By Alison Gillespie – Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have produced and precisely measured a spectrum of X-rays using a new, state-of-the-art machine. The instrument they used to measure the X-rays took 20 years to develop, and will help scientists working at the agency make some of the world’s most accurate measurements of materials for use in everything from bridges to pharmaceuticals.
The process of building the instrument for making the new measurements was painstaking. “This new specialized precision instrument required both a tremendous amount of mechanical innovation and theoretical modeling,” said James Cline, project leader of the NIST team that built the machine.
“That we were able to dedicate so many years and such high-level scientific expertise to this project is reflective of NIST’s role in the world of science.” more> https://goo.gl/e0zrET
Posted in Economic development, Education, Energy & emissions, Nature, Science, Technology
Tagged Copper X-ray emission spectrum, Electronics, Industrial economy, NIST, Physics, Technology, Test & measurement
Physicists Are ‘Breeding’ SchröDinger’s Cat, And It Could Reveal The Limits of The Quantum World
By Bec Crew – Physicists have figured out how to ‘breed’ Schrödinger’s cat – an object in a quantum superposition of two states with opposite properties – to produce enlarged versions that could one day reveal the limits of the quantum world.
If they can continue to breed their ‘cats’ even bigger, the experiment could finally reveal the exact point at which objects switch between classical and quantum physics – the divide between the microscopic and macroscopic worlds that physicists have been chasing for decades.
The original Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment states that if you put a live cat in an explosion-proof box with a bomb, until you open the box, you’ll have no idea if the bomb exploded and the cat died. Or maybe the bomb didn’t explode and the cat is still alive.
From our perspective, as long as the box is shut, the cat is occupying two realities. It’s both dead and alive, because we can’t confirm which one, but we know it can’t be neither.
This isn’t just a hypothetical question – in quantum physics, being in two different states at the same time is known as a superposition state, and it’s the entire basis of quantum computing, which is set to revolutionise how we process data in the future. more> https://goo.gl/XMFMB6
Surprising twist in confined liquid crystals: A simple route to developing new sensors
By Karthik Nayani, Jinxin Fu, Rui Chang, Jung Ok Park, and Mohan Srinivasarao – To answer some fundamental questions pertaining to the material’s phase behavior, the researchers used the microscopes to observe the molecules’ textures when they were confined to droplets known as tactoids.
“Surprisingly, we found a configuration that hasn’t been seen before in the 70 years that people have been studying liquid crystals,” said Mohan Srinivasarao, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering. “Historically, liquid crystals in tactoids conform to what is known as a bipolar and a bipolar configuration with a twist. At lower concentrations, we found that these liquid crystals arrange in a concentric fashion, but one that appears to be free of a singular defect.”
The researchers then used a simple model of the aggregation behavior of these molecules to explain these surprising results. Further, spectroscopic experiments using polarized Raman microscopy were performed to confirm their findings.
These new findings add to the growing understanding of how chromonic liquid crystals could be used in sensing applications, Srinivasarao said. more> https://goo.gl/YVq0TE
- “First Arrival” Hypothesis in Darwin’s Finches Gets Some Caveats, John Toon.
- Controlling a Robot is Now as Simple as Point and Click, Jason Maderer
- Swarms of Autonomous Aerial Vehicles Test New Dogfighting Skills, John Toon
- Siemens Opens Innovation Center in Tech Square, Laura Diamond
- Behind the Iron Curtain: How Methane-Making Microbes Kept the Early Earth Warm, John Toon
- Georgia Tech Researcher Honored with Alan T. Waterman Award, John Toon
- When It Comes to Size, Sound Matters in Ads, Josh Brown
- New 3-D Printing Method Creates Shape-Shifting Objects, Josh Brown
- Women of Robotics, Jason Maderer
- Major League Machines
- Creating the Next in Robotics, Jason Maderer
- Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, UVA Win at ACC InVenture Prize, Laura Diamond
- Warped Reality: virtual Trip to Hyperbolic Space, John Toon
- Hair Spacing Keeps Honeybees Clean During Pollination, Jason Maderer
- Exosomes Have a Sense of Urgency, Jerry Grillo
- Georgia Tech Launches Big IDEaS in Data Science, Jennifer Salazar
- The Perfect Patient, Stacy Braukman
By W. Zhu, J.P. Winterstein, W.D. Yang, L. Yuan, R. Sharma and G. Zhou – Using a state-of-the-art microscopy technique, experimenters at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues have witnessed a slow-motion, atomic-scale transformation of rust—iron oxide—back to pure iron metal, in all of its chemical steps.
In a new effort to study the microscopic details of metal oxide reduction, researchers used a specially adapted transmission electron microscope (TEM) at NIST’s NanoLab facility to document the step-by-step transformation of nanocrystals of the iron oxide hematite (Fe2O3) to the iron oxide magnetite (Fe3O4), and finally to iron metal.
By lowering the temperature of the reaction and decreasing the pressure of the hydrogen gas that acted as the reducing agent, the scientists slowed down the reduction process so that it could be captured with an environmental TEM—a specially configured TEM that can study both solids and gas. The instrument enables researchers to perform atomic-resolution imaging of a sample under real-life conditions—in this case the gaseous environment necessary for iron oxides to undergo reduction–rather than under the vacuum needed in ordinary TEMs. more> https://goo.gl/8lJIAH
Posted in Economic development, Economy, Education, Nature, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Electronics, Industrial economy, NIST, Physics, Technology, Transmission electron microscope
Launch times draw near for Aalto satellites
By Jaan Praks – The Aalto-2 satellite, designed and built by students, is ready and waiting to be launched inside the Cygnus space shuttle at the Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex in the US.
On 22 March, the shuttle will be launched with an Atlas V booster rocket up to the orbiting international space station, where the astronauts will release it later to orbit independently.
Aalto-2 will take part in the international QB50 Mission, the aim of which is to produce the first ever comprehensive model of the features of the thermosphere, the layer between the Earth’s atmosphere and space. Dozens of satellites constructed in different countries will also be part of the mission.
Construction of the Aalto-2 satellite began in 2012 as a doctoral project when the first students graduated as Masters of Science in Technology after working on the Aalto-1 project.
Since the start of the Aalto-1 project in 2010 and the Aalto-2 project two years later, around a hundred new professionals have been trained in the space sector. The impact is already visible in the growth of space sector start-up companies. more> https://goo.gl/yKLrez
Posted in Business, Construction, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, Nature, Net, Science, Technology
Tagged Aalto University, Business improvement, Construction, Earth, Ecology, Electronics, Manufacturing, Space, Technology
By Geoff Tate – The cost and the time to design ASSP/ASIC/SoCs keeps rising.
Also, customers are demanding more flexibility in chips so their systems can be upgraded for critical changes (such as protocols/standards), which increases the useful life of their systems and increases their ROI.
For example, in data centers, customers are now seeking reconfigurability. Rather than a fork-lift upgrade when standards evolve, data centers want programmable chips so they can upgrade the data center’s ability during the life of the center without touching the hardware. This also gives the data center the option to customize for added competitive advantage. As Doug Burger of Microsoft said at a recent talk at FPL 2016, (Re)Configurable Clouds will change the world with the ability to reprogram a datacenter’s hardware protocols: networking, storage, security. Adding FPGA technology into the mix is a key in doing this. Embedded FPGA technology is now available to increase performance while lowering cost and power.
Another example is microcontrollers. In older process nodes such as 90nm where mask costs are cheap, a line card can have dozens or hundreds of versions. This offers each customer the small differences in, for example, the number and types of serial interfaces (SPI, I2C, UART, etc). However, now that leading edge microcontrollers are moving to 40nm where masks cost $1M each, microcontroller manufacturers need a programmable way to customize their chips and offer multiple SKUs. Adding this capability also opens the path for their customers to customize the MCUs themselves, similar to how they now write C code for the on-board processors. There are a few microcontrollers today, such as Cypress’ PSoC, which offer some limited customizability. However, only embedded FPGA can provide more and scalable customizability. more> https://goo.gl/9xx7sC
Posted in Broadband, Communication industry, Economic development, Education, Net, Product, Technology
Tagged Broadband, Business improvement, Electronics, FPGA, Manufacturing, Technology
By Paul Blanchard – Up to now, our technological progress has largely been a matter of trial and error. We make something new, evaluate its performance, then alter some part of the fabrication process and see whether it performs better or worse, all without direct knowledge of what is changing at the atomic level.
But if we could see what’s going on at that scale—if we could map out each individual atom and understand the role that it plays—we could create new and better materials not through blind experimentation, but through design.
For all that we’ve been able to accomplish while ignoring them, the fact is that individual atoms matter. The speed of a transistor, the efficiency of a solar cell, and the strength of an I-beam are ultimately determined by the configuration of the atoms inside. Today, new and improved microscopy techniques are getting us closer and closer to the goal of being able to see each and every atom within the materials we make—a very exciting prospect.
Over the past three years, I’ve been lucky enough to be part of a team working with one such new and improved microscopy technique, a method called 3-D atom probe tomography, or APT for short. APT is very different from conventional microscopy—at least, the sort of microscopy that I’m accustomed to. In conventional microscopy, we shine a beam of light particles or electrons on our specimen, whatever it is we want to look at, and create a magnified image using lenses or by mapping how our beam bounces off it.
In atom probe tomography, on the other hand, we don’t just look at our specimen—we literally take it apart, atom-by-atom. more> https://goo.gl/c0VdE3
Posted in Economic development, Education, How to, Nature, Science, Technology
Tagged 3-D atom probe tomography, APT, Electronics, Physics, Technology, Test & measurement