August 15, 2009

Titanium Manufacturing With Eight Times Lower Cost

Finished Titanium parts from Titanium Hydride can be over 8 times cheaper than regular titanium manufacturing. ($25/lb versus $213/lb)

A titanium powder developed during a DOE/GIPP project appears to produce a product with mechanical properties sufficient for a propulsion application from a very low-cost press and sinter process

* Could replace costly ingot processed forgings
- Eliminates yield loss associated with ingot forging
- Greater than 50% cost reduction predicted from yield savings alone
* Unique properties are developed during sintering of TiH2
- High density –critical to fatigue initiation
- Fine-grain size –import to reduce fatigue crack propagation

* Cummins Inc. has identified a relevant application using the Ti6Al4V alloy and provided the requirements to adequately assess the performance of the press/sinter/forged bars produced from TiH2

Test bars are to be fabricated at the commercialization partner of the DOE/GIPP project, ADMA Products Inc. ADMA has been producing approximately 35,000 lbs of TiH2powder per year in the Ukraine.

Diesel Gas Mix for More Efficiency and Supercritical Diesel

Green bars are the engine efficiency. Conventional diesel on the left is 44% and the the best gas-diesel mix would be 53% efficient. Less heat trasfer and exhaust thermal losses.

1. What if an engine could be programmed to harvest the best properties of both diesel and gasoline fuel sources at once, on the fly, by blending the fuels within the combustion chamber? Based on tests by the University of Wisconsin-Madison engine research group would be a diesel engine that produces significantly lower pollutant emissions than conventional engines, with an average of 20 percent greater fuel efficiency as well. These dramatic results came from a novel technique Reitz describes as "fast-response fuel blending," in which an engine's fuel injection is programmed to produce the optimal gasoline-diesel mix based on real-time operating conditions.

28 page pdf presentation on "Improving Fuel Efficiency with Fuel-Reactivity-Controlled Combustion"

Under heavy-load operating conditions for a diesel truck, the fuel mix in Reitz' fueling strategy might be as high as 85 percent gasoline to 15 percent diesel; under lighter loads, the percentage of diesel would increase to a roughly 50-50 mix. Normally this type of blend wouldn't ignite in a diesel engine, because gasoline is less reactive than diesel and burns less easily. But in Reitz' strategy, just the right amount of diesel fuel injections provide the kick-start for ignition.

Reitz estimates that if all cars and trucks were to achieve the efficiency levels demonstrated in the project, it could lead to a reduction in transportation-based U.S. oil consumption by one-third.

The engine operates at much lower combustion temperatures because of the improved control — as much as 40 percent lower than conventional engines — which leads to far less energy loss from the engine through heat transfer. Second, the customized fuel preparation controls the chemistry for optimal combustion. That translates into less unburned fuel energy lost in the exhaust, and also fewer pollutant emissions being produced by the combustion process.

The best results achieved 53 percent thermal efficiency in the experimental test engine. This efficiency exceeds even the most efficient diesel engine currently in the world — a massive turbocharged two-stroke used in the maritime shipping industry, which has 50 percent thermal efficiency.

The United States consumes about 21 million barrels of oil per day, about 65 percent (13.5 million barrels) of which is used in transportation. If this new blended fuel process could convert both diesel and gasoline engines to 53 percent thermal efficiency from current levels, the nation could reduce oil consumption by 4 million barrels per day, or one-third of all oil destined for transportation.

Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) is a form of internal combustion in which well-mixed fuel and oxidizer (typically air) are compressed to the point of auto-ignition. [wikipedia]

PCCI - Premixed Charge Compression Ignition PCCI patent

A dual fuel HCCI/PCCI concept is proposed by the University of Wisconson-Madison Engine Research Center (working with Sandia National Lab and Caterpillar)
-Port fuel injection of gasoline (cost effective)
-Direct injection of diesel fuel (moderate injection pressure)
-Possibility of traditional diesel or SI (with spark plug) operation retained for full load operation
• PCCI operation at 6, 9, and 11 bar net IMEP was achieved with near zero NOx and soot and a reasonable PRR
• 53% indicated thermal efficiency was achieved while meeting US 2010 EPA standards in-cylinder

2. Use of Supercritical Diesel Fuel for Improved Efficiency and Reduced Emissions Researchers at Syracuse University (New York) have developed a method to prepare, inject and combust supercritical (SC) diesel fuel.

The Syracuse team expects that the implementation of their concept—which is patented—will enable:

* Near complete combustion of diesel fuel and recovery of up to 50% of the exhaust heat;
* elimination of ~80% of criteria pollutants and a significant reduction of the air thermal impact;
* downsizing (smaller combustion chambers for the same torque and power);
* minimizing the parasitic pumping of large excess air; and the elimination of after-treatment systems

Tunable Electromagnetic Gateway : Light and Electromagnetics Blocked but Corridor is Filled with Air

A simple route to a tunable electromagnetic gateway from the New Journal of Physics (13 page pdf)

Transformation optics is used to design a gateway that can block electromagnetic waves but allows the passage of other entities. Our conceptual device has the advantage that it can be realized with simple materials and structural parameters and can have a reasonably wide bandwidth. In particular, we show that our system can be implemented by using a magnetic photonic crystal structure that employs a square array of ferrite rods, and as the field response of ferrites can be tuned by external magnetic fields, we end up with an electromagnetic gateway that can be open or shut using external fields. The functionality is also robust against the positional disorder of the rods that make up the photonic crystal.

Very recently, it has been demonstrated that the double negative medium (DNM) can be realized with a simple array of ferrite rods without any metallic components, which can be used to implement the present gateway. The original isotropic material (the blue region in the picture has a large value of permittivity, "0 = −10 000 and μ0 = 1, which may be treated approximately as a perfect electric conductor (PEC).

The amplified scattering effect can be utilized to make an invisible gateway [19]. Suppose that a PEC wall separates the whole space into two regions, the upper domain and the lower domain. If there are channels (or gateways) opened in the PEC wall, people in the two different spaces can communicate with each other, both physically and through electromagnetic (EM) waves. However, if we replace the doors with the described configuration at a specific frequency, the communication for that frequency will be blocked because the systems behave like PECs. The most amazing fact is that the channel is in fact physically empty. There is nothing but air in the channel so objects can ‘walk through’ but the channel is blocked as perceived by the eye because light at the designated frequency cannot penetrate

Abstract: transformation optics can do more than making invisibility cloaks, it can actually generate all sorts of optical illusion effects.

Nanohands, Fully Controlled Janus Particles and Cell sized Assembly Line


Duke University engineers say they can for the first time control all the degrees of the particle's motion, opening up broad possibilities for nanotechnology and device applications. Their unique technology should make it more likely that Janus particles can be used as the building blocks for a myriad of applications, including such new technologies as electronic paper and self-propelling micromachines. The researchers have dubbed the unique particles they created "dot-Janus" particles. It may also be possible to control the behavior of cells by manipulating dot-Janus particles attached to cell surfaces. [This will go well with the next item in this article of assembly lines for producing cell sized lipid microspheres.

Using optical traps on dot-Janus particles, researchers controlled three degrees of movement – up and down, left and right, forward and backward, while constraining one degree of rotation - side-to-side tilting. Using magnetic fields, they controlled the remaining two degrees of rotation - forward and backward tilting, and left and right turning. The solution was to create a particle with a small cap of cobalt that covers about a quarter of the particle. This gave the particle just enough of a magnetic handle to allow it to be manipulated by magnetism without interfering with the optical tweezers.

Duke engineers was to devise a fabrication strategy to coat the particle with a much smaller fraction of material. This discovery allows these particles to be compatible with optical traps and external magnetic fields, allowing for total control over the particles' positions and orientations.

"Past experiments have only been able to achieve four degrees of control using a combination of magnetic and optical techniques," said Nathan Jenness, a graduate student who completed his studies this year from Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. He and co-author Randall Erb, also a graduate student, were first authors of a paper appearing online in the journal Advanced Materials. "We have created a novel Janus particle that can be manipulated or constrained with six degrees of freedom."

2. A production line for uniform lipid-coated microspheres has been created by Japanese scientists.

The team's high-throughout production method uses a microfluidic device consisting of a main channel lined with small chambers. To prepare the device, it is first filled with an aqueous solution containing the material that will make up the vesicles' contents. Oil is then flowed through the device's main channel. This washes the aqueous solution out of the channel, trapping the water in the chambers where a monolayer forms at the interface of the oil and water. The aqueous solution then re-enters the main channel, replacing the oil and pushing some of it down into the top of each of the chambers. A layer of lipid forms here, squashed between the two aqueous layers, with a monolayer at both the 'water'-oil interfaces.

Next, a continuous stream of another aqueous solution is pushed through the main channel, and a gentle flow of the original aqueous solution allowed to enter from bottom of each of the chambers. The flow across the chamber entrance combined with the gentle flow upwards from bottom of the chamber causes the lipid layer to thin out, and the two monolayers to form one bilayer. The shear force combined with the upwards flow of aqueous solution means the lipid bilayer is pulled/pushed up into the fast flowing stream of aqueous solution in the device's main channel. The shear force of the flow on the deformed bilayer eventually leads to a vesicle being pulled off from the leading edge of the bilayer. This process then continues, releasing 'perfectly' sized and shaped vesicles at regular intervals

2. EU-funded NanoHand project uses mobile microrobots equipped with delicate handling tools. NanoHand builds on the work of ROBOSEM, an earlier EU project that developed the basic technologies that are now being put into effect. The robots, about two centimetres in size, work inside a scanning electron microscope where their activities can be followed by an observer. Each robot has a ‘microgripper’ that can make precise and delicate movements. It works on an electrothermal principle to open and close the jaws, much like a pair of tweezers.
The jaws open to about 2 micrometres and can pick up objects less than 100 nanometres in size. “[It is] really able to grip micro or even nano objects,” Eichhorn says. “We have handled objects down to tens of nanometres.”

August 14, 2009

Phase Change Memory Roadmap, Spintronic Memory and Other Possible Flash Replacements

Numonyx CTO Ed Doller thinks Phase Change Memory (PCM) will need three to five more years to attain widespread adoption.

Random lantency in a PCM device is 17 times faster than Flash memory and over 3000 times faster than a hard drive. The biggest drawback in PCM is the price, which is about 10 times higher than DRAM at this point. The pricing, however, will come down over time and as fabricating processes become improved. PCM chips use the same material, chalcogenide, that is used inside to store data in rewritable optical disks. But instead of using a laser to change the properties of the material and thus create the zeros and ones that make up data, the chips use electricity that flows through a resistor. The resistor heats up and does the job of the laser, changing the materials' properties to represent a zero or a one.

In Feb 2009, Numonyx had taped out a 1Gbit PCM die using 45nm process technology. Numonyx has a 32nm process apparently planned for 2010. Doller also said that IBM researchers had demonstrated workable PCM dies with a 5nm process.

Others promising new memory technology are CMOx, a multilevel scRAM (storage-class RAM) chip; STT RAM (spin-transfer torque RAM); TAS-MRAM (thermally assisted switching magnetic RAM); and Hewlett-Packard's memristor.

CMOx—Startup Unity Semiconductor is pushing CMOx, a multilayer flash chip that promises four times the density and five to 10 times the write speed of today's high-end NAND flash.

Darrell Rinerson, co-founder and CEO of Unity, said the company has developed a 64GB CMOx (metal oxide) chip and describes it as a "passive rewritable cross-point memory array" with no transistors in the memory cell. CMOx is next-generation nonvolatile memory based on a proprietary switching effect that occurs in certain metal-oxide combinations. The 64GB chips are scheduled for pilot production in late 2010, with volume production set for 2011.

TAS-MRAM—This is being developed by startup Crocus Technology. As one of the most promising "spintronics" applications, MRAM combines the advantages of high writing and reading speed, limitless endurance and nonvolatility. The integration of MRAM in FPGA (field-programmable gate array) allows the logic circuit to rapidly configure the algorithm, the routing and logic functions, and easily realize the dynamical reconfiguration and multicontext configuration. It is nonvolatile, faster than SRAM (static RAM), potentially cheap, and features low power consumption and a high integration level.

Field-Induced MRAM (Toggle MRAM)—Historically, Field-Induced MRAM is hard to scale and has stability and retention problems. But Crocus, which is also working on this, aims to solve these problems using a thermally activated magnetic latch called Thermally Assisted Switching. This allows each flash cell to retain memory value. It also apparently scales well.

STT-RAM—Grandis, another chip startup, is championing this one. Grandis claims its proprietary Spin-Transfer Torque RAM technology has all the characteristics of an ideal "universal memory" and represents a breakthrough over first-generation, field-switched MRAM technology. Also known as SpinRAM, STT-RAM's synthesis of nonvolatility, fast read and write speed, unlimited endurance, and extendibility beyond the 45-nanometer semiconductor node provides significant advantages over conventional memory technologies and allows system designers to develop new products with high performance, low power consumption and low cost, according to Grandis.

HP's Memristor—HP Senior Fellow and Director of Quantum Science Research Stan Williams, speaking at the conference, described the technology this way: "This is sort of the missing element of the processor puzzle. It takes its place alongside the resistor, capacitor and inductor in the chip. An ideal memristor is a passive two-terminal electronic device that is built to express only the property of memristance (just as a resistor expresses resistance and an inductor expresses inductance)." In summary, let's just say a memristor makes an SSD act as if it's on steroids

Magnetic Silicon Fullerene and London Nanospintronic Projects

1. Magnetic Silicon Fullerene

A magnetic metal-encapsulating silicon fullerene, Eu@Si20, has been predicted by density functional theory to be by far the most stable fullerene-like silicon structure. The Eu@Si20 structure is a regular dodecahedron with Ih symmetry in which the europium atom occupies the center site. The calculated results show that the europium 10 atom has a large magnetic moment of nearly 7.0 Bohr magnetons. The magnetic silicon fullerene may be ideal for molecular electronic devices. In addition, it was found that two kinds of stable “pearl necklace” nanowires, constructed by concatenating a series of Ih-Eu@Si20 units, each with a central europium atom retains the high spin moment. The magnetic structure of these nanowires indicates potential applications in the fields of spintronics and high-density magnetic storage.

2. The London Centre for Nanotechnology – a joint venture between UCL and Imperial College London – is taking a strategic lead in the emerging field of nanospintronics, by initiating collaborative projects with research groups at China’s top two universities, Peking University and Tsinghua University. The projects aim to develop radically new approaches to miniaturization of computer systems, based on the exploitation of special magnetic “spin” properties of individual molecules and single atoms.

The two projects focus on ‘silicon-based spintronics’ and ‘molecular nanospintronics’

Research highlights of the London Centre for Nanotechnology

the intriguing properties of one-dimensional (1D) systems such as magnetic ladders – literally a magnetic analogue of a step ladder – in which the magnetic moments carried by individual atoms are coupled together through rungs and legs. In 1D, long-range magnetic order is destroyed by quantum fluctuations, and theory predicts that instead a particular kind of exotic magnetic quantum liquid forms, known as a Luttinger liquid (LL). When a magnetic field is applied, this fascinating state of quantum matter becomes a key component of the extraordinary rich phase diagram of the ladder and can be studied using extremely sensitive magnetometers in the laboratory and high-resolution neutron spectroscopy. In the presence of weak magnetic links between ladders, the system can even display Bose-Einstein condensation, which underpins the remarkable properties of superfluids and superconductors

Understanding Neutron and Proton Behavior in the C12 Nucleus

From a research paper: "Probing Cold Dense Nuclear Matter":
The protons and neutrons in a nucleus can form strongly correlated nucleon pairs. Scattering experiments, where a proton is knocked-out of the nucleus with high momentum transfer and high missing momentum, show that in 12C the neutron-proton pairs are nearly twenty times as prevalent as proton-proton pairs and, by inference, neutron-neutron pairs. This difference between the types of pairs is due to the nature of the strong force and has implications for understanding cold dense nuclear systems such as neutron stars.

Nuclei are composed of bound protons and neutrons, referred to collectively as nucleons (the standard notation is p, n, and N, respectively). A standard model of the nucleus since the 1950s has been the nuclear shell model, where neutrons and protons move independently in well-defined quantum orbits in the average nuclear field created by their mutual attractive interactions. In the 1980s and 1990s, proton removal experiments using electron beams with energies of several hundred MeV showed that only 60-70% of the protons participate in this type of independent-particle motion in nuclear valence states. At the time, it was assumed that this low occupancy was caused by correlated pairs of nucleons within the nucleus. Indeed, the existence of nucleon pairs that are correlated at distances of several femtometers, known as long-range correlations, has been established (3), but these accounted for less than half of the predicted correlated nucleon pairs. Recent high momentum transfer measurements have shown that nucleons in nuclear ground states can form pairs with large relative momentum and small center-of-mass (CM) momentum due to the shortrange, scalar and tensor, components of the nucleon-nucleon interaction. These pairs are referred to as short-range correlated (SRC) pairs. The study of these SRC pairs allows access to cold dense nuclear matter, such as that found in a neutron star.

Experimentally, a high-momentum probe can knock a proton out of a nucleus, leaving the rest of the system nearly unaffected. If, on the other hand, the proton being struck is part of a SRC pair, the high relative momentum in the pair would cause the correlated nucleon to recoil and be ejected as well

Previous Dense Plasma Focus Research

There was work (37 page pdf) done by Jan S. Brzosko, "High Efficiency Plasma Focus: Fusion and Applications" which showed 500 repeated firings of a Dense Plasma Focus (DPF) device (H/T Culled from links at which collected this and other relevant research)

This is related to the work of Lawrenceville plasma Focus to develop cheap nuclear fusion. If they are successful, then energy costs can be lowered by 50 times from 5 cents per kwh for coal down to 0.1 cents.

A Focus Fusion reactor would produce electricity very differently. The energy from fusion reactions is released mainly in the form of a high-energy, pulsed beam of helium nuclei. Since the nuclei are electrically charged, this beam is already an electric current. All that is needed is to capture this electric energy into an electric circuit. This can be done by allowing the pulsed beam to generate electric currents in a series of coils as it passes through them. This is much the same way that a transformer works, stepping electric power down from the high voltage of a transmission line to the low voltage used in homes and factories. It is also like a particle accelerator run in reverse. Such an electrical transformation can be highly efficient, probably around 70%. What is most important is that it is exceedingly cheap and compact. The steam turbines and electrical generators are eliminated. A 5 MW Focus Fusion reactor may cost around $300,000 and produce electricity for 1/10th of a cent per kWh. This is fifty times less than current electric costs. Fuel costs will be negligible because a 5 MW plant will require only five pounds of fuel per year. [About 40 million kWh per year from a 5 MWe plant and 5 MWe is equal to 6705 horsepower]

The LPP experiment will be carried out in an experimental facility in New Jersey using a newly-built DPF device capable of reaching peak currents of more than 2 MA. The LPP power level of 2+ MA is higher than the Brzosko peak of 0.95 MA.

In a presentation to the Seventh Symposium on Current Trends in International Fusion research, in 2007, Dr. Jan Brzosko reported that in 500 shots a DPF functioning at a peak current of 0.95 MA had neutron yields that had a standard deviation of only about 15%. The experiments were preformed at DianaHitech’s laboratory in Jersey City, NJ. Unfortunately, DianaHitech no longer exists, so this experimental work is not continuing. But the results are confirmation that the DPF can run reliably.

Conclusions from the Brzosko work:
* Pulsed Power:: PF-50kJ can be build to work without failure for 107shots at 1 Hz; limiting factors: energy and life time.
*Reproducibility of pulses (yield, duration): very good.
* Electrode erosion:: not limiting factor;
* Deuterium or Tritium circulation:: not limiting factor;
* Cooling:: not limiting factor;
* Tritium/deuterium leak:: requirement for certain temperature window (for chamber).
* System ready for engineering version.

The LPP diagram from their patent

Other Related Work: Russian Pb11 from Lasers

A Russian team of researcher reported observing pB11 fusion using a laser. The yield was only about 1,000 reactions, about 7 billion-fold short of breakeven, but the experiment did show that pb11 fuel will burn more or less as expected.

The team exposed a solid target of borated plastic to a 1.5 picoseconds, 10-joule laser pulse concentrated in an area 7 microns in radius. A very thin, 0.024 micron layer was heated to an electron temperature of about 100keV and an ion temperature of 30 kegs. The confinement-time-density product was 1.1x1011, much smaller than the nearly 1014 we achieved with an ion temperature of 55 keV. However we did not use pB11 but instead used deuterium fuel.

The laser approach can not be easily scaled up to breakeven. Higher laser intensities will increase yield, relative to input energy, by only about a factor of 300 at solid densities. For breakeven, compression to densities more than 5,000 times solid density would be required. Decades of efforts on laser fusion show that such high compression is just about impossible to achieve

Other Related Work: Singapore Group Demonstrated 50% Efficient Energy Transfer to Plasmoid

A research group in Singapore, using electrodes quite similar to those proposed for the next set of focus fusion experiments, have demonstrated efficiency of energy transfer into plasmoid of at least 50%.

The energy transfer from the magnetic field in the DPF to the tiny plasmoid is a key parameter for focus fusion, since it is only in the plasmoid where the fusion reactions take place and the ion beams that carry the output energy originate. The Singapore group, whose work was reported in IEEE Transaction on Plasma Science (vol. 32, p.2227), were applying the DPF to x-ray production for lithography, but the results are relevant to fusion.

Texas A&M: One billion Degrees

In May of 2001, Experiments at Texas A&M University confirmed predictions from Lerner theory that energies above 100 keV (equivalent to 1.1 billion degrees) can be achieved with the plasma focus.

Eric Lerner wrote a paper in 2002 about the Texas research

Controlled fusion with advanced fuels requires average electron and ion energies above 100 keV (equivalent to 1.1 billion K) in a dense plasma. We have met this requirement and demonstrated electron and ion energies over 100 keV in a compact and inexpensive dense plasma focus device. We have achieved this in plasma "hot spots" or plasmoids that, in our best results, had a densityconfinement-
time-energy product of 5.0 x1015 keVsec/cm3, a record for any fusion experiment. We measured the electron energies with an X-ray detector instrument that demonstrated conclusively that the hard X-rays were generated by the hot spots.

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Patent

The dense plasma focus (DPF) has been studied as a possible solution to the problem of instabilities. In this device, natural plasma instabilities are used to create confinement in a dense plasmoid, rather than being minimized as in other fusion devices. One such method and apparatus for a dense plasma focus radiation source for generating EUV radiation including a coaxially disposed anode and cathode is taught in U.S. Pat. No. 7,002,168 issued to Jacob, et al. The methods and apparatuses for enhancing the efficiency of EUV radiation production, for protecting, cooling and extending the life of the anode and cathode, for protecting and shielding collecting optics from debris and pressure disturbances in the discharge chamber, and for feeding Lithium into the discharge chamber.

Another plasma focus radiation source for generating radiation at a selected wavelength is taught in U.S. Pat. No. 6,172,324 issued to Birx, which teaches producing a high energy plasma sheathe that moves down an electrode column at high speed and is pinched at the end of the column to form a very high temperature spot. An ionizable gas introduced at the pinch can produce radiation at the desired wavelength. In order to prevent separation of the plasma sheathe from the pinch, and therefore to prolong the pinch and prevent potentially damaging restrike, a shield of a high temperature nonconducting material is positioned a selected distance from the center electrode and shaped to redirect the plasma sheathe to the center electrode, preventing separation thereof. An opening is provided in the shield to permit the desired radiation to pass substantially unimpeded

To use pB11 fuel the ion energies must be in excess of 100 KeV, simultaneously with density-confinement time products of more than 3.times.10.sup.15 particle-sec/cc. The higher atomic change, Z, of B11 greatly increases the x-ray emission rate, which is proportional to Z.sup.2 making it difficult to achieve ignition, e.g., the point at which the thermonuclear power exceeds the x-ray emission.

Using neon as the working gas, the team was able to produce as much as 140 J of x-rays from a single shot. With an outer electrode (cathode) radius of 4.7 cm and peak current of 360kA, the device had stored magnetic field energy of about 600 J. Since the electron beam generated by the plasmoid provides the heat for the electrons and thus for the x-rays, e-beam energy must be at least 140 J. Total energy in the plasmoid is twice the electron beam energy (the ions carry the same energy) so total plasmoid energy must exceed 280 J, or very nearly half the magnetic field energy.

The device used an anode with a base radius of 1.6 cm, tapering at the end to 1 cm. These dimensions are quite similar to those we plan to use for the copper electrodes on the next set of experiments, and add to the evidence that we will be able to achieve a high efficiency.

The present invention also provides a plasma generator to enable nuclear fusion that includes an anode and a cathode positioned coaxially and at least partially within a reaction chamber. The anode has an anode radius and the cathode has a cathode radius that imparts a high magnetic field. Generally, the anode radius is between about 0.25 cm and about 1.5 cm times the peak current measured in mega-amperes in the device and the cathode radius is between about 0.5 cm and about 3 cm times the peak current measured in mega-amperes in the device.

Nextbigfuture focus fusion category of articles

Dense Plasma Focus at wikipedia

Nextbigfuture interview with Eric Lerner

Eric Lerner, Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Google Talk 64 minutes

Knotted light research and the focus fusion/Lawrenceville Plasma Physics storyboard of their process.

August 13, 2009

MIT Makes iPhone App for Controlling UAVs and a Proposal to Combine with Electric and Hybrid Planes for Robotic Flying "Cars"

MIT Professor Missy Cummings and the MIT Research in the Humans and Automation Lab have successfully demonstrated how an iPhone could be used to control an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or UAV. Currently soldier carry suitcase-sized controllers.

The US military now has 7,000 unmanned aircraft and at least 10,000 ground vehicles.

(Part of an 18 page pdf newsletter), advances in autopilot technology combined with the relatively simple flight tasks required of UAS leave little
need for traditional pilots to operate the remote-controlled planes, argues MIT professor and former Navy fighter pilot Missy Cummings.

Better than Flying Cars
This technology is also an important step in automation to enable my vision of commuter UAVs. The commuter UAV would be unmanned in terms of the pilot, but would carry passengers in an air taxi service. If the piloting skills can be removed then we can have electric or hybrid planes and helicopters fly people from point to point over traffic. There are new two seat electric planes emerging with 100+ mph speed and 438 mpg equivalent efficiency. This could be the safer and more efficient replacement system for long commutes, that is faster and better than robotic electric cars.

There are almost 250,000 general aviation planes in the USA. Electric and hybrid planes in the $40,000-140,000 range will further expand those numbers. High volumes could bring the price down and numbers of these planes up.

Popular Mechanics reports on electric planes at the Oshkosh air show

Norgan aircraft is developing the Extremely Maneuverable Jet (EM–J), which will be able to take off and land similar to a helicopter because of rotors on each side of its fuselage. However, it will fly like an airplane, reaching a speed of 425 mph and a range of 1,600 miles, because of its two jet engines. It will be designed to carry two pilots and seven passengers. It is not electric powered, but it is something that could become another step toward iPhone air taxis. The state Department of Commerce has offered about $30 million in financial incentives toward the EM-J project.

2007 photo of some scale models of the Morgan Aircraft EM-J

There is $5 million research project awarded to Northrop Grumman for "Hybrid Electric UAV High Endurance Renewable Propulsion and Power System"

Spain's National Institute of Aerospace Technology has developed the first airplane-helicopter hybrid, an unmanned aerial vehicle that will be operational in 2010 and is designed to monitor borders and coastlines. The HADA, the first prototype of which will carry a cargo of up to 150 kg and will be able to remain airborne for 3-6 hours.

From Wired Danger Room, the lab’s current iPhone and small-UAV combo relies on GPS signals, so it only works outside. The kinds of users Cummings imagines — Marines and soldiers in urban combat, of course, but also everyday city dwellers looking to scope out the line at the local Starbucks — need bots that work indoors, where GPS signals can’t reach. Solving that problem is the thrust of Cummings’ follow-on project.

Her team’s solution: equip a small robot with LIDAR, fast-scanning lasers that can create quick, electronic models of any environment. Plus, giving the bot new computer algorithms for sending the models back to the iPhone, in the form of simple, graphical maps. Those algorithms were developed by Nick Roy and his team from MIT’s Robust Robotics Group.

“The goal is that a small micro-UAV (we typically use quad-rotors) can enter a window or door and then map the world, both in 2D and 3D,” Cummings said. The 2D part, seen in the flight-test video above, isn’t too hard, but 3D will take her team at least until Christmas. You need 3D for displaying things like stairs, she said.

The MIT Research in the Humans and Automation Lab also has an software program for submarine commander situational awareness.

Confinement of Electrons to Diamond Isotopes

Researcher from Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have succeeded in the vapor-phase synthesis of a stack of nanometer-scale thin films of diamond using carbon isotopes 12C and 13C, which differ in mass. Electrons and holes were confined to a single material for the first time using the diamond stack.

Previously reported at Nextbigfuture is the work of the European company Element Six. Element Six created synthetic diamond with less carbon 13 isotope and more pure carbon 12, which enables longer quantum coherence times to be maintained longer. Note: Normally 1.07% is carbon 13 isotope. They have reduced this ratio by over three times.

Diamond is an insulating material normally, but it is also a semiconducting material, in which the resistivity is controlled to 16 orders of magnitude by adding impurities. One of excellent properties of diamond is that the thermal conductivity is 6 times as large as those of the widely adopted heat sink materials including copper. diamond is now a prospective material for quantum bits in future quantum computers. The Japanese and other research helps make room temperature quantum computation operation feasible; the lifetime of quantum bits is improving; and quantum entanglement, needed for enabling quantum calculation, is substantiated.

For practical device applications of diamond, even higher material quality is needed, and our challenges include the reduction of defects, epitaxial film growth on large-sized wafers, and control of electrons and holes. Furthermore, regarding the confinement of electrons and holes using isotopes, the lifetime of electrons and holes inside the isotopes, recombination at the homojunction interface, and mobility of electrons and holes must be evaluated in detail, and the data will be examined whether they can effectively be used to design quantum functional devices. The technology shall be developed horizontally, such as for creating 13C quantum bits.

Blind Spots and Fuzzy Vision Looking for Near Earth Asteroids: Space Neighborhood Watch Needs Funding

From New Scientist, existing sky surveys miss many asteroids smaller than 1 kilometre across, leaving the door open to damaging impacts on Earth with little or no warning, a panel of scientists reports. Doing better will require devoting more powerful telescopes to asteroid hunting, but no one has committed the funds needed to do so, it says.

NASA calculated that to spot the asteroids as required by law would cost about $800 million between now and 2020, either with a new ground-based telescope or a space observation system, Johnson said. If NASA got only $300 million it could find most asteroids bigger than 1,000 feet across, he said. But so far NASA has gotten neither sum

A comet or asteroid as small as 30 metres across is thought to have exploded in the atmosphere over Siberia in 1908, unleashing hundreds of times the energy of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945, and flattening trees in a zone dozens of kilometres across.

Astronomers have now found 784 asteroids larger than 1 kilometer across (about 2+ billion tons), mostly using telescopes funded by NASA. That works out to 83 per cent of the 940 estimated to be out there by astronomer Alan Harris of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Congress told NASA in 2005 to find 90 per cent of the near-Earth asteroids larger than 140 metres (460 feet) across by 2020.

From Discovery channel news, NASA estimates that there are about 20,000 asteroids and comets in our solar system that are potential threats to Earth. They are larger than 460 feet in diameter -- slightly smaller than the Superdome in New Orleans. So far, scientists know where about 6,000 of these objects are.

The report also points out that existing surveys are designed to gradually build up a catalogue of near-Earth objects over time, not to watch out for incoming asteroids that are just days or weeks from colliding with our planet.

Small asteroids could easily slip past existing surveys unnoticed until the moment of collision because telescopes currently devoted to the task are only capable of imaging a small part of the sky each night. And even then, clouds can prevent them from spotting asteroids, says Timothy Spahr of the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a central clearinghouse for asteroid and comet data.

Asteroids approaching from the direction of the sun would also be missed, at least by ground-based telescopes.

Last month astronomers were surprised when an object of unknown size and origin bashed into Jupiter and created an Earth-sized bruise that is still spreading.

August 12, 2009

Rowan University Publishes Further Confirmations of Blacklight Power

BlackLight Power, Inc. (BLP) today announces that scientists at Rowan University have for the first time independently formulated and tested fuels that on demand generated energy greater than that of combustion at power levels of kilowatts using BLP’s proprietary solid-fuel chemistry capable of continuous regeneration.

So three Rowan University Researchers appear fully convinced and have done testing to confirm and are willing to publish to attest to Blacklight Power's claims. There is no product yet.

Operating power systems using BLP’s chemistry, Rowan University professors have reported a net energy gain of up to 6.5 times the maximum energy potential of the materials in the system from known chemical reactions.

In a joint statement, Dr. K.V. Ramanujachary, Rowan University Meritorious Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dr. Amos Mugweru, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, and Dr. Peter Jansson P.E., Associate Professor of Engineering said, “In independent tests conducted over the past three months involving 10 solid fuels made by us from commercially-available chemicals, our team of engineering and chemistry professors, staff, and students at Rowan University has independently and consistently generated energy in excesses ranging from 1.2 times to 6.5 times the maximum theoretical heat available through known chemical reactions.”

“Additionally, we have analyzed the reaction products and are confident that the procedures we have followed and chemicals we have procured and reacted are not capable of generating the quantities of heat we have observed with previously known chemistry. This significant disclosure by BLP makes it readily possible for other laboratories to demonstrate the repeatability of these reactions that produce anomalous heat regularly in our university laboratory. Moreover, we have also reproduced BLP’s tests that identify a novel form of hydrogen as the likely explanation of the additional heat evolved.”

Based on the solid fuel used and power generated at scales of approximately 30 kW, the reaction appears scalable to any level. Moreover, BLP scientists were able to regenerate the fuel by simply applying heat. This breakthrough advances the commercial viability of the BlackLight Process as a new non-polluting energy source that was first announced by BLP in October 2008

Rowan University wrote 15 page pdf "Synthesis and Characterization Alkali Metal Salts Containing Trapped Hydrino"

Rowan University wrote 20 page pdf "Report on Synthesis and Studies of “Generation 2” Lower Energy Hydrogen Chemicals"

82 page pdf "Commercializable Power Source Using Heterogeneous Hydrino Catalysts" by Mills et al

Proof of Power

The validation by the Rowan University team provides further evidence that the observed energy gain will enable the operation of commercial power plants by continuously replacing the hydrogen that is consumed by the BlackLight Process to form hydrinos. Hydrinos are a prior undiscovered form of hydrogen in lower-energy states produced by the BlackLight Process as latent energy is released by hydrogen atoms. The energy released forming a hydrino is over 200 times the energy required to extract hydrogen from water by electrolysis to produce the new hydrogen fuel consumed during the BlackLight Process.

Proof of Existence of Hydrinos

BLP also announces successful independent production and characterization of a new form of hydrogen by professors at Rowan University. In the study independently performed at Rowan University laboratories, Professor Ramanujachary and Professor Mugweru synthesized from base materials the previously undiscovered form of hydrogen and were able to characterize hydrogen atoms existing in lower-energy states – called hydrinos – as predicted by BLP. In further confirmation, the Rowan University team was also able to identify similar hydrino signatures from net energy producing systems operating in Professor Jansson’s laboratories. This represents the first time BLP has taught independent labs the techniques for making hydrinos from scratch.

Dr. Ramanujachary remarked, “Recent advances in techniques at BLP in production of this new form of matter appear to make it straightforward for any lab in the world to synthesize sufficient volumes to characterize this previously unknown form of hydrogen.” Dr. Mugweru continues, “Knowing the starting materials of the synthesis reaction and fully characterizing the by-products, other than a new form of hydrogen, we were unable to make an assignment to known species for the signatures observed.”

Light Signature of Hydrino

BLP also announces today the publication of a paper, by Dr. Randell Mills, Dr. Kamran Akhtar, and Dr. Ying Lu in the Central European Journal of Physics describing a significant new confirmation of hydrinos. For the first time, BLP confirms direct spectral observation of transitions of hydrogen to form hydrinos. These experiments showing hydrogen spectral emissions below 80 nanometers, the previously known ground state, are decisive evidence of the existence of hydrinos theoretically predicted by Dr. Randell Mills. Describing the significance of the breakthrough, Dr. Mills said, “This is smoking-gun evidence of the existence of hydrinos, the light signature observed is from pure hydrogen and at much higher energy than deemed possible for this element in any known form.”

- Blacklight Power has provided information and assistance to a blogger/chemistry professor looking to validate their process

- Venture Beat investigates Blacklight Power

- Rowan University study provides external confirmation of a substantial amount of extra heat from Blacklight Power materials.

- Blacklight Power Claims

The latest expected unit costs for the Blacklight power system compared to current energy technology:

The Blacklight hydrogen production plant diagram

Potential Applications for Blacklight Power Technology
- H2(1/p) Enables laser at wavelengths from visible to soft X-ray
- VUV photolithography (Enables next generation chip)
- Blue Lasers
- Line-of-sight telecom and medical devices
- High voltage metal hydride batteries
- Synthetic thin-film and single crystal diamonds
- Metal hydrides as anticorrosive coatings

Estacado is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Roosevelt County Electric Cooperative, (RCEC) in New Mexico. With over 2,757 miles of energized lines in east central New Mexico, RCEC serves Dora, Elida, Floyd, Arch, Rogers, Milnesand, Causey and Portales.

Details of Blacklight Powers patent dispute in the UK.

In upholding both of the examiner's objections, the Hearing Officer identified the question which he had to address to be whether the underlying theory of GUTCQM was true. In doing so, he identified three criteria which he had to consider in determining whether a scientific theory was true, namely whether:

the explanation of the theory is consistent with existing generally accepted theories. If it is not, it should provide a better explanation of physical phenomena then current theories and should be consistent with any accepted theories that it does not displace;

-the theory makes testable predictions, and the experimental evidence shows rival theories to be false and matches the predictions of the new theory, and whether
-the theory is accepted as a valid explanation of physical phenomena by the community of scientists who work in the relevant discipline.

Critically, the hearing officer went on to determine that he must satisfy himself that it was more probable than not that the theory was true. On this basis, the Hearing Officer found that he was not satisfied that the theory was true and therefore the claims in the applications which relied upon the theory were not patentable.

The appeal focused on whether the Hearing Officer had been right in considering the appropriate test to be whether the theory was true on the balance of probabilities. Blacklight contended that the test that should be applied is whether the theory is clearly contrary to well established physical laws. In considering this, the examiner should assess whether the applicant has a reasonable prospect of showing that his theory is a valid one should the patent be litigated in court. In making these arguments, Blacklight accepted that on the material before the Hearing Officer the theory was probably incorrect.

Examiner has an article on Blacklight Power

Energy Information Administration Report: Double US Nuclear Power by 2030 to Meet Affordable Climate Goals

An 81 page pdf report from the energy Information Adminstration analysing the current Waxman Energy/climate bill

The EIA projected that to keep the costs of implementing the bill low for consumers — about $339 extra per household in 2030 according to their basic scenario — nuclear energy use would rise from 8 quadrillion BTUs a year to 16 quadrillion, or from 11.3 percent of total U.S. energy to 18.1 percent

The most affordable options for the consumer add 44-96 GWe of nuclear power by 2030. See the end of this article with charts and details.

The basic case above is showing an increase from 8 quadrillion BTU for nuclear energy going to 16 quadrillion BTU. (Double nuclear energy in the USA). Some say this cannot be done. What it would take is completing the development of annular fuel (dual cooled fuel). This fuel modification enables existing nuclear power plants to be uprated by up to 50%. The plants would safely generate 50% more power after the modification. Uprates are performed in 12-18 months of downtime.

Korea is researching the dual cooled uprating technology. The annular fuel technology was initially developed and is still being looked into by MIT and westinghouse. More details on regular uprating and this new uprating is later in this article (as well as the link before this sentence).

Faster and cheaper nuclear power plant construction is being deployed in South Korea and China. Construction using factory produced modules is shortening construction time to 36 months (overall construction is targeting 5 years).

Another possibility is starting in about 2020, the USA can start importing complete smaller reactors from China where the costs for reactor construction are 2-4 times lower. China will have pebble bed reactors which could be shipped to the USA. The first commercial scale pebble bed reactor should be completed in 2013 in China. Construction is starting Sept 2009. Russia is also developing floating reactors (first one completes 2011-2012) and a small shippable breeder reactor is being developed.

Main Analysis Cases
The ACESA Basic Case represents an environment where key low-emissions technologies, including nuclear, fossil with CCS, and various renewables, are developed and deployed on a large scale in a timeframe consistent with the emissions reduction requirements of ACESA without encountering any major obstacles. It also assumes that the use of offsets, both domestic and international, is not overly constrained by cost, regulation, or the pace of negotiations with key countries covering key sectors. In anticipation of increasingly stringent caps and rising allowance prices after 2030, covered entities and investors are assumed to amass an aggregate allowance bank of approximately 13 billion metric tons by 2030 through a combination of offset usage and emission reductions that exceed the level required under the emission caps.

The ACESA High Cost Case is similar to the ACESA Basic Case except that the costs of nuclear, fossil with CCS, and biomass generating technologies are assumed to be 50 percent higher. There is great uncertainty about the costs of these technologies, as well as the feasibility of introducing them rapidly on a large scale. Cost estimates for these technologies rose rapidly from 2000 through 2008 and have only recently begun to moderate. The actual costs of these technologies will not become clearer until a number of full-scale projects are constructed and brought on line.

The ACESA No International Case is similar to the ACESA Basic Case but represents an environment where the use of international offsets is severely limited by cost, regulation, and/or slow progress in reaching international agreements or arrangements covering offsets in key countries and sectors. The regulations that will govern the use of offsets have yet to be developed and their availability will depend on actions taken in the United States and around the world. It is possible that some significant portion of the potential international offsets will not be able to meet all of the requirements set forth in ACESA or, in meeting them, will make them uneconomical.

Uprating Existing Nuclear Reactors

The design of every U.S. commercial reactor has the excess capacity needed to potentially allow for an uprate, which can fall into one of three categories: 1) measurement uncertainty recapture power uprates, 2) stretch power uprates, and 3) extended power uprates.
1) Measurement uncertainty recapture power uprates are power increases less than 2 percent of the licensed power level, and are achieved by implementing enhanced techniques for calculating reactor power. This involves the use of state of the art devices to more precisely measure feedwater flow which is used to calculate reactor power. More precise measurements reduce the degree of uncertainty in the power level which is used by analysts to predict the ability of the reactor to be safely shut down under possible accident conditions.
2) Stretch power uprates are typically between 2 % and 7 %, with the actual increase in power depending on a plant design's specific operating margin. Stretch power uprates usually involve changes to instrumentation settings but do not involve major plant modifications.
3) Extended power uprates are greater than stretch power uprates and have been approved for increases as high as 20 %. Extended power uprates usually require significant modifications to major pieces of non-nuclear equipment such as high-pressure turbines, condensate pumps and motors, main generators, and/or transformers.
Exelon’s uprate projects use proven technologies and are overseen by the US? Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC.) They fall into four general categories:

* "Measurement uncertainty recapture" (MUR) uprates, in which more accurate metering allows more precise reactor operations and more electrical output. MUR uprates increase reactor thermal power and require NRC approval.
* Extended power uprates, in which reactor power can be safely increased by up to 20 % after careful, rigorous analysis, equipment upgrades and NRC approval.
* Generator rewinds, in which replacing certain generator components with new copper makes it possible for the generator to produce more electricity. Power plants will continue to meet all NRC license basis requirements.
* Turbine retrofits, in which advanced technology has allowed production of new and better shapes and sizes of turbine parts, such as blades, rotors and casings. These new parts make the turbines more efficient, akin to improving the gas mileage on an automobile by using computer-controlled fuel injection rather than a carburetor. Power plants will continue to meet all NRC license basis requirements.

An approximate 38-megawatt increase in output at an Exelon Nuclear plant last week launched a series of planned power uprates across the company’s nuclear fleet that will generate between 1,300 and 1,500 MW of additional generation capacity within eight years.

Annular Fuel (Dual Cooled Fuel) Progressing to Implementation in Korea

There is advanced nuclear fuel technology under development which could enable a significant increase in nuclear power generation. The technology is referred to as annular fuel or dual cooled fuel. The new fuels could enable ultra power uprates for existing pressure water reactors of from 20-50% by safely enabling a higher power density and uprates for existing boiler water reactors by 20-30%.

Annular fuel is especially well suited for pressurized water reactors, which make up 60% of the world's 443 reactors. The designer, MIT Professor Pavell Hejzlar says that utilities in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea have expressed interest in his design. The annular fuel would boost power by up to 50%. Nanoparticles in fluid would boost power by 20% for existing reactors and 40% for new reactors. Cross-shaped spiral design would boost boiler water reactors by 30%. The MIT fuel is thin walled donuts with pellets inside and using nanoparticles in the fluid.

Korea is studying MIT’s annular fuel and they think can achieve 20% uprates with minimal changes to the existing plants.

Research abstract on the work to resolve the details of implementing annular fuel for Korean reactors

Technical paper on Korean annular fuel research

Annular fuel allows PWR (what is PWR) power density to be raised by 50% within current safety limits. The sintered fuel pellets appear viable with appropriate manufacturing need lead tests. Annular fuel uprating is economic, depending on plant remaining lifetime, with IRR (pls spell out IRR) from 20% to 27%

A Potential of Dual Cooled Annular Fuel for OPR-1000 Power Uprate
T-H Chun, C-W Shin, W-K In, K-H Lee, K-H Bae, K-W Song (KAERI-Korea)

A highly promising concept of externally and internally cooled annular fuel for PWRs was studied earlier by MIT to increase the power density substantially. The reference plant of the study was the standard Westinghouse PWR. The purpose of this study is to evaluate a potential of the annular fuels for the OPR-1000 in Korea in terms of power uprate along with different constraints. The constraints are those considerations like more adaptive to the existing power plants by means with fewer changes on the plant system components and less impact on the current fuel design practice. Specifically, first of all, the fuel array configuration has to be structurally compatible with the current solid fuel in the operation of current control rod driving mechanism. Others are no reactor coolant pump changes, same core outlet temperature in standpoint of the plant system and operation, and 3 batch reload, fuel enrichment less than 5 w/o, maximum fuel burn-up less than 60 Mwd/kgU for the fuel management scheme. In this paper a proposed annular fuel for OPR will show the satisfaction of power uprate up to 20% through the reactor physics analysis, thermal-hydraulic analysis and safety analysis.

Structural integrity of the components of a dual-cooled fuel rod is studied in this paper. The investigated topics are: i) the thickness determination of a cladding tube (especially outer tube of a large diameter), ii) vibration issue of an inner cladding tube, iii) design concern of plenum spring and spacer.

A Study on the Structural Integrity Issues of a Dual-Cooled Fuel Rod
Hyung-Kyu Kim*, Kang-Hee Lee, Young-Ho Lee, Kyung-Ho Yoon, Jae-Yong Kim, Kun-Woo Song
Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute,

Irradiation Test of Dual-cooled Annular Fuel Pellets
Yong Sik Yang1, Dae Ho Kim1, Je Geon Bang1, Hyung Kyu Kim1, Tae Hyun Chun1, Keon
Sik Kim1, Chul Gyo Seo2, Hee Taek Chae2, Kun Woo Song1 Innovative Nuclear Fuel Division,

Thermo-mechanical analysis of a dual cooled annular fuel behavior
Ju-Seong Kima, Yong-Soo Kima+, Yong-Sik Yangb, Je-Geon Bangb, KunWoo Songb
a Hanyang University, bKorea Atomic Energy Research Institute,

The maximum temperature of the annular pellet turn out to be below 700_, even in 200% power up-rated conditions, pellet temperature remains below 950_. Furthermore in accident conditions, sub-channel local boiling occurs, pellet temperature is still below 1000_ that is very small value compare to existing solid fuel.

EIA Cost Estimates for the Different Cases

The energy bill increases the cost of using energy. Using more nuclear energy reduces the cost to the economy. The limited case where you do not use nuclear is the most expensive and the ones where you add more nuclear power are more affordable.

ACESA increases the cost of using energy, which reduces real economic output, reduces purchasing power, and lowers aggregate demand for goods and services. The result is that projected real gross domestic product (GDP) generally falls relative to the Reference Case. Total discounted GDP losses over the 2012 to 2030 time period are $566 billion (-0.3 percent) in the ACESA Basic Case, with a range from $432 billion (-0.2 percent) to $1,897 billion (-0.9 percent) across the main ACESA cases (Table ES-2). Similarly, the cumulative discounted losses for personal consumption are $273 billion (-0.2 percent) in the ACESA Basic Case and range from $196 billion (-0.1 percent) to $988 billion (-0.7 percent). GDP losses in 2030, the last year explicitly modeled in this analysis, range from $104 billion to $453 billion (-0.5 to -2.3 percent), while consumption losses in that year range from $36 billion to $180 billion (-0.3 to -1.3 percent). The estimated 2030 GDP and consumption losses in the ACESA No International/Limited Case, at the top of these ranges, are nearly or more than twice as large as those in the ACESA No International and High Cost Cases, which have the next highest level of impacts.

Consumption and energy bill impacts can also be expressed on a per household basis in particular years. In 2020, the reduction in household consumption is $134 (2007 dollars) in the ACESA Basic Case, with a range of $30 to $362 across all main ACESA cases. In 2030, household consumption is reduced by $339 in the ACESA Basic Case, with a range of $157 to $850 per Energy Information Administration / Energy Market and Economic Impacts of H.R. 2454, the ACESA of 2009 Energy Information Administration / Energy Market and Economic Impacts of H.R. 2454, the ACESA of 2009 household across all main ACESA cases. By 2030, the estimated reductions in household consumption in the ACESA No International/Limited Case, at the top of these ranges, are approximately double the impacts in the ACESA High Cost Case, which has the next highest level of impacts

Increases in energy prices impact households not only for the energy used in the house, but also for transportation costs and products they buy on an everyday basis. Several provisions in ACESA direct that the funds generated from emissions allowance auctions or the sale of freely allocated allowances be used to ameliorate the adverse impact on households. In addition to the funds generated for low-income households through the auctioning of 15 percent of the allowances allocated each year, local electricity and natural gas distribution companies are also directed to use freely allocated allowances to minimize the impact on residential energy consumers. These provisions, along with the energy efficiency programs such as building codes, partially shield residential consumers from significant increases in energy expenditures for uses Energy Information Administration / Energy Market and Economic Impacts of H.R. 2454, the ACESA of 2009 inside the house. Transportation costs, however, do increase significantly on a per-household basis since there are no provisions designed to dampen motor gasoline price impacts.

As a result of the provisions in ACESA, the average household can expect increases in the cost of the energy they use to heat and cool their homes as well as the cost to operate their vehicles. Figures 24 and 25 depict these cost increases as well as the increase in the cost to purchase more energy-efficient equipment as a result of more stringent building codes. Since the building codes affect only new construction on an annual basis and the annualized cost (over 15 years) is spread out over all households in Figures 24 and 25, the impact of the increase in this cost is relatively small. Based on the three cost measures represented in Figure 24, households can expect an increase of $165 in 2020 in the ACESA Basic Case, with a range of $103 to $767 across the ACESA main cases. Increases in light-duty vehicle energy expenditures account for about 81 percent of the increase in 2020 in the ACESA Basic Case. In 2030, the cost to the consumers increases to $501 per household in the ACESA Basic Case, with the non-transportation costs accounting for about 52 percent of the increase (Figure 25). In 2030, the increased costs to households range from $263 to $1,870 across the ACESA main cases. The higher cost impacts in 2030 are stimulated by the rising allowances costs and the phase-out of the freely allocated allowances to electricity and natural gas distribution companies that begins in 2025.

World Population will Pass 7 Billion in 2011

CNN is reporting The world's population is forecast to hit 7 billion next year (2010)

However, the press release of the Population Reference Bureau is indicating 7 billion in 2011
The increase from 6 billion to 7 billion is likely to take 12 years, as did the increase from 5 billion to 6 billion.

Longer term population projections out to 2050 and beyond are likely to be too low for developed countries because of the demographic reversal where wealthier people are starting to have more children.

The current US census population clock shows just short of 6.8 billion people, which would suggest 7 billion people in 2012. The UN has a slightly higher estimate. All population figures are based on census data of varying age and estimates of growth and deaths. Census data can have often have systemic inaccuracy/error.


* Africa's population has just passed 1 billion. The continent's population is growing by about 24 million per year, and will double by 2050.
* About half the world lives in poverty. Nearly 50 percent of world population lives on less than the equivalent of US$2 per day. Hundreds of millions of people live barely above that level.
* HIV prevalence now appears to be on the decline in Africa, but rates are still far higher than in other world regions. Swaziland has the world's highest rate of HIV: 26 percent of its population ages 15 to 49 is HIV positive.
* The birth rate among U.S. teenagers is twice as high as the average for all developed countries.
* The U.S. rate is 42 births per 1,000 teenage girls (ages 15-19); the rate for all developed countries is 21 per 1,000.

19 page pdf report from the population reference bureau

Lawrencevillle Plasma - Focus Fusion Update

Focus fusion experiment and research status is at

simulations in progress.

Jeff Schoen and volunteer Henning Burdack are making progress in coding a one-dimensional model of the filamentation process in the DPF, while John Guillory and Lerner are ironing out wrinkles in the algorithm for the model.

Luis Manuel Diaz Angulo is continuing to work on the difficult problem of incorporating our simulation approach into a 2-D model that can give more realistic results.

Lerner’s preliminary calculations on the idea that shock waves from electron beam oscillations are the primary way that the electron beam heats the plasmoid are encouraging.

DPF (Dense Plasma Focus) Construction has started. All parts needed for the construction of the DPF itself except the vacuum chamber and drift tube arrived Aug 2, 2009.

A recent paper in Physics of Plasmas by S.K. Yanav et al (Phys. Plasmas 16,040701) may shed light on a remaining theoretical puzzle—how the electron beams so rapidly heat the plasmoid electrons.

This heating is much more efficient than can be explained by collisions of individual electrons, so must involve some instability or other collective phenomenon, but we have never been certain exactly what the mechanism is.

Yadav showed that a rapidly oscillating electron beam can produce shock waves in an inhomogenous plasma that efficiently transfers energy to the plasma.

Such a mechanism may operate in the DPF plasmoid, as the electron beam is rapidly pulsed—each pulse lasting only femtoseconds. The relativistic beam travels much faster than the Alfven velocity in the plasmoid, a velocity which is the magnetic equivalent of the speed of sound in a neutral gas, so shock formation is possible.

LPP contractor John Guillory has written a number of papers on such shock heating and he and Lerner will investigate if the mechanism can explain known DPF experimental results.

Anomalous energy dissipation of electron current pulses propagating through an inhomogeneous collisionless plasma medium

The evolution of fast rising electron current pulses propagating through an inhomogeneous plasma has been studied through electron magnetohydrodynamic fluid simulations. A novel process of anomalous energy dissipation and stopping of the electron pulse in the presence of plasma density inhomogeneity is demonstrated. The electron current essentially dissipates its energy through the process of electromagnetic shock formation in the presence of density inhomogeneity. A direct relevance of this rapid energy dissipation process to the fast ignition concept of laser fusion is shown

LPP (Lawrenceville Plasma Physics - company working on Focus Fusion) hopes to be producing power using Focus Fusion by December 31, 2014.

In May of 2001, Experiments at Texas A&M University confirmed predictions from Lerner theory that energies above 100 keV (equivalent to 1.1 billion degrees) can be achieved with the plasma focus.

The goals to the end of 2010 for the current experiments are

* to confirm the achievement of the high temperatures first observed in previous experiments at Texas A&M University;

* to greatly increase the efficiency of energy transfer into the tiny plasmoid where the fusion reactions take place;

* to achieve the high magnetic fields needed for the quantum magnetic field effect which will reduce cooling of the plasma by X-ray emission; and

* to use hydrogen-boron fuel to demonstrate greater fusion energy production than energy fed into the plasma (positive net energy production).

Speeding up DNA Nanotechnology

Chris Phoenix, of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, has an idea for speeding up DNA Nanotechnology

Build a DNA Framework to Position DNA Components
When building 100-nm structures out of DNA, the final self-assembly step may [sometimes] require a week.

I assume the synthesis of large structures goes something like this: First, use Rothemund staples to build each of the components. Rothemund staples bind to a DNA backbone or "scaffold" (Rothemund's term), folding it up into a structure. This is a relatively fast process (~ 2 hours), since the staples are just a few dozen nucleotides and can diffuse quickly. Next, mix the components together, along with more staples to bind them to each other (the staples may have been built into the sides already). The components, being large (over ten thousand nucleotides), diffuse slowly, and it takes a long time for the correct components to find each other.

If the backbone/scaffolds could be bound to a framework before the staples are added, and the framework held them in proximity to each other, then once the staples folded the backbones into components, the components could self-assemble far more quickly. The position of the components would be mechanically controlled by the framework, greatly increasing their effective concentration.

The framework might be quite large - in fact, it could be too large to self-assemble rapidly. But with the help of another framework - even a smaller framework - a large framework could be built quickly, then used to guide the building of products. This would be true molecular manufacturing, including a nano-building-nano aspect

Use Parallel Frameworks
If several different components are to be built in parallel on the same framework and then joined, the simplest approach is to use several different backbones. Each backbone will bind with its own staples and not with staples meant for another backbone, just as staples bind to the correct location on a single backbone and not to the many incorrect locations. The ability to use multiple backbones, each making a structure, and then quickly join the structures, implies that shorter backbone strands may be used which will diffuse more quickly to their proper place on the framework.

DNA can be made to unzip as well as zip, by the addition of additional DNA strands that bind to a dangling tail on the strand to be removed. This means that the framework can be physically reconfigured during the fabrication process, and the manufactured parts can be removed from the framework.

Macro Scale use Optical Tweezers

A sufficiently large framework may be accessible with an optical microscope and conventional cell-manipulation tools or optical tweezers. This would open up whole new vistas of rapid actuation and controlled manufacturing.

Qudits : multilevel versions of Qubits

Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have devised a new type of superconducting circuit that behaves quantum mechanically –– but has up to five levels of energy instead of the usual two.

He explained that in this work they operated a quantum circuit as a more complicated artificial atom with up to five energy levels. The generic term for such a system is "qudit," where ‘d' refers to the number of energy levels –– in this case, ‘d' equals five.

Emulation of a Quantum Spin with a Superconducting Phase Qudit

In quantum information processing, qudits (d-level systems) are an extension of qubits that could speed up certain computing tasks. We demonstrate the operation of a superconducting phase qudit with a number of levels d up to d = 5 and show how to manipulate and measure the qudit state, including simultaneous control of multiple transitions. We used the qudit to emulate the dynamics of single spins with principal quantum number s = 1/2, 1, and 3/2, allowing a measurement of Berry’s phase and the even parity of integer spins (and odd parity of half-integer spins) under 2-rotation. This extension of the two-level qubit to a multilevel qudit holds promise for more-complex quantum computational architectures and for richer simulations of quantum mechanical systems.

9 page pdf with supporting material

August 11, 2009

Supersensors and Labs on a Chip Advances

Tel Aviv University's "super sensor" sniffs out disease and pollution.

Coupling biological materials with an electrode-based device, Prof. Judith Rishpon of TAU's Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology is able to quickly and precisely detect pathogens and pollution in the environment - and infinitesimally small amounts of disease biomarkers in our blood. About the size of a stick of gum, the new invention may be applied to a wide range of environments and situations. The aim is for the device to be disposable and cost about $1.

What makes this particular invention particularly appealing is its small size and the fact that it can be easily connected to a handheld device like a Blackberry or iPhone for quick and reliable results.

2. New UCLA microchip technology performs 1,000 chemical reactions at once.

While traditionally only a few chemical reactions could be produced on a chip, the research team pioneered a way to instigate multiple reactions, thus offering a new method to quickly screen which drug molecules may work most effectively with a targeted protein enzyme. In this study, scientists produced a chip capable of conducting 1,024 reactions simultaneously, which, in a test system, ably identified potent inhibitors to the enzyme bovine carbonic anhydrase.

A thousand cycles of complex processes, including controlled sampling and mixing of a library of reagents and sequential microchannel rinsing, all took place on the microchip device and were completed in just a few hours. At the moment, the UCLA team is restricted to analyzing the reaction results off-line, but in future, they intend to automate this aspect of the work as well.

3. Music, rather than electromechanical valves, can drive experimental samples through a lab-on-a-chip in a new system developed at the University of Michigan.

To do an experiment in a microfluidic device today, researchers often use dozens of air hoses, valves and electrical connections between the chip and a computer to move, mix and split pin-prick drops of fluid in the device's microscopic channels and divots.

"You quickly lose the advantage of a small microfluidic system," said Mark Burns, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

"You'd really like to see something the size of an iPhone that you could sneeze onto and it would tell you if you have the flu. What hasn't been developed for such a small system is the pneumatics—the mechanisms for moving chemicals and samples around on the device."

The U-M researchers use sound waves to drive a unique pneumatic system that does not require electromechanical valves. Instead, musical notes produce the air pressure to control droplets in the device. The U-M system requires only one "off-chip" connection.

"This system is a lot like fiberoptics, or cable television. Nobody's dragging 200 separate wires all over your house to power all those channels," Burns said. "There's one cable signal that gets decoded."

The system developed by Burns, chemical engineering doctoral student Sean Langelier, and their collaborators replaces these air hoses, valves and electrical connections with what are called resonance cavities. The resonance cavities are tubes of specific lengths that amplify particular musical notes.

These cavities are connected on one end to channels in the microfluidic device, and on the other end to a speaker, which is connected to a computer. The computer generates the notes, or chords. The resonance cavities amplify those notes and the sound waves push air through a hole in the resonance cavity to their assigned channel. The air then nudges the droplets in the microfluidic device along.

"Each resonance cavity on the device is designed to amplify a specific tone and turn it into a useful pressure," Langelier said. "If I play one note, one droplet moves. If I play a three-note chord, three move, and so on. And because the cavities don't communicate with each other, I can vary the strength of the individual notes within the chords to move a given drop faster or slower."

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