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Scientists Create First Room-Temperature Superconductor

Sunday, 25 October 2020 by System Administrator

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A team of physicists and materials scientists from the University of Rochester, the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Intel Corporation has created material that is superconducting at room temperature.

First discovered in 1911, superconductivity gives materials two key properties. Electrical resistance vanishes. And any semblance of a magnetic field is expelled, due to a phenomenon called the Meissner effect.

The magnetic field lines have to pass around the superconducting material, making it possible to levitate such materials.

Powerful superconducting electromagnets are already critical components of maglev trains, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) machines, particle accelerators and other advanced technologies, including early quantum supercomputers.

But the superconducting materials used in the devices usually work only at extremely low temperatures — lower than any natural temperatures on Earth. This restriction makes them costly to maintain — and too costly to extend to other potential applications.

“The cost to keep these materials at cryogenic temperatures is so high you can’t really get the full benefit of them,” said team leader Dr. Ranga Dias, a researcher in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Rochester.

Previously, the highest temperature for a superconducting material was achieved in 2019 by two teams of researchers led by Max Planck Institute for Chemistry’s Dr. Mikhail Eremets and University of Illinois at Chicago’s Dr. Russell Hemley.

That teams reported superconductivity at 250 to 260 K (minus 23.15 to minus 13.15 degrees Celsius, or minus 9.67 to 8.33 degrees Fahrenheit) using lanthanum superhydride.

In setting the new record, Dr. Dias and his colleagues combined hydrogen with carbon and sulfur to photochemically synthesize simple organic-derived carbonaceous sulfur hydride in a diamond anvil cell.

The carbonaceous sulfur hydride exhibited superconductivity at 287.7 K (14.55 degrees Celsius, or 58.19 degrees Fahrenheit) and a pressure of and a pressure of about 39 million pounds per square inch (psi).

“Because of the limits of low temperature, materials with such extraordinary properties have not quite transformed the world in the way that many might have imagined,” Dr. Dias said.

“However, our discovery will break down these barriers and open the door to many potential applications.”

“We live in a semiconductor society, and with this kind of technology, you can take society into a superconducting society where you’ll never need things like batteries again,” added co-author Dr. Ashkan Salamat, a researcher in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

“The next challenge is finding ways to create the room temperature superconducting materials at lower pressures, so they will be economical to produce in greater volume,” Dr. Dias said.

“In comparison to the millions of pounds of pressure created in diamond anvil cells, the atmospheric pressure of Earth at sea level is about 15 psi.”

The research is described in a paper published this week in the journal Nature.

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E. Snider et al. 2020. Room-temperature superconductivity in a carbonaceous sulfur hydride. Nature 586, 373-377; doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2801-z

This article is based on text provided by the University of Rochester.

 

Experimental Sars Cov-2 Nasal Vaccine protect respiratory tracts

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 by System Administrator

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Aug 27, 2020 by News Staff Sci-News.com

A single-dose intranasal vaccine called ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S prevents SARS-CoV-2 infection in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts of mice, according to a paper published in the journal Cell. The study authors now plan to test the vaccine in non-human primates and humans to see if it is safe and effective in preventing the infection.

Immunization with ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S induces both neutralizing antibody and antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses. While a single intramuscular immunization of ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S confers protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection and inflammation in the lungs, intranasal delivery of the vaccine induces mucosal immunity, provides superior protection, and possibly promotes sterilizing immunity, at least in mice that transiently or stably express the hACE2 receptor. Image credit: Hassan et al, doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.08.026.

“We were happily surprised to see a strong immune response in the cells of the inner lining of the nose and upper airway — and a profound protection from infection with this virus,” said Professor Michael Diamond, a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and corresponding co-author of the study.

“These mice were well protected from disease. And in some of the mice, we saw evidence of sterilizing immunity, where there is no sign of infection whatsoever after the mouse is challenged with the virus.”

To develop the ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S vaccine, Professor Diamond and colleagues inserted SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein, which coronavirus uses to invade cells, inside another virus — a genetically engineered chimpanzee adenovirus — that causes mild cold-like symptoms in apes but does not normally infect humans.

“Adenoviruses are the basis for many investigational vaccines for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, such as Ebola virus and tuberculosis, and they have good safety and efficacy records, but not much research has been done with nasal delivery of these vaccines,” said corresponding co-author Professor David Curiel, also from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The harmless adenovirus carries the spike protein into the nose, enabling the body to mount an immune defense against the SARS-CoV-2 virus without becoming sick.

In another innovation beyond nasal delivery, the ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S vaccine incorporates two mutations into the spike protein that stabilize it in a specific shape that is most conducive to forming antibodies against it.

“All of the other adenovirus vaccines in development for COVID-19 are delivered by injection into the arm or thigh muscle,” Professor Curiel said.

“The nose is a novel route, so our results are surprising and promising.”

“It’s also important that a single dose produced such a robust immune response. Vaccines that require two doses for full protection are less effective because some people, for various reasons, never receive the second dose.”

The researchers compared the ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S vaccine administered to the mice in two ways — in the nose and through intramuscular injection.

While the injection induced an immune response that prevented pneumonia, it did not prevent infection in the nose and lungs.

Such a vaccine might reduce the severity of COVID-19, but it would not totally block infection or prevent infected individuals from spreading the virus.

In contrast, the nasal delivery route prevented infection in both the upper and lower respiratory tract — the nose and lungs — suggesting that vaccinated individuals would not spread the virus or develop infections elsewhere in the body.

“We will soon begin a study to test this intranasal vaccine in nonhuman primates with a plan to move into human clinical trials as quickly as we can,” Professor Diamond said.

“We’re optimistic, but this needs to continue going through the proper evaluation pipelines.”

“In these mouse models, the vaccine is highly protective. We’re looking forward to beginning the next round of studies and ultimately testing it in people to see if we can induce the type of protective immunity that we think not only will prevent infection but also curb pandemic transmission of this virus.”

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A.O. Hassan et al. 2020. A single-dose intranasal ChAd vaccine protects upper and lower respiratory tracts against SARS-CoV-2. Cell, in press; doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.08.026

This article is based on text provided by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

 

2020 Cryonics Institute Election Results

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 by System Administrator

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The official 2020 Cryonics Institute Directors election resluts are as follows...

Dennis Kowalski *         133

Andy Zawacki *              164

Steve Luyckx *                89

Stephan Beauregard       96

Shannon Blevins             22  

* Denotes CI Officer

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