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graphene structure

Researchers demonstrate production of graphene using bacteria

Researchers have figured out a novel method to produce graphene, an amazing substance in a cheaper way with the help of bacteria. Graphene is a very useful material in filtering water, dyeing hair and great strengthening of substances. The study has been published in ChemistryOpen.

When the bacterium Shewanella oneidensis is mixed with oxidized graphite or graphene oxide (which is comparatively easy to produce but not conductive due to oxygen groups), the oxygen groups are withdrawn and conductive graphene is obtained as the product. It is inexpensive, quicker and more eco-friendly than the existing methods to produce the substance. It can also be stored for a long period of time making it appropriate for various applications. Using this method, we can produce graphene at a scale required for computing and medical devices of the next generation.

“For real applications, you need large amounts,” says biologist Anne Meyer from the University of Rochester in New York.

Using the new method, Meyer and her colleagues were able to make graphene that’s thinner, more stable, and longer-lasting than graphene that’s produced by chemical manufacturing. This will unlock all sort of opportunities for less costly bacteria-produced graphene and can be used in field-effect transistor (FET) biosensors.  It is a tool that identifies specific biological molecule such as glucose tracking for diabetics.

Bacteria production method leaves back specific oxygen group. It makes resulting graphene compatible to link with specific molecules. Graphene material obtained from this method can be used as conductive ink in circuit boards, computer keyboards or in small wires to unfreeze car windscreen or to produce one-sided conductive graphene by twisting the bacteria process. It can also lead to the creation of innovative computer technologies and medical equipment.

At present, graphene is produced by different chemical methods using graphite or graphene oxide compared to the past method where graphite was extracted by graphite blocks using sticky tape. The new method of production is the most favorable one to date without the use of unpleasant chemicals. Prior to scaling up and using it to develop next-generation devices, lots of research needs to be done to study the bacteria process. However, the future of this extraordinary material continues to look bright. Meyer said that bacterially produced graphene material will guide to much better applicability for product development and development of nanocomposite materials.

Journal: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/open.201900186

Baltic Servers data center

Scientists set to replace electricity with light pulses for superfast computing

The 21st century is the century which is at the peak of technological revolution. This age revolves around the need for data and analyzing data for the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Multinational companies around the globe are building data centres across continents which have the ability to store and transfer the huge amount of data which the companies receive every day.

Traditionally, data was transferred using electricity but a new method is created by scientists which enable data to be transferred using light pulses. Data centres require a lot of electricity and are hungry for more power, however, the scientists have now developed a technique that uses magnets to control and record computer data which consumes no electricity.

Data centres account for 2-5% of the global power consumption as they need to be maintained at an optimum temperature. Microsoft has already submerged its data centres below in the sea in efforts to reduce power consumption. Originally in hard drives, the data is encoded in 1s and 0s, by the spin of the magnetic hard drives. The magnetic head uses electricity to decode it back which uses a lot of electricity.

An international team have published in Nature that they have replaced electricity by short pulses of light, the duration of these pulses are close to one trillionth of a second. The new method is super efficient and at the same time reduces power consumption to very little. It involves pulsing a magnet at ultra short light bursts at frequencies in the infrared range. It is called the tetra hertz but even the strongest source of tetra hertz light did not provide strong enough pulses to switch the orientation of light. It was made possible due to the coupling between the spins and the tetra hertz electric field.

Scientists put up antennas on top of the magnets to concentrate and enhance the effect of light, a strong electric field was applied which navigated the magnetization in one trillionth of a second to the new orientation which is optimum. This process does not lead to an increase in temperature and thus saves a lot of energy that is spent on the cooling of data centres.

Lancaster University intends to carry out more research using the new ultrafast laser and accelerators which are able to generate intense pulses of light to allow switching magnets. The main significance of this method is the drastic reduction in the cost of operation due to lower energy consumption. It is expected that future energy storage devices are predicted to heavily use and depend on this remarkable breakthrough in technology.

Simple Qubits

Scientists reversed time using quantum computer

Have you ever imagined the infused tea flowing back into the tea bag or a volcano from “erupting” in reverse? We cannot imagine about these things because we have learned about the second law of thermodynamics which states that the total entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time. A group of researcher scientist from Russia teamed up with the scientist from the U.S. and Switzerland in order to challenge this fundamental law of energy.

The study’s lead author Gordey Lesovik who heads the Laboratory of the Physics of Quantum Information Technology at MIPT states that “This research is one of the series which adds up to violating the second law of thermodynamics which is closely associated with the notion of arrow of time that puts in position the one way direction of time from past to future.”

The physicists tried to understand if time could reverse itself for a tiny fraction of a second for a particle. They tried to do this by two methods – first by experimenting the electron in empty interstellar space.

Andrey Lebedev co-author from MIPT and ETH Zurich stated that “If we consider an electron in space and we begin to observe it, we can come to know the position of it. If not the position but at least the area can be decided since the laws of quantum mechanics don’t allow us to understand the exact position of the electron.”

The physicist then adds “The evolution of electron can be explained by Schrödinger’s equation. However, it makes no distinction between the past and the future, the region of space containing the electron will spread out very quickly. The uncertainty of the electron’s position is growing.”

Quantum mechanics travelling wavefunctions

Quantum mechanics travelling wavefunctions (Credit: Maschen/ wikimedia)

Valerii Vinokur, a co-author of the paper, from the Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. adds to the discussion that “Mathematically, it means that under a certain condition of transformation called complex conjugation, the equation will describe a smeared electron localizing back into a small region of space over the same time period. However, this is only possible theoretically and not practically.”

The second method of experimentation was done with the help of quantum computing instead of electrons, made out of two or three basic elements called superconducting qubits. They have four stages of the experiment.

The four stages are as follows:

  • Stage 1: Order
    In the first stage, like the electron was imagined to be localized in space, here, the qubit is initialized in a stage called the zero stage.
  • Stage 2: Degradation
    Similar to the electron being smeared out over an increasingly large region of space, the qubits leave the zero stage and become a complex pattern of zeros and ones.
  • Stage 3: Time Reversal
    In this stage similar to the electron being induced to fluctuation by microwave, here, a special program modifies the state of the quantum computer in such a way that it would then evolve “backward”, from chaos toward order.
  • Stage 4: Regeneration
    Again the evolution program starts from stage 2. Provided that the “kick “ has been launched successfully. The program reverses the state of qubits back into the past.
    It was observed that where two qubits were involved, the success rate was around 85 percent, but where 3 qubits or more than 3 qubits were involved more errors happened and it resulted in only 50 percent of the success rate.

Published Researchhttps://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-40765-6