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  • richardmitnick 11:45 am on February 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Technion-Israel Institute of Technology   

    From Technion: “Future of Semiconductor Lasing: Topological Insulator Lasers” 

    Technion bloc

    Israel Institute of Technology

    February 1, 2018

    Israeli and US researchers have developed a new highly efficient coherent and robust semiconductor laser system: the topological insulator laser.

    The findings are presented in two new joint research papers, one describing theory and the other experiments, published online by the prestigious journal Science on Thursday, February 1.

    G. Harari et al. Topological insulator laser: Theory. Science. Published online February 1, 2018, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2018/01/31/science.aar4003
    M. Bandres et al. Topological insulator laser: Experiments. Science Published online February 1, 2018 http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2018/01/31/science.aar4005

    1
    Group photo (L-R) : Dr. Miguel A. Bandres, Professor Mordechai Segev and Gal Harari
    Credit: Nitzan Zohar, Office of the Spokesperson, Technion

    Topological insulators are one of the most innovative and promising areas of physics in recent years, providing new insight into the basic understanding of protected transport. These are special materials that are insulators in their interior but conduct a “super-current” on their surface: the current on their surface is not affected by defects, sharp corners or disorder; it continues unidirectionally without being scattered.

    The studies were conducted by Moti Segev, who holds the Robert J. Shillman Distinguished Research Chair at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and his team: Dr. Miguel A. Bandres and Gal Harari; in collaboration with Professors Demetrios N. Christodoulides and Mercedeh Khajavikhan and their students Steffen Wittek, Midya Parto and Jinhan Ren at CREOL, College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida, together with scientists from the US and Singapore.

    Several years ago, the same group from the Technion introduced these ideas in photonics, and demonstrated a Photonic Topological Insulator, where light travels around the edges of a two-dimensional array of waveguides without being affected by defects or disorder.

    Now, the researchers found a way to use the properties of photonic topological insulators to build a new type of laser which shows a unique fundamental behavior and greatly improves the robustness and the performance of lasers arrays, opening the door for a vast number of future applications.

    “This new laser system went against all common knowledge about topological insulators” said Prof. Segev of the Technion. “In a nut shell, the unique robustness properties of topological insulators were believed to fail when the system contains gain, as all lasers must have. But we have shown that this special robustness survives in laser systems that have a special (“topological”) design, and is able to make the lasers much more efficient, more coherent, and at the same time immune to all kinds of fabrication imperfections, defects and alike. This seems to be an exciting avenue to make arrays of miniature lasers work together as one: a single highly coherent high power laser.”

    In their research, the scientists built a special array of micro ring resonators whose lasing mode exhibits topologically-protected transport – light propagates in one direction along the edges of the laser array, immune to defects and disorder and unaffected by the shape of the edges. This in turn, as they experimentally demonstrated, leads to highly efficient single-mode lasing that lasts high above the laser threshold. “It is a great pleasure to see fundamental research pans out to have such profound yet tangible applications” said Prof. Christodouldies from UCF.

    The fabricated array used standard semiconductor materials, without the need for magnetic fields or exotic magneto-optic materials; hence it can be integrated in semiconductor devices. “In recent years, we have found new tricks to manipulate light in an unprecedented way. Here by using clever designs, we fooled photons to feel as if they are experiencing a magnetic field and they have spin,” said Prof. Khajavikhan, one of the lead scientists in the team.

    The researchers demonstrated that not only are topological insulator lasers theoretically possible and experimentally feasible but that integrating these properties create more highly efficient lasers. As such, the results of the study pave the way towards a novel class of active topological photonic devices that may be integrated with sensors, antennas and other photonic devices.

    2
    Fig. 2 Illustration of the topological insulator laser: the light goes around the perimeter unobstructed by sharp corner or disorder, and eventually exits through the output port.

    3
    Fig. 4 Top view photograph of the intensity lasing pattern of the topological insulator laser. Images Credit: S. Wittek (CREOL) & M.A. Bandres (Technion).

    4
    Optical Setup (CREOL- Technion collaboration).

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 1:27 pm on February 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    From Technion vis phys.org: “Speed of light drops to zero at ‘exceptional points'” 

    Technion bloc

    Israel Institute of Technology

    phys.org

    January 31, 2018
    Lisa Zyga

    1
    (Pixabay)

    Light, which travels at a speed of 300,000 km/sec in a vacuum, can be slowed down and even stopped completely by methods that involve trapping the light inside crystals or ultracold clouds of atoms. Now in a new study, researchers have theoretically demonstrated a new way to bring light to a standstill: they show that light stops at “exceptional points,” which are points at which two light modes come together and coalesce, in waveguides that have a certain kind of symmetry.

    Unlike most other methods that are used to stop light, the new method can be tuned to work with a wide range of frequencies and bandwidths, which may offer an important advantage for future slow-light applications.

    The researchers, Tamar Goldzak and Nimrod Moiseyev at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, along with Alexei A. Mailybaev at the Instituto de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA) in Rio de Janeiro, have published a paper on stopping light at exceptional points in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

    As the researchers explain, exceptional points can be created in waveguides in a straightforward way, by varying the gain/loss parameters so that two light modes coalesce (combine into one mode). Although light stops at these exceptional points, in most systems much of the light is lost at these points. The researchers showed that this problem can be fixed by using waveguides with parity-time (PT) symmetry, since this symmetry ensures that the gain and loss are always balanced. As a result, the light intensity remains constant when the light approaches the exceptional point, eliminating losses.

    To release the stopped light and accelerate it back up to normal speed, the scientists showed that the gain/loss parameters can simply be reversed. The most important feature of the new method, however, is that the exceptional points can be adjusted to work with any frequency of light, again simply by tuning the gain/loss parameters. The researchers also expect that this method can be used for other types of waves besides light, such as acoustic waves. They plan to further investigate these possibilities in the future.

    See the full article here .

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    Technion Campus

    A science and technology research university, among the world’s top ten,
    dedicated to the creation of knowledge and the development of human capital and leadership,
    for the advancement of the State of Israel and all humanity.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:08 pm on January 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Accelerating light beams in curved space, Acceleration, , , , , Technion-Israel Institute of Technology   

    From Technion, Harvard and CfA via phys.org: “Accelerating light beams in curved space” 

    Technion bloc

    Technion

    Harvard University

    Harvard University

    Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

    Center For Astrophysics

    phys.org

    January 12, 2018
    Lisa Zyga

    1
    The accelerating light beam propagates on a nongeodesic trajectory, rather than the geodesic trajectory taken by a non-accelerating beam. Credit: Patsyk et al. ©2018 American Physical Society

    By shining a laser along the inside shell of an incandescent light bulb, physicists have performed the first experimental demonstration of an accelerating light beam in curved space. Rather than moving along a geodesic trajectory (the shortest path on a curved surface), the accelerating beam bends away from the geodesic trajectory as a result of its acceleration.

    Previously, accelerating light beams have been demonstrated on flat surfaces, on which their acceleration causes them to follow curved trajectories rather than straight lines. Extending accelerating beams to curved surfaces opens the doors to additional possibilities, such as emulating general relativity phenomena (for example, gravitational lensing) with optical devices in the lab.

    The physicists, Anatoly Patsyk, Miguel A. Bandres, and Mordechai Segev at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, along with Rivka Bekenstein at Harvard University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, have published a paper on the accelerating light beams in curved space in a recent issue of Physical Review X.

    “This work opens the doors to a new avenue of study in the field of accelerating beams,” Patsyk told Phys.org. “Thus far, accelerating beams were studied only in a medium with a flat geometry, such as flat free space or slab waveguides. In the current work, optical beams follow curved trajectories in a curved medium.”

    In their experiments, the researchers first transformed an ordinary laser beam into an accelerating one by reflecting the laser beam off of a spatial light modulator. As the scientists explain, this imprints a specific wavefront upon the beam. The resulting beam is both accelerating and shape-preserving, meaning it doesn’t spread out as it propagates in a curved medium, like ordinary light beams would do. The accelerating light beam is then launched into the shell of an incandescent light bulb, which was painted to scatter light and make the propagation of the beam visible.

    When moving along the inside of the light bulb, the accelerating beam follows a trajectory that deviates from the geodesic line. For comparison, the researchers also launched a nonaccelerating beam inside the light bulb shell, and observed that that beam follows the geodesic line. By measuring the difference between these two trajectories, the researchers could determine the acceleration of the accelerating beam.

    3
    (a) Experimental setup, (b) propagation of the green beam inside of the red shell of an incandescent light bulb, and (c) photograph of the lobes of the accelerating beam. Credit: Patsyk et al. ©2018 American Physical Society

    Whereas the trajectory of an accelerating beam on a flat surface is determined entirely by the beam width, the new study shows that the trajectory of an accelerating beam on a spherical surface is determined by both the beam width and the curvature of the surface. As a result, an accelerating beam may change its trajectory, as well as periodically focus and defocus, due to the curvature.

    The ability to accelerate light beams along curved surfaces has a variety of potential applications, one of which is emulating general relativity phenomena.

    “Einstein’s equations of general relativity determine, among other issues, the evolution of electromagnetic waves in curved space,” Patsyk said. “It turns out that the evolution of electromagnetic waves in curved space according to Einstein’s equations is equivalent to the propagation of electromagnetic waves in a material medium described by the electric and magnetic susceptibilities that are allowed to vary in space. This is the foundation of emulating numerous phenomena known from general relativity by the electromagnetic waves propagating in a material medium, giving rise to the emulating effects such as gravitational lensing and Einstein’s rings, gravitational blue shift or red shift, which we have studied in the past, and much more.”

    The results could also offer a new technique for controlling nanoparticles in blood vessels, microchannels, and other curved settings. Accelerating plasmonic beams (which are made of plasma oscillations instead of light) could potentially be used to transfer power from one area to another on a curved surface. The researchers plan to further explore these possibilities and others in the future.

    “We are now investigating the propagation of light within the thinnest curved membranes possible—soap bubbles of molecular thickness,” Patsyk said. “We are also studying linear and nonlinear wave phenomena, where the laser beam affects the thickness of the membrane and in return the membrane affects the light beam propagating within it.”

    See the full article here .

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    About Phys.org in 100 Words

    Phys.org™ (formerly Physorg.com) is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics. These include physics, earth science, medicine, nanotechnology, electronics, space, biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and other sciences and technologies. Launched in 2004, Phys.org’s readership has grown steadily to include 1.75 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Phys.org publishes approximately 100 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Quancast 2009 includes Phys.org in its list of the Global Top 2,000 Websites. Phys.org community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, RSS/XML feeds, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:41 am on July 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Customized antibiotics treatments now possible, , , Technion-Israel Institute of Technology   

    From ISRAEL21c: “Customized antibiotics treatments now possible” 

    Israel21c

    July 6, 2017
    No writer credit found

    1
    Antibiotics image by The26January/Shutterstock.com

    A diagnostic system developed at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology enables rapid and accurate customization of an antibiotic to a patient.


    If the system is commercialized, patients with life-threatening infections or in need of urgent treatment will enjoy faster diagnostics, earlier and more effective treatment of infectious bacteria and improved recovery times.

    The findings related to the new Technion diagnostic system were published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

    Antibiotics are one of the most effective ways to treat bacterial infections. But widespread use of antibiotics accelerates the development of resistant bacterial strains.

    In fact, in June, the World Health Organization updated its Essential Medicines List with new advice on use of antibiotics.

    “The rise in antibiotic resistance stems from how we are using – and misusing – these medicines,” said Dr Suzanne Hill, director of Essential Medicines and Health Products. “The new WHO list should help health system planners and prescribers ensure people who need antibiotics have access to them, and ensure they get the right one, so that the problem of resistance doesn’t get worse.”

    In 2014, infections with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) claimed the lives of more than 700,000 people worldwide, in addition to a cumulative expenditure of $35 billion a year in the US alone, reports the Technion.

    According to established estimates, for every hour that effective antibiotic treatment is delayed, survival rates drop by about 7.6% for patients with septic shock. Therefore, in order not to leave the patient without adequate protection while awaiting the results, many doctors will prescribe an antibiotic with a broad spectrum of activity in large doses. This phenomenon facilitates the emergence of AMR and also affects the microbiota – the population of “good bacteria” found in the human body that protects it.

    “Every day, tens to hundreds of tests are carried out at every hospital in Israel to map the resistance levels of infectious bacteria from samples taken from patients. The problem is that this is a very long test, since it is based on sending the sample to the lab, growing a bacterial culture in a petri dish and analyzing the culture. This process requires relatively large sampling and usually takes a few days, in part because the workday at labs is limited to around eight hours,” said Technion doctoral student Jonathan Avesar, one of the researchers on the new system.

    “Our method, on the other hand, provides accurate results in a short time based on a much smaller sample. It is obvious that a faster response allows us to start treatment earlier and improve the speed of recovery.”

    Fast results

    The innovative system developed at the Technion, called the SNDA-AST, quickly analyzes bacteria isolated from patients with infections and assesses their level of resistance to specific antibiotics. This enables the healthcare team to choose the most effective antibiotic a day earlier than when using traditional methods.

    Technion researchers demonstrated the ability to test bacteria directly from patient urine samples, thus skipping the isolation step and potentially saving two days for patients with urinary-tract infections.

    They developed a chip with hundreds of nanoliter (1,000 times smaller than a milliliter) wells inside it, each containing a few bacteria and a specific antibiotic. Detection of the bacterial response is done using a fluorescent marker, image-processing tools and statistical analysis of the colors obtained from the bacteria in all the nanoliter wells.

    The study tested 12 bacteria-antibiotic combinations.

    “The use of the technology that we developed reduces the size of the required sample by several orders of magnitude, reduces the scanning time by around 50%, significantly reduces the lab space required for testing and reduces the cost per test,” said Avesar.

    The study was led by Prof. Shulamit Levenberg, dean of the Technion Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, and was carried out in her lab by Avesar, postdoctoral student Dekel Rosenfeld and doctoral student Tom Ben-Arye.

    Also contributing were Assistant Prof. Moran Bercovici of the Technion Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, doctoral student Marianna Truman-Rosentsvit and Dr. Yuval Geffen, head of the Microbiology Laboratory at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa. The study was funded by a KAMIN grant from the Israel Innovation Authority and the Israeli Centers of Research Excellence (I-CORE).

    See the full article here.

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    ISRAEL21c is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization and the publisher of an English-language online news magazine recognized as the single most diverse and reliable source of news and information about 21st century Israel.

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  • richardmitnick 10:17 am on June 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Arab students, , Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology, , Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Ultra-Orthodox students in academia   

    From Technion: “Technion Board of Governors” 

    Technion bloc

    Israel Institute of Technology

    1
    From left to right: Chairman of the Board of Governors Lawrence (Larry) Jackier, Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie, and Chairman of the Technion Council Gideon Frank. No image credit.

    Technion President at the opening plenary of the 2017 Board of Governors events:

    “Technion is becoming increasingly global and intensifying its presence around the world; the task that we now face is to increase the number of ultra-Orthodox students at Technion”

    “Technion is becoming increasingly global,” said Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie at the opening session of the 2017 Technion Board of Governors meeting. “Today, the world of research requires cooperation between fields and universities. In order to maintain Technion’s position at the forefront of scientific research, we must be a part of the globalization of higher education. This has been one of my main tasks since I became President of Technion eight years ago.”

    In recent years, Technion has indeed been working on many fronts towards this purpose, and the two flagships are its extensions in New York and China, which will be inaugurated this year: the permanent campus of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute (JTCI) for applied engineering-scientific research will be inaugurated in the heart of Manhattan in September 2017, and Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT), near the city of Shantou in China, will be inaugurated in December 2017. Technion is also strengthening its international reputation through strategic cooperation with leading universities around the world. The International School at Technion, which welcomes students from a variety of countries, has significantly expanded its activities and grown from 39 students in 2009 to 700 in 2016.

    Prof. Lavie said that these international projects place Technion at the forefront of global research and constitute an important milestone in its progress towards achieving the Technion vision: “Becoming one of the world’s ten leading scientific-technological research universities in the development of human capital, leadership, and knowledge, which works to advance the State of Israel and humanity.” He also noted the success of the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) masterminded by Prof. Hossam Haick of the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering at the Technion: an online course in Arabic and English, which has already brought Technion to around 118,000 men and women from 87 countries, 23 of them in the Middle East.

    Prof. Lavie emphasized another important challenge pertaining to the demographic changes in the State of Israel. “Israeli society is changing before our eyes. According to projections, by 2059 the ultra-Orthodox will make up 27% of Israel’s population, and this requires us to increase the number of ultra-Orthodox students in academia in order to help them integrate into the work force. In recent years, Technion has been working to increase the number of Arab students, whose percentage in the student body is now similar to the percentage of Arabs in Israel’s population, and we are now working to increase the number of ultra-Orthodox students at Technion. This is being done through special pre-academic programs and close support during their years of study.”

    Technion representatives and friends from around the world arrived for this morning’s meeting of the Board of Governors and will participate in events until Wednesday. Lawrence (Larry) Jackier, Chairman of the Board of Governors, said, “Technion is at the forefront of the globalization of higher education, enabling the dissemination of its successes in science, technology, and medicine. We must continue this effort to expand Technion’s global exposure and positive impact. This is also the bridge that will enable the younger generation of diaspora Jews to reestablish contact with the State of Israel.”

    See the full article here .

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    Technion Campus

    A science and technology research university, among the world’s top ten,
    dedicated to the creation of knowledge and the development of human capital and leadership,
    for the advancement of the State of Israel and all humanity.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:16 pm on June 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , AugmentedWorld, BLOSSOMS, Miri Barak, Mobile learning, MOOC, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology,   

    From The Technion: Women in STEM “Learning in the Cloud” Miri Barak 

    Technion bloc

    Technion

    1
    Assistant Prof. Miri Barak

    Assistant Professor Miri Barak of the Technion presents AugmentedWorld: an innovative location-based platform based on the wisdom of the crowd

    Assistant Professor Barak, head of the Learning Technologies group at the Technion, is a leading expert in the fields of mobile learning, massive open online courses (MOOC) and cloud applications. In her research studies, she examines the cognitive and socio-cultural aspects of collaborative distance learning, motivation for learning, innovative thinking, and cognitive flexibility.

    According to Assistant Professor Barak, the process of globalization and the accelerated technological development require a rethinking of teaching and learning processes in the 21st century. “In the past, only the lecturers had access to new information, but today it’s at the students’ fingertips – on their smartphones, tablets and laptops. Web and cloud technologies connect the students to a pipeline of infinite information and they can share knowledge with people from all over the world. Classroom lectures are perceived as anachronistic by the students, therefore, we must find new ways to promote meaningful learning.”

    In light of the new reality, Assistant Professor Barak is leading the development of AugmentedWorld – an open web platform based on geographic information system technology (GIS) and the wisdom of the crowd. The platform implements innovative design principles for online learning with an open and adaptive system that enables users to create contents and add layers of information through the use of text, images and videos. One important feature of the system is that it is the learners who formulate questions and answer research and multimedia questions in the various fields of science and engineering. Since the system was launched, more than 850 users from Israel, China, and the United States have registered, posting scientific questions, geographic information points and data that contributes to solving scientific questions.

    In collaboration with Prof. Richard Larson of MIT, Assistant Professor Barak is promoting the development of a methodology for project-based learning using two complementary technologies: AugmentedWorld and BLOSSOMS. This joint project examines an integrative approach that combines technology-based learning and assessment, inside and outside the classroom. The project, which is funded by the MISTI program, is designed to promote scientific thinking and 21st century skills among learners of all ages from different parts of the world.

    “The ramifications of accelerated technological development are widespread and deep,” says Assistant Professor Barak, “and one of them is the ‘generation gap’ between lecturers and college students.” Advanced technologies, which are now a vital resource for students, are very rarely used in the teaching process. Web technologies, satellite-based systems, mobile devices, social media, collaborative writing documents, computer simulations, and more – all of these have yet to fully realize their potential in academic instruction.”

    See the full article here .

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    Technion Campus

    A science and technology research university, among the world’s top ten,
    dedicated to the creation of knowledge and the development of human capital and leadership,
    for the advancement of the State of Israel and all humanity.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:17 am on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , In-Flight, on-Demand Hydrogen Production Could Mean “Greener” Aircraft, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology   

    From Technion: “In-Flight, on-Demand Hydrogen Production Could Mean “Greener” Aircraft” 

    Technion bloc

    Israel Institute of Technology

    04/25/2017
    American Technion Society

    1

    Aerospace engineers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed and patented a process that can be used onboard aircraft while in flight to produce hydrogen from water and aluminum particles safely and cheaply. The hydrogen can then be converted into electrical energy for inflight use. The breakthrough could pave the way for non-polluting, more-electric aircraft that replace current hydraulic and pneumatic systems typically powered by the main engine.

    The groundbreaking work was reported in a recent paper published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

    “Hydrogen produced onboard the aircraft during flight can be channeled to a fuel cell for electrical energy generation,” said lead researcher Dr. Shani Elitzur of the Technion Faculty of Aerospace Engineering. “This technology offers a good solution to several challenges, such as hydrogen storage, without the problems associated with storing hydrogen in a liquid or gas state.”

    While the use of hydrogen fuels has been a potential greener energy solution for some time, storing hydrogen has always been a problem. The engineers were able to work around the hydrogen storage problem by using non-polluting Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells and a process of aluminum activation patented by the paper’s co-authors, Prof. Alon Gany and Dr. Valery Rosenband.

    Dr. Elitzur’s research was focused on the reaction between the activated aluminum powder and water (from different types) to produce hydrogen. The foundation for the technology is in the chemical reaction between aluminum powder and water to produce hydrogen. Either fresh water or waste water, already onboard the aircraft, can be used for activation, which means the aircraft does not need to carry any additional water.

    The spontaneous and sustained reaction between powdered aluminum and water is enabled by a special thermo-chemical process of aluminum activation the researchers developed. The protective properties of the oxide or hydroxide film covering the aluminum particle surface are modified by a small fraction of lithium-based activator diffused into aluminum bulk, allowing water at room temperature to react spontaneously with the aluminum.

    The process does generate heat, which the researchers say can be used for a number of tasks, including heating water and food in the galley, de-icing operations, or heating aircraft fuel prior to starting the engines.

    According to the researchers, their technology would provide:

    Quieter operations on board an aircraft
    Drastic reductions in CO2 emissions
    Compact storage; no need for hydrogen storage tanks onboard aircraft
    More efficient electric power generation
    A reduction in wiring (multiple fuel cells can be located near their point of use)
    Thermal efficiency (fuel cell generated heat can be used for de-icing, heating jet fuel)
    Reduced flammable vapors in fuel tanks (Inert gas generation)

    “The possibility of using available, onboard wastewater boosts both the efficiency and safety of the system,” explained Dr. Rosenband. “Also, the PEM fuel cells exhibit high efficiency in electric energy generation.”

    Aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing and Airbus, have already investigated using onboard fuel cells. Boeing has experimented with them in smaller aircraft, in anticipation of using them on its 787-8, the current state-of-the-art electric airplane. According to the Technion researchers, fuel cells can even play an energy saving role in airline and airport ground support operations when they are on used for systems such as de-icing and runway light towers.

    “Efficient hydrogen production and storage represents the future for efficient and safe aircraft inflight energy needs.” summarized Prof. Gany.

    The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology. The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a vital component of Cornell Tech, and a model for graduate applied science education that is expected to transform New York City’s economy.

    American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion—more than $2 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its network of supporters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.

    See the full article here .

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    Technion Campus

    A science and technology research university, among the world’s top ten,
    dedicated to the creation of knowledge and the development of human capital and leadership,
    for the advancement of the State of Israel and all humanity.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:47 am on April 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Technion-Israel Institute of Technology   

    From Technion: “Deep Learning” 

    Technion bloc

    Israel Institute of Technology

    06/04/2017

    Researchers from the Technion Computer Science Department introduce unprecedented theoretical foundation to one of the hottest scientific fields today – deep learning.

    1
    No image caption. No image credit.

    In a recent article, Prof. Elad and his PhD students, Vardan Papyan and Yaniv Romano introduce a broad theory explaining many of the important aspects of multi-layered neural networks, which are the essence of deep learning.

    Initial seed ideas in the 1940s and 1950s, elementary applications in the 1960s, promising signs in the 1980s, a massive decline and stagnation in the 1990s, followed by dramatic awakening development in the past decade. This, in a nutshell, is the story of one of the hottest scientific fields in data sciences – neural networks, and more specifically, deep learning.

    Deep learning fascinates major companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn, IBM and Mobileye. According to Technion Professor Michael Elad, this area came to life in the past decade following a series of impressive breakthroughs. However, “while empirical research charged full speed ahead and made surprising achievements, the required theoretical analysis trailed behind and has not, until now, managed to catch up with the rapid development in the field. Now I am happy to announce that we have highly significant results in this area that close this gap.”

    “One could say that up to now, we have been working with a black box called a neural network,” Elad explains. “This box has been serving us very well , but no one was able to identify the reasons and conditions for its success. In our study, we managed to open it up, analyze it and provide a theoretical explanation for the origins of its success. Now, armed with this new perspective, we can answer fundamental questions such as failure modes in this system and ways to overcome them. We believe that the proposed analysis will lead to major breakthroughs in the coming few years.”

    But first a brief background explanation.

    2
    No image caption. No image credit.

    Convolutional neural networks, and more broadly, multi-layered neural networks, pose an engineering approach that provides the computer with a potential for learning that brings it close to human reasoning. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s chief futurist in this field, believes that by 2029 computerized systems will be able to demonstrate not only impressive cognitive abilities, but even genuine emotional intelligence, such as understanding a sense of humor and human emotions. Deloitte has reported that the field of deep learning is growing at a dizzying rate of 25% per year, and is expected to become a 43 billion USD industry per year by 2020.

    Neural networks, mainly those with a feed-forward structure that are currently at the forefront of research in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence, are systems that perform rapid, efficient and accurate cataloging of data. To some extent, these artificial systems are reminiscent of the human brain and, like the brain, they are made up of layers of neurons interconnected by synapses. The first layer of the network receives the input and “filters” it for the second, deeper layer, which performs additional filtering, and so on and so forth. Thus the information is diffused through a deep and intricate artificial network, at the end of which the desired output is obtained.

    If, for example, the task is to identify faces, the first layers will take the initial information and extract basic features such as the boundaries between the different areas in the face image; the next layers will identify more specific elements such as eyebrows, pupils and eyelids; while the deeper layers of the network will identify more complex parts of the face, such as the eyes; the end result will be the identification of a particular face, i.e., of a specific person. “Obviously the process is far more complex, but this is the principle: each layer is a sort of filter that transmits processed information to the next layer at an increasing level of abstraction. In this context, the term ‘deep learning’ refers to the multiple layers in the neural network, a structure that has been empirically found to be especially effective for identification tasks.

    The hierarchical structure of these networks enables them to analyze complex information, identify patterns in this information, categorize it, and more. Their greatness lies in the fact that they can learn from examples, i.e. if we feed them millions of tagged images of people, cats, dogs and trees, the network can learn to identify the various categories in new images, and do so at unprecedented levels of accuracy, in comparison with previous approaches in machine learning.”

    The first artificial neural network was presented by McCulloch and Pitts in 1943. In the 1960s, Frank Rosenblatt from Cornell University introduced the first learning algorithm for which convergence could be proven. In the 1980s, important empirical achievements were added to this development.

    It was clear to all the scientists engaged in this field in those years that there is a great potential here, but they were utterly discouraged by the many failures and the field went into a long period of hibernation. Then, less than a decade ago, there was a great revival. Why? “Because of the dramatic surge in computing capabilities, making it possible to run more daring algorithms on far more data. Suddenly, these networks succeeded in highly complex tasks: identifying handwritten digits (with accuracy of 99% and above), identifying emotions such as sadness, humor and anger in a given text and more.” One of the key figures in this revival was Yann LeCun, a professor from NYU who insisted on studying these networks, even at times when the task seemed hopeless. Prof. LeCun, together with Prof. Geoffrey Hinton and Prof. Yoshua Bengio from Canada, are the founding fathers of this revolutionary technology.

    Real Time Translation

    In November 2012, Rick Rashid, director of research at Microsoft, introduced the simultaneous translation system developed by the company on the basis of deep learning. At a lecture in China, Rashid spoke in English and his words underwent a computerized process of translation, so that the Chinese audience would hear the lecture in their own language in real time. The mistakes in the process were few – one mistake per 14 words on average. This is in comparison with a rate of 1:4, which was considered acceptable and even successful several years earlier. This translation process is used today by Skype, among others, and in Microsoft’s various products.

    Beating the World Champion

    Google did not sit idly by. It recruited the best minds in the field, including the aforementioned Geoffrey Hinton, and has actually become one of the leading research centers in this regard. The Google Brain project was established on a system of unprecedented size and power, based on 16,000 computer cores producing around 100 trillion inter-neuronal interactions. This project, which was established for the purpose of image content analysis, quickly spread to the rest of the technologies used by Google. Google’s AlphaGo system, which is based on a convolutional neural network, managed to beat the world champion at the game of Go. The young Facebook, with the help of the aforementioned Yann LeCun, has already made significant inroads into the field of deep learning, with extremely impressive achievements such as identifying people in photos. The objective, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is to create computerized systems that will be superior to human beings in terms of vision, hearing, language and thinking.

    Today, no one doubts that deep learning is a dramatic revolution when it comes to speed of calculation and processing huge amounts of data with a high level of accuracy. Moreover, the applications of this revolution are already being used in a huge variety of areas: encryption, intelligence, autonomous vehicles (Mobileye’s solution is based on this technology), object recognition in stills and video, speech recognition and more.

    Back to the Foundations

    Surprisingly enough, however, the great progress described above has not included a basic theoretical understanding that explains the source of these networks’ effectiveness. Theory, as in many other cases in the history of technology, has lagged behind practice.

    This is where Prof. Elad’s group enters the picture, with a new article that presents a basic and in-depth theoretical explanation for deep learning. The people responsible for the discovery are Prof. Elad and his three doctoral students: Vardan Papyan, Jeremias Sulam and Yaniv Romano. Surprisingly, this team came to this field almost by accident, from research in a different arena: sparse representations. Sparse representations are a universal information model that describes data as molecules formed from the combination of a small number of atoms (hence the term ‘sparse’). This model has been tremendously successful over the past two decades and has led to significant breakthroughs in signal and image processing, machine learning, and other fields.

    So, how does this model relates to deep neural networks? It turns out that the principle of sparseness continues to play a major role, and even more so in this case. “Simply put, in our study we propose a hierarchical mathematical model for the representation of the treated information, whereby atoms are connected to each other and form molecules, just as before, except that now the assembly process continues: molecules form cells, cells form tissues, which in turn form organs and, in the end, the complete body – a body of information – is formed. The neural network’s job is to break up the complete information into its components in order to understand the data and its origin.

    Papyan and Sulam created the initial infrastructure in two articles completed in June 2016, while in the follow-up work Papyan and Romano diverted the discussion to deep learning and neural networks. The final article, as noted, puts forward the theoretical infrastructure that explains the operating principles of deep neural networks and their success in learning tasks.

    “We can illustrate the significance of our discovery using an analogy to the world of physics,” says Prof. Elad. “Imagine an astrophysicist who monitors the movement of celestial objects in search of the trajectories of stars. To explain these trajectories, and even predict them, he will define a specific mathematical model. In order for the model to be in line with reality, he will find that it is necessary to add complementary elements to it – black holes and antimatter, which will be investigated later using experimental tools.

    “We took the same path: We started from the real scenario of data being processed by a multi-layered neural network, and formulated a mathematical model for the data to be processed. This model enabled us to show that one possible way to decompose the data into its building blocks is the feed-forward neural network, but this could now be accompanied by an accurate prediction of its performance. Here, however, and unlike the astrophysical analogy, we can not only analyze and predict reality but also improve the studied systems, since they are under our control.”

    Prof. Elad’s emphasizes that “our expertise in this context is related to handling signals and images, but the theoretical paradigm that we present in the article could be relevant to any field, from cyberspace to autonomous navigation, from deciphering emotion in a text to speech recognition. The field of deep learning has made huge advances even without us, but the theoretical infrastructure that we are providing here closes much of the enormous gap between theory and practice that existed in this field, and I have no doubt that our work will provide a huge boost to the practical aspects of deep learning.”

    About the Doctoral Students

    When Vardan Papyan completed his master’s degree, supervised by Prof. Elad, he didn’t intend to continue studying towards a PhD. However, during the final MSc exam, the examiners determined that his work was almost a complete doctoral thesis. After consulting with the Dean of the Computer Science Faculty and the Dean of the Technion’s Graduate School, it was decided to admit him to the direct Ph.D. track with the understanding that he would complete his doctorate within less than a year.

    Yaniv Romano, a student in the direct Ph.D. track, has already won several prestigious awards. In the summer of 2015, he spent several months as an intern at Google Mountain View, USA, and left an unforgettable impression with his original solution to the single-image super-resolution problem, which is being considered for several of Google’s products.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Technion Campus

    A science and technology research university, among the world’s top ten,
    dedicated to the creation of knowledge and the development of human capital and leadership,
    for the advancement of the State of Israel and all humanity.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:12 pm on March 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hydrogen On Demand, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology   

    From Technion: “Hydrogen On Demand” 

    Technion bloc

    Technion

    March 19, 2017
    T3

    1
    T³Dr. Amir Bahar, Co-founder & CEO Nurami Medical Nanofiber Technology

    Technion researchers have developed a new method for the production of hydrogen from water using solar energy. The new method will make it possible to produce the hydrogen in a centralized manner far from the solar farm, cost-effectively, safely and efficiently.
    Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new approach to the production of hydrogen from water using solar energy. In findings published yesterday in Nature Materials, the researchers explain that this approach will make it possible to produce hydrogen in a centralized manner at the point of sale (for example, at a gas station for electric cars fueled by hydrogen) located far from the solar farm. The new technology is expected to significantly reduce the cost of producing the hydrogen and shipping it to the customer.

    The study was led by Avigail Landman, a doctoral student in the Nancy & Stephen Grand Technion Energy Program (GTEP), and Dr. Hen Dotan from the Electrochemical Materials & Devices Lab. Ms. Landman is working on her doctorate under the guidance of Prof. Avner Rothschild from the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, and Prof. Gideon Grader, Dean of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering.

    The study published in Nature Materials was supported by the Israeli Centers of Research Excellence (I-CORE) for Solar Fuel Research (funded by the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education of Israel), the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water, the European Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), the Grand Technion Energy Program (GTEP), donor Ed Satell and the Adelis Foundation.

    Hydrogen can be produced from water, and therefore production does not depend on access to non-renewable natural resources.
    Using hydrogen fuel would reduce the dependence on fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas, whose availability depends on geographical, political and other factors, and would increase the energy available to the earth’s population. Unlike diesel and gasoline engines that emit considerable pollution into the air, the only byproduct of hydrogen fuel utilization is water.

    Because of the advantages of hydrogen fuel, many countries – led by Japan, Germany and the United States – are investing vast sums of money in programs for the development of environmentally friendly (“green”) technologies for the production of hydrogen. Most hydrogen is currently produced from natural gas in a process that emits carbon dioxide into the air, but it is also possible to produce hydrogen from water by splitting the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen in a process called electrolysis. However, since electricity production itself is an expensive and polluting process, researchers at the Technion and around the world are developing a photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell that utilizes solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen directly, without the need for external power source.

    The main challenges in the development of PEC solar farms for the production of hydrogen are 1.) keeping the hydrogen and the oxygen separate from each other, 2.) collecting the hydrogen from millions of PEC cells, and 3.) transporting the hydrogen to the point of sale. The Technion team solved these challenges by developing a new method for PEC water splitting. With this method, the hydrogen and oxygen are formed in two separate cells – one that produces hydrogen, and another that produces oxygen. This is in contrast to the conventional method, in which the hydrogen and oxygen are produced within the same cell, and separated by a thin membrane that prevents them from intermixing and forming a flammable and explosive mixture.

    The process allows geographic separation between the solar farm consisting of millions of PEC cells that produce oxygen exclusively, and the site where the hydrogen is produced in a centralized, cost-effective and efficient manner. They accomplished this with a pair of auxiliary electrodes made of nickel hydroxide, an inexpensive material used in rechargeable batteries, and a metal wire connecting them.
    “In the present article, we describe a new method for producing hydrogen through the physical separation of hydrogen production and oxygen production,” says Ms. Landman. “According to our cost estimate, our method could successfully compete with existing water splitting methods and serve as a cheap and safe platform for the production of hydrogen.”

    The vision of the Technion researchers is geographic separation between the sites where the oxygen and hydrogen are produced: at one site, there will be a solar farm that will collect the sun’s energy and produce oxygen, while hydrogen is produced in a centralized manner at another site, miles away. Thus, instead of transporting compressed hydrogen from the production site to the sales point, it will only be necessary to swap the auxiliary electrodes between the two sites. Economic calculations performed in collaboration with research fellows from Evonik Creavis GmbH and the Institute of Solar Research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), indicate the potential for significant savings in the setup and operating costs of hydrogen production.

    The method developed at the Technion for separating hydrogen production and oxygen production was the basis for the development of new two-stage electrolysis technology. This technology, which was developed by Dr. Hen Dotan, enables hydrogen production at high pressure and with unprecedented efficiency, thus significantly reducing hydrogen production costs. The new technology is now in its pre-industrial development stage.
    Source

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Technion Campus

    A science and technology research university, among the world’s top ten,
    dedicated to the creation of knowledge and the development of human capital and leadership,
    for the advancement of the State of Israel and all humanity.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:51 am on March 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Tech Women 2017, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, The Rosalyn August Foundation for the Empowerment of Young Women,   

    From Technion: “A Better World – through Science and Engineering” 

    Technion bloc

    Technion

    09/03/2017

    1
    Tech Women 2017

    Around 700 excelling female high-school students from all over the country visited Technion as part of the Tech Women 2017 conference, organized to encourage young women to opt for academic studies in science and engineering.

    From Kiryat Shmona all the way to Ma’ale Edomim; from Kibbutz Sasa to Ashdod: around 700 excelling female high-school students visited the Technion last Thursday, in honor of the annual Tech Women 2017 conference held by the Technion on International Women’s Day on March 8th. “Studying at the Technion means making the world a better place through science and engineering,” said Prof. Orit Hazan, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, in her opening remarks.

    The conference, which took place courtesy of The Rosalyn August Foundation for the Empowerment of Young Women, was designed to encourage excelling female high-school students to choose science and engineering for their academic studies.

    The participants were students majoring in 5-pt. mathematics and the fields of science and technology. They met with female researchers and staff members, Technion graduates and current graduate students. They toured labs and were exposed to the various research and study subjects in the different faculties.

    “You are here because you were chosen, because we are positive that your future lies here, at the Technion,” said Orly Reiss, an alumnus of the Technion’s Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, who moderated the opening ceremony. After the opening event, each student visited two of the nine hosting faculties: Electrical Engineering; Computer Science; Mechanical Engineering; Aerospace Engineering; Civil & Environmental Engineering; Chemical Engineering; Materials Science & Engineering; Chemistry; and Physics.

    “In the very first graduating class of the Technion, which opened in 1924, there were 16 men and one woman,” said Prof. Peretz Lavie, President of the Technion. “Today about 37% of our undergraduates are women, and our goal is to reach 50% in all the departments. This special day is dedicated to persuading female high-school students that they belong here at the Technion and that they are able to do so. The future of the State of Israel depends on scientific and engineering knowledge, and we look forward to seeing these students here in a few years attending the Technion’s opening ceremony at the beginning of the academic year.”

    Dr. Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus of the Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, said: “It is very exciting to see the future generation of female scientists of Israel.” She urged the students to approach their studies passionately and consciously. She spoke of her own brother, who was extremely intelligent but had difficulties reading, and of her decision to specialize in the field of language acquisition. Dr. Horowitz-Kraus, who is the founder of the Technion’s Educational Neuroimaging Center, shared her discoveries regarding the connection between brain development and the development of language and reading skills in infants and children. “I examine the child’s brain as he or she listens to a story, and try to understand the processes taking place and the way listening improves future reading skills.”

    Sarah Nagosa, a PhD student at the Ruth & Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, discussed the topic of her dissertation: eye diseases and their treatment. Nagosa immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia at the age of three, and grew up in Kiryat Malachi. “I only first heard of the Technion when I was 17 years old, when several American donors came to visit my high school. I decided that day that this is what I want to do – to attend the Technion. Of course, I had apprehensions – what if I’m not accepted? What if I’m not smart enough? But I applied for admission and was accepted to the Faculty of Biology. The beginning wasn’t easy – I felt so small and the campus was so huge. It was hard for me to find common ground with the rest of the students. But I slowly realized that we all had the same apprehensions, and I suddenly found the courage to ask questions. Today, working on my research and serving as a teaching assistant at the same time, I can tell you that while the Technion might be tough academically, it is “soft” and simple in every other way: the dorms, tutoring and any other form of assistance. The difficulties have not disappeared, but I’ve learned to overcome them, knowing that my ultimate goal is worth it.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Technion Campus

    A science and technology research university, among the world’s top ten,
    dedicated to the creation of knowledge and the development of human capital and leadership,
    for the advancement of the State of Israel and all humanity.

     
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