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1 Jan 2012

By using optical equipment in a totally unexpected way, MIT researchers have created an imaging system that makes light look slow.

MIT researchers have created a new imaging system that can acquire visual data at a rate of one trillion exposures per second. That’s fast enough to produce a slow-motion video of a burst of light traveling the length of a one-liter bottle, bouncing off the cap and reflecting back to the bottle’s bottom.

Media Lab postdoc Andreas Velten, one of the system’s developers, calls it the “ultimate” in slow motion: “There’s nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera,” he says.

Trillion-frame-per-second video - [Link]

25 Dec 2011

[1112.5154] Observation of a new chi_b state in radiative transitions to Upsilon(1S) and Upsilon(2S) at ATLAS – [via]

The chi_b(nP) quarkonium states are produced in proton-proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV and recorded by the ATLAS detector. Using a data sample corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 4.4 fb^-1, these states are reconstructed through their radiative decays to Upsilon(1S,2S) with Upsilon->mu+mu-. In addition to the mass peaks corresponding to the decay modes chi_b(1P,2P)->Upsilon(1S)gamma, a new structure centered at a mass of 10.539+/-0.004 (stat.)+/-0.008 (syst.) GeV is also observed, in both the Upsilon(1S)gamma and Upsilon(2S)gamma decay modes. This is interpreted as the chi_b(3P) system.

New particle indentified at LHC – The Chi-b 3P boson - [Link]

24 Dec 2011

Scientists at Chalmers, Sweden, have succeeded in creating light from vacuum – observing an effect first predicted over 40 years ago. The results have been published in the journal Nature. In an innovative experiment, the scientists have managed to capture some of the photons that are constantly appearing and disappearing in the vacuum.

The experiment is based on one of the most counterintuitive, yet, one of the most important principles in quantum mechanics: that vacuum is by no means empty nothingness. In fact, the vacuum is full of various particles that are continuously fluctuating in and out of existence. They appear, exist for a brief moment and then disappear again. Since their existence is so fleeting, they are usually referred to as virtual particles.

Chalmers scientist Christopher Wilson and his co-workers have succeeded in getting photons to leave their virtual state and become real photons, i.e. measurable light. The physicist Moore predicted way back in 1970 that this should happen if the virtual photons are allowed to bounce off a mirror that is moving at a speed that is almost as high as the speed of light. The phenomenon, known as the dynamical Casimir effect, has now been observed for the first time in a brilliant experiment conducted by the Chalmers scientists. [via]

Light created from vacuum - [Link]

13 Dec 2011

From the Cambridge Digital Library – [via]

Cambridge University Library holds the largest and most important collection of the scientific works of Isaac Newton (1642-1727). We present here an initial selection of Newton’s manuscripts, concentrating on his mathematical work in the 1660s. Over the next few months we will be adding further works until the majority of our Newton Papers are available on this site.

Newton was closely associated with Cambridge. He came to the University as a student in 1661, graduating in 1665, and from 1669 to 1701 he held the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics. Under the regulations for this Chair, Newton was required to deposit copies of his lectures in the University Library. These, and some correspondence relating to the University, were assigned the classmarks Dd.4.18, Dd.9.46, Dd.9.67, Dd.9.68, and Mm.6.50.

Cambridge to put Isaac Newton Collection Online - [Link]

12 Dec 2011

engadget.com writes:

The honor of having your own Google Doodle is bestowed upon only a few very special individuals like Gregor Mendel, Alexander Calder and Lucille Ball. Today’s entrant celebrates the 82nd birthday of the late Robert “Bob” Noyce, co-inventor of the microchip. After co-founding Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, he mentored younger engineers to earn the nickname “the Mayor of Silicon Valley.” Surf on over to the Google homepage and you’ll see its logo imprinted over a microprocessor, which Bob helped to birth.

Google doodle celebrates Robert Noyce; Intel co-founder and ‘Mayor of Silicon Valley’ - [Link]

10 Dec 2011

Nanostructure, fluorinated silica coating repels water and oil effectively – [via]

Eyeglasses need never again to be cleaned, and dirty windscreens are a thing of the past! Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz and the Technical University Darmstadt are now much closer to achieving this goal. They have used candle soot to produce a transparent superamphiphobic coating made of glass. Oil and water both roll off this coating, leaving absolutely nothing behind. Something that even held true when the researchers damaged the layer with sandblasting. The material owes this property to its nanostructure. Surfaces sealed in this way could find use anywhere where contamination or even a film of water is either harmful or just simply a nuisance.

A transparent coating that’s very good at repelling water and oil, as is now being presented by the Mainz-based researchers, could not only keep water and dirt away from the lenses in glasses and car windscreens, but also, for example, from the glass facades of skyscrapers. It could also prevent residues of blood or contaminated liquids on medical equipment.

Never wipe your glasses again - [Link]

29 Nov 2011

How the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover) will land

Giant Mars rover set for Saturday launch – [via]

NASA’s biggest and most advanced Mars rover is scheduled for launch Saturday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Curiosity is packed with 10 science experiments to determine whether Mars has ever been suitable for life and to find clues about past life forms that may have been preserved in rocks. NASA says Curiosity won’t answer the age-old questions about life on Mars, but it will provide important information that will guide future missions.

The launch was originally scheduled for Friday, but the mission team will take an extra day to remove and replace a flight termination system battery, NASA said.

Curiosity is expected to spend about two years roaming Mars, hunting things researchers say are essential for life to grow: liquid water, key chemicals used by living organisms and an energy source.

The rover will blast off Saturday atop an Atlas V rocket and is scheduled to land in August 2012 in the Gale Crater. The first opportunity for launch is 10:02 a.m. EST; the window lasts an hour and 43 minutes.

If the launch is postponed, NASA has until December 18 to get the spacecraft off the ground.

Giant Mars rover set for Saturday launch - [Link]

28 Nov 2011


The US space agency (Nasa) has released the sharpest ever elevation map of the Moon.

It will enable scientists to accurately portray the shape of the entire Moon at a higher resolution than ever before.

The map was produced using data sent back by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft, which was launched in June 2009.

It reveals troughs and bumps over nearly the entire Moon with a pixel scale close to 100m (328 ft).

A single measure of elevation (one pixel) on the map is roughly the size of two football pitches placed side-by-side.

“Our new topographic view of the Moon provides the dataset that lunar scientists have waited for since the Apollo era,” said Dr Mark Robinson, chief scientist on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), one of LRO’s instruments.

Dr Robinson, from Arizona State University in Tempe, added: “We can now determine slopes of all major geologic terrains on the Moon at 100m scale, determine how the crust has deformed, better understand impact crater mechanics, investigate the nature of volcanic features, and better plan future robotic and human missions to the Moon.”

NASA Releases Highest Resolution Ever Topographic Moon Map - [Link]

26 Nov 2011

A team at Stanford’s School of Engineering has demonstrated an ultrafast nanoscale light-emitting diode (LED) that is orders of magnitude lower in power consumption than today’s laser-based systems and is able to transmit data at the very rapid rate of 10 billion bits per second.

The researchers say it is a major step forward in providing a practical ultrafast, low-power light source for on-chip data transmission.

Stanford’s Jelena Vuckovic, an associate professor of electrical engineering, and Gary Shambat, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering, announced their device in a research paper set to be published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. [via]

Nanophotonics LED achieves ultrafast data transmission rates - [Link]

17 Nov 2011

New technology improves both energy capacity and charge rate in rechargeable batteries.

EVANSTON, Ill. — Imagine a cellphone battery that stayed charged for more than a week and recharged in just 15 minutes. That dream battery could be closer to reality thanks to Northwestern University research.

A team of engineers has created an electrode for lithium-ion batteries — rechargeable batteries such as those found in cellphones and iPods — that allows the batteries to hold a charge up to 10 times greater than current technology. Batteries with the new electrode also can charge 10 times faster than current batteries.

The researchers combined two chemical engineering approaches to address two major battery limitations — energy capacity and charge rate — in one fell swoop. In addition to better batteries for cellphones and iPods, the technology could pave the way for more efficient, smaller batteries for electric cars.

The technology could be seen in the marketplace in the next three to five years, the researchers said.

A paper describing the research is published by the journal Advanced Energy Materials.

“We have found a way to extend a new lithium-ion battery’s charge life by 10 times,” said Harold H. Kung, lead author of the paper. “Even after 150 charges, which would be one year or more of operation, the battery is still five times more effective than lithium-ion batteries on the market today.”

New technology improves both energy capacity and charge rate in rechargeable batteries - [Link]





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