New Catalyst Recycles Greenhouse Gases into Fuel and Hydrogen Gas: KAIST and Rice University


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       The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST

Scientists have taken a major step toward a circular carbon economy by developing a long-lasting, economical catalyst that recycles greenhouse gases into ingredients that can be used in fuel, hydrogen gas, and other chemicals. The results could be revolutionary in the effort to reverse global warming, according to the researchers. The study was published on February 14 in Science.

“We set out to develop an effective catalyst that can convert large amounts of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane without failure,” said Cafer T. Yavuz, paper author and associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry at KAIST.

The catalyst, made from inexpensive and abundant nickel, magnesium, and molybdenum, initiates and speeds up the rate of reaction that converts carbon dioxide and methane into hydrogen gas. It can work efficiently for more than a month.

This conversion is called ‘dry reforming’, where harmful gases, such as carbon dioxide, are processed to produce more useful chemicals that could be refined for use in fuel, plastics, or even pharmaceuticals. It is an effective process, but it previously required rare and expensive metals such as platinum and rhodium to induce a brief and inefficient chemical reaction.

Other researchers had previously proposed nickel as a more economical solution, but carbon byproducts would build up and the surface nanoparticles would bind together on the cheaper metal, fundamentally changing the composition and geometry of the catalyst and rendering it useless.

“The difficulty arises from the lack of control on scores of active sites over the bulky catalysts surfaces because any refinement procedures attempted also change the nature of the catalyst itself,” Yavuz said.

The researchers produced nickel-molybdenum nanoparticles under a reductive environment in the presence of a single crystalline magnesium oxide. As the ingredients were heated under reactive gas, the nanoparticles moved on the pristine crystal surface seeking anchoring points. The resulting activated catalyst sealed its own high-energy active sites and permanently fixed the location of the nanoparticles — meaning that the nickel-based catalyst will not have a carbon build up, nor will the surface particles bind to one another. (Article continues below **)

Read More from Rice University: Rice reactor turns greenhouse gas into pure liquid fuel

Greenhouse Gas 2 0722_FUEL-1-rn

This schematic shows the electrolyzer developed at Rice to reduce carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, to valuable fuels. At left is a catalyst that selects for carbon dioxide and reduces it to a negatively charged formate, which is pulled through a gas diffusion layer (GDL) and the anion exchange membrane (AEM) into the central electrolyte. At the right, an oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalyst generates positive protons from water and sends them through the cation exchange membrane (CEM). The ions recombine into formic acid or other products that are carried out of the system by deionized (DI) water and gas. Illustration by Chuan Xia and Demin Liu

 

Greenhouse Gas 20170327_pr4602_co2tocnt

 

 

(** New catalyst recycles greenhouse gases into fuel and hydrogen gas continues)

“It took us almost a year to understand the underlying mechanism,” said first author Youngdong Song, a graduate student in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST. “Once we studied all the chemical events in detail, we were shocked.”

The researchers dubbed the catalyst Nanocatalysts on Single Crystal Edges (NOSCE). The magnesium-oxide nanopowder comes from a finely structured form of magnesium oxide, where the molecules bind continuously to the edge. There are no breaks or defects in the surface, allowing for uniform and predictable reactions.

“Our study solves a number of challenges the catalyst community faces,” Yavuz said. “We believe the NOSCE mechanism will improve other inefficient catalytic reactions and provide even further savings of greenhouse gas emissions.”

This work was supported, in part, by the Saudi-Aramco-KAIST CO2 Management Center and the National Research Foundation of Korea.

Other contributors include Ercan Ozdemir, Sreerangappa Ramesh, Aldiar Adishev, and Saravanan Subramanian, all of whom are affiliated with the Graduate School of Energy, Environment, Water and Sustainability at KAIST; Aadesh Harale, Mohammed Albuali, Bandar Abdullah Fadhel, and Aqil Jamal, all of whom are with the Research and Development Center in Saudi Arabia; and Dohyun Moon and Sun Hee Choi, both of whom are with the Pohang Accelerator Laboratory in Korea. Ozdemir is also affiliated with the Institute of Nanotechnology at the Gebze Technical University in Turkey; Fadhel and Jamal are also affiliated with the Saudi-Armco-KAIST CO2 Management Center in Korea.


Story Source:

Materials provided by The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Youngdong Song, Ercan Ozdemir, Sreerangappa Ramesh, Aldiar Adishev, Saravanan Subramanian, Aadesh Harale, Mohammed Albuali, Bandar Abdullah Fadhel, Aqil Jamal, Dohyun Moon, Sun Hee Choi, Cafer T. Yavuz. Dry reforming of methane by stable Ni–Mo nanocatalysts on single-crystalline MgOScience, 2020; 367 (6479): 777 DOI: 10.1126/science.aav2412

A Nanoscale Device to Generate High-Power Terahertz Waves – Penetrating paper, clothing, wood and walls, detecting air pollution … THz sources could revolutionize Security and Medical Imaging Systems


Terahertz Waves ananoscalede
The nanoscale terahertz wave generator can be implemented on flexible substrates. Credit: EPFL / POWERlab

Terahertz (THz) waves fall between microwave and infrared radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum, oscillating at frequencies of between 100 billion and 30 trillion cycles per second. These waves are prized for their distinctive properties: they can penetrate paper, clothing, wood and walls, as well as detect air pollution. THz sources could revolutionize security and medical imaging systems. What’s more, their ability to carry vast quantities of data could hold the key to faster wireless communications.

THz waves are a type of non-ionizing radiation, meaning they pose no risk to human health. The technology is already used in some airports to scan passengers and detect dangerous objects and substances.

Despite holding great promise, THz waves are not widely used because they are costly and cumbersome to generate. But new technology developed by researchers at EPFL could change all that. The team at the Power and Wide-band-gap Electronics Research Laboratory (POWERlab), led by Prof. Elison Matioli, built a nanodevice that can generate extremely high-power signals in just a few picoseconds, or one trillionth of a second, which produces high-power THz waves.

The technology, which can be mounted on a chip or a flexible medium, could one day be installed in smartphones and other hand-held devices. The work first-authored by Mohammad Samizadeh Nikoo, a Ph.D. student at the POWERlab, has been published in the journal Nature.

How it works

The compact, inexpensive, fully electric nanodevice generates high-intensity waves from a tiny source in next to no time. It works by producing a powerful “spark,” with the voltage spiking from 10 V (or lower) to 100 V in the range of a picosecond. The device is capable of generating this spark almost continuously, meaning it can emit up to 50 million signals every second. When hooked up to antennas, the system can produce and radiate high-power THz waves.

The device consists of two metal plates situated very close together, down to 20 nanometers apart. When a voltage is applied, electrons surge towards one of the plates, where they form a nanoplasma. Once the voltage reaches a certain threshold, the electrons are emitted almost instantly to the second plate. This rapid movement enabled by such fast switches creates a high-intensity pulse that produces high-frequency waves.

Conventional electronic devices are only capable of switching at speeds of up to one volt per picosecond—too slow to produce high-power THz waves.

The new nanodevice, which can be more than ten times faster, can generate both high-energy and high-frequency pulses. “Normally, it’s impossible to achieve high values for both variables,” says Matioli. “High-frequency semiconductor devices are nanoscale in size. They can only cope with a few volts before breaking out. High-power devices, meanwhile, are too big and slow to generate terahertz waves. Our solution was to revisit the old field of plasma with state-of-the-art nanoscale fabrication techniques to propose a new device to get around those constraints.”

According to Matioli, the new  pushes all the variables to the extreme: “High-frequency, high-power and nanoscale aren’t terms you’d normally hear in the same sentence.”

“These nanodevices, on one side, bring an extremely high level of simplicity and low-cost, and on the other side, show an excellent performance. In addition, they can be integrated with other electronic devices such as transistors. Considering these , nanoplasma can shape a different future for the area of ultra-fast electronics,” says Samizadeh.

The technology could have wide-ranging applications beyond generating THz waves. “We’re pretty sure there’ll be more innovative applications to come,” adds Matioli.


Explore further

Record-breaking terahertz laser beam

A Conversation with a ‘Nano – Entrepreneur’ – Advanced Materials Company Veelo Technologies: National Nanotechnology Initiative


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*** Genesis Nanotechnology, Inc. is embarking on a series Interviews and Articles featuring ‘Nano Entrepreneurs’ and University Innovators – their journeys and their stories. To that end we thought to first introduce to our readers the Nanotechnology Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) as resource. You can also Follow Us On Twitter for Updates Twitter Icon 042616.jpg

 

NNI (National Nanotechnology Initiative) is pleased to launch a new community of interest to support entrepreneurs interested in commercializing nanotechnologies. The Nanotechnology Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) brings new and seasoned entrepreneurs together with the people and resources available to support them.

This emerging network will create a forum for sharing best practices for advancing nanotechnology commercialization and the lessons learned along the technology development pathway. Activities are likely to include a monthly podcast series, webinars, workshops, and town hall discussions.

To kick things off, the inaugural podcast in this series features a conversation between NNCO Director Lisa Friedersdorf and Joe Sprengard, CEO and Founder of Veelo Technologies. Joe talks about his journey as an entrepreneur and shares the advice he received when he was getting started. Check back here for more information, and contact nen@nnco.nano.gov if you would like to join the conversation!

We hope you enjoy watching the Video Below:

More About Veelo Technologies: General Nano manufactures Veelo™, a new-class of lightweight, conductive, multifunctional materials that improve the Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) of next generation air vehicles, including aircraft, rotorcraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), satellites, and missiles.

Read The Full Story Here

A Declaration of War- The CCP and A Personal Statement Regarding COVID 19 – What ‘We’ Can Do Now


A Declaration of War – A Personal Statement on COVID 19

CBS News ServiceThe number of deaths caused by the coronavirus worldwide reached at least 13,049, including 340 in the U.S. and 4,825 in Italy, where the devastating virus has brought the country to its knees.

New York TimesItaly hit a grim milestone Saturday by recording record-breaking death tolls two days in a row. The country announced its biggest day-to-day increase of infections, which rose to 53,000 people, with nearly 800 new deaths. As bodies pile up in Italian hospitals, morgues and churches, and as medical workers plead for more help, there is no sign yet that Italy is taming its arc of its contagion.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said 114 people had died in the state, and said hospital capacity needs to double to meet the anticipated need for beds to treat patients.

And in More News …

LIVE: Johns Hopkins University – ArcGIS Online for Johns Hopkins

Fox News … Who was Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who warned about the coronavirus?

Fox News … Coronavirus and China – Here’s what Americans should consider

Axios … Timeline: The early days of China’s coronavirus outbreak and cover-up

TOPSHOT-CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS

COVID 19: 22 March, 2020

I just heard what I think makes a tremendous amount of GOOD SENSE. (In my Opinion)

In as much as the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) HAS DECLARED WAR on the US and the World, either by INTENTION or by OMISSION … WE SHOULD CONSIDER OURSELVES NOW AT WAR, and we need to ACT ACCORDINGLY.

My Post is neither RACIST nor meant to incite PANIC. I am URGING HOWEVER THAT “WE ALL ACT TOGETHER – just as …  in the time of War.!”

To Quote General S. Patton – “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week” — George Patton.

FIRST: We need to act just as thE U.S. did after the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1947. “A Day that will (has) lived in infamy.” Everyone put it into High Gear! We need to respond FINANCIALLY, ECONOMICALLY, INDUSTRIALLY and HEALTH CARE SYSTEM “WISE.” We need to ACT NOW!

SECOND: WE NEED TO MOBILIZE ALL OF INDUSTRY to first supply the needs of the Medical / Health Care sectors (The War). WE NEED TO HIT THIS VIRUS HARD NOW! QUARANTINES. EMERGENCY MEASURES (Maybe areas of Martial Law?), Border Closures, SUPPLY CHAINS (Food, Medical, Industrial. Logistics and Transportation).

All  of this in an effort to (1) Hit the Pandemic hard and quickly, limit Community Transmission and SHORTEN THE DURATION and RATE of DEATH from COVID19.

And (2) We need to bring our Critical Manufacturing and Supply Chains home … back to a Country and Countries that are trusted, are transparent and forthcoming.

Can we even imagine what 10? 20? 30? days would have meant to those suffering in Italy, New York and around the globe today? How many lives may have been saved if only the CCP (Communist Chinese Party) had acted sooner?

What if the CCP  had acted and not suppressed news reports before/ during the time when Hundreds of Thousands of unsuspecting Chinese gathered during Chinese New Year with Friends and Family and then returned “home”?  (Current COVID19 Count over 225,000 infected; over 8,800 Dead in China alone, 13,000 and climbing Worldwide)

How many flights could have been diverted? How many self-directed quarantines could have made the difference?  Dare we say that those who have lost close friends and loved ones due to CCP’s lack of honesty and forthright action have a case for Criminal Negligence? **

Again, Quoting a perhaps forgot but very successful and War Winning General from WWII – “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week” — George S. Patton

“TIME – IS OF THE ESSENCE” to save LIVES!

Coronavirus, virus which causes SARS and MERS

THIRD: WE NEED TO GET CASH INTO THE HANDS OF MAIN STREET, SMALL BUSINESSES, THE LITTLE GUY to bridge the gap, so that as we shut down the U.S  (and other Countries)  via QUARANTINE to (1) STOP the spread, to provide (2) TIME for our Health Care and Medical Communities to (3) Respond and Ramp up …….  so that WE ALL WILL SURVIVE, Financially, Economically and Health Wise.

Corona 2 DD-COMPOSITE-CORONAVIRUS-GRAPHIC-2

FOURTH: TO SURVIVE AND RETURN TO OUR ROBUST FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC STATUS (Worldwide) PRIOR TO THE CHINESE OUTBREAK and the DECLARATION OF WAR, OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (US Treasury and The Fed) NEED TO PROVIDE MASSIVE LIQUIDITY  (Merge the Treasury and Fed Bank Balance Sheets) TO THE SYSTEM BOTH NOW AND POST COVID 19.

DO IT!! DO IT NOW!!!

What ‘We’ Can Do

•  SELF-QUARANTINE! STAY HOME! DO NOT GO OUT UNLESS NECESSARY (Food, Medical) Rule: At least 6 Feet apart in Public Places. ONLY Groups smaller than 10. YES THIS ALSO INCLUDES YOU YOUNG PEOPLE!  You make think you are “bullet-proof” YOU ARE NOT!

Wash/Clean Your Hands, Face, Clothes and Surfaces

Check on and Look-In on those MOST VULNERABLE in our “At Risk Population”

Cover Cough and Sneezes. BE CONSIDERATE!

Random-Acts-of-Kindness 1-Logo

And most IMPORTANT …

Please be Kind to One Another … DO WHAT YOU CAN, WHERE YOU CAN, HOW YOU CAN. PRACTICE RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS!! 😀😀😀❤️❤️❤️

PLEASE SHARE FREELY AND AS YOU DEEM APPROPRIATE.

 – GOD BLESS

** In late December in the COVID19 Timeline, Chinese Officials were still maintaining the COVID 19 (as it would come to be known) was “not being transmitted from Human to Human.”

Raising Capital for Early Stage Companies in a Post CoronaVirus Market Meltdown


Recent Market Sell-Offs and Volatility Have Investors on a Roller Coaster of a Ride

After ten years of rising US equities prices, many investors are selling (albeit off the highs) but with large capital gains. This sell-off gives investors a chance to rethink their allocation and potentially focus on private investments in earlier stage companies as a long-term hedge.

Anecdotally having met with hundreds investors over the past 24 months, smaller/private deals were more difficult in an era of seemingly predictable source of 8% plus returns in the public markets.

So what is the case for investing in technology at the earliest stage besides the fact that returns are the best and investors are seeking a long term game now? 

What is Your Investor(s) View of the World?

1. Understand the investor type and hypothesis and craft your pitch in response to their view of the world.A high net worth investor who is an angel, likely has public market exposure, capital gains and a fairly large amount of ongoing hypothesis.

Take the opportunity to remind your potential angel investors that this is a great time to move investment dollars out of the volatile public markets and into a business that is values-aligned and run by someone they know and trust.”

Angel investing has generated good returns over time for angels. The link below connects to a dense academic paper, however it is recommended that Early Stage Companies should be comfortable with this analysis so you can understand how your potential angels are thinking about this investment

Prediction and Control Under Uncertainty – Outcomes in Angel Investing

Assessing and Comparing Risk

2. Early stage pre-revenue tech startups become in relative terms less risky. At the early stage, risk doesn’t change much in absolute terms but changes dramatically in relative terms. If you at normal times evaluate a pre-seed startup risk to be, say, 100x higher than that of a later-stage company, at the time of crisis this could become only 20x. this of course assumes the crisis is bounded in time.

Finding and Leveraging Unique Advantages

3. Pre-revenue startups have zero exposure to market, and generally benefit from crises, because they can get cheaper workforce (this assumes employees will still want to join a company with financing risk).

If you expect the crisis will take x number of months, and the startup has >x runway, you know it will survive. There are almost no other variables except in the Coronavirus instance, we don’t know x number of months yet.

There’s always capital for companies that have the product market fit and a strong relationship with a diversified set of customers.

Companies should rework their financial models and capital strategy to ensure they can hold-off on deploying capital until they understand business drivers that enable them to become category-owning companies offering a defensible product or service.

If you are able to organize your company to qualify for opportunity zone funding, that could help your potential investor with the capital gains associated with their most recent public company stock sale. 

Source William Rosellini

New Carbon Membrane Generates a Hundred Times More Power – Opens up New Possibilities for Power Generation, Desalination and More Efficient Fuel Cells


Graphene-filter

A new carbon membrane could someday be used in commercial desalination plants

Leiden chemists have created a new ultrathin membrane only one molecule thick. The membrane can produce a hundred times more power from seawater than the best membranes used today. The researchers have published their findings in Nature Nanotechnology.

Thin and porous

When fresh and saltwater meet, an exchange of salt and other particles takes place. A  placed in water is able to harness energy from particles moving from one side to the other. A similar process can also be used to desalinate seawater. Leiden chemists have developed a new membrane that can produce a hundred times more energy than classic membranes and known prototype membranes in scientific literature.

How much power is generated depends on the thickness of the membrane and how porous it is. Researchers were able to create a carbon based membrane that is both porous and thin. That is why it can produce more energy than current membranes, which are either porous or thin, but not both.

newcarbonmem Credit: Xue Liu

To create this new membrane, Xue Liu and Grégory Schneider spread a large number of oily molecules on a water surface. These molecular building blocks then form a thin film on their own. By heating the film, the molecules are locked in place, creating a stable and porous membrane. According to Xue Liu, the membrane can be adapted for specific requirements. Liu: “The membrane we’ve created is only two nanometers thick and permeable to potassium ions. We can change the properties of the membrane by using a different molecular building block. That way we can adapt it to suit any need.”

Graphene

The new carbon membrane is similar to graphene, a large flat membrane made up of only carbon atoms. But according to Grégory Schneider, this new membrane is in a whole different category. Schneider: “When making a membrane, a lot of researchers start out with graphene, which is very thin, but not porous. They then try to punch holes in it to make more permeable. We’ve done the reverse by assembling small molecules and building a larger porous membrane from those . Compared to , it contains imperfections, but that’s what gives it its special properties.”

This new membrane combines the best of both worlds. Schneider: “Much of the research in this field was focused on creating better catalysts, membranes were somewhat of a dead end. This new discovery opens up whole new possibilities for , desalination and for  much more efficient fuel cells.”


Explore further

Water desalination picks up the pace


More information: Xue Liu et al. Power generation by reverse electrodialysis in a single-layer nanoporous membrane made from core–rim polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Nature Nanotechnology (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41565-020-0641-5

Journal information: Nature Nanotechnology

Graphene solar heating film offers new opportunity for efficient thermal energy harvesting


1-graphene
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for Translational Atomaterials have developed a highly efficient solar absorbing film that absorbs sunlight with minimal heat loss and rapidly heats up to 83°C in an open environment.

The  metamaterial film has great potential for use in solar thermal energy harvesting and conversion, thermophotovoltaics (directly converting heat to electricity), solar seawater desalination, , light emitters and photodetectors.

The researchers have developed a prototype to demonstrate the photo-thermal performance and thermal stability of the film. They have also proposed a scalable and low-cost manufacturing strategy to produce this graphene metamaterial film for .

“In our previous work, we demonstrated a 90 nm graphene metamaterial heat-absorbing film,” says Professor Baohua Jia, founding Director of the Centre for Translational Atomaterials.

“In this new work, we reduced the film thickness to 30 nm and improved the performance by minimising heat loss. This work forms an exciting pillar in our atomaterial research.”

Lead author Dr. Keng-Te Lin says: “Our cost-effective and scalable structured graphene metamaterial selective absorber is promising for energy harvesting and conversion applications. Using our film an impressive solar to vapour efficiency of 96.2 percent can be achieved, which is very competitive for clean water generation using renewable energy source.”

Co-author Dr. Han Lin adds: “In addition to the long lifetime of the proposed graphene metamaterial, the solar-thermal performance is very stable under working conditions, making it attractive for industrial use. The 30 nm thickness significantly reduced the amount of the graphene materials, thus saving the costs, making it accessible for real-life applications.”


Explore further

Novel form of graphene-based optical material developed


More information: Keng-Te Lin et al. Structured graphene metamaterial selective absorbers for high efficiency and omnidirectional solar thermal energy conversion, Nature Communications (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-15116-z

Journal information: Nature Communications

Unmasking a hidden killer: Successfully detecting cancer in blood of patients undergoing treatment


unmaskingahi
Dr Yuling Wang. Credit: CNBP

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal cancers, but difficult to diagnose: few sufferers have symptoms until the cancer has become large or already spread to other organs. Even then, symptoms can be vague and easily misconstrued as more common conditions.

This is why Dr. Yuling Wang is so excited by results of a trial completed in late 2019, which—using plasmonic nanoparticles developed by the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP)—successfully detected signs of the  in  of patients undergoing treatment. The paper was recently published in the journal American Chemical Society—Sensors.

“The test gave a very high signal in the blood for late-stage or very serious tumors, where other techniques cannot detect anything,” said Dr. Wang, an associate investigator at the Centre’s Macquarie University node in Sydney, in work led by Prof Nicolle Packer. “We need to test many more patient samples to validate the approach, but the strength of the signal was very encouraging.”

They did this by developing a method, using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy nanotags, that simultaneously detects three known  cancer biomarkers in blood. Known as extracellular vesicles, or EVs, they contain DNA and proteins for cell-to-cell communication and are shed from pancreatic cancer cells into surrounding body fluids. The CNBP method zeros in on three: Glypican-1, epithelial cell adhesion molecules and CD44V6.

Unmasking a hidden killer

Non-invasive screening of cancer biomarkers from blood with handheld Raman reader. Credit: CNBP

For the experiment, biopsies of healthy donors were provided alongside those of known sufferers of pancreatic cancer, in double-blind tests where the researchers did not know which was which. Nevertheless, the blood of sufferers was easily identified. The technique was so sensitive it could spot EVs as small as 113 nanometres in diameter—or less than 1% the width of a human hair—in every millilitre of blood.

The pancreas is part of the digestive system, secreting insulin into the bloodstream to regulate the body’s sugar level as well as important enzymes and hormones into the  to help break down food. Pancreatic cancer is the fifth biggest cancer killer in Australia and has a 5-year survival rate of 8.7%. More than 3000 Australians are diagnosed annually, and surgery to remove the cancer is a long and complex process, requiring long hospital stays.

Because existing blood tests for the protein biomarkers of pancreatic cancer are unreliable, imaging with endoscopic ultrasound or MRI scans is necessary. Even then, anomalies can only be confirmed with a biopsy of the organ, which is invasive and ultimately relies on a trained pathologist to recognize signs of the cancer under a microscope. As a result, there’s some subjectivity involved and cancer can be present but still be missed.

“Our approach is non-invasive—we don’t need to take tissue from the patient, we just use a  to test blood for targeted biomarkers, which gives a very quick result,” Dr. Wang said. It may also help provide earlier diagnosis of the cancer.

While the work is a proof-of-concept, it was also able to detect colorectal and bladder cancer biomarkers—although not as clearly as those for . Nevertheless, the results are so encouraging that a commercial partner has committed funding to CNBP so it can develop a handheld spectrometer for cancer biomarkers in blood.


Explore further

UK urine test that can detect early-stage pancreatic cancer starts clinical study

MIT and University of Waterloo Lead the Way: Quantum Radar Reliably Demonstrated – Making it useful for Biomedical and Security (Stealth) Applications


quantum radar 3 quantump

A radar device that relies on entangled photons works at such low power that it can hide behind background noise, making it useful for biomedical and security (stealthy radar) applications.

One of the advantages of the quantum revolution is the ability to sense the world in a new way. The general idea is to use the special properties of quantum mechanics to make measurements or produce images that are otherwise impossible.

Much of this work is done with photons. But as far as the electromagnetic spectrum is concerned, the quantum revolution has been a little one-sided. Almost all the advances in quantum computing, cryptography, teleportation, and so on have involved visible or near-visible light.

Today that changes thanks to the work of Shabir Barzanjeh at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria and a few colleagues. This team has used entangled microwaves to create the world’s first quantum radar. Their device, which can detect objects at a distance using only a few photons, raises the prospect of stealthy radar systems that emit little detectable electromagnetic radiation.

The device is simple in essence. The researchers create pairs of entangled microwave photons using a superconducting device called a Josephson parametric converter. They beam the first photon, called the signal photon, toward the object of interest and listen for the reflection.

Quantum radar

In the meantime, they store the second photon, called the idler photon. When the reflection arrives, it interferes with this idler photon, creating a signature that reveals how far the signal photon has traveled. Voila—quantum radar!

This technique has some important advantages over conventional radar. Ordinary radar works in a similar way but fails at low power levels that involve small numbers of microwave photons. That’s because hot objects in the environment emit microwaves of their own.

In a room temperature environment, this amounts to a background of around 1,000 microwave photons at any instant, and these overwhelm the returning echo. This is why radar systems use powerful transmitters.

Entangled photons overcome this problem. The signal and idler photons are so similar that it is easy to filter out the effects of other photons. So it becomes straightforward to detect the signal photon when it returns.

Of course, entanglement is a fragile property of the quantum world, and the process of reflection destroys it.  Nevertheless, the correlation between the signal and idler photons is still strong enough to distinguish them from background noise.

This allows Barzanjeh and co to detect a room temperature object in a room temperature environment with just a handful of photons, in a way that is impossible to do with ordinary photons. “We generate entangled fields using a Josephson parametric converter at millikelvin temperatures to illuminate a room-temperature object at a distance of 1 meter in a proof of principle radar setup,” they say.

The researchers go on to compare their quantum radar with conventional systems operating with similarly low numbers of photons and say it significantly outperforms them, albeit only over relatively short distances.

That’s interesting work revealing the significant potential of quantum radar and a first application of microwave-based entanglement. But it also shows the potential application of quantum illumination more generally.

 

A big advantage is the low levels of electromagnetic radiation required. “Our experiment shows the potential as a non-invasive scanning method for biomedical applications, e.g., for imaging of human tissues or non-destructive rotational spectroscopy of proteins,” say Barzanjeh and co.

Then there is the obvious application as a stealthy radar that is difficult for adversaries to detect over background noise. The researchers say it could be useful for short-range low-power radar for security applications in closed and populated environments.

quantum radar 2 2018-05-14-s20_quantuim_radar_stealth_aircraft_entanglement_canada

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1908.03058 : Experimental Microwave Quantum Illumination

University of Waterloo Leads The Way in Canada

Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) members, in Professor Zbig Wasilewski partnership with the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), is developing the next generation of radar, quantum radar. Professor Zbig Wasilewski, from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is fabricating the materials for quantum radar.

The two other co-PIs on this project are Professor Jonathan Baugh and Professor Mike Reimer. Professor Baugh is a member of both WIN and IQC, while Professor Reimer main focus is on quantum photonics as a member of IQC.

In April 2018, the Government of Canada announced they would invest $2.7 million in the joint quantum radar project. The state-ofthe-art facilities in Lazaridis Centre make this project possible. Professor Wasilewski’s Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) lab will grow the quantum material to adequate perfection to meet the challenge. The IQC houses the necessary quantum device processing and photonic labs. This ambitious project is not possible at many research institutions in the world. The MBE lab allows Wasilewski to create quantum structures with atomic precision. These materials will in turn form the foundation of the quantum radar. “Many challenges lie ahead,” said Professor Wasilewski. “Building up quantum illumination sources to the scale needed for quantum radar calls for the very best in material growth, nanofabrication and quantum engineering. We have an excellent interdisciplinary team with the diverse expertise needed to tackle all these challenges. It would be hard to assemble a better one in Canada or internationally.”

quantum_radar 1

“We have an excellent interdisciplinary team with the diverse expertise needed to tackle all these challenges. It would be hard to assemble a better one in Canada or internationally.”

– Professor Zbig Wasilewski, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo

Professor Jonathan Baugh said, “By developing a fast, on-demand source of quantum light, we hope to bring techniques like quantum illumination from the lab to the real world. This project would not be possible without the right team, and we are fortunate to have a uniquely strong multidisciplinary collaboration based entirely at Waterloo, one which strengthens ties between WIN and IQC.”

The proposed quantum radar will help operators cut through heavy background noise and isolate objects in Canada’s far north. Standard radar systems are unable to detect stealth aircraft in the high-arctic due to the aurora borealis. This natural phenomenon sends electromagnetic energy at varying wavelengths down to Earth.

It is hypothesized that quantum radar works by separating two entangled light particles. You keep one on earth and send the entangled partner into the sky. If the light particle bounces off of your source and back to your detector you have located a stealth aircraft.

Quantum radar’s viability outside of a lab still needs to be determined. The goal of this project is to demonstrate its capability in the field.

The $2.7 million is being invested under the Department of National Defence’s All Domain Situational Awareness (ADSA) Science and Technology program.

Scientists create ‘most effective anti-coronavirus spray’


Coronavirus cases continue to climb, with 120,000+ cases and 4,000+ deaths confirmed around the world. Now a revolutionary spray has arrived, guaranteed to completely sanitise home surfaces for five years.

Coronavirus is a hardy virus capable of lingering on surfaces for a week at the very least. But the release of a revolutionary new anti-coronavirus product promises to prevent the spread of the deadly pathogen.

Antimicrobial spray MVX Protex uses the latest nanotechnology to protect homes and hospitals against the growing coronavirus threat. The spray, developed in Japan by nanotechnology company Nanotera Group, has just been licensed in the UK.

Saba Yussouf, Director of NanoTera Group revealed how the patented and proved tech works. She said: “This technology is a spray that coats any hard or soft surface except human skin, and it can kill bacteria fungus and viruses.

“After you spray our solution on a surface and wait an hour to wait for it to dry, any pathogen – any bacteria, virus or fungus – when it touches the surface cannot spread any further and dies. We don’t go into the cell of the bacteria or the virus and kill it, which is far more complicated.”

“What we do is actually destroy their ability to attach to a host cell, which is how viruses, bacteria and fungus spread. “They need a host cell to get inside this membrane, but we don’t allow that to happen.”

The technology, which is being increasingly used by dental practices in London can be used on various surfaces including furniture, digital devices and textiles. Once the EPA-certified nanocoating has been sprayed, there is no need to disinfect it for another five years. The cost is $3,000 per hundred square metres, which when split over five years, is approximately $600 a year.

Ms Yussouf added: “It’s alarming so few locations in the UK are using this spray to sanitise and help prevent life-threatening viruses such as coronavirus.”

Dr Jeremy Ramsden, Professor of Nanotechnology at The University of Buckingham’s Clore Laboratory, said: “The recent outbreaks of Coronavirus with the prospect of a far more serious epidemic, highlights the need to diminish the environmental burden of viruses.

“It is a relief that the UK has joined other countries and licensed this spray but we certainly need to educate people on the ease of being able to keep surfaces continuously sterile without the need for further intervention.”

Ms Yussouf believes this spray should be the first line of defence, should the coronavirus outbreak become a pandemic, as some experts fear.

She said: “The NHS should make this tool available on the NHS considering we’re on the verge of a pandemic. If it’s not contained properly, it could keep going for a long time even when an antiviral shot arrives, because there are many strains and mutations.”

“We should start with making it compulsory in NHS hospitals, I think that’s a good start as there are many very old and young people in these hospitals. It’s recommended staff decontaminate surfaces five times a day and that’s a lot of costs and a lot of labour. So, imagine not needing to do it at all for a fraction of the time and fraction of the cost, which is where we can come in and help.”