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December 24, 2011

Honda will make cars 10% lighter

Greencarcongress - Honda will change the design and manufacturing processes to make their card 10% lighter Cars that are lighter are more fuel efficient

Some of Honda’s new manufacturing methods involve welding outer panels to the frame, rather than assembling the ceiling, side and other panels, to reduce the use of bolts and reinforcing materials. Other techniques include combining two steel sheets of different thicknesses into a single sheet and using thinner steel sheets that are heat-treated during processing to enhance their strength.

For starters, the automaker has begun using methods that enable it to cut down on materials, parts and processing steps for producing its new minivehicle, the N Box, reducing the vehicle’s weight by 10% and lowering its manufacturing costs.

China will open IPV6 commercially in 2015

China will allow commercial use of IPV6 internet in 2015

IPV6 can have speeds up to 10 gigabytes per second and have a trillion times more internet addresses for new types of applications.

Clarification (H/T to commenters) -
The next-generation IPV6 network is faster because of the underlying physical infrastructure, wires/fibers and hardware. The speed is not related to IPV4 vs IPV6. Even faster networking equipment is commercially available today and will work with IPV4 just fine.

There are 96 more bits of address space in IPV6. That's 64 billion trillion times the address space.

There is an online site for performing IPV6 vs IPV4 speed tests. They seem to be indicating that IPV6 is 70% of the speed of IPV4 for the downstream part but can be 6 times faster in places like South Korea.

There is nothing inherently faster about IPv6 either. In fact, it is slightly slower due to the increased header overhead. The processing overhead of sending 1500 byte packets over a 10gbps link can be significant, especially when more of those 1500 bytes are used in the headers and less in payload. Jumbo frames should be supported reducing computational and space overhead. 10gbps can also wrap a TCP sequence number (32 bits = 4GB) in 3.2 seconds, potentially leading to ambiguous out-of-order retransmissions. Many TCP implementations will have to support PAWS to operate at 10 gbps. Another issue is that very few buses operate at 10 gbps, such as SATA III at 4.2 gbps.

Technology areas to watch in 2012 through 2016

1. Energy Revolution - Mass produced fission, fusion, and maybe cold fusion
2. Memristors and other significant computing and electronic improvements.
3. Robotics
4. Urbanization Broad Group skyscrapers, Tata flat packed buildings
5. Space
6. Supersmartphones, exoskeletons and wearable systems
7. Hyperbroadband
8. Energy Efficiency - superconductors, thermoelectrics, improved grid
9. Additive manufacturing
10. Not so mundane - neuromorphic chips, quantum computers, photonics
11. Automated transportation (leading to robotic cars and planes)
12. Supermaterials
13. Improve medicine and public health
14. Synthetic biology and recombineering
15. Sensors everywhere
16. Education transformed and accelerated innovation



The most controversial has the highest potential impact

1. Energy Revolution - Mass produced fission, fusion, and maybe cold fusion

There is the highly controversial possibility of Rossi-Focardi Energy catalyzer.

Brillouin Energy is another cold fusion contender

There is also work in this area by Brian Ahern and NASA and other agencies are investigating it.

EMC2 Fusion, Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, General Fusion and/or Tri-alpha energy could develop a first full scale prototype commercial system by Dec, 2016. Those are also somewhat controversial, but less so than the cold fusion. Australia Star Scientific with a claimed breakthrough with muon fusion.

A desktop high frequency fusion system has been proposed for space propulsion and energy generation.

In Chapman’s aneutronic fusion reactor scheme, a commercially available benchtop laser starts the reaction. A beam with energy on the order of 2 x 10^18 watts per square centimeter, pulse frequencies up to 75 megahertz, and wavelengths between 1 and 10 micrometers is aimed at a two-layer, 20-centimeter-diameter target.

High frequency lasers are an area that is rapidly progressing.

I think high frequency lasers and General Fusion are the most likely to succeed. The High frequency laser approach needs to get a deep pocketed champion.

China is well underway with their first pebble bed reactors. The first one will be done by about 2015. This is not controversial and the construction project is underway.

Other small modular nuclear fission reactor projects are underway but most will not have their first units built until 2018-2020 or later

China could have a prototype molten salt thorium reactor by Dec, 2016.

2. Memristors and other significant computing and electronic improvements

HP and Hynix intend to have an alternative technology to flash on the market in eighteen months, an alternative to DRAM in three to four years and, following DRAM, a replacement for SRAM, Stan Williams, Senior Fellow at HP, told the IEF2011 meeting in Seville this morning.

"We’re planning to put a replacement chip on the market to go up against flash within a year and a half," said Williams, "and we also intend to have an SSD replacement available in a year and a half."

"In 2014 possibly, or certainly by 2015, we will have a competitor for DRAM and then we’ll replace SRAM." They plan to be 100 times better than DRAM for energy efficiency. HP’s approach is memristor, thin film technology which it allows it to stack an "arbitrary number of layers," said Williams, with 500 billion memristors per layer at 5 nanometers.

Amazon Cloud Supercomputer where you can rent 30,000 core processors for $1279 per hour

Wired - Amazon built a virtual supercomputer atop its Elastic Compute Cloud — a web service that spins up virtual servers whenever you want them — and this nonexistent mega-machine outraced all but 41 of the world’s real supercomputers.

Cycle Computing setup a virtual supercomputer for an unnamed pharmaceutical giant that spans 30,000 processor cores, and it cost $1,279 an hour. Stowe — who has spent more than two decades in the supercomputing game, working with supercomputers at Carnegie Mellon University and Cornell — says there’s still a need for dedicated supercomputers you install in your own data center, but things are changing.

December 23, 2011

Outline of technological expected, probable and possible developments for the next 30 years

Now through 2021

Foxconn and Heartland Robotics and other companies will be driving costs down and capabilities up for robotics for manufacturing and home usage. There should be 100 million to 1 billion highly functional robots by the end of 2021. There will be a new category of robot using smartphones and tablets as the head (processing, cameras and sensors)

Virtually every person will have smartphones and tablets by 2016 and people in the developed world will have more than one.

There will be a variety of competing quantum computer technologies. Dwave will have a 512 qubit adiabatic quantum computer next year.

There will be large scale optical computers.

Memristors, graphene and plasmonic computers will enable superfast universal memory, neuromorphic computers and terahertz clock cycles.

There are many kinds of hot and cold nuclear fusion technologies that I am tracking closely. The "cold fusion" is likely some other kind of energy mechanism. I believe that several will get commercialized in this decade. However, the real impact even if things go well will be in the next decade as society adapts and the technologies are perfected and fully deployed. Just providing clean energy that does not have resource limitations is great for the environment and takes away some worries but only will have huge impact with massive reduction in energy prices and enabling massive new capabilities like space travel throughout the solar system and making industrialization of space easy.

Improved sensor for faster nanopore DNA sequencing

In nanopore sequencing, an electric field pulls ions in the water and strands of DNA through a minuscule protein hole or a hole in a solid-state membrane. Because the pore is not much wider than the DNA strand, when a strand passes through the amount of ionic current is altered. Each of the four nucleic acids in DNA—G, T, C, and A—whose sequence spells out the code for a living thing—can be identified by its distinct effect on the current.

But the current in question is very small, measured in picoamps. And the DNA passes through the pore at such a rapid clip that electronics have a difficult time distinguishing such a small signal in so short a time.

Where other nanopore systems operate at a rate of 10 to 100 kilohertz—not fast enough for DNA moving through the pore at roughly 1 million chemical units, or bases, per second—Xie says the Harvard version should in principle operate at a few gigahertz, far faster than the DNA moves, although they didn’t have the equipment to measure that.

Image: Ping Xie and Charles M. Lieber/Harvard University DNA SLIPSTREAM: Ionic current pushes DNA through a nanometer-scale pore and past a nanowire transistor [blue center]. The transistor amplifies the change in current allowing the DNA's sequence to be read

Nature Nanotechnology - Local electrical potential detection of DNA by nanowire–nanopore sensors

Wireless communication bounced off of ceilings can boost data transmission by 30%

Technology Review - bouncing wireless signals off the ceiling could boost data transmission speeds by 30 percent.

Inside the huge data centers operated by Internet companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, information is processed at blistering speed, but it still has to be moved between different machines through relatively slow wiring.

In theory, this bottleneck could be avoided by adding wired links between racks, but that would be very expensive and, short of a complete architectural redesign, not particularly practical. Transmitting data wirelessly would be simpler, but achieving the required speed would normally require a line-of-sight connection, which is impossible in a packed data center.

Flat metal plates placed on the ceiling can provide nearly perfect reflection.

Zheng created a simulation of a 160-rack data center to see how the system might affect performance. "Our simulation shows that wireless can add 0.5 terabytes per second," she says.

Japan will be unable to meet 2020 emission targets because of reduced nuclear power

1. The Japanese government and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan plan to reconsider Japan's pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels. "Achieving the target has become impossible in any way," a government source said, because the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant has made it impossible for Japan to significantly expand its nuclear power capacity.

Japan has premised its emission target on greater reliance on nuclear power because in generating electricity, nuclear power emits substantially fewer amounts of carbon dioxide, a substance that causes global warming, than thermal power.

But the 25 percent reduction target, which was first pledged in 2009 by then prime minister and DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama, has become Japan's international commitment under the U.N. climate change treaty.

Gene fusion in lung cancer afflicting never-smokers may be target for therapy

Smoking is a well-known risk factor for lung cancer, but nearly 25% of all lung cancer patients have never smoked. In a study published online today in Genome Research (www.genome.org), researchers have identified a previously unknown gene fusion event that could explain a significant proportion of lung cancer cases in never-smokers, and might serve as a target for new therapies.

Genome research - Fusion of KIF5B and RET transforming gene in lung adenocarcinoma revealed from whole-genome and transcriptome sequencing

3D Printing is a billion dollar industry and is almost ready to explode into the mainstream

Technology Review - With 3-D printing, manufacturers can make existing products more efficiently—and create ones that weren't possible before

Technicians at General Electric weld together as many as 20 separate pieces of metal to achieve a shape that efficiently mixes fuel and air in a fuel injector. But for a new engine coming out next year, GE thinks it has a better way to make fuel injectors: by printing them. To do it, a laser traces out the shape of the injector's cross-section on a bed of cobalt-chrome powder, fusing the powder into solid form to build up the injector one ultrathin layer at a time. This promises to be less expensive than traditional manufacturing methods, and it should lead to a lighter part—which is to say a better one.

Unlike machining processes, which can leave up to 90 percent of the material on the floor, 3-D printing leaves virtually no waste—a huge consideration with expensive metals such as titanium. The technology could also reduce the need to store parts in inventory, because it's just as easy to print another part—or an improved version of it—10 years after the first one was made.

Aerospace companies are at the forefront of adopting the technology, because airplanes often need parts with complex geometries to meet tricky airflow and cooling requirements in jammed compartments. About 20,000 parts made by laser sintering are already flying in military and commercial aircraft made by Boeing, including 32 different components for its 787 Dreamliner planes


Buildup: GE made the aircraft engine ­component on the left by using a laser to melt metal in precise places, beginning with the single layer seen on the right. Credit: Bob O’Connor

Lucid Dreaming could be used for learning new skills and improved decision making

New Scientist - A slew of recent studies have shown that people can use dreams to improve decision-making and physical skills. They could even help people regain mobility following a stroke.

Lucid dreaming is an unusual phenomenon in which some people are able to "wake up" while still in a dream. Though the dreamer is technically asleep, they are aware of their situation and are able to control the content of their dreams. In this state, people are also able to signal to researchers that they have entered a lucid dream through a series of prearranged eye movements; no other movement is possible during REM sleep.

Being in command of dreams opens up opportunities to manipulate them for learning and training that have an impact once the dreamer wakes up. Peter Morgan at Yale University and colleagues have shown that lucid dreamers perform better in a gambling task designed to test the functioning of the brain's ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is thought to be involved in emotional decision-making and social interactions (Consciousness and Cognition, DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2010.08.001). By training this region through lucid dreams, Morgan hopes to be able to improve a person's social control and decision-making abilities.

Lucid dreaming and ventromedial versus dorsolateral prefrontal task performance



A gamma-ray laser could be built with stabilized positronium and could enable actinide free fusion power

In principle, positronium could be used to make a gamma ray laser. It would produce a highly energetic beam of extremely short wavelength that could probe tiny structures including the atomic nucleus - the wavelength of visible light is much too long to be of any use for this.

A 1 Megajoule gamma ray laser would be required to initiate DT fusion burn.

The trouble is that this means assembling a dense cloud of positronium in a quantum state known as a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC). How to do this without the positronium annihilating in the process was unclear.

Now a team led by Christoph Keitel of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, suggests that ordinary lasers could be used to slow the annihilation by 200 times. The trick is to tune the lasers to exactly the energy needed to boost the positronium into a higher energy state, in which the electron and positron orbit farther from one another. That makes them much less likely to annihilate.

Arxiv - A method is proposed to manipulate the annihilation dynamics of a dense gas of positronium atoms employing superradiance and subradiance regimes of the cooperative spontaneous emission of the system. The annihilation dynamics is controlled by the gas density and by the intensity of the driving strong resonant laser field. In particular, the method allows to increase the annihilation lifetime of an ensemble of positronium atoms more than hundred times by trapping the atoms in the excited state via collective radiative effects in the resonant laser and cavity fields.

Foxconn plans to build new solar panel factories with undreamed-of scale and lower cost and with new levels of robotic manufacturing

Foxconn Technology Group’s decision to start making solar power modules may speed the rate at which margins are narrowing for Chinese manufacturers, another blow for an industry already coping with a plunge in prices.

The Taiwanese company that’s the world’s biggest contract maker of electronics including Apple Inc.’s IPhone started work on a solar-module plant in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu near the headquarters of Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP), the largest silicon-based module manufacturer.

“Foxconn plans to build new factories with undreamed-of scale and lower cost,” Jenny Chase, who leads a team of six solar analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said yesterday. “It will push capacity higher and prices lower.”

Foxconn will be leveraging millions of manufactuing robots over the next 3 years

According to Focus Taiwan, the company recently announced it was building a $223 million “robot kingdom” in the Central Taiwan Science Park in the Taiwanese city of Taichung.

The research and development center and manufacturing hub is part of chairman Terry Gou’s ambitious plan to build one million industrial robots.

Let’s put that in perspective; according to a September report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the world is on track to reach 1.3 million operating industrial robots by 2014. That means that if Foxconn’s parent company, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., reaches its goals, it would effectively double the number of industrial robots worldwide.

December 22, 2011

Passive Optical Diode could bring optical information processing with millions fitting on a computer chip

Researchers have created a new type of optical device small enough to fit millions on a computer chip that could lead to faster, more powerful information processing and supercomputers.

The "passive optical diode" is made from two tiny silicon rings measuring 10 microns in diameter, or about one-tenth the width of a human hair. Unlike other optical diodes, it does not require external assistance to transmit signals and can be readily integrated into computer chips.


This illustration shows a new "all-silicon passive optical diode," a device small enough to fit millions on a computer chip that could lead to faster, more powerful information processing and supercomputers. The device has been developed by Purdue University researchers. (Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University)

Science - An All-Silicon Passive Optical Diode

DNA Repair Mechanism works much better at low radiation doses so damage is not linear without threshhold

1. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), through a combination of time-lapse live imaging and mathematical modeling of a special line of human breast cells, have found evidence to suggest that for low dose levels of ionizing radiation, cancer risks may not be directly proportional to dose. This contradicts the standard model for predicting biological damage from ionizing radiation – the linear-no-threshold hypothesis or LNT – which holds that risk is directly proportional to dose at all levels of irradiation.

Our data show that at lower doses of ionizing radiation, DNA repair mechanisms work much better than at higher doses,” says Mina Bissell, a world-renowned breast cancer researcher with Berkeley Lab’s Life Sciences Division. “This non-linear DNA damage response casts doubt on the general assumption that any amount of ionizing radiation is harmful and additive.”


Imaging of a cell’s DNA damage response to radiation shows that 1.5 minutes after irradiation, the sizes and intensities of radiation induced foci (RIF) are small and weak, but 30 minutes later damage sites have clustered into larger and brighter RIF, probably reflecting DNA repair centers.

PNAS - Evidence for formation of DNA repair centers and dose-response nonlinearity in human cells

CAD-Type Tools for Engineering RNA Control Systems

The computer assisted design (CAD) tools that made it possible to fabricate integrated circuits with millions of transistors may soon be coming to the biological sciences. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed CAD-type models and simulations for RNA molecules that make it possible to engineer biological components or “RNA devices” for controlling genetic expression in microbes. This holds enormous potential for microbial-based sustainable production of advanced biofuels, biodegradable plastics, therapeutic drugs and a host of other goods now derived from petrochemicals.


JBEI researchers have developed CAD-type tools for engineering RNA components that hold enormous potential for microbial-based production of advanced biofuels and other goods now derived from petrochemicals. (Image by Zosia Rostomian, Berkeley Lab)

Science - Model-Driven Engineering of RNA Devices to Quantitatively Program Gene Expression

'Nanoantennas' show promise in optical innovations

Researchers have shown how arrays of tiny "plasmonic nanoantennas" are able to precisely manipulate light in new ways that could make possible a range of optical innovations such as more powerful microscopes, telecommunications and computers.

The researchers at Purdue University used the nanoantennas to abruptly change a property of light called its phase. Light is transmitted as waves analogous to waves of water, which have high and low points. The phase defines these high and low points of light.
The image in the upper left shows a schematic for an array of gold "plasmonic nanoantennas" able to precisely manipulate light in new ways, a technology that could make possible a range of optical innovations such as more powerful microscopes, telecommunications and computers. At upper right is a scanning electron microscope image of the structures. The figure below shows the experimentally measured refraction angle versus incidence angle for light, demonstrating how the nanoantennas alter the refraction. (Purdue University Birck Nanotechnology Center image)

Improved Etching for Chips and 3D transistor materials to get to 10 nanometer features and five times faster conductance

1. University of Illinois researchers developed a method to chemically etch patterned arrays in the semiconductor gallium arsenide, used in solar cells, lasers, light emitting diodes (LEDs), field effect transistors (FETs), capacitors and sensors. Led by electrical and computer engineering professor Xiuling Li, the researchers describe their technique in the journal Nano Letters.


Metal-assisted chemical etching uses two steps. First, a thin layer of gold is patterned on top of a semiconductor wafer with soft lithography (left). The gold catalyzes a chemical reaction that etches the semiconductor form the top down, creating three-dimensional structures for optoelectronic applications (right).


Planning to breakthrough the Great Stagnation and enable the next layers of the Future

Economist Tyler Cowen makes the case that the pace of innovation has slowed, and that we are now on a "technological plateau" that makes further growth challenging. There is a detailed review by Chuck Crane.

The USA has eaten low hanging economic fruit since the 1700s.

1. Free land (Homestead Act, etc.)
2. Technological breakthroughs (electricity, motor vehicles, telephone, radio, television, computers etc.)
3. Smart, uneducated kids (who were made productive through excellent public education).
4. Cheap fossil fuels.

Unlocking Energy Innovation

The authors of Unlocking Energy Innovation describe four stages of energy innovation:

1. the creation of new options;
2. demonstration;
3. early adoption;
4. and the optimization of large-scale technologies.

The costs associated with each are vastly different, and they increase by roughly an order of magnitude as technologies are scaled up.

1. the creation of new options; Several billion dollars per year now and needs to be tens of billions of dollar per year.

2. demonstration; Tens of billions per year now and needs to be hundreds of billions.

3. early adoption; Needs to be hundreds of billions more than now

4. and the optimization of large-scale technologies. The world is spending $3 trillion per year on energy now and this will increase to about ten trillion per year in 2030

This analysis highlights one of the most challenging aspects of energy innovation: how to fund and select the demonstration and adoption of new technologies before they are commercially competitive. Lester and Hart call these "learning investments" and point out that they can cost billions of dollars.

NBF - You will know that the USA has gotten serious about reforming its energy industry when there is a funded plan to displace or radically overhaul all of the coal plants at the rate of at least 45 gigawatts per year within 5 years.

China's energy policy is operating at near the appropriate scale, but the US does not have large scale energy growth like China's 5-10% per year.

A global middle class world with a lot less extreme poverty in the 2020s

Brookings Institute have analyzed the poverty and project there could be fewer than 600 million living on less than $1.25 per day in 2015. In 2009, there were World Bank projections that there would be 1 billion living on less than $1.25 per day in 2015 and 800 million in 2020. Therefore, poverty statistics are catching up to the reality of an improved situation.


The World Bank has a different view, which likely has statistical errors which cause them to overestimate the poverty. Repeat - I believe the World Bank poverty numbers are too high.


Irregardless the trends are matching and by 2020, so long as India, China and Asia do not have sudden and massive economic underperformance there should be very few people living on less than $1.25/day in Asia. This would leave about 350 million people living with less than $1.25/day mainly in Africa. Nigeria is actually doing pretty well economically and is expected to account for 90-100 million of the extremely poor in 2015. If Nigeria continues to do well then they could make a lot of progress against poverty by 2020. A reachable positive scenario is to have less than 200 million living with less than $1.25/day.

It is also conceivable to have less than 1 billion living on less than $2/day in 2020. However, this is a tougher area to make a lot of progress. The reason being is that there are high levels of illiteracy in India and Africa. Someone who is 15 or over now and is illiterate will be 25 or older in 2020 and will be illiterate. India likely has 30-40% illiteracy. Some who are considered literate only have to be able to write their name. This is not true literacy.

Elon Musk says he will put millions of people on Mars

New Scientist - Musk declared recently that he could put a human on Mars in 10 to 20 years' time. It is a remarkable claim, yet even more astonishingly Musk tells me that he could do it for $5 billion, and possibly as little as $2 billion - a snip when you consider that the International Space Station (ISS) has cost at least $100 billion to build and operate, or that $2 billion is roughly the cost of launching four space shuttle missions.

UPDATE - This story is #4 and climbing on ycombinator hacker news

Musk doesn't just want to stop at one human. In his Heinlein prize acceptance speech, he said he wants to put 10,000 people on Mars. Musk rarely makes public statements merely for effect but a call for 10,000 would-be Martians is extraordinary, even by his standards. When I query him on this point, he pauses. Is he reconsidering? Yes... but, as with so much else about Musk, not in a predictable way. "Ultimately we don't really want 10,000 people on Mars," he says, after letting the pause linger a few seconds more. "We want millions."

Spacex Falcon Heavy

Innovative machine learning method with 90% accuracy predicts what is being watched and reactions

At UCLA's Laboratory of Integrative Neuroimaging Technology, researchers use functional MRI brain scans to observe brain signal changes that take place during mental activity. They then employ computerized machine learning (ML) methods to study these patterns and identify the cognitive state — or sometimes the thought process — of human subjects. The technique is called "brain reading" or "brain decoding."

In a new study, the UCLA research team describes several crucial advances in this field, using fMRI and machine learning methods to perform "brain reading" on smokers experiencing nicotine cravings.

The data from fMRI scans taken of the study participants was then analyzed. Traditional machine learning methods were augmented by Markov processes, which use past history to predict future states. By measuring the brain networks active over time during the scans, the resulting machine learning algorithms were able to anticipate changes in subjects' underlying neurocognitive structure, predicting with a high degree of accuracy (90 percent for some of the models tested) what they were watching and, as far as cravings were concerned, how they were reacting to what they viewed.

December 21, 2011

Paint on solar cells

A team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame has made a major advance toward pain on solar cells with an inexpensive “solar paint” that uses semiconducting nanoparticles to produce energy. “The best light-to-energy conversion efficiency we’ve reached so far is 1 percent, which is well behind the usual 10 to 15 percent efficiency of commercial silicon solar cells,” explains Kamat.

“By incorporating power-producing nanoparticles, called quantum dots, into a spreadable compound, we’ve made a one-coat solar paint that can be applied to any conductive surface without special equipment.”

The team’s search for the new material, described in the journal ACS Nano, centered on nano-sized particles of titanium dioxide, which were coated with either cadmium sulfide or cadmium selenide. The particles were then suspended in a water-alcohol mixture to create a paste.

When the paste was brushed onto a transparent conducting material and exposed to light, it created electricity.

ACS Nano - Sun-Believable Solar Paint. A Transformative One-Step Approach for Designing Nanocrystalline Solar Cells

World Bank Projects 883 million living on less than $1.25 a day in 2015 which is a big improvement from 1.4 billion in 2005

WorldBank - The number of people living on less than $1.25 (PPP 2005) a day is projected to be 883 million in 2015, compared with 1.4 billion in 2005 and 1.8 billion in 1990. Much of this progress reflects rapid growth in China and India, while many African countries are lagging behind: 17 countries are far from halving extreme poverty, even as the aggregate goals will be reached.

Some anti-poverty and children under 5 death reduction factors -
Each year of a mothers education reduces by 10% the chance of her children dying before the age of 5.

884 million people lack safe drinking water. 80% in rural areas

Access to clean sanitation goals appear out of reach for 2015.


Other have analyzed the poverty and have an even better picture where there will be fewer than 600 million living on less than $1.25 per day in 2015. In 2009, there were World Bank projections that there would be 1 billion living on less than $1.25 per day in 2015 and 800 million in 2020. Therefore, poverty statistics are catching up to the reality of an improved situation.

China increases poverty line to about $1.83 PPP per day and launches new anti-poverty programs

Economist- China raised its rural poverty line to 2,300 yuan a year. The World Bank's poverty line is not set at market exchange rates. It's $1.25 in 2005 Purchasing-Power-Parity (PPP) dollars.

According to the World Bank, 5.46 yuan in China in 2005 stretched about as far as $1.33 in America in the same year. (That's using the 2005 consumption PPP rate of 4.089.) So by that calculation, China's new poverty line is eight cents higher than the World Bank's.

However, China deems a person poor if their income is less than $1.33 (at 2005 PPP) a day. The World Bank says they're poor if their consumption is less than $1.25 a day.

In China, the PPP estimates are biased. They looked at prices in 11 Chinese cities. But China's cities are much more expensive than China's villages. China's new poverty line is equivalent not to $1.33 per day, but to $1.83 per day (1.334*1.37) in 2005 $PPP.


China has declared a target to provide every Chinese person with enough to eat and wear, as well as basic education and housing by 2020. China aims to remarkably reduce the number of poor people in four years time, and fundamentally eliminate poverty by 2020.

Overview and Status of SMRs Being Developed in the United States, China, Russia, and Korea

Overview and Status of SMRs Being Developed in the United States (17 pages)

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is preparing for SMR applications
•Has identified several generic issues in four primary categories:
–Licensing process
–Design requirements
–Operational requirements
–Financial implications

•Is aggressively working many of these issues with focus on LWR-based designs

•Expect non-LWR designs to require more review time, although some licensing experience exists


Westinghouse working on 225 MWe small modular reactors that can be constructed on 18 month schedule

Westinghouse is working on a 225 MWe small modular reactor (SMR). The 14-month-old SMR project a top internal priority at the company. Parts of the smaller reactor break down "like Lego's," said Mr. Anness, so the entire plant can be transported piece by piece on rail cars. The entire construction process is expected to take about 18 months, compared to several years needed for the AP1000.

The integral pressurized water reactor (iPWR) will be built underground in a hole that measures about 100 feet deep and 100 feet wide.

The AP1000 generates about 1,100 megawatts, while the light water SMR should generate 225.

An AP1000 facility needs about 50 acres; the SMR should need 15.

2 page fact sheet on the Westinghouse SMR

Reconfigurable Silicon Nanowire Transistors

Nanoletters - Over the past 30 years electronic applications have been dominated by complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) devices. These combine p- and n-type field effect transistors (FETs) to reduce static power consumption. However, CMOS transistors are limited to static electrical functions, i.e., electrical characteristics that cannot be changed. Here we present the concept and a demonstrator of a universal transistor that can be reversely configured as p-FET or n-FET simply by the application of an electric signal. This concept is enabled by employing an axial nanowire heterostructure (metal/intrinsic-silicon/metal) with independent gating of the Schottky junctions. In contrast to conventional FETs, charge carrier polarity and concentration are determined by selective and sensitive control of charge carrier injections at each Schottky junction, explicitly avoiding the use of dopants as shown by measurements and calculations. Besides the additional functionality, the fabricated nanoscale devices exhibit enhanced electrical characteristics, e.g., record on/off ratio of up to 1 × 10^9 for Schottky transistors. This novel nanotransistor technology makes way for a simple and compact hardware platform that can be flexibly reconfigured during operation to perform different logic computations yielding unprecedented circuit design flexibility.
The reconfigurable transistor’s core consists of a nanowire structure embedded in a silicon dioxide shell. Electrons or holes flow from the source at one end of the nanowire through two gates to the drain at the other end of the nanowire. One gate is used to program the p- or n-polarity, whereas the other gate tunes the conductance through the nanowire. Image credit: ©Namlab gGmbH

December 20, 2011

Hobbit Trailer

The first half of the prequel to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy will be out December 14, 2012






Carbon nanotube based device can convert laser to heat and to electricity and the laser can power devices through living tissue

A Photo-Thermal-Electrical Converter Based On Carbon Nanotubes for Bioelectronic Applications

A device based on carbon nanotubes wrapped with poly(3-hexylthiophene) (and dispersed in poly(dimethylsiloxane)) sheets can effectively convert laser light into thermal energy and subsequently to electricity. The converter is flexible and extremely compact (see picture), and can be manipulated by using a laser that functions in the wavelength range that can be transmitted through living tissue.

SRI has a cleaner and more economical means of converting coal to liquid fuel

Research from SRI International has identified a promising new way to produce liquid transportation fuels from coal without consuming water or generating carbon dioxide. Based on data from bench-scale tests, SRI engineers estimate that the capital cost for a full-scale plant using SRI’s process would be less than half that of a conventional coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant that uses a process called Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS). FTS produces only a small fraction of the hydrocarbons needed for fuel and requires extensive recycling.

SRI’s new process uses natural gas to provide the hydrogen needed to convert coal to syngas (a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen). Syngas is first converted into methanol, which can then be efficiently processed to make transportation fuels.

Using natural gas eliminates the need to add water as a source of hydrogen, reduces the need to add energy to drive the gasification reaction, and results in the use of a smaller gasifier. In conventional CTL approaches, energy is supplied by burning a portion of the coal feed, which then produces carbon dioxide. SRI’s approach makes it economical to use carbon neutral electricity, such as nuclear, hydro, or solar as a source of additional energy.

"The implications of this research are expansive, including enhancing US energy security through the use of domestic carbon sources," said Robert Wilson, Ph.D., director, Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory, SRI International. "The process can also dramatically reduce the environmental footprint associated with alternative transportation fuels."
If nuclear power, hydro or solar power is used then the new fuel would be cleaner than diesel


Burning the liquid fuel would still have air pollution but this would be a backstop against peak oil by using coal and natural gas and other electrical sources to replace oil.

Ultrafast laser pulses for manufacturing using cold ablation, diagnostics and other research.

Ultrafast laser pulses are used to create features and surface textures in metals, ceramics and other materials for applications including the manufacture of solar cells and biosensors. The lasers pulse at durations of 100 femtoseconds, or quadrillionths of a second, and cause electrons to reach temperatures greater than 60,000 degrees Celsius during the pulse duration. The pulses create precise patterns in a process called "cold ablation," which turns material into a plasma of charged particles.

Images taken with a high-speed camera show tiny mushroom clouds eerily similar in appearance to those created in a nuclear explosion. The clouds expand outward at speeds of 100 to 1,000 times the speed of sound within less than one nanosecond. However, new findings reveal that an earlier cloud forms immediately before the mushroom cloud, and this early plasma interferes with the laser pulses, hindering performance
This series of high-speed images shows how plasma expands when material is exposed to ultrafast laser pulses. Purdue researchers have discovered details that could help to harness the technology for applications in manufacturing, diagnostics and research. (Yung Shin, Purdue University School of Mechanical Engineering)

Applied Physics Letters - Early-Stage Plasma Dynamics with Air Ionization During Ultrashort Laser Ablation of Metal

Nerve growth factor gene therapy could prevent diabetic heart disease

New research has investigated if nerve growth factor (NGF) gene therapy can prevent diabetic heart failure and small vascular disease in mice.

The team investigated whether increasing the myocardial level of NGF by using adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors could prevent the diabetic heart from failure. AAVs are small non-enveloped, single-stranded DNA viruses that can potentially infect all cell types. They exist in different forms, allowing to better target different cells for gene therapy, including after AAV injection in a vein. Importantly, at variance from more popular viral vectors, AAVs allow for virtually permanent increased level of a therapeutic protein.

Professor Emanueli said: “Our study represents a major advance in tackling heart disease in diabetics, a leading cause of death in the western world. It also represents one important step forward in our goal for translating NGF-based therapies in cardiovascular patients.

25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.

* 79 million people are pre-diabetic.

* 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010.

* In 2004, heart disease was noted on 68% of diabetes-related death certificates among people aged 65 years or older.

* In 2004, stroke was noted on 16% of diabetes-related death certificates among people aged 65 years or older.

* Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.

In 2007, diabetes was listed as the underlying cause on 71,382 death certificates and was listed as a contributing factor on an additional 160,022 death certificates. This means that diabetes contributed to a total of 231,404 deaths.

Inertial Electrostatic Confinement Fusion 2011 Workshop

US-Japan Inertial Electrostatic Confinement Fusion 2011 Workshop presentations

Joel Rogers presented simulations of a p-11B Polywell power reactor that would reach breakeven at diameter 13 meter. (15 pages)

Last year Joel Rogers had an inferior design simulated that had a breakeven diameter of 300 meters.

Some of the improvements are described in Joel Rogers 2010 patent (Modular Apparatus for Confining a Plasma)

Aneutronic fusion is the holy grail of fusion power research. A new method of operating Polywell was developed which maintains a nonMaxwellian plasma energy distribution. The method extracts downscattered electrons and replaces them with electrons of a unique higher energy. The confined electrons create a stable electrostatic potential well which accelerates and confines ions at the optimum fusion energy, shown in the graph below. Particleincell(PIC) simulations proceeded in two steps; 1) operational parameters were varied to maximize power balance(Q) in a small scale steadystate reactor; and 2) the small scale simulation results were scaled up to predict how big a reactor would need to be to generate net power. Q was simulated as the ratio of fusionpoweroutput to drivepowerinput. Fusionpower was computed from simulated ion density and ion velocity. Powerinput was simulated as the power required to balance nonfusing ion losses. The predicted breakeven reactor size was 13 meter diameter. Bremsstrahlung losses were also simulated and found manageable.

Step-and-repeat nanoimprint lithography delivers 7 nanometer nanostructures and promises 4 nanometer features

Step-and-repeat nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is a promising technique to replicate nanoscale patterns at low cost across a large area. Last year, researchers Christophe Peroz and Scott Dhuey and coworkers demonstrated a simplified imprint process to replicate patterns with minimum size down to 14 nm across six inch wafers. To test the ultimate resolution of this process, a novel and robust strategy to fabricate NIL templates with sub-10 nm patterns was explored.

Feature sizes down to 4 nm

This strategy for fabricating very high-resolution molds combines the advantages of electron beam lithography (EBL) and atomic layer deposition (ALD). The first step consists of patterning hydrogen silsesquioxane gratings on a quartz template using EBL. Next, ALD is used to deposit highly conformal alumina films and reduce the final sizes of the trench patterns on the template. Atomic level control over thickness deposited by ALD allows the fabrication of molds with features sizes down to 4 nm. At such a small scale, the deposition rate is highly dependent on the size of the trench and is dramatically reduced for trenches smaller than 8.5 nm.
Scanning electron microscope pictures of gratings (a) on a nanoimprint template and (b) after imprinting and pattern transfer into silicon. High pattern fidelity is reported down to 7 nm.

Terahertz pulse increases electron density 1,000-fold

Researchers at Kyoto University have announced a breakthrough with broad implications for semiconductor-based devices. The findings may lead to the development of ultra-high-speed transistors and high-efficiency photovoltaic cells.

Working with standard semiconductor material (gallium arsenide, GaAs), the team observed that exposing the sample to a terahertz (1,000 gigahertz) range electric field pulse caused an avalanche of electron-hole pairs (excitons) to burst forth. This single-cycle pulse, lasting merely a picosecond (10^-12 s), resulted in a 1,000-fold increase in exciton density compared with the initial state of the sample.

"The terahertz pulse exposes the sample to an intense 1 MV/cm^2 electric field," explains Hideki Hirori, team leader and Assistant Professor at Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS). "The resulting exciton avalanche can be confirmed by a bright, near-infrared luminescence, demonstrating a three-order of magnitude increase in the number of carriers."

"Since terahertz waves are sensitive to water, our goal is to create a microscope that will allow us to look inside living cells in real time," says Prof. Tanaka. "These just-released results using semiconductors are an entirely different field of science, but they demonstrate the rich potential that lies in the study of terahertz waves."


(a) Generated THz pulses are focused onto the GaAs QWs sample, and the luminescence is detected by a CCD camera after it has passed through a spectrometer. (b) The geometry of the sample interfaces with air (nA=1), QWs (nQW=3.5) and a quartz substrate (nS=2.1). We assume here that the QWs with thickness (L=6 μm) on the quartz substrate has a homogeneous refractive index (nQW=3.5) represented by the average of the refractive indices of the wells (nw=3.6) and barriers (nb=3.4). ɛi(t, x) is incident THz electric field from the air. (c) Electron-initiated impact ionization transitions in the schematic GaAs band structure for momentum in the Δ direction. The lattice constant a of GaAs is 5.6 Å, and ±2π/a corresponds to ±1.1×1010 m−1. The diagram shows electrons and hole positions before and after the transition at the threshold.

Nature Communications - Extraordinary carrier multiplication gated by a picosecond electric field pulse

Bad Air pollutions days have mobilized some Chinese to push for better air pollution monitoring and controls

Item 3 describes the emergence of significant populist movements in China to push for better air pollution monitoring and controls. Item 1, 2 and 4 describe national and regional efforts to step up monitoring and air pollution controls in China.

1. Xinhuanet - China's environmental planning body is seeking to lower the levels of small particulate pollutants in key industrial regions and cities by about 10 percent by 2015, sources close to the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in November, 2011

And a new set of standards under discussion to evaluate air quality is likely to include readings of PM2.5, the tiny airborne pollutants smaller than 2.5 microns that cause haze and can travel deep into the lungs and damage human respiratory systems.

"China is among the worst polluted places by particulate matter in the world, and the concentration of PM2.5 in most Chinese cities is higher than the safe levels called for by air quality guidelines published by the World Health Organization," said Hao Jiming, a professor from the department of environmental science and engineering at Tsinghua University.

The country now only reports air quality based on readings of PM10, particulate matter smaller than 10 microns, which is why monitoring results do not match people's sense of pollution.


Atomic layer deposition or fuel cells needs 60 per cent less costly catalyst

cheaper method of manufacturing fuel cells. A noble metal nanoparticle catalyst for fuel cells is prepared using atomic layer deposition (ALD).This ALD method for manufacturing fuel cells requires 60 per cent less of the costly catalyst than current methods.

This is a significant discovery, because researchers have not been able to achieve savings of this magnitude before with materials that are commercially available, says Docent Tanja Kallio of Aalto University.

In the future, when production costs can be lowered, fuel cells are expected to power electric vehicles and replace batteries, among other things. Despite their high price, fuel cells have already been used for a long time to produce energy in isolated environments, such as space crafts. These results are based on preliminary testing with fuel cell anodes using a palladium catalyst. Commercial production could start in 5-10 years

Journal of Physical Chemistry C - Atomic Layer Deposition Preparation of Pd Nanoparticles on a Porous Carbon Support for Alcohol Oxidation

KIT Researchers Transfer the Concept of an Optical Invisibility Cloak to Sound Waves

Progress of metamaterials in nanotechnologies has made the invisibility cloak, a subject of mythology and science fiction, become reality: Light waves can be guided around an object to be hidden, in such a way that this object appears to be non-existent. This concept applied to electromagnetic light waves may also be transferred to other types of waves, such as sound waves. Researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now succeeded in demonstrating for the first time an invisibility cloak for elastic waves. Such waves also occur in strings of a guitar or drum membranes.

“Circling“ around the silent center: Design (top) and intermediate step of production (bottom) of the elastic invisibility cloak. (Graphics: AP, KIT)

December 19, 2011

IBM Reveals Five Innovations That Will Change Our Lives within Five Years

IBM formally unveiled the sixth annual “IBM 5 in 5" (#ibm5in5) – a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years:

1. People power will come to life

Advances in renewable energy technology will allow individuals to collect this kinetic energy, which now goes to waste, and use it to help power our homes, offices and cities.

Imagine attaching small devices to the spokes on your bicycle wheels that recharge batteries as you pedal along. You will have the satisfaction of not only getting to where you want to go, but at the same time powering some of the lights in your home.

Energy Harvesting shoes that could produce about 10 watts per shoe while walking are expected to become commercialized in 2014


Instepnanopower is the company that has been formed to commercialize this technology

Energy harvesting from MEMS devices will also power various sensors.

Solar Cell with external quantum efficiency of 114 percent

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have reported the first solar cell that produces a photocurrent that has an external quantum efficiency greater than 100 percent when photoexcited with photons from the high energy region of the solar spectrum. The fabrication of the high efficiency Quantum Dot Solar Cells is also amenable to inexpensive, high-throughput roll-to-roll manufacturing, which would potentially make them very affordable.

The external quantum efficiency for photocurrent, usually expressed as a percentage, is the number of electrons flowing per second in the external circuit of a solar cell divided by the number of photons per second of a specific energy (or wavelength) that enter the solar cell. None of the solar cells to date exhibit external photocurrent quantum efficiencies above 100 percent at any wavelength in the solar spectrum.

The external quantum efficiency reached a peak value of 114 percent. The newly reported work marks a promising step toward developing Next Generation Solar Cells for both solar electricity and solar fuels that will be competitive with, or perhaps less costly than, energy from fossil or nuclear fuels.

Science - Peak External Photocurrent Quantum Efficiency Exceeding 100% via MEG in a Quantum Dot Solar Cell

China increases solar power target for 2015 to 15 gigawatts and World projections for 2011 and 2015

China has set a target for installed solar power generating capacity to reach 15 gigawatts by 2015 and wind power capacity to hit 100 GW, China National Radio reported, citing an announcement from the National Energy Administration. The solar power capacity by 2015 to be 50 pct over previous plan from just earlier in 2011. Annual solar power output will reach 20 billion kilowatt hours by 2015 and wind power output 190 billion kWh.

The 15 GWp solar target would likely put China in 4th or 5th place in the world for solar power installations in 2015. Germany, Spain and likely Japan and the United States would have more solar power installations.

The earlier China energy plan was reported here

Targets disclosed early 2011           December, 2011 targets for 2015   
 Hydropower                250                              260   
 Wind                       90                              100   
 Solar                       5                               15   
 Bio-energy                 13                               13   
 Geothermal                N/A                                0.1   
 Tidal wave                N/A                           0.01-0.02   

Nuclear is targeted for 40 GW which is the equivalent of 200 GW of solar and 160 GW of wind. Higher capacity factor for nuclear.

Barrons Analyst predict markets and world economy

Barrons analysts predict the markets and world economy for 2012 and some into 2013

Wall Street strategists see U.S. stocks rising 12% next year, but most of the gains will come in the second half. Europe's response to its problems will call the tune. The outlook for the year ahead comes packaged with "if, then" caveats -- as in, if the European Union implodes, then stocks will fall, possibly by a lot.

The GDP growth forecasts are mostly about 1.5-2.5% in 2012 and about 2 % in 2013.



China's economic forecast depends upon how well the government can counter the slowing

1. Wall Street Journal - Why Predicting China’s Economic Growth is So Hard

Economic forecasts are underpinned by estimates of the potential growth rate of the economy, and it is here that the uncertainties start. Potential growth is determined by limits on the availability of labor, capital, and how effectively the two can be put together.

In the U.S. and major European economies, all those variables are known, or estimable with some degree of accuracy. In China, they are not. The number of rural workers waiting to make the trek from farm to factory, the size of the capital stock and the extent of productivity growth are all subject to considerable uncertainty.

What everyone agrees on is that China’s potential growth rate is slowing. But with so much disagreement on the basics of labor force and capital stock, predicting how far and how fast it will slow is no easy task. In practice, many economists simply look at the current growth rate and assume a gradual slowdown over the next decade.

Adding to the confusion, if business investment falls sharply – as it did in 2009 – there’s every chance the government will step up to the plate. That decision can have a huge impact. In 2009, it was massive public infrastructure investment that saved the day. But there’s no way that looking at historical trends would allow economists to forecast it.

The properties and applications of nanodiamonds

Nature Nanotechnology - Nanodiamonds have excellent mechanical and optical properties, high surface areas and tunable surface structures. They are also non-toxic, which makes them well suited to biomedical applications. Here we review the synthesis, structure, properties, surface chemistry and phase transformations of individual nanodiamonds and clusters of nanodiamonds. In particular we discuss the rational control of the mechanical, chemical, electronic and optical properties of nanodiamonds through surface doping, interior doping and the introduction of functional groups. These little gems have a wide range of potential applications in tribology, drug delivery, bioimaging and tissue engineering, and also as protein mimics and a filler material for nanocomposites.


Structure of a single nanodiamond particle


Quantum Computing Improves Magnetic Imaging Precision by ten times

Pitt physicists have been able to obtain higher-precision measurements with “single-electrons in-diamond” approach. The paper documents important progress towards realizing a nanoscale magnetic imager comprising single electrons encased in a diamond crystal.

They have used quantum computing methods to circumvent hardware limitations to view the entire magnetic field. By extending the field, the Pitt researchers have improved the ratio between maximum detectable field strength and field precision by a factor of 10 compared to the standard technique used previously. This puts them one step closer toward a future nanoscale MRI instrument that could study properties of molecules, materials, and cells in a noninvasive way, displaying where atoms are located without destroying them; current methods employed for this kind of study inevitably destroy the samples.


Top: lattice structure of an NV centre in diamond. Bottom: energy-level diagram of the NV centre showing the working microwave (MW) spin transition that is sensitive to the external field Bex

Nature Nanotechnology - High-dynamic-range magnetometry with a single electronic spin in diamond

NASA is moving towards the Space Launch System

NASA anticipates initiating a full and open competition for the advanced booster system in FY2015 with award anticipated in FY2016 and hardware delivery in the FY2019 timeframe. The 130-metric-ton, evolved SLS is slated for completion following the 2021 test flight.

The Space Launch system will end up costing tens to hundreds of billions of dollars more than alternative systems and will take many years longer to complete

There are other cost estimates that go as high as $62.5 billion to build and operate SLS through 2015. The $38 billion estimate to 2025 has been criticized as unrealistic. Just a simple projection of maintaining $3 billion per year to 2032 is $63 billion. Given the history of this kind of rocket development costs to 2032 are more likely to be $120-250 billion and there would be delays to 2035-2045.

Quantum Computing With Holograms

Arxiv - Quantum computing in a piece of glass (14 pages) The US Air Force is developing simple but reliable quantum computers that can be built with off-the-shelf components.

Quantum gates and simple quantum algorithms can be designed utilizing the diffraction phenomena of a photon within a multiplexed holographic element. The quantum eigenstates we use are the photon's linear momentum (LM) as measured by the number of waves of tilt across the aperture. Two properties of quantum computing within the circuit model make this approach attractive. First, any conditional measurement can be commuted in time with any unitary quantum gate - the timeless nature of quantum computing. Second, photon entanglement can be encoded as a superposition state of a single photon in a higher-dimensional state space afforded by LM. Our theoretical and numerical results indicate that OptiGrate's photo-thermal refractive (PTR) glass is an enabling technology. We will review our previous design of a quantum projection operator and give credence to this approach on a representative quantum gate grounded on coupled-mode theory and numerical simulations, all with parameters consistent with PTR glass. We discuss the strengths (high efficiencies, robustness to environment) and limitations (scalability, crosstalk) of this technology. While not scalable, the utility and robustness of such optical elements for broader quantum information processing applications can be substantial.

Volume holographic design of the 4-dimensional CNOT gate in PTR glass. The gate can be constructed by a stack of 4 LM gratings, or by a stack of two multiplexed gratings.

Technology Review - Quantum Computing With Holograms

In recent years, however, physicists have worked out how to make photons interact using interferometers and to carry out quantum computations using the output of one interferometer as the input for another.

The trouble is that interferometers are notoriously fickle. Sneeze and they need re-calibrating. So cascades of them tend to be hard to handle.

Today, Jonathan McDonald at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome New York, and a few pals reveal a way round this problem.

Their idea is to make holograms of interferometers so that their properties become 'frozen' in glass. This makes them much more stable.

December 18, 2011

The Friedlander Cold Crown –A Cold Trap For The Lunar Poles--Solid Oxygen For Lunar Capture And Export

Guest post by Joseph Friedlander

This article discusses the problem of preserving the Lunar vacuum despite huge industrial use. Lunar ‘atmosphere’ might frost out to an artificially enhanced ‘cold trap’ at the Lunar Poles. The proposed mega-engineering plan is to create 40 kilometer high walls around the lunar poles to make the poles colder and trap billions of tons of frozen oxygen.

The basic idea revolves around the fact that many polar craters have (for at least part of the year) so little sunlight (principally upon the rim) that simple seeing of a remote sunlit cliff above is enough to heat up and evaporate away any volatiles below upon the dark clefts of the polar crater floor. Shackleton’s floor has gotten down to 88-86 Kelvin, but oxygen sublimates over 54 Kelvin for example. (And as we shall see in this article, really above 21 Kelvin)


Kim Jong Il has reportedly died

North Korean leader Kim King Il has reportedly died of a heart attack.

Carnival of Nuclear energy 83

The Carnival of nuclear energy 83 is up at the ANS Nuclear cafe

Areva suspended work on the Eagle Rock Enrichment Plant in Idaho. Basically, the firm is over extended in terms of having enough investment capital to do everything on its plate. The $3 billion project has a conditional commitment for a $2 billion loan guarantee, an NRC license, and 70% of its future capacity sold to customers. Breaking ground seems like a no brainer, but a soft uranium market has spooked new CEO Luc Oursel who put the deal on ice.

In a review of recent events, Yurman questions the declaration on Dec 16 of “cold shutdown” by Japan Prime Minister Noda. The Fukushima site has three badly damaged reactors with the heat deformed fuel inside them in unknown configurations and the site is leaking radioactive water.

On the other hand, allowing evacuees to return to areas in a 13 mile ring around the plant, that are safe, is a prudent measure and will create some of the goodwill needed to restart the 46 closed nuclear reactors.

Royal Dutch Shell Game Changer Program is looking at Low Energy Nuclear Reactions

NewEnergy Times is reporting that Royal Dutch Shell, plc, (major oil company) is interested in exploring low-energy nuclear reaction research as a possible game-changer in the energy business. Two Shell scientists, Anitha Sarkar and Gilles Buchs, with the backing of the Shell GameChanger program, are looking for opportunities to work actively with LENR experts, according to a brief introduction the researchers prepared.

Edward Beardsworth, a venture capitalist at Jane Capital Partners in San Francisco, introduced the researchers to the field in a message to the CMNS e-mail list a couple of days ago.

Shell first has first looked into LENR research in 1995. In 1995, Shell sponsored LENR research at the French laboratory Laboratoire des Sciences Nucléaires at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM).