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  • richardmitnick 12:33 pm on July 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Atoms in your body may come from distant galaxies, , , , Northwestern, supercomputer simulations   

    From COSMOS: “Atoms in your body may come from distant galaxies” 

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    COSMOS Magazine

    27 July 2017

    Previously covered, https://sciencesprings.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/from-jpl-caltech-nustar-finds-new-clues-to-chameleon-supernova/, but lacking the science paper, The cosmic baryon cycle and galaxy mass assembly in the FIRE simulations in MNRAS.

    It seems natural to assume that the matter from which the Milky Way is made was formed within the galaxy itself, but a series of new supercomputer simulations suggests that up to half of this material could actually be derived from any number of other distant galaxies.

    From the previous report of this study:

    1
    This visible-light image from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey shows spiral galaxy NGC 7331, center, where astronomers observed the unusual supernova SN 2014C .

    SDSS Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, NM, USA

    This phenomenon, described in a paper by group of astrophysicists from Northwestern University in the US who refer to it as “intergalactic transfer”, is expected to open up a new line of research into the scientific understanding of galaxy formation.

    Led by Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, the astrophysicists reached this intriguing conclusion by implementing sophisticated numerical simulations which produced realistic 3D models of galaxies and followed their formation from shortly after the Big Bang to the present day.

    The researchers then employed state-of-the-art algorithms to mine this sea of data for information related to the matter acquisition patterns of galaxies.

    Through their analysis of the simulated flows of matter, Anglés-Alcázar and his colleagues found that supernova explosions eject large amounts of gas from galaxies, which causes atoms to be conveyed from one system to the next via galactic winds.

    In addition, the researchers note that this flow of material tends to move from smaller systems to larger ones and can contribute to up to 50 percent of the matter in some galaxies.

    From previous report of this study:

    In the new study, NASA’s NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) satellite, with its unique ability to observe radiation in the hard X-ray energy range — the highest-energy X-rays — allowed scientists to watch how the temperature of electrons accelerated by the supernova shock changed over time. They used this measurement to estimate how fast the supernova expanded and how much material is in the external shell.

    3
    NASA/NuSTAR

    Anglés-Alcázar and his colleagues use this evidence, which is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society [See above], to suggest that the origin of matter in our own galaxy – including the matter that makes up the Sun, the Earth, and even the people who live on it – may be far less local than traditionally believed.

    “It is likely that much of the Milky Way’s matter was in other galaxies before it was kicked out by a powerful wind, traveled across intergalactic space and eventually found its new home in the Milky Way,” Anglés-Alcázar says.

    The team of astrophysicists now hopes to test the predictions made by their simulations using real-world evidence collected by the Hubble Space Telescope and other ground-based observatories.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 7:30 pm on July 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Northwestern   

    From Northwestern: “New laser design offers more inexpensive multi-color output” 

    Northwestern U bloc
    Northwestern University

    July 11, 2017
    Kristin Samuelson

    1
    Photo courtesy of John Krzesinski, 2011, Flickr

    From checkout counters at supermarkets to light shows at concerts, lasers are everywhere, and they’re a much more efficient light source than incandescent bulbs. But they’re not cheap to produce.

    A new Northwestern University study has engineered a more cost-effective laser design that outputs multi-color lasing and offers a step forward in chip-based lasers and miniaturization. The findings could allow encrypted, encoded, redundant and faster information flow in optical fibers, as well as multi-color medical imaging of diseased tissue in real time.

    The study was published July 10 in Nature Nanotechnology.

    “In our work, we demonstrated that multi-modal lasing with control over the different colors can be achieved in a single device,” said senior author Teri W. Odom, a Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. “Compared to traditional lasers, our work is unprecedented for its stable multi-modal nanoscale lasing and our ability to achieve detailed and fine control over the lasing beams.”

    This work offers new insights into the design and mechanism of multi-modal nanoscale lasing based on structural engineering and manipulating the optical band structures of nanoparticle superlattices. Using this technology, the researchers can control the color and intensity of the light by simply varying its cavity architecture.

    See the full article here .

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    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Northwestern is recognized nationally and internationally for its educational programs.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:19 pm on July 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Northwestern, Sugar-coated nanomaterial excels at promoting bone growth   

    From Northwestern: “Sugar-coated nanomaterial excels at promoting bone growth” 

    Northwestern U bloc
    Northwestern University

    June 19, 2017 [Really quick out of the gate on this one.]
    Megan Fellman

    1
    The colored region in a micro-CT image shows regenerated high-quality bone in the spine with minimal use of growth factor. No image credit.

    There hasn’t been a gold standard for how orthopaedic spine surgeons promote new bone growth in patients, but now Northwestern University scientists have designed a bioactive nanomaterial that is so good at stimulating bone regeneration it could become the method surgeons prefer.

    While studied in an animal model of spinal fusion, the method for promoting new bone growth could translate readily to humans, the researchers say, where an aging but active population in the U.S. is increasingly receiving this surgery to treat pain due to disc degeneration, trauma and other back problems. Many other procedures could benefit from the nanomaterial, ranging from repair of bone trauma to treatment of bone cancer to bone growth for dental implants.

    “Regenerative medicine can improve quality of life by offering less invasive and more successful approaches to promoting bone growth,” said Samuel I. Stupp, who developed the new nanomaterial. “Our method is very flexible and could be adapted for the regeneration of other tissues, including muscle, tendons and cartilage.”

    Stupp is director of Northwestern’s Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology and the Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Medicine and Biomedical Engineering.

    For the interdisciplinary study, Stupp collaborated with Dr. Wellington K. Hsu, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery, and Erin L. K. Hsu, research assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery, both at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The husband-and-wife team is working to improve clinically employed methods of bone regeneration.

    Sugar molecules on the surface of the nanomaterial provide its regenerative power. The researchers studied in vivo the effect of the “sugar-coated” nanomaterial on the activity of a clinically used growth factor, called bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2). They found the amount of protein needed for a successful spinal fusion was reduced to an unprecedented level: 100 times less of BMP-2 was needed. This is very good news, because the growth factor is known to cause dangerous side effects when used in the amounts required to regenerate high-quality bone, and it is expensive as well.

    The findings were published today (June 19) in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

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    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Northwestern is recognized nationally and internationally for its educational programs.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:49 pm on June 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG), , , Hematopoiesis, , Mitochondria Behind Blood Cell Formation, Northwestern   

    From Northwestern: ” Mitochondria Behind Blood Cell Formation” 

    Northwestern U bloc
    Northwestern University

    Jun 12, 2017
    Nora Dunne

    1
    Mitochondria are tiny, free-floating organelles inside cells. New Northwestern Medicine research has discovered that they play an important role in hematopoiesis, the body’s process for creating new blood cells. No image credit

    New Northwestern Medicine research published in Nature Cell Biology has shown that mitochondria, traditionally known for their role creating energy in cells, also play an important role in hematopoiesis, the body’s process for creating new blood cells.

    “Historically, mitochondria are viewed as ATP — energy — producing organelles,” explained principal investigator Navdeep Chandel, PhD, the David W. Cugell Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. “Previously, my laboratory provided evidence that mitochondria can dictate cell function or fate independent of ATP production. We established the idea that mitochondria are signaling organelles.”

    In the current study, Chandel’s team, including post-doctoral fellow Elena Ansó, PhD, and graduate students Sam Weinberg and Lauren Diebold, demonstrated that mitochondria control hematopoietic stem cell fate by preventing the generation of a metabolite called 2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG). The scientists showed that mice with stem cells deficient in mitochondrial function cannot generate blood cells due to elevated levels of 2HG, which causes histone and DNA hyper-methylation.

    “This is a great example of two laboratories complementing their expertise to work on a project,” said Chandel, also a professor of Cell and Molecular Biology and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

    Paul Schumacker, PhD, professor of Pediatrics, Cell and Molecular Biology and Medicine, was also a co-author on the paper.

    Chandel co-authored an accompanying paper in Nature Cell Biology, led by Jian Xu, PhD, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, which demonstrated that initiation of erythropoiesis, the production of red blood cells specifically, requires functional mitochondria.

    “These two studies collectively support the idea that metabolism dictates stem cell fate, which is a rapidly evolving subject matter,” said Chandel, who recently wrote a review in Nature Cell Biology highlighting this idea. “An important implication of this work is that diseases linked to mitochondrial dysfunction like neurodegeneration or normal aging process might be due to elevation in metabolites like 2HG.”

    This research was supported by National Institutes of Health grants R35CA197532, T32 GM008061, T32 T32HL076139, K01DK093543 and R01DK111430, and Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas New Investigator award RR140025.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Northwestern is recognized nationally and internationally for its educational programs.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:02 pm on May 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Cold virus, , Northwestern, stem cells tested to destroy deadly brain cancer   

    From Northwestern: “Cold virus, stem cells tested to destroy deadly brain cancer” 

    Northwestern U bloc
    Northwestern University

    May 24, 2017
    Kristin Samuelson

    Animation of stem cell therapy attacking malignant glioma. (Northwestern Medicine)

    A first-of-a-kind neural stem cell therapy that works with a common cold virus to seek out and attack a lethal and aggressive brain cancer is being tested at Northwestern Medicine in a Phase I clinical trial for patients newly diagnosed with malignant glioma.

    The novel drug to treat malignant glioma, notorious for recurring after typical bouts of standard cancer treatment, was developed by a Northwestern scientist and has been approved as an investigational drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is only the second time the University has supported and filed an investigational new drug as a sponsor.

    “We have discovered that combining stem cells with a virus causes the new drug to react like a cancer-seeking missile targeting cancerous cells in the brain” said principal investigator, Dr. Maciej Lesniak, the Michael J. Marchese Professor and chair of neurological surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a neuro-oncologist at Northwestern Medicine. “If it works in humans, it could be a powerful weapon against brain cancer and an option that our patients are desperate for.”

    Lesniak also is director of neuro-oncology at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

    One reason malignant glioma recurs so often is because a small subpopulation of cancer cells, often deep in the brain tissue, is highly resistant to chemotherapy and radiation.

    The pre-clinical work done by Lesniak and his team has shown that the approach being tested at Northwestern Medicine can target this population of therapy resistant cells, further delaying and sometimes even preventing tumor recurrence.

    The stem cells used in the research came from a collaboration of researchers from City of Hope.

    “We haven’t seen significant progress in the last decade for patients with a brain tumor, and that is why it’s crucial to do everything we can to find a better treatment for brain tumors,” said Dr. Roger Stupp, a co-investigator who is working alongside Lesniak on this clinical trial. “Combining novel therapy with medical expertise, we are able to get one step closer to eradicating this lethal disease.”

    Stupp, a world-renowned neuro-oncologist, recently joined Northwestern Medicine as director of neuro-oncology and associate director for strategic initiatives at the Lurie Cancer Center. He is best known for developing temozolomide in combination with radiation as the standard-of-care chemotherapy for patients with glioblastoma.

    Lesniak and his team of scientists are starting to test the safety and dosage of the treatment in patients at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Lesniak began the research more than a decade ago while at the University of Chicago and completed it when he moved to Northwestern in 2015.

    This investigational new drug contains neural stem cells to deliver a potent virus responsible for the common cold, oncolyotic adenovirus, which is engineered to kill brain cancer cells. The novel treatment works synergistically with chemotherapy and radiation to enhance the standard cancer treatments effectiveness.

    Malignant gliomas are the most aggressive forms of cancer and are predicted to affect nearly 20,000 new patients this year, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. Sometimes called the “grow-and-go” tumors, gliomas can make their own blood supply, which fuels the tumors’ rapid growth and helps them hatch satellite tumors. Each tumor sends out tentacles that infiltrate and dig deep into normal brain tissue, making complete removal of cancerous cells impossible. Any cancerous cells in the brain left over from standard of care can cause the tumor to recur.

    Lesniak plans to enroll up to 36 newly diagnosed patients with glioma. These patients will be divided into two groups: those with tumors that can be removed and those where the tumors are not removable by surgery.

    Next step, Northwestern Memorial will extend this research to the collaborating partners at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California.

    The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke grant U01NS069997.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Northwestern is recognized nationally and internationally for its educational programs.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:35 am on May 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , New cancer drug can prevent reactions to common airborne allergens, Northwestern, Possibilities for food allergies   

    From Northwestern: “New cancer drug can prevent reactions to common airborne allergens” 

    Northwestern U bloc
    Northwestern University

    May 22, 2017
    Kristin Samuelson

    Targeted cancer treatment might treat food allergies, too.

    1
    A person’s skin is tested for allergies. No image credit.

    A cancer drug for patients with certain types of leukemia and lymphoma can also prevent reactions to some of the most common airborne allergies, according to a recent Northwestern Medicine study. The promising data from this pilot study could have greater implications for adults with food allergies.

    The cancer patients who were allergic to allergens such as cat dander and ragweed saw their allergic skin test reactivity reduced by 80 to 90 percent in one week, and this persisted with continued use of the drug for at least one to two months. The findings were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in May.

    “It almost completely knocked out the patients’ skin test and blood cell allergic reactivity,” said senior author Dr. Bruce Bochner, the Samuel M. Feinberg Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

    This FDA-approved drug, ibrutinib, is currently on the market as a successful and less-toxic alternative to chemotherapy for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and mantle cell lymphoma. In this recent study, Bochner and his team performed traditional allergy skin tests and the basophil activation test, a related allergy test using blood cells, on cancer patients before they had taken ibrutinib and again after one week and after one to two months of taking it.

    A rather unlikely pairing – cancer and allergies – Bochner thought to test if a cancer drug could prevent allergic reactions by collaborating with Feinberg’s oncology department.

    He knew that the generally well-tolerated cancer drug was successful in blocking a protein inside a cell called Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase (BTK). BTK plays a crucial role in B cell activation, growth and maturation and mast cell and basophil activation, the latter two cells being responsible for immediate allergic reactions. Bochner teamed up with Northwestern oncologist Dr. Leo Gordon and colleagues to test if this BTK inhibitor could shut down an enzyme inside cells that is involved when you have an allergic reaction.

    “Ibrutinib is considered a game changer in these two types of cancers,” said Gordon, the Abby and John Friend Professor of Cancer Research at Feinberg. “We understood that it might have some biologic effects in what Bruce is interested in, so we were happy to participate in his study. It’s an interesting repurposing of that drug.”

    While the study was small – only two patients qualified out of about 35 that were screened for allergies – the implications are much larger for later phases of this study. Bochner and his colleagues Drs. Anne Marie Singh and Melanie Dispenza are now testing how successful the drug is at targeting allergies to food, such as tree nuts and peanuts.

    “Preventing or lessening the severity of an allergic reaction to a food you’ve ingested that you’re allergic to is kind of the holy grail of food allergy treatment,” Bochner said. “I don’t know if this or similar drugs will ever make it possible for a peanut-allergic person to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but we’re excited to use this approach to teach us how to lessen the risks of food allergy reactions.”

    Currently, the study is being expanded to adults with food allergy to see if their skin test and basophil activation test responses show a similar reduction with just a few doses of ibrutinib and how long such benefits might last. If the results are favorable, the next step would be to get funding to actually test whether taking a BTK inhibitor will improve the ability of food-allergic adults to eat foods they’re allergic to.

    “The hope is that drugs like BTK inhibitors will protect people with food allergies from having anaphylaxis, or at least increase how much of that food they can eat without reacting,” Bochner said. “Maybe they’ll increase from being able to eat just one peanut to 10 before they react. Or maybe they’ll be able to eat a full meal’s worth of peanuts. We want to know if this would safely change their actual ability to eat foods that they currently need to avoid.”

    The study was funded by a 2016 Dixon Translational Research Grant.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Northwestern is recognized nationally and internationally for its educational programs.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:51 pm on April 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Northwestern, SAVI Camera Ditches Long Lens for Distant Images   

    From Northwestern: “SAVI Camera Ditches Long Lens for Distant Images” 

    Northwestern U bloc
    Northwestern University

    Apr 14, 2017
    Mike Williams

    Northwestern, Rice University imaging array proves adept at capturing details as small as a fingerprint

    1

    A unique camera that can capture a detailed micron-resolution image from a distance uses a laser and techniques that borrow from holography, microscopy and “Matrix”-style bullet time.

    A prototype built and tested by engineers at Rice and Northwestern universities reads a spot illuminated by a laser and captures the “speckle” pattern with a camera sensor. Raw data from dozens of camera positions is fed to a computer program that interprets it and constructs a high-resolution image. 


    The system known as SAVI – for “Synthetic Apertures for long-range, subdiffraction-limited Visible Imaging” — doesn’t need a long lens to take a picture of a faraway object. The prototype only works with coherent illumination sources such as lasers, but Ashok Veeraraghavan, a Rice assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, said it’s a step toward a SAVI camera array for use in visible light.

    “Today, the technology can be applied only to coherent (laser) light,” he said. “That means you cannot apply these techniques to take pictures outdoors and improve resolution for sunlit images – as yet. Our hope is that one day, maybe a decade from now, we will have that ability.”

    The technology is the subject of an open-access paper in Science Advances.

    Labs led by Veeraraghavan at Rice and Oliver Cossairt at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering built and tested the device that compares interference patterns between multiple speckled images. Like the technique used to achieve the “Matrix” special effect, the images are taken from slightly different angles, but with one camera that is moved between shots instead of many fired in sequence.

    Veeraraghavan explained the speckles serve as reference beams and essentially replace one of the two beams used to create holograms. When a laser illuminates a rough surface, the viewer sees grain-like speckles in the dot. That’s because some of the returning light scattered from points on the surface has farther to go and throws the collective wave out of phase. The texture of a piece of paper – or even a fingerprint – is enough to cause the effect.

    The researchers use these phase irregularities to their advantage.

    “The problem we’re solving is that no matter what wavelength of light you use, the resolution of the image – the smallest feature you can resolve in a scene – depends upon this fundamental quantity called the diffraction limit, which scales linearly with the size of your aperture,” Veeraraghavan said.

    “With a traditional camera, the larger the physical size of the aperture, the better the resolution,” he said. “If you want an aperture that’s half a foot, you may need 30 glass surfaces to remove aberrations and create a focused spot. This makes your lens very big and bulky.”

    2
    Details from a $2 bill taken from a distance of 1 meter by the SAVI prototype developed at Rice and Northwestern universities. The top image shows a speckle pattern created by firing a laser at the bill. The bottom shows the processed result after many such patterns were combined with a synthetic aperture program. Credit: Jason Holloway/Rice University

    SAVI’s “synthetic aperture” sidesteps the problem by replacing a long lens with a computer program the resolves the speckle data into an image. “You can capture interference patterns from a fair distance,” Veeraraghavan said. “How far depends on how strong the laser is and how far away you can illuminate.”

    “By moving aberration estimation and correction out to computation, we can create a compact device that gives us the same surface area as the lens we want without the size, weight, volume and cost,” said Cossairt, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Northwestern.

    Lead author Jason Holloway, a Rice alumnus who is now a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University, suggested an array of inexpensive sensors and plastic lenses that cost a few dollars each may someday replace traditional telephoto lenses that cost more than $100,000. “We should be able to capture that exact same performance but at orders-of-magnitude lower cost,” he said.

    Such an array would eliminate the need for a moving camera and capture all the data at once, “or as close to that as possible,” Cossairt said. “We want to push this to where we can do things dynamically. That’s what is really unique: There’s an avenue toward real-time, high-resolution capture using this synthetic aperture approach.”

    Cossairt started thinking about the idea when applying for his National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. “Later on, Ashok and I got interested in synthetic aperture techniques through some colleagues of ours in California who were using them in microscopy.”

    Veeraraghavan said SAVI leans on work by the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, which developed the Fourier ptychography technique that allows microscopes to resolve images beyond the physical limitations of their optics.

    The SAVI team’s breakthrough was the discovery that it could put the light source on the same side as the camera rather than behind the target, as in transmission microscopy, Cossairt said. He spent three months at Rice to develop the system with Holloway and others in Veeraraghavan’s lab.

    “We started by making a larger version of their microscope, but SAVI has additional technical challenges. Solving those is what this paper is about,” Veeraraghavan said.

    Co-authors are graduate students Yicheng Wu of Rice and Northwestern alumnus Manoj Sharma, now a research scientist at Rice.

    The NSF, the Office of Naval Research and a Northwestern University McCormick Catalyst grant supported the research.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Northwestern is recognized nationally and internationally for its educational programs.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:13 am on December 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: a third of way to Earth’s core, Deepest water found 1000km down, , Northwestern   

    From Northwestern via New Scientist: “Deepest water found 1000km down, a third of way to Earth’s core” 

    Northwestern U bloc
    Northwestern University

    NewScientist

    New Scientist

    23 November 2016 [Hidden under a rock under a lake]
    Andy Coghlan

    1
    Priceless imperfection. Mederic Palot

    JULES VERNE’s idea of an ocean deep below the surface in Journey to the Centre of the Earth may not have been too far off. Earth’s mantle may contain many oceans’ worth of water – with the deepest 1000 kilometres down.

    “If it wasn’t down there, we would all be submerged,” says Steve Jacobsen at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, whose team made the discovery. “This implies a bigger reservoir of water on the planet than previously thought.”

    This water is much deeper than any seen before, at a third of the way to the edge of Earth’s core. Its presence was indicated by a diamond spat out 90 million years ago by a volcano near the São Luíz river in Juina, Brazil.

    The diamond has an imperfection – a sealed-off inclusion – that contains minerals that became trapped during the diamond’s formation. When the researchers took a closer look at it with infrared microscopy, they saw unmistakable evidence of the presence of hydroxyl ions, which normally come from water. They were everywhere, says Jacobsen.

    To work out the depth the diamond formed at – and hence the origins of this water – the team again turned to the inclusion. It is made of a ferropericlase mineral, which is composed of iron and magnesium oxide, and can also absorb other metals such as chromium, aluminium and titanium at ultra-high temperatures and pressures typical of the lower mantle.

    Jacobsen found that these additional metals had separated from the ferropericlase – something that happens in the milder conditions a diamond experiences as it edges up through shallower depths. But for the metals to be present at all, the diamond must have originated in the intense conditions of the lower mantle (Lithos, doi.org/btcn). “Based on the composition of the trapped mineral, we speculate that the depth was around 1000 kilometres,” says Jacobsen.

    The clincher is that as the inclusion was trapped in the diamond the whole time, the water signature can only have come from the diamond’s place of formation in the lower mantle. “This is the deepest evidence for water recycling on the planet,” he says. “The big take-home message is that the water cycle on Earth is bigger than we ever thought, extending into the deep mantle.”

    His team has previously found evidence of massive amounts of water some 600 kilometres down, mixed in with rock.

    “Water clearly has a role in plate tectonics, and we didn’t know before how deep these effects could reach,” he says. “It has implications for the origin of water on the planet.” For example, it is possible that Earth had water from day one in the very dust and rocks that first formed it.

    But it’s still not clear exactly how water got so far down. It may have arrived in the mantle even earlier than 90 million years ago, through sedimentary oceanic crust burrowing downwards as primitive tectonic plates thrust against and past each other.

    The new study suggests cycling of subducted material, even at these depths, says Lydia Hallis at the University of Glasgow, UK. “Ultimately, this research will help us better understand the way our planet recycles itself.”

    Jacobsen thinks that this water may help explain why Earth is the only planet we know to have plate tectonics. “Water mixes with ocean crust and gets subducted at convergent plate boundaries,” he says. “Introducing water into the mantle promotes melting and weakens rock, likely helping out the motions of plates like grease.”

    The hope is that such research will yield insights into how our oceans and atmosphere formed in the first place.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Northwestern is recognized nationally and internationally for its educational programs.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:04 pm on August 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Northwestern   

    From Northwestern: “Northwestern Experiments Head to Space” 

    Northwestern U bloc
    Northwestern University

    Aug 15, 2016
    Amanda Morris

    Two Northwestern Engineering experiments will soon take up residence inside of a galactic laboratory.

    NASA’s Physical Science Research Program is funding 16 flight proposals for research to be conducted aboard the International Space Station as a part of its MaterialsLab program. David Dunand and Peter Voorhees, both professors of materials science and engineering in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, are among those funded.

    “This is exciting news for Northwestern Engineering,” said Dunand, James N. and Margie M. Krebs Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. “Only sixteen projects were selected nationwide from a very large pool, and we received two of them.”

    The NASA program funds projects that investigate physical phenomena in the absence of gravity. These projects both contribute to the basic understanding underlying space exploration technologies and lead to new, improved products for Earth.

    Dunand and Voorhees co-advise a project that creates foams made of titanium oxide and other ceramics through a process called freeze casting. When titanium oxide nanoparticles are suspended in water and frozen, the ice crystals push the nanoparticles into regions where they are concentrated. The ice crystals are then removed by sublimation, leaving behind a highly porous nanoparticle scaffold, which can be further consolidated by heat treatment.

    The freeze casting process benefits from zero gravity as the resulting structures are more regular than those created in the laboratory. Led by undergraduate Kristen Scotti, the Northwestern team has already performed this experiment on parabolic flights aboard NASA’s “Weightless Wonder” aircraft and will soon conduct it in a CubeSat, designed and built at Northwestern and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which will be launched into low-Earth orbit next year.

    Voorhees’ funded experiment will examine fragmentation that occurs during the solidification of a metal. Fragments are one of the major defects in metal castings and, for example, can greatly reduce mechanical properties of turbine blades used in jet turbines and wind turbines. Performing the experiments in reduced gravity prevents fragments from settling, making it possible to measure the location and rate at which these fragments form.

    “This will help us understand the fragmentation process and build models to predict when these fragments may form during solidification on Earth,” said Voorhees, Frank C. Engelhart Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. “These models can then be used to prevent fragmentation during solidification of turbine blades and other castings on Earth.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Northwestern is recognized nationally and internationally for its educational programs.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:19 pm on June 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Northwestern   

    From Northwestern: “Nanoscientists Develop the ‘Ultimate Discovery Tool’ “ 

    Northwestern U bloc
    Northwestern University

    Jun 23, 2016
    Megan Fellman

    The discovery power of the gene chip is coming to nanotechnology. A Northwestern University research team is developing a tool to rapidly test millions and perhaps even billions or more different nanoparticles at one time to zero in on the best particle for a specific use.

    When materials are miniaturized, their properties — optical, structural, electrical, mechanical and chemical — change, offering new possibilities. But determining what nanoparticle size and composition are best for a given application, such as catalysts, biodiagnostic labels, pharmaceuticals and electronic devices, is a daunting task.

    “As scientists, we’ve only just begun to investigate what materials can be made on the nanoscale,” said Northwestern’s Chad A. Mirkin, a world leader in nanotechnology research and its application, who led the study. “Screening a million potentially useful nanoparticles, for example, could take several lifetimes. Once optimized, our tool will enable researchers to pick the winner much faster than conventional methods. We have the ultimate discovery tool.”

    Using a Northwestern technique that deposits materials on a surface, Mirkin and his team figured out how to make combinatorial libraries of nanoparticles in a very controlled way. (A combinatorial library is a collection of systematically varied structures encoded at specific sites on a surface.) Their study will be published June 24 by the journal Science.

    The nanoparticle libraries are much like a gene chip, Mirkin says, where thousands of different spots of DNA are used to identify the presence of a disease or toxin. Thousands of reactions can be done simultaneously, providing results in just a few hours. Similarly, Mirkin and his team’s libraries will enable scientists to rapidly make and screen millions to billions of nanoparticles of different compositions and sizes for desirable physical and chemical properties.

    “The ability to make libraries of nanoparticles will open a new field of nanocombinatorics, where size — on a scale that matters — and composition become tunable parameters,” Mirkin said. “This is a powerful approach to discovery science.”

    Mirkin is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and founding director of Northwestern’s International Institute for Nanotechnology.

    “I liken our combinatorial nanopatterning approach to providing a broad palette of bold colors to an artist who previously had been working with a handful of dull and pale black, white and grey pastels,” said co-author Vinayak P. Dravid, the Abraham Harris Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering.

    Using five metallic elements — gold, silver, cobalt, copper and nickel — Mirkin and his team developed an array of unique structures by varying every elemental combination. In previous work, the researchers had shown that particle diameter also can be varied deliberately on the 1- to 100-nanometer length scale.

    Some of the compositions can be found in nature, but more than half of them have never existed before on Earth. And when pictured using high-powered imaging techniques, the nanoparticles appear like an array of colorful Easter eggs, each compositional element contributing to the palette.

    To build the combinatorial libraries, Mirkin and his team used Dip-Pen Nanolithography, a technique developed at Northwestern in 1999, to deposit onto a surface individual polymer “dots,” each loaded with different metal salts of interest. The researchers then heated the polymer dots, reducing the salts to metal atoms and forming a single nanoparticle. The size of the polymer dot can be varied to change the size of the final nanoparticle.

    This control of both size and composition of nanoparticles is very important, Mirkin stressed. Having demonstrated control, the researchers used the tool to systematically generate a library of 31 nanostructures using the five different metals.

    To help analyze the complex elemental compositions and size/shape of the nanoparticles down to the sub-nanometer scale, the team turned to Dravid, Mirkin’s longtime friend and collaborator. Dravid, founding director of Northwestern’s NUANCE Center, contributed his expertise and the advanced electron microscopes of NUANCE to spatially map the compositional trajectories of the combinatorial nanoparticles.

    Now, scientists can begin to study these nanoparticles as well as build other useful combinatorial libraries consisting of billions of structures that subtly differ in size and composition. These structures may become the next materials that power fuel cells, efficiently harvest solar energy and convert it into useful fuels, and catalyze reactions that take low-value feedstocks from the petroleum industry and turn them into high-value products useful in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

    Mirkin is a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University as well as co-director of the Northwestern University Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence. He also is a professor of medicine, chemical and biological engineering, biomedical engineering and materials science at Northwestern.

    The research was supported by GlaxoSmithKline, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (award FA9550-12-1-0141) and the Asian Office of Aerospace R&D (award FA2386-13-1-4124).

    The paper is titled Polyelemental nanoparticle libraries. In addition to Mirkin and Dravid, authors of the paper are Peng-Cheng Chen (first author), Xiaolong Liu, James L. Hedrick, Zhuang Xie, Shunzhi Wang, Qing-Yuan Lin, and Mark C. Hersam, all of Northwestern University.

    1
    A combinatorial library of polyelemental nanoparticles was developed using Dip-Pen Nanolithography. This novel nanoparticle library opens up a new field of nanocombinatorics for rapid screening of nanomaterials for a multitude of properties. Credit: Peng-Cheng Chen/James Hedrick

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Northwestern is recognized nationally and internationally for its educational programs.

     
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