New Advancements in Brain Mapping Efforts

Understanding the inner workings of the human brain eluded scientists for many years, how and why it functions the way that it does. The movements and reactions in our day-to-day life may seem minuscule, but it is the key to unlocking answers in a new study being conducted in part by UC Berkeley. The recent study was conducted over five years, and its findings were accumulated into 17 different studies covering the mapping of brain cells and their pathways. To achieve this, scientists studied neurological signals from the central cortex of the brain to help them understand things like muscle movement, reaction time and vital motor function. Getting proper mapping was of the utmost importance so the cells were grouped by things like gene type, size, particle structure and gene marker. This study was done with hopes that therapies could be developed to assist with things like disabilities, brain disorders, and other illnesses. This presented a challenge because they had to find ways to merge the data in the clusters as it was found quickly as data was discovered. 

While a full atlas of the human brain will not be completed in the near future, it is hoped that eventually diagnosing a person’s ailment or disease in the brain will be a matter of reference to this massive guide and be able to select the appropriate treatment. To help further understanding, groups of mice were used with certain gene therapies to understand cell growth, neurological movement and more. What this breakthrough could mean for the future of science and medicine, no one knows at this point, but it is hoped that better understanding of the human body and its inner workings is achieved. The evolution of medicine through the use of medical technology has broadened our knowledge exponentially in recent years, here’s hoping that similar breakthroughs continue to be discovered.  

To read more about these efforts by UC Berkley, click here, here, and here.

Click here, to read through past Lenox Laser blog posts.

Powerful Lasers Pioneering Recent Advancements in Particle Physics Research

The laser has been the driving force of our expertise at Lenox Laser for 40 years, however the question remains, what are most powerful lasers in the world right now? We are surrounded by lasers in modern life, from laser printers, to barcode scanners, to medical equipment, and optical hard drives. This past March, CERN in Geneva, known for their particle physics laboratory and particle accelerator, conducted an experiment to cool down antimatter for the first time ever using a laser. They achieved this by making antihydrogen atoms with antiprotons and driving the energy state of the atoms to the lowest possible state.  

The ZEUS laser at the University of Michigan, which is currently studying plasmas, is reportedly the most powerful laser in the United States. Once it is moved into a vacuum chamber, it can then begin precision focus on selected targets delivering extremely fast and short pulses of light. Scientists will measure the volume of gas and using the high energy beam, turn that volume into ionized plasma. The CoReLS(Center for Relativistic Laser Science) laser in South Korea is capable of exceptionally fine cuts thanks to a 28 cm beam using extremely fine parabolic mirrors and glass optics to achieve its precision. Currently, the most powerful laser in the world exists in Osaka, Japan with an outstanding output of 2000 trillion Watts. It is called the Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments (LFEX).  

All these places around the world are being used to re-create environmental space areas to learn more about the universe. The laser facilities that house these mammoth sized projects are not just for storage but for theoretical research as well. For our part in the laser business, Lenox Laser has a wide variety of laser systems for many different applications and is always interested in the forefront of laser technology and pioneering. From laser drilling, to optics, to precision custom-made orders using laser accuracy, we can drill almost anything. Feel free to visit our services page to learn more about our products and capabilities. We look forward to assisting you and want to thank our long-time customers for supporting us over the 40 years of innovation. 
 
To read more about the recent CERN research, click here

For more about the world’s most powerful lasers, click here

Click here, for more about the ZEUS laser. 

SpaceX Hopeful for the Future of Consumer Spaceflight after Inspiration4 Mission Concluded Successfully

The recent Inspiration4 mission by SpaceX, the first ever space flight with a private citizen crew, was a complete success. The crew consisted of four people who participated in astronaut training, never having been in space before. The crew members were in great spirits when they returned last week on Saturday, September 25. The idea of the mission began as a charter flight fundraiser benefiting St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and raised over 200 million dollars. One of the crewmembers, Haley Arceneaux was a patient at St. Jude and is a cancer survivor. The mission lasted three days; intending to provide everyday civilian a chance to experience real spaceflight by floating within Earth’s orbit, giving them views from space that previously only seasoned astronauts could witness. The splashdown happened around 7:07 PM on September 25, with the flight capsule being retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean with medical personnel another other aid standing by to attend to the crewmembers and make sure that they acclimate to the rapid environmental changes upon return. All involved in the mission are thrilled at how the it turned out. 

 The mission was so successful that SpaceX is considering expanding crewmember size by dealing with several different contracts for future missions. With these contracts, they hope to resolve the issue of the capsules’ quantity and short lifespan, with each capsule only having the capacity of five flights, and one of them having already completed two launches. One of the contracts will allow for a space tourism company called Space Adventures. A much larger spaceship simply called Starship, a vessel larger than SpaceX’s Dragon, is in the works but has not had a first trip yet. It would explore space in much the same way as Dragon, just with greater capacity for personnel aboard. With the Success of Inspiration4 combined with future visions of innovation, ingenuity seems endless and we at Lenox Laser wish SpaceX and all involved the greatest of success in their future space fairing efforts. 

To read more about the Inspiration4 splashdown, click here

For more about SpaceX’s future plans, click here

Click here, to read some of Lenox Laser’s previous coverage of the SpaceX missions. 

Visit us at PACK Expo 2021 in Las Vegas

The annual PACK expo is making a triumphant return to Las Vegas live and in person September 27th to the 29th at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Lenox Laser could not be more excited to attend this event. There are so many amazing highlights this year including a dedicated packaging robot which is the first of its kind by Schubert Group, industry first early 1900s liquid filling machines, and the innovative gluing machine that was sold to Abbott Labs in 1937. A variety of manufacturers will be on hand from all areas of the packaging industry. From Coca-Cola, to pharmaceutical, to candy companies, they will all be there showing those in attendance the latest and greatest innovations in packaging and product innovation. Learn about maximizing profits to get the best out of the product and audience that they sell to. In person workshops and live demonstrations will be happening to give a first-hand account of what goes on behind the scenes to give consumers the products they hold tried-and-true in their everyday lives. While there, you can learn about cost-effective digital printing solutions for any packaging business.  

For our part of the expo, Lenox Laser will be excited to show guests our Container Closure Integrity Testing (CCIT) methods in a live talk and demonstration session taking you through the various stages of packaging testing that we do on a weekly basis. Our CCIT methods allow us to laser drill calibrated microleaks to test the durability of critical packaging and containers. We drill a wide variety of metals, alloys, plastics, glass, and composites. We test under many different conditions, whether open or closed, sealed or not. The utmost care and safety standards are delivered to our customers every time. 

 Look for us at booth number 6817 as we proudly show you just one of our company’s many services held in high esteem for over 40 years now. We are excited to be a part of this massively popular show within the packaging industry and we sincerely thank all involved at PACK for having us as a guest speaker, we will be thrilled to see you there. ]

Click here to visit the PACK Expo site for more information.

To join Lenox Laser at the event, register to attend, here.

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

Perseverance Faces Setback Following Initial Collection Attempt

In an unfortunate turn of events, the Mars Perseverance rover has hit a snag while attempting to collect its first sample of Martian rock for analysis. Data sent to Earth indicated that the sample collection tube was empty after the collection process concluded. The team at NASA responsible for overseeing the mission are currently investigating the issue to determine the best course of action moving forward with future sample collection. They plan to utilize the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera located on the rover’s arm to collect initial data about the bore site in the hopes of drawing conclusions as to why the sample was not collected. The team remains optimistic that they will find a solution and be able to move forward with the mission. 

NASA has run into similar issues attempting to sample extraterrestrial matter in the past. The Phoenix mission sampled “sticky” soil that made collection and transport difficult, requiring multiple attempts before being successful. Curiosity encountered problems with Martian rock being harder and more brittle than expected. Most recently, the heat probe of the InSight lander failed to penetrate Mars’s surface as planned. 

Efforts are ongoing to formulate procedures moving forward with future sampling attempts. Success will provide scientists with immeasurable information about Mars and the possibility of, not just past microbial life, but also the viability of human colonization. The entire team at Lenox Laser wishes the folks working on the Perseverance mission the best, and we are excited to learn what Mars has in store for humanity. 

To read more about this latest update from NASA, click here

If you are interested in last week’s blog covering the Perseverance Rover, click here

To read about Lenox Laser’s past involvement with space exploration efforts, click here

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