We’re Close to a Universal Quantum Computer, Here’s Where We’re At: YouTube Video

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Quantum computers are just on the horizon as both tech giants and startups are working to kickstart the next computing revolution.


Watch More:

U.S. Nuclear Missiles Are Still Controlled By Floppy Disks – https://youtu.be/Y8OOp5_G-R4

Read More: Quantum Computing and the New Space Race http://nationalinterest.org/feature/q… “In January 2017, Chinese scientists officially began experiments using the world’s first quantum-enabled satellite, which will carry out a series of tests aimed at investigating space-based quantum communications over the course of the next two years.”

Quantum Leap in Computer Simulation https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articl… “Ultimately it will help us understand and test the sorts of problems an eventually scaled-up quantum computer will be used for, as the quantum hardware is developed over the next decade or so.”

How Quantum Computing Will Change Your Life https://www.seeker.com/quantum-comput… “The Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics kicked off a new season of live-


Why Do Most Science Startups Fail? Here’s Why …

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“We need to get a lot better at bridging that gap between discovery and commercialization”

G. Satell – Inc. Magazine

It seems like every day we see or hear about a breakthrough new discovery that will change everything. Some, like perovskites in solar cells and CRISPR are improvements on existing technologies. Others, like quantum computing and graphene promise to open up new horizons encompassing many applications. Still others promise breakthroughs in Exciting Battery Technology Breakthrough News — Is Any Of It Real? or Beyond lithium — the search for a better battery

Nevertheless, we are still waiting for a true market impact. Quantum computing and graphene have been around for decades and still haven’t hit on their “killer app.” Perovskite solar cells and CRISPR are newer, but haven’t really impacted their industries yet. And those are just the most prominent examples.

bright_idea_1_400x400The problem isn’t necessarily with the discoveries themselves, many of which are truly path-breaking, but that there’s a fundamental difference between discovering an important new phenomenon in the lab and creating value in the marketplace.

“We need to get a lot better at bridging that gap. To do so, we need to create a new innovation ecosystem for commercializing science.”

The Valley Of Death And The Human Problem

The gap between discovery and commercialization is so notorious and fraught with danger that it’s been unaffectionately called the “Valley of Death.” Part of the problem is that you can’t really commercialize a discovery, you can only commercialize a product and those are two very different things.

The truth is that innovation is never a single event, but a process of discovery, engineering and transformation. After something like graphene is discovered in the lab, it needs to be engineered into a useful product and then it has to gain adoption by winning customers in the marketplace. Those three things almost never happen in the same place.

So to bring an important discovery to market, you first need to identify a real world problem it can solve and connect to engineers who can transform it into a viable product or service. Then you need to find customers who are willing to drop whatever else they’ve been doing and adopt it on a large scale. That takes time, usually about 30 years.

The reason it takes so long is that there is a long list of problems to solve. To create a successful business based on a scientific discovery, you need to get scientists to collaborate effectively with engineers and a host of specialists in other areas, such as manufacturing, distribution and marketing. Those aren’t just technology problems, those are human problems. Being able to collaborate effectively is often the most important competitive advantage.

Wrong Industry, Wrong Application

One of the most effective programs for helping to bring discoveries out of the lab is I-Corps. First established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help recipients of SBIR grants identify business models for scientific discoveries, it has been such an extraordinary success that the US Congress has mandated its expansion across the federal government.

Based on Steve Blank’s lean startup methodology, the program aims to transform scientists into entrepreneurs. It begins with a presentation session, in which each team explains the nature of their discovery and its commercial potential. It’s exciting stuff, pathbreaking science with real potential to truly change the world.

The thing is, they invariably get it wrong. Despite their years of work to discover something of significance and their further efforts to apply and receive commercialization grants from the federal government, they fail to come up with a viable application in an industry that wants what they have to offer. professor-with-a-bright-idea-vector-937691

Ironically, much of the success of the I-Corps program is due to these early sessions. Once they realize that they are on the wrong track, they embark on a crash course of customer discovery, interviewing dozens — and sometimes hundreds — of customers in search of a business model that actually has a chance of succeeding.

What’s startling about the program is that, without it, scientists with important discoveries often wasted years trying to make a business work that never really had a chance in the first place.

The Silicon Valley Myth

Much of the success of Silicon Valley has been based on venture-funded entrepreneurship. Startups with an idea to change the world create an early stage version of the product they want to launch, show it to investors and get funding to bring it to market. Just about every significant tech company was started this way.

Yet most of the success of Silicon Valley has been based on companies that sell either software or consumer gadgets, which are relatively cheap and easy to rapidly prototype. Many scientific startups, however, do not fit into this category. Often, they need millions of dollars to build a prototype and then have to sell to industrial companies with long lead times.

start up imagesThe myth of Silicon Valley is that venture-funded entrepreneurship is a generalizable model that can be applied to every type of business. It is not. In fact, it is a specific model that was conceived in a specific place at a specific time to fund mature technologies for specific markets. It’s not a solution that fits every problem.

The truth is that venture funds are very adept with assessing market risk, but not so good at taking on technology risk, especially in hard sciences. That simply isn’t what they were set up to do.

We Need A New Innovation Ecosystem For Science Entrepreneurship

In 1945, Vannevar Bush delivered a report, Science, The Endless Frontier, to President Truman, in which he made the persuasive argument that expanding the nation’s scientific capacity will expand its economic capacity and well being. His call led, ultimately, to building America’s scientific infrastructure, including programs like the NSF and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

It was Bush’s vision that made America a technological superpower. Grants from federal agencies to scientists enabled them to discover new knowledge. Then established businesses and, later, venture backed entrepreneurs would then take those discoveries to bring new products and services to market.

Look at any industry today and its most important technologies were largely shaped by investment from the federal government. Today, however, the challenges are evolving. We’re entering a new era of innovation in which technologies like genomics, nanotechnology and robotics are going to reshape traditional industries like energy, healthcare and manufacturing.

That’s exciting, but also poses new challenges, because these technologies are ill-suited to the Silicon Valley model of venture-funded entrepreneurship and need help to them get past the Valley of Death. So we need to build a new innovation ecosystem on top of the scientific architecture Bush created for the post-war world.

There have been encouraging signs. New programs like I-Corps, the Manufacturing InstitutesCyclotron Road and Chain Reaction are beginning to help fill the gap.

Still much more needs to be done, especially at the state and local level to help build regional hubs for specific industries, if we are going to be nearly as successful in the 21st century as were were in the 20th.



The discovery that photons can interact could be harnessed for quantum computing. PHOTO: CHRISTINE DANILOFF/MIT

For the first time, scientists have watched groups of three photons interacting and effectively producing a new form of light.

In results published in Science, researchers suggest that this new light could be used to perform highly complex, incredibly fast quantum computations.

Photons are tiny particles that normally travel solo through beams of light, never interacting with each other. But in 2013 scientists made them clump together in pairs, creating a new state of matter. This discovery shows that interactions are possible on a greater scale.

“It was an open question,” Vladan Vuletic from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who led the team with Mikhail Lukin from Harvard University, said in a statement. “Can you add more photons to a molecule to make bigger and bigger things?”

The scientists cooled a cloud of rubidium atoms to an ultralow temperature to answer their question. This slowed the atoms down till they were almost still. A very faint laser beam sent just a few photons through the freezing cloud at once.

The photons came out the other side as pairs and triplets, rather than just as individuals.

Photons flit between atoms like bees among flowers.

The researchers think the particles might flit from one nearby atom to another as they pass through the rubidium cloud—like bees in a field of flowers.

These passing photons could form “polaritons”—part photon, part atom hybrids. If more than one photon passes by the same atom at the same time, they might form polaritons that are linked.

As they leave the atom, they could stay together as a pair, or even a triplet.

“What’s neat about this is, when photons go through the medium, anything that happens in the medium, they ‘remember’ when they get out,” said co-author Sergio Cantu from MIT.

This whole process takes about a millionth of a second.

Read About: MIT Researchers Link Photons

The future of computing

This research is the latest step toward a long-fabled quantum computer, an ultra-powerful machine that could solve problems beyond the realm of traditional computers. Your desktop PC would, for example, struggle to solve the question: “If a salesman has lots of places to visit, what is the quickest route?”

“[A traditional computer] could solve this for a certain number of cities, but if I wanted to add more cities, it would get much harder, very quickly,” Vuletic previously stated in a press release.

Read more: What did the Big Bang look like? The physics of light during the formation of the universe

Light, he said, is already used to transmit data very quickly over long distances via fiber optic cables. Being able to manipulate these photons could enable the distribution of data in much more powerful ways.

The team is now aiming to coerce photons in ways beyond attraction. The next stop is repulsion, where photons slam into each other and scatter.

“It’s completely novel in the sense that we don’t even know sometimes qualitatively what to expect,” Vuletic says. “With repulsion of photons, can they be such that they form a regular pattern, like a crystal of light? Or will something else happen? It’s very uncharted territory.”

ICN2 researchers compute unprecedented values for spin lifetime anisotropy in graphene – Faster Devices at a Fraction of Energy Costs

Researchers of the ICN2 Theoretical and Computational Nanoscience Group, led by ICREA Prof. Stephan Roche, have published another paper on spin, this time reporting numerical simulations for spin relaxation in graphene/TMDC heterostructures.

Published in Physical Review Letters this week, spintronics researchers of the ICN2 Theoretical and Computational Nanoscience Group led by ICREA Prof. Stephan Roche have gleaned potentially game-changing insight into the mechanisms governing spin dynamics and relaxation in graphene/TMDC heterostructures. Not only do their models give a spin lifetime anisotropy that is orders of magnitude larger than the 1:1 ratio typically observed in 2D systems, but they point to a qualitatively new regime of spin relaxation.

Spin relaxation is the process whereby the spins in a spin current lose their orientation, reverting to a natural disordered state. This causes spin signal to be lost, since spins are only useful for transporting information when they are oriented in a certain direction.

This study reveals that the rate at which spins relax in graphene/TMDC systems depends strongly on whether they are pointing in or out of the graphene plane, with out-of-plane spins lasting tens or hundreds of times longer than in-plane spins. Such a high ratio has not previously been observed in graphene or any other 2D material.

In the paper, aptly titled “Giant Spin Lifetime Anisotropy in Graphene Induced by Proximity Effects”, lead author Aron Cummings reports that this behaviour is mediated by the spin-valley locking induced in graphene by the TMDC, which ties the lifetime of in-plane spin to the intervalley scattering time. This causes in-plane spin to relax much faster than out-of-plane spin.

Furthermore, the numerical simulations suggest that this mechanism should come into play in any substrate with strong spin-valley locking, including the TMDCs themselves.

Effectively inducing a spin filter effect –the ability to sort or tweak spin orientations–, these findings give reason to believe that it might one day be possible to manipulate, and not just transport, spin in graphene.

These simulations have since been borne out experimentally by colleagues in the ICN2 Physics and Engineering of Nanodevices Group, led by ICREA Prof. Sergio Valenzuela. Paper coming soon.


Spintronics is a branch of electronics that uses the spin of subatomic particles like electrons to store and transport information. It promises devices that are faster, operate at a fraction of the energy cost and have vastly superior memories. However, establishing a spin current is not a straightforward process. First, because spin in its natural state is disordered; that is, the spin axes are pointing in any number of directions. They must first be polarised to tune their orientation.

Then, even once polarised, the spins can lose this orientation easily in a process known as spin relaxation, which limits the lifetime and therefore usefulness of spin currents in practice.

Enter graphene, very much the material of the moment and not without good reason: this 2D material boasts a series of properties that make it uniquely suited for maintaining spin orientation over long lifetimes. However, its low spin-orbit coupling (SOC) makes it ineffective for manipulating spin.

The solution adopted in spintronics is to create layered heterostructures, harnessing the spin transport properties of graphene and a second high SOC material in a single system. This works through the proximity effect, whereby graphene becomes imprinted with the properties of the second material, and has been proven experimentally with 2D magnetic insulators and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs).

In this work, researchers have studied spin relaxation in such layered graphene/TMDC heterostructures in a bid to shed some light on the as yet unexplored mechanisms governing spin relaxation in these systems. Spin lifetime anisotropy is the ratio of out-of-plane to in-plane spin lifetimes, and is used as a measurement of these mechanisms. What they find is a unique mechanism enabled by the specific proximity effect of TMDCs on graphene.

Article reference:

A.W. Cummings, J.H. García, J. Fabian, and S. Roche. Giant Spin Lifetime Anisotropy in Graphene Induced by Proximity Effects. Physical Review Letters 2017, Vol. 119, p. 206601. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.206601

For more information:

Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2)

Marketing and Communication Department

Àlex Argemí, Head of Marketing and Communication

alex.argemi@icn2.cat; +34 937 372 607: +34 635 861 543

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Why This New Quantum Computing Startup Has a Real Shot at Beating Its Competition

A startup called Quantum Circuits plans to compete with the likes of IBM, Google, Microsoft, and Intel to bring quantum computing out of the lab and into the wider world.

There’s one good reason to think it might be able to beat them all.

That’s because Quantum Circuits was founded by Robert Schoelkopf, a professor at Yale, whose work in many ways has helped kick-start this exciting new era of quantum advances.

Quantum computers exploit two strange features of quantum physics, entanglement and superposition, to process information in a fundamentally different way from traditional computers.

The approach allows the power of such machines to scale dramatically with even just a few quantum bits, or qubits. Those racing to build practical quantum computers are nearing the point where quantum machines will be capable of doing things that no conventional machine could—an inflection point known as quantum supremacy.

The promise of reaching such a milestone has transformed the field from a mostly academic endeavor into a high-stakes competition between the research arms of several big companies and a few startups. And everyone is using the superconducting circuits Schoelkopf pioneered.

He and colleagues were the first to create a “quantum bus” for entangling qubits using wires, as well as the first to demonstrate quantum algorithms and error correction techniques for quantum circuits.

Quantum Circuits’s other two founders are Michel Devoret, a professor of applied physics at Yale, and Luigi Frunzio, a research scientist in Schoelkopf’s lab (all three are in the photo above, with Frunzio, Schoelkopf, and Devoret starting from left).

“No team has done more to pioneer the superconducting approach,” Isaac Chuang, an MIT professor working on quantum computing and an advisor to the company, said in a release issued by Yale. “[The people behind Quantum Circuits] are responsible for a majority of the breakthroughs in solid-state quantum computing in the past decade.”


MIT: A BIG step toward mass-producible quantum computers

Quantum Computer Big Step Mass P id46842

A team of researchers from MIT, Harvard University, and Sandia National Laboratories reports a new technique for creating targeted defects in diamond materials, which is simpler and more precise than its predecessors and could benefit diamond-based quantum computing devices.

Quantum computers are experimental devices that offer large speedups on some computational problems. One promising approach to building them involves harnessing nanometer-scale atomic defects in diamond materials.But practical, diamond-based quantum computing devices will require the ability to position those defects at precise locations in complex diamond structures, where the defects can function as qubits, the basic units of information in quantum computing. In Nature Communications (“Scalable focused ion beam creation of nearly lifetime-limited single quantum emitters in diamond nanostructures”), a team of researchers from MIT, Harvard University, and Sandia National Laboratories reports a new technique for creating targeted defects, which is simpler and more precise than its predecessors.

In experiments, the defects produced by the technique were, on average, within 50 nanometers of their ideal locations.
“The dream scenario in quantum information processing is to make an optical circuit to shuttle photonic qubits and then position a quantum memory wherever you need it,” says Dirk Englund, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science who led the MIT team. “We’re almost there with this. These emitters are almost perfect.”
The new paper has 15 co-authors. Seven are from MIT, including Englund and first author Tim Schröder, who was a postdoc in Englund’s lab when the work was done and is now an assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute. Edward Bielejec led the Sandia team, and physics professor Mikhail Lukin led the Harvard team.

Appealing defects

Quantum computers, which are still largely hypothetical, exploit the phenomenon of quantum “superposition,” or the counterintuitive ability of small particles to inhabit contradictory physical states at the same time. An electron, for instance, can be said to be in more than one location simultaneously, or to have both of two opposed magnetic orientations.
Where a bit in a conventional computer can represent zero or one, a “qubit,” or quantum bit, can represent zero, one, or both at the same time. It’s the ability of strings of qubits to, in some sense, simultaneously explore multiple solutions to a problem that promises computational speedups.
Diamond-defect qubits result from the combination of “vacancies,” which are locations in the diamond’s crystal lattice where there should be a carbon atom but there isn’t one, and “dopants,” which are atoms of materials other than carbon that have found their way into the lattice. Together, the dopant and the vacancy create a dopant-vacancy “center,” which has free electrons associated with it. The electrons’ magnetic orientation, or “spin,” which can be in superposition, constitutes the qubit.
A perennial problem in the design of quantum computers is how to read information out of qubits. Diamond defects present a simple solution, because they are natural light emitters. In fact, the light particles emitted by diamond defects can preserve the superposition of the qubits, so they could move quantum information between quantum computing devices.

Silicon switch

The most-studied diamond defect is the nitrogen-vacancy center, which can maintain superposition longer than any other candidate qubit. But it emits light in a relatively broad spectrum of frequencies, which can lead to inaccuracies in the measurements on which quantum computing relies.
In their new paper, the MIT, Harvard, and Sandia researchers instead use silicon-vacancy centers, which emit light in a very narrow band of frequencies. They don’t naturally maintain superposition as well, but theory suggests that cooling them down to temperatures in the millikelvin range — fractions of a degree above absolute zero — could solve that problem. (Nitrogen-vacancy-center qubits require cooling to a relatively balmy 4 kelvins.)
To be readable, however, the signals from light-emitting qubits have to be amplified, and it has to be possible to direct them and recombine them to perform computations. That’s why the ability to precisely locate defects is important: It’s easier to etch optical circuits into a diamond and then insert the defects in the right places than to create defects at random and then try to construct optical circuits around them.
In the process described in the new paper, the MIT and Harvard researchers first planed a synthetic diamond down until it was only 200 nanometers thick. Then they etched optical cavities into the diamond’s surface. These increase the brightness of the light emitted by the defects (while shortening the emission times).
Then they sent the diamond to the Sandia team, who have customized a commercial device called the Nano-Implanter to eject streams of silicon ions. The Sandia researchers fired 20 to 30 silicon ions into each of the optical cavities in the diamond and sent it back to Cambridge.

Mobile vacancies

At this point, only about 2 percent of the cavities had associated silicon-vacancy centers. But the MIT and Harvard researchers have also developed processes for blasting the diamond with beams of electrons to produce more vacancies, and then heating the diamond to about 1,000 degrees Celsius, which causes the vacancies to move around the crystal lattice so they can bond with silicon atoms.
After the researchers had subjected the diamond to these two processes, the yield had increased tenfold, to 20 percent. In principle, repetitions of the processes should increase the yield of silicon vacancy centers still further.
When the researchers analyzed the locations of the silicon-vacancy centers, they found that they were within about 50 nanometers of their optimal positions at the edge of the cavity. That translated to emitted light that was about 85 to 90 percent as bright as it could be, which is still very good.
Source: By Larry Hardesty, MIT


World’s first images of electric currents in Graphene released: Applications for Next Generation Electronics, Quantum Computing, Energy Storage (batteries), Flexible Displays & Bio-Chem Sensors.

Artist’s impression of a diamond quantum sensor. The ‘spotlight’ represents light passing through the diamond defect and detecting the movement of electrons. Electrons are shown as red spheres, trailed by red threads that reveal their path through graphene (a single layer of carbon atoms). Credit: David A. Broadway/cqc2t.org

Researchers at the University of Melbourne are the first in the world to image how electrons move in two-dimensional graphene, a boost to the development of next-generation electronics.

Capable of imaging the behaviour of moving electrons in structures only one atom in thickness, the new technique overcomes significant limitations with existing methods for understanding electric currents in devices based on ultra-thin materials.

“Next-generation electronic devices based on ultra-thin materials, including quantum computers, will be especially vulnerable to contain minute cracks and defects that disrupt current flow,” said Professor Lloyd Hollenberg, Deputy Director of the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T) and Thomas Baker Chair at the University of Melbourne.

A team led by Hollenberg used a special quantum probe based on an atomic-sized ‘colour centre’ found only in diamonds to image the flow of electric currents in graphene. The technique could be used to understand electron behaviour in a variety of new technologies.

“The ability to see how electric currents are affected by these imperfections will allow researchers to improve the reliability and performance of existing and emerging technologies. We are very excited by this result, which enables us to reveal the microscopic behaviour of current in quantum computing devices, graphene and other 2D materials,” he said.

graphenehydrWatch the video:

The Diamond Quantum Sensor is controlled by lasers.

Artist’s impression of a diamond quantum sensor. The ‘spotlight’ represents light passing through the diamond defect and detecting the movement of electrons. Electrons are shown as red spheres, trailed by red threads that reveal their path through graphene (a single layer of carbon atoms). Credit: David A. Broadway/cqc2t.org

“Next-generation electronic devices based on ultra-thin materials, including quantum computers, will be especially vulnerable to contain minute cracks and defects that disrupt current flow,” said Professor Lloyd Hollenberg, Deputy Director of the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T) and Thomas Baker Chair at the University of Melbourne.
We are very excited by this result, which enables us to reveal the microscopic behaviour of current in quantum computing devices, graphene and other 2D materials,” he said.

“Researchers at CQC2T have made great progress in atomic-scale fabrication of nanoelectronics in silicon for quantum computers. Like graphene sheets, these nanoelectronic structures are essentially one atom thick.
The success of our new sensing technique means we have the potential to observe how electrons move in such structures and aid our future understanding of how quantum computers will operate.”
In addition to understanding nanoelectronics that control quantum computers, the technique could be used with 2D materials to develop next generation electronics, energy storage (batteries), flexible displays and bio-chemical sensors.

“Our technique is powerful yet relatively simple to implement, which means it could be adopted by researchers and engineers from a wide range of disciplines,” said lead author Dr Jean-Philippe Tetienne from CQC2T at the University of Melbourne.

“Using the magnetic field of moving electrons is an old idea in physics, but this is a novel implementation at the microscale with 21st Century applications.”

The work was a collaboration between diamond-based quantum sensing and graphene researchers. Their complementary expertise was crucial to overcoming technical issues with combining diamond and graphene.

Seeing is believing: Diamond quantum sensor reveals current flows in next-gen materials. An image of the current flow in graphene, obtained using a diamond quantum sensor. The colour reveals where defects lie by showing the current intensity i.e. the number of electrons passing through each second. Credit: University of Melbourne/cqc2t.org

“No one has been able to see what is happening with electric currents in graphene before,” said Nikolai Dontschuk, a graphene researcher at the University of Melbourne School of Physics.

“Building a device that combined graphene with the extremely sensitive nitrogen vacancy colour centre in diamond was challenging, but an important advantage of our approach is that it’s non-invasive and robust – we don’t disrupt the current by sensing it in this way,” he said.

Tetienne explained how the team was able to use diamond to successfully image the current. “Our method is to shine a green laser on the diamond, and see red light arising from the colour centre’s response to an electron’s magnetic field,” he said. “By analysing the intensity of the red light, we determine the magnetic field created by the electric current and are able to image it, and literally see the effect of material imperfections.”
The current-imaging results were published today in the journal Science Advances.

More information: “Quantum imaging of current flow in graphene,” Science Advances (2017). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602429 , advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/4/e1602429

Provided by: Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology


“And Now for Something Completely Different … ” – Could New QC Neuro-Computers ‘Delete’ Your Thoughts … without Your Knowledge?


New human rights laws are required to protect sensitive information in a person’s mind from ‘unauthorized collection, storage, use or even deletion’

Original Article from the ‘Independent’

“Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind,”  ~  John Milton in 1634.

Four Hundred years later however, technological advances in machines that can read our thoughts mean the privacy of our brain is under threat.

Now two biomedical ethicists are calling for the creation of new human rights laws to ensure people are protected, including “the right to cognitive liberty” and “the right to mental integrity”.

Scientists have already developed devices capable of telling whether people are politically right-wing or left-wing. In one experiment, researchers were able to read people’s minds to tell with 70 per cent accuracy whether they planned to add or subtract two numbers.

Facebook also recently revealed it had been secretly working on technology to read people’s minds so they could type by just thinking.

And medical researchers have managed to connect part of a paralysed man’s brain to a computer to allow him to stimulate muscles in his arm so he could move it and feed himself.

The ethicists, writing in a paper in the journal Life Sciences, Society and Policy, stressed the “unprecedented opportunities” that would result from the “ubiquitous distribution of cheaper, scalable and easy-to-use neuro-applications” that would make neurotechnology “intricately embedded in our everyday life”.

However, such devices are open to abuse on a frightening degree, as the academics made clear.

They warned that “malicious brain-hacking” and “hazardous uses of medical neurotechnology” could require a redefinition of the idea of mental integrity.

“We suggest that in response to emerging neurotechnology possibilities, the right to mental integrity should not exclusively guarantee protection from mental illness or traumatic injury but also from unauthorised intrusions into a person’s mental wellbeing performed through the use of neurotechnology, especially if such intrusions result in physical or mental harm to the neurotechnology user,” the ethicists wrote.

“The right to mental privacy is a neuro-specific privacy right which protects private or sensitive information in a person’s mind from unauthorised collection, storage, use, or even deletion in digital form or otherwise.”

And they warned that the techniques were so sophisticated that people’s minds might be being read or interfered with without their knowledge.

“Illicit intrusions into a person’s mental privacy may not necessarily involve coercion, as they could be performed under the threshold of a persons’ conscious experience,” they wrote in the paper.

“The same goes for actions involving harm to a person’s mental life or unauthorised modifications of a person’s psychological continuity, which are also facilitated by the ability of emerging neurotechnologies to intervene into a person’s neural processing in absence of the person’s awareness.”

They proposed four new human rights laws:

  1. The right to cognitive liberty,
  2. The right to mental privacy,
  3. The right to mental integrity and
  4. The right to psychological continuity

Professor Roberto Andorno, an academic at Zurich University’s law school and a co-author of the paper, said: “Brain imaging technology has already reached a point where there is discussion over its legitimacy in criminal court, for example as a tool for assessing criminal responsibility or even the risk of re-offending.

“Consumer companies are using brain imaging for ‘neuromarketing’ to understand consumer behaviour and elicit desired responses from customers.

“There are also tools such as ‘brain decoders’ which can turn brain imaging data into images, text or sound.

“All of these could pose a threat to personal freedom which we sought to address with the development of four new human rights laws.”

img_0089What are YOUR thoughts? (promise we won’t share them with Facebook or the NSA)




“The Best trick the Old Devil ever played, was convincing the World that he did not exist!”


Cornell U: TMD’s Group Working to Devise Next Generation of ‘Super-Thin’ Super-Conductors ~ Possible Platform for Quantum Computing?

TMDs Conell id46369

The experimental realization of ultrathin graphene – which earned two scientists from Cambridge the Nobel Prize in physics in 2010 – has ushered in a new age in materials research.

What started with graphene has evolved to include numerous related single-atom-thick materials, which have unusual properties due to their ultra-thinness. Among them are transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), materials that offer several key features not available in graphene and are emerging as next-generation semiconductors.
TMDs could realize topological superconductivity and thus provide a platform for quantum computing – the ultimate goal of a Cornell research group led by Eun-Ah Kim, associate professor of physics.
“Our proposal is very realistic – that’s why it’s exciting,” Kim said of her group’s research. “We have a theoretical strategy to materialize a topological superconductor … and that will be a step toward building a quantum computer. The history of superconductivity over the last 100 years has been led by accidental discoveries. We have a proposal that’s sitting on firm principles.
“Instead of hoping for a new material that has the properties you want,” she said, “let’s go after it with insight and design principle.”
Yi-Ting Hsu, a doctoral student in the Kim Group, is lead author of “Topological superconductivity in monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides,” published April 11 in Nature Communications (“Topological superconductivity in monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides”). Other team members include Kim Group alumni Mark Fischer, now at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, and Abolhassan Vaezi, now at Stanford University.
The group’s proposal: The TMDs’ unusual properties favor two topological superconducting states, which, if experimentally confirmed, will open up possibilities for manipulating topological superconductors at temperatures near absolute zero.
schematic of an interpocket paired state, one of two topological superconducting states
This is a schematic of an interpocket paired state, one of two topological superconducting states proposed in the latest work from the lab of Eun-Ah Kim, associate professor of physics at Cornell University. The material used is a monolayer transition metal dichalcogenide. (Image: Eun-Ah Kim, Cornell University)
Kim identified hole-doped (positive charge-enhanced) single-layer TMDs as a promising candidate for topological superconductivity, based on the known special locking between spin state and kinetic energy of electrons (spin-valley locking) of single-layer TMDs, as well as the recent observations of superconductivity in electron-doped (negative charge-enhanced) single-layer TMDs.
The group’s goal is a superconductor that operates at around 1 degree Kelvin (approximately minus 457 Fahrenheit), that could be cooled with liquid helium sufficiently to maintain quantum computing potential in a superconducting state.
Theoretically, housing a quantum computer powerful enough to justify the power needed to keep the superconductor at 1 degree Kelvin is not out of the question, Kim said. In fact, IBM already has a 7-qubit (quantum bit) computer, which operates at less than 1 Kelvin, available to the public through its IBM Quantum Experience.
A quantum computer with approximately six times more qubits would fundamentally change computing, Kim said.
“If you get to 40 qubits, that computing power will exceed any classical computers out there,” she said. “And to house a 40-qubit [quantum computer] in cryogenic temperature is not that big a deal. It will be a revolution.”
Kim and her group are working with Debdeep Jena and Grace Xing of electrical and computer engineering, and Katja Nowack of physics, through an interdisciplinary research group seed grant from the Cornell Center for Materials Research. Each group brings researchers from different departments together, with support from both the university and the National Science Foundation’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers program.
“We’re combining the engineering expertise of DJ and Grace, and expertise Katja has in mesoscopic systems and superconductors,” Kim said. “It requires different expertise to come together to pursue this, and CCMR allows that.”
Source: Cornell University


MIT: Light-emitting particles (quantum dots) open new window for biological imaging

QD Bio Image V images

‘Quantum dots’ that emit infrared light enable highly detailed images of internal body structures

For certain frequencies of short-wave infrared light, most biological tissues are nearly as transparent as glass. Now, researchers have made tiny particles that can be injected into the body, where they emit those penetrating frequencies. The advance may provide a new way of making detailed images of internal body structures such as fine networks of blood vessels.

The new findings, based on the use of light-emitting particles called quantum dots, is described in a paper in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, by MIT research scientist Oliver Bruns, recent graduate Thomas Bischof PhD ’15, professor of chemistry Moungi Bawendi, and 21 others.

Near-infrared imaging for research on biological tissues, with wavelengths between 700 and 900 nanometers (billionths of a meter), is widely used, but wavelengths of around 1,000 to 2,000 nanometers have the potential to provide even better results, because body tissues are more transparent to that light. “We knew that this imaging mode would be better” than existing methods, Bruns explains, “but we were lacking high-quality emitters” — that is, light-emitting materials that could produce these precise wavelengths.

QD bio Image II imagesLight-emitting particles have been a specialty of Bawendi, the Lester Wolf Professor of Chemistry, whose lab has over the years developed new ways of making quantum dots. These nanocrystals, made of semiconductor materials, emit light whose frequency can be precisely tuned by controlling the exact size and composition of the particles.

The key was to develop versions of these quantum dots whose emissions matched the desired short-wave infrared frequencies and were bright enough to then be easily detected through the surrounding skin and muscle tissues. The team succeeded in making particles that are “orders of magnitude better than previous materials, and that allow unprecedented detail in biological imaging,” Bruns says. The synthesis of these new particles was initially described in a paper by graduate student Daniel Franke and others from the Bawendi group in Nature Communications last year.

The quantum dots the team produced are so bright that their emissions can be captured with very short exposure times, he says. This makes it possible to produce not just single images but video that captures details of motion, such as the flow of blood, making it possible to distinguish between veins and arteries.

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The new light-emitting particles are also the first that are bright enough to allow imaging of internal organs in mice that are awake and moving, as opposed to previous methods that required them to be anesthetized, Bruns says. Initial applications would be for preclinical research in animals, as the compounds contain some materials that are unlikely to be approved for use in humans. The researchers are also working on developing versions that would be safer for humans.QD Bio Image III 4260773298_1497232bef


The method also relies on the use of a newly developed camera that is highly sensitive to this particular range of short-wave infrared light. The camera is a commercially developed product, Bruns says, but his team was the first customer for the camera’s specialized detector, made of indium-gallium-arsenide. Though this camera was developed for research purposes, these frequencies of infrared light are also used as a way of seeing through fog or smoke.

Not only can the new method determine the direction of blood flow, Bruns says, it is detailed enough to track individual blood cells within that flow. “We can track the flow in each and every capillary, at super high speed,” he says. “We can get a quantitative measure of flow, and we can do such flow measurements at very high resolution, over large areas.”

Such imaging could potentially be used, for example, to study how the blood flow pattern in a tumor changes as the tumor develops, which might lead to new ways of monitoring disease progression or responsiveness to a drug treatment. “This could give a good indication of how treatments are working that was not possible before,” he says.


The team included members from MIT’s departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Biological Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, as well as from Harvard Medical School, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Raytheon Vision Systems, and University Medical Center in Hamburg, Germany. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the National Foundation for Cancer Research, the Warshaw Institute for Pancreatic Cancer Research, the Massachusetts General Hospital Executive Committee on Research, the Army Research Office through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation.

Additional background

ARCHIVE: A new contrast agent for MRI http://news.mit.edu/2017/iron-oxide-nanoparticles-contrast-agent-mri-0214

ARCHIVE: A new eye on the middle ear http://news.mit.edu/2016/shortwave-infrared-instrument-ear-infection-0822

ARCHIVE: Chemists design a quantum-dot spectrometer http://news.mit.edu/2015/quantum-dot-spectrometer-smartphone-0701

ARCHIVE: Running the color gamut http://news.mit.edu/2014/startup-quantum-dot-tv-displays-1119

ARCHIVE: Fine-tuning emissions from quantum dots http://news.mit.edu/2013/fine-tuning-emissions-from-quantum-dots-0602