Science/Technology Part 4

Single molecular layer and thin silicon beam enable nanolaser operation at room temperature

Jul 29, 2017

  • For the first time, researchers have built a nanolaser that uses only a single molecular layer, placed on a thin silicon beam, which operates at room temperature. The new device, developed by a team of researchers from Arizona State University and Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, could potentially be used to send information between different points on a single computer chip. The lasers also may be useful for other sensing applications in a compact, integrated format. “This is the first demonstration of room-temperature operation of a nanolaser made of the single-layer material,” said Cun-Zheng Ning, an ASU electrical engineering professor who led the research team. Details of the new laser are published in the July online edition of Nature Nanotechnology (“Room-temperature continuous-wave lasing from monolayer molybdenum ditelluride integrated with a silicon nanobeam cavity”). In addition to Ning, key authors of the article include Yongzhuo Li, Jianxing Zhang, Dandan Huang from Tsinghua University.

Chinese scientists create biggest virtual universe with world’s fastest computer, beating European record

27 July, 2017,

  • Chinese scientists have created the largest virtual universe on Sunway TaihuLight, the world’s fastest computer, according to a lead researcher on the project. Experts said that China was learning to take full advantage of its raw calculation power, which had outpaced other nations in recent years, and recreating the universe was just the first step. The development of the next generation of high-performance computers will allow researchers to work in tandem with other advanced technological facilities, such as the world’s largest radio telescope, to unlock the secrets of the universe.

An experiment proposed by Stanford theorists finds evidence for the Majorana fermion, a particle that’s its own antiparticle

July 20, 2017

  • Now a team including Stanford scientists says it has found the first firm evidence of such a Majorana fermion. It was discovered in a series of lab experiments on exotic materials at the University of California in collaboration with Stanford University. The experimental team was led by UCLA Professor Kang Wang, and precise theoretical predictions were made by Stanford Professor Shoucheng Zhang’s group, in collaboration with experimental groups led by Associate Professor Jing Xia at UC-Irvine and Professor Kai Liu at UC-Davis. The team reported the results July 20 in Science. (See video here.) “Our team predicted exactly where to find the Majorana fermion and what to look for as its ‘smoking gun’ experimental signature,” said Zhang, a theoretical physicist and one of the senior authors of the research paper. “This discovery concludes one of the most intensive searches in fundamental physics, which spanned exactly 80 years.”

Researchers develop new ceramic coating for use in hypersonic travel

Jul 7 2017

  • A new type of ceramic coating has been developed by researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK, which is expected to significantly change hypersonic travel for air, space and defence purposes. Co-developed in partnership between the university’s Royce Institute and China’s Central South University (CSU), the newly developed carbide coating is capable of resisting temperatures up to 3,000°C. The new coating has also proved to be 12 times better than the existing ultra-high temperature ceramics (UHTC), such as Zirconium carbide (ZrC), an extremely hard refractory ceramic material commercially used in tool bits for cutting tools.

China ties the US as the most influential nation in science

July 6, 2017

  • China now ranks as the most influential country in four of eight core scientific fields, matching the U.S., according to the Japan Science and Technology Agency. And with U.S. President Donald Trump planning a major spending cut for the sciences, China could well take the sole lead. Dipping into the global database of scientific theses, the agency took the top 10% of the most-referenced studies in each field and determined the number of authors who were affiliated with the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, China or Japan. China ranked first in computer science, mathematics, materials science and engineering. The U.S. led the way in physics, environmental and earth sciences, basic life science and clinical medicine. China’s progress was especially pronounced in computer science. While the country accounted for only 3% of the most-referenced studies in 2000, the figure had surged to 21% by 2015. It has also had the fastest supercomputer in the world since 2013, and the two fastest in 2016.

Unmanned convenience stores open in Shanghai, cost less than traditional ones

July 06, 2017

  • One after another, companies are racing to set up unmanned convenience stores, such as Bingo Box, Amazon Go, convenience store chain Lawson, and Alibaba unmanned convenience stores. Bingo Box was set up near the parking lot of the Oushang Supermarket in Shanghai’s Yangpu District. It has no staff and customers must scan a QR code on the door to get in. The door locks once the shopper enters, meaning the next customer has to scan the code to get in too.

Lung, Liver and Stomach Cancers Kill a Million Chinese a Year; Big Pharma Responds

July 5, 2017

  • Big Pharma is investing billions of dollars to tackle deadly diseases prevalent in China, developing new drugs to combat a lineup of top killers that differ from those in the West. Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG NVS -0.55% is testing a molecule to combat a rare head and neck cancer widespread in southern China. American rival Johnson & Johnson JNJ 0.56% is creating innovative drugs to tackle lung cancer and hepatitis B, endemic in China. And France’s Sanofi SA SNY 0.06% is researching a new way to treat liver cancer—one of the most common forms of cancer here—despite early setbacks.

Superstretchable, supercompressible supercapacitors

Jul 03, 2017

  • Flexible, wearable electronics require equally flexible, wearable power sources. In the journal Angewandte Chemie (“An Intrinsically Stretchable and Compressible Supercapacitor Containing a Polyacrylamide Hydrogel Electrolyte”), Chinese scientists have introduced an extraordinarily stretchable and compressible polyelectrolyte which, in combination with carbon nanotube composite paper electrodes, forms a supercapacitor that can be stretched to 1000 percent in length and compressed to 50 percent in thickness with even gaining, not losing capacity. To make supercapacitors fit for future electrics demands like, for example, wearables and paper electronics, Chunyi Zhi from the City University of Hong Kong and his colleagues are searching for ways to endow them with mechanical flexibility.

New avenue for the large-scale synthesis of Janus particles

Jun 29, 2017

  • Chinese researchers have developed an emulsion interfacial polymerization method to fabricate Janus particles exhibiting chemical and topological anisotropy. Polymer particle materials have a giant effect on daily human life, largely due to the topology and surface chemistry of polymer particles. Emulsion polymerization is a traditionally leading synthesis technique for particles. However, it usually produces spherical particles due to surface tension, posing a challenge for fine-tuning the topology and chemistry of particles. To overcome the limitation of surface tension, researchers from the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently developed a general emulsion interfacial polymerization approach to synthesizing a large variety of Janus particles with controllable topological and chemical anisotropy.

World-leading science center to be built in Beijing


  • The National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Science and Technology have recently approved the plan to establish a comprehensive national science center in Beijing’s Huairou district. Comprised of national key S&T infrastructure and high-level R&D platforms, the science center will attract top talents and become a complex of world-class scientific institutions. According to the plan, by the year 2030, the science center will be built into a comprehensive science center of world significance.

New form of carbon discovered that is harder than diamond but flexible as rubber

Jun 23, 2017

  • Scientists have found a way to make carbon both very hard and very stretchy by heating it under high pressure. This “compressed glassy carbon”, developed by researchers in China and the US, is also lightweight and could potentially be made in very large quantities (Science Advances, “Compressed glassy carbon: An ultrastrong and elastic interpenetrating graphene network”). This means it might be a good fit for several sorts of applications, from bulletproof vests to new kinds of electronic devices. Carbon is a special element because of the way its atoms can form different types of bonds with each other and so form different structures. For example, carbon atoms joined entirely by sp3 bonds produce diamond, and those joined entirely by sp2 bonds produce graphite, which can also be separated into single layers of atoms known as graphene. Another form of carbon, known as glassy carbon, is also made from sp² and has properties of both graphite and ceramics.

Piezoelectric nanogenerators for self-powered flexible sensors

Jun 16, 2017

  • Researchers in China have demonstrated a high performance flexible piezoelectric nanogenerator (PENG) based on a piezoelectrically enhanced nanocomposite micropillar array of BaTiO3 nanoparticles embedded into a highly crystalline polymer for efficient energy harvesting and highly sensitive self-powered sensing. Mechanical energy with various types such as sound waves, mechanical impacts, flowing air, and human motions are most abundant energy in our living surrounding. In this framework, flexible sensors rely on piezoelectric potential generated in piezoelectric materials as a response to applied strain, have attracted extensive attentions.

Hyundai partners with Baidu in car navigation system

June 16, 2017

  • Hyundai Motor will debut a voice-guided car navigation system developed with Chinese internet giant Baidu by the end of the year, hoping to revive sales as it grapples with South Korean boycotts in China. Navigation systems equipped in Hyundai cars sold in China will feature the Baidu MapAuto and Duer OS Auto systems. The MapAuto application uses real-time traffic data to devise the best route and allows the driver to use a smartphone to input destinations ahead of time. “We will partner with such Chinese companies as Baidu in the future to strengthen development in the IT field,” said Hyundai Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun at a recent unveiling of new cars. Going forward, the partners will further deepen cooperation in self-driving technology.

Theory of Evolution Needs Update, Scientists Say

June 16, 2017

  • Scientists from several U.S. and Chinese universities say new findings about microbes and their interaction with other species show that Darwin’s theory of evolution needs an update. Their contention is based on discoveries that all plants and animals, including humans, evolved in interaction with a huge number of microscopic species — bacteria, viruses and fungi — not only in harmful but also in beneficial ways. In a paper published by the scientific journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, scientists from the University of Colorado, Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, and several other universities say Darwin’s tree of life fails to recognize that many forms of life are linked physically and evolved together in so-called symbiomes.

China’s Three Major Telecom Operators Will Start 5G Pre-Commercial Deployment Within Two Years


  • 5G’s footsteps are getting closer. China’s three major telecom operators are expected to start 5G pre-commercial deployment within two years, Yicai Global has learned. China Telecom plans to build part of the 5G pre-commercial network starting in 2019, and achieve commercial network deployment by 2020 to provide commercial services, Yang Fengyi, deputy director of China Telecom’s technology innovation center, said at an industry 5G summit held recently.

Science Leader No More? China Challenges US Dominance

June 15, 2017

  • The United States still leads the world in scientific research, at least in publishing the most biomedical studies in top-tier journals and spending the most money on research and development (R&D). America’s dominance in the scientific world is slowly shrinking, the researchers found, largely because China has invested vast amounts of money in science over the past two decades. In 2015, China’s biomedical research teams ranked No. 4 on the top 10 list for the total number of new discoveries published in six top-tier journals, the researchers said. In 2000, China didn’t even make the top 10 on this list (coming in at 14), the researchers reported. [Best Supporting Role: 8 Celebs Who Promote Science]

China joins US as top influencer in science

June 13, 2017

  • China now ranks as the most influential country in four of eight core scientific fields, tying with the U.S., according to the Japan Science and Technology Agency. The agency took the top 10% of the most referenced studies in each field, and determined the number of authors who were affiliated with the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, China or Japan. China ranked first in computer science, mathematics, materials science and engineering. The U.S., on the other hand, led the way in physics, environmental and earth sciences, basic life science and clinical medicine.

Direct conversion of rusty stainless steel mesh into stable, low-cost electrodes for potassium-ion batteries

June 9, 2017

  • Chinese scientists have made good use of waste while finding an innovative solution to a technical problem by transforming rusty stainless steel mesh into electrodes with outstanding electrochemical properties that make them ideal for potassium-ion batteries. As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the rust is converted directly into a compact layer with a grid structure that can store potassium ions. A coating of reduced graphite oxide increases the conductivity and stability during charge/discharge cycles.

Domestic Rice Was Grown in China 9,400 Years Ago

June 7, 2017

  • For years, archaeologists and researchers have been trying to figure out where and when rice was first cultivated. There’s evidence that rice first came from Japan, Korea, China, even Australia. Now, reports Sarah Zhang at The Atlantic, a new study suggests the process to domesticate rice from its wild form likely began in southern China. In the early 2000s, Stephen Chen at the South China Morning Post reports, archaeologists first discovered 18 prehistoric villages in the area of Shangshan along the Yangtze river with some evidence that the people were eating and perhaps cultivating rice. Rice hulls (hard protecting coverings of grains of rice) were used to strengthen their clay pottery and researchers also discovered early agricultural tools and large mortars and pestles used to de-hull rice. But it was not clear whether these early settlers were collecting wild rice or had begun to domesticate and cultivate rice.

Not Just the FANGs: China’s Tech Rally Has More Bite

June 07, 2017

  • Facebook Inc., Inc., Netflix Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc., which make up the FANG acronym, have each gained more than 20% so far this year, propelled by strong earnings growth and overall investor enthusiasm for technology stocks. But China’s tech giants, Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. are motoring at an even faster pace. They have each surged more than 40% so far this year and hover around record highs.

Telcos seek 5G cutting edge growth


  • Chinese telecom companies are accelerating their research and development of 5G, as they scramble to establish a beachhead in the next-generation mobile communication technology. China Mobile Communications Corp, the world’s largest telecom carrier by subscribers, said it aims to deploy more than 10,000 5G base stations by 2020, in a move to launch a commercial 5G service. With less than 1 millisecond needed for data to get from one point to another, 5G is expected to allow consumers to download an 8-gigabit movie in seconds, and make remote surgery and autonomous driving a reality.