Saturday, July 07, 2012

DTN News - SPECIAL REPORT: Best Evidence Yet Found For 'God Particle'

DTN News - SPECIAL REPORT: Best Evidence Yet Found For 'God Particle'
*US physicists say they have come close to proving existence of Higgs boson days before European findings are out
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Al Jazeera / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - July 7, 2012: The final findings from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in the midwestern US state of Illinois will be followed by the announcement of more definitive results from a potent European atom-smasher on Wednesday.

"Our data strongly point toward the existence of the Higgs boson, but it will take results from the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe to establish a discovery," said Fermilab spokesman Rob Roser.

The results come from 10 years of data from the Tevatron, a powerful atom-smasher that began its collider work in 1985 and closed down last year.
"During its life, the Tevatron must have produced thousands of Higgs particles, if they actually exist, and it's up to us to try to find them in the data we have collected," said Luciano Ristori, a physicist at Fermilab and Italy's National Institute for Nuclear Physics, or INFN.

"We have developed sophisticated simulation and analysis programs to identify Higgs-like patterns. Still, it is easier to look for a friend's face in a sports stadium filled with 100,000 people than to search for a Higgs-like event among trillions of collisions."

Difficult to pin down

The Higgs boson, named after Scottish physicist Peter Higgs, was first described in the 1960s and has been notoriously difficult to pin down.

"The Higgs boson is special," Fermilab theoretical physicist Joe Lykken told reporters, adding that the tough-to-find elementary particle "gets at why the universe is here in the first place."
Lykken said it can be thought of almost like an energy field that gives mass to objects. But it decays almost immediately into other particles.

Furthermore, just one in a trillion collisions in an atom-smasher experiment will produce a Higgs boson.

"This is much worse than a needle in a haystack," Lykken said, adding that he and many other physicists are eagerly anticipating the European results.

"We think we are getting very, very close to where we want to be, and by the end of the week we may be much closer."

The Tevatron results show that the Higgs particle, if it exists, has a mass between 115 and 135 gigaelectronvolts (GeV/c2), or about 130 times the mass of the proton.

Based on two experiments, known as CDF and DZero which include nearly 1,000 physicists from more than a dozen different countries, the team found that there is only a one-in-550 chance that the signal is a mere statistical fluke.

However, the statistical significance of the signal measures 2.9 sigma, and is not strong enough to meet the five sigma threshold required to say whether or not the particle has been discovered.

"We achieved a critical step in the search for the Higgs boson," said Dmitri Denisov, DZero spokesman and physicist at Fermilab.

"While 5-sigma significance is required for a discovery, it seems unlikely that the Tevatron collisions mimicked a Higgs signal. Nobody expected the Tevatron to get this far when it was built in the 1980s."

A more powerful machine at the European Center for Nuclear Research in December 2011 announced "tantalizing hints" that the sought-after particle was hiding inside a narrow range of mass.

CERN's Large Hadron Collider -- the world's largest atom-smasher, located along the French-Swiss border -- showed a likely range for the Higgs boson between 115 to 127 gigaelectronvolts.

US-based experiments echoed those findings in March 2012, though in a slightly larger range.
Now, the scientific community is eagerly anticipating the European results, expected at 0700 GMT on Wednesday from the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.
"It is a real cliffhanger," said DZero spokesman Gregorio Bernardi, physicist at the Laboratory of Nuclear and High Energy Physics at the University of Paris VI and VII. "We are very excited about it." 

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*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Al Jazeera / AFP
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - SPECIAL REPORT: Berkeley Lab Scientists Generate Electricity From Viruses

DTN News - SPECIAL REPORT: Berkeley Lab Scientists Generate Electricity From Viruses
*New approach is a promising first step toward the development of tiny devices that harvest electrical energy from everyday tasks
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Dan Krotz 510-486-4019
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - July 7, 2012: The scientists tested their approach by creating a generator that produces enough current to operate a small liquid-crystal display. It works by tapping a finger on a postage stamp-sized electrode coated with specially engineered viruses. The viruses convert the force of the tap into an electric charge.

Their generator is the first to produce electricity by harnessing the piezoelectric properties of a biological material. Piezoelectricity is the accumulation of a charge in a solid in response to mechanical stress.

The milestone could lead to tiny devices that harvest electrical energy from the vibrations of everyday tasks such as shutting a door or climbing stairs.
It also points to a simpler way to make microelectronic devices. That’s because the viruses arrange themselves into an orderly film that enables the generator to work. Self-assembly is a much sought after goal in the finicky world of nanotechnology.

The first part of the video shows how Berkeley Lab scientists harness the piezoelectric properties of a virus to convert the force of a finger tap into electricity. The second part shows the “viral-electric” generators in action, first by pressing only one of the generators, then by pressing two at the same time, which produces more current.
The scientists describe their work in a May 13 advance online publication of the journalNature Nanotechnology.
“More research is needed, but our work is a promising first step toward the development of personal power generators, actuators for use in nano-devices, and other devices based on viral electronics,” says Seung-Wuk Lee, a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division and a UC Berkeley associate professor of bioengineering.
He conducted the research with a team that includes Ramamoorthy Ramesh, a scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and a professor of materials sciences, engineering, and physics at UC Berkeley; and Byung Yang Lee of Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division.
The M13 bacteriophage has a length of 880 nanometers and a diameter of 6.6 nanometers. It’s coated with approximately 2700 charged proteins that enable scientists to use the virus as a piezoelectric nanofiber.
The M13 bacteriophage has a length of 880 nanometers and a diameter of 6.6 nanometers. It’s coated with approximately 2700 charged proteins that enable scientists to use the virus as a piezoelectric nanofiber.
The piezoelectric effect was discovered in 1880 and has since been found in crystals, ceramics, bone, proteins, and DNA. It’s also been put to use. Electric cigarette lighters and scanning probe microscopes couldn’t work without it, to name a few applications.
But the materials used to make piezoelectric devices are toxic and very difficult to work with, which limits the widespread use of the technology.
Lee and colleagues wondered if a virus studied in labs worldwide offered a better way. The M13 bacteriophage only attacks bacteria and is benign to people. Being a virus, it replicates itself by the millions within hours, so there’s always a steady supply. It’s easy to genetically engineer. And large numbers of the rod-shaped viruses naturally orient themselves into well-ordered films, much the way that chopsticks align themselves in a box.
These are the traits that scientists look for in a nano building block. But the Berkeley Lab researchers first had to determine if the M13 virus is piezoelectric. Lee turned to Ramesh, an expert in studying the electrical properties of thin films at the nanoscale. They applied an electrical field to a film of M13 viruses and watched what happened using a special microscope. Helical proteins that coat the viruses twisted and turned in response—a sure sign of the piezoelectric effect at work.
The bottom 3-D atomic force microscopy image shows how the viruses align themselves side-by-side in a film. The top image maps the film's structure-dependent piezoelectric properties, with higher voltages a lighter color.
The bottom 3-D atomic force microscopy image shows how the viruses align themselves side-by-side in a film. The top image maps the film's structure-dependent piezoelectric properties, with higher voltages a lighter color.
Next, the scientists increased the virus’s piezoelectric strength. They used genetic engineering to add four negatively charged amino acid residues to one end of the helical proteins that coat the virus. These residues increase the charge difference between the proteins’ positive and negative ends, which boosts the voltage of the virus.
The scientists further enhanced the system by stacking films composed of single layers of the virus on top of each other. They found that a stack about 20 layers thick exhibited the strongest piezoelectric effect.
The only thing remaining to do was a demonstration test, so the scientists fabricated a virus-based piezoelectric energy generator. They created the conditions for genetically engineered viruses to spontaneously organize into a multilayered film that measures about one square centimeter. This film was then sandwiched between two gold-plated electrodes, which were connected by wires to a liquid-crystal display.
When pressure is applied to the generator, it produces up to six nanoamperes of current and 400 millivolts of potential. That’s enough current to flash the number “1” on the display, and about a quarter the voltage of a triple A battery.
“We’re now working on ways to improve on this proof-of-principle demonstration,” says Lee. “Because the tools of biotechnology enable large-scale production of genetically modified viruses, piezoelectric materials based on viruses could offer a simple route to novel microelectronics in the future.”
From left, Byung-Yang Lee, Seung-Wuk Lee, and Ramamoorthy Ramesh
From left, Byung Yang Lee, Seung-Wuk Lee, and Ramamoorthy Ramesh developed the "viral-electric" generator. (Photos by Roy Kaltschmidt of Berkeley Lab. The video and scientific images are courtesy of Seung-Wuk Lee's lab)
Berkeley Lab’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development fund and the National Science Foundation supported this work.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more, visit
Additional information:

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Dan Krotz 510-486-4019
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News