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  • richardmitnick 8:05 am on September 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , atom by atom, ’ physicists create a new type of molecule, , Experiments like these pave the way for developing new methods for controlling chemistry, Help scientists understand how certain complex molecules including some that could be precursors to life came to exist in space, In step toward ‘controlling chemistry, Integrated ion-trap-time-of-flight mass spectrometer, Ion traps, , Narrow the gap between physics and chemistry, Octet Rule - each atom in a molecule that is produced by a chemical reaction will have eight outer orbiting electrons, , UCLA, Ultra-cold atom traps   

    From UCLA: “In step toward ‘controlling chemistry,’ physicists create a new type of molecule, atom by atom” 


    UCLA Newsrooom

    September 13, 2017
    Stuart Wolpert

    1
    By working in extremely controlled conditions, Eric Hudson and his colleagues could observe properties of atoms and molecules that have previously been hidden from view. Stuart Wolpert/UCLA

    UCLA physicists have pioneered a method for creating a unique new molecule that could eventually have applications in medicine, food science and other fields. Their research, which also shows how chemical reactions can be studied on a microscopic scale using tools of physics, is reported in the journal Science.

    For the past 200 years, scientists have developed rules to describe chemical reactions that they’ve observed, including reactions in food, vitamins, medications and living organisms. One of the most ubiquitous is the “octet rule,” which states that each atom in a molecule that is produced by a chemical reaction will have eight outer orbiting electrons. (Scientists have found exceptions to the rule, but those exceptions are rare.)

    But the molecule created by UCLA professor Eric Hudson and colleagues violates that rule. Barium-oxygen-calcium, or BaOCa+, is the first molecule ever observed by scientists that is composed of an oxygen atom bonded to two different metal atoms.

    Normally, one metal atom (either barium or calcium) can react with an oxygen atom to produce a stable molecule. However, when the UCLA scientists added a second metal atom to the mix, a new molecule, BaOCa+, which no longer satisfied the octet rule, had been formed.

    2
    Michael Mills, Prateek Puri, Eric Hudson and Christian Schneider. Stuart Wolpert/UCLA

    Other molecules that violate the octet rule have been observed before, but the UCLA study is among the first to observe such a molecule using tools from physics — namely lasers, ion traps and ultra-cold atom traps.

    Hudson’s laboratory used laser light to cool tiny amounts of the reactant atoms and molecules to an extremely low temperature — one one-thousandth of a degree above absolute zero — and then levitate them in a space smaller than the width of a human hair, inside of a vacuum chamber. Under these highly controlled conditions, the scientists could observe properties of the atoms and molecules that are otherwise hidden from view, and the “physics tools” they used enabled them to hold a sample of atoms and observe chemical reactions one molecule at a time.

    The ultra-cold temperatures used in the experiment can also be used to simulate the reaction as it would occur in outer space. That could help scientists understand how certain complex molecules, including some that could be precursors to life, came to exist in space, Hudson said.

    The researchers found that when they brought together calcium and barium methoxide inside of their system under normal conditions, they would not react because the atoms could not find a way to rearrange themselves to form a stable molecule. However, when the scientists used a laser to change the distribution of the electrons in the calcium atom, the reaction quickly proceeded, producing a new molecule, CaOBa+.

    The approach is part of a new physics-inspired subfield of chemistry that uses the tools of ultra-cold physics, such as lasers and electromagnetism, to observe and control how and when single-particle reactions occur.

    UCLA graduate student Prateek Puri, the project’s lead researcher, said the experiment demonstrates not only how these techniques can be used to create exotic molecules, but also how they can be used to engineer important reactions. The discovery could ultimately be used to create new methods for preserving food (by preventing unwanted chemical reactions between food and the environment) or developing safer medications (by eliminating the chemical reactions that cause negative side effects).

    “Experiments like these pave the way for developing new methods for controlling chemistry,” Puri said. “We’re essentially creating ‘on buttons’ for reactions.”

    Hudson said he hopes the work will encourage other scientists to further narrow the gap between physics and chemistry, and to demonstrate that increasingly complex molecules can be studied and controlled. He added that one key to the success of the new study was the involvement of experts from various fields: experimental physicists, theoretical physicists and a physical chemist.

    A key player in the research is already making a name for itself in Hollywood. A device called the integrated ion-trap-time-of-flight mass spectrometer, which was invented by Hudson’s lab and which was used to discover the reaction — was featured on a recent episode of the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”

    “The device enables us to detect and identify the products of reactions on the single-particle level, and for us, it has really been a bridge between chemistry and physics,” said Michael Mills, a UCLA graduate student who worked on the project. “We were delighted to see it picked up by the show.”

    Co-authors of the study are Christian Schneider, a UCLA research scientist; Ionel Simbotin, a University of Connecticut physics postdoctoral scholar; John Montgomery Jr., a University of Connecticut research professor of physics; Robin Côté, a University of Connecticut professor of physics; and Arthur Suits, a University of Missouri professor of chemistry.

    The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and Army Research Office.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

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  • richardmitnick 7:56 am on September 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , UCLA, UCLA physicists propose new theories of black holes from the very early universe   

    From UCLA: “UCLA physicists propose new theories of black holes from the very early universe” 


    UCLA Newsrooom

    September 01, 2017
    Katherine Kornei

    1
    The theory that primordial black holes collide with neutron stars to create heavy elements explains the lack of neutron stars in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, a long-standing mystery. den-belitsky/iStock

    UCLA physicists have proposed new theories for how the universe’s first black holes might have formed and the role they might play in the production of heavy elements such as gold, platinum and uranium.

    Two papers on their work were published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.031103

    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.061101

    A long-standing question in astrophysics is whether the universe’s very first black holes came into existence less than a second after the Big Bang or whether they formed only millions of years later during the deaths of the earliest stars.

    Alexander Kusenko, a UCLA professor of physics, and Eric Cotner, a UCLA graduate student, developed a compellingly simple new theory suggesting that black holes could have formed very shortly after the Big Bang, long before stars began to shine. Astronomers have previously suggested that these so-called primordial black holes could account for all or some of the universe’s mysterious dark matter and that they might have seeded the formation of supermassive black holes that exist at the centers of galaxies. The new theory proposes that primordial black holes might help create many of the heavier elements found in nature.

    The researchers began by considering that a uniform field of energy pervaded the universe shortly after the Big Bang. Scientists expect that such fields existed in the distant past. After the universe rapidly expanded, this energy field would have separated into clumps. Gravity would cause these clumps to attract one another and merge together. The UCLA researchers proposed that some small fraction of these growing clumps became dense enough to become black holes.

    Their hypothesis is fairly generic, Kusenko said, and it doesn’t rely on what he called the “unlikely coincidences” that underpin other theories explaining primordial black holes.

    2
    A black hole captured by a neutron star. Alexander Kusenko/UCLA

    The paper suggests that it’s possible to search for these primordial black holes using astronomical observations. One method involves measuring the very tiny changes in a star’s brightness that result from the gravitational effects of a primordial black hole passing between Earth and that star. Earlier this year, U.S. and Japanese astronomers published a paper on their discovery of one star in a nearby galaxy that brightened and dimmed precisely as if a primordial black hole was passing in front of it.

    In a separate study, Kusenko, Volodymyr Takhistov, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher, and George Fuller, a professor at UC San Diego, proposed that primordial black holes might play an important role in the formation of heavy elements such as gold, silver, platinum and uranium, which could be ongoing in our galaxy and others.

    The origin of those heavy elements has long been a mystery to researchers.

    “Scientists know that these heavy elements exist, but they’re not sure where these elements are being formed,” Kusenko said. “This has been really embarrassing.”

    The UCLA research suggests that a primordial black hole occasionally collides with a neutron star — the city-sized, spinning remnant of a star that remains after some supernova explosions — and sinks into its depths.

    When that happens, Kusenko said, the primordial black hole consumes the neutron star from the inside, a process that takes about 10,000 years. As the neutron star shrinks, it spins even faster, eventually causing small fragments to detach and fly off. Those fragments of neutron-rich material may be the sites in which neutrons fuse into heavier and heavier elements, Kusenko said.

    However, the probability of a neutron star capturing a black hole is rather low, said Kusenko, which is consistent with observations of only some galaxies being enriched in heavy elements. The theory that primordial black holes collide with neutron stars to create heavy elements also explains the observed lack of neutron stars in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, a long-standing mystery in astrophysics.

    This winter, Kusenko and his colleagues will collaborate with scientists at Princeton University on computer simulations of the heavy elements produced by a neutron star–black hole interaction. By comparing the results of those simulations with observations of heavy elements in nearby galaxies, the researchers hope to determine whether primordial black holes are indeed responsible for Earth’s gold, platinum and uranium.

    The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and Japan’s World Premier International Research Center Initiative of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:07 am on July 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Electron valley states, , , Quantum dots, , UCLA   

    From UCLA: “Technique for measuring and controlling electron state is a breakthrough in quantum computing” 

    UCLA bloc

    UCLA

    July 06, 2017
    Meghan Steele Horan

    1
    UCLA professor HongWen Jiang (center) and graduate students Blake Freeman and Joshua Schoenfield affixing a quantum dot device to the gold plate of a cooling chamber. Nick Penthorn.

    During their research for a new paper on quantum computing, HongWen Jiang, a UCLA professor of physics, and Joshua Schoenfield, a graduate student in his lab, ran into a recurring problem: They were so excited about the progress they were making that when they logged in from home to their UCLA desktop — which allows only one user at a time — the two scientists repeatedly knocked each other off of the remote connection.

    The reason for their enthusiasm: Jiang and his team created a way to measure and control the energy differences of electron valley states in silicon quantum dots, which are a key component of quantum computing research. The technique could bring quantum computing one step closer to reality.

    “It’s so exciting,” said Jiang, a member of the California NanoSystems Institute. “We didn’t want to wait until the next day to find out the outcome.”

    Quantum computing could enable more complex information to be encoded on much smaller computer chips, and it holds promise for faster, more secure problem-solving and communications than today’s computers allow.

    In standard computers, the fundamental components are switches called bits, which use 0s and 1s to indicate that they are off or on. The building blocks of quantum computers, on the other hand, are quantum bits, or qubits.

    The UCLA researchers’ breakthrough was being able to measure and control a specific state of a silicon quantum dot, known as a valley state, an essential property of qubits. The research was published in Nature Communications.

    “An individual qubit can exist in a complex wave-like mixture of the state 0 and the state 1 at the same time,” said Schoenfield, the paper’s first author. “To solve problems, qubits must interfere with each other like ripples in a pond. So controlling every aspect of their wave-like nature is essential.”

    Silicon quantum dots are small, electrically confined regions of silicon, only tens of nanometers across, that can trap electrons. They’re being studied by Jiang’s lab — and by researchers around the world — for their possible use in quantum computing because they enable scientists to manipulate electrons’ spin and charge.

    Besides electrons’ spin and charge, another of their most important properties is their “valley state,” which specifies where an electron will settle in the non-flat energy landscape of silicon’s crystalline structure. The valley state represents a location in the electron’s momentum, as opposed to an actual physical location.

    Scientists have realized only recently that controlling valley states is critical for encoding and analyzing silicon-based qubits, because even the tiniest imperfections in a silicon crystal can alter valley energies in unpredictable ways.

    “Imagine standing on top of a mountain and looking down to your left and right, noticing that the valleys on either side appear to be the same but knowing that one valley was just 1 centimeter deeper than the other,” said Blake Freeman, a UCLA graduate student and co-author of the study. “In quantum physics, even that small of a difference is extremely important for our ability to control electrons’ spin and charge states.”

    At normal temperatures, electrons bounce around, making it difficult for them to rest in the lowest energy point in the valley. So to measure the tiny energy difference between two valley states, the UCLA researchers placed silicon quantum dots inside a cooling chamber at a temperature near absolute zero, which allowed the electrons to settle down. By shooting fast electrical pulses of voltage through them, the scientists were able to move single electrons in and out of the valleys. The tiny difference in energy between the valleys was determined by observing the speed of the electron’s rapid switching between valley states.

    After manipulating the electrons, the researchers ran a nanowire sensor very close to the electrons. Measuring the wire’s resistance allowed them to gauge the distance between an electron and the wire, which in turn enabled them to determine which valley the electron occupied.

    The technique also enabled the scientists, for the first time, to measure the extremely small energy difference between the two valleys — which had been impossible using any other existing method.

    In the future, the researchers hope to use more sophisticated voltage pulses and device designs to achieve full control over multiple interacting valley-based qubits.

    “The dream is to have an array of hundreds or thousands of qubits all working together to solve a difficult problem,” Schoenfield said. “This work is an important step toward realizing that dream.”

    The research was supported by the U.S. Army Research Office.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:40 am on June 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cracking the code: Why aren't more women majoring in computer science?, UCLA,   

    From UCLA: “Cracking the code: Why aren’t more women majoring in computer science?” 

    UCLA bloc

    UCLA

    June 26, 2017
    Shana Vu

    1
    While identifying the root cause for the gender gap that exists among computer science degree holders is difficult, researchers are finding that what happens in an introductory CS college classroom can greatly influence women’s decision to enter or stay out of the programming field. iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia.

    Close your eyes and picture a computer science college student. In all likelihood, you imagined a male. Sadly, statistics about who decides to major in computer science in college back you up. In 2015, women earned only 18% of all computer science degrees in the nation; that percentage dips even lower for women of color, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

    And while identifying the root cause for this gap is difficult, researchers are finding that what happens in a CS college classroom can greatly influence women’s decision to enter or stay out of the programming field. While there is increased interest in addressing gender disparity in Silicon Valley as well as a push to expose young girls to coding, what happens in between this pipeline has been largely left unstudied until now.

    The BRAID (Building, Recruiting and Inclusion for Diversity) research team, led by Linda Sax, professor of higher education at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, aims to pinpoint specific strategies to attract and retain women and students of color as computer science majors. “The university experience for prospective CS students, especially when it comes to introductory CS classes, can make or break a student’s decision,” says Sax.

    Sax’s research team is part of the BRAID Initiative, started by the Anita Borg Institute and Harvey Mudd College in 2014 — with funding from Facebook, Google, Intel and Microsoft — to increase the percentage of women and minorities in undergraduate computing programs. The initiative partners with 15 universities across the U.S. that have pledged to increase diversity and inclusivity within their own computer science departments.

    Armed with a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation awarded in 2015, Sax’s team is conducting an unprecedented, large-scale longitudinal study with the ultimate goal of identifying best practices for keeping women and students of color in the field.

    “We want to find out how CS departments can instill not only a sense of confidence in computing skills, but a sense of belonging within women and students of color,” Sax says.

    While women have made significant gains in many fields, including medicine, business and law, the percentage of women who receive CS degrees is the smallest across all STEM fields, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

    Most dishearteningly, the percentage of CS-degree holders who were women peaked in the 1980s at 34% and has been on a downward trend ever since, even though women currently earn 57% of all undergraduate degrees.

    “If girls aren’t involved in building technological products, not only are they missing out on some of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs,” Sax says, “we’re also missing out on the brainpower that these women can bring to the table.”

    To find out what students experience in an introductory CS class, surveys were distributed across the 15 BRAID schools, which include smaller, private schools, like Villanova University, as well as large public research institutions, like Arizona State University and UC Irvine.

    “While it is admittedly convenient to sample the BRAID-affiliated schools we work with, it’s surprising how well it maps onto the national trend,” says Kathleen Lehman, BRAID project manager at UCLA. “We account for geography, size of institution, whether it’s public and private.”

    The team also conducts student, departmental and faculty interviews, as well as syllabi analyses, and researchers track academic major trajectories and final degrees as well as long-term career aspirations to understand the factors that encourage a student to complete a CS degree.

    While the study will run for at least three more years, some initial findings have already emerged.

    A recurring theme in the qualitative interviews, for example, is that student experiences in introductory CS classes, especially those taken by non-majors, are instrumental in developing a desire to stay in the field.

    Women who take intro-to-CS classes tend to be further along in their college careers than men, and they are usually not CS majors. Since women are better represented in CS intro courses (32%) than among actual CS degree earners (16% among BRAID schools), BRAID researchers believe that CS intro classes are particularly significant in whether a student chooses to go down the CS pathway.

    Lehman stresses that students’ first impressions about CS are shaped by these introductory classes, especially because women, on average, are less likely to have taken a CS class in high school.

    When it comes to programming, you first have to master how to learn programming, Lehman said. “So if [an instructor] just assumes that all the students have some background in coding, it can put some students at a disadvantage.”

    Female students in these classes may also be made to feel as if they aren’t allowed to make mistakes.

    “Women are socialized to feel that they can’t fail and that they have to achieve perfection, so when their code doesn’t run, women often feel discouraged about their own abilities,” the project manager says. “Men, on the other hand, are often more aware of the fact that learning programming is a trial-and-error process and don’t see code not running as a reflection of their own skills.”

    2
    Courtesy of the BRAID Initiative.

    Building smaller checkpoints to affirm successes and breaking down assignments into smaller parts can help students build confidence in their learning and work. That confidence, Lehman says, is key to retention within the world of programming and computer science.

    Collaboration also is a determining factor, according to Sax.

    “If someone stays in the major, it’s usually because they have strong peer connections,” she says. “When they leave, it’s not because they’re not capable, but it’s typically because they have this idea that CS does not contribute to the social good, and they want to help people.”

    A paradoxical finding is that even when men’s and women’s achievements are similar, women typically have lower confidence in their programming abilities than men.

    While these findings are far from conclusive, Lehman and Sax predict that there are a few main factors that explain the 4:1 ratio of men to women in CS.

    One factor is society’s portrayal of programmers, especially in media — think “Mr. Robot” and “Silicon Valley.” “Programming is seen as something that’s overtly masculine and geeky,” Sax said. “There’s this idea that a programmer is a skinny, nerdy hacker who has poor interpersonal skills and works in his basement.”

    And even if students don’t harbor these negative stereotypes, Sax says, many students tend to think that majoring in computer science means devoting their life to computers.

    “A lot of people think that CS and programming aren’t as impactful in society as other fields,” Sax explains. “In reality, programmers have an incredible social value.”

    The next big research question the team will tackle centers around CS undergraduate pathways and how those may differ between men and women. Sax also hopes to continue to follow up with non-majors who took introductory CS classes to see if their impressions have changed. And while Sax and Lehman are cautious about drawing definitive conclusions from their initial data, they are both optimistic about their findings so far.

    “I’m confident that with this study, we can find out what works and for whom,” Sax says, “and more importantly, see some change over time in diversifying computer science.”

    Read the complete story on UCLA’s Women in Tech website. This initiative is led by the Office of Information Technology and focuses on key issues that women and minorities face in the technology sector. You’ll find more features that showcase the women and research within the UCLA community in the fields of entrepreneurship and STEM.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:09 am on June 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Rare genetic variants found to increase risk for Tourette syndrome, UCLA   

    From UCLA: “Rare genetic variants found to increase risk for Tourette syndrome” 

    UCLA bloc

    UCLA

    June 21, 2017
    Leigh Hopper
    LHopper@mednet.ucla.edu

    1
    Two of the study’s authors, Dr. Giovanni Coppola, left, professor of psychiatry and neurology at UCLA, and bioinformatics doctoral student Alden Huang. UCLA.

    An international team led by researchers from UCLA and Massachusetts General Hospital has identified the first definitive genes associated with Tourette syndrome, giving scientists a long-sought foothold on the biology of the disease.

    The report in the June 21 issue of Neuron describes the discovery of rare mutations — either deletions or duplications of genetic material — in two neurodevelopmental genes, NRXN1 and CNTN6, in people with Tourette syndrome, a disorder characterized by multiple chronic, involuntary motor and vocal tics.

    “This is a first, key step in understanding the role of these genes in the disease process and ultimately in pointing the field toward possible therapeutic strategies,” said Dr. Giovanni Coppola, a professor of psychiatry and neurology at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, and the study’s co-senior author. “All of us in the field have been trying to understand which genes increase the risk of disease.”

    There’s no cure for Tourette syndrome, and no one medication that is helpful to all people with Tourette syndrome or suppresses all symptoms.

    Previous research has shown Tourette syndrome has a clear genetic component. But genetic risk appears to be very complex, possibly involving different genes in different individuals. Several small studies have identified genes that appear to contribute to Tourette syndrome risk, Coppola said, but none of them met the statistical threshold of significance.

    For this study, researchers analyzed data collected by the Tourette Syndrome Association International Consortium for Genetics and the Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome GWAS (genome-wide association studies) Replication Initiative from more than 2,400 people with Tourette syndrome.

    Of those people, only two dozen shared rare genetic mutations on NRXN1, which has a role in the development of synapses that transmit signals between neurons, or CNTN6, which is important in the development of neuronal connections involved in movement control.

    To test whether these findings were specific to Tourette syndrome and not coincidence, researchers looked for the mutations in 4,100 people without Tourette syndrome. They found that the mutations were vastly predominant in people with Tourette syndrome.

    The finding is also relevant to other neuropsychiatric disorders. More than 85 percent of people with Tourette syndrome have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder, or elevated risk for mood, anxiety, major depressive and autism spectrum disorders. Next, scientists plan to study cells from people with these rare genetic variants to understand more precisely how they are involved in these diseases.

    “Tourette syndrome has long been considered a model disorder to study the parts of the brain that function at the intersection of our traditional concepts of neurology and psychiatry,” said Dr. Jeremiah Scharf of the psychiatric and neurodevelopmental genetics unit in the Massachusetts General Hospital departments of psychiatry and neurology and co-senior author. “Identifying additional genes will give us additional points on the map to let us focus in on exactly which cells in the brain are not functioning correctly at which specific times.”

    John Miller, president and CEO of the Tourette Association of America, which provided support for the study, called the identification of the two genes “an enormous step forward.” “We congratulate our colleagues on this important discovery and on the real progress it means for individuals with Tourette.”

    The study’s first author is Alden Huang, a doctoral student in the UCLA bioinformatics program. Additional co-senior authors of the study are Dr. Carol Mathews of the University of Florida and Peristera Paschou of Purdue University. Other support for the study came from the National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke grants U01 NS040024, K02 NS085048, P30 NS062691 (Informatics Center for Neurogenetics and Neurogenomics, ICNN) and NS016648; National Institute of Mental Health grants K23 MH085057 and MH096767; and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant NS040024-07S.

    Coppola said that he is especially grateful to patients who agreed to be part of the study. As a neurologist in Italy, where he trained, people volunteering for genetic studies would ask him, “What is the possible outcome of this?” and he would say, “Most likely, nothing.”

    Now, with this study’s results, Coppola can point to a success story: “Next time your doctor asks you to give your DNA for testing, and tells you chances are dim for the result being relevant, keep in mind — sometimes it works. And the more people enrolled, the better it works.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:34 am on June 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , TMS - transcranial magnetic stimulation, UCLA   

    From UCLA: “UCLA doctors use magnetic stimulation to ‘rewire’ the brain for people with depression” 

    UCLA bloc

    UCLA

    June 12, 2017

    FDA-approved therapy appears to be effective for some whose condition isn’t improved with medication.

    1
    Dr. Andrew Leuchter talks with a patient who is about to undergo transcranial magnetic stimulation, which treats depression by sending magnetic pulses to a specific area of the brain. UCLA Health

    Americans spend billions of dollars each year on antidepressants, but the National Institutes of Health estimates that those medications work for only 60 percent to 70 percent of people who take them. In addition, the number of people with depression has increased 18 percent since 2005, according to the World Health Organization, which this year launched a global campaign encouraging people to seek treatment.

    The Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA is one of a handful of hospitals and clinics nationwide that offer a treatment that works in a fundamentally different way than drugs. The technique, transcranial magnetic stimulation, beams targeted magnetic pulses deep inside patients’ brains — an approach that has been likened to rewiring a computer.

    TMS has been approved by the FDA for treating depression that doesn’t respond to medications, and UCLA researchers say it has been underused. But new equipment being rolled out this summer promises to make the treatment available to more people.

    “We are actually changing how the brain circuits are arranged, how they talk to each other,” said Dr. Ian Cook, director of the UCLA Depression Research and Clinic Program. “The brain is an amazingly changeable organ. In fact, every time people learn something new, there are physical changes in the brain structure that can be detected.”

    Nathalie DeGravel, 48, of Los Angeles had tried multiple medications and different types of therapy, not to mention many therapists, for her depression before she heard about magnetic stimulation. She discussed it with her psychiatrist earlier this year, and he readily referred her to UCLA.

    Within a few weeks, she noticed relief from the back pain she had been experiencing; shortly thereafter, her depression began to subside. DeGravel says she can now react more “wisely” to life’s daily struggles, feels more resilient and is able to do much more around the house. She even updated her resume to start looking for a job for the first time in years.

    During TMS therapy, the patient sits in a reclining chair, much like one used in a dentist’s office, and a technician places a magnetic stimulator against the patient’s head in a predetermined location, based on calibrations from brain imaging.

    The stimulator sends a series of magnetic pulses into the brain. People who have undergone the treatment commonly report the sensation is like having someone tapping their head, and because of the clicking sound it makes, patients often wear earphones or earplugs during a session.

    TMS therapy normally takes 30 minutes to an hour, and people typically receive the treatment several days a week for six weeks. But the newest generation of equipment could make treatments less time-consuming.

    “There are new TMS devices recently approved by the FDA that will allow patients to achieve the benefits of the treatment in a much shorter period of time,” said Dr. Andrew Leuchter, director of the Semel Institute’s TMS clinical and research service. “For some patients, we will have the ability to decrease the length of a treatment session from 37.5 minutes down to 3 minutes, and to complete a whole course of TMS in two weeks.”

    Leuchter said some studies have shown that TMS is even better than medication for the treatment of chronic depression. The approach, he says, is underutilized.

    “We are used to thinking of psychiatric treatments mostly in terms of either talk therapies, psychotherapy or medications,” Leuchter said. “TMS is a revolutionary kind of treatment.”

    Bob Holmes of Los Angeles is one of the 16 million Americans who report having a major depressive episode each year, and he has suffered from depression his entire life. He calls the TMS treatment he received at UCLA Health a lifesaver.

    “What this did was sort of reawaken everything, and it provided that kind of jolt to get my brain to start to work again normally,” he said.

    Doctors are also exploring whether the treatment could also be used for a variety of other conditions including schizophrenia, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and chronic pain.

    “We’re still just beginning to scratch the surface of what this treatment might be able to do for patients with a variety of illnesses,” Leuchter said. “It’s completely noninvasive and is usually very well tolerated.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:53 am on May 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Discovery of an alga’s ‘dictionary of genes’ could lead to advances in biofuels and medicine, , UCLA   

    From UCLA: “Discovery of an alga’s ‘dictionary of genes’ could lead to advances in biofuels, medicine” 

    UCLA bloc

    UCLA

    May 22, 2017
    Stuart Wolpert

    1
    Inside the alga’s cells, showing the nucleus (purple), mitochondria (red), chloroplast (green) and lipids (yellow). Melissa Roth/HHMI and Andreas Walters/Berkeley Lab

    Plant biologists and biochemists from UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco have produced a gold mine of data by sequencing the genome of a green alga called Chromochloris zofingiensis.

    2

    Scientists have learned in the past decade that the tiny, single-celled organism could be used as a source of sustainable biofuel and that it produces a substance called astaxanthin, which may be useful for treating certain diseases. The new research could be an important step toward improving production of astaxanthin by algae and engineering its production in plants and other organisms.

    The study is published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Chromochloris zofingiensis is one of the most prolific producers of a type of lipids called triacylglycerols, which are used in producing biofuels.

    Knowing the genome is like having a “dictionary” of the alga’s approximately 15,000 genes, said co-senior author Sabeeha Merchant, a UCLA professor of biochemistry. “From there, researchers can learn how to put the ‘words’ and ‘sentences’ together, and to target our research on important subsets of genes.”

    C. zofingiensis provides an abundant natural source for astaxanthin, an antioxidant found in salmon and other types of fish, as well as in some birds’ feathers. And because of its anti-inflammatory properties, scientists believe astaxanthin may have benefits for human health; it is being tested in treatments for cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, inflammatory diseases, diabetes and obesity. Merchant said the natural version has stronger antioxidant properties than chemically produced ones, and only natural astaxanthin has been approved for human consumption.

    The study also revealed that an enzyme called beta-ketolase is a critical component in the production of astaxanthin.

    Algae absorb carbon dioxide and derive their energy from sunlight, and C. zofingiensis in particular can be cultivated on non-arable land and in wastewater. Harnessing it as a source for renewable and sustainable biofuels could lead to new ways to produce clean energy, said Krishna Niyogi, co-senior author of the paper and a scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

    Over the past decade-plus, Merchant said, research with algae, a small plant called rockcress, fruit flies and nematode worms — all so-called “model organisms” — has been advanced by other scientists’ determining their genome sequences.

    “They are called model organisms because we use what we learn about the operation of their cells and proteins as a model for understanding the workings of more complex systems like humans or crops,” she said. “Today, we can sequence the genome of virtually any organism in the laboratory, as has been done over the past 10 to 15 years with other model organisms.”

    Merchant, Niyogi and Matteo Pellegrini, a UCLA professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology and a co-author of the study, maintain a website that shares a wealth of information about the alga’s genome.

    During the study, the scientists also used soft X-ray tomography, a technique similar to a CT scan, to get a 3-D view of the algae cells , which gave them more detailed insights about their biology.

    Niyogi is also a UC Berkeley professor of plant and microbial biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

    4

    The study’s other authors are researchers Shawn Cokus and Sean Gallaher and postdoctoral scholar David Lopez, all of UCLA; postdoctoral fellow Melissa Roth, and graduate students Erika Erickson, Benjamin Endelman and Daniel Westcott, all of Niyogi’s laboratory; and Carolyn Larabell, a professor of anatomy, and researcher Andreas Walter, both of UC San Francisco.

    The research was funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:46 am on May 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andrea Bertozzi, , UCLA,   

    From UCLA: Women in STEM-“UCLA innovator gets creative with applied mathematics” Andrea Bertozzi 

    UCLA bloc

    UCLA

    Andrea Bertozzi puts math to work solving real-world problems

    May 15, 2017
    Nico Correia

    1
    UCLA mathematician Andrea Bertozzi works on a wide range of problems, ranging from the prediction of crime to the deployment of robotic bees. UCLA

    While her grade school classmates were learning the alphabet and how to count to five, Andrea Bertozzi remembers studying negative numbers and modular arithmetic.

    Math often gets a bad rap as an uncreative left brain-oriented activity, but Bertozzi recalls that, as a child, she was fascinated with it because of its creative potential.

    “Teachers have trouble teaching it that way,” said Bertozzi, a professor of mathematics and director of applied mathematics at UCLA, and the inaugural holder of UCLA’s Betsy Wood Knapp Chair for Innovation and Creativity. “They’re not looking at it the right way.”

    As the director of applied mathematics at UCLA and a member of the UCLA Institute for Digital Research and Education’s Executive Committee, Bertozzi and her colleagues conceive of math as a creative medium that can be practically used to solve real-world problems. “Our department is not one that does routine applications,” she said. “We develop new math on the boundary with other fields.”

    One of Bertozzi’s most publicized projects is an ideal illustration of math in action. In a partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department, Bertozzi and UCLA anthropology professor Jeffrey Brantingham head a research team that developed a mathematical model to predicts where and when crime will most likely happen, based on historical crime data in targeted areas so that police officers can preemptively patrol these districts.

    The model they and their team developed based on an algorithm that “learns,” evolves and adapts to new crime data is based on earthquake science. It takes a triggering event such as a property crime or a burglary and treats it similarly to aftershocks following an earthquake that can be tracked by scientists to figure out where and when the next one will occur.

    Another of Bertozzi’s projects, the deployment of robotic bees, is being done in collaboration with Spring Berman, a robotics expert and an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Arizona State University.

    2
    This ground-based robotic bee was developed by undergraduates under Andrea Bertozzi’s direction to test algorithms needed to guide pollinating “bees” to designated plants.

    Since the late 1990s, the population of bees has plunged because of a combination of factors. Earlier this year, the rusty-patched bumblebee landed on the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s list of endangered species. Without bees to pollinate, humanity runs the risk of losing a wide swath of the world’s flora. One solution that scientists are looking into is the development of robotic bees.

    That’s where Bertozzi’s creative mathematical abilities come in.

    Bertozzi and Berman are studying algorithms that would send out a cloud of these robotic pollinators to certain plants. In the applied math lab at UCLA, undergraduates have created earthbound robotic bees to test path-planning algorithms for simple robots without GPS trackers. The group is planning to present the results of testbed simulation “flights” at a conference.

    Bertozzi isn’t exaggerating when she says she is working on a broad research agenda. Her interest in non-linear partial differential equations and applied mathematics has led to projects in everything from image-processing to cooperative robotics and high-dimensional data analysis.

    “It turns out that a lot of my recent projects have social components,” she said. “I have a lot of ideas; we work on those that I can pitch to the funding agencies.” She and her students have used a powerful computer resource at UCLA, the Hoffman2 Cluster, provided by the Institute of Digital Research and Education, to do their complex calculations.

    Although her research goals are all complex, Bertozzi has a concise philosophy on math.

    “You can think of math as a language that describes the real world,” said Bertozzi. “It’s about always reinventing and adding different structures to things.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:37 am on May 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Michael Jura, UCLA   

    From UCLA: “Asteroid is named for UCLA’s Michael Jura” 

    UCLA bloc

    UCLA

    1
    Michael Jura in 1978. George Jacoby.

    2
    Professor Michael Jura. No image credit.

    February 23, 2016
    Stuart Wolpert

    Professor of astronomy Michael Jura, who played a major role in advancing scholarship in his field and in shaping UCLA’s Division of Astronomy and Astrophysics over the course of four decades, died on Jan. 30 following a lengthy illness. He was 68.

    “Mike was really dedicated to science; he really cared, and he was very creative,” said Benjamin Zuckerman, a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy who knew Jura for nearly 50 years. “Mike was highly respected by his senior colleagues and students for his groundbreaking science, his originality and for what a good person he was. He mentored young scientists with great dedication and was very concerned about them.”

    Zuckerman added that Jura started out as a theorist and was “first-rate at analyzing and interpreting his own observations and those of other astronomers.” His death, he said, “is a huge loss for astronomy as a whole, for our department and for me personally.”

    Jura brought a unique, theory-oriented viewpoint to the analysis of astrophysical data. His research spanned a broad range of topics including intensity fluctuations in pulsars, excitation of molecular hydrogen, star formation and dust in galaxies, the chemical composition of interstellar gas, mass loss from red giant stars, and diffuse interstellar bands. He was especially interested in planetary systems outside the Earth’s solar system — their comets, asteroids and planets — and in determining if there is life outside our solar system.

    Among his many contributions to UCLA astronomy and astrophysics, Jura was instrumental in developing the infrared focus of the division when he chaired the department of astronomy in the late 1980s, and he played a central role in hiring many of the astronomy faculty, including Zuckerman, with whom he published research for more than 30 years.

    His recent research, on the “pollution” of white dwarf atmospheres, opened a whole new area of research and has allowed the characterization of the chemical composition of small bodies, such as asteroids, in extrasolar planetary systems. His creative approach has provided direct information on extrasolar planetary systems that is very difficult to measure otherwise. By measuring the abundances of elements common to the terrestrial planets, he has been able to infer levels of tectonic activity in these systems, a remarkable feat.

    Jura earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from UC Berkeley in 1967 and his Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University in 1971, and went on to become a postdoctoral scholar at Princeton University. He joined UCLA’s faculty in 1974 as an assistant professor, was promoted in 1977 to associate professor and to full professor in 1981. He continued teaching through the fall quarter of 2015.

    Committed to finding ways to reduce our society’s consumption of non-renewable energy, Jura taught courses at UCLA on energy and the environment and strove to move the campus toward increased use of renewable energy. He drove an electric car, and he and his wife installed solar panels on the roof of their home in West Los Angeles.

    “Our panels provide enough energy both for our house and electric car; the end of gasoline and electricity bills for a lifetime,” Jura wrote on his UCLA website. “This home experiment suggests that transition to a sustainable, modern economy is within technical and financial reach. It is most pleasing to have an inexhaustible supply of energy from the sun.”

    Jura is survived by his wife, Martha; their son, Michael, and Michael’s wife, Ying; and two grandchildren, Sean and Stella.

    UCLA is planning a scientific symposium in Jura’s honor in September. Details will be posted on the department of physics and astronomy website as they become available.

    May 09, 2017
    Stuart Wolpert

    Michael Jura, a prominent UCLA professor of astronomy who died last year, has an asteroid named after him. Discovered in 1992, the asteroid is in a stable orbit in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is known as 6406 Mikejura, and should never come close to hitting the Earth.

    The astronomical citation praises Jura, “whose research on polluted white dwarfs first enabled the measurement of the chemical compositions of extrasolar asteroids.”

    Jura’s research spanned a broad range of topics, including intensity fluctuations in pulsars, excitation of molecular hydrogen, star formation and dust in galaxies, the chemical composition of interstellar gas, mass loss from red giant stars and diffuse interstellar bands. He was especially interested in planetary systems outside the Earth’s solar system — their comets, asteroids and planets — and in determining if there is life outside our solar system.

    Jura and his last two graduate students, Siyi Xu and Beth Klein, are co-authors of research published last January showing that the building blocks for life on Earth — water, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen — are not unusual in the universe and could be “imported” to planets lacking them via collisions with minor planets containing them.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:40 am on April 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , OEWaves, Optical micro-oscillator, Optical pendulum, stable and super-accurate clock component, UCLA, UCLA-led team develops tiny   

    From UCLA: “UCLA-led team develops tiny, stable and super-accurate clock component” 

    UCLA bloc

    UCLA

    April 20, 2017
    Matthew Chin

    1
    The micro-oscillator functions analogously to the gears of a clock pendulum. Nicoletta Barolini

    A team of engineering researchers from UCLA and OEWaves has developed an optical micro-oscillator, a key time-keeping component of clocks that could vastly improve the accuracy of time-keeping, which is essential for use in spacecraft, automobile sensing or satellite communications.

    An optical oscillator is similar to a pendulum in a grandfather clock, only instead of a swinging motion to keep time, its “tick” is the laser’s very high frequency, or cycles per second. This “optical pendulum” is a laser light confined in a very quiet resonator that allows for the light to bounce back and forth without losing its energy. This class of optical oscillators is extremely accurate. However, they are large stand-alone devices, about the size of a home kitchen oven, and must be kept in completely stable laboratory conditions.

    The new oscillator has laboratory-like stability, and is small and lightweight enough to be potentially incorporated into satellites, in cars for super-accurate navigation, for ultra-high precision measurement, or even an everyday device like a smartphone. The improvement is orders of magnitude better compared to the best currently available outside a lab, which are quartz crystal oscillators in luxury wrist watches, computers and smartphones. The new device also takes advantage of a phenomenon discovered in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

    The researchers suggest this could be used in miniaturized atomic clocks for spacecraft and satellites, for which precise timing is important to navigation. It could be used for precision distance and rotation sensing for cars and other vehicles and in high-resolution optical spectroscopy, which is used to image molecular and atomic structures.

    “Any fluctuations in temperature or pressure can change the size of the oscillators, and therefore changes how far the laser light travels, and thus, the accuracy of the oscillation,” said Chee Wei Wong, professor of electrical engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and the principal investigator on the research.

    Think of when a doorframe expands or contracts because of changes in temperature. At the tiny scales of optical oscillators, even the smallest change in size can affect its accuracy.

    The research team’s new oscillator is accurate and stable. The light oscillation frequency doesn’t change more than 0.1 parts per billion. At the same time, they shrank the oscillator’s size down to only 1 cubic centimeter in volume.

    “The miniature stabilized laser demonstrated in this work is a key step in reducing the size, weight and power of optical clocks, and to make possible their availability outside the laboratory and for field applications,” said Lute Maleki, CEO of OEwaves.

    The research team’s optical oscillator is three to five times more stable than existing devices in not being affected during extreme changes in temperature and pressure. Based on experimental results, the researchers also suggest its stability could be as much as 60 times better.

    “Usually, even tiny variations of the atmospheric temperature or pressure introduce measurement uncertainty by an order of magnitude larger than the observed effects,” said Jinkang Lim, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher in the Mesoscopic Optics and Quantum Electronics Laboratory and the lead author on the study. “We carefully designed our resonator and isolated it from the ambient fluctuations. Then we observed the minute changes and saw it remained stable, even with environmental changes.

    “This tiny oscillator could lead to measurement and navigation devices in the field, where temperature and pressure are not controlled and change dramatically,” Lim added. “This new micro-oscillator could retain its accuracy, even with unfriendly environmental conditions.”

    The optical micro-oscillator, works at this level of accuracy because it confines the laser light inside itself by using what’s known as “whispering gallery-mode” resonance, so named because of similarities to how a someone can whisper something against the walls in the dome of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, where this phenomenon was first reported, that will be completely audible on the opposite side. The phenomenon is also in New York City’s Grand Central Station. In this case, the laser light wave propagates along the specially-designed interior of the micro-resonator. Additionally, the frequency remains stable as the micro-resonator resists changes from temperature and pressure. Finally, the light oscillations themselves are very distinct, rather than “fuzzy.”

    The research, which was published in Nature Communications, was supported by the Air Force Research Laboratory.

    Other authors on the paper include Anatoily Savchenko, Elijah Dale, Wei Liang, Danny Eliyahu, Vladmir Ilchenko, and Andrey Matsko, all from OEwaves.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

     
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