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  • richardmitnick 3:47 pm on July 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Muddied waters- sinking organics alter seafloor records", Concerns about the common use of pyrite sulfur isotopes to reconstruct Earth’s evolving oxidation state., , , , The scientists examined concentrations of carbon; nitrogen; sulfur; and stable isotopes of glacial-interglacial sediments on the seafloor along the continental margin off of modern-day Peru., Washington University in St. Louis   

    From Washington University in St. Louis : “Muddied waters- sinking organics alter seafloor records” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St. Louis

    July 20, 2021
    Talia Ogliore
    talia.ogliore@wustl.edu

    The remains of microscopic plankton blooms in near-shore ocean environments slowly sink to the seafloor, setting off processes that forever alter an important record of Earth’s history, according to research from geoscientists, including David Fike at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Fike is co-author of a new study published July 20 in Nature Communications.

    1
    Photo: Shutterstock.

    “Our previous work identified the role that changing sedimentation rates had on local versus global controls on geochemical signatures [Science Advances] that we use to reconstruct environmental change,” said Fike, professor of earth and planetary sciences and director of environmental studies in Arts & Sciences.

    “In this study, we investigated organic carbon loading, or how much organic matter — which drives subsequent microbial activity in the sediments — is delivered to the seafloor,” Fike said. “We are able to show that this, too, plays a critical role in regulating the types of signals that get preserved in sediments.

    “We need to be aware of this when trying to extract records of past ‘global’ environmental change,” he said.

    Scientists have long used information from sediments at the bottom of the ocean — layers of rock and microbial muck — to reconstruct the conditions in oceans of the past.

    2
    Plankton are microscopic organisms drifting in the oceans. Photo: Shutterstock.

    A critical challenge in understanding Earth’s surface evolution is differentiating between signals preserved in the sedimentary record that reflect global processes, such as the evolution of ocean chemistry, and those that are local, representing the depositional environment and the burial history of the sediments.

    The new study is based on analyses of a mineral called pyrite (FeS2) that is formed in marine sediments influenced by bacterial activity. The scientists examined concentrations of carbon; nitrogen; sulfur; and stable isotopes of glacial-interglacial sediments on the seafloor along the continental margin off of modern-day Peru.

    Varying rates of microbial metabolic activity, regulated by regional oceanographic variations in oxygen availability and the flux of sinking organic matter, appear to have driven the observed pyrite sulfur variability on the Peruvian margin, the scientists discovered.

    The study was led by Virgil Pasquier, a postdoctoral fellow at the Weizmann Institute of Sciences (IL) , and co-authored by Itay Halevy, also of the Weizmann Institute. Pasquier previously worked with Fike at Washington University. Together, the collaborators have raised concerns about the common use of pyrite sulfur isotopes to reconstruct Earth’s evolving oxidation state.

    “We seek to understand how Earth’s surface environment has changed over time,” said Fike, who also serves as director of Washington University’s International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability. “In order to do this, it’s critical to understand the kinds of processes that can influence the records we use for these reconstructions.”

    “In this study, we have identified an important factor — local organic carbon delivery to the seafloor — that modifies the geochemical signatures preserved in sedimentary pyrite records,” he said. “It overprints potential records of global biogeochemical cycling with information about changes in the local environment.

    “This observation provides a new window to reconstruct past local environmental conditions, which is quite exciting,” Fike said.

    3
    Shallow water at the edge of the Pacific Ocean reflects cloudy morning skies at Moeraki Boulders Beach, on the South Island of New Zealand. Image: Shutterstock.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

    Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university in Greater St. Louis with its main campus (Danforth) mostly in unincorporated St. Louis County, Missouri, and Clayton, Missouri. It also has a West Campus in Clayton, North Campus in the West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, and Medical Campus in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri.

    Founded in 1853 and named after George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries. Washington University is composed of seven graduate and undergraduate schools that encompass a broad range of academic fields. To prevent confusion over its location, the Board of Trustees added the phrase “in St. Louis” in 1976. Washington University is a member of the Association of American Universities (US) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    As of 2020, 25 Nobel laureates in economics, physiology and medicine, chemistry, and physics have been affiliated with Washington University, ten having done the major part of their pioneering research at the university. In 2019, Clarivate Analytics ranked Washington University 7th in the world for most cited researchers. The university also received the 4th highest amount of National Institutes of Health (US) medical research grants among medical schools in 2019.

    Research

    Virtually all faculty members at Washington University engage in academic research, offering opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students across the university’s seven schools. Known for its interdisciplinary and departmental collaboration, many of Washington University’s research centers and institutes are collaborative efforts between many areas on campus. More than 60% of undergraduates are involved in faculty research across all areas; it is an institutional priority for undergraduates to be allowed to participate in advanced research. According to the Center for Measuring University Performance, it is considered to be one of the top 10 private research universities in the nation. A dedicated Office of Undergraduate Research is located on the Danforth Campus and serves as a resource to post research opportunities, advise students in finding appropriate positions matching their interests, publish undergraduate research journals, and award research grants to make it financially possible to perform research.

    According to the National Science Foundation (US), Washington University spent $816 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 27th in the nation. The university has over 150 National Institutes of Health funded inventions, with many of them licensed to private companies. Governmental agencies and non-profit foundations such as the NIH, Department of Defense (US), National Science Foundation, and National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) provide the majority of research grant funding, with Washington University being one of the top recipients in NIH grants from year-to-year. Nearly 80% of NIH grants to institutions in the state of Missouri went to Washington University alone in 2007. Washington University and its Medical School play a large part in the Human Genome Project, where it contributes approximately 25% of the finished sequence. The Genome Sequencing Center has decoded the genome of many animals, plants, and cellular organisms, including the platypus, chimpanzee, cat, and corn.

    NASA hosts its Planetary Data System Geosciences Node on the campus of Washington University. Professors, students, and researchers have been heavily involved with many unmanned missions to Mars. Professor Raymond Arvidson has been deputy principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rover mission and co-investigator of the Phoenix lander robotic arm.

    Washington University professor Joseph Lowenstein, with the assistance of several undergraduate students, has been involved in editing, annotating, making a digital archive of the first publication of poet Edmund Spenser’s collective works in 100 years. A large grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (US) has been given to support this ambitious project centralized at Washington University with support from other colleges in the United States.

    In 2019, Folding@Home (US), a distributed computing project for performing molecular dynamics simulations of protein dynamics, was moved to Washington University School of Medicine from Stanford University (US). The project, currently led by Dr. Greg Bowman, uses the idle CPU time of personal computers owned by volunteers to conduct protein folding research. Folding@home’s research is primarily focused on biomedical problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer, Coronavirus disease 2019, and Ebola virus disease. In April 2020, Folding@home became the world’s first exaFLOP computing system with a peak performance of 1.5 exaflops, making it more than seven times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer, Summit, and more powerful than the top 100 supercomputers in the world, combined.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:49 pm on July 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Sculpted by starlight- A meteorite witness to the solar system's birth", Acfer 094 contains porous regions and tiny grains that formed around other stars., Acfer 094 is one of the most primitive meteorites in our collection., , Asteroids and planets formed from the same presolar material but they've been influenced by different natural processes., , , Neighboring massive stars were likely close enough that their light affected the solar system's formation., Oxygen isotopes in the sun differ from those found on Earth; the moon; and the other planets and satellites in the solar system., , Starlight had a profound effect on our origins., Sulfur's four isotopes would leave their marks in different ratios depending on the spectrum of ultraviolet light., The meteorite Acfer 094 found in Algeria in 1990, The scientists the idea of sulfur isotopes., The sulfur isotope measurements of cosmic symplectite were consistent with ultraviolet irradiation from a massive star but did not fit the UV spectrum from the young sun., Today we can look to the skies and see a similar origin story play out elsewhere in the galaxy., Washington University in St. Louis, We see nascent planetary systems called proplyds in the Orion nebula that are being photoevaporated by ultraviolet light from nearby massive O and B stars., With only three isotopes of oxygen simply finding the heavy oxygen isotopes wasn't enough to answer the question of the origin of the light.   

    From Washington University in St. Louis via phys.org : “Sculpted by starlight- A meteorite witness to the solar system’s birth” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St. Louis

    via

    phys.org

    July 5, 2021
    Brandie Jefferson, Washington University in St. Louis

    1
    Cosmic symplectite in the meteorite Acfer 094. Credit: Ryan Ogliore, Laboratory for Space Sciences.

    In 2011, scientists confirmed a suspicion: There was a split in the local cosmos. Samples of the solar wind brought back to Earth by the Genesis mission definitively determined oxygen isotopes in the sun differ from those found on Earth; the moon; and the other planets and satellites in the solar system.

    Early in the solar system’s history, material that would later coalesce into planets had been hit with a hefty dose of ultraviolet light, which can explain this difference. Where did it come from? Two theories emerged: Either the ultraviolet light came from our then-young sun, or it came from a large nearby star in the sun’s stellar nursery.

    Now, researchers from the lab of Ryan Ogliore, assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, have determined which was responsible for the split. It was most likely light from a long-dead massive star that left this impression on the rocky bodies of the solar system. The study was led by Lionel Vacher, a postdoctoral research associate in the physics department’s Laboratory for Space Sciences.

    Their results are published in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

    “We knew that we were born of stardust: that is, dust created by other stars in our galactic neighborhood were part of the building blocks of the solar system,” Ogliore said.

    “But this study showed that starlight had a profound effect on our origins as well.”

    Tiny time capsule

    All of that profundity was packed into a mere 85 grams of rock, a piece of an asteroid found as a meteorite in Algeria in 1990, named Acfer 094. Asteroids and planets formed from the same presolar material but they’ve been influenced by different natural processes. The rocky building blocks that coalesced to form asteroids and planets were broken up and battered; vaporized and recombined; and compressed and heated. But the asteroid that Acfer 094 came from managed to survive for 4.6 billion years mostly unscathed.

    “This is one of the most primitive meteorites in our collection,” Vacher said. “It was not heated significantly. It contains porous regions and tiny grains that formed around other stars. It is a reliable witness to the solar system’s formation.”

    Acfer 094 is also the only meteorite that contains cosmic symplectite, an intergrowth of iron-oxide and iron-sulfide with extremely heavy oxygen isotopes—a significant finding.

    The sun contains about 6% more of the lightest oxygen isotope compared with the rest of the solar system. That can be explained by ultraviolet light shining on the solar system’s building blocks, selectively breaking apart carbon monoxide gas into its constituent atoms. That process also creates a reservoir of much heavier oxygen isotopes. Until cosmic symplectite, however, no one had found this heavy isotope signature in samples of solar system materials.

    With only three isotopes simply finding the heavy oxygen isotopes wasn’t enough to answer the question of the origin of the light. Different ultraviolet spectra could have created the same result.

    2
    181-825 is one of the bright proplyds — protoplanetary disks — that lies relatively close to the Orion nebula’s brightest star, Theta 1 Orionis C. Resembling a tiny jellyfish, this proplyd is surrounded by a shock wave that is caused by stellar wind from the massive Theta 1 Orionis C interacting with gas in the nebula. Credit: Credit: National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) and L. Ricci [European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte] (EU) (CL)].

    “That’s when Ryan came up with the idea of sulfur isotopes,” Vacher said.

    Sulfur’s four isotopes would leave their marks in different ratios depending on the spectrum of ultraviolet light that irradiated hydrogen sulfide gas in the proto-solar system. A massive star and a young sun-like star have different ultraviolet spectra.

    Cosmic symplectite formed when ices on the asteroid melted and reacted with small pieces of iron-nickel metal. In addition to oxygen, cosmic symplectite contains sulfur in iron sulfide. If its oxygen witnessed this ancient astrophysical process—which led to the heavy oxygen isotopes—perhaps its sulfur did, too.

    “We developed a model,” Ogliore said. “If I had a massive star, what isotope anomalies would be created? What about for a young, sun-like star? The precision of the model depends on the experimental data. Fortunately, other scientists have done great experiments on what happens to isotope ratios when hydrogen sulfide is irradiated by ultraviolet light.”

    Sulfur and oxygen isotope measurements of cosmic symplectite in Acfer 094 proved another challenge. The grains, tens of micrometers in size and a mixture of minerals, required new techniques on two different in-situ secondary-ion mass spectrometers: the NanoSIMS in the physics department (with assistance from Nan Liu, research assistant professor in physics) and the 7f-GEO in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, also in Arts & Sciences.

    Putting the puzzle together

    It helped to have friends in earth and planetary sciences, particularly David Fike, professor of earth and planetary sciences and director of Environmental Studies in Arts & Sciences as well as director of the International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, and Clive Jones, research scientist in earth and planetary sciences.

    “They are experts in high-precision in-situ sulfur isotope measurements for biogeochemistry,” Ogliore said. “Without this collaboration, we would not have achieved the precision we needed to differentiate between the young sun and massive star scenarios.”

    The sulfur isotope measurements of cosmic symplectite were consistent with ultraviolet irradiation from a massive star but did not fit the UV spectrum from the young sun. The results give a unique perspective on the astrophysical environment of the sun’s birth 4.6 billion years ago. Neighboring massive stars were likely close enough that their light affected the solar system’s formation. Such a nearby massive star in the night sky would appear brighter than the full moon.

    Today we can look to the skies and see a similar origin story play out elsewhere in the galaxy.

    “We see nascent planetary systems called proplyds in the Orion nebula that are being photoevaporated by ultraviolet light from nearby massive O and B stars,” Vacher said.

    “If the proplyds are too close to these stars, they can be torn apart, and planets never form. We now know our own solar system at its birth was close enough to be affected by the light of these stars,” he said. “But thankfully, not too close.”This work was supported by the McDonnell Center for Space Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and NASA grant NNX14AF22G.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

    Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university in Greater St. Louis with its main campus (Danforth) mostly in unincorporated St. Louis County, Missouri, and Clayton, Missouri. It also has a West Campus in Clayton, North Campus in the West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, and Medical Campus in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri.

    Founded in 1853 and named after George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries. Washington University is composed of seven graduate and undergraduate schools that encompass a broad range of academic fields. To prevent confusion over its location, the Board of Trustees added the phrase “in St. Louis” in 1976. Washington University is a member of the Association of American Universities (US) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    As of 2020, 25 Nobel laureates in economics, physiology and medicine, chemistry, and physics have been affiliated with Washington University, ten having done the major part of their pioneering research at the university. In 2019, Clarivate Analytics ranked Washington University 7th in the world for most cited researchers. The university also received the 4th highest amount of National Institutes of Health (US) medical research grants among medical schools in 2019.

    Research

    Virtually all faculty members at Washington University engage in academic research, offering opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students across the university’s seven schools. Known for its interdisciplinary and departmental collaboration, many of Washington University’s research centers and institutes are collaborative efforts between many areas on campus. More than 60% of undergraduates are involved in faculty research across all areas; it is an institutional priority for undergraduates to be allowed to participate in advanced research. According to the Center for Measuring University Performance, it is considered to be one of the top 10 private research universities in the nation. A dedicated Office of Undergraduate Research is located on the Danforth Campus and serves as a resource to post research opportunities, advise students in finding appropriate positions matching their interests, publish undergraduate research journals, and award research grants to make it financially possible to perform research.

    According to the National Science Foundation (US), Washington University spent $816 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 27th in the nation. The university has over 150 National Institutes of Health funded inventions, with many of them licensed to private companies. Governmental agencies and non-profit foundations such as the NIH, Department of Defense (US), National Science Foundation, and National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) provide the majority of research grant funding, with Washington University being one of the top recipients in NIH grants from year-to-year. Nearly 80% of NIH grants to institutions in the state of Missouri went to Washington University alone in 2007. Washington University and its Medical School play a large part in the Human Genome Project, where it contributes approximately 25% of the finished sequence. The Genome Sequencing Center has decoded the genome of many animals, plants, and cellular organisms, including the platypus, chimpanzee, cat, and corn.

    NASA hosts its Planetary Data System Geosciences Node on the campus of Washington University. Professors, students, and researchers have been heavily involved with many unmanned missions to Mars. Professor Raymond Arvidson has been deputy principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rover mission and co-investigator of the Phoenix lander robotic arm.

    Washington University professor Joseph Lowenstein, with the assistance of several undergraduate students, has been involved in editing, annotating, making a digital archive of the first publication of poet Edmund Spenser’s collective works in 100 years. A large grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (US) has been given to support this ambitious project centralized at Washington University with support from other colleges in the United States.

    In 2019, Folding@Home (US), a distributed computing project for performing molecular dynamics simulations of protein dynamics, was moved to Washington University School of Medicine from Stanford University (US). The project, currently led by Dr. Greg Bowman, uses the idle CPU time of personal computers owned by volunteers to conduct protein folding research. Folding@home’s research is primarily focused on biomedical problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer, Coronavirus disease 2019, and Ebola virus disease. In April 2020, Folding@home became the world’s first exaFLOP computing system with a peak performance of 1.5 exaflops, making it more than seven times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer, Summit, and more powerful than the top 100 supercomputers in the world, combined.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:49 pm on June 30, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A new piece of the quantum computing puzzle", A deterministic high-fidelity two-bit quantum logic gate that takes advantage of a new form of light., Even if they weren’t entangled as they entered a logic gate the act of measuring the two photons when they exited led them to behave as if they had been., Mathematically there are many ways to design a logic gate for two-bit operations. These different designs are called equivalent., McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, Researchers often use individual electrons as “qubits"., Shen was able to build a two-bit quantum logic gate with because of the discovery of a new class of quantum photonic states-photonic dimers-photons entangled in both space and frequency., Some scientists have been trying to use photons as qubits instead of electrons., The potential of quantum computers is bound to the unusual properties of superposition-the ability of a quantum system to contain many distinct properties or states at the same time-and entanglement., Washington University in St. Louis   

    From Washington University in St. Louis : “A new piece of the quantum computing puzzle” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St. Louis

    June 28, 2021
    Brandie Jefferson
    brandie.jefferson@wustl.edu

    1
    Jung-Tsung Shen, associate professor in the Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering, has developed a deterministic, high-fidelity, two-bit quantum logic gate that takes advantage of a new form of light. This new logic gate is orders of magnitude more efficient than the current technology. Credit: Jung-Tsung Shen.

    Research from the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis has found a missing piece in the puzzle of optical quantum computing.

    Jung-Tsung Shen, associate professor in the Preston M. Green Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering, has developed a deterministic high-fidelity two-bit quantum logic gate that takes advantage of a new form of light. This new logic gate is orders of magnitude more efficient than the current technology.

    “In the ideal case, the fidelity can be as high as 97%,” Shen said.

    His research was published in May 2021 in the journal Physical Review A.

    The potential of quantum computers is bound to the unusual properties of superposition-the ability of a quantum system to contain many distinct properties or states at the same time-and entanglement — two particles acting as if they are correlated in a non-classical manner, despite being physically removed from each other.

    Where voltage determines the value of a bit (a 1 or a 0) in a classical computer, researchers often use individual electrons as “qubits,” the quantum equivalent. Electrons have several traits that suit them well to the task: they are easily manipulated by an electric or magnetic field and they interact with each other. Interaction is a benefit when you need two bits to be entangled — letting the wilderness of quantum mechanics manifest.

    But their propensity to interact is also a problem. Everything from stray magnetic fields to power lines can influence electrons, making them hard to truly control.

    For the past two decades, however, some scientists have been trying to use photons as qubits instead of electrons. “If computers are going to have a true impact, we need to look into creating the platform using light,” Shen said.

    Photons have no charge, which can lead to the opposite problems: they do not interact with the environment like electrons, but they also do not interact with each other. It has also been challenging to engineer and to create ad hoc (effective) inter-photon interactions. Or so traditional thinking went.

    Less than a decade ago, scientists working on this problem discovered that, even if they weren’t entangled as they entered a logic gate the act of measuring the two photons when they exited led them to behave as if they had been. The unique features of measurement are another wild manifestation of quantum mechanics.

    “Quantum mechanics is not difficult, but it’s full of surprises,” Shen said.

    The measurement discovery was groundbreaking, but not quite game-changing. That’s because for every 1,000,000 photons, only one pair became entangled. Researchers have since been more successful, but, Shen said, “It’s still not good enough for a computer,” which has to carry out millions to billions of operations per second.

    Shen was able to build a two-bit quantum logic gate with such efficiency because of the discovery of a new class of quantum photonic states-photonic dimers-photons entangled in both space and frequency. His prediction of their existence was experimentally validated in 2013, and he has since been finding applications for this new form of light.

    When a single photon enters a logic gate, nothing notable happens — it goes in and comes out. But when there are two photons, “That’s when we predicted the two can make a new state, photonic dimers. It turns out this new state is crucial.”

    2
    High-fidelity, two-bit logic gate, designed by Jung-Tsung Shen.

    Mathematically there are many ways to design a logic gate for two-bit operations. These different designs are called equivalent. The specific logic gate that Shen and his research group designed is the controlled-phase gate (or controlled-Z gate). The principal function of the controlled-phase gate is that the two photons that come out are in the negative state of the two photons that went in.

    “In classical circuits, there is no minus sign,” Shen said. “But in quantum computing, it turns out the minus sign exists and is crucial.”

    When two independent photons (representing two optical qubits) enter the logic gate, “The design of the logic gate is such that the two photons can form a photonic dimer,” Shen said. “It turns out the new quantum photonic state is crucial as it enables the output state to have the correct sign that is essential to the optical logic operations.”

    Shen has been working with the University of Michigan (US) to test his design, which is a solid-state logic gate — one that can operate under moderate conditions. So far, he says, results seem positive.

    Shen says this result, while baffling to most, is clear as day to those in the know.

    “It’s like a puzzle,” he said. “It may be complicated to do, but once it’s done, just by glancing at it, you will know it’s correct.”

    This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (US).

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

    Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university in Greater St. Louis with its main campus (Danforth) mostly in unincorporated St. Louis County, Missouri, and Clayton, Missouri. It also has a West Campus in Clayton, North Campus in the West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, and Medical Campus in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri.

    Founded in 1853 and named after George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries. Washington University is composed of seven graduate and undergraduate schools that encompass a broad range of academic fields. To prevent confusion over its location, the Board of Trustees added the phrase “in St. Louis” in 1976. Washington University is a member of the Association of American Universities (US) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    As of 2020, 25 Nobel laureates in economics, physiology and medicine, chemistry, and physics have been affiliated with Washington University, ten having done the major part of their pioneering research at the university. In 2019, Clarivate Analytics ranked Washington University 7th in the world for most cited researchers. The university also received the 4th highest amount of National Institutes of Health (US) medical research grants among medical schools in 2019.

    Research

    Virtually all faculty members at Washington University engage in academic research, offering opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students across the university’s seven schools. Known for its interdisciplinary and departmental collaboration, many of Washington University’s research centers and institutes are collaborative efforts between many areas on campus. More than 60% of undergraduates are involved in faculty research across all areas; it is an institutional priority for undergraduates to be allowed to participate in advanced research. According to the Center for Measuring University Performance, it is considered to be one of the top 10 private research universities in the nation. A dedicated Office of Undergraduate Research is located on the Danforth Campus and serves as a resource to post research opportunities, advise students in finding appropriate positions matching their interests, publish undergraduate research journals, and award research grants to make it financially possible to perform research.

    According to the National Science Foundation (US), Washington University spent $816 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 27th in the nation. The university has over 150 National Institutes of Health funded inventions, with many of them licensed to private companies. Governmental agencies and non-profit foundations such as the NIH, Department of Defense (US), National Science Foundation, and National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) provide the majority of research grant funding, with Washington University being one of the top recipients in NIH grants from year-to-year. Nearly 80% of NIH grants to institutions in the state of Missouri went to Washington University alone in 2007. Washington University and its Medical School play a large part in the Human Genome Project, where it contributes approximately 25% of the finished sequence. The Genome Sequencing Center has decoded the genome of many animals, plants, and cellular organisms, including the platypus, chimpanzee, cat, and corn.

    NASA hosts its Planetary Data System Geosciences Node on the campus of Washington University. Professors, students, and researchers have been heavily involved with many unmanned missions to Mars. Professor Raymond Arvidson has been deputy principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rover mission and co-investigator of the Phoenix lander robotic arm.

    Washington University professor Joseph Lowenstein, with the assistance of several undergraduate students, has been involved in editing, annotating, making a digital archive of the first publication of poet Edmund Spenser’s collective works in 100 years. A large grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (US) has been given to support this ambitious project centralized at Washington University with support from other colleges in the United States.

    In 2019, Folding@Home (US), a distributed computing project for performing molecular dynamics simulations of protein dynamics, was moved to Washington University School of Medicine from Stanford University (US). The project, currently led by Dr. Greg Bowman, uses the idle CPU time of personal computers owned by volunteers to conduct protein folding research. Folding@home’s research is primarily focused on biomedical problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer, Coronavirus disease 2019, and Ebola virus disease. In April 2020, Folding@home became the world’s first exaFLOP computing system with a peak performance of 1.5 exaflops, making it more than seven times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer, Summit, and more powerful than the top 100 supercomputers in the world, combined.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:25 am on June 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Buckley awarded $4.9 million to develop gamma ray astronomy mission", , , Gamma-ray astronomy research, Washington University in St. Louis   

    From Washington University in St. Louis: “Buckley awarded $4.9 million to develop gamma ray astronomy mission” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St. Louis

    June 21, 2021
    Talia Ogliore
    talia.ogliore@wustl.edu

    1
    James H. Buckley, professor of physics in Arts & Sciences, received a $4.9 million award from NASA to build a demonstration version of a large satellite experiment for gamma-ray astronomy research. Photo: Tom Malkowicz/Washington University.

    James H. Buckley, professor of physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, received a $4.9 million award from NASA to build a demonstration version of a large satellite experiment for gamma-ray astronomy research.

    Washington University leads the entire effort to develop the instrument, which is planned to launch on a scientific balloon from Antarctica in 2024.

    1
    Custom-built gamma ray detectors are central to the design of a new instrument developed by physicists at Washington University. Photo: Tom Malkowicz/Washington University.

    The instrument is called ADAPT, for Antarctic Demonstrator for the Advanced Particle-astrophysics Telescope. It incorporates all of the critical components of an instrument — the APT (Advanced Particle-astrophysics Telescope) — that Buckley has been working on for more than 10 years. Success with this suborbital mission will hopefully lead to an opportunity to build the APT for a larger space mission. Combined with other detectors, like the LIGO gravitational wave observatory, APT would form a key component for multi-messenger astronomy.

    “APT was conceived to address two big questions: determining the nature of dark matter and understanding the physics of neutron-star mergers and their role in the origin of the heavy elements,” Buckley said. “To achieve these goals, we must improve gamma-ray sensitivity from the MeV to GeV energies by at least an order of magnitude compared to existing experiments, but without a corresponding increase in mission cost.

    “This is only possible with a new technical approach utilizing scintillating fibers and a novel design for an imaging calorimeter,” he added. “Our design will allow us to simultaneously detect low-energy events by Compton reconstruction and higher-energy events by tracking the electron-positron pair produced by particle interactions.”

    Buckley is the principal investigator for the new project. Brian Rauch, research assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences, and Roger Chamberlain and Jeremy Buhler, both professors of computer science and engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering, are co-investigators. Richard Bose, senior research engineer in physics in Arts & Sciences, will serve as engineer and project manager.

    2
    Buckley (right) working with Richard Bose in Buckley’s laboratory. Photo: Tom Malkowicz/Washington University.

    Brad Jolliff, the Scott Rudolph Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences and director of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, said: “This award and other recent funding for the XL-Calibur and Taurus instruments place Washington University in a leading role in suborbital astrophysics missions nationally and worldwide. This is an example of great payoff stemming in part from seed funding from the McDonnell Center. For us, research and development such as this, which may ultimately result in a leadership role for Washington University in a major space mission, is a priority.”

    Other collaborating institutions in the U.S. include the Goddard Space Flight Center (US), Louisiana State University (US), University of Minnesota (US), University of Hawai’i (US) and the Naval Research Lab (US). The Erlangen Centre for Astroparticle Physics (DE) is a collaborating institution, and other individual collaborators hail from the National Institute for Nuclear Physics[Institutio Nzaionale di Fisica Nucleare](IT) in Bari and Pisa, Italy.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

    Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university in Greater St. Louis with its main campus (Danforth) mostly in unincorporated St. Louis County, Missouri, and Clayton, Missouri. It also has a West Campus in Clayton, North Campus in the West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, and Medical Campus in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri.

    Founded in 1853 and named after George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries. Washington University is composed of seven graduate and undergraduate schools that encompass a broad range of academic fields. To prevent confusion over its location, the Board of Trustees added the phrase “in St. Louis” in 1976. Washington University is a member of the Association of American Universities (US) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    As of 2020, 25 Nobel laureates in economics, physiology and medicine, chemistry, and physics have been affiliated with Washington University, ten having done the major part of their pioneering research at the university. In 2019, Clarivate Analytics ranked Washington University 7th in the world for most cited researchers. The university also received the 4th highest amount of National Institutes of Health (US) medical research grants among medical schools in 2019.

    Research

    Virtually all faculty members at Washington University engage in academic research, offering opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students across the university’s seven schools. Known for its interdisciplinary and departmental collaboration, many of Washington University’s research centers and institutes are collaborative efforts between many areas on campus. More than 60% of undergraduates are involved in faculty research across all areas; it is an institutional priority for undergraduates to be allowed to participate in advanced research. According to the Center for Measuring University Performance, it is considered to be one of the top 10 private research universities in the nation. A dedicated Office of Undergraduate Research is located on the Danforth Campus and serves as a resource to post research opportunities, advise students in finding appropriate positions matching their interests, publish undergraduate research journals, and award research grants to make it financially possible to perform research.

    According to the National Science Foundation (US), Washington University spent $816 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 27th in the nation. The university has over 150 National Institutes of Health funded inventions, with many of them licensed to private companies. Governmental agencies and non-profit foundations such as the NIH, Department of Defense (US), National Science Foundation, and National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) provide the majority of research grant funding, with Washington University being one of the top recipients in NIH grants from year-to-year. Nearly 80% of NIH grants to institutions in the state of Missouri went to Washington University alone in 2007. Washington University and its Medical School play a large part in the Human Genome Project, where it contributes approximately 25% of the finished sequence. The Genome Sequencing Center has decoded the genome of many animals, plants, and cellular organisms, including the platypus, chimpanzee, cat, and corn.

    NASA hosts its Planetary Data System Geosciences Node on the campus of Washington University. Professors, students, and researchers have been heavily involved with many unmanned missions to Mars. Professor Raymond Arvidson has been deputy principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rover mission and co-investigator of the Phoenix lander robotic arm.

    Washington University professor Joseph Lowenstein, with the assistance of several undergraduate students, has been involved in editing, annotating, making a digital archive of the first publication of poet Edmund Spenser’s collective works in 100 years. A large grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (US) has been given to support this ambitious project centralized at Washington University with support from other colleges in the United States.

    In 2019, Folding@Home (US), a distributed computing project for performing molecular dynamics simulations of protein dynamics, was moved to Washington University School of Medicine from Stanford University (US). The project, currently led by Dr. Greg Bowman, uses the idle CPU time of personal computers owned by volunteers to conduct protein folding research. Folding@home’s research is primarily focused on biomedical problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer, Coronavirus disease 2019, and Ebola virus disease. In April 2020, Folding@home became the world’s first exaFLOP computing system with a peak performance of 1.5 exaflops, making it more than seven times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer, Summit, and more powerful than the top 100 supercomputers in the world, combined.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:10 am on November 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Inside the black box of iron oxide formation", Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, , , Iron hydroxides, Iron hydroxides can capture heavy metals and other toxic materials., Iron oxides also can be natural semiconductors., , , , , Solid nucleation, Washington University in St. Louis, X-ray scattering technique called "grazing incidence small angle X-ray scattering."   

    From Washington University in St.Louis via phys.org: “Inside the black box of iron oxide formation” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St.Louis

    via


    phys.org

    November 25, 2020
    Brandie Jefferson, Washington University in St. Louis

    1
    Rust: Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

    From the splendorous red hues in the Grand Canyon to the mundane rust attacking a neglected bicycle, iron hydroxides are all around us. As a matter of fact, they are just as common as quartz, which is the most widely distributed mineral on the planet.

    Scientists know that iron hydroxides can capture heavy metals and other toxic materials, and that iron oxides also can be natural semiconductors. While these properties suggest many applications, the full details of how iron hydroxides form on a quartz substrate have been hidden in a “black box” of sorts—until now.

    Young-Shin Jun, a professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has devised a way to open that box and observe the moment iron hydroxide forms on quartz.

    Her research was published in Environmental Science & Technology.

    “This is telling the story of the birth of iron hydroxide,” Jun said.

    When people speak of “formation,” typically they are talking about a substance growing. Before growth, however, there needs to be something to grow. Where does that first bit of iron hydroxide come from?

    First, sufficient precursor elements need to be in place. Then the components can come together to form a stable nucleus that will go on to become a tiny solid particle of iron hydroxide, called a nanoscale particulate. The process is called solid nucleation.

    Science has a firm grip on the sum of these two processes—nucleation and growth, together known as “precipitation”—and their sum has been used to predict iron hydroxide’s formation behavior. But these predictions have largely omitted separate consideration of nucleation. The results “weren’t accurate enough,” Jun said. “Our work provides an empirical, quantitative description of nucleation, not a computation, so we can provide scientific evidence about this missing link.”

    This contribution opens many important possibilities. We can better understand water quality at acid mine drainage sites, reduce membrane fouling and pipeline scale formation, and develop more environmentally friendly superconductor materials.

    Jun was able to look inside of the black box of precipitation by using X-rays and a novel experimental cell she developed to study environmentally relevant complex systems with plenty of water, ions and substrate material, observing nucleation in real time.

    Working at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois, Jun employed an X-ray scattering technique called “grazing incidence small angle X-ray scattering.”


    ANL Advanced Photon Source.

    By shining X-rays onto a substrate with a very shallow angle, close to the critical angle that allows total reflection of light, this technique can detect the first appearance of nanometer size particles on a surface.

    The approach is so novel, Jun said, that when she discusses her lab’s work on nucleation, “People think we are doing computer modeling. But no, we are experimentally examining it at the moment it happens,” she said. “We are experimental observers. I can measure the initial point of nucleation.”

    Her empirical method revealed that the general estimates scientists have been using overstate the amount of energy needed for nucleation.

    “Iron hydroxide forms much more easily on mineral surfaces than scientists thought, because less energy is needed for nucleation of highly hydrated solids on surfaces,” Jun said.

    Furthermore, having a precise value will also help improve reactive transport models—the study of the movement of materials through an environment. For instance, certain materials can sequester toxic metals, keeping them from entering waterways. An updated reactive transport model with more accurate nucleation information will have significant implications for water quality researchers working to better predict and control sources of pollution. “Iron hydroxide is the main sequestration repository for these contaminants,” Jun said, “and knowing their origin is critical to predicting their fate.”

    For high-tech manufacturing facilities, having a more precise understanding of how iron oxides or hydroxides form will allow for the more efficient—less wasteful—production of iron-based superconductors.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

    Washington University’s mission is to discover and disseminate knowledge, and protect the freedom of inquiry through research, teaching, and learning.

    Washington University creates an environment to encourage and support an ethos of wide-ranging exploration. Washington University’s faculty and staff strive to enhance the lives and livelihoods of students, the people of the greater St. Louis community, the country, and the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:27 pm on September 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Looking skin deep at the growth of neutron stars", , , , , For several cornerstone nuclei a tiny fraction of the protons and neutrons possess the lion’s share of the overall energy that keeps them bound in nuclei., Robert J. Charity professor of physics; and Lee G. Sobotka professor of chemistry and of physics are co-authors on the papers led by Cole Pruitt presently a postdoctoral fellow at LLNL., The study makes new predictions for the “neutron skin” — a region where extra neutrons pile up., The work reported by Pruitt and collaborators provides a powerful bridge between nuclear physics and astrophysics in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy., Washington University in St. Louis   

    From Washington University in St.Louis: “Looking skin deep at the growth of neutron stars” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St.Louis

    1
    New predictions are tightly connected to how large neutron stars grow and what elements are likely synthesized in neutron star mergers. (Image courtesy NASA.)

    In atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons share energy and momentum in tight quarters. But exactly how they share the energy that keeps them bound within the nucleus — and even where they are within the nucleus — remain key puzzles for nuclear scientists.

    A new study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California tackled these questions by leveraging data from nuclear scattering experiments to make stringent constraints on how nucleons (neutrons and protons) arrange themselves in the nucleus. The research appears in two corresponding papers in Physical Review C and Physical Review Letters.

    Robert J. Charity, research professor of chemistry, Willem H. Dickhoff, professor of physics, and Lee G. Sobotka, professor of chemistry and of physics, all in Arts & Sciences, are co-authors on the papers led by Cole Pruitt, presently a postdoctoral fellow at LLNL, who earned his PhD at Washington University in 2019. Pruitt completed the majority of the work for these papers as part of his thesis effort.

    Their analysis shows that for several cornerstone nuclei, a tiny fraction of the protons and neutrons possess the lion’s share of the overall energy that keeps them bound in nuclei, roughly 50% more than expected from standard theoretical treatments.

    Further, the study makes new predictions for the “neutron skin” — a region where extra neutrons pile up — of several neutron-rich nuclei. In turn, these predictions are tightly connected to how large neutron stars grow and what elements are likely synthesized in neutron star mergers.

    “Our results quantitatively indicate how asymmetry, charge and shell effects contribute to neutron skin generation and drive a disproportionate share of the total binding energy to the deepest nucleons,” Pruitt said.

    Understanding how nuclear asymmetry energy changes with density is an essential input to the neutron equation-of-state, which determines neutron star structure. But it’s not easy to directly measure neutron skins.

    “A comprehensive model should not only reproduce integrated quantities (like the charge radius or total binding energy) but also specify how nucleons share momentum and energy, all while being realistic about the model uncertainty of its predictions,” Pruitt said.

    “The work reported by Pruitt and collaborators provides a powerful bridge between nuclear physics and astrophysics in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. The measurement of the neutron skin of several nuclei reported in the letter (Physical Review Letters) could provide stringent constraints on the equation of state of neutron-rich matter, which is a critical ingredient for understanding neutron stars,” said Jorge Piekarewicz, professor of physics at Florida State University, a leading theorist who was not involved in these studies.

    The work was funded by the Department of Energy Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

    Washington University’s mission is to discover and disseminate knowledge, and protect the freedom of inquiry through research, teaching, and learning.

    Washington University creates an environment to encourage and support an ethos of wide-ranging exploration. Washington University’s faculty and staff strive to enhance the lives and livelihoods of students, the people of the greater St. Louis community, the country, and the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:43 pm on August 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Meteorite study suggests Earth may have been wet since it formed", A type of meteorite called an "enstatite chondrite" contains sufficient hydrogen to deliver at least three times the amount of water contained in the Earth's oceans and probably much more., , , , , , Earth's water may have come from materials that were present in the inner solar system at the time the planet formed—instead of far-reaching comets or asteroids delivering such water., Enstatite chondrites are entirely composed of material from the inner solar system—essentially the same stuff that made up the Earth originally., , , , , Secondary ion mass spectrometry, Washington University in St. Louis   

    From Washington University in St.Louis via phys.org: “Meteorite study suggests Earth may have been wet since it formed” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St.Louis

    via


    From phys.org

    August 27, 2020
    Talia Ogliore

    1
    Piece of the meteorite Sahara 97096 (about 10 cm long), an enstatite chondrite that contains about 0.5 weight % of water. If Earth formed entirely of this material, it would have received 23 times the total mass of water present in the Earth’s oceans. Credit: L. Piani, Museum of Natural History in Paris.

    A new study finds that Earth’s water may have come from materials that were present in the inner solar system at the time the planet formed—instead of far-reaching comets or asteroids delivering such water. The findings published Aug. 28 in Science suggest that Earth may have always been wet.

    Researchers from the Centre de Recherches Petrographiques et Geochimiques (CRPG, CNRS/Universite de Lorraine) in Nancy, France, including one who is now a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, determined that a type of meteorite called an enstatite chondrite contains sufficient hydrogen to deliver at least three times the amount of water contained in the Earth’s oceans, and probably much more.

    Enstatite chondrites are entirely composed of material from the inner solar system—essentially the same stuff that made up the Earth originally.

    “Our discovery shows that the Earth’s building blocks might have significantly contributed to the Earth’s water,” said lead author Laurette Piani, a researcher at CPRG. “Hydrogen-bearing material was present in the inner solar system at the time of the rocky planet formation, even though the temperatures were too high for water to condense.”

    The findings from this study are surprising because the Earth’s building blocks are often presumed to be dry. They come from inner zones of the solar system where temperatures would have been too high for water to condense and come together with other solids during planet formation.

    The meteorites provide a clue that water didn’t have to come from far away.

    “The most interesting part of the discovery for me is that enstatite chondrites, which were believed to be almost ‘dry,’ contain an unexpectedly high abundance of water,” said Lionel Vacher, a postdoctoral researcher in physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Vacher prepared some of the enstatite chondrites in this study for water analysis while he was completing his Ph.D. at Universite de Lorraine. At Washington University, Vacher is working on understanding the composition of water in other types of meteorites.

    Enstatite chondrites are rare, making up only about 2 percent of known meteorites in collections.

    But their isotopic similarity to Earth make them particularly compelling. Enstatite chondrites have similar oxygen, titanium and calcium isotopes as Earth, and this study showed that their hydrogen and nitrogen isotopes are similar to Earth’s, too. In the study of extraterrestrial materials, the abundances of an element’s isotopes are used as a distinctive signature to identify where that element originated.

    “If enstatite chondrites were effectively the building blocks of our planet—as strongly suggested by their similar isotopic compositions—this result implies that these types of chondrites supplied enough water to Earth to explain the origin of Earth’s water, which is amazing!” Vacher said.

    The paper also proposes that a large amount of the atmospheric nitrogen—the most abundant component of the Earth’s atmosphere—could have come from the enstatite chondrites.

    “Only a few pristine enstatite chondrites exist: ones that were not altered on their asteroid nor on Earth,” Piani said. “In our study we have carefully selected the enstatite chondrite meteorites and applied a special analytical procedure to avoid being biased by the input of terrestrial water.”

    Coupling two analytical techniques—conventional mass spectrometry and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS)—allowed researchers to precisely measure the content and composition of the small amounts of water in the meteorites.

    Prior to this study, “it was commonly assumed that these chondrites formed close to the sun,” Piani said. “Enstatite chondrites were thus commonly considered ‘dry,’ and this frequently reasserted assumption has probably prevented any exhaustive analyses to be done for hydrogen.”

    See the full article here. .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

    Washington University’s mission is to discover and disseminate knowledge, and protect the freedom of inquiry through research, teaching, and learning.

    Washington University creates an environment to encourage and support an ethos of wide-ranging exploration. Washington University’s faculty and staff strive to enhance the lives and livelihoods of students, the people of the greater St. Louis community, the country, and the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:53 am on August 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Storing energy in red bricks", A coating of the conducting polymer PEDOT which is comprised of nanofibers that penetrate the inner porous network of a brick., A polymer coating remains trapped in a brick and serves as an ion sponge that stores and conducts electricity., Advantageously a brick wall serving as a supercapacitor can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times within an hour., , , , How to convert red bricks into a type of energy storage device called a supercapacitor., If you connect a couple of bricks microelectronics sensors would be easily powered., The red pigment in bricks — iron oxide- or rust — is essential for triggering the polymerisation reaction., Washington University in St. Louis   

    From Washington University in St.Louis: “Storing energy in red bricks” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St.Louis

    August 11, 2020
    Talia Ogliore
    talia.ogliore@wustl.edu

    1
    Red brick device developed by chemists at Washington University in St. Louis lights up a green light-emitting diode. The photo shows the core-shell architecture of a nanofibrillar PEDOT-coated brick electrode. Credit: D’Arcy laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Washington University in St. Louis.

    Imagine plugging in to your brick house.

    Red bricks — some of the world’s cheapest and most familiar building materials — can be converted into energy storage units that can be charged to hold electricity, like a battery, according to new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

    Brick has been used in walls and buildings for thousands of years, but rarely has been found fit for any other use. Now, chemists in Arts & Sciences have developed a method to make or modify “smart bricks” that can store energy until required for powering devices. A proof-of-concept published Aug. 11 in Nature Communications (and pictured above) shows a brick directly powering a green LED light.

    “Our method works with regular brick or recycled bricks, and we can make our own bricks as well,” said Julio D’Arcy, assistant professor of chemistry. “As a matter of fact, the work that we have published in Nature Communications stems from bricks that we bought at Home Depot right here in Brentwood (Missouri); each brick was 65 cents.”

    Walls and buildings made of bricks already occupy large amounts of space, which could be better utilized if given an additional purpose for electrical storage. While some architects and designers have recognized the humble brick’s ability to absorb and store the sun’s heat, this is the first time anyone has tried using bricks as anything more than thermal mass for heating and cooling.

    D’Arcy and colleagues, including Washington University graduate student Hongmin Wang, first author of the new study, showed how to convert red bricks into a type of energy storage device called a supercapacitor.

    “In this work, we have developed a coating of the conducting polymer PEDOT, which is comprised of nanofibers that penetrate the inner porous network of a brick; a polymer coating remains trapped in a brick and serves as an ion sponge that stores and conducts electricity,” D’Arcy said.

    The red pigment in bricks — iron oxide, or rust — is essential for triggering the polymerisation reaction. The authors’ calculations suggest that walls made of these energy-storing bricks could store a substantial amount of energy.

    “PEDOT-coated bricks are ideal building blocks that can provide power to emergency lighting,” D’Arcy said. “We envision that this could be a reality when you connect our bricks with solar cells — this could take 50 bricks in close proximity to the load. These 50 bricks would enable powering emergency lighting for five hours.

    “Advantageously, a brick wall serving as a supercapacitor can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times within an hour. If you connect a couple of bricks, microelectronics sensors would be easily powered.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

    Washington University’s mission is to discover and disseminate knowledge, and protect the freedom of inquiry through research, teaching, and learning.

    Washington University creates an environment to encourage and support an ethos of wide-ranging exploration. Washington University’s faculty and staff strive to enhance the lives and livelihoods of students, the people of the greater St. Louis community, the country, and the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:42 pm on February 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Washington University in St. Louis, Zee burst   

    From Washington University in St.Louis: “Ultra-high energy events key to study of ghost particles” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St.Louis

    January 31, 2020 [Just now in social media]
    Talia Ogliore

    1
    This is the highest energy neutrino ever observed, with an estimated energy of 1.14 PeV. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole observed it on January 3, 2012. IceCube physicists named it Ernie. (Credit: IceCube Collaboration)

    Physicists at Washington University in St. Louis have proposed a way to use data from ultra-high energy neutrinos to study interactions beyond the standard model of particle physics. The ‘Zee burst’ model leverages new data from large neutrino telescopes such as the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica and its future extensions.

    U Wisconsin IceCube neutrino observatory

    1

    IceCube employs more than 5000 detectors lowered on 86 strings into almost 100 holes in the Antarctic ice NSF B. Gudbjartsson, IceCube Collaboration

    Lunar Icecube

    IceCube DeepCore annotated

    IceCube PINGU annotated

    DM-Ice II at IceCube annotated


    “Neutrinos continue to intrigue us and stretch our imagination. These ‘ghost particles’ are the least understood in the standard model, but they hold the key to what lies beyond,” said Bhupal Dev, assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences and author of a new study in Physical Review Letters.

    “So far, all nonstandard interaction studies at IceCube have focused only on the low-energy atmospheric neutrino data,” said Dev, who is part of Washington University’s McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences. “The ‘Zee burst’ mechanism provides a new tool to probe nonstandard interactions using the ultra-high energy neutrinos at IceCube.”

    Ultra-high energy events

    Since the discovery of neutrino oscillations two decades ago, which earned the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics, scientists have made significant progress in understanding neutrino properties — but a lot of questions remain unanswered.

    For example, the fact that neutrinos have such a tiny mass already requires scientists to consider theories beyond the standard model. In such theories, “neutrinos could have new nonstandard interactions with matter as they propagate through it, which will crucially affect their future precision measurements,” Dev said.

    In 2012, the IceCube collaboration reported the first observation of ultra-high energy neutrinos from extraterrestrial sources, which opened a new window to study neutrino properties at the highest possible energies. Since that discovery, IceCube has reported about 100 such ultra-high energy neutrino events.

    2
    This is the highest-energy neutrino ever observed, with an estimated energy of 1.14 PeV. It was detected by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole on Jan. 3, 2012. IceCube physicists named it Ernie. (Credit: IceCube collaboration)

    “We immediately realized that this could give us a new way to look for exotic particles, like supersymmetric partners and heavy decaying dark matter,” Dev said. For the previous several years, he had been looking for ways to find signals of new physics at different energy scales and had co-authored half a dozen papers studying the possibilities.

    “The common strategy I followed in all these works was to look for anomalous features in the observed event spectrum, which could then be interpreted as a possible sign of new physics,” he said.

    The most spectacular feature would be a resonance: what physicists witness as a dramatic enhancement of events in a narrow energy window. Dev devoted his time to thinking about new scenarios that could give rise to such a resonance feature. That’s where the idea for the current work came from.

    In the standard model, ultra-high energy neutrinos can produce a W-boson at resonance. This process, known as the Glashow resonance, has already been seen at IceCube, according to preliminary results presented at the Neutrino 2018 conference.

    “We propose that similar resonance features can be induced due to new light, charged particles, which provides a new way to probe nonstandard neutrino interactions,” Dev said.

    Bursting onto the neutrino scene

    Dev and his co-author Kaladi Babu at Oklahoma State University considered the Zee model, a popular model of radiative neutrino mass generation, as a prototype for their study. This model allows for charged scalars to be as light as 100 times the proton mass.

    “These light, charged Zee-scalars could give rise to a Glashow-like resonance feature in the ultra-high energy neutrino event spectrum at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory,” Dev said.

    Because the new resonance involves charged scalars in the Zee model, they decided to call it the ‘Zee burst.’

    3
    Rendering of an observation of the ultra-high energy events that feed into the ‘Zee burst’ model. (Image by Yicong Sui, Washington University)

    Yicong Sui at Washington University and Sudip Jana at Oklahoma State, both graduate students in physics and co-authors of this study, did extensive event simulations and data analysis showing that it is possible to detect such a new resonance using IceCube data.

    “We need an effective exposure time of at least four times the current exposure to be sensitive enough to detect the new resonance — so that would be about 30 years with the current IceCube design, but only three years of IceCube-Gen 2,” Dev said, referring to the proposed next-generation extension of IceCube with 10 km3 detector volume.

    “This is an effective way to look for the new charged scalars at IceCube, complementary to direct searches for these particles at the Large Hadron Collider.”

    Funding: This work was supported by US Department of Energy and by the US Neutrino Theory Network Program.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

    Washington University’s mission is to discover and disseminate knowledge, and protect the freedom of inquiry through research, teaching, and learning.

    Washington University creates an environment to encourage and support an ethos of wide-ranging exploration. Washington University’s faculty and staff strive to enhance the lives and livelihoods of students, the people of the greater St. Louis community, the country, and the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:17 pm on January 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Glashow resonance, In 2012 the IceCube collaboration reported the first observation of ultra-high energy neutrinos from extraterrestrial sources., Interactions beyond the standard model of particle physics., , , , The 'Zee burst' model, , , Washington University in St. Louis   

    From Washington University in St.Louis via phys.org: “Ultra-high energy events key to study of ghost particles” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St.Louis

    via


    phys.org

    January 31, 2020
    Talia Ogliore

    1
    Physicists in Arts & Sciences have proposed a new way to leverage data from large neutrino telescopes such as the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica. Credit: Felipe Pedreros/IceCube and National Science Foundation

    Physicists at Washington University in St. Louis have proposed a way to use data from ultra-high energy neutrinos to study interactions beyond the standard model of particle physics. The ‘Zee burst’ model leverages new data from large neutrino telescopes such as the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica and its future extensions.

    U Wisconsin IceCube neutrino observatory

    IceCube employs more than 5000 detectors lowered on 86 strings into almost 100 holes in the Antarctic ice NSF B. Gudbjartsson, IceCube Collaboration

    Lunar Icecube

    IceCube DeepCore annotated

    DM-Ice at IceCube

    “Neutrinos continue to intrigue us and stretch our imagination. These ‘ghost particles’ are the least understood in the standard model, but they hold the key to what lies beyond,” said Bhupal Dev, assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences and author of a new study in Physical Review Letters.

    “So far, all nonstandard interaction studies at IceCube have focused only on the low-energy atmospheric neutrino data,” said Dev, who is part of Washington University’s McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences. “The ‘Zee burst’ mechanism provides a new tool to probe nonstandard interactions using the ultra-high energy neutrinos at IceCube.”

    Ultra-high energy events

    Since the discovery of neutrino oscillations two decades ago, which earned the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics, scientists have made significant progress in understanding neutrino properties—but a lot of questions remain unanswered.

    For example, the fact that neutrinos have such a tiny mass already requires scientists to consider theories beyond the standard model. In such theories, “neutrinos could have new nonstandard interactions with matter as they propagate through it, which will crucially affect their future precision measurements,” Dev said.

    2
    This is the highest-energy neutrino ever observed, with an estimated energy of 1.14 PeV. It was detected by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole on Jan. 3, 2012. IceCube physicists named it Ernie. Credit: IceCube collaboration

    In 2012, the IceCube collaboration reported the first observation of ultra-high energy neutrinos from extraterrestrial sources, which opened a new window to study neutrino properties at the highest possible energies. Since that discovery, IceCube has reported about 100 such ultra-high energy neutrino events.

    “We immediately realized that this could give us a new way to look for exotic particles, like supersymmetric partners and heavy decaying dark matter,” Dev said. For the previous several years, he had been looking for ways to find signals of new physics at different energy scales and had co-authored half a dozen papers studying the possibilities.

    “The common strategy I followed in all these works was to look for anomalous features in the observed event spectrum, which could then be interpreted as a possible sign of new physics,” he said.

    The most spectacular feature would be a resonance: what physicists witness as a dramatic enhancement of events in a narrow energy window. Dev devoted his time to thinking about new scenarios that could give rise to such a resonance feature. That’s where the idea for the current work came from.

    In the standard model, ultra-high energy neutrinos can produce a W-boson at resonance. This process, known as the Glashow resonance, has already been seen at IceCube, according to preliminary results presented at the Neutrino 2018 conference.

    “We propose that similar resonance features can be induced due to new light, charged particles, which provides a new way to probe nonstandard neutrino interactions,” Dev said.

    3
    Rendering of an observation of the ultra-high energy events that feed into the ‘Zee burst’ model. Credit: Yicong Sui, Washington University

    Bursting onto the neutrino scene

    Dev and his co-author Kaladi Babu at Oklahoma State University considered the Zee model, a popular model of radiative neutrino mass generation, as a prototype for their study. This model allows for charged scalars to be as light as 100 times the proton mass.

    “These light, charged Zee-scalars could give rise to a Glashow-like resonance feature in the ultra-high energy neutrino event spectrum at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory,” Dev said.

    Because the new resonance involves charged scalars in the Zee model, they decided to call it the ‘Zee burst.’

    Yicong Sui at Washington University and Sudip Jana at Oklahoma State, both graduate students in physics and co-authors of this study, did extensive event simulations and data analysis showing that it is possible to detect such a new resonance using IceCube data.

    “We need an effective exposure time of at least four times the current exposure to be sensitive enough to detect the new resonance—so that would be about 30 years with the current IceCube design, but only three years of IceCube-Gen 2,” Dev said, referring to the proposed next-generation extension of IceCube with 10 km3 detector volume.

    “This is an effective way to look for the new charged scalars at IceCube, complementary to direct searches for these particles at the Large Hadron Collider.”

    See the full article here .

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