A New Source Of Magnetism Discovered By Accident

A new magnetic effect was discovered by accident when a UC Berkeley postdoctoral researcher and several students grew graphene on the surface of a platinum crystal.  Graphene is a one atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal pattern, that looks like chicken wire.  Examination showed when grown on platinum, the carbon atoms do not perfectly line up with the metal surface’s triangular crystal structure, which creates a strain pattern in the graphene as if it were being pulled from three different directions.

Michael Crommie, professor of physics at UC Berkeley and a faculty researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory runs the lab where the discovery was made. Charles Kane and Eugene Mele of the University of Pennsylvania first predicted the appearance of a “pseudomagnetic” field in response to strain in graphene for carbon nanotubes in 1997. Nanotubes are a rolled up form of graphene.

Crommie explains the strain produces small, raised triangular graphene bubbles 4 to 10 nanometers across in which the electrons occupy discrete energy levels rather than the broad, continuous range of energies allowed by the band structure of unstrained graphene. This new electronic behavior was detected spectroscopically by scanning tunneling microscopy. These so-called Landau levels are reminiscent of the quantized energy levels of electrons in the simple Bohr model of the atom.

Graphene Strain Induced Nanobubbles. .

Crommie said, “This gives us a new handle on how to control how electrons move in graphene, and thus to control graphene’s electronic properties, through strain. By controlling where the electrons bunch up and at what energy, you could cause them to move more easily or less easily through graphene, in effect, controlling their conductivity, optical or microwave properties. Control of electron movement is the most essential part of any electronic device.”

Inventive engineers take note – this opens a new field.

What happens is the electrons within each nanobubble segregate into quantized energy levels instead of occupying energy bands, as in unstrained graphene. The energy levels are identical to those that an electron would occupy if it were moving in circles in a very strong magnetic field, as high as 300 tesla, which is stronger than any laboratory can produce except in brief explosions, said Crommie.  For comparison, a magnetic resonance imager uses magnets running at less than 10 tesla, while the Earth’s magnetic field at ground level is only 31 microtesla.  The scale, while atom sized on one dimension – is incredible.

Meanwhile over the last year Francisco Guinea of the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid in Spain, Mikhael Katsnelson of Radboud University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and A. K. Geim of the University of Manchester, England predicted what they termed a pseudo quantum Hall effect in strained graphene. This is the very quantization that Crommie’s research group has experimentally observed. Boston University physicist Antonio Castro Neto, who was visiting Crommie’s laboratory at the time of the discovery, immediately recognized the implications of the data, and subsequent experiments confirmed that it reflected the pseudo quantum Hall effect predicted earlier.

This is pretty cheerful stuff.  Crommie observes, “Theorists often latch onto an idea and explore it theoretically even before the experiments are done, and sometimes they come up with predictions that seem a little crazy at first. What is so exciting now is that we have data that shows these ideas are not so crazy. The observation of these giant pseudomagnetic fields opens the door to room-temperature ‘straintronics,’ the idea of using mechanical deformations in graphene to engineer its behavior for different electronic device applications.”

The catch in all the excitement is the nanobubble experiments performed in Crommie’s laboratory were performed at very low temperature.  Crommie notes that the pseudomagnetic fields inside the nanobubbles are so high that the energy levels are separated by hundreds of millivolts, much higher than room temperature. Thus, thermal noise would not interfere with this effect in graphene even at room temperature.

Normally, electrons moving in a magnetic field circle around the field lines. Within the strained nanobubbles, the electrons move in circles in the plane of the graphene sheet, as if a strong magnetic field has been applied perpendicular to the sheet even when there is no actual magnetic field. Apparently, Crommie said, the pseudomagnetic field only affects moving electrons and not other properties of the electron, such as spin, that are affected by real magnetic fields.

There’s a lot of pseudo so far in the press release and the paper’s abstract at Science. But the research effort is measuring the Tesla force.  That point focuses attention is a major way.  Getting to 10 Tesla requires lots of power and a source without such a power input thirty times as strong is prey worthy of the best minds in science.  Should the effect make it beyond microelectronics in scale to say motors, the impact would be huge.

The long term potential isn’t known in precise terms.  There is a great deal of further exploration and experimentation to come.  Yet the early theory ideas have borne fruit – by accident.

The serendipitous post doc remains un named, but add to paper’s author list Castro Neto and Francisco Guinea, Sarah Burke, now a professor at the University of British Columbia; Niv Levy, now a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institute of Technology and Standards; and graduate student Kacey L. Meaker, undergraduate Melissa Panlasigui and physics professor Alex Zettl of UC Berkeley.  It’s a paper that might be worth the reading fee for the inventive engineer.

Here is the original: New Energy and Fuel

A New Look At the Carbon Cycle

Two new studies with international participation might change the way scientists view the crucial relationship between Earth’s climate and the carbon cycle. The reports explore the global photosynthesis and respiration rates — the planet’s deep “breaths” of carbon dioxide, in and out.  The researchers say that the new findings will be used to update and improve upon traditional models that couple together climate and carbon.

Well . . .  Lets look at the press release info. The two reports were published online by the journal Science at the Science Express Web site on July 5th. Science is published by The American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the nonprofit science society.  Still, when it comes to the global warming crown the AAAS isn’t leading the ‘get it right’ crowd at all.  Anyway . . .

Led by Christian Beer from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, along with colleagues from 10 other countries around the world, the first study looks at Earth’s Gross Primary Production (GPP), which represents the total amount of carbon dioxide that terrestrial plants breathe in through photosynthesis each year. With a novel combination of observations and modeling, they estimate the total amount of carbon dioxide that the world’s plant life inhales annually to be 123 billion tons.

The other group led by Miguel Mahecha, also from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, and another international team of researchers believes they’ve settled a long-standing debate over the effects of short-term variations in air temperature on ecosystem respiration, or the Earth’s exhalation of carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. They show that the sensitivity of ecosystem respiration to short-term variations in temperature is similar around the world. The researchers also suggest that factors other than temperature, such as the slow, ongoing transformations of carbon in the soil and water availability, appear to play crucial roles in long-term ecosystem carbon balances.

Mahecha’s group looks to be working on the actual carbon cycle loop and the variables that affect the rates vegetation operates.  Beer’s group is going for the big numbers, novel or new, the field is rife in opportunities in the assumptions, omissions and errors.  The math may be impeccable but the assumptions are going to be suspect from the start.  Maybe not due to the team, but the Climategate fraud casts a very long shadow.

The press release groups the two studies with the hope of selling the idea the study findings shed more light on the global cycle of carbon into and out of the atmosphere and how those processes are coupled with Earth’s ever-changing climate. The researchers analyzed vast amounts of climate and carbon data from around the world, and they say their results should help to improve the validity of predictive models and help resolve how climate change might affect the carbon cycle — and our world — in the future.

Beer sensibly says, “An understanding of the factors that control the GPP of various terrestrial ecosystems is important because we humans make use of many ecosystem services, such as wood, fiber, and food.  Additionally, such an understanding is important in the context of climate change as a consequence of carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels because vegetation greatly modulates the land-atmosphere exchanges of greenhouse gases, water, and carbon dioxide…”  All very well reasoned and reasonable.

Beer and his colleagues pooled large amounts of data from FLUXNET, an international initiative established more than 10 years ago to monitor exchanges of carbon dioxide between Earth’s ecosystems and the atmosphere, with remote sensing and climate data from around the world to calculate the spatial distribution of mean annual GPP between 1998 and 2006.

The Beer led researchers highlight the fact that uptake of carbon dioxide is most pronounced in the planet’s tropical forests, which are responsible for a full 34 percent of the inhalation of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Savannas then account for 26 percent of the global uptake, although the researchers note that savannas also occupy about twice as much surface area as tropical forests.

Well, NO.  Looking back up at the beginning the report is only looking at the terrestrial activity, all of Oceania is being ignored.   Someone needs to have a talk with the press office.

The Beer led researchers found rainfall also plays a significant role in determining the gross global carbon dioxide uptake. They suggest that rainfall has a significant influence on the amount of carbon that plants utilize for photosynthesis on more than 40 percent of vegetated lands, a discovery that stresses the importance of water availability for food security. According to the study, climate models often show great variation, and some of them overestimate the influence of rainfall on global carbon dioxide uptake.

Biomass Growth Chart By Temperature and Precipitation. Click image for the largest view.

No one is dialing in the atmospheric humidity, which has a huge impact, too.

But Beer sums up with; “We reached a milestone with this paper by using plenty of data from FLUXNET in addition to remote sensing and climate reanalysis. With our estimation of global GPP, we can do two things — compare our results with Earth system process models and further analyze the correlation between GPP and climate.”

It sounds good but doesn’t look solid, still a theory looking for statistics and the stats aren’t good enough, by far.

Mahecha and his team of researchers also relied on the global collaboration within the FLUXNET network during their investigation of ecosystems’ sensitivity to air temperature. Compiling and analyzing data from 60 different FLUXNET sites, the researchers found that the respiratory sensitivity to temperature of the world’s ecosystems, commonly referred to as Q10, is actually quite set in stone — and that the Q10 value is independent of the average local temperature and of the specific ecosystem conditions.  This group looks much more sensible – the conclusion matches standard agronomy know how.  Farmers know and count up the heat units they get to predict yields.  Decades of experience make the process a certainty.

Which makes one wonder – when the press release asserts experts have debated the effect that air temperature has on global respiration, or the collective metabolic processes of organisms that return carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from Earth’s surface. Most empirical studies suggest that such ecosystem respiration around the world is highly sensitive to increasing temperatures, while the majority of predictive models suggest otherwise. Scientists say that global air temperatures may rise due to the presence of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.

But, this new result suggests that the temperature sensitivity of the natural exhalation of carbon dioxide from ecosystems has been overestimated and should be reevaluated.

Mahecha and his team considered the processes of the 60 different ecosystems on the exact same time-scale in order to nail the global mean Q10 down to a value of 1.4. Their new, standard value for various ecosystems’ sensitivity to air temperature suggests a less pronounced short-term climate-carbon feedback compared to previous estimates.  The study might settle a controversy – suggesting that previous field studies failed to disentangle processes acting on different time-scales.

Mahecha says, “Our key finding is that the short-term temperature sensitivity of ecosystem respiration to air temperature is converging to a single, global value.  Contrary to previous studies, we show that the sensitivity of ecosystem respiration to temperature variations seems to be independent from external factors and constant across ecosystems. In other words, we found a general relationship between variation in temperature and ecosystem respiration… Our findings reconcile the apparent contradictions of modeling and field studies.”  Thank you, sirs.

Its reported that the two studies can allow for more precise predictions of how Earth’s warming climate will affect the exchange of carbon between our ecosystems and the atmosphere — and vice versa. They provide scientists with important tools for better understanding the world’s ecosystems and how the human race continues to influence and alter them.

But there isn’t much new in the work.  Crop scientists, agronomists, farmers, gardeners and herbalists have all known for generations that warm humid rainy weather is better for biomass growth than cool dry droughts.  Actually everyone knows that.

Mahecha’s group may well straighten some things out.  Beer’s group cuckolds some more bizarre modeling.  Maybe this is progress.  But it challenges the practical food consuming critters on earth – we’re grateful for every bit of atmospheric carbon dioxide – cutting CO² back sounds sometimes like planetary genocide.

Source: New Energy and Fuel

New York Times Features GrandCare

GrandCare – an assistance system for independent seniors, their families and care partners – was featured just yesterday is not just one, but two stories in the New York Times.

Technologies Help Adult Children Monitor Aging Parents: In the general scheme of life, parents are the ones who keep tabs on the children. But now, a raft of new technology is making it possible for adult children to monitor to a stunningly precise degree the daily movements and habits of their aging parents. The purpose is to provide enough supervision to make it possible for elderly people to stay in their homes rather than move to an assisted-living facility or nursing home – a goal almost universally embraced as both emotionally and financially desirable. Read more »

The Technology for Monitoring Elderly Relatives: For those with advanced physical ailments, the ability to contact emergency personnel may not be enough. It wasn’t for Jean Roberts, a 79-year-old retired nurse who had a brain aneurysm 20 years ago, and now suffers from a seizure disorder. She and her daughter, Carol, 52, who is also disabled, set up a system of customized sensors from GrandCare Systems. Read more »

To learn more about how GrandCare can benefit your family, contact Home Controls at 800-266-8765 to find a local authorized dealer near you.

Here is the original post: Home Controls

Suunto X10M Wrist-Top GPS Computer Watch with Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, and GPS

  • Wrist-top computer watch with altimeter, barometer, compass, and GPS navigator
  • Offer improved, faster GPS fixes for navigating to a spot or hiking a specific path
  • Altimeter displays current elevation and vertical ascent and descent rate
  • Barometer helps you predict changing conditions; built-in digital compass
  • Water-resistant to 330 feet; 3 daily alarms; 2-year warranty

Product DescriptionX10 Military GPS WatchAmazon. com Product DescriptionSmall and lightweight, the Suunto X10M wrist-top computer watch combines an altimeter, barometer, compass, and GPS navigator, making it a terrific companion for outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. The X10M–which builds on Suunto’s decade of experience in creating cutting-edge outdoor devices–stands above most other wrist-top computers thanks to its improved, faster GPS fixes. Even under heavy foliage, you can use the X10M to plot your treks, navigate to a certain spot, or get back to your car, all while keeping your hands free to hold a hiking stick or water bottle. Once back at home, you can share your treks on Google Earth, or use the Suunto Trek Manager PC software to create new routes and plan new journeys. The Suunto X10M also includes a built-in altimeter, which displays your current altitude and your vertical ascent and descent rate. Accurate to within 30,000 feet, the altimeter is an extremely valuable tool for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and wilderness travel. The altimeter contributes to your excursion in several ways. If you’re standing on or near an obvious geographic feature, such as a ridge, trail, or creek, the altimeter can alert you to your current elevation and help you find your position on a topographic map. Similarly, if you plan on climbing a slope to a certain elevation and then traversing, the X10M can help you stay on course. And, of course, the X10M captures all your altitude information in its integrated logbook, making it easy to analyze your performance when creating a training routine. The Suunto X10M watch includes an altimeter, barometer, compass, and GPS navigator. The X10M’s barometer, meanwhile, measures and records air pressure to help you predict changing conditions–from sunny skies to hair-bending electrical storms. The barometer helps you decide whether to bring a soft shell or rain shell jacket when the skies look ominous, or even when to high-tail it back to the car. In general, low pressure brings inclement weather, while high pressure brings stability and clear skies. If you’ve arrived at camp and notice the pressure starting to plunge, it’s probably a good idea to secure the tent and crawl in. Likewise, if you’re on a climb, it would be prudent to find shelter and retreat. Even at home, the X10M’s barometer can look beyond office walls, skyscrapers, and nearby hills to help you plan for upcoming activities. And no outdoor watch is worth its salt without a digital compass, a great tool for keeping track of your direction while skiing, hiking, or exploring a new city. Simply point the top of the watch toward your intended destination and lock it in. Other features include an Activity Mode that records your speed, distance, and altitude information, along with any memory points you define along the way; a Track Back mode that guides you back the same way you came; a long-lasting battery; up to 50 routes, 25 tracks, and 500 waypoints; water-resistance up to 330 feet; and all the standard watch functions, including a 12/24-hour display, a stopwatch, a calendar clock, and three daily alarms. As with all Suunto wrist-top computers, the X10M carries a two-year warranty. Specifications: Altitude alarm: Yes Vertical speed: Yes Temperature compensation: Yes User-removable logbook files: Yes Resolution: 1 meter Altitude range: 1,600 to 29,500 feet Logbook function: Yes Stopwatch: Yes Max number of split times in memory: 29 Automatic magnetic declination adjustment: Yes Guided calibration: Yes Heading in degrees: Yes Declination setting: Yes Cardinal directions: Yes Bearing tracking: Yes North-South indicator: North indicator Distance measurement: Yes, via GPS GPS resolution: 3 feet Routes: 50 Speed: Yes Tracks: 25 Waypoints: 500 Water resistance: 330 feet Menu-based user interface: Yes Display: Dot matrix Backlight type: LED Software: Suunto Trek Manager Time: 12/24 hours GPS time synchronization: Yes Calendar clock: Yes Dual time: Yes Daily alarms: 3 Absolute barometric pressure: Yes Weather memory: 7 days Weather alarm: Yes Trend graph: Yes Temperature range: -5 to 140 degrees F Sea level pressure: Yes Battery power indicator: Yes Rechargeable battery: Yes Warranty: 2 years About Suunto Suunto was founded in 1936 by outdoors man and a keen orienteering enthusiast, Tuomas Vohlonen, who had long been bothered by a problem: the inaccuracy of traditional dry compasses and their lack of steady needle operation. Being an engineer with an inventive turn of mind, he discovered and patented the production method for a much steadier needle, better readings, and a new level of accuracy. By 1950 the company was exporting compasses to over 50 countries around the world, including Canada and the United States. In 1952, Helsinki was hosting the Olympic Games, and the torches carried to light the Olympic flame were Suunto products. The next step was improving the stability and accuracy of marine compasses. The first marine compass, the Suunto K-12, was launched onto the market in 1953. In 1957, Suunto started manufacturing hypsometers, which measure the height of trees. In the 1960s, the compass range grew further and Suunto introduced its first diving compass–initiated by the divers themselves. A British sports diver attached a Suunto compass to his wrist and found that the device also worked underwater. Thanks to his feedback and initiatives, the new business category was found. Suunto’s exports and business grew steadily and Suunto then focused on combining its strength in precision mechanics with new skills in electronics. Accuracy, reliability, and ruggedness have been Suunto’s key values from the very beginning of the company history. Today, Suunto is a leading designer and manufacturer of sports instruments for training, diving, mountaineering, hiking, skiing, sailing, and golf. True to its roots, Suunto is today the world’s biggest compass manufacturer. Prized for their design, accuracy and dependability, Suunto sports instruments combine the aesthetics and functionality of watches with sport-specific computers that help athletes at all levels analyze and improve performance. Headquartered in Vantaa, Finland, Suunto employs more than 500 people worldwide and distributes its products to nearly 60 countries. The company is a subsidiary of Helsinki-based Amer Sports Corporation with the sister brands Wilson, Salomon, Atomic, Precor, and Mavic.
Suunto X10M Wrist-Top GPS Computer Watch with Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, and GPS