Science/Technology Part 2


How does China respond to US chip threats? With a $30 billion factory

Jan 20, 2017

  • For China, actions speak louder than words, especially in the escalating chip battle with the U.S., which has been hurling out verbal threats in recent months. The Chinese chip infrastructure is getting a serious boost from Tsinghua Unigroup, which is investing US$30 billion in a new foundry to make chips. The state-owned Tsinghua Holdings is a majority shareholder in Tsinghua Unigroup. The factory in Nanjing will primarily make 3D NAND flash and DRAM chips to bulk up the country’s semiconductor and storage markets. The first stage of investment will be $10 billion and produce 100,000 chips per month. The manufacturing facilities will stretch over 1,500 acres, or 2.34 square miles.

Mandarin Makes You More Musical?

January 18, 2017

  • Mandarin makes you more musical – and at a much earlier age than previously thought. That’s the suggestion of a new study from the University of California San Diego. But hold on there, overachiever parents, don’t’ rush just yet to sign your kids up for Chinese lessons instead of piano. In a paper published in Developmental Science, an international team of researchers shows that among the preschool set – or young children between the ages of 3 and 5 – native speakers of Mandarin Chinese are better than their English-speaking counterparts at processing musical pitch.

China has Science and Technology Ties with 158 Countries and Regions

Jan 15, 2017

  • China’s ties in science and technology encompass 158 countries and regions in the world, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology. The ministry said China has signed a total of 111 intergovernmental agreements on science and technology cooperation. In addition, China has taken part in more than 200 intergovernmental organizations devoted to boosting science and technology cooperation.

New thin-films can self-repair following damage

Jan 13, 2017

  • Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and East China Normal University devised and tested a thin-about as thin as the skin of a soap bubble-film composed of a special type of molecules called peptoids that can repair itself, similar to the self-repair seen in cells of living organisms (Advanced Functional Materials, “Self-Repair and Patterning of 2D Membrane-Like Peptoid Materials”).

Environmentally-friendly soy-based filter can capture toxic chemicals that other filters can’t

January 13, 2017

  • Working with researchers from the University of Science and Technology Beijing, the WSU team, including Weihong (Katie) Zhong, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and graduate student Hamid Souzandeh, used a pure soy protein along with bacterial cellulose for an all-natural, biodegradable, inexpensive air filter

Warning against China, White House Report Urges Faster Chip Innovation

Jan 12, 2017

  • If all goes according to plan, China’s $150 billion fund to build its domestic chip industry will be empty by 2025 and the country will produce 70% of the chips that it buys. But how China spends that money in the meantime is coming under scrutiny.

Biologists Discover New Type of Microbial Photosynthesis

Jan 9, 2017

  • An international team of biologists led by Washington State University Professor Haluk Beyenal has discovered a new type of cooperative photosynthesis that could be used in microbial communities for waste treatment and energy production. Prof. Beyenal and his colleagues from the United States and China report today on the unique metabolic process seen for the first time in a pair of bacteria (Prosthecochloris aestuarii and Geobacter sulfurreducens) in the journal Nature Communications.

China to set up gravitational wave telescopes in Tibet


  • China is working to set up the world’s highest altitude gravitational wave telescopes in Tibet Autonomous Region to detect the faintest echoes resonating from the universe, which may reveal more about the Big Bang. Construction has started for the first telescope, code-named Ngari No.1, 30 km south of Shiquanhe Town in Ngari Prefecture, said Yao Yongqiang, chief researcher with the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

New Camera Can See Around Corners

January 6, 2017

  • Today we get an answer of sorts thanks to the work of Bin Bai and co at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, who have built a single pixel camera that can see around corners. Their new device can photograph objects even when they are not in direct view. The technique is similar to that used with other single pixel cameras. The trick is to first randomize the light that the pixel detects, record the resulting light intensity, and then repeat this process thousands of times.

Is China still leading the graphene race?

January 5th, 2017

  • As competition to exploit the “wonder material” has intensified around the world, detailed reports have so far been published which set out an in-depth depiction of the global patent landscape for graphene, notably from CambridgeIP and the UK Intellectual Property Office, in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Ostensibly the number of patents and patent applications both indicated that China was leading the innovation in graphene technology. However, on closer inspection it became less clear as to how closely the patent figures themselves reflect actual progress and whether this will translate into real economic impact. Some of the main reasons to be doubtful included: As we can now see however from the data collected by Fullerex, China has the largest number of graphene producers, followed by the USA, and then the UK. In addition to having more companies active in the production and sale of graphene than any other country, China also holds about 2/3rds of the global production capacity, according to Fullerex.

Three scientific breakthroughs by Chinese scientists that may change your future life


  • If Majorana fermion fails to ring a bell then don’t worry. It has been a mystery for 80 years until it was finally captured by a Chinese research team from Shanghai Jiaotong University just six months ago.

Chinese unmanned submersibles descend 10,000 meters underwater

December 29, 2016

  • Three unmanned deep sea devices descended over 10,000 meters underwater and completed sea tests in the Pacific, said Chinese scientists leading the research. Cui Weicheng, director of Hadal Life Science Research Center at Shanghai Ocean University, led a team of researchers to carry out research at the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s ocean. The group left Dec. 3 on Zhang Jian, a research vessel and mothership of the Rainbow Fish series, and included three deep-sea landing devices, one unmanned search submersible and a manned submersible, all capable of diving 10,000 meters.

Researchers use world’s smallest diamonds to make wires three atoms wide (Update)

December 26, 2016

  • Scientists at Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have discovered a way to use diamondoids – the smallest possible bits of diamond – to assemble atoms into the thinnest possible electrical wires, just three atoms wide. The diamondoids they used as assembly tools are tiny, interlocking cages of carbon and hydrogen. Found naturally in petroleum fluids, they are extracted and separated by size and geometry in a SLAC laboratory. Over the past decade, a SIMES research program led by Melosh and SLAC/Stanford Professor Zhi-Xun Shen has found a number of potential uses for the little diamonds, including improving electron microscope images and making tiny electronic gadgets.

China’s first self-developed driverless subway line to open in HK


  • Driverless trains developed by a domestic company will start operating on a new subway line in Hong Kong on Dec 28, according to reports. Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, attended a ceremony at Ocean Park station on Dec 19 to mark the inauguration of the South Island Line.

Nature journal recognises China’s achievements in science


  • British scientific journal Nature has noted China’s achievements in aerospace, genetic engineering, and climate change in a report released on Friday regarding science events that shaped the year 2016. China launched the world’s first quantum satellite in August and powerful new heavy-lift rocket Long March 5 in November. Its Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), the world’s largest radio telescope, was put into use in September. It also highlights the two Chinese astronauts who spent one month aboard the Tiangong-2 space laboratory, in China’s longest manned mission in October and November.

2016 in news: The science events that shaped the year

16 December 2016

  • The development of new applications for the genome-editing tool CRISPR–Cas9 continued apace. On 28 October, a patient with lung cancer at West China Hospital in Chengdu became the first person to be treated with cells edited using CRISPR–Cas9. As part of a clinical trial, researchers disabled a gene that normally holds a cell’s immune system in check, in the hope that the edited cells would mount an immune response against the cancer. More cancer trials using treatments based on CRISPR–Cas9 are expected in the United States and China next year. Rising space power China garnered several wins. In August, it launched the first ever quantum satellite, aimed at testing ways to extend secure quantum communication into space. In September, the country completed construction on the world’s largest single-dish tele­scope, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope in the southwestern province of Guizhou. And in November, China launched the Long March 5 rocket, one of the world’s most powerful. It is meant to send people, rovers and heavy-duty planetary probes into space. Finally, two Chinese astronauts broke their country’s record for the longest-duration space mission when they spent a month aboard the Tiangong 2 space laboratory in October and November.

Beijing launches smart street light electric car chargers


  • Smart street lights that double as electric car charging stations and provide free Wi-Fi have begun operation on a street in Beijing. Installed on Beijing’s You’anmen West Street, 18 of the smart street lights offer a vehicle-charging function, amid the city’s campaign on promoting the widespread use of electric vehicles, reported Beijing News. The surveillance cameras on the street lights are able to monitor anything that is installed with a speed sensor. The camera can sound an alert if anything installed with one of those sensors is moved.

South China: A rising power in science

Dec. 16, 2016

  • After emerging as a trade superpower, China aims to become a leading force in scientific research and applications ranging from cosmology and spaceflight to genomics and medicine. Universities across south China are stepping up the recruitment of scientists with advanced degrees gained in Europe or the United States. This strategy has yielded prestigious science prizes and papers, and generated the growth of scientific research clusters in the region.China’s universities, along with the National Natural Science Foundation and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), have created award schemes aimed at attracting scientists trained in the United States or Europe to take positions across southern China and to help spur the next stage of the region’s metamorphosis. These strategies are helping power research breakthroughs in the spheres of space science, physics, genomics, and medicine.

Transplanted brain cells calm fear

14 December 2016

  • Yong-Chun Yu at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and his colleagues studied mice that had learned a fearful memory and were then trained to forget it. After this ‘extinction’ training, fear memories often come back spontaneously with time or in response to a stimulus. But the team found that this later recurrence was reduced when embryonic neurons that make a neurotransmitter called GABA were transplanted into the animals’ brains two weeks before the extinction training.

Evidence of ancient weathering from acid rain may explain melting of snowball Earth

December 13, 2016

  • A team of researchers from China and the U.S. has found evidence of ancient weathering in a glacial deposit in China’s Hunan province. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team outlines their findings and why they believe ancient weathering offers evidence of acid rain that might have played a role in the development of more advanced life forms on our planet.

Chinese scientist honored for successful leukemia treatment using arsenic


  • Dr. Chen Zhu from the Shanghai Institute of Hematology was honored with the 2016 Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize by the American Society of Hematology last week, along with Dr. Hugues de Thé from Collège de France, for their research advances in greatly increasing the chances of survival for patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). APL used to be a malignant blood disease with a high mortality rate. Professor Chen’s targeted treatment strategy aims at patients diagnosed with APL in its early stages, and uses all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and arsenic trioxide.

WeChat is schooling Facebook on dealing with fake news

Dec 6, 2016

  • The impact of fake news is getting harder and harder to dismiss. Just this Sunday, an armed man fired shots inside a pizzeria because of a fake news article that accused Hillary Clinton and her top campaign aide of running a child sex ring out of said restaurant. As social media plays a larger role in distributing news, how tech companies handle rumors and falsehood is crucial. Tencent, the Chinese tech giant behind social messaging app WeChat, has taken a multi-pronged approach. Given Mark Zuckerberg’s interest in the Chinese market, Facebook could learn a few things from its Chinese counterpart – especially as its future potential competitor.

Dipole orientation: New dimension in super-resolution microscopy

Dec 08, 2016

  • Recently, a new polarization-dipole azimuth-based super-resolution technique has been proposed by a group of researchers in Peking University (China), Tsinghua University (China), and University of Technology Sydney (Australia). It not only provides a new dimension for super-resolution, but also provides a timely solution to a recent hot debate in the field.

China is narrowing the U.S. lead in cancer research

Dec 7, 2016

  • Chinese researchers are publishing more than three times as many research papers on cancer topics than they were a decade ago, closing the gap with their U.S. counterparts. China now has more than 17% of the global share of cancer research publications, up from around 5% in the mid-2000s, and now matches the output of the U.S. in 2005, according to a just-published report from science publisher Elsevier.

China holds mantle of Asia’s technology, science power

December 7, 2016

Chinese NextEV to Launch Tesla Model X Competitor at Lower Price

December 3, 2016

  • NextEV, a Chinese electric car manufacturer, has announced that they’ll enter the US market with an electric SUV and that they’re targeting the Tesla Model X. “The idea wasn’t practicality but to bust records and look fantastic,” design director David Hilton said at the EP9’s November launch. It has a top speed of 194 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds. The company also claims that this is world’s fastest electric car. Well, I guess their information on competition is a bit outdated. Tesla P100D can do it in 2.4s.

Engineered virus has artificial amino acid allowing it to serve as a vaccine

December 2, 2016

  • A team of researchers at Peking University has developed a new type of vaccine that they claim may allow for a new approach to generating live virus vaccines which could conceivably be adapted to any type of virus. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team outlines the means by which they modified an influenza virus causing it to incite an immune response without a risk of infection.

Face recognition ticket checking comes to Beijing West Railway Station


  • Face recognition technology is being rolled out at Beijing West Railway Station, offering another quicker option for passengers to get their tickets checked. The move comes after the successful implementation of the technology at Beijing Railway Station, according to reports in the Beijing Youth Daily on Wednesday. To reach the trains, passengers simply need to insert their ticket, along with a second-generation ID card into a checking machine, and face the camera for a few seconds. As long as all the information matches, the gate will open, and passengers can then take their tickets and ID cards back. And away they go.

NextEV’s Nio EP9 electric supercar sets a new Nürburgring record


  • NextEV is a Chinese EV maker, and it’s going to launch a range of electric (and eventually autonomous) cars under the Nio brand (starting in China next year). As is now becoming the default (e.g., Faraday Future), instead of showing us a prototype production model, the company is making a splash with an EV supercar—the 194mph (313km/h) EP9—just six of which will be built.

Chinese plants to make ultralight electric aircraft


  • China’s Sino GA signed a 390 million US dollar contract with the Slovenian aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel at the beginning of November. The agreement calls for two factories to be built in China that will produce 500 ultralight aircraft per year, transfer of technology and selling rights in 11 Asian countries. What makes the deal particularly interesting is that most of the small aircraft will be electrically powered.

China’s “father of hybrid rice” sets new world records


  • China has made a series of new world records in hybrid rice output, Central China’s Hunan provincial government announced at a press conference Thursday. The records were set by Yuan Longping, “father of hybrid rice”. Yuan’s team have managed 42 hybrid rice test fields in 16 provincial regions across China, including Yunan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Guangdong, Chongqing and Hunan since the beginning of the year.

Uncovering the secrets of friction on graphene: Sliding on flexible graphene surfaces has been uncharted territory until now

November 23rd, 2016

  • Graphene, a two-dimensional form of carbon in sheets just one atom in thick, has been the subject of widespread research, in large part because of its unique combination of strength, electrical conductivity, and chemical stability. But despite many years of study, some of graphene’s fundamental properties are still not well-understood, including the way it behaves when something slides along its surface. The findings are presented this week in the journal Nature, in a paper by Ju Li, professor of nuclear science and engineering and of materials science and engineering at MIT, and seven others at MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, and universities in China and Germany.

Environmentally-friendly graphene textiles could enable wearable electronics

25 Nov 2016

  • A new method for producing conductive cotton fabrics using graphene-based inks opens up new possibilities for flexible and wearable electronics, without the use of expensive and toxic processing steps. Wearable, textiles-based electronics present new possibilities for flexible circuits, healthcare and environment monitoring, energy conversion, and many others. Now, researchers at the Cambridge Graphene Centre (CGC) at the University of Cambridge, working in collaboration with scientists at Jiangnan University, China, have devised a method for depositing graphene-based inks onto cotton to produce a conductive textile. The work, published in the journal Carbon, demonstrates a wearable motion sensor based on the conductive cotton.

World of viruses uncovered – not just unwanted house bugs

24 November 2016

  • 1445 viruses have been discovered in the most populous animals – those without backbones such as insects and worms – in a Nature paper that shows human diseases like influenza are derived from those present in invertebrates. The meta-genomics research, a collaboration between the University of Sydney and the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, was made possible by new technology that also provides a powerful new way to determine what pathogens cause human diseases.

Cement soaks up greenhouse gases

Nov. 21, 2016

  • So a team of Chinese scientists, including physicist Zhu Liu, now at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, set out to do just that. Those researchers eventually teamed up with Steve Davis, an earth systems scientist at the University of California, Irvine, and other U.S. and European researchers. Together, they compiled data from studies of how cement is used around the world, including the thickness of concrete walls, the quality of concrete used in different structures, the life spans of concrete buildings, and what happens to the concrete after the buildings are torn down. The scientists also visited construction sites around China—the world’s largest producer of cement—to get more accurate estimates of a variety of factors that influence how much CO2 the cement absorbs. That included everything from the size range of concrete rubble and how long it was left in the open air, to how much cement was used in thick concrete versus thin layers of mortar spread on walls, where it’s exposed more readily to CO2.

Innovative Technique to Curtail Illegal Copying of Digital Media

22 November 2016

  • A new method creates invisible optical watermarks to protect images, videos and books from counterfeit distribution “In our research, we use a complex pattern of light, or diffraction pattern, as a unique watermark,” said Yishi Shi, from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. “The invisible watermark is embedded into the content we are trying to protect. Imperceptibility is one of the most significant advantages of optical watermarking.”

Nature Index 2016 Collaborations

16 November 2016

  • The two countries that produce the largest volume of high-quality science publications, the United States and China, also collaborate more than any other international pairing. Collaborations between the two superpowers manifest in myriad ways. Members of the Harvard China Project, a partnership between Harvard University and several major Chinese universities, are studying how vegetation affects carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere (page S6). Given that the United States and China are by far the world’s biggest CO2 emitters, their cooperation in understanding and mitigating the effects of global warming is essential.

Science superpowers find common ground

16 November 2016

  • Chinese–US research partnerships outnumber all other international pairings. That trend, spurred by a long history of collaboration between the two countries, presents challenges, but the outcomes are a major boon for science. Partnerships between the largest producers of publications, the US and China, are particularly prolific. Analysis of 68 high-quality natural science journals included in the Nature Index shows Chinese and American researchers have collaborated in top journals more than other international pairings. In the last four years, Chinese–American partnerships in the physical and life sciences have more than doubled.

China to begin building two research vessels


  • China will start building research vessel Dayang Erhao (Ocean No.2) and a mother ship for manned submersible Jiaolong, both expected to be put into service in March 2019. The China Ocean Mineral Resources R&D Association on Friday signed contracts with two ship manufacturers to begin construction on the research vessels with plans to finish the projects in about 28 months. According to the association, the Dayang Erhao will have a displacement of 4,000 tonnes and measure 98 meters long and 17 meters wide. It will contain more than 400 square meters of laboratory space be equipped with over 70 types of research devices.

China’s Driverless Trucks Are Revving Their Engines

November 16, 2016

  • China is gearing up to overhaul its road delivery with fleets of self-driving long-haul trucks. A number of companies are developing automation technologies that promise to lower costs, reduce accidents, and improve overall efficiency for the trucking industry by allowing drivers to make longer trips that include periods of rest. In Europe and the U.S., Volvo, Daimler, Uber, and others are testing trucks capable of driving themselves under expert supervision. But several Chinese-based companies are working on automated trucks, and lenient regulations as well as a desire to overhaul the country’s chaotic trucking industry may smooth the way for the technology’s introduction. This could provide a handy edge in the race to develop a lucrative new way of hauling goods.

Tiny super magnets could be the future of drug delivery

Nov 14, 2016

  • Kezheng Chen and Ji Ma from Quingdou University of Science and Technology, Quingdou, China have published a method of producing superparamagnetic crystals that are much larger than any that have been made before. They recently published their findings in Physics Letters A (“Discovery of superparamagnetism in sub-millimeter-sized magnetite porous single crystals”).

Chinese researchers build world’s strongest magnetic field

13 November, 2016

  • China has created the world’s largest strong magnetic field, a technological breakthrough that paves the way for the construction of advanced medical scanning technology, according to the research team behind the feat. The superconductive magnet, recently completed at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Hefei, Anhui province, has a field that can top 10 Tesla, about 200,000 times the earth’s magnetic field. It has an inner space 92cm in diameter.

How China is fast narrowing the technology gap with the West

Nov 1, 2016

  • China recently scored impressive breakthroughs in science and technology (S&T). These include a gigantic 500m-aperture spherical telescope, the launch of the world’s first hacker-proof quantum satellite and the world’s fastest computer – the new Sunway Tianhe-1A – which extends China’s lead in supercomputing. Indeed, China has in recent years made remarkable progress across several S&T sectors. In space technology, for instance, it has sent 10 astronauts into orbit over the last 13 years, launched its first moon probe and two space stations (Tiangong 1 and 2). Most recently, China launched the Shenzhou XI manned spacecraft with two astronauts to the Tiangong II space lab for a 30-day manoeuvre. Former US energy secretary Steven Chu has even observed that China is ahead of America in areas ranging “from wind power to nuclear reactors to high-speed rail”. China is also catching up fast in artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, 5-G broadband technology and the “Internet of Things”.

Samsung partners with China Mobile for 5G

2016-11-09 16

  • Samsung Electronics has partnered with China Mobile to co-demonstrate key telecommunication technologies for the upcoming fifth-generation (5G) networks. The partnership is expected to help Samsung speed up its penetration into one of the world’s biggest telecommunications markets, as China’s state-owned telecom operator holds some 840 million subscribers.

New Research Provides Path to Study Diabetic Complications

Nov 8, 2016

  • An international team of scientists from the United States and China has found a sensor for the reactive molecules linked to diabetic complications. The study, done in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, provides particular promise for those suffering from painful diabetes-related nerve damage.

Physicists induce superconductivity in non-superconducting materials

October 31, 2016

  • Researchers at the University of Houston have reported a new method for inducing superconductivity in non-superconducting materials, demonstrating a concept proposed decades ago but never proven. The technique can also be used to boost the efficiency of known superconducting materials, suggesting a new way to advance the commercial viability of superconductors, said Paul C.W. Chu, chief scientist at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH (TcSUH) and corresponding author of a paper describing the work, published Oct. 31 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Superconductivity is used in many things, of which MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is perhaps the best known,” said Chu, the physicist who holds the TLL Temple Chair of Science at UH. But the technology used in health care, utilities and other fields remains expensive, in part because it requires expensive cooling, which has limited widespread adoption, he said.

Team heats up exotic topological insulators

October 31, 2016

  • Fashion is changing in the avant-garde world of next-generation computer component materials. Traditional semiconductors like silicon are releasing their last new lines. Exotic materials called topological insulators (TIs) are on their way in. And when it comes to cool, nitrogen is the new helium. This was clearly on display in a novel experiment at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that was performed by a multi-institutional collaboration including UCLA, NIST and the Beijing Institute of Technology in China.

Chinese researchers suggest ultrasound may have future potential to treat brain disorders

29 October, 2016

  • Chinese researchers have wagged the tail of an unconscious mouse using only ultrasound directed at its brain, in an experiment that could lead to new therapies for a range of diseases in humans that cause uncontrollable movement such as palsy. In the experiment carried out at a Shenzhen laboratory operated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a mouse was anaesthetised and its head delicately held in place in rods on a small platform. An ultrasound transducer pressing down on its skull generated an acoustic pulse 300 milliseconds every three seconds at 5 Megahertz, a frequency four times higher than what was been used in previous attempts.

The brain and marijuana: Chinese and US researchers uncover ‘perfect fit’ behind the buzz

28 October, 2016

  • Chinese and American scientists studying the precise mechanism of how marijuana gets people high have discovered within our brain cells “a pickpocket with three arms”. The active compound in marijuana, or Cannabis sativa, was discovered in the 1960s, but the exact process of how it produces its narcotics effects on the brain remained largely a mystery. The study, in this month’s issue of the journal Cell, sheds new light by unveiling, for the first time, the physical structure of human cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1), a protein in our brain cell membranes that introduces the narcotic chemicals in marijuana to our brain cells.

New surfaces repel water in oil as well as oil in water

Oct 28, 2016

  • Researchers of Aalto University have developed new surface materials that are extremely difficult to wet both by water and oil. Because they don’t need isolating air to stay trapped between the droplet and rough surface to prevent wetting, these surface materials work even when wet by another liquid. Researchers’ novel dual superlyophobic surfaces repel water even when covered by oil and oil when covered by water. So far, this has been regarded as contradictory to each other and not expected to be present on the same surface. “The competitive interaction with surfaces between oil and water plays an essential role in various technological applications. Our new design strategy of surfaces can be used in many ways from self-cleaning to dirt-repellency,” tells Xuelin Tian, who was a postdoctoral researcher in Aalto University before recently becoming a professor at Sun Yat-sen University, China.

China is scrambling to turn itself into a chip-making titan

October 27, 2016

  • When Chinese President Xi Jinping talked in April about how his country can foster new tech, he encouraged Chinese companies to work together to build a domestic chip industry. Three months later, senior executives from 27 leading Chinese tech companies and research institutions — including Huawei Technologies, Lenovo Group, ZTE and Tsinghua Unigroup — formed the “high-end chip alliance.” Its goal is in line with Xi’s vision: to make inroads into a domestic market worth over $100 billion annually and eventually tap into the $300 billion global market.

Scientists discover particles similar to Majorana fermions

October 25, 2016

  • In condensed matter physics, scientists found that a particlular kind of quasiparticle—Majorana zero modes (MZMs)—have characteristics similar to Majorana fermions. Recently, a research team from the Key Laboratory of Quantum Information of the Chinese Academy of Sciences achieved the fabrication and manipulation of MZMs in an optical simulator. The team led by Professors LI Chuangfeng, XU Jinshi, and HAN Yongjian implemented the exchange of two MZMs such that the non-Abelian statistics of MZMs are supported. This work is published in Nature Communications on October 25th.

China’s 1st molten salt solar thermal plant sends power to grid

October 23, 2016

  • China’s first molten salt solar thermal power plant has started to send electricity to the grid, said the developer based in north China’s Tianjin municipality on Sunday. Known as concentrated solar power, solar thermal energy is believed to be the next generation of solar energy, and an ideal green power source for energy-hungry countries like China. The Tianjin Binhai Concentrating Solar Power Investment Co. Ltd. said its 50-megawatt molten salt trough project in Akesai in northwest China’s Gansu Province shows the maturity of the commercial development of solar thermal technology.

Identification of genome-wide cisplatin cross-linking sites with DNA base resolution

October 21, 2016

  • Cisplatin is one of the most widely used agents in cancer chemotherapy. Its mode of action is cross-linking of the DNA, which can kill cells. But which part of the genome is more affected, and which is less affected? A Chinese team of scientists have now set up a universal, genome-wide assay system to detect the specific cisplatin action sites, In the journal Angewandte Chemie the scientists introduce their system and report initial results, which support the notion that the mitochondrial genome is one of cisplatin’s main targets.

A weird combination of Deinotherium and Platybelodon- Elephantiformes without ivories

October 21, 2016

  • Recently, Researchers, Shiqi Wang, Tao Deng and Jie Ye, in IVPP, together with collaborators in Hezheng Palaeozoological Museum, Gansu, have found the conserved delicate Amebelodontidae fossil group in Middle Miocene in Dingjiaergou, Tongxin, Ningxia and published it on Journal of Systematic Palaeontology online. The fossil group is representative of 11 quite intact individuals with different sexes and ages, having the shovel-shaped lower jaw and lower incisors and undoubtedly belonging to the Amebelodontidae. However, the feature of missed ivories irrespective of the sex and age period was firstly found in the Elephantiformes. The new group is named as Aphanobelodon zhaoi gen. et sp. nov. The genus name, “Aphanobelodon” indicates its main feature of ivory missing; and its species name is contributed to Mr. ZhaoRong, the discover of the fossil group.

Chinese researchers develop algorithms for smart energy grid

October 20, 2016

  • Enter the energy internet. It’s based on the idea that electricity could be distributed similarly to the actual internet. The energy internet isn’t yet reality, but scientists at Northeastern University in Shenyang, China, have proposed a way to actualize the theory. “[The energy internet] brings new challenges to the study of some basic problems in power systems, one of which is… energy management,” wrote Huaguang Zhang, the director of the Electrical Automation Institute at Northeastern University. Zhang and his team published their proposal in IEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica (JAS). “Unlike conventional power systems, the upcoming energy internet emphasizes comprehensive utilization of energy in the whole power system by coordinating multi-microgrids.”

China’s Virtual Reality Investment is Moving its Focus to Content

October 19th, 2016

  • Chinese investors are now increasingly seeking quality virtual reality (VR) content rather than hardware. In China, hardware accounted for 78 percent of total VR investment made in 2015 and 2016. However, the hardware deals decreased to 30 percent by August 2016, and more capital was put into content, found 87870, a VR content platform based in Beijing. Total VR investment in 2015 and 2016 reached RMB 4 billion (US$593 million). Investment in Q1 2016 reached its peak, up 20 percent from the previous quarter.

Chinese scientist plans mass production of sea-rice

October 15, 2016

  • China’s “father of hybrid rice” is planning to expand its production of sea-rice at a newly founded research center in Qingdao, a port city in the eastern province of Shandong, local sources said Saturday. Within three years, the sea-rice research and development center, headed by scientist Yuan Longping, is expected to expand the yield of sea-rice to 200 kilograms on each “mu,” the Chinese unit equivalent to 666 square meters, according to local authorities in Qingdao’s Licang District, where the new research body is located.

Insanely virtual

Oct 15th 2016

  • AT THE heart of an emerging technology cluster in London’s Shoreditch lies the Stage, a big mixed-use building complex that is being developed by Vanke, a Chinese real-estate company, among a few others. A potential Chinese buyer of one of the flats in its 37-storey residential tower recently had a look around. She went from room to room, observing the furnishings and fittings. She marvelled at the city views from the balcony and peeped inside the refrigerator. There was no need for a flight to London. She toured the property using virtual reality (VR) goggles at Vanke’s global marketing centre in Shanghai.

Chemists design organic molecules that glow persistently at room temperature

October 13, 2016

  • LEDs have inspired a new generation of electronics, but there is still work ahead if we want luminescent materials to consume less energy and have longer lifespans. Certain inorganic metals seem promising, but they are rare, expensive to process, and potentially toxic. In Chem on October 13, researchers in China present an alternative: a group of metal-free phosphorescent molecules that efficiently and persistently glow different colors at room temperature and are potentially three times more efficient than a fluorescent organic LED.

China is Designing Portable Nuclear Reactors

Oct 12, 2016

  • China is reportedly developing miniature nuclear reactors and hopes to have them within five years, says the South China Morning Post. The reactors, with development is partially funded by the Chinese military, would be ideal for powering military bases on remote islands. According to the Morning Post, the hedianbao, or “portable nuclear battery pack,” is cooled by lead and will fit inside a shipping container 6.1 meters long by 2.6 meters high. The hedianbao will generate up to 10 megawatts, enough energy to power 50,000 households, and could run for decades without refueling.

Yinchuan: The smart city where your face is your credit card

October 10, 2016

  • On the local buses, facial recognition software has replaced the fare box. Much like a fingerprint can unlock a smartphone, passengers’ faces are linked to their bank accounts, meaning boarding isn’t slowed by people fishing for exact change. Public trash bins that run on solar power and double as compactors, allowing them to increase their capacity five-fold, are being trialed within the city’s Smart Community Project — an occupied “living lab” which acts as a mini-city within the city. The bins send out a signal when they’re full, so garbage collectors know when to empty them. Grocery shopping is also, potentially, a thing of the past. Residents can order food via an app on their phone and, rather than wait at home for perishables to turn up, they can pick up their shopping at centrally located refrigerated smart lockers.

Roger Yonchien Tsien (1952–2016)

12 October 2016

  • Roger Yonchien Tsien pioneered the use of light and colour to ‘peek and poke’ at living cells to see how they work. His most famous achievement, recognized by a share of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008, transformed biology: he developed a rainbow of probes, based on the jellyfish green fluorescent protein (GFP), to illuminate cell structure and function.

New route to highly crystalline carbon nitrides for efficient photocatalytic hydrogen generation

October 10, 2016

  • The team led by Yupeng Yuan and Zhiqun Lin first produced an aggregate made of two different starting materials in a solvent. These materials, melamine and cyanuric acid, consist of six-membered rings of carbon and nitrogen atoms. The particular side-groups on these molecules allow them to form hydrogen bridge bonds to each other. This results in extensive two-dimensional aggregates in which the two molecules alternate. This puts the building blocks into the right structure for subsequent bonding of the rings to form g-C3N3, which reduces the likelihood of defects in the lattice.

Chinese doctors use VR technology to remove rare liver tumor


  • The Sun Yat-sen Memorial hospital in Guangzhou, south China has successfully removed a rare tumour of the liver with the help of virtual reality (VR) technologies. In this case, a seven-year-old patient underwent a hepatoblastoma, which is a rare childhood liver cancer. The growth weighed 1.4 kilograms, three times larger than the liver of a normal child. By transforming the 2D x-ray film into a 3D model, doctors were able to define the relation of blood vessels, biliary tract and tissues inside the liver, and so could accurately remove the tumour from the liver.

Baidu, nVidia To Build Independent Self-Driving Car Platform

Sep 29, 2016

  • Chip-maker nVidia and Chinese internet company Baidu announced a strategic partnership to focus on building a computing platform for self driving cars. According to research by Boston Consulting Group, the autonomous car market could be a $42 billion market by 2025, which could be around 12-13% of the total auto market. Moreover, China could be the largest market for autonomous features in cars over the next two decades.

U.S. and Chinese universities start construction on joint tech innovation institute in Seattle region

September 23, 2016

  • Leaders from the University of Washington, Tsinghua University, Microsoft and other local organizations came together Friday to celebrate to kick off construction of the Global Innovation Exchange building in Bellevue’s Spring District. The Global Innovation Exchange, or GIX, is a partnership between Tsinghua and UW to offer graduate technology degrees for U.S. and Chinese students. Microsoft is a key corporate partner and committed $40 million to the initiative last year.

UK researchers tap into China’s scientific powerhouse

23 September 2016

  • The UK government is to outline its plans to strengthen collaborative research between Britain and China. The Science Minister, Jo Johnson, will give details while opening a joint UK-Chinese plant research centre just outside Shanghai. Chinese research has grown rapidly in the past 20 years. Spending on R&D is now over 40 times what it was in 1995, amounting to £150bn in 2015 – just over 2% of the country’s economic production (GDP).

Antimicrobial resistance gene found in marine pathogen

September 20, 2016

  • A team of Chinese investigators has discovered a gene for resistance to β-lactamase antibiotics, in the pathogenic marine bacterium, Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The β-lactamase gene, blaVEB-2, has never before been found in V. parahaemolyticus, and in fact, has been found almost exclusively in non-marine pathogens. The research is published Monday, September 19, 2016 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The resistance genes were contained within a novel, highly unusual plasmid. Plasmids are pieces of independent DNA that can jump from one species of bacteria to another, and which frequently carry multiple resistance genes—as this plasmid did. The authors suspect that these plasmids may be enabling Vibrios, and likely other marine bacterial pathogens, to spread resistance—which they note has been gradually climbing among marine pathogens.

China To Spend Half Of R&D Budget On Applied Research By End Of 2020

September 19, 2016

  • By the end of the 2020, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) plans to spend 50 percent of its research budget on applied research, 40 percent on basic research, and 10 percent on research and development. This is according to a five-year plan announced by CAS in Beijing recently. The plan sets CAS’ strategy for the five-year period from 2016 to 2020, with the goal of becoming a top-ranked, globally influential and competitive research institution.

China’s SuperD Technology Introduces First All-in-One Smartphone That Integrates 3D & VR

Sep 15, 2016

  • Chinese tech firm SuperD Technology unveiled the first ever full display handset that integrates 2D, 3D, and virtual reality in a single device dubbed as SuperD D1. The new device which was introduced during a conference hosted by SuperD Technology in Beijing boasts the never-before-seen swift switching between 2D, 3D, and VR modes. Citing the Shenzhen-based company, China Daily explained that the innovation was made possible by a SuperD VR motion-sensing vision chip which was added to the configured GPU of a traditional smartphone.

New Fabric Uses Sun and Wind to Power Devices

September 13, 2016

  • Combining two types of electricity generation into one textile paves the way for developing garments that could provide their own source of energy to power devices such as smart phones or global positioning systems. “This hybrid power textile presents a novel solution to charging devices in the field from something as simple as the wind blowing on a sunny day,” said Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering. The research was reported September 12 in the Nature Energy.

Chinese, British Researchers Develop Self-healing Composite Materials

Sep 13, 2016

  • A research team from China and the United Kingdom has developed a method of allowing materials, commonly used in aircraft and satellites to self-heal cracks at temperatures well below freezing. The paper detailing this method is the first to show that self-healing materials can be manipulated to operate at very low temperatures (-60°C). It was published in Royal Society Open Science, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by the Royal Society in the UK. The method can be applied to fiber-reinforced materials used in situations where repair or replacement is challenging such as offshore wind turbines, or even “impossible” such as aircraft and satellites during flight.

Chinese professor uses face recognition tech to relieve boredom in class

13 September 2016

  • THE DAYS of yawning behind a copy of Hipster Beard Monthly hidden in a text book could be over thanks to one enterprising university professor. Wei Xiayong, a science teacher at Sichuan University, has made a custom-designed face recognition system to alert him if students look bored. The Daily Telegraph reported that the idea came from a technique launched five years ago created by professor Wei and adopted by the university in the south west city of Chengdu to take attendance registers for classes using face recognition.

This new fingerprint technique could revolutionise the way we solve gun crime

September 12, 2016

  • Despite the development of DNA profiling for criminal investigation, fingerprints remain the most common type of forensic evidence to be recovered from a crime scene. From the first identifications made at Scotland Yard in the early years of the 20th century, to the computerised storage and searching that is available now, the basic concept of making a fingerprint identification has not changed. Imperfections (or minutiae) in the pattern of ridge lines on the tips of fingers and on the palms provide the key to linking a fingerprint found at a crime scene (often referred to as a finger mark) to the fingerprint of an individual. In 2015, the University of Leicester signed an agreement with Zhejiang Police College in China to collaborate in advancing forensic science research and teaching. An early result of this has been the joint development of an improvement in the way this technique works. Essentially, the electrically charged shell casing is now rotated in a bed of the powder, which makes the process easier than the original method of applying the powder directly to the casing. to Use VR Technology on Its Platform to Keep Up with Rival Alibaba

Sep 08, 2016

  • is planning to make use of virtual reality (VR) technology on its online shopping platform to keep up with rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, China Daily reported. The company made the announcement on Tuesday, Sept. 6, saying that it plans to build a virtual reality and augmented reality-enabled online shopping experience that brick-and-mortar stores cannot match.

The new breed of cutting-edge catalysts

06 September 2016

  • Catalysts are used in some 90% of processes in the chemical industry, and are essential for the production of fuels, plastics, drugs and fertilizers. At least 15 Nobel prizes have been awarded for work on catalysis. And thousands of chemists around the world are continually improving the catalysts they have and striving to invent new ones. At the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ State Key Laboratory of Catalysis in Dalian, director Can Li has used platinum and cobalt oxide nanoparticles to create a catalyst for splitting water with sunlight10 (see ‘Light splitter’). He starts by sticking the nanoparticles to crystals of a semiconductor called bismuth vanadium oxide, with each type of particle carefully isolated on a specific face of each crystal. Then, when he immerses the crystals in water and exposes them to light, photons strike the semiconductor and loosen electrons. The result is a flow of current that the nanoparticles use to break water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Oxygen gas comes bubbling off the cobalt oxide sites, while positively charged hydrogen ions migrate to the platinum particles. “We separated the active sites to block the reverse reaction,” says Li — that is, a dangerously explosive conversion of hydrogen and oxygen back into water. (To simplify the experimental set-up, the hydrogen ions are currently captured by a separate compound rather than turned into gas.) The process is not yet efficient enough to be economically viable, says Li. But his team is testing combinations of semiconductors and metal catalysts to refine the design.

Scientists developing multipurpose stratospheric airships


  • Chinese scientists are developing a family of high altitude airships that can help with Earth observation, maritime monitoring and communication signal relays. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences are working on the stratospheric airships, so-called because they are capable of conducting long-term operations in the stratosphere-the second major layer of Earth’s atmosphere at an altitude of 20 to 50 km. According to the academy’s development plan for the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), which lists 140 research and development priorities, researchers are to develop key technologies and techniques for controllable stratospheric airships and perform flight tests before the end of 2020.

First gravitational waves form after 10 million years

September 5, 2016

  • If two galaxies collide, the merging of their central black holes triggers gravitational waves, which ripple throughout space. An international research team involving the University of Zurich has now calculated that this occurs around 10 million years after the two galaxies merge – much faster than previously assumed. Technology Islamabad, the University of Heidelberg and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has now calculated this for the first time using an extensive simulation.

China Gears Up for Science and Technology Advancement in the Next Five Years

Sep 01, 2016

  • The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) unveiled on Wednesday 60 new science and technology projects covering various topics of study and aims to accomplish all of it in the next five years. The study areas cover organ repair and reconstruction, water pollution control, research on Moon samples, a low-frequency radio telescope and the development of a ground application system for the Mars mission.

China’s homegrown AI sector takes off

September 2, 2016

  • China looks to build a native artificial intelligence industry reaching 100 billion yuan ($14.9 billion) by 2018, with over 100 such firms materializing so far. Baidu’s virtual assistant Duer stole the show at the company’s technology expo Thursday by giving a play-by-play of a professional basketball game that matched a video. The program automatically pieced together colorful commentary, which described a “sweet” dunk by U.S. superstar Kevin Durant, after learning dialogue from famous sports announcers. That feat was aided further by Baidu’s image recognition technology. CEO Robin Li credits deep learning for fueling the dramatic progress of AI technology over just a few years.

Lowering the cost and environmental footprint of white LEDs

September 1st, 2016

  • Widespread use of low-power, long-lasting LEDs in the U.S. could save nearly 348 terawatt-hours by 2027, which equals the annual output of 44 power plants, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. But white LEDs are currently made with rare-earth elements, and mining these minerals can be costly and produce toxic waste. Additionally, existing commercial methods for producing white LEDs involve multiple components and steps that reduce efficiency and quality. So, Kuang-Lieh Lu, Yang-Fang Chen and colleagues developed more cost-effective and environmentally friendly white LEDs using graphene and a strontium-based, metal-organic framework (MOF) that does not include rare-earth elements. MOFs comprise a promising new class of hybrid materials made of metallic ions and organic ligands. Testing showed that the devices’ emission spectrum was close to that of natural sunlight.

JD’s first-ever self-driving delivery vehicle to hit roads soon


  • China’s e-commerce giant Inc announced Thursday that its first-ever driverless delivery vehicle is undergoing road test and will be put into trial soon, newsportal sohu reported. The autonomous scooter launched by the company is 1 meter long, 0.8 meters wide and 0.6 meters high, and has six different sized compartments to carry the deliveries.

Terminator-like liquid metal machine now can ‘jump’ and ‘run’


  • The liquid metal machine invented by Chinese scientists and once praised as T-1000 robot in sci-fi thriller Terminator now can “jump” and “run”, according to an article posted by Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on its WeChat account on Wednesday. It briefed about the new discoveries on liquid metal made by a joint team of scientists from CAS and Tsinghua University that were published in global academic journals this year. One of their academic papers titled “Liquid Metal Machine Triggered Violin-like Wire Oscillator” appeared as the cover story in the Aug 17 issue of Advanced Science.

Huawei talks up cloud ambition, rides IoT elevators with Schindler

September 1, 2016

  • Huawei wants to play a role in providing the infrastructure it believes is necessary to facilitate an “intelligent” world, one that is driven by devices, connectivity, and cloud. Senior executives from the Chinese networking equipment maker talked up the importance of cloud in enterprises’ digital transformation, pointing to its role in the success of companies such as Google, Amazon Web Services, Didi Chuxing, and Airbnb.

Nvidia partners with Baidu to build a self-driving car AI

Sep 1, 2016

  • Nvidia and Baidu, the Chinese web giant, will work together to build a platform for semi-autonomous vehicles. Baidu hopes to use the technology to build out its own taxi fleet, according to TechCrunch, but the two companies also plan to offer their system to car manufacturers, who could use it to add self-driving capabilities to their own vehicles. The details of the partnership are really vague and involve a lot of buzzwords, including but not limited to “end to end,” “top to bottom,” and “cloud to car.” But the gist sounds like this: Nvidia will bring its existing work on AI to the table, and Baidu will bring its work on mapping. Together, they’re hoping to make a system for delivering 3D maps to vehicles alongside an AI that knows how to get a car to navigate them.

Device to control ‘color’ of electrons in graphene provides path to future electronics

August 31st, 2016

  • A device made of bilayer graphene, an atomically thin hexagonal arrangement of carbon atoms, provides experimental proof of the ability to control the momentum of electrons and offers a path to electronics that could require less energy and give off less heat than standard silicon-based transistors. It is one step forward in a new field of physics called valleytronics. Their paper, “Gate-controlled topological conducting channels in bilayer graphene,” appears online today (Aug 29) in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Additional authors include Ke Wang and Yafei Ren and their advisor Zenhua Qiao of University of Science and Technology of China, who performed numerical studies to model the behavior of the wires. The high-quality hexagonal Boron Nitride crystals used in the experiment came from Kenji Watanabe and Takashi Taniguchi of National Institute for Material Science, Japan. Two undergraduate students, Kenton McFaul and Zachary Zern, contributed to the research.

China: High-tech transformation

31 August 2016

  • Chinese researchers are benefiting as the government looks to science to lead the economic transition to become a world-leader in the production of high-value technology. In a world of mobile devices, incremental improvements in the size, sustainability and efficiency of battery technology can have considerable economic ramifications. The global battery market is forecast to be worth US$120 billion a year by 2019, and the competition to lead the science is fierce.

Science-led economies

31 August 2016

  • A country without science is like a car without an engine: it’s not going anywhere. This Outlook surveys the global scene (see page S2) and then embarks on a world tour, examining countries’ achievements, and mistakes, as they attempt to harness the power of science for economic growth. China is focusing on collaborative centres that tap into the success of it’s basic research labs and spin out their findings into practical technologies (S8). Australia has travelled a similar path, making strides in capitalizing on its research foundation — but has ended up overcompensating, robbing its basic-research effort to pay for applied work (S14).

China and US Science Organizations Agree to Cooperate on Research

Aug 31, 2016

  • The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) agreed at meeting in Washington D.C. to broaden their cooperation in science and research. “These alliances not only lead to scientific revelations, they also transcend traditional political boundaries,” said AAAS CEO Rush Holt, who is a former Princeton fusion scientist and a former New Jersey Representative. NSFC President Dr. Wei Yang Ph.D. Sc.D. said they’ve identified four areas to expand partnerships: promoting women in science; helping to engage young researchers; strengthening links in science education and research and improving scientific communication.

China’s first driverless subway line to launch in 2017: report


  • China’s first driverless subway line, the Yanfang line in southwest Beijing, is expected to start operations at the end of 2017, the People’s Daily reported Monday. Operations on the line will be fully automatic, including train departures, door opening and closing, and cleaning, said the report. The trains will only use domestic technology. China started developing its own fully automatic subway system in 2010 and has mastered the core technologies, said the report.

Body heat as a power source

Aug 30, 2016

  • Electronics integrated into textiles are gaining in popularity: Systems like smartphone displays in a sleeve or sensors to detect physical performance in athletic wear have already been produced. The main problem with these systems tends to be the lack of a comfortable, equally wearable source of power. Chinese scientists are now aiming to obtain the necessary energy from body heat. In the journal Angewandte Chemie (“Wearable Thermocells Based on Gel Electrolytes for the Utilization of Body Heat”), they have introduced a flexible, wearable thermocell based on two different gel electrolytes. Previous thermoelectric generators, such as those based on semiconductors, produce too little energy, are costly, or are too brittle for use in wearable systems. Thermocells with electrolyte solutions are difficult to integrate into extensive wearable systems. A team led by Jun Zhou at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (Wuhan, China) has now found a solution to this problem: thermocells with gel-based electrolytes.

China Overtakes US in Scientific Articles, Robots, Supercomputers

August 29, 2016

  • In 1996, China published a mere 29,000 papers, well behind Japan, the UK, Germany, and France (50,000-90,000) not to mention the US with 333,000. As of 2015, however, China had surged to 416,000 published papers, still modestly behind the US with its 567,000 papers but far ahead of everyone else. Nonetheless, in the “hard”/STEM spheres that arguably matter more for technological progress – and which have much less in the way of a replicability crisis – China is already ahead of the US in terms of total publications: 34,000 to 28,000 in mathematics; 67,000 to 52,000 in physics and astronomy; 63,000 to 36,000 in chemistry; 120,000 to 67,000 in engineering; 49,000 to 41,000 in computer science. The only major spheres here in which the US remains considerably ahead are the more biologically orientated sciences, such as: 196,000 to 69,000 in medicine, 83,000 to 59,000 in biochemistry/genetics, 23,000 to 7,000 in neuroscience, and 18,000 to 14,000 in pharmacology. Otherwise, the US retains clear dominance only in the the softer spheres of social science and the arts: 54,000 to 7,000 in the social sciences, 10,000 to 2,000 in economics, 23,000 to 2,000 in psychology, and 27,000 to 2,000 in the arts and humanities. In one subcomponent that is arguably outright negative value added, that of Gender Studies, the US published 1,456 documents to China’s 23. The overall trends cannot be denied – Chinese scientific output is rapidly approaching American levels and will probably outright overtake, at least in absolute numbers, by around 2020.

China Now Leads the Server Race: Meet the Phytium MARS Processor

August 29, 2016

  • Phytium’s first ARM design is the “Mars” CPU, the world’s first 64-core ARM processor. Originally first described at HotChips 2015, this year’s subsequent HotChips 2016, where Phytium was a Platinum Sponsor, saw the production system demo of what is right now the fastest ARM CPU, exceeding the 54-core Cavium design and any other server ARM platforms unveiled or known right now, including the AMD one. Also, this year there were no problems in Phytium engineers obtaining U.S. visas, which was one of big scandals of last year. First, let’s address a few quick points for naysayers not believing the Chinese technology: for start, this is certified fully compliant ARMv8 processor. Whatever runs on any other ARMv8 (save custom extensions) will run on Mars. Secondly, these are not lightweight cores such as those on Xeon Phi – we’re talking about full 4 ops/cycle heavy cores with 128-bit NEON-style SIMD Floating Point Units. Finally, other key server-class features like full ECC paths and very high memory and I/O bandwidth are there as well – all that even though the 28nm process technology is still two generations behind what is used by Intel, for instance.

Researchers develop new monomer fluorescent protein for SR imaging

August 29, 2016

  • To understand the cell, it is necessary to study its dynamics at high resolution in space and time using techniques that do not adversely affect it. Recently developed superresolution (SR) microscopy breaks the diffraction limit and offers the requisite spatial resolution but usually at the cost of slow imaging speed and excessive damage. Applying reversibly switchable fluorescent proteins (RSFPs) greatly reduces the illumination intensity, thus enabling live-cell SR imaging while using saturated depletion-based SR techniques such as nonlinear structured illumination microscopy (SD NL-SIM) or reversible saturable optical fluorescence transition (RESOLFT) microscopy. However, one major challenge in live-cell SR is the absence of optimal fluorescent probes. The inherent optical properties of the existing switchable fluorescent proteins Dronpa and rsEGFP—including the small number of switching cycles, low fluorescence signal, and poor contrast—make it difficult to achieve the desired resolution in live-cell SR imaging. To circumvent the problem, Professor XU Pingyong at the Institute of Biophysics (IBP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently developed a new type of monomer, RSFP Skylan-NS (sky lantern for nonlinear structured illumination).

Baidu Cuts Drone Project To Focus On Artificial Intelligence

29 August 2016

  • Chinese Internet search engine giant Baidu Inc. has decided to end a food-delivering drone project to focus on artificial intelligence, according to remarks made by a company executive in Beijing reported by Chinese media. Lin Yuanqing, senior director at Baidu’s Deep Learning Laboratory, said during the China Artificial Intelligence Conference last week that Baidu plans to focus on six areas in the deep learning space going forward. They include deep learning aggregation platform, basic image recognition technology, fine-grained image recognition, video analysis, augmented reality (AR) technology and medical image recognition.


24 August 2016

  • As China continues to increase its investment in research, it is offering opportunities that can be difficult to find elsewhere. China’s economy has been growing more slowly in recent years: the gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.9% in 2015, compared with 10.6% in 2010. But foreign researchers say that there has been no cooling of the enthusiasm for enticing talented scientists to work in the country. Overseas and expat scientists are persuaded with promises of generous funding and research opportunities. China’s most recent five-year plan, for example, pledged to continue with its drive to increase research and development funding as a proportion of GDP — from 1% in 2002 and 2% in 2014, to 2.5% in 2020. The rapid growth of research funding in China makes it an attractive place for researchers looking to set up their own laboratories and projects. For Peng, it meant the opportunity to co-found the Telescope Access Program. Now in its sixth year, the US$13-million project gives Chinese astronomers observation time on optical and infrared telescopes around the world.

Scientists experimentally realize optomechanically induced non-reciprocity


  • Light has reciprocity with bidirectional transmission in ordinary media. Circulators and isolators are indispensable components in classical and quantum information processing in an integrated photonic circuit. Therefore, all-optical controllable non-reciprocal devices are always a hot topic in the research of photonic chips. Normal non-reciprocal devices are based on magnetic-optical material. However, incorporating low optical-loss magnetic materials into a photonic chip is technically challenging. DONG Chunhua’s group and ZOU Changling from the Key Laboratory of Quantum Information, University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of Chinese Academy of Sciences first experimentally demonstrated non-magnetic non-reciprocity using optomechanical interactions in a whispering gallery microresonator. This work was published in Nature Photonics. This study utilizes ordinary optomechanical interaction in whispering gallery microresonators, where the two optical modes are the degenerate clock-wise (CW) and counter-clockwise (CCW) traveling-wave whispering-galley modes with opposite orbital angular momentums. For such an interaction, the CW and CCW modes are independently coupled with the mechanical mode.