Arrays of indefinitely long uniform nanowires and nanotubes

Nanowire array production from a macroscopic rod by iterative thermal size reduction. Step 1: A macroscopic cylindrical rod (diameter 10 mm, length 200 mm) is fabricated from the material that is to become nanowires upon axial alongation. An thermomechanically suitable polymer sheet (PES, PEI, PSU) is tightly rolled around the rod in a clean room until the final thickness is 30 mm. The composite is then thermally consolidated under vacuum, above the glass transition temperature, in order to fuse the polymer and the cylindrical rod. Finally the composite is drawn in a furnace to obtain hundreds of meters of microwires embedded in a polymer fiber matrix. Step 2: About 100 fibres with 0.5 mm diameters are cut into 200 mm fibres, tightly packed and a polymer cladding is rolled around the fibers, and consolidated; or alternatively cut fibres are inserted inside a pre-consolidated hollow polymer rod and consolidated. Second step drawing results in a submicron wire arrays in the cross section of the fibre. Step 3: The same procedure, followed in the second step is iterated, to obtain hierarchically positioned arrays of arrays of nanowires. The nanowire diameters at each step is geometrically reduced and at each step controlled by monitoring the enwrapping fibre diameter.

Nature Materials - Arrays of indefinitely long uniform nanowires and nanotubes A new nanofabrication technique based on iterative size reduction is able to produce ordered, indefinitely long nanowire and nanotube arrays. Nanowires that are more than 1000 meters long have been made.

Nanowires are arguably the most studied nanomaterial model to make functional devices and arrays. Although there is remarkable maturity in the chemical synthesis of complex nanowire structures their integration and interfacing to macro systems with high yields and repeatability still require elaborate aligning, positioning and interfacing and post-synthesis techniques. Top-down fabrication methods for nanowire production, such as lithography and electrospinning, have not enjoyed comparable growth. Here we report a new thermal size-reduction process to produce well-ordered, globally oriented, indefinitely long nanowire and nanotube arrays with different materials. The new technique involves iterative co-drawing of hermetically sealed multimaterials in compatible polymer matrices similar to fibre drawing. Globally oriented, endlessly parallel, axially and radially uniform semiconducting and piezoelectric nanowire and nanotube arrays hundreds of metres long, with nanowire diameters less than 15 nm, are obtained. The resulting nanostructures are sealed inside a flexible substrate, facilitating the handling of and electrical contacting to the nanowires. Inexpensive, high-throughput, multimaterial nanowire arrays pave the way for applications including nanowire-based large-area flexible sensor platforms, phase-changememory, nanostructure-enhanced photovoltaics, semiconductor nanophotonics, dielectric metamaterials,linear and nonlinear photonics and nanowire-enabled high-performance composites.

High-performance flat-panel solar thermoelectric generators with high thermal concentration

Nature Materials - High-performance flat-panel solar thermoelectric generators with high thermal concentration

The conversion of sunlight into electricity has been dominated by photovoltaic and solar thermal power generation. Photovoltaic cells are deployed widely, mostly as flat panels, whereas solar thermal electricity generation relying on optical concentrators and mechanical heat engines is only seen in large-scale power plants. Here we demonstrate a promising flat-panel solar thermal to electric power conversion technology based on the Seebeck effect and high thermal concentration, thus enabling wider applications. The developed solar thermoelectric generators (STEGs) achieved a peak efficiency of 4.6% under AM1.5G (1 kW m−2) conditions. The efficiency is 7–8 times higher than the previously reported best value for a flat-panel STEG, and is enabled by the use of high-performance nanostructured thermoelectric materials and spectrally-selective solar absorbers in an innovative design that exploits high thermal concentration in an evacuated environment. Our work opens up a promising new approach which has the potential to achieve cost-effective conversion of solar energy into electricity.

Terrafugia has been cleared by Highway and Aviation regulators for flying car

First delivery of the Terrafugia Transition flying car (Roadable Aircraft) is now expected for late 2012

Terrafugia, Inc., developer of the Transition® Roadable Aircraft officially received a grant of all of the special exemptions it had requested from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Terrafugia will begin deliveries once Terrafugia’s rigorous Transition® certification testing program is complete

United States joins largest and newest Stellarator fusion project

The USA (Dept of Energy) is investing 7.5 million dollars for the construction of the fusion device Wendelstein 7-X at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald.

In the three-year project, starting in 2011, scientists from the fusion institutes at Princeton, Oak Ridge and Los Alamos are contributing auxiliary magnetic coils, measuring instruments and planning of special sections of the wall cladding for equipping the German fusion device. In return, the USA will accordingly become a partner in the Wendelstein 7-X research programme.

The Wendelstein 7-X fusion device will be the world’s largest and most modern device of the stellarator type. Its magnetic field makes continuous operation possible by simple means. W 7-X aims at producing 30 minute pulses, a duration that is limited only by the cooling power of the installation.

Wendelstein 7-X was originally scheduled to complete in 2006 but the schedule slipped eight years to 2014

ITER newsline discusses W7X

How stellarators are different from tokamaks?

In a stellarator, confining the plasma is like holding a broomstick firmly in your fist; in a tokamak, it's like trying to balance the same broomstick on your finger.

Stellarators produce intrinsically stable plasmas with no or only modest electrical currents flowing through them; tokamaks, with very strong plasma currents, must devise complex ways of maintaining their equilibrium. "Both are terrible beasts," smiles the Scientific Director of W 7-X. "Ours is a beast to build; yours is a beast to operate."

Medicaid's Impact has been measured

MIT research shows that Medicaid recipients are far more likely to receive health care than the uninsured.

* Citizens with Medicaid are 30 percent more likely to have a hospital stay
* 35 percent more likely to have an outpatient visit to a doctor
* 15 percent more likely to take prescription drugs, compared to similar low-income citizens not enrolled in the program.
* People enrolled in Medicaid also see improvements in their finances
* They are 35 percent less likely to experience out-of-pocket medical expenses
* see a 25 percent decline in unpaid medical bills sent to collection agencies
* The program also reduces the number of unpaid bills owed to health care providers.

New Brain-type Device with Human-like Memorizing and Forgetting Behavior

Memory model of the synaptic device. Higher repetition rate of information input causes formation of long-term memory (red line), while lower repetition rate forms short-term memory (blue line) and does not cause formation of long-term memory. The memory level is basically unchanged by the initial few inputs, and corresponds to sensory memory. The results of the device operation are in good agreement with this memory model, showing that the synaptic device can accurately reproduce the multistore model of human memory proposed in psychology.

A Japanese research group of WPI MANA, NIMS, in joint work with UCLA, succeeded for the first time in the world in the development of a new device called a “synaptic device,” which autonomously reproduces two phenomena which are distinctive features of the neural activity of the brain, namely, “memorizing necessary information” and “forgetting unnecessary information,” with a single device.

Present-day computer systems are considered to be approaching the limits of higher performance, the development of neural network systems and brain-type computers is seen as necessary in achieving even higher performance. The newly-developed device is equivalent to a biological synapse, which is essential for realizing this goal. The human brain memorizes information more reliably with the more frequent rehearsal, and conversely, infrequent rehearsal only forms vague memories to be forgotten. It is thought that these mechanisms are realized by changes in the strength of synaptic connections in the brain.

Nature Materials - Short-term plasticity and long-term potentiation mimicked in single inorganic synapses

Steve Omohundro and the future of superintelligence

Steve Omohundro is a computer scientist who has spent decades designing and writing artificial intelligence software. He now heads a startup corporation, Omai Systems, which will license intellectual property related to AI. In an interview with Sander Olson, Omohundro discuss Apollo style AGI programs, limiting runaway growth in AI systems, and the ultimate limits of machine intelligence.

Steve Omohundro

Question: How long have you been working in the AI field?

It's been decades. As a student, I published research in machine vision and after my PhD in physics I went to Thinking Machines to develop parallel algorithms for machine vision and machine learning. Later, at the University of Illinois and other research centers, my students and I built systems to read lips, learn grammars, control robots, and do neural learning very efficiently. My current company, Omai Systems, and several other startups I've been involved with, develop intelligent technologies.

July 06, 2011

Metamaterials enable solar cells to use near infrared light bands to boost power conversion by 30%

Researchers at Stanford University have demonstrated a set of materials that could enable solar cells to use a band of the solar spectrum that otherwise goes to waste. The materials layered on the back of solar cells would convert red and near-infrared light—unusable by today's solar cells—into shorter-wavelength light that the cells can turn into energy.

Robust, Realistic, Relevant Rejuvenation with Anti-alzheimers Immunotherapy

SENS researchers have used vaccination with a human phosphorylated tau immunogen to effect the immunologic clearance of pathological tau aggregates associated with Alzheimer's disease, in a mouse model expressing wild-type human tau. A vaccine has been effective in clearing the Alzheimer's related junk from a mouse model.

They have intervened late, months after the initial development of cognitive deficits. In using transgenic wild-type presenelin, they may have added early lysosomal deficits similar to human AD which impair the normal autophagic clearance of wild-type and pathological tau species.

For the first time, the model exhibits cognitive deficits that are both secondary to the accumulation of pathological tau species, and (to use a slight oxymoron) "clean," being unconfounded with the motion disorders that constituted a significant caveat to the relevance of previous models. And the vaccine has not only elicited a robust immunological response, and cleared pathological tau species from brain regions of relevance to human disease, but have linked such clearance to improved cognitive function on several extensively-used tests.

Nanocrystalline cellulose as strong as Kevlar and extracted from plants is heading to commercialization in Canada

A new Edmonton-based pilot facility will be the first in Canada to produce the quality of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) that researchers need to fully explore all its potential applications.

The $5.5-million pilot plant, created through a collaboration of the provincial and federal governments in partnership with industry under the Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA), will use wood and straw pulp, like that from flax and hemp, to create up to 100 kg per week of NCC for testing in commercial applications leading to production.

Nanocrystalline cellulose can be as strong or stronger than Kevlar (Cellulose 70 to 137 GPa and Kevlar 100 GPa - tensile strength)

Researchers develop lens-free, pinhead-size camera

The Planar Fourier Capture Array takes images from an array of angle-sensitive pixels. For example, at right, the camera reconstructed an image of the Mona Lisa.
credit - Molnar lab

A microscopic device fits on the head of a pin, contains no lenses or moving parts, costs pennies to make -- and this Cornell-developed camera could revolutionize an array of science from surgery to robotics.

Their working prototype, detailed online in the journal Optics Letters July 6, is a 100th of a millimeter thick and one-half millimeter on each side. The camera resolves images about 20 pixels across -- not portrait studio quality, but enough to shed light on previously hard-to-see things.

China advantage with solar does not come from cheap labor

1. Suntech Power's CTO argues that the secret to China's solar energy success is not cheap labor but advanced equipment for making solar cells.

Five years ago only one of the 10 largest solar cell producers was based in China. But by last year, four of the top five were based there, and each is growing fast: all four doubled their production last year.

Labor accounts for just 3 to 4 percent of the cost of making solar panels. Other factors, such as materials and the cost of equipment, are more significant. And as a result of increased automation over the last few years, labor costs are going down

Facebook launches Skype video calling

Facebook announced its new Skype-powered video calling on Wednesday, as expected, along with a new group text chat feature.

You can get started with Facebook videocalling here

Philip Su, an engineer on the video calling team, provided information on the new service at the facebook blog

The new chat design includes a sidebar that lists the people you message most.

GPS IIIA on track to deliver three times the accuracy starting in 2014

Lockheed Martin has successfully completed on-schedule a System Design Review (SDR) for the Global Positioning System (GPS) IIIB satellite increment under the U.S. Air Force’s next generation GPS III program.

GPS III will improve position, navigation and timing services and provide advanced anti-jam capabilities yielding superior system security, accuracy and reliability for users around the globe.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Newtown, Pa., is under contract to produce the first two of a planned eight GPS IIIA satellites, with first launch projected for 2014.

GPS IIIA will deliver signals three times more accurate than current GPS spacecraft and provide three times more power for military users, while also enhancing the spacecraft’s design life and adding a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with international global navigation satellite systems.

Space Shuttle Program was a $209 billion mistake

MIT Technology Review - The Space Shuttle program's benefits weren't worth the cost—and now the U.S. is in jeopardy of repeating the same mistake, says a leading space policy expert.

* 135 shuttle launches since 1981
* Other, simpler designs were considered in 1971 in the run-up to President Nixon's final decision; in retrospect, taking a more evolutionary approach by developing one of them instead would probably have been a better choice.
* The program cost $209.1 billion (in 2010 dollars)
* NASA administrator James Fletcher told Congress in 1972 that the shuttle would cost $5.15 billion to develop and could be operated at a cost of $10.5 (1972 dollars) million per flight.

So actually it was (1972) $278 million per flight ($200 billion with 5.33 times inflation factors and 135 flights so 26 times more than the $10.5 million.)

High Energy Lasers getting ten times smaller and direct diode lasers

1. The goal of DARPA’s High-Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) is to develop a 150 kilowatt (kW) laser weapon system that is ten times smaller and lighter than current lasers of similar power, enabling integration onto tactical aircraft to defend against and defeat ground threats. DARPA recently completed laboratory testing of a fundamental building block for HELLADS, a single laser module that successfully demonstrated the ability to achieve high power and beam quality from a significantly lighter and smaller laser.

The program now enters the final development phase where a second laser module will be built and combined with the first module to generate 150 kW of power. The goal is to have the 150 kW laser completed by the end of 2012.

Following the final development phase, plans call for the laser to be transported to White Sands Missile Range in the early-2013 timeframe for ground testing against rockets, mortars, surface-to-air missiles and to conduct simulated air-to-ground offensive missions.

Using imprint processing to mass-produce tiny antennas could improve wireless electronics

A hemisphere-shaped antenna developed at the University of Michigan has the capacity to be mass produced and could lead to improvements in wireless consumer electronics. Credit: Carl Pfeiffer

Engineering researchers at the University of Michigan have found a way to mass-produce antennas so small that they approach the fundamental minimum size limit for their bandwidth, or data rate, of operation.

This could lead to new generations of wireless consumer electronics and mobile devices that are either smaller or can perform more functions. The antenna is typically the largest wireless component in mobile devices. Shrinking it could leave more room for other gadgets and features, said Anthony Grbic, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Lithographically Fabricated Optical Antennas with Gaps Well Below 10 nm

Device fabrication. a) Schematic diagram of fabrication process. b) SEM image of a fabricated dimer array obtained with 50k × magnifi cation.
c) SEM image of a dimer structure in the fabricated array of (b) obtained with 420k × magnifi cation. d–f) SEM images of the left side of the dimer
structure, after ambient oxidation (d), 2 min oxygen plasma (e), and pattern without silver/chromium layer for comparison, which is taken by
etching the left-side pattern with chromium etchant just after the oxidation process (f). g) Gap size, determined from SEM, as a function of oxygen
plasma time. Each error bar represents standard deviation of gap size for a particular dimer array, determined from nine randomly selected dimers
within the array.

Small Journal - Lithographically Fabricated Optical Antennas with Gaps Well Below 10 nm (6 pages)

In this work, we demonstrate arrays of dimers with controllable gap size well below 10 nm by combining electron beam lithography with the use of sacrificial layers. The measured SERS enhancement factors increase almost by two orders of magnitude by reducing the gap size from ≈ 20 nm to ≈ 3 nm. This significant improvement confirms that there is a substantial electromagnetic field generated within dimer gaps.

Metal nanostructures that efficiently capture or radiate electromagnetic waves at optical frequencies offer a means to concentrate electromagnetic energy into deep subwavelength regions. Wessel noted that these structures can therefore be considered antennas. Recent work has focused on more efficient designs, termed ‘optical antennas’, which employ small gaps or very sharp tips. Optical antennas present opportunities for ultrasensitive spectroscopy, near-field scanning optical microscopy, and compact subwavelength light sources. However, the achievable feature sizes are usually determined by fabrication, being approximately given by the gap size or tip sharpness. Here, we report a top-down fabrication procedure to fabricate pairs of nanoparticles separated by a controllable gap size that can be as small as 3 nm. As an application, we show that the enhancement factors of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) increase significantly for smaller gap sizes, indicating greatly enhanced electromagnetic fields within the gaps. We anticipate that the fabrication method we introduce here for nanoparticle pairs with nanoscale gaps would be useful not only for SERS, where it could potentially enable single-molecule sensitivity, but also for other applications in plasmonics.

With a simple coating, nanowires show a dramatic increase in efficiency and sensitivity

A single nanowire coated with silicon boasted a 90-fold increase in photosensitivity compared to an uncoated one.

By applying a coating to individual silicon nanowires, researchers at Harvard and Berkeley have significantly improved the materials’ efficiency and sensitivity. The development holds promise for photodetectors and energy harvesting applications like solar cells.

Nanoletters - Dramatic Reduction of Surface Recombination by in Situ Surface Passivation of Silicon Nanowires (6 pages)

Combining top-down and bottom-up approaches for cheap 3D nanostructures

The new 3D nanofabrication method makes it possible to manufacture complex multi-layered solids all in one step. In this example, seen in these Scanning Electron Microscope images, a view from above (at top) shows alternating layers containing round holes and long bars. As seen from the side (lower image), the alternating shapes repeat through several layers. Image: Chih-Hao Chang

An MIT team has found a way to produce more complicated 3D nanostructures by using a blend of current "top-down" and "bottom-up" approaches. The new method is a hybrid in which the self-assembled array is produced directly on a substrate material, performing the function of a mask for the lithography process.

Nanoletters - From Two-Dimensional Colloidal Self-Assembly to Three-Dimensional Nanolithography

A number of “top-down” lithographic and “bottom-up” self-assembly methods have been developed to fabricate three-dimensional (3D) nanostructures to support the recent advances in nanotechnology. But they are limited by a number of factors such as fabrication cost, pattern resolution, and/or flexibility of geometry. Here we present a 3D nanolithography process that utilizes self-assembled nanospheres to create a periodic array of focal spots, which are then replicated across multiple depth in a transparent medium according to the Talbot effect. The Talbot field then exposes a pattern onto the underlying photoresist, recording the 3D intensity distribution. We have demonstrated designable complex 3D periodic structures with 80 nm minimum feature size, roughly one-fourth of the operating wavelength. This approach combines 2D colloidal self-assembly and 3D phase lithography, is robust, cost-effective, and widely applicable to nanoscale research and manufacturing.

July 05, 2011

DOE funds new wind turbine designs and systems including two superconducting systems

The Department of Energy awarded nearly $7.5 million to help develop next generation wind turbines. Each project has been selected to receive up to $700,000 to conduct technology cost and readiness assessments during Phase I. Following the six-month Phase I funding period, several of the projects will be selected for award negotiations of up to an additional $2 million each over 18 months. Projects selected for Phase II awards will use the funding to conduct performance tests of the specific drivetrain components.

semiconductor nanowire ultraviolet laser technology Could Kill Viruses and Improve DVDs

A team led by a professor at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering has made a discovery in semiconductor nanowire laser technology that could potentially do everything from kill viruses to increase storage capacity of DVDs.

Jianlin Liu, a professor of electrical engineering, and his colleagues have made a breakthrough in zinc oxide nanowire waveguide lasers, which can offer smaller sizes, lower costs, higher powers and shorter wavelengths.

Until now, zinc oxide nanowires couldn’t be used in real world light emission applications because of the lack of p-type, or positive type, material needed by all semiconductors. Liu solved that problem by doping the zinc oxide nanowires with antimony, a metalloid element, to create the p-type material.

The p-type zinc oxide nanowires were connected with n-type, or negative type, zinc oxide material to form a device called p-n junction diode. Powered by a battery, highly directional laser light emits only from the ends of the nanowires.

Nature Nanotechnology - Electrically pumped waveguide lasing from ZnO nanowires

How long until there is a significantly independent robot economy and how quickly could computer brain interfaces improve ?

Kyle Munkittrick wrote Why I’m Not Afraid of the Singularity.

Don’t start fretting about evil AGI until we live in an economy that is solely robot labor.

Heartland robotics could launch a far wider robotics revolution shortly. 100 million fairly advanced robots with precision arms and mobility could be in place by 2020. One advanced robot per person could be a reality by 2030.

So the precondition of not fretting about evil AGI could be met by 2030. This could become quite apparent before 2020 with a lot of advanced personal robots and small scale manufacturing robots and popularization of additive manufacturing.

Robotic cars could be widespread before 2025 with legal driverless cars in Nevada. Commercial cars could have semi-automated driving by 2016.

Kyle recently made the case for a Cybernetic Singularity

The Singularity should be re-imagined as a cybernetic process in which the human mind is progressively augmented with better and more complimentary artificial left-brain capacities. The Singularity will be the perfection of the mind-computer interface, such that where the mental processes of the human right-brain ends and the high-powered computer left-brain ends will be indistinguishable both externally by objective observation and internally by the subjective experience of the individual. I call this event the Cybernetic Singularity.

What I will be summarizing are projects that already underway for brain computer interfaces and brain emulation. Robotics, brain computer interfaces and artificial general intelligences will all get a boost in capability with molecular manufacturing in the 2030-2050 timeframe.

UN study says $76 trillion needs to be invested in Green Technologies over the next 40 years to avoid 'Planetary Catastrophe'

Humanity is close to breaching the sustainability of Earth, and needs a technological revolution greater – and faster – than the industrial revolution to avoid “a major planetary catastrophe,” according to a new United Nations report. The report - The World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation (251 pages). The survey says $1.9 trillion per year will be needed over the next 40 years for incremental investments in green technologies. At least $1.1 trillion of that will need to be made in developing countries to meet increasing food and energy demands. Major investments will be needed worldwide in the developing and scaling up of clean energy technologies, sustainable farming and forestry techniques, climate-proofing of infrastructure, and in technologies reducing non-biological degradable waste production.

This UN study is asking for 3% of world GDP for an accelerated conversion to green technologies, revamping agriculture according to their agenda and tossed in poverty elimination. I see zero chance of this proposal being adopted. They are asking for 20 times more than what was rejected at Copenhagen. It is interesting to see what kinds of plans get created by the United Nations and to imagine what the world would be like if these kinds of plans actually had serious consideration.

Brillouin energy close to industrially useful tripling of energy out

Brillouin Energy second round of data reported March, 2011

Slide 6 is important because it shows both our upward discovery trend and because it depicts an important Company mile stone. Excess power output was increased to over 100%. For every watt going in two or more came out. For some of the time. We have established certain proprietary input parameters that increase the percentage of power gain in the nickel-hydrogen system to a range over 100%. We are far beyond what was achieved during the first round open container experiments.

We have demonstrated that the nickel-hydrogen system is able to achieve more than 100% excess heat production (“2X”). The most recent data shows that excess heat production was in the range of 110% for 2 hours. We are looking closely at the experimental data from this run and will use it to attempt to break through the next threshold 200% (“3X”) in the upcoming months.

This is a follow up on Brillouin Energy.

Brillouin Energy Corporation (BEC) technology uses the hydrogen in ordinary water in a nuclear process that produces no hazardous waste. The process stimulates a Controlled Electron Capture Reaction (CECR) in a catalyst. This process creates low energy neutrons. The neutrons generate heat as they are captured, building heavier elements. This group is using a process with some similarities to Rossi energy catalyzer. They are not getting as much energy gain (a little more than double right now, but are targeting getting more than triple as they improve the current system). They are working at a few hundred watts (so about ten times less than what Rossi is claiming)

Picosecond switch for superconductors

A high-temperature superconductor can now be switched on and off within a trillionth of a second. A team including physicists from the University of Oxford and the Max Planck Research Group for Structural Dynamics at the University of Hamburg has realised an ultrafast superconducting switch by using intense terahertz pulses. This experiment opens up the possibility to discover more about the still unsettled cause of this type of superconductivity, and also hints at possible applications for ultrafast electronics in the future.

Nature Photonics - Bi-directional ultrafast electric-field gating of interlayer charge transport in a cuprate superconductor

Proteins injected into heart can induce heart tissue regeneration

Injecting proteins similar to insulin directly into the heart can cause damaged cells to repair themselves and begin regenerating again. Tests on pigs showed that the dormant cells could begin regrowth following a "regenerative medicine" treatment using certain growth factors – naturally occurring proteins which cells use to communicate with their environment. The findings, produced with teams from Italy and Spain, could lead to simple and affordable treatments for heart attacks.

World's longest bridge center has flaws

Shanghai Daily - Safey fears have been raised over the newly opened cross-sea bridge, the world's longest, that links Qingdao City in east China to the island of Huangdao.

There is concern that the tight schedule ahead of the official opening left important work undone or incomplete.

Several gaps were found in the crash barriers on the 42.5 kilometer Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, while bolts inserted to fasten the barriers were found to be loose or uncovered.

Canadian Oil Sands Project List

Canadian Oil Sands Project List as of June 2011 (22 pages)

Existing and proposed oil sands projects

1) Operating Projects: 2.085 M bbl/d
* Mining - 1.210 M bbl/d
* in-situ - 0.875 M bbl/d
2) Under Construction: 0.785 M bbl/d
* Mining - 0.290 M bbl/d
* in-situ - 0.495 M bbl/d
3) Projects with Regulatory Approval 1.946 M bbl/d
* Mining - 1.040 M bbl/d
* in-situ - 0.906 M bbl/d
4) Projects Under Regulatory Review: 1.169 M bbl/d
* Mining - 0.420 M bbl/d
* in-situ - 0.689 M bbl/d
5) Projects Announced / Disclosed: 2.993 M bbl/d
* Mining – 0.530 M bbl/d
* In-situ – 2.463 M bbl/d

Laser, electric fields combined for new 'lab-on-chip' technologies

This graphic illustrates a new technology that combines a laser and electric fields to manipulate fluids and tiny particles such as bacteria, viruses and DNA for a range of potential applications from drug manufacturing to food safety. The technologies could bring innovative sensors and analytical devices for "lab-on-a-chip" applications. (Stuart J. Williams, University of Louisville)

Researchers are developing new technologies that combine a laser and electric fields to manipulate fluids and tiny particles such as bacteria, viruses and DNA for a range of potential applications, from drug manufacturing to food safety.

The technologies could bring innovative sensors and analytical devices for "lab-on-a-chip" applications, or miniature instruments that perform measurements normally requiring large laboratory equipment, said Steven T. Wereley, a Purdue University professor of mechanical engineering.

The method, called "hybrid optoelectric manipulation in microfluidics," is a potential new tool for applications including medical diagnostics, testing food and water, crime-scene forensics, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Lab on a Chip journal - Hybrid opto-electric manipulation in microfluidics—opportunities and challenges

Taiwan Semiconductor could make first commercial 3D Integrated Circuit chips by the end of 2011


Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is vying with Intel to become the first company to sell three-dimensional chips that boost the density of transistors in a single semiconductor by up to 1000 times. TSMC, the world's largest contract chipmaker, could make its first 3DIC chips commercially available before the end of 2011. The timeframe for TSMC matches the end-2011 schedule that Intel has set for the launch of its 3D Tri-Gate chip. A 3DIC chip can achieve performance gains of about a third while consuming 50 percent less power. For this reason, 3DIC chips are particularly well suited to power new generations of mobile devices such as tablets and mobile phones.

The Chinese competitive advantage

International Journal of Sustainable Strategic Management - The Chinese competitive advantage by Jack McCann

This research evaluated how China is creating its own competitive advantage within the global economy. The concept of competitive advantage as presented by Michael Porter is utilised as the model for the creation of competitive advantage and a benchmark for comparison in this research. A description of how China is creating a competitive advantage politically, culturally, legally, economically, and through its alignment with the USA, EU, and the global economy is described. In addition, the sustainability of this competitive advantage is considered.

Eurekalert - Research from Jack McCann of Lincoln Memorial University, in Tennessee, suggests that China could become the dominant economic power within a few years if it exploits the competitive advantages it is creating politically, culturally, legally and economically.

Creating fuels directly from solar power

Luminescence from solutions of small semiconductor clusters (‘quantum dots’) of different sizes. By simply changing the size of the dots, we can change the colour of light they absorb or give out – so we can match the dots to the part of the solar spectrum we want to collect. (credit: Nanoco Technologies Ltd).

Professor Wendy Flavell, from The University of Manchester’s Photon Science Institute, and her colleagues are working to create a solar-nano device using ‘quantum dots’ – tiny clusters of semiconducting material which absorb sunlight. The scientists are working to build a solar ‘nanocell’ that will use the Sun’s energy directly to make important fuels or chemicals needed by industry. At the heart of the nanocell are two types of light-absorber – small semiconductor clusters called ‘quantum dots’, containing only a few hundred atoms, and porphyrin molecules (like those involved in photosynthesis). They are creating catalytic devices which harvest light energy using quantum dots, or photovoltaic materials to drive the formation of synthetic fuels from water or carbon dioxide can be viewed as artificial photosynthesis.

In 2090, they demonstrated a nanophotocathode for hydrogen production

Nanoco is the world’s leading developer and manufacturer of quantum dots. Nanoco Group PLC and its operating subsidiary Nanoco Technologies Ltd partner major R&D and blue-chip industrial organisations in the development of applications incorporating semiconductor nanoparticles, “quantum dots”. Quantum dots are tiny particles, or “nanoparticles”, of a semiconductor material, traditionally chalcogenides (selenides or sulfides) of metals like cadmium or zinc (CdSe or ZnS, for example), which range from 2 to 10 nanometers in diameter (about the width of 50 atoms). Nanoco Technologies is the only manufacturer currently able to supply production quantities of these nanoparticles which do not use a regulated heavy metal. We are the only manufacturer able to respond to orders for large quantities of bespoke quantum dots, and we are leading the way in customising the functionalisation of quantum dots enabling chemical linkage for biological and other specific uses.

Sulphur particles in graphene cage boost lithium batteries from 170 mAh/g to 600 mAh/g

Technology Review - Trapping sulphur particles in graphene cages produces a cathode material that could finally make lithium batteries capable of powering electric cars.

The specific capacities of the anode materials in lithium batteries are 370 mAh/g for graphite and 4200 mAh/g for silicon. By contrast, the cathode specific capacities are 170 mAh/g for LiFePO4 and only 150mAh/g for layered oxides. Researchers have made a cathode that retains a specific capacity of more than 600 mAh/g over 100 charging cycles. Even though the material maintains a high specific capacity over 100 cycles, Wang and co say the capacity drops by 15 per cent in the process.

Arxiv - Graphene-Wrapped Sulfur Particles as a Rechargeable Lithium-Sulfur-Battery Cathode Material with High Capacity and Cycling Stability (15 pages)

Graphene Spintronic Devices with Molecular Nanomagnets

Nanoletters - Graphene Spintronic Devices with Molecular Nanomagnets

The possibility to graft nano-objects directly on its surface makes graphene particularly appealing for device and sensing applications. Here we report the design and the realization of a novel device made by a graphene nanoconstriction decorated with TbPc2 magnetic molecules (Pc = phthalocyananine), to electrically detect the magnetization reversal of the molecules in proximity with graphene. A magnetoconductivity signal as high as 20% is found for the spin reversal, revealing the uniaxial magnetic anisotropy of the TbPc2 quantum magnets. These results depict the behavior of multiple-field-effect nanotransistors with sensitivity at the single-molecule level.

July 04, 2011

Deep-sea mud in the Pacific Ocean as a potential resource for rare-earth elements

Distribution of average ΣREY contents for surface sediments (less than 2 meter in depth) in the Pacific Ocean.

Nature Geoscience - Deep-sea mud in the Pacific Ocean as a potential resource for rare-earth elements

World demand for rare-earth elements and the metal yttrium—which are crucial for novel electronic equipment and green-energy technologies—is increasing rapidly. Several types of seafloor sediment harbour high concentrations of these elements. However, seafloor sediments have not been regarded as a rare-earth element and yttrium resource, because data on the spatial distribution of these deposits are insufficient. Here, we report measurements of the elemental composition of over 2,000 seafloor sediments, sampled at depth intervals of around one metre, at 78 sites that cover a large part of the Pacific Ocean. We show that deep-sea mud contains high concentrations of rare-earth elements and yttrium at numerous sites throughout the eastern South and central North Pacific. We estimate that an area of just one square kilometre, surrounding one of the sampling sites, could provide one-fifth of the current annual world consumption of these elements. Uptake of rare-earth elements and yttrium by mineral phases such as hydrothermal iron-oxyhydroxides and phillipsite seems to be responsible for their high concentration. We show that rare-earth elements and yttrium are readily recovered from the mud by simple acid leaching, and suggest that deep-sea mud constitutes a highly promising huge resource for these elements.

HAL exoskeleton will be used to carry 80 kg and carry a disabled tourist

A full-body model of HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb), being developed by Tsukuba University professor Yoshiyuki Sankai, assists both arms and legs, and allows users to carry a load of up to 70kg with one arm.

Battery-powered HAL, which detects muscle impulses to anticipate and support the user's body movements, was originally designed to help the elderly with mobility and manual work and to assist hospital carers in lifting patients.

The specially-designed exoskeleton suit will enable Uchida's (paralysed from his waist down) carrier (someone wearing the exoskeleton will carry the paralyzed man) to bear an 80kg load, whereas Uchida only weighs 45kg.

Lockheed Martin’s HULC Robotic Exoskeleton Enters Biomechanical Testing

Biomechanical testing of the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] ruggedized HULCTM exoskeleton is now underway at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Natick, Mass. The testing is expected to help shape future requirements for the HULC based on feedback from soldiers.

For seven weeks, U.S. Army warfighters will be evaluated to assess the effects of load carriage with and without use of the HULC exoskeleton. Biomechanical testing will measure changes in energy expended by users, assessing how quickly individuals acclimate to the system and whether there is a reduction in metabolic cost. Testing will also determine if there is an improvement in metabolic efficiency as measured by oxygen consumption per unit total mass, when wearing the ruggedized HULC as compared to not wearing the device under identical load, speed, grade and duration conditions.