world communications men image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

Telescope lenses someday might come in aerosol cans.

Scientists at Rochester Institute of Technology and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory are exploring a new type of space telescope with an aperture made of swarms of particles released from a canister and controlled by a laser.

These floating lenses would be larger, cheaper and lighter than apertures on conventional space-based imaging systems like NASA’s Hubble and James Webb space telescopes, said Grover Swartzlander, associate professor at RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science and Fellow of the Optical Society of America. Swartzlander is a co-investigator on the Jet Propulsion team led by Marco Quadrelli.

NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program is funding the second phase of the “orbiting rainbows” project that attempts to combine space optics and “smart dust,” or autonomous robotic system technology. The smart dust is made of a photo-polymer, or a light-sensitive plastic, covered with a metallic coating.

“Our motivation is to make a very large aperture telescope in space and that’s typically very expensive and difficult to do,” Swartzlander said. “You don’t have to have one continuous mass telescope in order to do astronomy–it can be distributed over a wide distance. Our proposed concept could be a very cheap, easy way to achieve large coverage, something you couldn’t do with the James Webb-type of approach.”

An adaptive optical imaging sensor comprised of tiny floating mirrors could support large-scale NASA missions and lead to new technology in astrophysical imaging and remote sensing.

Swarms of smart dust forming single or multiple lenses could grow to reach tens of meters to thousands of kilometers in diameter. According to Swartzlander, the unprecedented resolution and detail might be great enough to spot clouds on exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system.

“This is really next generation,” Swartzlander said. “It’s 20, 30 years out. We’re at the very first step.”

Previous scientists have envisioned orbiting apertures but not the control mechanism. This new concept relies upon Swartzlander’s expertise in the use of light, or photons, to manipulate micro- or nano-particles like smart dust. He developed and patented the techniques known as “optical lift,” in which light from a laser produces radiation pressure that controls the position and orientation of small objects.

In this application, radiation pressure positions the smart dust in a coherent pattern oriented toward an astronomical object. The reflective particles form a lens and channel light to a sensor, or a large array of detectors, on a satellite. Controlling the smart dust to reflect enough light to the sensor to make it work will be a technological hurdle, Swartzlander said.

Two RIT graduate students on Swartzlander’s team are working on different aspects of the project. Alexandra Artusio-Glimpse, a doctoral student in imaging science, is designing experiments in low-gravity environments to explore techniques for controlling swarms of particle and to determine the merits of using a single or multiple beams of light.

Swartzlander expects the telescope will produce speckled and grainy images. Xiaopeng Peng, a doctoral student in imaging science, is developing software algorithms for extracting information from the blurred image the sensor captures. The laser that will shape the smart dust into a lens also will measure the optical distortion caused by the imaging system. Peng will use this information to develop advanced image processing techniques to reverse the distortion and recover detailed images.

“Our goal at this point is to marry advanced computational photography with radiation-pressure control techniques to achieve a rough image,” Swartzlander said. “Then we can establish a roadmap for improving both the algorithms and the control system to achieve ‘out of this world’ images.”

Henry Sapiecha

EXADT_DT450G_PR#1112 micro dust particle measuring instrument image www.sciecearticlesonline.com
Yokogawa Corporation of America (Newnan, GA) announces the release of the model DT450G dust monitor. The DT450G detects the qualitative level of dust or particulate matter by working off of the principle of inductive electrification. This probe provides a highly sensitive measurement and is capable of detecting particles as small as 0.3 µm. Utilization of inductive electrification allows for detection of not only particles which make contact with the probe, but particles which pass by the probe as well. The signal generated by these particles is processed by advanced noise filtering algorithms resulting in a highly accurate dust measurement. Features include:

• A measurement range that can be set through a one-touch operation in response to process conditions.
• Automatic drift compensation.
• Air purging which prevents condensate from accumulating at connection points.
• Utility in applications with process temperatures up to 250°C (482°F) and pressures up to 200 kPa (29 psi).

For more information on the model DT450G, visit http://yokogawa.com/us.
Henry Sapiecha

INSTRUMENT DEVICE TO DESTROY BULK MOZZIES OVER AN ACRE

Mosquito Magnet is based on research by the American Biophysics Corp. dating back to 1991 showing that blood seeking insects find a host by following carbon dioxide. To effectively stimulate natural sensors found in mosquitoes and sandflies, a stream of carbon dioxide, heat, and moisture flowing at a rate of 500 cc/minute is needed.

To achieve this at a low cost Mosquito Magnet creates carbon dioxide by catalytically converting LPG from a standard 9kg bottle, as CO2 in bottled form is more expensive and less readily available. This was also a consideration because the system must run 24 hours a day to be effective – pulsing the emission or just running the Mosquito Magnet at night is far less effective because it fails to capture all species of mosquitoes and collapse the population in a given area.

The Mosquito Magnet Pro 2004 model generates its own electricity so it operates independently (no power cord) and can be placed close the mosquito breeding areas on your property. The Pro 2004 is constructed from stainless steel and polycarbonate and its one acre coverage makes it suitable for commercial and domestic use, especially in large outdoor entertaining areas like golf courses, restaurants and resorts. It offers all weather performance, a lightweight aluminium base with a powder coated finish and is silent and odourless in operation. A unique feature of the Mosquito Magnet Pro 2004 is its virtually unlimited life. The Mosquito Magnet Pro can easily be rebuilt, refurbished or upgraded indefinitely.

AAA

It’s not just those infernal bites that drive adults, children and animals to the edge, it’s the increasing risk of diseases like Ross River Fever transmitted via mosquitoes that makes any new approach to the problem worth investigating. The recently released Mosquito Magnet emits a plume of carbon dioxide, heat and moisture to mimic a large mammal and combines this with the attractant octenol to control female mosquitoes (the ones that bite), midges, black flies and sandflies over an area up to an acre in size. The insects are trapped and killed using patented “Counterflow Technology” – a vacuum from the flared outer tube surrounds the inner plume of CO2 and drives the insects into a net as they approach the attractant.

AAA

The Liberty model is effective over 3/4 of an acre and uses a 12-volt power supply with a 15 metre long cord. Built from PVC and marine specification powder-coated steel. Also new is the Liberty Plus cordless model, with a state-of-the-art hybrid power system, a thermoelectric module, MIMH battery pack and a new mosquito net 50% larger than corded Liberty model.

The Mosquito Magnet Liberty costs AUD $1495.00, the Liberty Plus AUD $1995 and the Pro 2004 costs AUD $2995. All models are available in Australia from Mosquito Control Systems Australia. Phone 1300 135 320 or visit www.mosquitocontrol.com.au for more information.

AAA

Henry Sapiecha

GETTING TOWARDS A SUPER SMALL SUPER ELECTRON MICROSCOPE

Scientist closes in on creating a superlens
Some day, you may have a microscope on your smartphone camera that’s as powerful as a scanning electron microscope. If you do, it will likely be thanks to research presently being conducted by Durdu Guney, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Technological University. He is working on creating a metamaterial-based “superlens” – a long sought-after optically-perfect lens, that could use visible light to image objects as small as 100 nanometers across.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

CENTURIES OF WATCH MAKING DISPLAYED IN MUSEUM
August 18, 2011 4:00 AM PDT

GENEVA, Switzerland–If you like watches, and you like history, there may not be a better place to visit than the Patek Philippe Museum here. Those who make the trek to the stately building located a short distance from Lake Geneva will find what has to be one of the most important collections of watches in the world. Six hundred years’ of watches, to be precise. And they’re not just from Switzerland, although the museum also houses a great collection of Patek Philippe’s own masterpieces. And there’s even a master watchmaker showcasing his skills for all to see. Altogether, the museum is the famous company’s attempt to show the tools and techniques used by the craftsmen, the jewellers, engravers, lapidaries and many others who have made the world’s greatest personal timepieces since the 16th century.

As part of Road Trip 2011, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman visited the museum, and over three floors, saw many different themes presented. There are enameled watches, watch cases, snuff-boxes and portrait-miniatures which together illustrate the development of the art of enameling. The museum library includes over 7,000 books on the study and measurement of time, or horology.

But if you visit the museum, you may also enjoy a small thematic tour, and to have a guide explain the fascinating singing birds, “perfume pistols” and other automata and musical pieces, the enameled pieces, or to tell you more about the history of more than 500 years of humans attempting to capture and understand time in small packages.

This is one of the earliest watches in the museum’s collection, which dates back to 1500. It is the “Runde Halsuhr,” which was made in southern Germany of gilded brass between 1530 and 1540. Made in the shape of a drum, it has a cover (seen hanging) and what the museum says is a “straight-line foliate” made of iron.

Photo by Kathleen Craig

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


5. The TSA needs a Barry White theme song


It’s unlikely that John Pistole, the Transportation Security Agency’s dour chief who once warned that terrorism must “always be considered imminent,” expected such public vilification over his agency’s new airport screening procedures.

But a protest that began with a few bloggers has, since Pistole announced the pat-down or body-scan policy in a one-paragraph note on TSA.gov a few weeks ago, become something closer to public execration. TSA screeners have been twitted by Saturday Night Live, Grammy-winning musician Steve Vaus, and cartoonist Tom Tomorrow. The agency itself has been rebuked by some of the same politicians who voted unanimously to create it a decade ago.

The surprise is that, beyond exempting flight attendants and pilots, the TSA has remained unyielding and impenitent. All Pistole would tell CBS News this week is that he’ll continue asking: “How can we be better informed if we modify our screening? Then, what are the risks that we deal with?” That’s Washington-ese for “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby.”

Photo by TSA

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/2300-1001_3-10005691-7.html?tag=mncol#ixzz17JchrIzJ

Received & published by Henry Sapiecha

Cell Phone Viruses

Pose Serious Threat, Scientists Warn

Science (May 22, 2009) — If you own a computer, chances are you have experienced the aftermath of a nasty virus at some point. In contrast, there have been no major outbreaks of mobile phone viral infection, despite the fact that over 80 percent of Americans now use these devices. A team headed by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, director of the Center for Complex Network Research at Northeastern University, set out to explain why this is true.


The researchers used calling and mobility data from over six million anonymous mobile phone users to create a comprehensive picture of the threat mobile phone viruses pose to users. The results of this study, published in the May 22 issue of Science, indicate that a highly fragmented market share has effectively hindered outbreaks thus far. Further, their work predicts that viruses will pose a serious threat once a single mobile operating system’s market share grows sufficiently large. This event may not be far off, given the 150 percent annual growth rate of smart phones.

“We haven’t had a problem so far because only phones with operating systems, so-called ‘smart phones’, are susceptible to viral infection,” explained Marta Gonzalez, one of the authors of the publication. “Once a single operating system becomes common, we could potentially see outbreaks of epidemic proportion because a mobile phone virus can spread by two mechanisms: a Bluetooth virus can infect all Bluetooth-activated phones in a 10-30 meter radius, while Multimedia Messaging System (MMS) virus, like many computer viruses, spreads using the address book of the device. Not surprisingly, hybrid viruses, which can infect via both routes, pose the most significant danger.”

This study builds upon earlier research by the same group, which used mobile phone data to create a predictive model of human mobility patterns. The current work used this model to simulate Bluetooth virus infection scenarios, finding that Bluetooth viruses will eventually infect all susceptible handsets, but the rate is slow, being limited by human behavioral patterns. This characteristic suggests there should be sufficient time to deploy countermeasures such as antiviral software to prevent major Bluetooth outbreaks. In contrast, spread of MMS viruses is not restricted by human behavioral patterns, however spread of these types of viruses are constrained because the number of susceptible devices is currently much smaller.

As our world becomes increasingly connected we face unprecedented challenges. Studies such as this one, categorized as computational social science, are necessary to understand group behavior and organization, assess potential threats, and develop solutions to the issues faced by our ever-changing society.

“This is what statistical analysis of complex systems is all about: finding patterns in nature,” said Gonzalez. “This research is vital because it puts a huge amount of data into the service of science.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Tracking Device Fits on the Head of a

Pin: Mini-Gyroscopes to Guide

Smartphones and Medical Equipment

Science (Oct. 8, 2010) — University of Illinois chemistry professor Alexander Scheeline wants to see high school students using their cell phones in class. Not for texting or surfing the Web, but as an analytical chemistry instrument.


Scheeline developed a method using a few basic, inexpensive supplies and a digital camera to build a spectrometer, an important basic chemistry instrument. Spectrophotometry is one of the most widely used means for identifying and quantifying materials in both physical and biological sciences.

“If we want to measure the amount of protein in meat, or water in grain, or iron in blood, it’s done by spectrophotometry,” Scheeline said.

Many schools have a very limited budget for instruments and supplies, making spectrometers cost-prohibitive for science classrooms. Even when a device is available, students fail to learn the analytical chemistry principles inherent in the instrument because most commercially available devices are enclosed boxes. Students simply insert samples and record the numbers the box outputs without learning the context or thinking critically about the process.

“Science is basically about using your senses to see things — it’s just that we’ve got so much technology that now it’s all hidden,” Scheeline said.

“The student gets the impression that a measurement is something that goes on inside a box and it’s completely inaccessible, not understandable — the purview of expert engineers,” he said. “That’s not what you want them to learn. In order to get across the idea, ‘I can do it, and I can see it, and I can understand it,’ they’ve go to build the instrument themselves. ”

So Scheeline set out to build a basic spectrometer that was not only simple and inexpensive but also open so that students could see its workings and play with its components, encouraging critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. It wouldn’t have to be the most sensitive or accurate instrument — in fact, he hoped that obvious shortcomings of the device would reinforce students’ understanding of its workings.

“If you’re trying to teach someone an instrument’s limitations, it’s a lot easier to teach them when they’re blatant than when they’re subtle. Everything goes wrong out in the open,” he said.

In a spectrometer, white light shines through a sample solution. The solution absorbs certain wavelengths of light. A diffraction grating then spreads the light into its color spectrum like a prism. Analyzing that spectrum can tell chemists about the properties of the sample.

For a light source, Scheeline used a single light-emitting diode (LED) powered by a 3-volt battery, the kind used in key fobs to remotely unlock a car. Diffraction gratings and cuvettes, the small, clear repositories to hold sample solutions, are readily available from scientific supply companies for a few cents each. The entire setup cost less than $3. The limiting factor seemed to be in the light sensor, or photodetector, to capture the spectrum for analysis.

“All of a sudden this light bulb went off in my head: a photodetector that everybody already has! Almost everybody has a cell phone, and almost all phones have a camera,” Scheeline said. “I realized, if you can get the picture into the computer, it’s only software that keeps you from building a cheap spectrophotometer.”

To remove that obstacle, he wrote a software program to analyze spectra captured in JPEG photo files and made it freely accessible online, along with its source code and instructions to students and teachers for assembling and using the cell-phone spectrometer. It can be accessed through the Analytical Sciences Digital Library.

Scheeline has used his cell-phone spectrometers in several classroom settings. His first classroom trial was with students in Hanoi, Vietnam, as part of a 2009 exchange teaching program Scheeline and several other U. of I. chemistry professors participated in. Although the students had no prior instrumentation experience, they greeted the cell-phone spectrometers with enthusiasm.

In the United States, Scheeline used cell-phone spectrometers in an Atlanta high school science program in the summers of 2009 and 2010. By the end of the 45-minute class, Scheeline was delighted to find students grasping chemistry concepts that seemed to elude students in similar programs using only textbooks. For example, one student inquired about the camera’s sensitivity to light in the room and how that might affect its ability to read the spectrum.

“And I said, ‘You’ve discovered a problem inherent in all spectrometers: stray light.’ I have been struggling ever since I started teaching to get across to university students the concept of stray light and what a problem it is, and here was a high school kid who picked it right up because it was in front of her face!” Scheeline said.

Scheeline has also shared his low-cost instrument with those most likely to benefit: high school teachers. Teachers participating in the U. of I. EnLiST program, a two-week summer workshop for high school chemistry and physics teachers in Illinois, built and played with cell-phone spectrometers during the 2009 and 2010 sessions. Those teachers now bring their experience — and assembly instructions — to their classrooms.

Scheeline wrote a detailed account of the cell-phone spectrometer and its potential for chemistry education in an article published in the journal Applied Spectroscopy. He hopes that the free availability of the educational modules and software source code will inspire programmers to develop smart-phone applications so that the analyses can be performed in-phone, eliminating the need to transfer photo files to a computer and turning cell phones into invaluable classroom tools.

“The potential is here to make analytical chemistry a subject for the masses rather than something that is only done by specialists,” Scheeline said. “There’s no doubt that getting the cost of equipment down to the point where more people can afford them in the education system is a boon for everybody.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Faster DNA Analysis

at Room Temperature

Science (Aug. 12, 2010) — DNA microarrays are one of the most powerful tools in molecular biology today. The devices, which can be used to probe biological samples and detect particular genes or genetic sequences, are employed in everything from forensic analysis to disease detection to drug development.


Now Paul Li and colleagues at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada have combined DNA microarrays with microfluidic devices, which are used for the precise control of liquids at the nanoscale. In an upcoming issue of the journal Biomicrofluidics, which is published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP), Li and his colleagues describe how the first combined device can be used for probing and detecting DNA.

The key to Li’s result: gold nanoparticles. Suspended in liquid and mixed with DNA, the nanometer-scale spheres of gold act as mini magnets that adhere to each of the DNA’s twin strands. When the DNA is heated, the two strands separate, and the gold nanoparticles keep them apart, which allows the single strands to be probed with other pieces of DNA that are engineered to recognize particular sequences.

Li, whose work is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, is applying for a patent for his technique. He sees a host of benefits from the combination of DNA microarrays and microfluidics.

“It’s faster and requires a relatively small sample,” he says, adding in his paper that “the whole procedure is accomplished at room temperature in an hour and apparatus for high temperature… is not required”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Intel Turns to Light

to Transfer Data Inside PCs

// <![CDATA[// Jul 28, 2010 6:40 am

Intel on Tuesday announced it had developed a prototype interconnect that uses light to speed up data transmission inside computers at the speed of 50 gigabits per second.

Intel researchers said that the optical technology could ultimately replace the use of copper wires and electrons to carry data inside or around computers. An entire high-definition movie can be transmitted each second with the prototype, the researchers said.

The technology will also be able to carry data over longer distances than copper wires, Intel researchers said.

Intel’s chief technology officer Justin Rattner characterized the research prototype as a breakthrough in research as copper wires were reaching their limit. There is a wealth of data that needs to be moved, and transferring data at 10G bps or more over copper wires is becoming a challenge. Even if the data could be transferred over copper wires at that speed, there are distance trade-offs.

Optical interconnects solve that problem by allowing data transfers at much faster rates, and over longer distances, Rattner said on a conference call to discuss the technology.

“Photonics gives us the ability to move those mass quantities of data across the room… in a cost-effective matter,” Rattner said.

The photonics technology could potentially speed up data transfers within PCs or devices such as handhelds, where movies could be downloaded at faster rates, Rattner said.

Laser is already used in devices such as DVD players, and also for applications such as long-distance communication. Laser technology can however be expensive, and Intel wants to bring the technology down to a low-cost point where it can be integrated into everyday devices, Rattner said. The company hopes to raise the speed of the optical interconnect to reach up to 1T bps (bits per second) as it increases the number of channels to improve data transfers.

But for now, the company has demonstrated in principle that it can get the pieces together and put it together in a fab. The next step is to implement it in chips and take it to volume manufacturing. The technology could reach the mass market by the middle of the decade, and could go into PCs, servers or mobile devices.

The technology won’t be implemented at the integrated circuit level in the short term, but could replace copper wires that connect CPU to memory, for example, said Mario Paniccia, an Intel fellow. The optical interconnect will reduce latency, which could result in faster data movement and processing.

“We think it’s going to be perfectly at home in data-center applications,” Rattner said. For consumer applications, an optical interconnect would also help users to down movies to handheld devices at faster rates, Rattner said.

“Once we’re confident we have a high-volume manufacturing capability, then we’ll turn to the business question: what market opportunities are attractive to Intel?” Rattner asked.

The research prototype brings together a number of previous Intel research around devices that emit, manipulate, combine, separate and detect light. The interconnect includes a transmitter chip on a PC board that puts four optical channels on to fiber, and a receiver chip that receives the incoming light, splits the optical signals and converts the photons to electrical data.

Intel is already working on a new optical interconnect to link external storage drives, mobile devices and displays to PCs up to 100 meters away. Called Light Peak, the interconnect helps communicate data at up to 10G bps. Intel sees Light Peak as potential technology to replace USB, which is commonly used to connect storage and other devices to PCs.

Many companies, including Sun, which is now part of Oracle, and IBM have been involved in silicon photonics research.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha