Best of Last Week: Particle accelerator on a chip, new lidar system and sleep impact on pulmonary fibrosis
It was another good week for physics as a team with members from the University of Waterloo, Universidade Federal do ABC and Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas, described their experimental demonstration of a spin quantum heat engine—showing that the theory first introduced by Scovil and Schulz-DuBois back in the 1960s was viable. Also, a combined team of researchers from Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory built a particle accelerator that fits on a chip—though not as fast as the large-scale instruments, the researchers hope it will serve as a good research tool. And a combined team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego and Columbia University announced a quantum breakthrough that brings a technique from astronomy to the nanoscale—a novel "multi-messenger" approach to quantum physics.
In technology news, a team at Monash University developed what they described as the world's most efficient lithium-sulfur battery—they claim to be on the brink of commercializing a battery that could vastly outperform those on the market today. There were also rumors that Intel was set to unveil a thermal module solution for laptops that would eliminate the need for a fan, at this year's CES. Also, Borsch hinted that it was going to unveil at CES a new lidar system that they claim will allow automated cars to drive more safely. And Samsung announced that it also has big plans for CES, mainly showing off products being developed by the company's C-Lab—a skunkworks arm for research and development.
In other news, a team of researchers with members from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases found that delivering the TB vaccine intravenously could dramatically improve its potency. Also, a multinational team of researchers found that early modern humans cooked starchy food in South Africa approximately 170,000 years ago.
And finally, if you are worried that you might be at risk of pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable lung disease, you might want to check out the results of a study conducted by a team with members from the Universities of Manchester, Oxford, Newcastle, University College London, and Toronto, as well as Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. They found that people who sleep less than four hours a night, or more than 11, are two to three times more likely to develop the condition.
Explore further: The experimental demonstration of a spin quantum heat engine
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