University of Toronto researchers have developed a series of techniques to create a variety of very active iron-based catalysts necessary to produce certain compounds used in the drug and perfume industry. The new synthetic methods promise to be safer, more economical and more environmentally friendly than traditional industrial processes.
There’s not much detail in the news release about this interesting work,
“There is a research effort world-wide to make chemical processes more sustainable and green, by replacing the rare, expensive and potentially toxic elements used in hydrogenation, catalytic converters in cars, fuel cells for the efficient conversion of chemical energy into electricity, and silicone coatings, with abundant ions such as iron,” says U of T chemistry professor Robert Morris, principal investigator of a study reported in the November 29 issue of Science. “Iron is about 10,000 times cheaper to obtain than ruthenium. Less than 200 metric tons of platinum-type metals are mined in the world every year and not all of it can be recycled after use. They are not essential to life and can be toxic.”
“We found a way to make the ferrous form of iron behave in a catalytic process much more efficiently than a precious metal. We did this by finding molecules containing nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon and hydrogen, that bond to, and enhance, the reactivity of iron,” says Morris.
The scientists inexpensively produced varieties of alcohol with different biological properties — which can be used in flavour and drug synthesis — and different smells, a property important to the perfume industry. In one example from the study, the precursor alcohol to a cancer treatment can be made using the hydrogenation process catalyzed by iron. Using iron, the resulting complex is often a better catalyst than the industrial one based on ruthenium.
Occasionally, I write about green chemistry as I did in a Jan. 10, 2011 posting about a McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) green chemistry breakthrough and about cinnamon-based green chemistry.
Garrison Bespoke, a high fashion, men’s tailoring business, has developed a bulletproof business suit, which they will be testing tomorrow, Nov. 5, 2013 at the Ajax Rod and Gun Club at 11:00 am EST near Toronto, Ontario. Here’s more from the Nov. 4, 2013 news item on Nanowerk,
Toronto-based luxury bespoke tailoring house Garrison Bespoke will launch the first fashion-forward bulletproof suit tomorrow with a live ammo field-testing event at the Ajax Rod and Gun Club at 11:00 am EST in Ontario.
“After receiving requests from high-profile clients who travel to dangerous places for work, we set out to develop a lightweight, fashion-forward bulletproof suit as a more discreet and stylish alternative to wearing a bulky vest underneath,” said Michael Nguyen, co-owner and bespoke tailor of Garrison Bespoke.
Here’s an image of the suit,
The Garrison Bespoke bulletproof suit is a discreet and stylish alternative to the traditional bulky Kevlar vest. (PRNewsFoto/Garrison Bespoke) [downloaded from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/first-fashion-forward-bulletproof-suit-using-us-military-grade-bulletproof-technology-launches-tomorrow-by-canadas-garrison-bespoke-230481881.html]
“After receiving requests from high-profile clients who travel to dangerous places for work, we set out to develop a lightweight, fashion-forward bulletproof suit as a more discreet and stylish alternative to wearing a bulky vest underneath,” said Michael Nguyen, co-owner and bespoke tailor of Garrison Bespoke.
The Garrison Bespoke bulletproof suit is made with carbon nanotubes created using nanotechnology and originally developed to protect the US 19th Special Forces in Iraq. The patented material is thinner, more flexible and fifty per cent lighter than Kevlar, which is traditionally used for bulletproof gear. The Garrison Bespoke bulletproof suit also protects against stabbing – the carbon nanotubes harden on impact preventing a knife from penetrating.
The cost of a Garrison Bespoke bulletproof suit starts at $20,000.
The live ammo field-testing event tomorrow will demonstrate the suit’s capabilities and offer a first look at Garrison Bespoke’s new collection, Town & Country, inspired by the great outdoors. Each piece in the new collection can be made bulletproof by request.
For anyone who wants to order the suit now, you can go here on the Garrison Bespoke website, meanwhile, the news release offers this gem of a description for the company,
Garrison Bespoke is a luxury menswear boutique in Toronto’s Financial District that creates custom garments to help clients make their mark. Designed with modern style and classic foundations, Garrison Bespoke pieces are conservative enough to create credibility but unique enough to stand out. A sharp pinstripe suit with crushed jade woven into the cloth for good luck is one client’s signature look. [emphasis mine] Secret suit pockets are the norm.
It would be nice to know a bit more about this cloth and carbon nanotubes but so far I haven’t been able to find any more information. Perhaps I’ll send the company via their public relations intermediaries some questions.
An Aug. 9, 2013 news item on Azonano features Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE) member, Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) member, and business incubator, GreenCentre Canada,
GreenCentre Canada has recently incorporated its third spinoff company, Precision Molecular Design Corporation. Based on a technology invented at Carleton University, Precision Molecular Design’s proprietary ALD precursors enable “greener” production of smaller and faster microchips for the semiconductor industry.
Precision Molecular Design’s breakthrough metal deposition technology allows manufacturers to generate circuit interconnects in successive layers one atom at a time. This will allow the semiconductor industry to develop the next generation of smaller microchips, ushering in new miracles of miniaturization. The technology will also enable the production of microchips with less waste and lower power consumption. For the consumer, this means longer battery life, more convenient sizing, less heat generation and a reduced carbon footprint.
Invented by Professor Sean Barry of Carleton, GreenCentre originally supported this breakthrough ALD technology with proof-of-principle funding of $16,000 and, in 2011, in-licensed the technology for continued commercial development. In 2012, GreenCentre licensed the technology to Digital Specialty Chemicals, a fine chemical manufacturer, to develop an industrial process to manufacture the precursors.
Precision Molecular is now looking for investors and partners for their precursors and offer development and contract services for the development of materials and processes for the ALD market.
Formed in 2009 and funded by the governments of Ontario and Canada, and industry, GreenCentre is a member of the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE) and the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR). GreenCentre’s product and application development activities are housed in a 10,000 square foot facility dominated by state-of-the-art web labs with solvent-handling systems, inert atmosphere glove boxes and standard analytical equipment. GreenCentre is located at Innovation Park at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
The organization’s main focus is on developing green chemistry solutions and, presumably, new businesses.
It looks like they have some big plans in Ontario’s Niagara region, excerpted from a joint BioLiink, Goodman School of Business (Brock University) and Innovate Niagara July 4, 2013 media release,
A new biosciences incubator operated by the Goodman School of Business [Brock University] as part of Innovate Niagara’s network of incubators, BioLinc is looking to fill the crucial gap that exists between scientific discovery and business opportunity.
“With a nod to the area we are in, I like to refer to this as the ‘terroir of innovation,’ ” says Dan Lynch, manager of BioLinc, referring to Brock’s location in Niagara’s wine country. “We are a true locavore story. If you think about bioprocessing, it is great to be in a place where we can grow stuff. We have the raw materials close by and accessible.”
Housed in a 4,000-square-foot space located on Brock’s main campus in the new $111.4-million Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex, BioLinc was launched with a startup investment of $843,500 from FedDev Ontario’s Prosperity Initiative. BioLinc has the capacity to accommodate an ever-changing mix at any time of student entrepreneurs, researchers and companies as residents, with move-ins underway throughout this summer.
The BioLinc facility is also the home of the Goodman School of Business student consulting. In combination with service learning opportunities for Goodman business students, the student consulting service provides business support services for the residents of BioLinc.
The relationship with Innovate Niagara allows BioLinc to leverage the Accelerator Program to help start-ups move to market faster, create jobs and stimulate economic activity.
“We are very excited to utilize this proven framework that helps start-ups to succeed using coaching and mentoring, connections to capital, R&D support, commercialization expertise and more,” says Jeff Chesebrough, Brock University’s Director of Innovation and Incubation who also acts as CEO of Innovate Niagara.
The buzzword at BioLinc is collaboration. Several spaces in the incubator have been designed to accommodate groups of people — be they students or researchers — working together. Furniture is more likely to be a table rather than individual desks. Three lab areas are described as “places for collisions,” where researchers can work together in a neutral space – bringing academia and the private sector together.
The facility also includes a “dry lab” for design and prototyping, computer sciences, web work, a design station and, soon, a 3D printer.
As an incubator, BioLinc offers entrepreneurs office space and equipment, networking to develop the contacts necessary to commercialize their ideas and support and counselling for matters like business plans, finances and business training. Being part of Brock University allows tenants at BioLinc to access facilities and state-of-the-art equipment as well as the most current research and teachings that guide the development of new businesses.
Operated by the Goodman School of Business as part of Innovate Niagara’s network of incubators, BioLinc is a bioscience, biotechnology and biomanufacturing facility housed within the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Complex at Brock University. BioLinc helps transform today’s leading-edge research opportunities into tomorrow’s robust business opportunities by providing students, researchers and private sector companies with a forum to connect, collaborate and commercialize concepts.
About the Goodman School of Business:
Based at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., the Goodman School of Business is one of only six schools in Ontario that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business international. The Goodman School of Business is home to more than 2,600 undergraduate students, 350 graduate students and has 7,000 alumni worldwide.
About Innovate Niagara:
Innovate Niagara helps entrepreneurs in high-growth industries to start, grow and succeed. Innovate Niagara is a Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) funded through the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Formerly known as nGen – Niagara Interactive Media Generator, Innovate Niagara was renamed in 2013 to reflect their expanded mandate to serve emerging sectors and high-growth industries through business advisory services, tools and resources including a network of business incubators.
The EcoSynthetix and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology partnership announced today (Mar. 13, 2013) is an example of how tightly interlaced the relationships between academic institutions and their graduates’ start-up companies can be. A Mar. 13, 2013 news item on Nanowerk describes the partnership,
EcoSynthetix Inc. and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Waterloo have joined forces through an industrial partnership to collaborate on new applications for EcoSynthetix’ EcoSphere® technology. The five-year agreement will be jointly funded through an EcoSynthetix and NSERC (National Sciences and Engineering Research Council) Collaborative Research and Development Grant. The project matches the scientific expertise from the University of Waterloo in macromolecular science with the sustainability benefits of EcoSphere® bio-based nanoparticles which are based on green chemistry. The goal of the project is to broaden the scientific knowledge base of the EcoSphere® technology to support its introduction into new application areas.
“As a global centre of excellence for nanotechnology research, this project represents a great opportunity for our institute, faculty and students at the University, to collaborate with a local innovator to further our understanding of the technology and its potential applications,” said Dr. Arthur J. Carty, Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (“WIN”) and an independent director of the board of EcoSynthetix. [emphasis mine] “Nanotechnology is a leading-edge, enabling technology that holds the promise of a lasting economic benefit for jobs and investment in the materials, energy and healthcare sectors. EcoSynthetix’s innovative nanotechnology has the potential to impact a wide-array of markets that would benefit from a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based products.”
“This ECO-WIN collaboration involves four professors and eight graduate students at the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and is a great example of how industry and universities can work together to advance an exciting new area of science to benefit the community,” said Dr. Steven Bloembergen, Executive Vice President, Technology of EcoSynthetix. “Our EcoSphere® technology is already commercial and providing sustainable benefits in three separate markets today. Our team’s primary focus at this stage is near-term product development and product enhancements of carbohydrate-based biopolymers. By working with the Institute of Nanotechnology to deepen our understanding of the basic science, we can identify new future applications that could benefit from our sustainable biobased materials.”
The EcoSphere® technology is being commercially utilized as biobased latex products providing alternatives to petroleum-based binders in the coated paper and paperboard market. [emphasis mine] The goal of this project is to generate a greater understanding of the properties of EcoSphere® biolatex® binders by establishing a knowledge base that could enable tailor-made novel particles with the desired properties for a given application. The project team will be chemically modifying the nanoparticles and then characterizing how the properties of the novel particles are affected by these changes.
I don’t understand what “independent director” means in this context. Is the term meant to suggest that it’s a coincidence Carty is WIN’s executive director and a member of the EcoSynthetix board? Or, does it mean that he’s not employed by the company? If any readers care to clarify the matter, please do leave a comment. In any event, the EcoSynthetix timeline suggests the company has a close relationship with the University of Waterloo as it was founded in 1996 by graduates (from the company’s About Us History Timeline webpage),
As for the product line which birthed this partnership, there’s a disappointing lack of technical detail about Ecosphere biolatex binders. Here’s the best I can find on the company website (from the Ecosphere Biolatex Binders Performance page),
The smaller particle size characteristic of biolatex binders results in increased binder strength and performance. In coated paper, it provides improved aesthetics; a rich, bright finish; enhanced open structure and excellent printability across all grades.
I wonder if some of this new work will be focused on ways to use CNC (cellulose nanocrytals or NCC, nanocrystalline cellulose) in addition to the company’s previously developed “bio-based nanoparticles” to enhance the product which, as I highlighted earlier, sells to the “coated paper and paperboard market.” From the CelluForce (the CNC/NCC production plant in Quebec) Applications page,
NCC’s properties and many potential forms enable many uses, including:
Biocomposites for bone replacement and tooth repair
Pharmaceuticals and drug delivery
Additives for foods and cosmetics
Improved paper and building products
Advanced or “intelligent” packaging
High-strength spun fibres and textiles
Additives for coatings, paints, lacquers and adhesives
Reinforced polymers and innovative bioplastics
Advanced reinforced composite materials
Recyclable interior and structural components for the transportation industry
Aerospace and transportation structures
Iridescent and protective films
Films for optical switching
Pigments and inks
Electronic paper printers
Innovative coatings and new fillers for papermaking
Since I’m already speculating, I will note I’ve had a couple of requests for information on how to access NCC/CNC from entrepreneurs who’ve not been successful at obtaining the material from the few existing production plants such as CelluForce and the one in the US. It seems only academics can get access.
One last comment about this ‘partnership’, I’d dearly love to know what relationships, if any exist, between the proponents and the NSERC committee which approved the funding.
Interestingly, Carty is the chair for the recently convened expert panel for the Council of Canadian Academies’ The State of Canada’s Science Culture assessment, as per my Dec. 19, 2012 post about the announcement of his appointment. This latest development casts a new light on the panel (my Feb. 22, 2013 post notes my reaction to the expert panel’s membership) and the meaning of science culture in Canada.
Roel Vertegaal at Queen’s University (Ontario, Canada) has released a ‘paper’ tablet. Like the bendable, flexible ‘paper’ phone he presented at the CHI 2011 meeting in Vancouver, Canada (my May 12, 2011 posting), this tablet offers some intriguing possibilities but is tethered. The Jan. 9, 2013 news item on phys.org provides more information about the new ‘paper’ device (Note: Links have been removed),
Watch out tablet lovers – a flexible paper computer developed at Queen’s University in collaboration with Plastic Logic and Intel Labs will revolutionize the way people work with tablets and computers.
The PaperTab tablet looks and feels just like a sheet of paper. However, it is fully interactive with a flexible, high-resolution 10.7-inch plastic display developed by Plastic Logic and a flexible touchscreen. It is powered by the second generation I5 Core processor developed by Intel.
Vertegaal and his team have produced a video demonstrating their ‘paper’ tablet/computer:
“Using several PaperTabs makes it much easier to work with multiple documents,” says Roel Vertegaal, Director of Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab. “Within five to ten years, most computers, from ultra-notebooks to tablets, will look and feel just like these sheets of printed color paper.”
“We are actively exploring disruptive user experiences. The ‘PaperTab’ project, developed by the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University and Plastic Logic, demonstrates novel interactions powered by Intel processors that could potentially delight tablet users in the future,” says Intel’s Experience Design Lead Research Scientist, Ryan Brotman.
PaperTab’s intuitive interface allows users to create a larger drawing or display surface by placing two or more PaperTabs side by side. PaperTab emulates the natural handling of multiple sheets of paper. It can file and display thousands of paper documents, replacing the need for a computer monitor and stacks of papers or printouts.
Unlike traditional tablets, PaperTabs keep track of their location relative to each other, and to the user, providing a seamless experience across all apps, as if they were physical computer windows.
“Plastic Logic’s flexible plastic displays allow a natural human interaction with electronic paper, being lighter, thinner and more robust compared with today’s standard glass-based displays. This is just one example of the innovative revolutionary design approaches enabled by flexible displays,” explains Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Plastic Logic.
The partners are saying that ‘paper’ tablets may be on the market in foreseeable future according to Emma Wollacott’s Jan. 8, 2013 article for TG Daily,
The bendy tablet has been coming for quite a while now, but a version to be shown off today at CES [Consumer Electronics Show] could be ready for the market within three years, say its creators.
A medical sensor that attaches to the skin like a temporary tattoo could make it easier for doctors to detect metabolic problems in patients and for coaches to fine-tune athletes’ training routines. And the entire sensor comes in a thin, flexible package shaped like a smiley face.
“We wanted a design that could conceal the electrodes,” says Vinci Hung, a PhD candidate in the Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences at UTSC [University of Toronto Scarborough], who helped create the new sensor. “We also wanted to showcase the variety of designs that can be accomplished with this fabrication technique.”
The new tattoo-based solid-contact ion-selective electrode (ISE) is made using standard screen printing techniques and commercially available transfer tattoo paper, the same kind of paper that usually carries tattoos of Spiderman or Disney princesses. In the case of the smiley face sensor, the “eyes” function as the working and reference electrodes, and the “ears” are contacts to which a measurement device can connect.
The sensor Hung helped make can detect changes in the skin’s pH levels in response to metabolic stress from exertion. Similar devices, called ion-selective electrodes (ISEs), are already used by medical researchers and athletic trainers. They can give clues to underlying metabolic diseases such as Addison’s disease, or simply signal whether an athlete is fatigued or dehydrated during training. The devices are also useful in the cosmetics industry for monitoring skin secretions.
But existing devices can be bulky, or hard to keep adhered to sweating skin. The new tattoo-based sensor stayed in place during tests, and continued to work even when the people wearing them were exercising and sweating extensively. The tattoos were applied in a similar way to regular transfer tattoos, right down to using a paper towel soaked in warm water to remove the base paper.
To make the sensors, Hung and her colleagues used a standard screen printer to lay down consecutive layers of silver, carbon fibre-modified carbon and insulator inks, followed by electropolymerization of aniline to complete the sensing surface.
By using different sensing materials, the tattoos can also be modified to detect other components of sweat, such as sodium, potassium or magnesium, all of which are of potential interest to researchers in medicine and cosmetology.
You can find the reserchers’ article in the Royal Society’s Analyst journal,
Researchers in Canada and the US have resolved a question about DNA and structural protein. From the Oct. 4, 2012 news release on EurekAlert,
Scientists in Canada and the United States have used three-dimensional imaging techniques to settle a long-standing debate about how DNA and structural proteins are packaged into chromatin fibres. The researchers, whose findings are published in EMBO [European Molecular Biology Organization] reports, reveal that the mouse genome consists of 10-nm chromatin fibres but did not find evidence for the wider 30-nm fibres that were previously thought to be important components of the DNA architecture.
Scientists were trying to understand how DNA can be packed into a cell,
“DNA is an exceptionally long molecule that can reach several metres in length. This means it needs to be packaged into a highly compact state to fit within the limited space of the cell nucleus,” said David Bazett-Jones, Senior Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, and Professor at the University of Toronto, Canada. “For the past few decades, scientists have favoured structural models for chromatin organization where DNA is first wrapped around proteins in nucleosomes. In one possible model, the strand of repeating nucleosomes is wrapped further into a higher-order thick 30-nm fibre. In a second model, the 30-nm fibre is not required to compact the DNA. Differences between these models have implications for the way the cell regulates the transcription of genes.”
Scientists offer reasons for why they concluded Previous studies have suggested for a 30-nm fibre model in earlier studies,
The researchers offer several reasons for the observation of wider fibres in earlier studies. In some cases, the conditions outside of the cell, including those used in earlier studies where chromatin was extracted from the cell, may have given rise to structural artifacts. For some of the earlier spectroscopic studies, it may even be a question of poor resolution of existing 10-nm fibres.
Here’s what the scientists found,
“Our results revealed that the 30-nm chromatin fibre model is not consistent with the structure we found in our three-dimensional spectroscopic images,” said Bazett-Jones. “It was previously thought that the transition between thinner and thicker fibres represented a change from an active to repressed state of chromatin. However, our inability to detect 30-nm fibres in the mouse genome leads us to conclude that the transcriptional machinery has widespread access to the DNA packaged into chromatin fibres.”
The results are consistent with recent studies of the human genome which suggest that approximately 80% of the genome contains elements that are linked to biological function. Access to enhancers, promoters and other regulatory sequences on such a wide region of the genome means that all of these sites must be accessible. The 10-nm model of chromatin fibres provides sufficient access to DNA to allow potential target sites to be reached. The 30-nm model would not accommodate such widespread access.
The Quantum Nano Centre (QNC), which was officially opened on Sept. 21, 2012 and mentioned in my Sept. 13, 2012 posting, is enjoying quite the publicity bonanza. Even the architects are getting in on the action as per the Sept. 25, 2012 news item on Nanowerk,
Opening ceremonies were held last week in Waterloo for Canada’s new ‘mind space’, the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre (QNC). The massive 26,010-square-metre Centre at the University of Waterloo, designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB) is a showcase for Canadian innovation and industry in the fields of quantum computing and nanotechnology – the first of its kind in the world to bring together the two disciplines under one roof.
“Breakthrough science is advancing at dizzying speed today, with quantum physics at atomic and sub-atomic scale”, said Mike Lazaridis, founder of the Centre, “Simultaneously, rapid movement is happening in nanotechnology, where fabrication of materials, devices and systems 100 nanometres or smaller is being explored. This critical nexus of quantum computing and nanotechnology brings the world closer to the cusp of previously unimagined solutions and insights.”
The Quantum Nano Centre was conceptually inspired by the famed Newton Institute in Cambridge, U.K. IQC and Nanotechnology Engineering each occupy their own building and are joined by a six-storey central atrium which acts as an indoor pedestrian route and an informal gathering space. The design organizes ‘mind spaces’ – lounges, offices and meeting rooms – around the edge of the atrium where interdisciplinary interaction can flourish.
KPMB took an Integrated Design Team Approach to the project. As Mitchell Hall, KPMB Design Architect and Principal-in-Charge led the design team said. “We first engaged researchers, both theorists and experimentalists, in deep discussions to understand the ways and patterns of their work. This advance research later provided the groundwork for the development of the interior and exterior of the complex.”
Designed to meet stringent scientific standards – with controls for vibration, temperature fluctuation and electromagnetic radiation – the facility is of the highest international caliber. One of the signature features of the facility is a 929-square-metre cleanroom with fabrication facilities for quantum and nanodevices, as well as an advanced metrology suite, extensive teaching and research laboratories.
The exterior is distinguished by a hexagonal honeycomb lattice of structural steel, a pattern inspired by the stable hexagonal carbon structure of the nanotube. The podium of the building is clad with burnished concrete block to relate to the primarily masonry fabric of the University of Waterloo.
I found an image of the new centre on the Canada Foundation for Innovation website, where that federal government agency also gets in on the party,
Take one look at the honeycomb facade of the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre at the University of Waterloo, and you get a sense that the place will be a hive of activity.
Indeed, the 285,000-square-foot facility, which opened September 21, will be buzzing with 50 researchers, more than 100 graduate students and some 500 undergraduates. Together, these bright minds will conduct the kind of research for which the university has already become world famous — such as research that aims to replace the traditional silicon-based computer with a cutting-edge quantum computer.
Although still on the drawing board, quantum computers hold promise as the new frontier of superfast computing power. Quantum computers rely on quantum physics and atomic and subatomic particles to create computing power that is much more advanced than the bits and bytes and semiconductors used in today’s computers. Many physicists and computer scientists believe that quantum computers capable of processing vast amounts of data at extremely high speeds could be developed within the next decade. However, working in the quantum and nano realm is tricky business, so structural stability and temperature control had to be carefully considered in the design of the new Centre.
“You have to design an entire building where one atom won’t accidentally bump into another,” [emphasis mine] says Raymond Laflamme, executive director of the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) which, along with the Institute for Nanotechnology and the Nanotechnology Engineering program, is moving into the Centre. This is a mighty task when the distance between atoms is only about 1/50,000th the width of a human hair.
I don’t understand Laflamme’s comment about one atom accidentally bumping into another. Perhaps it will make more sense after reading Laflamme’s Sept. 20, 2012 article about a symphony, Quantum: Music at the Frontier of Science, which was premiered in Kitchener (it’s near Waterloo), Ontario in February 2012 and is being remounted for a Sept. 30, 2012 performance in honour of the QNC opening. From Laflamme’s article,
For two evenings last February, the symphony played the concert to sold-out audiences at Kitchener’s Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts. On September 30 — as part of the grand opening celebrations of the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre at the University of Waterloo — we will host the concert again inside the remarkable new building.
With music, visuals and unique “sound experiments,” the concert gives audiences a guided tour along the parallel paths taken by music and quantum science over the past century. From Mozart to Xenakis — and from Newton to Hawking — the concert explores the many unexpected intersections between music and science.
More than a year of planning went into the concert. KW [Kitchener-Waterloo] Symphony Music Director Edwin Outwater spent many hours with IQC [Institute for Quantum Computing] researchers and staff, wrapping his head around the concerts. He and IQC communications officer Colin Hunter collaboratively wrote a script for the concert, which is performed during the live concerts by a narrator. During the February performances, I joined Edwin onstage several times to talk about the scientific concepts being expressed through the music.
Creating the concert was a revelatory experience. Too often, it is assumed that science and art are completely separate spheres of human endeavour, but this just isn’t so.
“There are two kinds of truth,” our narrator said during the concert, quoting novelist Raymond Chandler [known for his fictional detective, Philip Marlow, and for writing the novel, The Big Sleep, amongst many others]. “The truth that lights the way, and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art.”
Science and art share a common goal — to help us understand our universe and ourselves. Research at IQC aims to provide important new understanding of nature’s building blocks, and devise methods to turn that understanding into technologies beneficial for society.Since founding IQC a decade ago, I have sought ways to bridge science and the arts, with the belief that scientific discovery itself is a source of beauty and inspiration. Our collaboration with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony was an example — one of many yet to come — of how science and the arts provide different but complementary insights into our universe and ourselves.
I have included a ‘making of …’ video for this symphony, which is, unfortunately, approximately 18 mins. in length (I don’t usually embed anything much over five minutes),
Neither Laflamme’s article nor the ‘making of …’ video helped me to understand that business of constructing a building where atoms don’t accidentally bump into each other. Perhaps I’ll get lucky and somebody who knows will leave a comment.
Hy-Power Nano, the subsidiary of South Ontario-based [Canada] Hy-Power Coatings, engaged in developing nanocoating products characterized by thermal insulation and a solar blocking capability has introduced its first product labeled the Hy-Power Clear Liquid Solar Blocker.
The launch of the solar blocker represents a significant milestone in the company’s endeavors towards the development of nanotechnology-based coating products. The product was demonstrated in Mississauga at the International Conference Centre to a group of customers. The product is the output of two-and-a-half years of labor initiated after Hy-Power Nano President and CEO, Joseph Grzyb, envisaged the potential of leveraging their 46 years of expertise in industrial coating in combination with nanotechnology.
“While we all love sunlight, ultraviolet (UV) rays can be damaging and infrared (IR) rays are a source of energy costs,” says Joseph Grzyb, President and CEO of Hy-Power Nano. “Our Clear Liquid Solar Blocker is so clear you can’t see it on glass, yet it blocks 99.99 per cent of UV and 40 per cent of infrared rays. Since the product is liquid-based, it can be applied on a variety of glass surfaces and geometries.”
“There are many applications for this product. For example, for retailers, that means products in windows won’t fade from sunlight while allowing customers a completely unobstructed view of the goods in the window. Skylights coated with our product allow people to enjoy the comfort and natural light without any negative impacts. There are actually quite a range of needs addressed by this product,” adds Grzyb.
There’s a lot of research interest in windows these days and it’s not just in Canada. This Aug. 27, 2012 Nanowerk Spotlight essay by Michael Berger offers an overview of some of the latest work,
Buildings and other man-made structures consume as much as 30-40% of the primary energy in the world, mainly for heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting. In particular, air conditioners are responsible for a large proportion of the energy usage in the US: 13% in 2006 and 10% in 2020 (projected) of the total primary energy. Air conditioning in China is 40-60% of a building’s energy consumption (the exact figure depends on the area of the building), and overall, accounts for 30% of the total primary energy available. These figures will grow very rapidly with urbanization development.
“Smart window” is a term that refers to a glass window that allows intelligent control of the amount of light and heat passing though. This control is made possible by an external stimulus such as electrical field (electrochromic), temperature (thermochromic), ultraviolet irradiation (photochromic) and reductive or oxidizing gases (gasochromic). These technologies save energy, address CO2 concerns, improve comfort levels, and have economic benefits.
One of these days I’d like to see a study or two about the occupational health and safety issues for people who produce and apply coatings such as this one from Hy-Power.