Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New State Of Matter Is Here...

How many states of matter do you know about? It’s not just solids, liquids, gases, and maybe plasmas that we have to think about when we talk about the states of matter. Beyond these there's an entire catalog of matter alternatives: Bose–Einstein condensate, degenerate matter, supersolids/superfluids, quark-gluon plasma, etc. The difference is that all those alternatives are lab-created and don't have much place out in the real world of nature. Researchers at Japan's Tohoku University came up with an entirely new state of matter with an unusual combination of properties—insulator, superconductor, metal, magnet. The team, led by Kosmas Prassides, says they've created what's called a Jahn-Teller metal by doping rubidium, a strange alkali metal element, into buckyballs, a pure carbon structure which has a spherical shape from a series of interlocking polygons.
Superconducting lattices of fullerides – C60 plus three alkali-metal atoms – have been studied for more than two decades, and provide an interesting test bed. This is because the distance between fulleride molecules – and hence the electronic properties of the material – can be adjusted by applying pressure to the material or doping it with different kinds of atoms.
The new state was found by changing the distance between neighbouring buckyballs by doping the material with rubidium. While they were tweaking the pressure between the buckyballs, the team came across a phase shift that transformed the material from an insulator into a conductor, a process called the Jahn-Teller Effect that was first predicted in 1937. Appropriately, the team is calling this novel material a Jahn-Teller metal. Jahn-Teller effect is a process used in chemistry to describe how at low pressures, the geometric arrangement of molecules and ions in an electronic state can become distorted.
The team's discovery is the first time anyone has ever witnessed the Jahn Teller effect - the change from an insulator to a conductor - in action. The researchers hope that discovery of a new state of matter in a material that appears to be an insulator, superconductor metal and magnet all rolled into one, could lead to the development of more effective high-temperature superconductors. This new state of matter allows scientists to transform an insulator, which can’t conduct electricity, into a conductor by simply applying pressure.
By applying or removing pressure, it's possible to boost the conductivity of what may have been an insulator at lower pressures. High pressure: conductivity. This is what the rubidium atoms do: apply pressure. Usually when we think about adding pressure, we think in terms of squeezing something, forcing its molecules closer together by brute force. But it's possible to do the same thing chemically, tweaking the distances between molecules by adding or subtracting some sort of barrier between them—sneaking in some extra atoms, perhaps.
What happens in a Jahn–Teller metal is that as pressure is applied, and as what was previously an insulator becomes a metal, the effect persists for a while. The molecules hang on to their old shapes. So, there is an overlap of sorts, where the material still looks an awful lot like an insulator, but the electrons also manage to hop around as freely as if the material were a conductor. This is important because this transition from insulator to metal is also a transition from insulator to potential superconductor. The resulting metal just needs low enough temperatures and all of a sudden its electrons start pairing up and skipping around, with the result being a sudden drop to exactly zero electrical resistance. This is obviously a very desirable property. I.e. Jehn-Teller metals involve some other electron pairing mechanism, that might mean the possibility of superconductivity occurring at not-so-cold temperatures.
Superconductors are a large and diverse group of materials that offer zero resistance to electrical currents when cooled below a critical temperature (TC). Due to lack of resistance there is no loss of energy either in form of heat or sound or any other form. In normal cases when metals are used to transmit electricity there is electrical resistance in the form of heat which results in loss of energy. On the other hand if a material is superconductor of electricity then electrons pair up and start moving throughout the superconducting materials without any resistance and hence no loss of energy. However, scientists have seen that superconductivity can be achieved only at relatively higher temperatures i.e. very cold temperature.

In the fig. the alkali metal rubidium (pictured as blue spheres, above) occupy the vacant holes in between the polygons, changing the distance between neighboring buckyballs. This resulted in the highest achievable temperature for the onset of superconductivity: around 35 K or -238.15 degrees Celsius. That’s still very cold, yes, but it’s an improvement.
What makes this discovery so significant is that from here, there’s one more step required to turn the material into a superconductor, a material with zero resistance, which revolutionise how we use and produce electricity. If the complete potential of superconductors is realized, we may solve many major problems related to energy in the world.

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Welcome JUNO says Jupiter

After a five year journey from Earth, Juno - NASA’s solar-powered spacecraft safely entered Jupiter’s orbit early Tuesday. Juno was launched on 5 August 2011,from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and the probe has travelled a total distance of 1,740 million miles (2,800 million kilometres) to reach the gaseous planet.

Juno's main spacecraft body measures 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) tall and 11.5 feet in diameter. But with its three solar panels open, it spans about 66 feet (20 meters). Juno carries a suite of nine instruments to explore Jupiter from its interior to its atmosphere. Its colour camera dubbed JunoCam will take close-up photos of the poles and other points of interest. The three solar panels can generate 500 watts of electricity, enough to power its 29 sensors and nine instruments. Juno is an armoured spacecraft means its computer and electronics are locked in a titanium vault to shield them from harmful radiation. Juno’s infrared spectrometer and ultraviolet spectrograph will study the planet’s auroras in different wavelengths of light. A microwave sensor will use radio waves to search for water and ammonia hidden beneath the thick cloud-tops. A magnetometer, perched at the end of one solar-paneled arm, will create a 3D map of the planet’s enormous magnetic field, which should shed light on the internal dynamics that power it.

Juno's main aim is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. Juno will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter's intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet's auroras.the important questions include: What’s at the core of Jupiter? What's going on under Jupiter's dense clouds? How much water exists? Why are Jupiter’s southern and northern lights the brightest in the solar system? How deep are those colourful bands and that mysterious giant red spot? We hope Juno will help to answer those questions by looking at Jupiter's interior and give scientists a better idea of how the solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago.

Unusually for a robotic space mission, Juno is carrying passengers – three Lego figures depicting the Roman god Jupiter who drew a veil of cloud around himself to obscure his mischief, and his wife Juno, who was able to see through the clouds, are joined by a telescope-wielding Galileo Galilei, who discovered four of Jupiter’s moons.Pioneer in mission was Galileo, launched in 1989, circled Jupiter for 14 years and uncovered signs of an ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon Europa, considered a top target in the search for life outside Earth.
Juno is one of three New Frontiers probes that NASA is currently operating or building. The others are New Horizons which flew by Pluto in 2015, and OSIRIS-REx, which is expected to fly to asteroid 101955 Bennu in 2020 to collect a sample and return it to Earth. New Frontiers was a program NASA created in 2003 for medium-sized missions that are capped at $1 billion in development and launch costs each.

Juno made a discovery even before reaching its destination. As Juno entered in on Jupiter, its camera captured the massive planet appearing half-lit surrounded by its four main moons. NASA stitched the images together and created a time-lapse video showing the moons in action. There was a surprise: Jupiter's second-largest moon, Callisto, appeared dimmer than scientists imagined. "We don't know why," said Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in Texas.
As we know, Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar System. The Earth could fit inside Jupiter more than 1000 times. Jupiter spins really fast; it turns on its axis once every 9 hours and 55 minutes. This rapid rotation flattens the planet slightly, giving it an oblate shape. Jupiter is made up of mainly hydrogen and helium the same basic ingredients as the sun.
Jupiter’s powerful winds are very different from those on Earth. They continually circle the planet, and have changed very little in the 300 years that scientists have studied them. Massive east-west winds in Jupiter’s equatorial region reach approximately 340 miles per hour ? twice as rapid as winds generated by strong hurricanes on Earth. At higher latitudes, the wind pattern switches to alternating jets that race around the planet.
Unlike Earth, Jupiter has no clear boundary between its atmosphere and the rest of the planetAll of the clouds and storms that we can see are located at the bottom of Jupiter’s troposphere, and they’re formed from ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and water. The top cloud layer contains ammonia ice. Below this are clouds made of ammonium hydrosulfide. Water clouds form down at the densest layer of clouds.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS) is an atmospheric storm that has been raging in Jupiter’s southern Hemisphere for at least 400 years. Its similiar to a hurricane on Earth. The GRS rotates counter-clockwise and makes a full rotation every six Earth days. Winds at the very edges of the storm gust to 432 km/h, but inside the storm winds seem to be somewhat stagnant with no inflow nor outflow. The spot is large enough to engulf three Earths. Infrared data indicates that the GRS is colder and at a higher altitude than most of the other clouds on Jupiter. This red spot is also called "The Eye of Jupiter" because of its shape.

Jupiter Rings are faint and are only able to be viewed when Jupiter passes in front of the Sun. This is because the light from the Sun lights them up for us to see here on Earth. There are three rings in all. They are named Gossamer, Main and Halo. The ring system begins some 92,000 kilometres above Jupiter’s cloud tops and stretches out to more than 225,000 km from the planet. They are between 2,000 to 12,500 kilometres thick.
Jupiter has the strongest magnetic field of all the planets. Its radiation field is so powerful that it is the only planet in the solar system that actually emits more energy into space than it absorbs from the sun. Jupiter is a place too where liquid helium falls through the clouds like rain; where hydrogen is subjected to such pressures that it behaves like an electricity-conducting metal. Jupiter's magnetic field is nearly 20,000 times as powerful as Earth's, and the planet is surrounded by an intense radiation belt. This radiation amounts to 100 million X-rays in the course of a year, according to Heidi Becker, senior engineer on radiation effects at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Jupiter has 50 official moons and 12 provisional (unofficial) moons. The four largest and most well-known were discovered by Galileo in the year 1610. Their names are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Europa is nearly the same size as Earth’s Moon and water-rich and has a warm interior so scientists think it could be hospitable to life.
Jupiter being the largest, most massive, fastest rotating, most hazardous planet of the solar system has the strongest magnetic field and the greatest number of known satellites . Radiation was a known obstacle. But perhaps the biggest potential risk of the Juno mission was less well-known: Jupiter’s rings. The Galileo mission in the 1990s made some observations of the rings of dust and debris that surround Jupiter, but NASA scientists still don’t know how close to the surface these get to the planet, nor do they know the distribution of material within them.Thus gas giant is still a mystery. That’s why NASA and so all we are so excited for sending JUNO a satellite into the planet’s orbit. 

Juno will stay in orbit until February 2018, when NASA will purposefully crash the spacecraft into Jupiter.  Juno is only the second mission designed to spend time at Jupiter.  It’s the farthest solar-powered spacecraft from Earth and it’s one of the fastest spacecrafts ever made. It’s one small step into the future, for the future generations. I wish like goddess Juno, our JUNO could also peer through the clouds and reveal king of planets'  true nature.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

i-ROAD- Fun & Future

I-ROADS…!!!!! Heard familiar.... Yeah it’s the same thing that Toyota has unveiled in 2013, a new three-wheeled, fully-electric, and Personal Mobility Vehicle (PMV) with i-ROAD city concept Electric vehicle.

This new concept in urban mobility “TOYOTA i-ROAD” combines the potential of both cars and motorbikes. Based on the future of urban transport, they worked to ensure next generation performance in terms of driving, size and environmental performance. This ultra-compact, three-wheeled electric concept looks like a cross between a bike and car.
The i-ROAD is not much larger than a motorcycle with a length of 2,345mm, a height of 1,445mm and with a wheelbase of 1,695mm. It's It’s most significant dimension is its width: only 850mm. It rides on three wheels, two in the front and one at the rear. Toyota rates it for one passenger. However, there is a rear seat behind the driver which might fit a small child or a bag of groceries. As only 870mm wide, the three-wheeled i-Road is small enough to be driven like a scooter through traffic. The ultra-compactness also makes you feel that roads are wider which also means that four i-ROADS will fit in a single parking bay.…

I-road Interior
The i-ROAD uses a conventional steering wheel, but an “Active Lean” system, developed based on the body movement of skiers and running animals, which automatically balances the vehicle when cornering or tackling uneven surfaces. The tricky front-wheel setup keeps it upright without human help. The leaning isn't done by the driver. Its automatic determined by motor-controller, steering, and gyro inputs, and actuated by a separate motor. It stays quite upright at low speeds; but as soon as the driver speeds up and then rounds a corner, the i-Road leans at more of an angle. . It uses a gyro-sensor to tip the top-heavy body into corners to aid cornering stability. Moreover the driver can drive with confidence as no need to balance the vehicle. The system also operates when the PMV is being driven in a straight line over stepped surfaces, the actuator automatically compensating for changes in the road to keep the body level. The computer manages the degree of lean of each front wheel as the angle of lean of one wheel increases, the other lowers by the same amount using steering angle. The minimum turning circle is just three meters. . It also reforms imbalance and road imperfections, while driving in a straight line. All this makes it safe, intuitive and enjoyable to drive.

It has zero carbon dioxide emissions which makes it eco-friendly. It is powered by lithium ion batteries... The i-ROAD is actually front-wheel drive, and no power goes to the rear wheel. Each front wheel features a 2.7-hp in- hub electric motor powered by a shared lithium-ion battery that offers a claimed driving range of 30 miles. The i-Road is also able to charge fully in just about three hours’ time. The i-ROAD can be charged at night or using solar power, which reduces the energy load on communities. It has nearly silent running experience. The i-Road also has interior lighting and heating as well as an audio system and Bluetooth for connecting a phone.

The i-Road will be into service as part of the Ha:Mo – Harmonious Mobility. Toyota has been conducting trial operations of Ha:mo in Toyota City since October 2012. It is a system aimed at relieving traffic congestion, reducing air pollution and improving mobility. The Ha:mo, will allow you to see and avoid traffic congestion via a smartphone app, will notify the bus service if a line is very busy so that another bus can come along and ease up the passenger congestion, and will allow you to get reserved. It links private and public transportation networks and is being trialled between railway stations and depots at public facilities around the city. 

It’s really a quite innovative in which one can use it as a motorbike, but without fear of getting wet in rain, and no need to wear a helmet I.e. i-ROAD makes a far better foul-weather proposition than a regular motorcycle. It has much to do with reducing urban traffic congestion and air pollution. Making short distance travel in cities smoother and more enjoyable.

Toyota does not currently sell the i-Road, and what we see are testing prototypes. Hopes this year, prototype turn to a reality with an affordable price. Even though, it’s difficult to predict the i-Road’s future. I am being really optimistic, to see I-road as Toyota’s answer to the demands of the city of the future.

Pros of riding a i-Road include:
  • A driving experience like no other
  • Its compact size makes easier parking.
  • Easy to climb in and out of.
  • Highly maneuverable.
  • Should easily keep up with busy city traffic.
  • Highly mobile in congested areas where bicycles regularly overtake motorized vehicles.
Cones of riding a i-Road include:
  • Can go upto only around 30 Miles, Very less compared to Tesla Cars.
  • Not much comfortable for toll people.
  • Very slow mobility option.

To Understand its lock and feel, Please watch this video from a CNET reporter, Explaining his experiences.


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