- 2014 – September – Week 2
Rethinking basic science of graphene synthesis shows route to industrial-scale production
A new route to making graphene has been discovered that could make the 21st century’s wonder material easier to ramp up to industrial scale. Graphene—a tightly bound single layer of carbon atoms with super strength and the ability to conduct heat and electricity better than any other known material—has potential industrial uses that include flexible electronic displays, high-speed computing, stronger wind-turbine blades, and more-efficient solar cells, to name just a few under development.
The intercalation of graphite was achieved in 1841, but always with a strong oxidizing or reducing agent that damaged the desirable properties of the material. One of the most widely used methods to intercalate graphite by oxidation was developed in 1999 by Nina Kovtyukhova, a research associate in Mallouk’s lab.
While studying other layered materials, Mallouk asked Kovtyukhova to use her method, which requires a strong oxidizing agent and a mixture of acids, to open up single layers of solid boron nitride, a compound with a structure similar to graphite. To their surprise, she was able to get all of the layers to open up. In subsequent control experiments, Kovtyukhova tried leaving out various agents and found that the oxidizing agent wasn’t necessary for the reaction to take place.
Monkey study: Ebola vaccine works, needs booster
New monkey studies show that one shot of an experimental Ebola vaccine can trigger fast protection, but the effect waned unless the animals got a booster shot made a different way.
Partial protection is better than none, Fauci said. But the goal is long-lasting protection, so it was time to try booster shots. The vaccine is made with a chimpanzee cold virus, used as a delivery system for pieces of an Ebola gene. The researchers tried simply giving another dose as a booster two months later. That didn’t work well enough.
PayPal’s Support Is the Best Thing That Could Happen to Bitcoin
Fairly or not, bitcoin still has an image problem. For every VC who extols the innovative power of the digital currency, pop culture still sees it as a way for the paranoid cyber-libertarian to shop for black-tar heroin on the Silk Road. All the more reason, then, that bitcoin fans should rejoice that, in a move announced Monday at Techcrunch’s Disrupt conference, PayPal is supporting the crypto-currency on its Braintree payments platform. When the internet’s most mainstream brand for moving money embraces a technology, it’s hard to see that system as a fringe operation.
Not that you’ll be buying Beanie Babies on eBay with bitcoin just yet. For non-financial tech nerds, Braintree is a startup bought by PayPal last year that creates tools for software developers to easily integrate payments into apps and websites. Instead of being shuttled off-site or out-of-app in the manner of the traditional PayPal payment flow, everything happens in-app, in exactly the way individual developers want. In supporting bitcoin—an increasingly popular currency driven by open source software running across a worldwide network of machines—Braintree is allowing developers on its platform to effectively flip a switch and add bitcoin to the payment methods they accept.
Intel’s Skylake chips set for PCs and tablets next year
Intel showed off the first PC containing a next-generation chip based on the upcoming Skylake architecture, set to be in PCs and tablets in the second half of next year.
The Skylake chips will be made using the 14-nanometer process, the same as Broadwell. But it will have a brand new chip design.