Archive for the ‘engineering’ category

Sep 20, 2020

Geoengineering Is the Only Solution to Our Climate Calamities

Posted by in categories: climatology, engineering

Altering Earth’s geophysical environment is a moon shot—and it will be the only way to reverse the damage done. It’s time to take it more seriously.

Sep 20, 2020

Former NASA Astronaut will be Commander of Axiom’s civilian flight aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, law, space travel

Featured image source: NASA / spacex

Axiom Space Inc. is a Houston, Texas start-up, founded by Michael Suffredini who served as NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) Program Manager from 2005 to 2015. He was responsible for overseeing ISS transition from assembly to the initiation of commercial operations. Axiom is mostly staffed by NASA ex-employees, including former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. – “The leadership team also includes world-class, specialized expertise in commercial utilization of microgravity, on-orbit operations, astronaut training, space financing, engineering, space system architecture/design/development, space medicine, marketing, and law,” the company states. Together, they are all working towards the commercialization of space.

Axiom aims to build a space station in low Earth orbit to continue operations once NASA retires the ISS program and moves beyond the orbiting laboratory to focus operations on the lunar surface. The company also offers spaceflights for regular civilians to experience microgravity and amazing views of Earth from ISS. “While making access to Low Earth Orbit global during the remainder of ISS’ lifetime, Axiom is constructing the future platform that will serve as humanity’s permanently growing home, scientific and industrial complex in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) – the cornerstone of human activity in space,” company states on its website.

Sep 20, 2020

Quantum Enhanced Atomic Force Microscopy: Squeezed Light Reduces Noise

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, quantum physics

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory used quantum optics to advance state-of-the-art microscopy and illuminate a path to detecting material properties with greater sensitivity than is possible with traditional tools.

“We showed how to use squeezed light – a workhorse of quantum information science – as a practical resource for microscopy,” said Ben Lawrie of ORNL’s Materials Science and Technology Division, who led the research with Raphael Pooser of ORNL’s Computational Sciences and Engineering Division. “We measured the displacement of an atomic force microscope microcantilever with sensitivity better than the standard quantum limit.”

Unlike today’s classical microscopes, Pooser and Lawrie’s quantum microscope requires quantum theory to describe its sensitivity. The nonlinear amplifiers in ORNL’s microscope generate a special quantum light source known as squeezed light.

Continue reading “Quantum Enhanced Atomic Force Microscopy: Squeezed Light Reduces Noise” »

Sep 16, 2020

ESA awards €129.4 million contract to planetary defence mission Hera

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, engineering, existential risks

Darmstadt, 15 September 2020. – The European Space Agency (ESA) awarded a €129.4 million contract covering the design, manufacturing and testing of Hera, the space agency’s first mission for planetary defence, ESA announced today.

The contract was signed by Franco Ongaro, ESA Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality, and Marco Fuchs, CEO of Germany space company OHB, prime contractor of the Hera consortium, ESA said today. The signing took place at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, which will serve as mission control for the 2024-launched Hera.

The mission will be Europe’s contribution to an international asteroid deflection effort, set to perform sustained exploration of a double asteroid system, ESA said.

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Sep 9, 2020

Transistor-integrated cooling for a more powerful chip

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering

Managing the heat generated in electronics is a huge problem, especially with the constant push to reduce the size and pack as many transistors as possible in the same chip. The whole problem is how to manage such high heat fluxes efficiently. Usually, electronic technologies, designed by electrical engineers, and cooling systems, designed by mechanical engineers, are done independently and separately. But now, EPFL researchers have quietly revolutionized the process by combining these two design steps into one: They’ve developed an integrated microfluidic cooling technology together with the electronics that can efficiently manage the large heat fluxes generated by transistors. Their research, which has been published in Nature, will lead to even more compact electronic devices and enable the integration of power converters, with several high-voltage devices, into a single chip.

The best of both worlds

In this ERC-funded project, Professor Elison Matioli, his doctoral student Remco Van Erp, and their team from the School of Engineering’s Power and Wide-band-gap Electronics Research Laboratory (POWERLAB), began working to bring about a real change in designing by conceiving the electronics and together, right from the beginning. The group sought to extract the very near the regions that heat up the most in the . “We wanted to combine skills in electrical and mechanical engineering in order to create a new kind of device,” says Van Erp.

Sep 9, 2020

Black Hole Plasma Conditions Created on Earth – Laser Briefly Uses 1,000 Times the Electric Consumption of the Entire Globe

Posted by in categories: cosmology, engineering, particle physics

One of the world’s largest petawatt laser facility, LFEX, located in the Institute of Laser Engineering at Osaka University. Credit: Osaka University.

Laser Engineering at Osaka University have successfully used short, but extremely powerful laser blasts to generate magnetic field reconnection inside a plasma. This work may lead to a more complete theory of X-ray emission from astronomical objects like black holes.

In addition to being subjected to extreme gravitational forces, matter being devoured by a black hole can be also be pummeled by intense heat and magnetic fields. Plasmas, a fourth state of matter hotter than solids, liquids, or gasses, are made of electrically charged protons and electrons that have too much energy to form neutral atoms. Instead, they bounce frantically in response to magnetic fields. Within a plasma, magnetic reconnection is a process in which twisted magnetic field lines suddenly “snap” and cancel each other, resulting in the rapid conversion of magnetic energy into particle kinetic energy. In stars, including our sun, reconnection is responsible for much of the coronal activity, such as solar flares. Owing to the strong acceleration, the charged particles in the black hole’s accretion disk emit their own light, usually in the X-ray region of the spectrum.

Continue reading “Black Hole Plasma Conditions Created on Earth – Laser Briefly Uses 1,000 Times the Electric Consumption of the Entire Globe” »

Sep 9, 2020

Kondo physics in antiferromagnetic Weyl semimetal films

Posted by in categories: engineering, particle physics, quantum physics

Emerging quantum materials can be defined by topology and strong electron correlations, although their applications in experimental systems are relatively limited. Weyl semimetals incorporating magnetism offer a unique and fertile platform to explore emerging phenomena in developing topological matter and topological spintronics. The triangular antiferromagnet Mn3Sn exhibits many exotic physical properties as an antiferromagnetic (AFM) Weyl semimetal (WSM), including an attractively large spontaneous Hall effect.

The spontaneous Hall effect was discovered more than a century ago and understood in terms of time-reversal symmetry breaking by the internal spin structure of antiferromagnetic, ferromagnetic or skyrmionic (small swirling topological defects in the magnetization) forms.

In a new report now published on Science Advances, Durga Khadka and a team of scientists in physics, , neutron research and engineering in the U.S. reported the synthesis of epitaxial Mn3+x Sn1−x films with compositions similar to bulk samples. When they replaced the tin (Sn) atoms with magnetic manganese (Mn) atoms in the samples, they noted the Kondo effect; a celebrated example of strong correlations to emerge, then develop coherence and induce a hybridization energy gap. The process of magnetic doping and gap opening facilitated rich extraordinary properties for the new materials.

Sep 3, 2020

Forbes 30 under 30 Asia Innovators 2020 from Pakistan Create PakVitae for the World

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, food

Rabia Nusrat, an environmental engineering student, Global UGRAD alumni, in her final year at University of Engineering and Technology, UET, Lahore, Pakistan and the first ideaXme public interviewer, interviews Shayan Sohail Sarwar, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Innovator and Chief Technology Officer PakVitae.


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Sep 2, 2020

Structural Controllability Predicts Functional Patterns and Brain Stimulation Benefits Associated with Working Memory

Posted by in categories: engineering, neuroscience

The brain is an inherently dynamic system, and much work has focused on the ability to modify neural activity through both local perturbations and changes in the function of global network ensembles. Network controllability is a recent concept in network neuroscience that purports to predict the influence of individual cortical sites on global network states and state changes, thereby creating a unifying account of local influences on global brain dynamics. While this notion is accepted in engineering science, it is subject to ongoing debates in neuroscience as empirical evidence linking network controllability to brain activity and human behavior remains scarce. Here, we present an integrated set of multimodal brain–behavior relationships derived from fMRI, diffusion tensor imaging, and online repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) applied during an individually calibrated working memory task performed by individuals of both sexes. The modes describing the structural network system dynamics showed direct relationships to brain activity associated with task difficulty, with difficult-to-reach modes contributing to functional brain states in the hard task condition. Modal controllability (a measure quantifying the contribution of difficult-to-reach modes) at the stimulated site predicted both fMRI activations associated with increasing task difficulty and rTMS benefits on task performance. Furthermore, fMRI explained 64% of the variance between modal controllability and the working memory benefit associated with 5 Hz online rTMS. These results therefore provide evidence toward the functional validity of network control theory, and outline a clear technique for integrating structural network topology and functional activity to predict the influence of stimulation on subsequent behavior.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The network controllability concept proposes that specific cortical nodes are able to steer the brain into certain physiological states. By applying external perturbation to these control nodes, it is theorized that brain stimulation is able to selectively target difficult-to-reach states, potentially aiding processing and improving performance on cognitive tasks. The current study used rTMS and fMRI during a working memory task to test this hypothesis. We demonstrate that network controllability correlates with fMRI modulation because of working memory load and with the behavioral improvements that result from a multivisit intervention using 5 Hz rTMS. This study demonstrates the validity of network controllability and offers a new targeting approach to improve efficacy.

Sep 1, 2020

U.S. geoengineering research gets a lift with $4 million from Congress

Posted by in categories: engineering, government

Studies will explore controversial cooling approaches.

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