Researchers Discover Unexpected Interaction Between Electrons in New Metal

Scientific discoveries continually improve and shape the foundations of our daily lives.  This has again proven true with the discovery of a new metal that allows electrons to flow like liquid filtered through a pipe. Atoms typically move in metal by loose electrons also known as free electrons that group together to form negative charges near the positive charges. In a new study, done by experimental physicists at Boston College, the goal was to find out how electrons can move like liquid inside of a new superconductor called Ditetrelide (NbGe2). It was found that interactions with phonons, small “particles” of heat or vibrational energy, can cause drastic shifts. The new metal is a combination of Germanium and Niobium. It was also noted that with this liquid metal combination, the laws of hydrodynamics could still be obeyed. By interacting with these phonons, the electron-phonon liquid can be created. 

Three different methods were used to study the metal to give it a more scientific breakdown. Electrical resistance testing was able to display high mass electrons. Raman scattering showed different levels of vibration in the Ditetrelide (NbGe2) due to the differential flow in the electrons. The final method was x-ray diffraction showing in detail the structure of the metal. With further experimentation, the electron mass was found to be three times larger than initially predicted. 

Sometime soon, it is hoped that Ditetrelide (NbGe2) can be used in new medical devices, and even portable patches. Lenox Laser congratulates all involved from Boston College on their findings in this new research study. We hope that this new metal can provide wonderful and innovative technologies in the future.  

Click here, to read more about the study.  

To read past blog entries from Lenox Laser, click here.

Ingenuity Performing Far Beyond Expectations

Nasa’s Mars Ingenuity helicopter has been giving us some of the most breathtaking views of the planet. Two flights were successfully completed recently, flight number 12 on August 15 and number 13 this past Labor Day weekend. Fight 12 astounded scientists because of how far the simple prototype had come. The helicopter only weighs 1.8 kg and was initially designed to show what a simple vehicle could achieve exploring the planet. The original plan for the flight was to go to South Séítah, flying at a 10m altitude and traveling about 235m to get side-by-side detailed images of surface terrain clear enough to make a full 3-D image. During this time over 10 images would be captured, and then given to the Perseverance rover to determine further areas of the planet for study. Ingenuity has dealt with Mars’s harsh winds, dusty, rocky surfaces, craters, and volcanic activity. The helicopter hadbeen through an extremely rough flight from Earth when it was launched back in April of this year for its first trip. The goal of each flight is to learn as much as we can about Mars. With the atmosphere being only 1% of the density of Earth’s, ingenuity is navigating the planet with a high degree of difficulty, making exploration a bigger obstacle. 

Flight 13 was able to fly closer to the planet than any previous attempt, 13 also covered a shorter distance than its predecessor traveling 690 feet compared to 1476 feet on flight 12. The helicopter was never designed to be flying cameras when in prototype stage, so the fact it is accomplishing such feats and lasting long enough is astonishing to scientists. The photos from different directions may help uncover more angles and reveal hidden points of interest.  Overall, the team is excited by the results. Lenox Laser joins in their excitement to see what answers these discoveries will unlock about the red planet. 

To read the original article by NASA, click here

For past coverage Lenox Laser has written about Perseverance and Ingenuity, click here

James Webb Telescope Cleared for Delivery

The long road to launch the James Webb telescope has been a dream project of epic proportions. However, the immense journey is about the pay off in spades as the big day is just over a month from now on October 31. Teams hard at work at Northrop Grumman have completed all the telescope’s final testing and it has been cleared for launch site delivery in Kourou, French Guiana. These tests were handled by expert teams of transport engineers, a coordination task force, and control experts. This process will be completed no later than the end of September, with other teams in Baltimore, Maryland doing last-minute final technical checks of James Webb’s computers and onboard systems to avoid any last-minute issues. Engineers and scientists from 14 countries in 29 states have been a part of this mission’s inception since day one and are extremely honored and proud to see it come this far. Once launched, it will be a 28-minute ride for the telescope to hit orbit. As the James Webb telescope will become the new premium observatory for major space discovery, seeing it in action is a thing that only comes along once-in-a-lifetime and is not to be forgotten. The maiden exploration phase will last six months. 

 Webb’s trek to its exact orbiting point will take one month and will cover 1 million miles. Once reached, the sunshield can unfold and full-time observations can begin with the sunshield instruments cooling it down little by little over time. This is an immensely gratifying moment considering all the James Webb has overcome to get here, including help from designers, equipment building and testing, maintenance, and delays. Webb has been through it all and beat the odds. During Webb’s time in space, its observations and journey will be one for the history books no matter the discoveries. Lenox Laser had the honor of being part of the project by designing precision alignment targets for its mid-infrared instrument (MIRI). Lenox Laser was even invited to see this process firsthand when they were created. We are excited to see the launch, and hope that it all goes smoothly. 

To read the article posted by NASA themselves, click here.

Interested in Lenox Laser’s previous articles on James Webb’s development? Click here.

Recent Advancements in Semiconductor Manufacturing

Semiconductors have been a part of the manufacturing world for many decades now. They continue to evolve by the day with varying capabilities. The idea of cultivating electric components for semiconductors has caught the imagination of a team at the University of South Wales. With assistance from Cambridge University, they hope to make components smaller and faster and avoid oxidation or other damaging effects. These can be built by manufacturing an ultra-small and wafer-thin metal gate within the semiconducting crystal. The electric flow needs to be in close quarters with the switch to turn the transistor on and off at any time, this also needs to be done while maintaining a steady frequency response.  

A frequent problem the new process will try to solve is the issue of oxidation. Making the devices smaller and with more singular circuitry, surface oxidation unfortunately is an unavoidable factor. While oxidation is an issue with this process currently, there are also many advantages like making them smaller to avoid scattering, when electron pathways fail to communicate. It will also increase conductivity by two and a half times. 

With this innovative design, the team hopes to eliminate excess electrical charge stored in the semiconductor. Even with reduced scattering the team still faces the challenges of scattering preventing high-frequency components from being used inside transistors. Surface charges could cause fluctuations resulting in a short or miscommunication of pathway signals. If the project proves successful, whatever form these new semiconductors may take, they can hopefully be used for a variety of products and applications. We at Lenox Laser wish the team remarkable success.  

For more information on this project, click here.  

A Look into the Development of Brain Computer Interfaces

The human brain is a tool, full of mystery, and evolving every day. Imagine for a moment that there was a way to completely unlock and understand the mind in ways that science never imagined possible. This is the goal a team of neuroscientists at Brown University, University of California at San Diego, and Qualcomm is hoping to achieve. The hope is that research into brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) with advanced sensors will one day assist in eliminating or slowing the progress of brain and spinal cord injuries. BCIs are implanted computers with thousands of neural pathway sensors that detect and interpret brain signals and may eventually be given the capacity to produce stimuli where the brain is lacking. The systems being developed at Brown University, which are currently being tested on mice, have proven to surpass currently available technology. The sensors would be packed into a small wearable skin patch about the size of a fingerprint and readings would be sent to a computer or portable device. The goal of the study is to achieve as many signals as possible from living brain tissue. 

The obstacles of testing come from precisely probing of the brain. If successful, this new BCI could not only help with spinal cord injuries but neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, motor skill impairments, and even dementia as well as assist in the treatment of brain injuries. Finding a comfortable yet secure prosthetic is the other hurdle teams are facing, with devices needing to produce accurate readings while avoiding a massive hinderance to mobility. 

 The scientists involved in the project have an extremely positive outlook for what this study could mean for the future of neuroscience and medicine in general. We at Lenox Laser wish them all the success possible. 

For more information on the development of BCIs, click here, or here

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