David Kirkpatrick

November 17, 2009

Incredible nanotech image — graphene

Filed under: et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:02 pm

I’ve done lots of blogging on the nanomaterial graphene, and here’s an incredible image of the atom-thick sheet of carbon:

A graphene sheet stretched across a gap in a semiconductor chip. Image: Kirill Bolotkin

And here’s a link to the PhysOrg article accompanying the image.

From the link:

Not only is this the thinnest material possible, but it also is 10 times stronger than steel and it conducts electricity better than any other known material at room temperature. These and graphene’s other exotic properties have attracted the interest of physicists, who want to study them, and nanotechnologists, who want to exploit them to make novel electrical and mechanical devices.

“There are two features that make graphene exceptional,” says Kirill Bolotin, who has just joined the Vanderbilt Department of Physics and Astronomy as an assistant professor. “First, its molecular structure is so resistant to defects that researchers have had to hand-make them to study what effects they have. Second, the electrons that carry  travel much faster and generally behave as if they have far less mass than they do in ordinary metals or superconductors.”

October 27, 2009

Tuesday video fun — world’s tiniest model train.

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:43 am

I’ll just leave this one with, “wow!”

If you want to read more about this amazing feat, hit this PhysOrg link.

August 6, 2009

Goin’ viral

Filed under: et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:49 pm

This is a very interesting PhysOrg article why some memes go viral and hit millions of eyeballs in mere hours.

From the link:

“There has been a lot of research done on social networks,” Esteban Moro tells PhysOrg.com. “However, until now it has been rare to get feedback from an actual performed experiment. Most research on social media is done with data that is inferred. But we have real experimental data for the basis of our model.” Moro is a scientist at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences at Carlos III University in Madrid, Spain. Along with José Luis Iribarren at an IBM division based in Madrid, Moro devised a viral marketing experiment that provides some quantitative conclusions about how something goes viral online. Their work appears in Physical Review Letters: “Impact of Human Activity Patterns on the Dynamics of Information Diffusion.”

“Most models of information diffusion through social media are based on the idea of homogeneity in human response,” Moro explains. According to Moro, most models are based around the average time that it takes for a person to respond to a request and then to pass it on. This model, while it might be useful in predicting some aspects of online marketing campaigns, does not adequately account for the reasons that some rumors, advertisements, content and even viruses suddenly explode worldwide in what is known as “going viral.”

Time dynamics of the biggest viral cascade, from Spain. Each "snapshot" represents the process at different times. The circles represent participates and the arrows describe the propagation of the message. Colors are meant to help you keep track of different stages of the message propagation. Image credit: Esteban Moro and José Luis Iribarren.

Time dynamics of the biggest viral cascade, from Spain. Each "snapshot" represents the process at different times. The circles represent participates and the arrows describe the propagation of the message. Colors are meant to help you keep track of different stages of the message propagation. Image credit: Esteban Moro and José Luis Iribarren.

August 4, 2009

A working DNA computer

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:17 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — Very cool news on the DNA computing front.

DNA computation gets logical
PhysOrg.com, Aug. 3, 2009

Weizmann Institute researchers have developed an advanced DNA computer capable of representing basic rules and facts and answering queries, using fluorescent molecules in some strands to light up in a combination of colors that represent answers.

 
Read Original Article>>

July 3, 2009

The latest in quantum computing

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:45 pm

Hot on the heels of a post about photonic computing, here’s the latest in quantum computing — using matter qubits for quantum memory.

From the second link:

Physicists Peter Maunz and coauthors from the University of Maryland Department of Physics and National Institute of Standards and Technology in College Park, Maryland, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, published their study in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

“Our work demonstrates a probabilistic remote entangling quantum gate,” Maunz told PhysOrg.com. “Remote entangling gates are an essential building block for quantum repeaters which facilitate quantum communication over long distances. Furthermore, the remote link established by the entangling gate could be used to interconnect remote quantum processors and thus could be an important additional possibility to scale a future quantum computer.”

As the scientists explain, their quantum gate works by entangling two ytterbium ions, each confined in its own trap positioned one meter apart. The scientists suspended the ions into either a one or a zero state using . The use of ion traps prevents anything from interacting with the ytterbium. This allows the ions to hold states of both zero and one simultaneously so that the ions function as qubits.

April 8, 2009

Nanotubes making Plexi stronger

A nanotech breakthroughwith immediate applications. Carbon nanotubes make PMMA plastic, used in manufacturing shatterproof glass-substitutes, more strong.

From the link:

The plastic, known as PMMA, is most commonly used to make shatterproof glass-substitute materials, such as the brands Plexiglas and Lucite. The researchers reinforced PMMA with both single-walled and multi-walled carbon nanotubes and found that, while both types were effective, the highest was achieved with the multi-walled nanotubes, which resemble several single-walled nanotubes nested together.

Bulk materials reinforced with nanostructures are the future of materials, beginning to replace composites made with micrometer-sized particles. Carbon nanotubes are a natural choice because they are exceptionally strong, and the multi-walled varieties are especially tough because of their more complex structures; they can contain up to 50 nested nanotubes.

A nanotube-enforced PMMA fiber being stretched, forming narrow “necks.” Image courtesty H. Daniel Wagner.

A nanotube-enforced PMMA fiber being stretched, forming narrow “necks.” Image courtesty H. Daniel Wagner.

March 20, 2009

Graphene to speed up microchips

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:36 pm

I’ve done plenty of blogging about graphene, and it’s about time for a new breakthrough. Graphene looks to be one of the nanomaterials that is readily translating into real-world applications.

Via KurzweilAI.net:

Graphene could lead to faster chips
PhysOrg.com, Mar. 19, 2009

New research findings at MIT could lead to microchips using graphene technology that allows them to operate at much higher speeds (in the 500 to 1,000 gigahertz range) than is possible with today’s standard silicon chips, leading to cell phones and other communications systems that can transmit data much faster.

 
Read Original Article>>

March 5, 2009

Invisibility cloak, part six

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:53 pm

I’ve done plenty of blogging on cloak of invisibility tech, and here’s the latest news from PhysOrg.

From the second link:

A paper published in the March 2009 issue of SIAM Review, “Cloaking Devices, Electromagnetic Wormholes, and Transformation Optics,” presents an overview of the theoretical developments in cloaking from a mathematical perspective.

One method involves light waves bending around a region or object and emerging on the other side as if the waves had passed through empty space, creating an “invisible” region which is cloaked. For this to happen, however, the object or region has to be concealed using a cloaking device, which must be undetectable to electromagnetic waves. Manmade devices called metamaterials use structures having cellular architectures designed to create combinations of material parameters not available in nature.

Mathematics is essential in designing the parameters needed to create metamaterials and to show that the material ensures invisibility. The mathematics comes primarily from the field of partial differential equations, in particular from the study of equations for electromagnetic waves described by the Scottish mathematician and physicist James Maxwell in the 1860s.

One of the “wrinkles” in the mathematical model of cloaking is that the transformations that define the required material parameters have singularities, that is, points at which the transformations fail to exist or fail to have properties such as smoothness or boundness that are required to demonstrate cloaking. However, the singularities are removable; that is, the transformations can be redefined over the singularities to obtain the desired results.

January 6, 2009

Improving nanotube production

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:45 pm

From KurzweilAI.net — The cycloparaphenylene “nanohoop” molecule is the shortest segment of a carbon nanotube and may pave the way toward better production methods for longer tubes, offering much greater precision and consistency.

 

A Better Way to Make Nanotubes
PhysOrg.com, Jan. 5, 2009

The newly synthesized cycloparaphenylene “nanohoop” molecule, the shortest segment of a carbonnanotube, could help grow much longer carbon nanotubesin a controlled way and in large batches, with each nanotube identical to the next.

This combination of precision and high yield will be needed if carbon nanotubes are to make the jump from the lab to the commercial sector. To replace silicon wafers in electronics, for example, they’ll need to be just as unblemished as silicon wafers, and just as easy to make in large numbers.

 
Read Original Article>>

December 28, 2008

Great Aussie Firewall

Very disappointing news from the land down under.

From the link:

Consumers, civil-rights activists, engineers, Internet providers and politicians from opposition parties are among the critics of a mandatory Internet filter that would block at least 1,300 Web sites prohibited by the government – mostly child pornography, excessive violence, instructions in crime or drug use and advocacy of terrorism.

Hundreds protested in state capitals earlier this month.

“This is obviously censorship,” said Justin Pearson Smith, 29, organizer of protests in Melbourne and an officer of one of a dozen Facebook groups against the filter.

The list of prohibited sites, which the government isn’t making public, is arbitrary and not subject to legal scrutiny, Smith said, leaving it to the government or lawmakers to pursue their own online agendas.

“I think the money would be better spent in investing in law enforcement and targeting producers of child porn,” he said.

Internet providers say a filter could slow browsing speeds, and many question whether it would achieve its intended goals. Illegal material such as child pornography is often traded on peer-to-peer networks or chats, which would not be covered by the filter.

“People don’t openly post child porn, the same way you can’t walk into a store in Sydney and buy a machine gun,” said Geordie Guy, spokesman for Electronic Frontiers Australia, an Internet advocacy organization. “A filter of this nature only blocks material on public Web sites. But illicit material … is traded on the black market, through secret channels.”

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy proposed the filter earlier this year, following up on a promise of the year-old Labor Party government to make the Internet cleaner and safer.

December 7, 2008

The religious fear nanotech

Filed under: Politics, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:45 pm

One more place religion holds modern society down — it seems the religious fear nanotechnology. Idiots.

This is also one more great reason to fight hard against the burgeoning theocratic movement in the GOP.

From the link:

When it comes to the world of the very, very small — nanotechnology — Americans have a big problem: Nano and its capacity to alter the fundamentals of nature, it seems, are failing the moral litmus test of religion.

In a report published today (Dec. 7) in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, survey results from the United States and Europe reveal a sharp contrast in the perception that nanotechnology is morally acceptable. Those views, according to the report, correlate directly with aggregate levels of religious views in each country surveyed

In the United States and a few European countries where religion plays a larger role in everyday life, notably Italy, Austria and Ireland, nanotechnology and its potential to alter living organisms or even inspire synthetic life is perceived as less morally acceptable. In more secular European societies, such as those in France and Germany, individuals are much less likely to view nanotechnology through the prism of religion and find it ethically suspect.

“The level of ‘religiosity’ in a particular country is one of the strongest predictors of whether or not people see nanotechnology as morally acceptable,” says Dietram Scheufele, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of life sciences communication and the lead author of the new study. “Religion was the strongest influence over everything.”

For more on this subject, see this post.

Head below the fold for the complete press release this post was based on.

(more…)

November 14, 2008

Atomic quantum computing

One more bullet for the quantum computing arsenal.

From the PhysOrg link:

“There are a number of different proposals for quantum computing,” Andrew Daley tells PhysOrg.com. “These include solid state or semiconductor as well as atomic and molecular systems. We are considering atomic systems, and more specifically alkaline earth metals.”

Daley is a physicist in the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Innsbruck and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Austria. He, along with Martin Boyd and Jun Ye at the University of Colorado, and Peter Zoller at Innsbruck, are proposing a quantum computing scheme that would make use of overlaying optical lattices to store information as well as perform computations. Much of this work was performed when the authors were guests at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and their ideas are shared in Physical Review Letters: “Quantum Computing with Alkaline-Earth-Metal Atoms.”

Electrons play a vital role in quantum computing with atoms, and when atoms are controlled with light, the electrons are also controlled. “That’s what makes alkali atoms nice to deal with,” says Daley. “They only have one valence electron, which makes the system really simple.” He then points out that alkaline earth metals offer an advantage over alkali atoms: “There are two electrons weakly bound. Even though the system is a little more complicated, there are some very nice properties.”

November 13, 2008

First plasma transistor

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a micro-sized plasma transistor. Big news for a number of applications, but particularly for high resolution displays in smaller devices.

From the link:

“As you might imagine, this first plasma transistor has not yet been engineered to the degree necessary for a commercial product,” Eden told PhysOrg.com. “Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that a microplasma transistor is advantageous in those situations requiring the transistor to handle high voltages and power. Unlike conventional transistors that can be damaged by a voltage transient, for example, the microplasma transistor is expected to be quite rugged because a gas (and plasma) cannot be ‘burnt.’”

In the plasma transistor, the electron emitter injects electrons in a controlled manner into the sheath of a partially ionized neon gas (the plasma). The scientists discovered that even a voltage as low as 5 volts can change the properties of the microplasma, including quadrupling the current and increasing the visible light emission.

By controllably altering the microplasma’s properties, the electron emitter effectively transforms the plasma microcavity device into a three-terminal transistor. Like a regular transistor, the microplasma transistor has the ability to control the current traveling through the terminals, and act as a switch or amplifier.

October 22, 2008

Moving toward quantum computing

Making headway, it seems. This is amazing — storing information inside the nucleus of an atom!

From the link:

The problem: How do you isolate a quantum bit from a noisy environment to protect the deli-cate quantum information, while at the same time allowing it to interact with the outside world so that it can be manipulated and measured?

The team, with scientists and engineers from Oxford and Princeton universities and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, reported a solution to this problem in the Oct. 23 issue of the journal Nature.

The team’s plan was to devise a hybrid system using both the electron and nucleus of an atom of phosphorous embedded in a silicon crystal. Each behaves as a tiny quantum magnet capa-ble of storing quantum information, but inside the crystal the electron is more than a million times bigger than the nucleus, with a magnetic field that is a thousand times stronger. This makes the electron well-suited for manipulation and measurement, but not so good for storing information, which can become rapidly corrupted. This is where the nucleus comes in: when the information in the electron is ready for storage, it is moved into the nucleus where it can survive for much longer times.

Go below the fold for a release from October 23 on this story.

(more…)

October 18, 2008

“Light Blossom” latest in street light tech

Filed under: Business, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:35 pm

Not surprisingly from Philips. They’ve really been pushing lighting innovations these days.

Hit this link for more the whole PhysOrg story.

From the link:

One solution to the urban lighting problem is a new concept called “Light Blossom,” designed by Philips Electronics. Light Blossom is an intelligent LED lighting system that can provide bright light when it senses people walking nearby, and decrease its luminosity when people aren’t around. The technology is also energy-efficient and operates off the grid, gathering solar and wind energy during the day to use for light at night.

During the day, Light Blossom works similar to a flower, opening its “petals” to collect solar energy. As the sun moves across the sky, the petals gradually reorient themselves so they’re facing the sun head-on to operate at maximum efficiency, similar to a sunflower.

On cloudy days when the wind is strong, the Light Blossom automatically converts its petals into an upward, open position that allows them to catch the wind. As the petals rotate, they transfer the motion to a built-in rotor that converts the motion to energy.

Pocket-Lint.

The Light Blossom collects energy from the sun and wind during the day. At night, the device glows dimly when no one is around, and brighter when it senses motion, such as people walking nearby. Image: Pocket-Lint.

 

Buckypaper sounds like a wild tech

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:26 pm

Check out this artcle from PhysOrg. Wow.

From the link:

It’s called “buckypaper” and looks a lot like ordinary carbon paper, but don’t be fooled by the cute name or flimsy appearance. It could revolutionize the way everything from airplanes to TVs are made.

Buckypaper is 10 times lighter but potentially 500 times stronger than steel when sheets of it are stacked and pressed together to form a composite. Unlike conventional composite materials, though, it conducts electricity like copper or silicon and disperses heat like steel or brass.

“All those things are what a lot of people in nanotechnology have been working toward as sort of Holy Grails,” said Wade Adams, a scientist at Rice University.

That idea – that there is great future promise for buckypaper and other derivatives of the ultra-tiny cylinders known as carbon nanotubes – has been floated for years now. However, researchers at Florida State University say they have made important progress that may soon turn hype into reality.

Buckypaper is made from tube-shaped carbon molecules 50,000 times thinner than a human hair. Due to its unique properties, it is envisioned as a wondrous new material for light, energy-efficient aircraft and automobiles, more powerful computers, improved TV screens and many other products

October 17, 2008

Transformation optics promise big payoff

It’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged on the possibility of a “cloak of invisibility,” so this PhysOrg article caught my eye. It covers a research field known as transformation optics, and the promise there is great. We’re talking the aforementioned cloak, plusultra-powerful microscopes and computers. All this is done by harnessing nanotechnology and “metamaterials.”

From the second link:

The field, which applies mathematical principles similar to those in Einstein’s theory of general relativity, will be described in an article to be published Friday (Oct. 17) in the journal Science. The article will appear in the magazine’s Perspectives section and was written by Vladimir Shalaev, Purdue’s Robert and Anne Burnett Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The list of possible breakthroughs includes a cloak of invisibility; computers and consumer electronics that use light instead of electronic signals to process information; a “planar hyperlens” that could make optical microscopes 10 times more powerful and able to see objects as small as DNA; advanced sensors; and more efficient solar collectors.

“Transformation optics is a new way of manipulating and controlling light at all distances, from the macro- to the nanoscale, and it represents a new paradigm for the science of light,” Shalaev said. “Although there were early works that helped to develop the basis for transformation optics, the field was only recently established thanks in part to papers by Sir John Pendry at the Imperial College, London, and Ulf Leonhardt at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and their co-workers.”

October 16, 2008

Black holes are violent

The more we learn about black holes, the more intense they sound. Here’s a report on the turbulent light — visual and X-ray — surrounding these phenomenae.

From the link:

The observations tracked the shimmering of the black holes simultaneously using two different instruments, one on the ground and one in space. The X-ray data were taken using NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer satellite. The visible light was collected with the high speed camera ULTRACAM, a visiting instrument at ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), recording up to 20 images a second. ULTRACAM was developed by team members Vik Dhillon and Tom Marsh. “These are among the fastest observations of a black hole ever obtained with a large optical telescope,” says Dhillon.

To their surprise, astronomers discovered that the brightness fluctuations in the visible light were even more rapid than those seen in X-rays. In addition, the visible-light and X-ray variations were found not to be simultaneous, but to follow a repeated and remarkable pattern: just before an X-ray flare the visible light dims, and then surges to a bright flash for a tiny fraction of a second before rapidly decreasing again.

Spam operation busted

Filed under: Business, et.al., Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:19 am

I knew my spam pretty much disappeared, and here’s the reason. Kudos to all law enforcement enforcement involved. Thank you.

From the link:

Steve Baker, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Midwest Region announces that the FTC has shut down one of the largest spam operations in the world Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008, at a news conference in Chicago. The complex network involved countries from New Zealand to China to the United States. Spammers sent out billions of e-mails encouraging people to click through to professional-looking Web sites, which allegedly used false claims to peddle prescription medication, “male enhancement” pills and weight-loss drugs, the FTC said.

October 14, 2008

Tiny bubbles …

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:06 pm

… on a nanoscale. Now that’s tiny. This PhysOrg story covers nanobubbles that form on surfaces underwater. They shouldn’t be able to exist, but they do.

From the link:

If a water-repellent material is submerged in water, nanobubbles can develop on its surface: extremely small air bubbles with a diameter of 50-200 nanometres and a thickness of 5-20 nanometres. These bubbles are so small they cannot even be seen with a normal microscope and that is why they were not discovered until a few years ago.

According to existing theories, these bubbles should really not exist at all, as the pressure inside them is so great that the gas they contain should be pressed out within a fraction of a second. It is still not understood why these bubbles can remain intact for hours. Once it is possible to manipulate the formation and properties of these bubbles, a whole range of applications becomes possible.

For example, the frictional resistance of flowing liquids is reduced by the bubbles, thus enabling them to be used as a lubricant in extremely narrow channels. This is of practical use in the development of the so-called ‘labs-on-a-chip’: a whole laboratory set-up, reduced to the size of a chip. Before these bubbles can be employed in this way, however, we have to understand them better and be able to determine exactly where they should develop.

University of Twente

A 3-D visualization of nanobubbles present on a hydrophobic surface. The bubbles have a diameter of only 50-200 nanometres and a thickness of 5-20 nanometres. Image: University of Twente

 

October 11, 2008

Flexible OLED offers new lighting options

Filed under: Business, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:28 pm

I’ve done a fair amount of blogging on OLEDs (hit this link for those posts and all my praise for the tech) so I do follow the developments and breakthroughs to a great extent. This application of Organic Light-Emitting Diodes is very exciting because it has the possibility of completely revolutionizing the concept of artificial lighting.

Plus it’s just plain cool.

From the second link:

On a bank of the Mohawk River, a windowless industrial building of corrugated steel hides something that could make floor lamps, bedside lamps, wall sconces and nearly every other household lamp obsolete. It’s a machine that prints lights.

The size of a semitrailer, it coats an 8-inch wide plastic film with chemicals, then seals them with a layer of metal foil. Apply electric current to the resulting sheet, and it lights up with a blue-white glow.

You could tack that sheet to a wall, wrap it around a pillar or even take a translucent version and tape it to your windows. Unlike practically every other source of lighting, you wouldn’t need a lamp or conventional fixture for these sheets, though you would need to plug them into an outlet.

The sheets owe their luminance to compounds known as organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs. While there are plenty of problems to be worked out with the technology, it’s not the dream of a wild-eyed startup.

OLEDs are beginning to be used in TVs and cell-phone displays, and big names like Siemens and Philips are throwing their weight behind the technology to make it a lighting source as well. The OLED printer was made by General Electric Co. on its sprawling research campus here in upstate New York. It’s not far from where a GE physicist figured out a practical way to use tungsten metal as the filament in a regular light bulb. That’s still used today, nearly a century later.

October 9, 2008

DNA-based nanotech

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:03 pm

From KurzweilAI.net — This is interesting nanotechnology news. Using cells to create DNA-based nanostructures inside a cell.

Using living cells as nanotechnology factories
PhysOrg.com, Oct. 8, 2008

Arizona State University and New York University researchers are using cells as factories to make DNA-based nanostructures inside a living cell.

They are using a phagemid, a virus-like particle that infects a bacteria cell. Once inside the cell, the phagemid uses the cell just like a photocopier machine. By theoretically starting with just a single phagemid infection, and a single milliliter of cultured cells, they found that the cells could churn out trillions of the DNA junction nanostructures.

 
Read Original Article>>

October 3, 2008

Nanotech and better LCD displays

From the lededisplays could become brighter, lighter, and thinner.

And from the second link:

Scientists Zhibing Ge and Shin-Tson Wu from the University of Central Florida in Orlando have presented their improved LCD design in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters. They used a nanowire grid polarizer (NWGP) for backlight recycling, which enhances the LCD’s optical efficiency and thereby reduces its power consumption.

“The method for fabricating large area wire-grid polarizers is advancing rapidly, benefiting from the huge research momentum of nano-imprinting technology,” Wu told PhysOrg.com. “Nowadays, it is possible to fabricate NWGPs with a pitch of 100 nanometers or smaller. Different from the reflective polarizers made from multilayer films, WGP is a grating structure which can exhibit a very high transmission contrast ratio. As a result, it holds potential for replacing the bottom sheet LP which is close to the backlight side in a LCD.”

October 2, 2008

Nanoscale image of fuel-cell nanoparticle

It may not be pretty, but it is pretty cool.

From the link:

In a step toward developing better fuel cells for electric cars and more, engineers at MIT and two other institutions have taken the first images of individual atoms on and near the surface of nanoparticles key to the eco-friendly energy storage devices.

Nanoparticles made of platinum and cobalt are known to catalyze some of the chemical reactions behind fuel cells, making those reactions run up to four times faster than if platinum alone is used as the catalyst.

Left image highlights two platinum-cobalt catalyst nanoparticles (inside the dashed boxes) with a 'sandwich' structure of platinum and cobalt atoms near the surface. At right is a cross-sectional model corresponding to the lower particle, showing platinum atoms enriched in the outermost layer, cobalt enriched in the second, and additional layers containing a mixture of the two. (Image at left taken at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.) Image courtesy / Electrochemical Energy Laboratory at MIT

Left image highlights two platinum-cobalt catalyst nanoparticles (inside the dashed boxes) with a 'sandwich' structure of platinum and cobalt atoms near the surface. At right is a cross-sectional model corresponding to the lower particle, showing platinum atoms enriched in the outermost layer, cobalt enriched in the second, and additional layers containing a mixture of the two. (Image at left taken at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.) Image courtesy / Electrochemical Energy Laboratory at MIT

Electrons and nuclei …

… are you ready for your close-up?

From the link:

Providing a glimpse into the infinitesimal, physicists have found a novel way of spying on some of the universe’s tiniest building blocks.Their “camera,” described this week in the journal Nature, consists of a special “flaw” in diamonds that can be manipulated into sensitively monitoring magnetic signals from individual electrons and atomic nuclei placed nearby.

The new work represents a dramatic sharpening of the basic approach used in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which ascertain chemical structures and image inside human bodies by scanning the magnetic activity of billions of individual nuclei. The new diamond-based magnetic sensor could enable novel forms of imaging, marrying NMR’s noninvasive nature with atomic-scale spatial resolution, potentially benefiting fields ranging from materials science, spintronics, and quantum information to structural biology, neuroscience, and biomedicine.

September 30, 2008

Nanotechnology does have drawbacks

As wonderful as all the various nanotechnology applications in medicine, science, technology and other industries are, there are drawbacks. Such as the well-known “gray goo” scenario.

Here’s another potential health issue with nanoparticles.

The release:

When particles are so small that they seep right through skin

Scientists are finding that particles that are barely there – tiny objects known as nanoparticles that have found a home in electronics, food containers, sunscreens, and a variety of applications – can breech our most personal protective barrier: The skin.

The particles under scrutiny by Lisa DeLouise, Ph.D., are almost unfathomably tiny. The particles are less than one five-thousandth the width of a human hair. If the width of that strand of hair were equivalent to the length of a football field, a typical nanoparticle wouldn’t even belly up to the one-inch line.

In the September issue of the journal Nano Letters, a team led by DeLouise at the University of Rochester Medical Center published a paper showing that nanoparticles pass through the skin of a living organism, a type of mouse commonly used as a model to study the damaging effects of sunlight.

It’s the strongest evidence yet indicating that some nanoparticles are so small that they can actually seep through skin, especially when the skin has been damaged.

The health implications of nanoparticles in the body are uncertain, said DeLouise, an assistant professor of Dermatology and Biomedical Engineering and an expert on the properties of nanoparticles. Other scientists have found that the particles can accumulate in the lymph system, the liver, the nervous system, and in other areas of the body. In her study, she found that the particles accumulate around the hair follicles and in tiny skin folds.

DeLouise, a chemist, points out that her study did not directly address the safety of nanoparticles in any way. “We simply wanted to see if nanoparticles could pass through the skin, and we found that they can under certain conditions,” she said.

DeLouise’s work is part of a broad field known as nanomedicine that is a strategic area at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The area includes research, like hers, looking at the properties of nanoparticles, as well as possibilities like new forms of drug delivery and nano-sensors that can immediately identify microbes and other threats to our health.

While nanoparticles are becoming widely used in the manufacture of consumer products, they are also under a great deal of study in research labs, and there are some processes – including ordinary candle flames – that produce them naturally. Some of the particles are so small, less than 10 nanometers wide (a nanometer is one-millionth of a millimeter), that they are nearly as small as the natural gaps between some skin cells.

In its paper in Nano Letters, the team studied the penetration of nanoparticles known as quantum dots that fluoresce under some conditions, making them easier to see and track compared to other nanoparticles. The scientists looked at the distribution of quantum dots in mice whose skin had been exposed to about the same amount of ultraviolet light as might cause a slight sunburn on a person. The team showed that while the nanoparticles were able to breech the skin of all the mice, the particles passed more quickly through skin that had been damaged by ultraviolet light.

Part of the explanation likely lies with the complex reaction of skin when it’s assaulted by the Sun’s rays. In response to ultraviolet light, cells proliferate, and molecules in the skin known as tight-junction proteins loosen so that new cells can migrate to where they’re needed. Those proteins normally act as gatekeepers that determine which molecules to allow through the skin and into the body, and which molecules to block. When the proteins loosen up, they become less selective than usual, possibly giving nanoparticles an opportunity to pass through the barrier.

In the future, DeLouise plans to study titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, two materials that are widely used in sunscreens and other cosmetic products to help block the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. In recent years the size of the metal oxide particles used in many consumer products has become smaller and smaller, so that many now are nanoparticles. The effects of the smaller particle size are visible to anyone who takes a walk on the beach or stops by the cosmetics counter at a department store: The materials are often completely transparent when applied to skin. A transparent lip gloss that protects against UV light, for example, or a see-through sunscreen may contain nanoparticles, DeLouise says.

“A few years ago, a lifeguard at the swimming pool wearing sunscreen might have had his nose completely covered in white. Older sunscreens have larger particles that reflect visible light. But many newer sunscreens contain nanoparticles that are one thousand times smaller, that do not reflect visible light,” said DeLouise, who noted that many people apply sunscreens after their skin has been damaged by sunlight.

###

Initial funding from two sources allowed the team to gather the evidence necessary to expand the project dramatically. DeLouise’s project was first funded by the University’s Environmental Health Sciences Center, which supported graduate student Luke Mortensen during his research. The University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute has also awarded $100,000 to the team, and DeLouise has just received $394,000 from the National Science Foundation to expand the project for the next three years. She will be working with dermatologist Lisa Beck, M.D., who is an expert in allergic skin disorders.

In addition to DeLouise and Mortensen, authors of the paper include Günter Oberdörster, Ph.D., professor of Environmental Medicine and a widely recognized authority on the bio-effects of nanoparticles. Oberdörster is director of the Particulate Matter Center, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, where scientists study the link between tiny air particles we breathe every day and our cardiovascular health. Dermatologist Alice Pentland, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology and an expert on how sunlight brings about skin cancer, was also an author.

PhysOrg covered this story here.

Solid state drive from Super Talent at $2.49 per gig

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:16 pm

Pretty nice price point for the latest in storage tech.

From the link:

Super Talent´s MasterDrive SSDs offer five times better resistance to shock and vibration, consumes less power, supports a wider range of operating temperatures and altitudes, and are completely silent.

Super Talent´s MasterDrive SSDs is backed by a 1-year warranty. The MasterDrive LX is built with NAND flash and uses a SATA-II 3Gbps interface that makes it 100% interchangeable with hard disk drives. These SSDs support sequential read speeds of up to 100 MB/sec, and sequential write speeds of up to 40 MB/sec. Integrated ECC, wear leveling and bad bit management functions dramatically improve the reliability and lifespan of these SSDs.

The FTM64GO25H model is Super Talent´s 64GB 2.5-inch SATA-II SSD with a read/write speed of 100/40 MB/sec and sells for $179. The FTM28GO25H is Super Talent´s 128GB 2.5-inch SATA-II SSD with a read/write speed of 100/40 MB/sec and sells for $299.

Protecting mobile devices

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:13 pm

This is a pretty cool award-winning invention from Maverick Mobile.

From the link:

Maverick Secure Mobile software installs in the hardware of mobile telephones, not in the changeable SIM cards that identify users to telecom service providers.

The application runs in an unseen “hidden mode” in mobile telephones, encrypting contact numbers and other data if crooks puts new SIM cards in the handsets.

The India-based firm’s software also retrieves contact lists from devices and sends new SIM card telephone number and location data to mobile telephones designated by original owners.

The application also sends copies of any telephone numbers a thief has called and copies of text messages he or she may send.

“And its all sent using their data plan, so the best part is the thief pays for it,” Jain said.

Owners of stolen devices are given the power to disable stolen mobile telephones or make them play blaring alarms that only stop when the batteries are out. Replacing a battery re-initiates the irritating sound.

Secure Mobile was given a “Demogod” award as one of the top launches at the Southern California event.

Breakthrough on sheets of carbon nanotubes

From KurzweilAI.net — the latest in nanotech. Sheets of commercially viable carbon nanotubesfrom the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the NanoTech Institute of the University of Texas at Dallas.

Breakthrough for carbon nanotube materials
PhysOrg.com, Sep. 29, 2008CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) and the NanoTech Institute of the University of Texas at Dallas have achieved a major breakthrough in the development of a commercially viable manufacturing process for large sheets of a range of materials made from carbon nanotubes.

They demonstrated that synthetically made carbon nanotubes can be commercially manufactured into transparent sheets that are stronger than steel sheets of the same weight.

Starting from chemically grown, self-assembled structures in which nanotubes are aligned, the sheets are produced at up to seven meters per minute.

 
Read Original Article>>

September 29, 2008

TiVo for the PC

Digital video recorders are one piece of tech I honestly thought I didn’t really need or want. I finally ended up with TiVo several years ago because it just came with my latest set-top box.

I Couldn’t Live Without It Now. No joking, it’s one of the few products that the hype is less than the impact of its utility. The marketing is absolutely correct.

Here’s a release on the lastest from TiVo and Nero.

The release:

Nero and TiVo Deliver the Ultimate DVR Experience on the PC

Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC Brings Digital Entertainment Freedom to Consumers with the Award Winning TiVo® Service

KARLSBAD, Germany & ALVISO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nero, creators of liquid media technology, and TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO), the creator of and a leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVRs), announced today the unveiling of Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC. This new offering revolutionizes the way consumers experience television by offering an enhanced TiVo DVR experience directly from the PC.

In recent years the amount of digital entertainment content available to average consumers has exploded, said Bruce McGregor, senior analyst, Digital Home Services for Current Analysis. Consumers have increasingly conformed to using mobile devices and the PC as sources of video entertainment; as a result they are looking for ways to port their favorite television content onto multiple mobile formats. There is an emerging opportunity for a PC-based DVR service that offers easy access to television content on a wide variety of devices.

With Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC, consumers can watch and pause live TV on their desktop, record their favorite shows directly to their hard drive, transfer shows between computers throughout the home, or enjoy their favorite shows on-the-go by exporting them to iPod®, PlayStation® Portable (PSP®), or burning them to DVD. Now the TiVo experience can be enjoyed on the PC, including TiVo features like WishList® searches, Season Pass® recordings, TiVo KidZone, and TiVo Suggestions.

For more than a decade, the worlds largest mobile and consumer electronics brands have trusted Nero for technology leadership and category creation, said Udo Eberlein, CEO, Nero AG. Now, with Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC, we are providing a next-generation DVR application that integrates the renowned TiVo service with the PC. This solution is truly a platform on which our vision for liquid media where content can be easily accessed anytime, anywhere, and on any device — will become a reality.

Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC is designed for ease of use. No technical expertise is required to install the software on any PC with the Windows XP or Windows Vista operating system. The full retail solution comes complete with everything that the consumer needs to share the TV experience throughout their digital home: a TiVo PC remote; a TV tuner card to allow television signals to be received by the PC; and an IR Blaster to create a wireless, infrared connection between the cable or satellite box and the PC. It also comes with a one-year subscription to the award-winning TiVo service, which automatically finds and digitally records a users favorite shows.

Nero has done a superb job of bringing the TiVo experience to the PC, and have done so in a way that lives up to the rich TiVo legacy, said Tom Rogers, CEO and President, TiVo. To be able to extend the features of TiVo to a new platform without compromising the integrity of what has made TiVo such a revolutionary product is a significant achievement, one we know both new and old fans of TiVo will love.

Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC with one year of TiVo service will be available in the U.S., Canada and Mexico in October 2008 with a suggested retail price of $199 USD for a retail box or $99 USD for a downloadable software-only version. TiVo service subscription renewal is on an annual basis at $99 a year. The retail box, containing a tuner card, TiVo remote control and IR blaster, will be available at participating retailers in the U.S. and Canada. The software-only version will be available for download to the U.S. Canada and Mexico online at www.nero.com.

About Nero

Nero, the creator of liquid media technology, enables liquid content creation and distribution anytime, anywhere, and on any device. The company provides consumers with the freedom to simply enjoy their music, photos, and videos, regardless of hardware or file format, by taking a unique platform neutral, standards-based approach to solution development. More than 300 million units of Neros trusted software solutions are used in the home, on the go, and professionally. Nero also provides strategic partners with cutting-edge applications, codecs, tools, software development kits, and programming interfaces for use with a variety of the latest platforms and devices. Products are available globally through hardware manufacturers, international partners, retailers, and directly through the Nero Online Shop at www.nero.com.

Headquartered in Karlsbad, Germany, Nero maintains regional offices in: Karlsbad, Germany; Glendale, Calif., USA; Yokohama, Japan; and development centers in Karlsbad, Germany and Hangzhou, China.

About TiVo

Founded in 1997, TiVo (Nasdaq:TIVO) pioneered a brand new category of products with the development of the first commercially available digital video recorder (DVR). Sold through leading consumer electronic retailers and TiVo.com, TiVo has developed a brand which resonates boldly with consumers as providing a superior television experience. Through agreements with leading satellite and cable providers, TiVo also integrates its DVR service features into the set-top boxes of mass distributors. TiVo’s DVR functionality and ease of use, with such features as Season Pass(TM) recordings and WishList(R) searches and TiVo KidZone, have elevated its popularity among consumers and have created a whole new way for viewers to watch television. With a continued investment in its patented technologies, TiVo is revolutionizing the way consumers watch and access home entertainment. Rapidly becoming the focal point of the digital living room, TiVo’s DVR is at the center of experiencing new forms of content on the TV, such as broadband delivered video, music, and photos. With innovative features, such as TiVoToGo(TM) transfers and online scheduling, TiVo is expanding the notion of consumers experiencing “TiVo, TV your way.(R)” The TiVo(R)service is also at the forefront of providing innovative marketing solutions for the television industry, including a unique platform for advertisers and audience research measurement.

Nero® is a trademark of Nero AG and its subsidiaries. Any other product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. © 2008 Nero. All rights reserved.

TiVo, “TiVo, TV your way.” Season Pass, WishList, TiVoToGo, and the TiVo Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of TiVo Inc.’s subsidiaries worldwide. (C) 2008 TiVo Inc. All rights reserved

Here’s the PhysOrg.com take on this story.

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