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Archive for January 2006

 
 

Xradia Receives $1.4 Million Grant for Nano-scale X-ray Microscope

Xradia Receives $1.4 Million Grant for Nano-scale X-ray Microscope

Xradia, Inc., a developer and manufacturer of ultra-high-resolution x-ray imaging systems for 3D tomography and nanotechnology applications, today announced receipt of a $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the development of an ultra-high-resolution x-ray microscope for the three-dimensional imaging of complex biological systems.

Nanotechnology is emerging as a critical field essential to enabling fundamental breakthroughs in biomedicine and other disciplines. In this respect, single-cell tomography using x-rays has been identified as a major technology need by NIH.

“With unique capabilities in developing ultra-high-resolution x-ray nano-tomography systems, Xradia is in an ideal position to meet this emerging need,” said Dr. Michael Feser, engineering vice president at Xradia.

The company will expand its product line by introducing a new x-ray tomography system designed specifically for biomedical applications. This new product will include capabilities of automated 3D tomographic imaging with single cell or tissue sections at 30nm resolution, and high throughput. A cryogenic sample stage will preserve samples in a frozen-hydrated state, and enable simple preparation without the need for sectioning.

“The new x-ray microscope developed with these funds will bridge the gap between visible light and electron microscopy, and will provide biologists with a powerful and unique vision tool offering new insights on the structure and behavior of cellular organelles,” said Dr. Wenbing Yun, Xradia’s founder and president. “Development of the new microscope is expected to be complete in less than 12 months.”

About Xradia, Inc.

Xradia, Inc. is a privately held company established in 2000 to commercialize high-resolution x-ray microscopes for nondestructive inspection and nano-scale imaging. Initially targeted at failure analysis in the semiconductor IC industry, subsequent developments have led to a suite of commercial x-ray imaging products that have permitted expansion into markets that include metrology in semiconductor IC production, scientific equipment, biomedical research and nanotechnology development. These advanced systems offer outstanding nondestructive imaging capabilities, including nanometer resolution 3D imaging of complex objects, such as IC chips and biological specimens, and element-specific imaging for process control and monitoring in IC manufacturing. The company also supplies advanced x-ray imaging components and state-of-the-art imaging systems to the synchrotron research community. The company is rapidly expanding in response to demand for its unique x-ray imaging products

Sony Puts AIBO Robot Dog To Sleep

Sony Puts AIBO Robot Dog To Sleep

Sony Corp. has officially euthanized the Sony AIBO entertainment robot and stopped development on its QRIO humanoid robot, the company said today.
The “announcement” was slipped into Sony’s 2005 third-quarter earnings report, which also detailed a number of plant closings and a refocusing to core businesses like entertainment, pictures and music
According to the report, AIBO development had already ceased in mid-to-late 2005 and production ended late last year. “However, sales and support will continue,” the report said. “There will also be no new development for QRIO.”

While the news stunned many robot enthusiasts, the writing seemed to be on the wall. While the company updated the AIBO software and memory capabilities each year, the last major overhaul was almost two years ago; by raising the price every year, Sony appeared to be daring the US market to ignore it. The success stories of WowWee’s Robosapien and Roboraptor and iRobot’s Roomba robot vacuum also served to highlight the price chasm between them and AIBO’s $2,000 robot and their sub-$300 and sub-$200 offerings, although AIBO was always the more powerful robot with more motors, flexibility and artificial intelligence.

This stunned me as well but it seems that it maybe pending litigation over the rootkit that might be part of the the reason for this move since they had a great program. I wonder if anyone is going to buy the unit or if anyone in the unit is going to make a start up company with a next generation bot?

Researchers concoct self-propelled nano motor

Researchers concoct self-propelled nano motor

Researchers at UCLA and the University of Bologna have come up with a nano-size vehicle that can inch its way forward on sunlight and one day could, conceivably, be used to shuttle medicines or other small particles around.

The motor in chemical terms is a rotaxane, a mechanically interlocked molecule consisting of a ring trapped on a rod by bulky stoppers at both ends in the same way that rings are kept on an abacus. The ring in a sense serves as the foot. It is attracted to one end of the rod, called Station A, and moves toward it until it hits the stopper. The ring then moves to the second port of call, Station B, and moves toward it until halted by the opposite stopper. By alternating between Stations A and B, the ring pulls the whole contraption forward.

The attraction and repulsion is accomplished through electron harvesting. One of the ends of the barbell harvests an electron from sunlight and transfers it to Station A. When Station A contains an electron, the ring moves toward Station B. When Station A returns the electron to the barbell, the ring moves toward it.

A full cycle is carried out in less than a thousandth of a second, which means that the motor can operate at a frequency of 1,000 Hertz, according to the researchers. This is equivalent, using the car engine analogy, to 60,000 revolutions per minute.

“The kind of nanotechnology that will emerge from these nano motors still requires a lot of fundamental work. The nano motors are extremely sophisticated in their design,” Fraser Stoddart, UCLA’s Fred Kavli chair of NanoSystems Sciences and director of the institute, said in a statement.

Last year, researchers at Rice University showed off nanocars. These were propelled by external electric fields and did not generate their own energy, which the UCLA motor does. However, the Rice vehicles had moving molecular wheels.

Dangers of Molecular Manufacturing

Molecular nanotechnology (MNT) will be a significant breakthrough, comparable perhaps to the Industrial Revolution”but compressed into a few years. This has the potential to disrupt many aspects of society and politics. The power of the technology may cause two competing nations to enter a disruptive and unstable arms race. Weapons and surveillance devices could be made small, cheap, powerful, and very numerous. Cheap manufacturing and duplication of designs could lead to economic upheaval. Overuse of inexpensive products could cause widespread environmental damage. Attempts to control these and other risks may lead to abusive restrictions, or create demand for a black market that would be very risky and almost impossible to stop; small nanofactories will be very easy to smuggle, and fully dangerous. There are numerous severe risks ”including several different kinds of risk”that cannot all be prevented with the same approach. Simple, one-track solutions cannot work. So what then?

Intel plans 45-nanometer chips next year

Intel Corp. will enter the next era of Moores Law in the second half of 2007 with commercial shipment of its first PC processors based on a 45-nanometer manufacturing process, the company said Wednesday.

Intel showed off what it called the worlds first fully functional SRAM (static RAM) chip made with a 45nm process technology. It has more than 1 billion transistors, according to a company statement. Like other test chips, it functions as SRAM, but includes all the elements of a multicore PC processor, said spokesman John Casey. It is not intended as an Intel product, but only to demonstrate that the company can build a chip with the next-generation technology, he said.

A nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter, and each chip production technology is measured by the size of the smallest feature it can produce on a chip. With the 45nm manufacturing process, Intel can make processors with five times less power leakage than current chips, Intel said, and as a result, it will allow for PCs with higher performance per watt. The companies most advanced manufacturing technology today is 65nm, which went into commercial production in the fourth quarter of last year. Intel moves to a new process generation every two years, the company said.

Moores Law, coined by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, states that the number of transistors on a chip will double every 18 months.

The chips will be made on large 300-millimeter wafers, Intel said. Those wafers deliver higher volume and lower cost per chip than smaller wafers. The companies initial 45nm work is taking place at its D1D fabrication plant, or in Oregon. It is also building two more fabs for 45nm manufacturing, Fab 32 in Arizona and Fab 28 in Israel, the company said.