Wednesday, 30 January 2013

All the colors of sunlight

Although the Sun appears to us that the "yellow" when viewed with the naked eye, it actually emits light in all colors, and that scientists can "see" through special telescopes that are able to observe wavelengths beyond the visible range.

"The data in multiple colors," reveals a variety of strange things about our sun, which is constantly changing and tells how scientists solar material moves through the solar atmosphere.

There are two ways in which solar telescopes are able to gather the information about the light emitted by the sun. One is through the spectrometer that can simultaneously observe different wavelengths of light and generate graphs that give an integrated picture of the range of temperature of various substances in the sun.

In the meantime, other instruments can take photos and the Sun "to observe" light in a range that is not visible to the human eye. For example. AIA instrument at NASA's powerful dynamic Solar Observatory (Solar Dynamics Observatorsy - SDO) can look at the world in 10 different wavelengths - and each has chosen to highlight a particular part of the solar atmosphere.

This is a list of what can be "seen" by the SDO, in angstroms (1 angstrom = 0.1 nm):

4500: The sun's surface or photosphere
1700: The sun's surface or chromosphere
1600: The combination of the upper photosphere and the transition region, which is between the chromosphere and the upper layers of the solar atmosphere - the corona
304: The light from the chromosphere and transition areas
171: Corona when the calm, and the magnetic arches
193: "warmer" part of the corona
211: More warm and active magnetic parts corona
335: warmer and more active parts of the coronal magnetic
94: Corona during a "solar flare"
131: The hottest materials in flares


Monday, 28 January 2013

Medical Innovations for 2013

Technologies for the diagnosis of bacterial diseases, scan that reveals skin cancer or apparatus incorporating a migraine, some of the innovations in medicine that are anticipated for 2013. 

Cleveland Clinic in Ohio at the end of each year to assess the real innovation will mark the health care next year. How Claire O'Connell from "Irish Times' learns, among the most important advances will increase the percentage of successful transplantation of lungs.

Chris Coburn, executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations (CCI), which has so far collected more than $ 650 million on net level, has provided insight into innovation.

Digital breast tomosinteza (DBT) - This type of "3D mammography" may be practiced with the current mammogram in order to get more detailed cancer. During mamografisanja, X-ray passes quickly in an arc around the breast, recording thousands of images from thousands of angles that can be later assembled into a three dimensional image of the breast.
This approach makes it possible to notice small cancerous lumps that are hidden in the surrounding tissues. "It's nice to see on this list technology that directly affects the health care of women," said Coburn.

Modular device for the treatment of complex aneurysms - abnormal aortic aneurysm and weak abdominal aortic wall can be disastrous if a break occurs. Large and letting aneurysms can be used to treat the minimum stent implantation, but many patients have anatomy that is not suitable for it.
The new concept offers a modular stent that can be easily adapted patient would not fit him. "This modular design makes it more challenging parts of the anatomy, such as aneurysm arising at the junction of the aorta and adjacent arteries," says Coburn. "It allows the adjustment of this important procedure the patient's needs."
"Cleaning" for lung transplantation - This technology allows to increase the number of lungs available for transplant by "washing" the removed lung donors in order to eliminate defects and improve the quality of organs.
Donor lungs are placed in a transparent chamber that looks like a balloon and connected to an artificial blood pump and fan systems.
The body is then subjected to special fluids and oxygen, and in some cases prescription medications. When it is estimated that lung viable and able to survive in the body, they are ready for transplanting
"It offers the opportunity to increase the number of candidates for the donation," said Coburn. "If fully implemented, this method could increase the availability of lungs for transplantation to 40%."
Laser surgery is a lens that femtoseconds - Cataract is the leading disease that causes vision impairment and blindness, but surgery can remove damaged tissue and to implant new intra-ocular lens.
Femtosekundski (one millionth of a billionth of a second) lasers allow the cataract procedure without the use of a scalpel and without making cuts, so you can make a circular hole in the lens capsule, the lens splits into sections and then soften and degrade cataracts.
"This is a very fast, very accurate, and, excuse the words game, cutting-edge technology," tells Coburn. "The concept of the reliability and speed with which you can treat a large number of patients."
Handheld device to detect melanoma - Melanoma is increasing in many parts of the world, and early diagnosis is essential in order to eliminate malignant cells in time. Innovation is a device that is held in the hand and a dermatologist can use in your practice.
Device emits several wavelengths of light through which can be seen small blood vessels beneath the mole or injury, so you do not have to be a real cut in the skin. This is the way that patient access specialists without a biopsy and the potential fear and worry that it may cause.
"The advantage of this technology is that it is affordable and easy to use," said Coburn.
Medicines for prostate cancer at an advanced stage - the last few years a number of drugs approved in the U.S. for the treatment of prostate cancer were gone, but we expect further development of these types of drugs.
"It is of great importance to improve the treatment of prostate cancer and is still working to come up with positive results," said Coburn.
Mass spectrometry for identification of bacteria - When a patient has a serious bacterial infection, rapid diagnosis and obtain appropriate drugs means a lot. Advances in mass spectrometry allows to identify bacteria in a sample taken from a patient in a matter of minutes, rather than days as it used to be the case.
"There is a great enthusiasm in the community of pathologists and this invention will enable a rapid turnaround in the treatment of patients," said Coburn.
Neuro-modulator migraine - migraine and severe headache caused great depression and loss of productivity. Innovation that would solve this problem is to install a miniature stimulator which, on command, the ganglia stimulated nerve cells that are located behind the face. If one is appointed to sit on the patient's head, the patient could be activated when the migraine becomes ravaged.
"The procedure for placing this device takes about 45 minutes or less, so it can be accessed over the right and ends at the end of the lip. Has no reason to fear," said Coburn. "It really is an elegant technology and early results are astounding."
Bariatric surgery to control diabetes - Type 2 diabetes is a serious health problem and the risk of developing the chronic disease has increased
obesity. Resent studies show that bariatric surgery - which changes the digestive system to reduce energy intake - can play an important role in control of type 2 diabetes
"It is clear that bariatric surgery itself is not new, but have occurred in the technology associated with it," says Coburn. "However, demonstrating how it can reverse the progress of type 2 diabetes is revolutionary for our list."

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Facebook be charged direct messages

The ability to send messages to people who paid you are not friends on Facebook seriously considered in Palo Alto, based on the world's largest social network.

Facebook is considering to allow users to send direct messages to users that they are not Facebook friends, but only if you pay for it.

Mesabl blog that tracks the technology, says that some users of Facebook who wanted to send a message to the owner and founder of the network Zukerbergu Mark, came to bid may do so if they pay $ 100 per message.

No payments, Zukerbergu message to arrive in the folder "Other", but with payment of all who might want to send a message that is sure to get the founder of Facebook. Facebook has said that pricing was being considered for such messages to be split from one side.

Zukerberg has more than 16 million followers on Facebook.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The visual spectacle of Comet "Ison"

If a celestial body "survive" let the Sun will pass by Earth, and the sky will shine like the moon and it will be visible during the day.

Astronomers expect that the comet will be visible in the fall with the naked eye - even during the day, it said the U.S. space agency Nasa. Already called "comet of the century", is now close to the orbit of Jupiter, visible as a weak "speck of light" that moves through black space. Although it does not seem important, but it is far brighter than the thousands of distant stars visible in the night sky, astronomers suggest.For now, only through large telescopes see that it was a comet, but later this year, when it approaches Earth, the comet "Ajson" becomes strikingly celestial body, visible to the naked eye even in broad daylight.Comet "Ajson" will pass close to the sun, explains Karl Batams Research Laboratory of the U.S. Navy, adding that "her past the Earth can be spectacular."Russian Vitaly astronomers Nevski and Artem Novičonok first noticed the comet September 2012. and gave it the name by the acronym of its program for observing the sky, "International Scientific Optical Network" (International Scientific Optical Network) - "Ison"."The case is so extreme distances (near the orbit of Jupiter), the comet is very bright," says Batams.Her glow indicates that it gas and dust ejected from a fairly large core "range from one to 10 kilometers," estimated Matthew Knight from Lowell Observatory.This "dirty snowball" as scientists call comets because of their composition, proleteće 28th November this year, the Sun, the more than one million miles above its surface. If the comet survives of the summer, which is unknown, the sky could be the object that appears as a glowing moon, visible near the sun in broad daylight. Dusty tail of the comet, which will extend the night sky, could be seen worldwide sensation.Since "Ison" but called it "comet of the century", from Don Jemans Our program for near-Earth objects, believe that it is premature. 'Previous' comet century' appeared in 1973, when it appeared that the comet "Kohoutek" throw a great show. But in the end it was so much disappointment, it turned into a joke, "recalls Jemans as" comet totally unpredictable. "'Comet' Ison 'has the potential to climaxing, but it can happen and it does not happen anything, "agrees Batams.

Sun-threatening comets

Danger to the sun comet. It is known that tidal forces and radiation from the sun destroy the comet. A recent example is the comet "Ellen," which broke up and scattered 2011, as it approached the Sun. "Ellen", however, was much smaller than the new comet that approaches us.

A better example of a comet "Lavjoj" which flew through the atmosphere intact Sun 2011th weeks and then delighted viewers with colorful tail of the Earth.

'Comet' Ajson 'probably at least double that of comets' Lavjoj' and it will be a little further away from the Sun's surface than that, "says Knight, and provides:

"This suggests that the 'Ajson' survive and produce a spectacle."

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Seeking a woman who will give birth to a Neanderthal in the 21 Ages!

Professor of Medicine at Harvard, George believes that CERCLA can collect enough genetic material from Neanderthal bone samples in order to reconstruct this lost species. However, what he needs is a woman who gave birth to a baby Neanderthal.

Professor of Medicine at Harvard George's daughter, one of the pioneers of the human genome project, is confident that he can revive the Neanderthal.

He believes that you can gather enough genetic material from Neanderthal bone samples in order to reconstruct this lost species. However, he needs a woman who will give birth to a Neanderthal, according to RTL.

Specifically, he plans to put the DNA into stem cells, which would then inserted into the human embryo in the early stages of development.

"It depends on many factors, but I believe that it is feasible. All we need now is the adventurous human woman," said the daughter, who believes that his project would greatly contribute to humanity.

Neanderthals, who today consider primitive version of today's man, died out 33,000 years ago, but it is believed to have mated with Homo sapiens, modern humans have so few genes percentage of their ancient ancestors.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The biggest unresolved scientific questions

Selection of unsolved scientific problems presented is inspired by Article Ten Unsolved Mysteries, which was in November 2011. in the magazine Scientific American published a famous British physicist, chemist, and popularizes of science Philip Bol, editor of the journal Nature.

1) What does the life? (Biology)How did it all begin? What really happened to quite simple inorganic molecules which merged in the primordial soup? As they began to process energy and reproduce - the two basic characteristics of life?

2) What is the weight of the world that we can not see? (Physics)Known matter makes up only 4.6 percent of the mass of the universe. All other weight is something you can not see, measure and explain.

3) How the environment affects gene? (Genetics)The emergence of a phenotype of a given genotype depends on the interaction between genes and environment. Therefore, in different settings will be the same even twins with exactly the same genes. Or do they want? This question intrigues scientists and the public ever since we met His Majesty gene.

4) How the brain thinks? (Neurosciences)Some neurons in the brain continuously generate an action potential, while the other all the time, "cute", and then suddenly become hyperactive. What do all the brain work?

5) How many chemical elements? (Chemistry)Is there a limit to the number of nucleons that can come together and form a nucleus? While chemists reveal elements with increasing atomic number and larger, the question is how far will it go.

6) What we can make of carbon? (Nanoscience)Carbon becomes part of every living thing. Whether it can make the computers have to be as powerful as a living cell?

7) How to use solar energy? (MATERIALS)All new, renewable energy sources that are included in the last decades of use have shown some limitations. The cleanest and constant among them, the Sun, has remained relatively unexploited although every sunny day reminds scientists of the huge potential of this solar energy could provide.

8) What is the best way to produce biofuels? (ENERGY)Instead of conventional production polluting, fossil fuels, why do not we let the plants to store sun's energy for us, and then turned the plant into fuel? However, the use of a perfectly good source of food for the sake of fuel production might not be the best approach. One answer would be to use other, less vital forms of biomass.

9) How to prolong life? (Medicine)

Is the longevity enough to eat foods with antioxidants and preserve cell structures from free radicals? Genes that affect life span? And with a healthy lifestyle and discipline in the diet, the body cells inexorably age. What science seems to find the elixir of life?

10) In order to continuously monitor the human body chemistry? (Biochemistry)

Our body is a complex laboratory in which he is constantly taking place thousands of reactions. Some chemical compounds are broken down, the other is synthesized, let us leave the body and stored in a particular cell. How about at any given moment we can not keep track of all these intricate biochemical processes and measure the levels of different compounds in real time?


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Food is running out, and it becomes more and more expensive!

Some experts claim that the banks and the stock market traders responsible for the increase of food prices. At the same time, some experts have sought the causes of poverty on the other.

The riots raged in many countries between the 2007th and 2008. year: Thousands of people demonstrated against the excessive price of food in Morocco, in the so-called "bread riot". The growth rate in Mexico has caused the so-called "tortilla crisis". Violent demonstrations rocked Pakistan, Somalia and India. In Burkina Faso and Senegal, people took to the streets because "expensive life." The reason for all these riots was a jump in the price of basic foodstuffs.

Prices of rice, wheat, corn and soybeans are increased several times between June 2007. and June 2008. In Ethiopia, the price of corn has risen by almost 200 percent, wheat prices have jumped in Somalia for the 300, and in Sudan for about 90 percent.

Many say that they are responsible for that speculation in the market of foodstuffs. Through agricultural funds, banks, hedge funds and state-investors may be betting on the future price of foods such as wheat, corn or soy. "Some banks offer special fund investors, who profit if the price of raw materials increases. The money is then invested in line with that, "explains Markus Hen of the NGO Viid. Viid and other non-governmental organizations such as Oxfam or Fudwatch believe that these mechanisms bear some responsibility for the lack of food.

Controversial blame speculators

Researchers from the University of Halle-Wittenberg oppose the Gladys. Viewing scientific articles and studies in the period since 2010. to 2012. led them to the conclusion that the provision of financial speculation does not cause high food prices - but other factors: "People are now better than before the food, especially meat products available. This increases the demand for natural resources. "Explains Ingo Pies, economic ethicist University Halle-Wittenberg and co-author of the research. In addition, subsidies for fuel ecological impact on the market. Large areas are used for growing plants that receive energy, and therefore are not available for agriculture.

At the same time, representatives of non-governmental organizations accuse the researchers of Halle-Wittenberg that did not take into account all relevant studies. "They discussed the studies that suit themselves," says Markus Hen Viid from the organization. Studies that did not fit were criticized in detail, and the results are simply different ones were accepted, he said. However, Ingo Piejs says that some studies that have sent the organization "does not refer to the scientific literature, but the literature they were not written by scientists."

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recognizes that speculation regarding agricultural land increased sharply since 2008, but to them it is not a direct cause of the price increase. "That kind of financial speculation may have a partial influence on the movement of prices, but the long-term growth rate can not be explained," says Carmel Cahill, chief adviser to the Directorate for Trade and Agriculture Organization of the organization.

The increasing rates

And Michael Brintrup from the German Institute for Development Policy follows the discussion about food trade. Read a study from the University of Halle, and advocates a different view. "For a lot of factors affecting prices. For example, they can change because they are in the United States, Russia and Australia decreased yields, "he explains. It would be very difficult to determine the exact impact of speculation.

The OECD says that the prices of foodstuffs such as corn, rice and wheat, continued to rise because of population growth. "The price of wheat has just increase by 80 percent, and it would be logical to affect the price of bread," said Momar Ndao, Chairperson of the consumer health organization ASCOSEN in Senegal. Pierre Nakoul, chairman of similar organizations in Burkina Faso confirms this: "Recently we had a problem, because the bakers went on strike due to the increasing price of wheat." Expensive food for many will mean starvation.

Advice from the European Union

Non-governmental organizations seeking to force banks and other financial actors to refrain from speculation in basic foodstuffs. Commerzbank, the second largest bank in Germany, she decided to terminate the offer of investment in the sector, in November 2011.

Scientists at the University Halle-Wittenberg that do not attach great importance. "Financial speculation sideshow. We have to ask the important questions, "says Ingo Pies. In the first place it is important "to correct the mistakes of politicians, strengthen markets and to support the transfer of technology. We need technology to reach developing countries. "This would allow for more production, and it is necessary to feed nine billion people in 2050. year, says Ingo Pies for DW.

The EU intends to adopt new rules for agricultural markets early next year. The Chairperson of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Parliament on the occasion of DW says: "We really need to fight against speculation. But we should not forget that the real reason for instability in agriculture is a big difference between supply and demand. "

Monday, 14 January 2013

Kilogram must on a diet

Changes in the international prototype of the basic unit of mass can ruin science experiments that are very accurate measurements needed.

Kilogram may need to diet, since the cylindrical piece of metal that defines the basic unit of weight "stout" for a few tens of milligrams due to external contamination, according to a study just published in the American magazine "Metrology", reports Fox News.

Because of this situation, any state that has a copy of this standard weight, or international prototype kilograms (MPC), has a slightly different definition of weight, which can spoil the scientific experiments that require very precise measurements.

The consequences, as studies indicate U.S. magazine, I felt in international trade cases and in the case of goods which are very strict traffic restrictions based on weight - such as radioactive materials.

However, the "surplus" could be removed without damage to the ICC using ozone and ultraviolet radiation, according to the January issue of "Metrology".

This cleaning technology could be widely adopted as a standard way to measure the basic unit maintains consistent.

According to Richard Davis, metrologists-consultant to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Paris, it is a practical technique that does not require too much money and investing, what is the potential for wide acceptance. But Davis was not involved in
the study, according to Fox News.

Kilo has become an international standard 1875th , and then made ​​cylindrical piece of ground or MPC. It consists of an alloy of platinum and iridium, height and diameter of 39 millimeters, which is kept at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.

Official copies are available prototype of the kilogram as a national prototype, with Parisian kilogram, known as a kilogram, compared to about every 10 years.

In the eighties of the 19th century made ​​the 40 pounds of prototypes that were handed Metre Convention signatory countries. Even then, however, scientists found that the pound could be "put on weight" due to the deposition of dust and various other substances on its surface.

To reduce the risk of surface deposition, made ​​the MPC in the form of cylinders and put them in the laboratory with filtered air, constant temperature and pressure, but there was no way to completely avoid contamination, said British metrologist Peter Kampson the University of Newcastle. Cleaning is currently carried out by well-trained technicians erased cylinders antilops piece of leather soaked in alcohol.

However, as each country clean your MPK in a different way in a different time, prototypes do not significantly differ in weight.

Scientists want to get rid of defining long-term weight over the piece of metal, and Kampson believes that "the definition be changed in the next five to 10 years." According to him, one way would be to use an electromagnetic device that consistently produces the same amount of power that could then be calculated by weight.

The prototype kilogram "won" 50 micrograms in 100 years

By scientific definition, the error in the actual weight of the basic unit of mass is zero. However, in practice, it is said that two micrograms error.

The international prototype of the kilogram appears to have "won" about 50 micrograms in 100 years. The observed variation is the prototype has stimulated the search for a new definition of kilogram.

It is true that for any object in the universe (except as provided for in France), which had a mass of one kilogram of 100 years ago and that has not changed since then, now be considered to have a mass of more than 50 micrograms per kilogram.

This perspective eliminates the purposes of standard units of mass, because the standard does not need to change over time.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Milky Way 17 billion planets size of Earth

The Milky Way galaxy is at least 17 billion planets whose size is similar to Earth, according to the estimates of two independent groups of American astronomers, which were published on Monday.

Estimates are based on fresh data, which came from a NASA probe "Kepler", launched 2009th with the task of finding "terrestrial" world.

This does not mean that all those potentially habitable planets, but so many welcome starting point to search for worlds similar to our own, the agency assesses the Associated Press (AP).

Scientists have yet to find Earth's twin sister - so not just one that is similar in size, but also one that is located in the so-called "goldiloks zone", where it is neither too hot nor too cold, so water can exist in liquid state of matter.

The team with Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University estimated that at least one of the six stars in the Milky Way has a terrestrial planet size.

Another team, at Berkeley, University of California and the University of Hawaii has estimated, using a different method, that 17 percent of stars in the Milky Way galaxy have planets that are similar in size as Earth.

The results were presented Monday at the American Astronomical Society.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Death By Black Hole Firewall Incineration It Shall Be

Black holes are a perennial favorite among physics buffs, who by now have the usual facts about such objects down pat: Most black holes form when stars explode as supernovae; all that matter collapsing into a dense object from which nothing, not even light, can escape, because of the strong gravitational effects. Lurking deep within a black hole is a point that is infinitely small and dense called the singularity. While nothing can escape a black hole once it crosses the event horizon, thanks to a peculiar quirk of the quantum vacuum, it evaporates over time, emitting radiation (Hawking radiation) in the process -- and how long it takes for the black hole to evaporate depends on its size (the bigger it is, the longer it takes to evaporate).

BIG PIC: Black Holes Face Off In Galactic Death Match

Oh, and if, say, an astronaut happened to accidentally cross the event horizon, he or she would technically be in freefall and thus wouldn't notice anything particularly unusual -- not at first. It's only as said astronaut approached the singularity that gravity would become so extreme, s/he would be "spaghettified."

Except now that might not be the case. There's a hypothesis currently being bandied about by theoretical physicists that, instead, the unfortunate astronaut would encounter a massive wall of fire as s/he tried to cross the event horizon and burn up before s/he got anywhere near the singularity.

Call it the 'Paradox of the Firewall.'

He'd been puzzling over a nagging suspicion that something wasn't quite right with the conventional picture of what happens at the event horizon for years, and was never quite able to put those misgivings to rest. When Polchinski and a few colleagues started playing around with toy models, essentially running the argument for Hawking radiation in reverse, it brought a few salient issues into sharp focus It started earlier this year at the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, where string theorist Joe Polchinski is permanently ensconced.

ANALYSIS: Black Hole Behemoth Found Guilty of Star's Murder

The result was a controversial paper claiming that in order to not have a firewall at the event horizon, physicists would need to sacrifice another one of their cherished assumptions. Per a Simons Science News article (by yours truly):

At the heart of this particular puzzle lies a conflict between three fundamental postulates beloved by many physicists.

The first, based on the equivalence principle of general relativity, leads to the No Drama scenario: Because Alice is in free fall as she crosses the horizon, and there is no difference between free fall and inertial motion, she shouldn’t feel extreme effects of gravity.

The second postulate is unitarity, the assumption, in keeping with a fundamental tenet of quantum mechanics, that information that falls into a black hole is not irretrievably lost.

Lastly, there is what might be best described as “normality,” namely, that physics works as expected far away from a black hole even if it breaks down at some point within the black hole — either at the singularity or at the event horizon.

Want to get rid of the firewall? It'll cost you, per Polchinski et al., and that price is either conceding that information is lost (which should make Stephen Hawking and his collaborator Kip Thorne pretty happy, since they famously embraced this view in the 1990s), or modifying quantum field theory in some significant way.

ANALYSIS: Our Galaxy's Black Hole Has the 'Munchies'

Naturally, not everyone agrees. That paper spawned a flurry of others, many aimed at countering the controversial assertions, plus a couple of blog posts: one by Polchinski (over at Cosmic Variance) and another by Caltech physicist John Preskill. (There's also this latest take at Quantum Moxie.)

It's a complicated, multi-faceted problem, as the Simons Science News article makes clear, and much of the discussion is highly technical. But it's such an intriguing idea, it's worth sharing even just a few simple details.

Physicists are still hammering out a consensus on the solution, and many expect the firewalls argument to be disproved in the end, but it's bound to be interesting along the way, so grab the popcorn and watch the sparks fly, if you dare.

Until it gets resolved, physics fans can have a bit of fun debating the best way to die by black hole: would you choose spaghettification as you approach the singularity, or incineration by a firewall?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Magnetically levitating graphite can be moved with laser

By changing the disk's temperature, the laser can change the disk's levitation height and move it in a controlled direction, which has the potential to be scaled up and used as a light-driven human transportation system. Laser light or sunlight can also cause the levitating disk to rotate at over 200 rpm, which could lead to a new type of light energy conversion system. org. The researchers, Dr. " "The most important point in this work is the achievement for a real-time motion control technique which can move a magnetically levitating diamagnetic material without contact for the first time in the world," Abe told Phys. Now in a new study, researchers for the first time have used a laser to control the motion of a magnetically levitating graphite disk. Masayuki Kobayashi and Professor Jiro Abe of Aoyama Gakuin University in Kanagawa, Japan (Abe is also at CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency in Tokyo), have published their study on optically controlling the motion of maglev graphite in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Magnetic levitation has been demonstrated for a variety of objects, from trains to frogs, but so far no one has developed a practical maglev-based actuator that converts some external source of energy into motion. "Because this technique is very simple and fundamental, it is expected to apply to various daily living techniques, such as transportation systems and amusement, as well as photo-actuators and light energy conversion systems.

The levitation position of diamagnetic materials has previously been controlled by changing the applied magnetic field, but so far no one has successfully controlled maglev motion in the second way, by changing the material's diamagnetic properties with an external stimulus such as temperature, light, or sound In order to magnetically levitate, an object's total magnetic force must not only be repulsive, but the repulsion must also be stronger than the force of gravity. Although all materials have some diamagnetism, it is usually too weak to allow them to magnetically levitate. As the researchers explain, magnetic levitation occurs due to an object's diamagnetism, which repels magnetic fields. One of the strongest diamagnetic materials is graphite. Magnetic levitation only occurs when a material's diamagnetic properties are stronger than its ferromagnetic and paramagnetic properties (which attract magnetic fields). The height at which a diamagnetic material levitates can be controlled by two factors: the applied magnetic field and the material's own diamagnetic properties.

Here, the researchers did just that by using a laser to reversibly control the temperature of a graphite disk levitating over a block of permanent magnets. They demonstrated that, as the graphite's temperature increases, its levitation height decreases, and vice versa. The researchers explain that the change in temperature causes a change in the graphite's magnetic susceptibility, or the degree to which its magnetization reacts to an applied magnetic field. On an atomic level, the laser increases the number of thermally excited electrons in the graphite due to the photothermal effect. The more of these electrons, the weaker the graphite's diamagnetic properties and the lower its levitation height.

Rotation also occurs when the set-up is exposed to sunlight. Applications could include a low-cost, environmentally friendly power generation system and a new type of light-driven transportation system. By converting solar energy into rotational energy, the disk can reach a rotational speed of more than 200 rpm, which could make it useful for applications such as optically driven turbines. " Whereas the laser was aimed right in the center of the graphite disk when controlling its height, aiming it at the edge of the disk changes the temperature distribution, and thus magnetic susceptibility distribution, in such a way that the repulsion force becomes unbalanced and the graphite moves in the same direction as the light beam. "In this case, it is predicted that friction disrupts the rotation of the maglev turbine. "As for the actuator, the maglev graphite can convey anything that has almost the same weight as the levitating graphite disk. The distorted temperature distribution causes the levitating graphite disk to rotate, with the direction and rotational speed depending on the irradiation site. The researchers predict that the ability to control maglev-based motion with a laser could lead to the development of maglev-based actuators and photothermal solar energy conversion systems. To rotate the levitating graphite disk, the researchers replaced the rectangular prism-shaped magnets beneath the disk with a stack of cylindrical-shaped magnets, and again aimed the laser at the disk's edge. So, if the scale expansion of the photo-actuator system is achieved, it is not a dream that a human on the maglev graphite can drive himself. Therefore, we would like to develop a light energy conversion system with a high energy conversion efficiency with reference to the so-called MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems) technique. In addition to controlling the height of maglev graphite, the researchers found that they could also make the graphite move in any direction and rotate it by changing the site of irradiation. "At this moment, we are planning to develop a maglev turbine blade suitable for this system," Abe said.