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  • richardmitnick 8:30 am on July 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Coral Triangle in the Pacific which has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world including 600 different coral species., Formation of new and distinct marine species through host-shifting may occur among other marine organisms as well., , Marine snails, Mollusks called nudibranchs, The Coral Triangle spans roughly 6.3 million square miles, UCLA   

    From UCLA: “Discovery opens up new path in study of marine evolution and biodiversity” 

    UCLA bloc

    From UCLA

    July 8, 2020

    Media Contact
    David Colgan
    818-203-2858
    dcolgan@ioes.ucla.edu

    Written by Kaitlyn DeShon

    1
    A coral reef off of the island of Komodo, Indonesia. Sara Simmonds/UCLA.

    New UCLA research indicates that an evolutionary phenomenon never before observed among marine life could help explain why there is such immense biodiversity in the world’s coral reefs and the ocean beyond.

    Two studies — one of reef-dwelling marine snails [Ecology and Evolution], the other of similar mollusks called nudibranchs [Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution] — show for the first time that new species of both groups may be emerging as a result of host-switching, in which populations of these animals that rely on a single species of coral for food and habitat switch to a new coral species, leading to wide genetic and physical differentiation. The phenomenon had only been seen previously in viruses, insects and several other organisms.

    “This is the first time that anyone has seen this, but no one has ever looked,” said UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology Paul Barber, whose lab conducted both studies. “This very well could be the tip of the iceberg.”

    The findings suggest the possibility that the formation of new and distinct marine species through host-shifting may occur among other marine organisms as well, Barber said, opening up new avenues for research into the causes of marine biodiversity.

    On land, new species are typically thought to evolve when natural barriers like mountains, canyons or rivers separate individuals or groups from one another. The ocean, however, has different barriers, including reef structures and currents, both of which contribute to host-shifting among snails and nudibranchs, the researchers note.

    The larvae of snails and nudibranchs that subsist on a single species of coral will at times be swept away by ocean currents; if they aren’t lost or eaten, they can land on an entirely different coral species, where they imprint and spend their whole lives. Eventually, the scientists say, a generational line of snails or nudibranchs will evolve to prefer that particular coral and form a new species.

    “It’s pretty likely that the corals are helping the nudibranchs form new species, in a way,” said Allison Fritts-Penniman, lead author of the nudibranch study, which reported a three-fold increase in known species for this group. “The more corals they can live on, the more different nudibranch species can evolve.”

    The two new papers may mark the beginning of marine speciation discoveries — for nudibranchs and snails, which are common but understudied, as well as more broadly, said Sara Simmonds, lead author of the snail study, which used genomics to catch speciation in the act.

    “Finding that divergence and speciation can happen in the oceans even with gene flow is an important discovery, not just for the marine environment but also for understanding evolution and speciation in general,” Simmonds said.

    Both studies focused on a relatively small area of the western Pacific Ocean known at the Coral Triangle, which has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, including 600 different coral species.

    “If there are so many corals, and so many of them have these strong associations, this very well could be an incredibly important process in generating all of this diversity,” said Barber, who also stressed the importance of protecting reef systems like the Coral Triangle from the devastating effects of climate change and industry-related threats.

    Preserving the Coral Triangle

    The Coral Triangle spans roughly 6.3 million square miles, accounting for about 1.6% of the world’s oceans, and is bordered by several countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. With hundreds of coral species and thousands of species of fish and other marine organisms, it is, Barber says, one of the most biodiverse, least studied and most threatened locations in the world.

    While coastal development, unsustainable tourism and habitat destruction through “bomb fishing” with homemade explosives all pose significant dangers to the region, the biggest threat is climate change, which is damaging the reefs that underpin the Triangle’s biodiverse ecosystem. Ocean warming, acidification and rising sea levels are causing mass coral bleaching, in which coral expel living algae from their tissues and turn completely white; this can lead to coral death if the stressful conditions continue for too long. The World Wildlife Fund predicts that at the current rate of climate change, the Coral Triangle will disappear by 2100.

    Major climate change–induced damage to the region’s biodiversity also puts the economies of the surrounding countries at risk, Barber notes, and a collapse of the marine ecosystem would result in the destruction of the region’s vast fishing industry and subsequent food insecurity for hundreds of millions of people.

    Continuing to carry out research to boost our understanding what generates biodiversity in the Coral Triangle and other reefs is one of the major keys to protecting them in the fight against climate change, Barber said.

    Even the public is getting involved in furthering that understanding, with citizen snorkelers and divers all over the world contributing to an effort by the nonprofit iNaturalist, a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, to search for new coral-associated nudibranch species and helping scientists with the fieldwork needed for further study.

    “The Coral Triangle is the world’s largest, most biodiverse marine ecosystem,” said Barber. “There is still so much to learn from it.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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 12:39 pm on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "UCLA physicists develop world’s best quantum bits", , , UCLA   

    From UCLA: “UCLA physicists develop world’s best quantum bits” 

    UCLA bloc

    From UCLA

    1
    Assistant Professor Wesley Campbell, UCLA Physics & Astronomy (Photo Credit: UCLA)

    A team of researchers at UCLA has set a new record for preparing and measuring the quantum bits, or qubits, inside of a quantum computer without error. The techniques they have developed make it easier to build quantum computers that outperform classical computers for important tasks, including the design of new materials and pharmaceuticals. The research is published in the peer-reviewed, online open-access journal, npj Quantum Information, published by Nature and including the exceptional research on quantum information and quantum computing.

    Currently, the most powerful quantum computers are “noisy intermediate-scale quantum” (NISQ) devices and are very sensitive to errors. Error in preparation and measurement of qubits is particularly onerous: for 100 qubits, a 1% measurement error means a NISQ device will produce an incorrect answer about 63% of the time, said senior author Eric Hudson, a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy.

    To address this major challenge, Hudson and UCLA colleagues recently developed a new qubit hosted in a laser-cooled, radioactive barium ion. This “goldilocks ion” has nearly ideal properties for realizing ultra-low error rate quantum devices, allowing the UCLA group to achieve a preparation and measurement error rate of about 0.03%, lower than any other quantum technology to date, said co-senior author Wesley Campbell, also a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy.

    The development of this exciting new qubit at UCLA should impact almost every area of quantum information science, Hudson said. This radioactive ion has been identified as a promising system in quantum networking, sensing, timing, simulation and computation, and the researchers’ paper paves the way for large-scale NISQ devices.

    Co-authors are lead author Justin Christensen, a postdoctoral scholar in Hudson’s laboratory, and David Hucul, a former postdoctoral scholar in Hudson and Campbell’s laboratories, who is now a physicist at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.

    The research is funded by the U.S. Army Research Office.

    Campbell and Hudson are primary investigators of a major $2.7 million U.S. Department of Energy Quantum Information Science Research project to lay the foundation for the next generation of computing and information processing, as well as many other innovative technologies.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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 11:52 am on March 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "UCLA-led research team produces most accurate 3D images of ‘2D materials’", , , , , , The researchers examined a single layer of molybdenum disulfide a frequently studied 2D material., UCLA   

    From UCLA Newsroom: “UCLA-led research team produces most accurate 3D images of ‘2D materials’” 


    From UCLA Newsroom

    March 9, 2020
    Wayne Lewis

    1
    Image showing the 3D atomic coordinates of molybdenum (blue), sulfur (yellow) and added rhenium (orange). A 2D image is shown beneath the 3D model.

    Scientists develop innovative technique to pinpoint coordinates of single atoms.

    A UCLA-led research team has produced in unprecedented detail experimental three-dimensional maps of the atoms in a so-called 2D material — matter that isn’t truly two-dimensional but is nearly flat because it’s arranged in extremely thin layers, no more than a few atoms thick.

    Although 2D-materials–based technologies have not yet been widely used in commercial applications, the materials have been the subject of considerable research interest. In the future, they could be the basis for semiconductors in ever smaller electronics, quantum computer components, more-efficient batteries, or filters capable of extracting freshwater from saltwater.

    The promise of 2D materials comes from certain properties that differ from how the same elements or compounds behave when they appear in greater quantities. Those unique characteristics are influenced by quantum effects — phenomena occurring at extremely small scales that are fundamentally different from the classical physics seen at larger scales. For instance, when carbon is arranged in an atomically thin layer to form 2D graphene, it is stronger than steel, conducts heat better than any other known material, and has almost zero electrical resistance.

    But using 2D materials in real-world applications would require a greater understanding of their properties, and the ability to control those properties. The new study, which was published in Nature Materials, could be a step forward in that effort.

    The researchers showed that their 3D maps of the material’s atomic structure are precise to the picometer scale — measured in one-trillionths of a meter. They used their measurements to quantify defects in the 2D material, which can affect their electronic properties, as well as to accurately assess those electronic properties.

    “What’s unique about this research is that we determine the coordinates of individual atoms in three dimensions without using any pre-existing models,” said corresponding author Jianwei “John” Miao, a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy. “And our method can be used for all kinds of 2D materials.”

    Miao is the deputy director of the STROBE National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center and a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. His UCLA lab collaborated on the study with researchers from Harvard University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Rice University.

    The researchers examined a single layer of molybdenum disulfide, a frequently studied 2D material. In bulk, this compound is used as a lubricant. As a 2D material, it has electronic properties that suggest it could be employed in next-generation semiconductor electronics. The samples being studied were “doped” with traces of rhenium, a metal that adds spare electrons when replacing molybdenum. That kind of doping is often used to produce components for computers and electronics because it helps facilitate the flow of electrons in semiconductor devices.

    To analyze the 2D material, the researchers used a new technology they developed based on scanning transmission electron microscopy, which produces images by measuring scattered electrons beamed through thin samples. Miao’s team devised a technique called scanning atomic electron tomography, which produces 3D images by capturing a sample at multiple angles as it rotates.

    The scientists had to avoid one major challenge to produce the images: 2D materials can be damaged by too much exposure to electrons. So for each sample, the researchers reconstructed images section by section and then stitched them together to form a single 3D image — allowing them to use fewer scans and thus a lower dose of electrons than if they had imaged the entire sample at once.

    The two samples each measured 6 nanometers by 6 nanometers, and each of the smaller sections measured about 1 nanometer by 1 nanometer. (A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.)

    The resulting images enabled the researchers to inspect the samples’ 3D structure to a precision of 4 picometers in the case of molybdenum atoms — 26 times smaller than the diameter of a hydrogen atom. That level of precision enabled them to measure ripples, strain distorting the shape of the material, and variations in the size of chemical bonds, all changes caused by the added rhenium — marking the most accurate measurement ever of those characteristics in a 2D material.

    “If we just assume that introducing the dopant is a simple substitution, we wouldn’t expect large strains,” said Xuezeng Tian, the paper’s co-first author and a UCLA postdoctoral scholar. “But what we have observed is more complicated than previous experiments have shown.”

    The scientists found that the largest changes occurred in the smallest dimension of the 2D material, its three-atom-tall height. It took as little as a single rhenium atom to introduce such local distortion.

    Armed with information about the material’s 3D coordinates, scientists at Harvard led by Professor Prineha Narang performed quantum mechanical calculations of the material’s electronic properties.

    “These atomic-scale experiments have given us a new lens into how 2D materials behave and how they should be treated in calculations, and they could be a game changer for new quantum technologies,” Narang said.

    Without access to the sort of measurements generated in the study, such quantum mechanical calculations conventionally have been based on a theoretical model system that is expected at a temperature of absolute zero.

    The study indicated that the measured 3D coordinates led to more accurate calculations of the 2D material’s electronic properties.

    “Our work could transform quantum mechanical calculations by using experimental 3D atomic coordinates as direct input,” said UCLA postdoctoral scholar Dennis Kim, a co-first author of the study. “This approach should enable material engineers to better predict and discover new physical, chemical and electronic properties of 2D materials at the single-atom level.”

    Other authors were Yongsoo Yang, Yao Yang and Yakun Yuan of UCLA; Shize Yang and Juan-Carlos Idrobo of Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Christopher Ciccarino and Blake Duschatko of Harvard; and Yongji Gong and Pulickel Ajayan of Rice.

    The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Research Office, and STROBE National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center. The scanning transmission electron microscopy experiments were conducted at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, a DOE user facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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 10:31 am on December 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A second black hole at our galaxy’s center?", , , , , , , , , , UCLA   

    From UCLA via EarthSky: “A second black hole at our galaxy’s center?” 

    UCLA bloc

    From UCLA

    via

    1

    EarthSky

    December 15, 2019
    Smadar Naoz, University of California, Los Angeles

    1
    Artist’s concept of 2 black holes entwined in a gravitational tango. Image via NASA/ JPL-Caltech/ SwRI/ MSSS/ Christopher Go.

    There’s a supermassive black hole – 4 million times our sun’s mass – in the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers who’ve measured star movements near this central black hole are now saying there might be a 2nd companion black hole near it.

    Do supermassive black holes have friends? The nature of galaxy formation suggests that the answer is yes, and in fact, pairs of supermassive black holes should be common in the universe.

    I am an astrophysicist and am interested in a wide range of theoretical problems in astrophysics, from the formation of the very first galaxies to the gravitational interactions of black holes, stars and even planets. Black holes are intriguing systems, and supermassive black holes and the dense stellar environments that surround them represent one of the most extreme places in our universe.

    The supermassive black hole that lurks at the center of our galaxy, called Sgr A*, has a mass of about 4 million times that of our sun.

    SgrA* NASA/Chandra supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, X-ray image of the center of our galaxy, where the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* resides. Image via X-ray: NASA/UMass/D.Wang et al., IR: NASA/STScI.

    SGR A* , the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory

    A black hole is a place in space where gravity is so strong that neither particles or light can escape from it. Surrounding Sgr A* is a dense cluster of stars. Precise measurements of the orbits of these stars allowed astronomers to confirm the existence of this supermassive black hole and to measure its mass. For more than 20 years, scientists have been monitoring the orbits of these stars around the supermassive black hole. Based on what we’ve seen, my colleagues and I show that if there is a friend there, it might be a second black hole nearby that is at least 100,000 times the mass of the sun.

    Supermassive black holes and their friends

    Almost every galaxy, including our Milky Way, has a supermassive black hole at its heart, with masses of millions to billions of times the mass of the sun.

    Milky Way NASA/JPL-Caltech /ESO R. Hurt. The bar is visible in this image

    Astronomers are still studying why the heart of galaxies often hosts a supermassive black hole. One popular idea connects to the possibility that supermassive holes have friends.

    To understand this idea, we need to go back to when the universe was about 100 million years old, to the era of the very first galaxies. They were much smaller than today’s galaxies, about 10,000 or more times less massive than the Milky Way. Within these early galaxies the very first stars that died created black holes, of about tens to thousand the mass of the sun. These black holes sank to the center of gravity, the heart of their host galaxy. Since galaxies evolve by merging and colliding with one another, collisions between galaxies will result in supermassive black hole pairs – the key part of this story.

    Milkdromeda -Andromeda on the left-Earth’s night sky in 3.75 billion years-NASA

    The black holes then collide and grow in size as well. A black hole that is more than a million times the mass of our sun is considered supermassive.

    If indeed the supermassive black hole has a friend revolving around it in close orbit, the center of the galaxy is locked in a complex dance. The partners’ gravitational tugs will also exert its own pull on the nearby stars disturbing their orbits. The two supermassive black holes are orbiting each other, and at the same time, each is exerting its own pull on the stars around it.

    The gravitational forces from the black holes pull on these stars and make them change their orbit; in other words, after one revolution around the supermassive black hole pair, a star will not go exactly back to the point at which it began.

    Using our understanding of the gravitational interaction between the possible supermassive black hole pair and the surrounding stars, astronomers can predict what will happen to stars. Astrophysicists like my colleagues and me can compare our predictions to observations, and then can determine the possible orbits of stars and figure out whether the supermassive black hole has a companion that is exerting gravitational influence.

    Using a well-studied star, called S0-2, which orbits the supermassive black hole that lies at the center of the galaxy every 16 years, we can already rule out the idea that there is a second supermassive black hole with mass above 100,000 times the mass of the sun and farther than about 200 times the distance between the sun and the Earth.

    Star S0-2 Andrea Ghez Keck/UCLA Galactic Center Group at SGR A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the milky way

    If there was such a companion, then I and my colleagues would have detected its effects on the orbit of SO-2.

    But that doesn’t mean that a smaller companion black hole cannot still hide there. Such an object may not alter the orbit of SO-2 in a way we can easily measure.

    The physics of supermassive black holes

    Supermassive black holes have gotten a lot of attention lately. In particular, the recent image of such a giant at the center of the galaxy Messier 87 opened a new window to understanding the physics behind black holes.

    The first image of a black hole.This is the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy Messier 87. Image via JPL/ Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration.

    The proximity of the Milky Way’s galactic center – a mere 24,000 light-years away – provides a unique laboratory for addressing issues in the fundamental physics of supermassive black holes. For example, astrophysicists like myself would like to understand their impact on the central regions of galaxies and their role in galaxy formation and evolution. The detection of a pair of supermassive black holes in the galactic center would indicate that the Milky Way merged with another, possibly small, galaxy at some time in the past.

    That’s not all that monitoring the surrounding stars can tell us. Measurements of the star S0-2 allowed scientists to carry out a unique test of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In May 2018, S0-2 zoomed past the supermassive black hole at a distance of only about 130 times the Earth’s distance from the sun. According to Einstein’s theory, the wavelength of light emitted by the star should stretch as it climbs from the deep gravitational well of the supermassive black hole.

    The stretching wavelength that Einstein predicted – which makes the star appear redder – was detected and proves that the theory of general relativity accurately describes the physics in this extreme gravitational zone. I am eagerly awaiting the second closest approach of S0-2, which will occur in about 16 years, because astrophysicists like myself will be able to test more of Einstein’s predictions about general relativity, including the change of the orientation of the stars’ elongated orbit. But if the supermassive black hole has a partner, this could alter the expected result.

    3
    This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image show’s the result of a galactic collision between two good-sized galaxies. This new jumble of stars is slowly evolving to become a giant elliptical galaxy. Image via ESA/ Hubble/ NASA/ Judy Schmidt

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Finally, if there are two massive black holes orbiting each other at the galactic center, as my team suggests is possible, they will emit gravitational waves.

    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/Werner Benger

    Since 2015, the LIGO-Virgo observatories have been detecting gravitational wave radiation from merging stellar-mass black holes and neutron stars.

    MIT /Caltech Advanced aLigo


    VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy

    These groundbreaking detections have opened a new way for scientists to sense the universe.

    Any waves emitted by our hypothetical black hole pair will be at low frequencies, too low for the LIGO-Virgo detectors to sense. But a planned space-based detector known as LISA may be able to detect these waves, which will help astrophysicists figure out whether our galactic center black hole is alone or has a partner.

    ESA/NASA eLISA


    ESA/NASA eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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 8:10 am on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Researchers convert 2D images into 3D using deep learning", , , Deep-Z is an artificial intelligence-based framework that can digitally refocus a 2D fluorescence microscope image to produce 3D slices., UCLA   

    From UCLA Newsroom: “Researchers convert 2D images into 3D using deep learning” 


    From UCLA Newsroom

    November 7, 2019
    Nikki Lin
    310-206-8278
    nlin@cnsi.ucla.edu

    1
    Illustration represents Deep-Z, an artificial intelligence-based framework that can digitally refocus a 2D fluorescence microscope image (at bottom) to produce 3D slices (at left). Ozcan Lab/UCLA.

    A UCLA research team has devised a technique that extends the capabilities of fluorescence microscopy, which allows scientists to precisely label parts of living cells and tissue with dyes that glow under special lighting. The researchers use artificial intelligence to turn two-dimensional images into stacks of virtual three-dimensional slices showing activity inside organisms.

    In a study published in Nature Methods, the scientists also reported that their framework, called “Deep-Z,” was able to fix errors or aberrations in images, such as when a sample is tilted or curved. Further, they demonstrated that the system could take 2D images from one type of microscope and virtually create 3D images of the sample as if they were obtained by another, more advanced microscope.

    “This is a very powerful new method that is enabled by deep learning to perform 3D imaging of live specimens, with the least exposure to light, which can be toxic to samples,” said senior author Aydogan Ozcan, UCLA chancellor’s professor of electrical and computer engineering and associate director of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA.

    In addition to sparing specimens from potentially damaging doses of light, this system could offer biologists and life science researchers a new tool for 3D imaging that is simpler, faster and much less expensive than current methods. The opportunity to correct for aberrations may allow scientists studying live organisms to collect data from images that otherwise would be unusable. Investigators could also gain virtual access to expensive and complicated equipment.

    This research builds on an earlier technique Ozcan and his colleagues developed that allowed them to render 2D fluorescence microscope images in super-resolution. Both techniques advance microscopy by relying upon deep learning — using data to “train” a neural network, a computer system inspired by the human brain.

    Deep-Z was taught using experimental images from a scanning fluorescence microscope, which takes pictures focused at multiple depths to achieve 3D imaging of samples. In thousands of training runs, the neural network learned how to take a 2D image and infer accurate 3D slices at different depths within a sample. Then, the framework was tested blindly — fed with images that were not part of its training, with the virtual images compared to the actual 3D slices obtained from a scanning microscope, providing an excellent match.

    Ozcan and his colleagues applied Deep-Z to images of C. elegans, a roundworm that is a common model in neuroscience because of its simple and well-understood nervous system. Converting a 2D movie of a worm to 3D, frame by frame, the researchers were able to track the activity of individual neurons within the worm body. And starting with one or two 2D images of C. elegans taken at different depths, Deep-Z produced virtual 3D images that allowed the team to identify individual neurons within the worm, matching a scanning microscope’s 3D output, except with much less light exposure to the living organism.

    The researchers also found that Deep-Z could produce 3D images from 2D surfaces where samples were tilted or curved — even though the neural network was trained only with 3D slices that were perfectly parallel to the surface of the sample.

    “This feature was actually very surprising,” said Yichen Wu, a UCLA graduate student who is co-first author of the publication. “With it, you can see through curvature or other complex topology that is very challenging to image.”

    In other experiments, Deep-Z was trained with images from two types of fluorescence microscopes: wide-field, which exposes the entire sample to a light source; and confocal, which uses a laser to scan a sample part by part. Ozcan and his team showed that their framework could then use 2D wide-field microscope images of samples to produce 3D images nearly identical to ones taken with a confocal microscope.

    This conversion is valuable because the confocal microscope creates images that are sharper, with more contrast, compared to the wide field. On the other hand, the wide-field microscope captures images at less expense and with fewer technical requirements.

    “This is a platform that is generally applicable to various pairs of microscopes, not just the wide-field-to-confocal conversion,” said co-first author Yair Rivenson, UCLA assistant adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering. “Every microscope has its own advantages and disadvantages. With this framework, you can get the best of both worlds by using AI to connect different types of microscopes digitally.”

    Other authors are graduate students Hongda Wang and Yilin Luo, postdoctoral fellow Eyal Ben-David and Laurent Bentolila, scientific director of the California NanoSystems Institute’s Advanced Light Microscopy and Spectroscopy Laboratory, all of UCLA; and Christian Pritz of Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

    The research was supported by the Koç Group, the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Imaging was performed at CNSI’s Advanced Light Microscopy and Spectroscopy Laboratory and Leica Microsystems Center of Excellence.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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 12:54 pm on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Engineers Create Tiny 'Artificial Sunflowers' That Bend Towards The Light", , , Heliotropism, , , SunBOTs, The research team looked to gels and polymers that respond predictably to light or heat., UCLA   

    From UCLA and From Arizona State University via Science Alert: “Engineers Create Tiny ‘Artificial Sunflowers’ That Bend Towards The Light” 

    UCLA bloc

    From UCLA

    and

    ASU Bloc

    From Arizona State University

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert

    6 NOV 2019
    MIKE MCRAE

    1
    (Qian et al., Nature Nanotechnology, 2019)

    When it comes to squeezing maximum amounts of energy out of the daylight hours, plants have a head start thanks to evolution.

    Now, engineers have designed solar panels that mimic the sunflower’s sun-chasing talent, through clever use of nanotechnology.

    By moulding temperature-sensitive materials into thin, supportive structures, scientists have come up with tiny ‘stems’ that bend towards a bright light source, providing a moving platform that could dramatically improve the efficiency of a range of solar technologies.

    Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles and Arizona State University refer to their system as a sunflower-like biomimetic omnidirectional tracker. Or ‘SunBOT’, if you like your acronyms.

    In biological terms, any general movement in response to specific changes in the environment is described as a nastic behaviour. Flowers that open at dawn and close at dusk are a good example of this.

    Chemists have had little trouble making synthetic nastic materials [International Journal of Smart and Nano Materials] and structures that open and close, or bend and twist in response to changes in light intensity or fluctuating temperatures.

    But nature has another, slightly more complicated behaviour that directs the movements of organisms towards good things and away from threats.

    These tropic behaviours are what we see when sunflowers tilt their flowers to face the Sun, warming their reproductive bits [Science ABC] in order to attract pollinators.

    Sun-chasing actions, or heliotropism, would be mighty handy for things like photovoltaics, which are most efficient when bathed in a dense glow of radiation hitting their surface straight-on, rather than from a more shallow angle.

    In practical terms, compared to rays from an overhead illumination source, light coming in at an angle of around 75 degrees carries as much as 75 percent less energy.

    To solve this problem of oblique-incidence energy-density loss, the research team looked to gels and polymers that respond predictably to light or heat.

    A handful of different materials were selected as candidates worth closer investigation, including a hydrogel containing gold nanoparticles, a tangle of light-sensitive polymers, and a type of liquid crystalline elastomer embedded with a light-absorbing dye.

    Each arrangement was shaped into a millimetre-wide thread several centimetres in length. When targeted by a laser, the tiny artificial stalks responded rapidly to the light’s warmth, shrinking on one side and expanding on the other to cause the thread to kink and lean towards the laser.

    To put their synthetic sunflowers to the test, the researchers assembled an array of SunBOTs and submerged them in water, letting them sit right at the water-air boundary.

    To detect the harvesting capabilities of their invention, the team then determined how much light was converted to heat by measuring the water vapour their setup generated.

    Changes in the amount of vapour indicated that the SunBOTs were up to four times better at harvesting energy at steep angles than a boring old flat, static surface.

    By demonstrating that a variety of materials could serve as a synthetic tropic material, the researchers argue their devices could potentially be a solution for just about any system that experiences a loss of efficiency due to a moving energy source.

    For example, lawns of these miniature sun-worshippers could theoretically be used to tilt just about any solar process towards the light, from itty-bitty solar cells to evaporation devices that can purify water.

    According to the SunBOTs’ designers, the sky (if not beyond!) seems to be the limit for this kind of technology.

    “This work may be useful for enhanced solar harvesters, adaptive signal receivers, smart windows, self-contained robotics, solar sails for spaceships, guided surgery, self-regulating optical devices, and intelligent energy generation (for example, solar cells and biofuels), as well as energetic emission detection and tracking with telescopes, radars and hydrophones,” they write in their report.

    Even if just a handful of those predictions eventuates into real-world use, the future of synthetic tropic materials is certainly looking brighter.

    This research was published in Nature Nanotechnology.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ASU is the largest public university by enrollment in the United States. Founded in 1885 as the Territorial Normal School at Tempe, the school underwent a series of changes in name and curriculum. In 1945 it was placed under control of the Arizona Board of Regents and was renamed Arizona State College. A 1958 statewide ballot measure gave the university its present name.
    ASU is classified as a research university with very high research activity (RU/VH) by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, one of 78 U.S. public universities with that designation. Since 2005 ASU has been ranked among the Top 50 research universities, public and private, in the U.S. based on research output, innovation, development, research expenditures, number of awarded.

    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 12:39 pm on October 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Ancient stars shed light on Earth’s similarities to other planets", , , , , UCLA   

    From UCLA: “Ancient stars shed light on Earth’s similarities to other planets” 

    UCLA bloc

    From UCLA

    October 17, 2019
    Stuart Wolpert

    1
    An artist’s rendering shows a white dwarf star with a planet in the upper right. Mark Garlick

    Earth-like planets may be common in the universe, a new UCLA study implies. The team of astrophysicists and geochemists presents new evidence that the Earth is not unique. The study was published in the journal Science on Oct. 18.

    “We have just raised the probability that many rocky planets are like the Earth, and there’s a very large number of rocky planets in the universe,” said co-author Edward Young, UCLA professor of geochemistry and cosmochemistry.

    The scientists, led by Alexandra Doyle, a UCLA graduate student of geochemistry and astrochemistry, developed a new method to analyze in detail the geochemistry of planets outside of our solar system. Doyle did so by analyzing the elements in rocks from asteroids or rocky planet fragments that orbited six white dwarf stars.

    “We’re studying geochemistry in rocks from other stars, which is almost unheard of,” Young said.

    “Learning the composition of planets outside our solar system is very difficult,” said co-author Hilke Schlichting, UCLA associate professor of astrophysics and planetary science. “We used the only method possible — a method we pioneered — to determine the geochemistry of rocks outside of the solar system.”

    White dwarf stars are dense, burned-out remnants of normal stars. Their strong gravitational pull causes heavy elements like carbon, oxygen and nitrogen to sink rapidly into their interiors, where the heavy elements cannot be detected by telescopes. The closest white dwarf star Doyle studied is about 200 light-years from Earth and the farthest is 665 light-years away.

    “By observing these white dwarfs and the elements present in their atmosphere, we are observing the elements that are in the body that orbited the white dwarf,” Doyle said. The white dwarf’s large gravitational pull shreds the asteroid or planet fragment that is orbiting it, and the material falls onto the white dwarf, she said. “Observing a white dwarf is like doing an autopsy on the contents of what it has gobbled in its solar system.”

    The data Doyle analyzed were collected by telescopes, mostly from the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, that space scientists had previously collected for other scientific purposes.

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    “If I were to just look at a white dwarf star, I would expect to see hydrogen and helium,” Doyle said. “But in these data, I also see other materials, such as silicon, magnesium, carbon and oxygen — material that accreted onto the white dwarfs from bodies that were orbiting them.”

    When iron is oxidized, it shares its electrons with oxygen, forming a chemical bond between them, Young said. “This is called oxidation, and you can see it when metal turns into rust,” he said. “Oxygen steals electrons from iron, producing iron oxide rather than iron metal. We measured the amount of iron that got oxidized in these rocks that hit the white dwarf. We studied how much the metal rusts.”

    Rocks from the Earth, Mars and elsewhere in our solar system are similar in their chemical composition and contain a surprisingly high level of oxidized iron, Young said. “We measured the amount of iron that got oxidized in these rocks that hit the white dwarf,” he said.

    The sun is made mostly of hydrogen, which does the opposite of oxidizing — hydrogen adds electrons.

    The researchers said the oxidation of a rocky planet has a significant effect on its atmosphere, its core and the kind of rocks it makes on its surface. “All the chemistry that happens on the surface of the Earth can ultimately be traced back to the oxidation state of the planet,” Young said. “The fact that we have oceans and all the ingredients necessary for life can be traced back to the planet being oxidized as it is. The rocks control the chemistry.”

    Until now, scientists have not known in any detail whether the chemistry of rocky exoplanets is similar to or very different from that of the Earth.

    How similar are the rocks the UCLA team analyzed to rocks from the Earth and Mars?

    “Very similar,” Doyle said. “They are Earth-like and Mars-like in terms of their oxidized iron. We’re finding that rocks are rocks everywhere, with very similar geophysics and geochemistry.”

    “It’s always been a mystery why the rocks in our solar system are so oxidized,” Young said. “It’s not what you expect. A question was whether this would also be true around other stars. Our study says yes. That bodes really well for looking for Earth-like planets in the universe.”

    White dwarf stars are a rare environment for scientists to analyze.

    The researchers studied the six most common elements in rock: iron, oxygen, silicon, magnesium, calcium and aluminum. They used mathematical calculations and formulas because scientists are unable to study actual rocks from white dwarfs. “We can determine the geochemistry of these rocks mathematically and compare these calculations with rocks that we do have from Earth and Mars,” said Doyle, whose background is in geology and mathematics. “Understanding the rocks is crucial because they reveal the geochemistry and geophysics of the planet.”

    “If extraterrestrial rocks have a similar quantity of oxidation as the Earth has, then you can conclude the planet has similar plate tectonics and similar potential for magnetic fields as the Earth, which are widely believed to be key ingredients for life,” Schlichting said. “This study is a leap forward in being able to make these inferences for bodies outside our own solar system and indicates it’s very likely there are truly Earth analogs.”

    Young said his department has both astrophysicists and geochemists working together.

    “The result,” he said, “is we are doing real geochemistry on rocks from outside our solar system. Most astrophysicists wouldn’t think to do this, and most geochemists wouldn’t think to ever apply this to a white dwarf.”

    Co-authors are Benjamin Zuckerman, a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy, and Beth Klein, a UCLA astronomy researcher.

    The research was funded by NASA.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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 1:00 pm on October 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Last year astronomers discovered a planet-sized exomoon orbiting another gas giant planet outside our solar system. I argue that this exomoon is really what is called a captured planet., , UCLA   

    From UCLA Newsroom: “What moons in other solar systems reveal about planets like Neptune and Jupiter” 


    From UCLA Newsroom

    October 10, 2019
    Bradley Hansen

    An exomoon hundreds of times the size of Earth might help astronomers find planets where life may thrive.

    1
    Exomoons may reveal secrets about how gas giants like Jupiter formed and what is in their core. NASA JPL-Caltech

    What is the difference between a planet-satellite system as we have with the Earth and Moon, versus a binary planet — two planets orbiting each other in a cosmic do-si-do?

    I am an astronomer interested in planets orbiting nearby stars, and gas giants — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in our solar system — are the largest and easiest planets to detect. The crushing pressure within their gassy atmosphere means they are unlikely to be hospitable to life. But the rocky moons orbiting such planets could have conditions that are more welcoming. Last year, astronomers discovered a planet-sized exomoon orbiting another gas giant planet outside our solar system.

    In a new paper [Science Advances], I argue that this exomoon is really what is called a captured planet.

    Is the first detected ‘exomoon’ really a moon?

    True Earth analogues, that orbit Sun-like stars, are very hard to detect, even with the large Keck telescopes.

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    The task is easier if the host star is less massive. But then the planet has to be closer to the star to be warm enough, and the star’s gravitational tides may trap the planet in a state with a permanent hot side and a permanent cold side. This makes such planets less attractive as a potential location that could harbor life. When gas giants orbiting Sun-like stars have rocky moons, these may be more likely places to find life.

    In 2018, two astronomers from Columbia University reported the first tentative observation of an exomoon [Science Advances] — a satellite orbiting a planet that itself orbits another star. One curious feature was that this exomoon Kepler-1625b-i was much more massive than any moon found in our solar system.

    2
    This artist’s impression depicts the exomoon candidate Kepler-1625b-i, the planet it is orbiting and the star in the centre of the star system. Kepler-1625b-i is the first exomoon candidate and, if confirmed, the first moon to be found outside the Solar System. Like many exoplanets, Kepler-1625b-i was discovered using the transit method. Exomoons are difficult to find because they are smaller than their companion planets, so their transit signal is weak, and their position in the system changes with each transit because of their orbit. This requires extensive modelling and data analysis. NASA/ESA

    It has a mass similar to Neptune and orbits a planet similar in size to Jupiter.

    Astronomers expect moons of planets like Jupiter and Saturn to have masses only a few percent of Earth. But this new exomoon was almost a thousand times larger than the corresponding bodies of our solar system — moons like Ganymede and Titan which orbit Jupiter and Saturn, respectively. It is very difficult to explain the formation of such a large satellite using current models of moon formation.

    In a new model I developed, I discuss how such a massive exomoon forms through a different process, wherein it is really a captured planet.

    All planets, large and small, start by gathering together asteroid-sized bodies to make a rocky core. At this early stage in the evolution of a planetary system, the rocky cores are still surrounded by a gaseous disk left over from the formation of the parent star. If a core can grow fast enough to reach a mass equivalent to 10 Earths, then it will have the gravitational strength to pull gas in from the surrounding space and grow to the massive size of Jupiter and Saturn. However, this gaseous accumulation is short-lived, as the star is draining away most of the gas in the disk, the dust and gas surrounding a newly formed star.

    If there are two cores growing in close proximity, then they compete to capture rock and gas. If one core gets slightly larger, it gains an advantage and can capture the bulk of the gas in the neighborhood for itself. This leaves the second body without any further gas to capture. The increased gravitational pull of its neighbor drags the smaller body into the role of a satellite, albeit a very large one. The former planet is left as a super-sized moon, orbiting the planet that beat it out in the race to capture gas.

    A remnant core as a look back into history

    Viewed in this context, the captured planet is unlikely to be habitable. Growing planetary cores have gaseous envelopes, which make them more like Uranus and Neptune — a mix of rocks, ice and gas that would have become a Jupiter if it had not been so rudely cut off by its larger neighbor.

    However, there are other implications that are almost as interesting. Studying the cores of giant planets is very difficult, because they are buried under several hundred Earth masses of hydrogen and helium. Currently, the JUNO mission is attempting to do this for Jupiter. However, studying the properties of this exomoon may enable astronomers to see the naked core of a giant gaseous planet when it is stripped of its gaseous envelope. This can provide a snapshot of what Jupiter may have looked like before it grew to its current enormous size.

    This exomoon system Kepler-1625b-i is right at the edge of what is detectable with current technology. There may be many more objects like this that could be uncovered with future improvements in telescope capabilities. As astronomers’ census of exoplanets continues to grow, systems like the exomoon and its host highlight an issue that will become more important as we go forward. This exomoon reveals that the properties of a planet are not solely a consequence of its mass and position, but can depend on its history and the environment in which it formed.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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 2:05 pm on September 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A star called S0-2 [Andrea Ghez' UCLA Galactic Center Group pet star], , , , , , UCLA   

    From UCLA Newsroom: “Black hole at the center of our galaxy appears to be getting hungrier” 


    From UCLA Newsroom

    September 11, 2019
    Stuart Wolpert
    UCLA
    310-206-0511
    swolpert@stratcomm.ucla.edu

    UCLA astronomers notice brightest light in 24 years of observations.

    1
    Rendering of a star called S0-2 [Andrea Ghez’, UCLA Galactic Center Group, pet star] orbiting the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. It did not fall in, but its close approach could be one reason for the black hole’s growing appetite. Nicolle Fuller/National Science Foundation.

    Star S0-2 Andrea Ghez Keck/UCLA Galactic Center Group at SGR A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the milky way

    The enormous black hole at the center of our galaxy is having an unusually large meal of interstellar gas and dust, and researchers don’t yet understand why.

    “We have never seen anything like this in the 24 years we have studied the supermassive black hole,” said Andrea Ghez, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy and a co-senior author of the research. “It’s usually a pretty quiet, wimpy black hole on a diet. We don’t know what is driving this big feast.”

    A paper about the study, led by the UCLA Galactic Center Group, which Ghez heads, is published today in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    The researchers analyzed more than 13,000 observations of the black hole from 133 nights since 2003. The images were gathered by the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    ESO VLT at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
    •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
    •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
    •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).
    elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo,

    The team found that on May 13, the area just outside the black hole’s “point of no return” (so called because once matter enters, it can never escape) was twice as bright as the next-brightest observation.

    They also observed large changes on two other nights this year; all three of those changes were “unprecedented,” Ghez said.

    The brightness the scientists observed is caused by radiation from gas and dust falling into the black hole; the findings prompted them to ask whether this was an extraordinary singular event or a precursor to significantly increased activity.

    “The big question is whether the black hole is entering a new phase — for example if the spigot has been turned up and the rate of gas falling down the black hole ‘drain’ has increased for an extended period — or whether we have just seen the fireworks from a few unusual blobs of gas falling in,” said Mark Morris, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy and the paper’s co-senior author.

    The team has continued to observe the area and will try to settle that question based on what they see from new images.

    “We want to know how black holes grow and affect the evolution of galaxies and the universe,” said Ghez, UCLA’s Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Professor of Astrophysics. “We want to know why the supermassive hole gets brighter and how it gets brighter.”

    The new findings are based on observations of the black hole — which is called Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* — during four nights in April and May at the Keck Observatory. The brightness surrounding the black hole always varies somewhat, but the scientists were stunned by the extreme variations in brightness during that timeframe, including their observations on May 13.

    “The first image I saw that night, the black hole was so bright I initially mistook it for the star S0-2, because I had never seen Sagittarius A* that bright,” said UCLA research scientist Tuan Do, the study’s lead author. “But it quickly became clear the source had to be the black hole, which was really exciting.”

    One hypothesis about the increased activity is that when a star called S0-2 made its closest approach to the black hole during the summer 2018, it launched a large quantity of gas that reached the black hole this year.

    Another possibility involves a bizarre object known as G2, which is most likely a pair of binary stars, which made its closest approach to the black hole in 2014. It’s possible the black hole could have stripped off the outer layer of G2, Ghez said, which could help explain the increased brightness just outside the black hole.

    Morris said another possibility is that the brightening corresponds to the demise of large asteroids that have been drawn in to the black hole.

    No danger to Earth

    The black hole is some 26,000 light-years away and poses no danger to our planet. Do said the radiation would have to be 10 billion times as bright as what the astronomers detected to affect life on Earth.

    Astrophysical Journal Letters also published a second article by the researchers, describing speckle holography, the technique that enabled them to extract and use very faint information from 24 years of data they recorded from near the black hole.

    Ghez’s research team reported July 25 in the journal Science the most comprehensive test of Einstein’s iconic general theory of relativity near the black hole. Their conclusion that Einstein’s theory passed the test and is correct, at least for now, was based on their study of S0-2 as it made a complete orbit around the black hole.

    Ghez’s team studies more than 3,000 stars that orbit the supermassive black hole. Since 2004, the scientists have used a powerful technology that Ghez helped pioneer, called adaptive optics, which corrects the distorting effects of the Earth’s atmosphere in real time.

    Keck Adaptive Optics

    But speckle holography enabled the researchers to improve the data from the decade before adaptive optics came into play. Reanalyzing data from those years helped the team conclude that they had not seen that level of brightness near the black hole in 24 years.

    “It was like doing LASIK surgery on our early images,” Ghez said. “We collected the data to answer one question and serendipitously unveiled other exciting scientific discoveries that we didn’t anticipate.”

    Co-authors include Gunther Witzel, a former UCLA research scientist currently at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy; Mark Morris, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy; Eric Becklin, UCLA professor emeritus of physics and astronomy; Rainer Schoedel, a researcher at Spain’s Instituto de Astrofısica de Andalucıa; and UCLA graduate students Zhuo Chen and Abhimat Gautam.

    The research is funded by the National Science Foundation, W.M. Keck Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, Lauren Leichtman and Arthur Levine, and Howard and Astrid Preston.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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 9:42 am on August 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Technique could make better membranes for next-generation filtration", , “We have demonstrated a platform that we believe will enable researchers to use their new materials in a large thin asymmetric membrane configuration testable in real-world applications.”, In the T-FLO technique the active layer is cast as a liquid on a sheet of glass or metal and cured to make the active layer solid., , More advanced materials to be used for desalination and other processes., T-FLO, The new membrane was also able to remove organic materials from solvent waste and to separate greenhouse gases., UCLA   

    From UCLA Newsroom: “Technique could make better membranes for next-generation filtration” 


    From UCLA Newsroom

    August 20, 2019
    Writer
    Wayne Lewis

    Media Contact
    Nikki Lin
    310-206-8278
    nlin@cnsi.ucla.edu

    UCLA scientists’ method will allow more advanced materials to be used for desalination and other processes.

    1
    UCLA postdoctoral scholar Brian McVerry and doctoral student Mackenzie Anderson examine an ultra-thin membrane film on a glass plate used in the T-FLO process. Marc Roseboro/UCLA

    Deriving drinkable water from seawater, treating wastewater and conducting kidney dialysis are just a few important processes that use a technology called membrane filtration.

    The key to the process is the membrane filter — a thin, semi-porous film that allows certain substances such as water to pass through while separating out other, unwanted substances. But in the past 30 years, there have been no significant improvements in the materials that make up the key layers of commercially produced membrane filters.

    Now, UCLA researchers have developed a new technique called thin-film liftoff, or T-FLO, for creating membrane filters. The approach could offer a way for manufacturers to produce more effective and energy-efficient membranes using high-performance plastics, metal-organic frameworks and carbon materials. To date, limitations in how filters are fabricated have prevented those materials from being viable in industrial production.

    A study describing the work is published in the journal Nano Letters.

    “There are a lot of materials out there that in the lab can do nice separations, but they’re not scalable,” said Richard Kaner, UCLA’s Dr. Myung Ki Hong Professor of Materials Innovation and the study’s senior author. “With this technique, we can take these materials, make thin films that are scalable, and make them useful.”

    In addition to their potential for improving types of filtration that are performed using current technology, membranes produced using T-FLO could make possible an array of new forms of filtration, said Kaner, who also is a distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and of materials science and engineering, and a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. For example, the technique might one day make it feasible to pull carbon dioxide out of industrial emissions — which would enable the carbon to be converted to fuel or other applications while also reducing pollution.

    Filters like the ones used for desalination are called asymmetric membranes because of their two layers: a thin but dense “active” layer that rejects particles larger than a specific size, and a porous “support” layer that gives the membrane structure and allows it to resist the high pressures used in reverse osmosis and other filtering processes. The first asymmetric membrane for desalination was devised by UCLA engineers in the 1960s.

    Today’s asymmetric membranes are made by casting the active layer onto the support layer, or casting both concurrently. But to manufacture an active layer using more advanced materials, engineers have to use solvents or high heat — both of which damage the support layer or prevent the active layer from adhering.

    In the T-FLO technique, the active layer is cast as a liquid on a sheet of glass or metal and cured to make the active layer solid. Next, a support layer made of epoxy reinforced with fabric is added and the membrane is heated to solidify the epoxy.

    The use of epoxy in the support layer is the innovation that distinguishes the T-FLO technique — it enables the active layer to be created first so that it can be treated with chemicals or high heat without damaging the support layer.

    The membrane then is submerged in water to wash out the chemicals that induce pores in the epoxy and to loosen the membrane from the glass or metal sheet.

    Finally, the membrane is peeled off of the plate with a blade — the “liftoff” that gives the method its name.

    “Researchers around the world have demonstrated many new exciting materials that can separate salts, gases and organic materials more effectively than is done industrially,” said Brian McVerry, a UCLA postdoctoral scholar who invented the T-FLO process and is the study’s co-first author. “However, these materials are often made in relatively thick films that perform the separations too slowly or in small samples that are difficult to scale industrially.

    “We have demonstrated a platform that we believe will enable researchers to use their new materials in a large, thin, asymmetric membrane configuration, testable in real-world applications.”

    The researchers tested a membrane produced using T-FLO for removing salt from water, and it showed promise for solving one of the common problems in desalination, which is that microbes and other organic material can clog the membranes. Although adding chlorine to the water can kill the microbes, the chemical also causes most membranes to break down. In the study, the T-FLO membrane both rejected the salt and resisted the chlorine.

    In other experiments, the new membrane was also able to remove organic materials from solvent waste and to separate greenhouse gases.

    Mackenzie Anderson, a UCLA doctoral student, is co-first author of the study.

    The research was supported by the U.S./China Clean Energy Research Center for Water-Energy Technologies and the National Science Foundation. The project is aligned with UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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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