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Spin clean-up method brings practical quantum computers closer to reality

Quantum computers are the new frontier in advanced research technology, with potential applications such as performing critical calculations, protecting financial assets, or predicting molecular behavior in pharmaceuticals. Researchers from Osaka City University have now solved a major problem hindering large-scale quantum computers from practical use: precise and accurate predictions of atomic and molecular behavior.

They published their method to remove extraneous information from quantum chemical calculations on Sept. 17 as an advanced online article in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, a journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

“One of the most anticipated applications of quantum computers is electronic structure simulations of atoms and molecules,” said paper authors Kenji Sugisaki, Lecturer and Takeji Takui, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Materials Science in Osaka City University’s Graduate School of Science.

Quantum chemical calculations are ubiquitous across scientific disciplines, including pharmaceutical therapy development and materials research. All of the calculations are based on solving physicist Erwin Schrödinger’s equation, which uses electronic and molecular interactions that result in a particular property to describe the state of a quantum-mechanical system.

“Schrödinger equations govern any behavior of electrons in molecules, including all chemical properties of molecules and materials, including chemical reactions,” Sugisaki and Takui said.

On classical computers, such precise equations would take exponential time. On quantum computers, this precision is possible in realistic time, but it requires “cleaning” during the calculations to obtain the true nature of the system, according to them.

A quantum system at a specific moment in time, known as a wave function, has a property described as spin, which is the total of the spin of each electron in the system. Due to hardware faults or mathematical errors, there may be incorrect spins informing the system’s spin calculation. To remove these ‘spin contaminants,’ the researchers implemented an algorithm that allows them to select the desired spin quantum number. This purifies the spin, removing contaminants during each calculation — a first on quantum computers, according to them.

“Quantum chemical calculations based on exactly solving Schrödinger equations for any behavior of atoms and molecules can afford predictions of their physical-chemical properties and complete interpretations on chemical reactions and processes,” they said, noting that this is not possible with currently available classical computers and algorithms. “The present paper has given a solution by implementing a quantum algorithm on quantum computers.”

The researchers next plan to develop and implement algorithms designed to determine the state of electrons in molecules with the same accuracy for both excited- or ground-state electrons.

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ScienceDaily

Researchers demonstrate record speed with advanced spectroscopy technique

Researchers have developed an advanced spectrometer that can acquire data with exceptionally high speed. The new spectrometer could be useful for a variety of applications including remote sensing, real-time biological imaging and machine vision.

Spectrometers measure the color of light absorbed or emitted from a substance. However, using such systems for complex and detailed measurement typically requires long data acquisition times.

“Our new system can measure a spectrum in mere microseconds,” said research team leader Scott B. Papp from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado, Boulder. “This means it could be used for chemical studies in the dynamic environment of power plants or jet engines, for quality control of pharmaceuticals or semiconductors flying by on a production line, or for video imaging of biological samples.”

In The Optical Society (OSA) journal Optics Express, lead author David R. Carlson and colleagues Daniel D. Hickstein and Papp report the first dual-comb spectrometer with a pulse repetition rate of 10 gigahertz. They demonstrate it by carrying out spectroscopy experiments on pressurized gases and semiconductor wafers.

“Frequency combs are already known to be useful for spectroscopy,” said Carlson. “Our research is focused on building new, high-speed frequency combs that can make a spectrometer that operates hundreds of times faster than current technologies.”

Getting data faster

Dual-comb spectroscopy uses two optical sources, known as optical frequency combs that emit a spectrum of colors — or frequencies — perfectly spaced like the teeth on a comb. Frequency combs are useful for spectroscopy because they provide access to a wide range of colors that can be used to distinguish various substances.

To create a dual-comb spectroscopy system with extremely fast acquisition and a wide range of colors, the researchers brought together techniques from several different disciplines, including nanofabrication, microwave electronics, spectroscopy and microscopy.

The frequency combs in the new system use an optical modulator driven by an electronic signal to carve a continuous laser beam into a sequence of very short pulses. These pulses of light pass through nanophotonic nonlinear waveguides on a microchip, which generates many colors of light simultaneously. This multi-color output, known as a supercontinuum, can then be used to make precise spectroscopy measurements of solids, liquids and gases.

The chip-based nanophotonic nonlinear waveguides were a key component in this new system. These channels confine light within structures that are a centimeter long but only nanometers wide. Their small size and low light losses combined with the properties of the material they are made from allow them to convert light from one wavelength to another very efficiently to create the supercontinuum.

“The frequency comb source itself is also unique compared to most other dual-comb systems because it is generated by carving a continuous laser beam into pulses with an electro-optic modulator,” said Carlson. “This means the reliability and tunability of the laser can be exceptionally high across a wide range of operating conditions, an important feature when looking at future applications outside of a laboratory environment.”

Analyzing gases and solids

To demonstrate the versatility of the new dual-comb spectrometer, the researchers used it to perform linear absorption spectroscopy on gases of different pressure. They also operated it in a slightly different configuration to perform the advanced analytical technique known as nonlinear Raman spectroscopy on semiconductor materials. Nonlinear Raman spectroscopy, which uses pulses of light to characterize the vibrations of molecules in a sample, has not previously been performed using an electro-optic frequency comb.

The high data acquisition speeds that are possible with electro-optic combs operating at gigahertz pulse rates are ideal for making spectroscopy measurements of fast and non-repeatable events.

“It may be possible to analyze and capture the chemical signatures during an explosion or combustion event,” said Carlson. “Similarly, in biological imaging the ability to create images in real time of living tissues without requiring chemical labeling would be immensely valuable to biological researchers.”

The researchers are now working to improve the system’s performance to make it practical for applications like real-time biological imaging and to simplify and shrink the experimental setup so that it could be operated outside of the lab.

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3D Printing Industry

Russian state successfully flight tests 3D printed gas turbine engine

The Russian state-backed Advanced Research Foundation (FPI) and Federal State Unitary Enterprise (VIAM) have flight-tested their 3D printed MGTD-20 gas turbine engine for the first time. The motor was evaluated onboard a light Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), which was launched over the Kazanbash aviation center in Tatarstan, around 500 miles east of Moscow. Utilizing 3D […]

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Author: Paul Hanaphy

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ScienceDaily

Scientists achieve major breakthrough in preserving integrity of sound waves

In a breakthrough for physics and engineering, researchers from the Photonics Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY (CUNY ASRC) and from Georgia Tech have presented the first demonstration of topological order based on time modulations. This advancement allows the researchers to propagate sound waves along the boundaries of topological metamaterials without the risk of waves traveling backwards or being thwarted by material defects.

The new findings, which appear in the journal Science Advances, will pave the way for cheaper, lighter devices that use less battery power, and which can function in harsh or hazardous environments. Andrea Alù, founding director of the CUNY ASRC Photonics Initiative and Professor of Physics at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and postdoctoral research associate Xiang Ni were authors on the paper, together with Amir Ardabi and Michael Leamy from Georgia Tech.

The field of topology examines properties of an object that are not affected by continuous deformations. In a topological insulator, electrical currents can flow along the object’s boundaries, and this flow is resistant to being interrupted by the object’s imperfections. Recent progress in the field of metamaterials has extended these features to control the propagation of sound and light following similar principles.

In particular, previous work from the labs of Alù and City College of New York Physics Professor Alexander Khanikaev used geometrical asymmetries to create topological order in 3D-printed acoustic metamaterials. In these objects, sound waves were shown to be confined to travel along the object’s edges and around sharp corners, but with a significant drawback: These waves weren’t fully constrained — they could travel either forward or backward with the same properties. This effect inherently limited the overall robustness of this approach to topological order for sound. Certain types of disorder or imperfections would indeed reflect backwards the sound propagating along the boundaries of the object.

This latest experiment overcomes this challenge, showing that time-reversal symmetry breaking, rather than geometrical asymmetries, can be also used to induce topological order. Using this method, sound propagation becomes truly unidirectional, and strongly robust to disorder and imperfections

“The result is a breakthrough for topological physics, as we have been able to show topological order emerging from time variations, which is different, and more advantageous, than the large body of work on topological acoustics based on geometrical asymmetries,” Alù said. “Previous approaches inherently required the presence of a backward channel through which sound could be reflected, which inherently limited their topological protection. With time modulations we can suppress backward propagation and provide strong topological protection.”

The researchers designed a device made of an array of circular piezoelectric resonators arranged in repeating hexagons, like a honeycomb lattice, and bonded to a thin disk of polylactic acid. They then connected this to external circuits, which provide a time-modulated signal that breaks time-reversal symmetry.

As a bonus, their design allows for programmability. This means they can guide waves along a variety of different reconfigurable paths, with minimal loss. Ultrasound imaging, sonar, and electronic systems that use surface acoustic wave technology could all benefit from this advance, Alù said.

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Researchers solve a 50-year-old enzyme mystery

Advanced herbicides and treatments for infection may result from the unravelling of a 50-year-old mystery by University of Queensland researchers.

The research team, led by UQ’s Professor Luke Guddat, revealed the complete three-dimensional structure of an enzyme, providing the first step in the biosynthesis of three essential amino acids — leucine, valine and isoleucine.

“This is a major scientific advance, which has been pursued globally by chemists for half a century,” Professor Guddat said.

“This information provides new insights into an important enzyme — acetohydroxyacid synthase — a target for more than 50 commercial herbicides.

“It’s also a potential target for new drugs to treat infections such as tuberculosis and invasive Candida infections.”

Using advanced techniques such as cryo-electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography, the team deciphered the structure of the plant and fungal versions of the enzyme.

“We identified how this highly complex structure is assembled, which is the highly unusual shape of a Maltese Cross,” Professor Guddat said.

“Coincidently, the Maltese Cross also features as a part of UQ’s logo.”

Professor Guddat said the discovery could have big implications for global agriculture.

“Sulfometuron is a herbicide that targets this enzyme, and was widely used in the 1990s for wheat crop protection throughout Australia,” he said.

“But today it is completely ineffective due to the development of resistance.

“With this new insight, we will be able to make changes to existing herbicides, restoring options for future herbicide application.”

Professor Guddat said the enzyme was only found in plants and microbes, not in humans.

“For this reason, the herbicides and drugs that it targets are likely to be safe and non-toxic to all mammals,” he said.

“And another surprising finding of the research was the role that the molecule known as ATP plays in the regulation of the enzyme.

“Normally ATP plays a role in providing energy to all living cells,” Professor Guddat said.

“However, here it is acting like a piece of glue to hold the structure together.”

“They’re fascinating findings for us, and we’re excited for new opportunities for targeted design of next-gen herbicides and antimicrobial agents.”

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3D Printing Industry

6K Additive commissions two UniMelt microwave plasma systems with opening of new factory

Advanced materials specialist 6K has announced that its AM division, 6K Additive, will be commissioning the first two commercial UniMelt microwave plasma systems in its new manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania. The two systems are expected to deliver a total of 200 tons of feedstock powder per year, including engineering-grade materials such as nickel super alloys […]

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Author: Kubi Sertoglu

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ProgrammableWeb

HSBC Hong Kong Introduces API for Real-Time Payments

HSBC Hong Kong has announced a new API that aims to support more advanced payment collection options. Using the new API developers will gain access to instant electronic Direct Debit Authorisation (eDDA) and real-time payment transfer functionality.

Prior to providing this service via API, HSBC Hong Kong customers had to log in and manually process transfers. Not only was this process cumbersome, but the transfers would take several days to process. With the addition of real-time transfers and an automated workflow for managing payments, the company is hoping to save customers a lot of time. 

Yvonne Yiu, Head of Global Liquidity and Cash Management for HSBC was quoted as saying that:

“When it comes to payments, simplicity and convenience make a paramount difference to customer experience. Designed to allow our corporate customers to stay ahead of the evolving demands of their clientele, this innovative cash management API also supports businesses in their digital transformation and daily operation optimization.”

This API appears to be available only to partner companies. Developers interested in other Payments APIs can check out ProgrammableWeb’s database that lists over 1100 Payments APIs

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Author: <a href="https://www.programmableweb.com/user/%5Buid%5D">KevinSundstrom</a>

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ScienceDaily

Terahertz radiation can disrupt proteins in living cells

Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics, Tohoku University, National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology, Kyoto University, and Osaka University have discovered that terahertz radiation, contradicting conventional belief, can disrupt proteins in living cells without killing the cells. This finding implies that terahertz radiation, which was long considered impractical to use, may have applications in manipulating cell functions for the treatment of cancer, for example, but also that there may be safety issues to consider.

Terahertz radiation is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared light, which is often known as the “terahertz gap” because of the lack so far of technology to manipulate it efficiently. Because terahertz radiation is stopped by liquids and is non-ionizing — meaning that it does not damage DNA in the way that x-rays do — work is ongoing to put it to use in areas such as airport baggage inspections. It has generally been considered to be safe for use in tissues, though some recent studies have found that it may have some direct effect on DNA, though it has little ability to actually penetrate into tissues, meaning that this effect would only be on surface skin cells.

One issue that has remained unexplored, however, is whether terahertz radiation can affect biological tissues even after it has been stopped, through the propagation of energy waves into the tissue. The research group from RAP and the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology recently discovered that the energy from the light cold enter into water as a “shockwave.” Considering this, the group decided to investigate whether terahertz light could also have an effect like this on tissue.

They chose to investigate using a protein called actin, which is a key element that provides structure to living cells. It can exist in two conformations, known as (G)-actin and (F)-actin, which have different structures and functions, as the (F)-actin is a long filament made up of polymer chains of proteins. Using fluorescence microscopy, they looked at the effect of terahertz radiation on the growth of chains in an aqueous solution of actin, and found that it led to a decrease in filaments. In other words, the terahertz light was somehow preventing the (G)-actin from forming chains and becoming (F)-actin. They considered the possibility that it was caused by a rise in temperature, but found that the small rise, of around 1.4 degrees Celsius, was not sufficient to explain the change, and concluded that it was most likely caused by a shockwave. To further test the hypothesis, they performed experiments in living cells, and found that in the cells as in the solution, the formation of actin filaments was disrupted. However, there was no sign that the radiation caused cells to die.

According to Shota Yamazaki, the first author of the study, published in Scientific Reports, “It was quite interesting for us to see that terahertz radiation can have an effect on proteins inside cells without killing them cells themselves. We will be interested in looking for potential applications in cancer and other diseases. He continues, “Terahertz radiation is coming into a variety of applications today, and it is important to come to a full understanding of its effect on biological tissues, both to gauge any risks and to look for potential applications.”

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3D Printing Industry

Researchers determine the effects of powder recycling on stainless steel 316L

Researchers from the I-Form Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Dublin have published a study investigating the effects of metal powder reuse on the porosity of 3D printed parts. The team employed X-ray tomography, AFM (atomic force microscopy) roughness measurements, and nanoindentation measurements with the aim of determining the optimum number of reuse cycles for stainless […]

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Author: Kubi Sertoglu

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ScienceDaily

Researchers use drones, machine learning to detect dangerous ‘butterfly’ landmines

Using advanced machine learning, drones could be used to detect dangerous “butterfly” landmines in remote regions of post-conflict countries, according to research from Binghamton University, State University at New York.

Researchers at Binghamton University had previously developed a method that allowed for highly accurate detection of “butterfly” landmines using low-cost commercial drones equipped with infrared cameras. Their new research focuses on automated detection of landmines using convolutional neural networks, the standard machine learning method for object detection and classification in the field of remote sensing. This method is a game-changer in the field, said Alek Nikulin, assistant professor of energy geophysics at Binghamton University.

“All our previous efforts relied on human-eye scanning of the dataset,” said Nikulin. “Rapid drone?assisted mapping and automated detection of scatterable mine fields would assist in addressing the deadly legacy of widespread use of small scatterable landmines in recent armed conflicts and allow to develop a functional framework to effectively address their possible future use.”

It is estimated that there are at least 100 million military munitions and explosives of concern devices in the world, of various size, shape and composition. Millions of these are surface plastic landmines with low-pressure triggers, such as the mass-produced Soviet PFM-1 “butterfly” landmine. Nicknamed for their small size and butterfly-like shape, these mines are extremely difficult to locate and clear due to their small size, low trigger mass and, most significantly, a design that mostly excluded metal components, making these devices virtually invisible to metal detectors. Critically, the design of the mine combined with a low triggering weight have earned it notoriety as “the toy mine,” due to a high casualty rate among small children who find these devices while playing and who are the primary victims of the PFM-1 in post-conflict nations, like Afghanistan.

The researchers believe that these detection and mapping techniques are generalizable and transferable to other munitions and explosives of concern. For example, they could be adapted to detect and map disturbed soil for improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

“The use of Convolutional Neural Network (CNN)?based approaches to automate the detection and mapping of landmines is important for several reasons,” wrote the researchers. “One, it is much faster than manually counting landmines from an orthoimage (i.e. an aerial image that has been geometrically corrected). Two, it is quantitative and reproducible, unlike subjective human?error?prone ocular detection. And three, CNN?based methods are easily generalizable to detect and map any objects with distinct sizes and shapes from any remotely sensed raster images.”

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