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Jul 17, 2020

In a first, astronomers watch a black hole’s corona disappear, then reappear

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, humor

Could be used for quasar propulsion: 3.

It seems the universe has an odd sense of humor. While a crown-encrusted virus has run roughshod over the world, another entirely different corona about 100 million light years from Earth has mysteriously disappeared.

For the first time, astronomers at MIT and elsewhere have watched as a supermassive black hole’s own corona, the ultrabright, billion-degree ring of high-energy particles that encircles a black hole’s event horizon, was abruptly destroyed.

Continue reading “In a first, astronomers watch a black hole’s corona disappear, then reappear” »

Jul 17, 2020

DDR5 memory spec is finally official but hold onto your DDR4 RAM modules

Posted by in categories: computing, futurism

At long last, the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association has officially finalized the specification for DDR5 SDRAM, which will serve as a blueprint for memory makers and future CPU platform designs as the industry shifts away from DDR4. However, it won’t happen overnight. More on that in a moment.

JEDEC is the industry group that develops and sets open memory standards, and it has more than 300 members, including AMD, Intel, Micron, Samsung, and a host of other major players in the semiconductor industry. JEDEC’s job is important because without the recognized standards that emerge, we would potentially have to navigate through a proprietary minefield when building a PC.

Jul 17, 2020

Coronavirus latest: WHO says health workers account for 10% of global infections

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

🤔 The WHO Chief is urging African nations to take part in clinical trials for a vaccine, yet is sending a team to China 7 months after the fact, and after China destroyed samples. The same WHO also is complaining about countries handling of the outbreak.

The UN body announced that over 1.4 million infections of COVID-19 are accounted for by health care sector workers, at least 10% of all cases. EU leaders have met to discuss a recovery package. Follow DW for the latest.

Jul 17, 2020

New Room-Temperature Liquid-Metal Battery Could Be the Path to Powering the Future

Posted by in categories: energy, futurism

AUSTIN, Texas — Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have built a new type of battery that combines the many benefits of existing options while eliminating their key shortcomings and saving energy.

Most batteries are composed of either solid-state electrodes, such as lithium-ion batteries for portable electronics, or liquid-state electrodes, including flow batteries for smart grids. The UT researchers have created what they call a “room-temperature all-liquid-metal battery,” which includes the best of both worlds of liquid- and solid-state batteries.

Solid-state batteries feature significant capacity for energy storage, but they typically encounter numerous problems that cause them to degrade over time and become less efficient. Liquid-state batteries can deliver energy more efficiently, without the long-term decay of sold-state devices, but they either fall short on high energy demands or require significant resources to constantly heat the electrodes and keep them molten.

Jul 17, 2020

For The First Time Ever, Astronomers Have Witnessed a Black Hole ‘Blink’

Posted by in categories: cosmology, materials

Black holes don’t glow — in fact, they’re famous for doing the opposite. But if they’re actively devouring material from the space around them, that material can blaze like a billion X-ray Suns.

And for the first time, astronomers have now seen that blaze mysteriously snuffed out, before gradually returning to brightness.

The supermassive black hole is a beast clocking in at 19 million solar masses, powering a galactic nucleus 275 million light-years away, in a galaxy called 1ES 1927+654.

Jul 17, 2020

Revolutionizing Large-Scale Energy Storage: Better Multivalent Metal Batteries

Posted by in categories: computing, mobile phones, sustainability, transportation

They suggest next steps in search for large-scale energy storage solution.

Lithium-ion batteries are recognized for their high energy density in everything from mobile phones to laptop computers and electric vehicles, but as the need for grid-scale energy storage and other applications becomes more pressing, researchers have sought less expensive and more readily available alternatives to lithium.

Batteries using more abundant multivalent metals could revolutionize energy storage. Researchers review the current state of multivalent metal-ion battery research and provide a roadmap for future work in Nature Energy, reporting that the top candidates – using magnesium, calcium, zinc and aluminum – all have great promise, but also steep challenges to meet practical demands.

Jul 17, 2020

“Light Picoscope” – Laser Takes Pictures of Electrons in Crystals

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics

The researchers used powerful laser flashes to irradiate thin, films of crystalline materials. These laser pulses drove crystal electrons into a fast wiggling motion. As the electrons bounced off with the surrounding electrons, they emitted radiation in the extreme ultraviolet part of the spectrum. By analyzing the properties of this radiation, the researchers composed pictures that illustrate how the electron cloud is distributed among atoms in the crystal lattice of solids with a resolution of a few tens of picometers which is a billionth of a millimeter.

The experiments pave the way towards developing a new class of laser-based microscopes that could allow physicists, chemists, and material scientists to peer into the details of the microcosm with unprecedented resolution and to deeply understand and eventually control the chemical and the electronic properties of materials.

For decades scientists have used flashes of laser light to understand the inner workings of the microcosm. Such lasers flashes can now track ultrafast microscopic processes inside solids. Still they cannot spatially resolve electrons, that is, to see how electrons occupy the minute space among atoms in crystals, and how they form the chemical bonds that hold atoms together. The reason is long known. It was discovered by Abbe more than a century back. Visible light can only discern objects commensurable in size to its wavelength which is approximately few hundreds of nanometers. But to see electrons, the microscopes have to increase their magnification power by a few thousand times.

Jul 17, 2020

Scientists achieve major breakthrough in preserving integrity of sound waves

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering, physics

In a breakthrough for physics and engineering, researchers from the Photonics Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY (CUNY ASRC) and from Georgia Tech have presented the first demonstration of topological order based on time modulations. This advancement allows the researchers to propagate sound waves along the boundaries of topological metamaterials without the risk of waves traveling backwards or being thwarted by material defects.

The new findings, which appear in the journal Science Advances, will pave the way for cheaper, lighter devices that use less battery power, and which can function in harsh or hazardous environments. Andrea Alù, founding director of the CUNY ASRC Photonics Initiative and Professor of Physics at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and postdoctoral research associate Xiang Ni were authors on the paper, together with Amir Ardabi and Michael Leamy from Georgia Tech.

The field of topology examines properties of an object that are not affected by continuous deformations. In a topological insulator, electrical currents can flow along the object’s boundaries, and this flow is resistant to being interrupted by the object’s imperfections. Recent progress in the field of metamaterials has extended these features to control the propagation of sound and light following similar principles.

Jul 17, 2020

New Amphibious Assault Ship USS Tripoli Joins the U.S. Navy

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, military

The U.S. Navy welcomed a new amphibious assault ship into the fleet this week even as one of its sister ships lay burning. The ship, designed to deliver Marines by air into hostile territory, was commissioned in a low-key virtual ceremony to ensure social distancing. Tripoli will be based at San Diego Naval Base, California, where sister ship USS Bonhomme Richard is currently on fire.

The ship’s traditional commissioning ceremony, a public event that would have drawn thousands and originally set to take place at Pensacola, Florida, was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Instead the ship was commissioned by “administrative message” from the Navy to the fleet, while onboard the crew raised the commissioning flag to signify the event.

Jul 17, 2020

Ground-Breaking Research Shows That Laser Spectral Linewidth Is Classical-Physics Phenomenon

Posted by in category: quantum physics

New ground-breaking research from the University of Surrey could change the way scientists understand and describe lasers – establishing a new relationship between classical and quantum physics.

In a comprehensive study published by the journal Progress in Quantum Electronics, a researcher from Surrey, in partnership with a colleague from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Fraunhofer IOSB in Germany, calls into question 60 years of orthodoxy surrounding the principles of lasers and the laser spectral linewidth – the foundation for controlling and measuring wavelengths of light.

In the new study, the researchers find that a fundamental principle of lasers, that the amplification of light compensates for the losses of the laser, is only an approximation. The team quantify and explain that a tiny excess loss, which is not balanced by the amplified light but by normal luminescence inside the laser, provides the answer to the spectral linewidth of the laser.