Dislocations in Gold as an “Autocatalytic Template” for Nanowire Growth

Share on:

Dislocations in Gold as an “Autocatalytic Template” for Nanowire Growth

Researchers at the Technion Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering have developed an innovative method for the creation of nanowires with numerous potential applications

Professor Boaz Pokroy

Technion researchers have presented an innovative method for the formation of nanowires. In it, the nanowires form within line defects that exist in metals. Such defects are known as dislocations. This is the first time that dislocation lines in a material of one kind serve as a template for the growth of a different inorganic material in the form of nanowires. The study, which was published in PNAS, was led by Professor Boaz Pokroy and Ph.D. student Lotan Portal of the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering and the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute (RBNI).

Dislocations are a significant phenomenon in materials science since they affect the material’s properties on both the macro- and microscales. For example, a high dislocation density increases a metal’s strength and hardness. The

Lotan Portal

dislocation edges on metal surfaces and the atoms in their proximity tend to be more chemically activated compared to other atoms in the material and tend to facilitate various chemical reactions, such as corrosion and catalysis.

The researchers in Prof. Pokroy’s group created nanowires of gold-cyanide complex from classic Au-Ag alloy. In professional terminology, they synthesized inorganic gold(I)-cyanide (AuCN) systems in the shape of nanowires, using an autocatalytic reaction (i.e. through the acceleration of a reaction by one of its reactants). Gold-cyanide complex is used in numerous fields including ammonia gas detection (NH3 sensors), catalysis (acceleration) of water-splitting reactions, and others.

Scanning electron microscope image of a lateral section of a sample that contains a gold-cyanide nanowire created from Au-Ag (to a depth of 2 microns from the surface of the sample).

In the process developed by the researchers, nanowires crystallize at the dislocation ends on the surface of the original gold-silver (Au-Ag) alloy, and the final structure obtained is classic nanoporous (sponge-like) gold, with a layer of nanowires emerging from it. Formation of the nanowires occurs during the classic selective dealloying process that separates the silver from the system and forms the nanoporous gold and is achieved only when the dislocation density exceeds a critical value, as presented in the kinetic model developed and demonstrated in the article.

A schematic drawing depicting 1D nucleation and growth of a gold-cyanide nanowire along a dislocation in the original alloy during the classic selective dealloying process.

The model provides a possible route for growing one-dimensional inorganic complexes while controlling the growth direction, shape, and morphology of a crystal according to the original alloy’s slip system. As mentioned, this scientific and technological achievement has numerous potential applications.

The research was sponsored by a European Research Council (ERC) Proof of Concept Grant (“np-Gold” project) as part of the Horizon 2020 Program.

For the article in PNAS click here

 

Revving Up-Formula Racing

Share on:

 Revving Up

 Israel’s Formula student teams – absent from international competitions for two years because of COVID-19 – have established their own Formula Race for students

This year’s Technion team is its largest ever

This month, three universities will participate in the inaugural Israeli Formula SAE Race: The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

The Technion team with the 2021 model

The Technion Formula Student Team has been led by the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering since 2013. Academic guidance is provided by Prof. Leonid Tartakovsky, who replaced Prof. Reuven Katz, the project supervisor from 2013 to 2019.

Headed by Muans Omari, a master’s student in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, this year’s Technion team is its largest ever, made up of more than 60 students from various faculties. This is Omari’s third year participating in the project; he started out as a volunteer and driver, subsequently progressed to head of the engine crew, and since 2021, has served as the Technion’s project lead. As a driver, he won first place driving on the figure-8 Skidpad circuit in the Czech Republic in the summer of 2019, just before the global COVID-19 outbreak. During that race, the Technion unveiled the lightest car in the history of the competition, which weighed in at just 132 kg of advanced technology, after “Technion Formula” shed 120 kg in just three years.

The Formula cars from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

“After two years in which we were prevented from participating in races in Europe because of the pandemic, we decided to bring the race to Israel,” said Omari, “and the three universities that will be competing in October – the Technion, Tel Aviv University, and Ben Gurion University – are fully on board. This is a unique, adrenaline-intensive motorsport event that combines engineering theory and technological applications. We believe it will have a direct impact on the vehicle industry in Israel and encourage investors and local firms to develop vehicles and other relevant products.”

The opening event in August 2021 was attended by experts from the Ministry of Transportation, who advised the teams on adapting the car to comply with licensing requirements in Israel.

The Racing Teams

The race will take place October 20-October 21 at the MotorCity – Motor Park Racing Circuit in Beersheba, Israel.

Formula Student is a series of international competitions in which university teams compete to design, manufacture, and race the best performing racecars.

This E-Skin Knows What Movement You Make

Share on:

 

This E-Skin Knows What Movement You Make

Technion scientists created a wearable motion sensor capable of identifying bending and twisting

The new device

 

Professor Hossam Haick

Technion scientists have produced a highly stretchable electronic material and created a wearable sensor capable of precisely identifying bending and twisting motion. It is essentially an electronic skin capable of recognizing the range of movement human joints normally make, with up to half a degree precision. This breakthrough is the result of collaborative work between researchers from different fields in the Laboratory for Nanomaterial-Based Devices, headed by Professor Hossam Haick from the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering. It was recently published in Advanced Materials and was featured on the journal’s cover.

Yehu David Horev

Prof. Haick’s lab is focused on wearable devices for various uses. Currently existing wearable motion sensors can recognize bending movement, but not twisting. Existing twisting sensors, on the other hand, are large and cumbersome. This problem was overcome by Ph.D. candidate Yehu David Horev and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Arnab Maity. Mr. Horev found a way to form a composite material that was both conductive (and thus, usable as a sensor) and flexible, stretchable, breathable, and biocompatible, and that did not change its electrical properties when stretched. Dr. Maity then solved the mathematics of analyzing the received signal, creating an algorithm capable of mapping bending and twisting motion – the nature of the movement, its speed, and its angle. The novel sensor is breathable, durable, and lightweight, allowing it to be worn on the human body for prolonged periods.

“This sensor has many possible applications,” Prof. Haick stated. “It can be used in early disease diagnosis, alerting of breathing alterations, and motor system disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. It can be used to assist patients’ motor recovery and be integrated into prosthetic limbs. In robotics, the feedback it provides is crucial for precise motion. In industrial uses, such sensors are necessary in monitoring systems, putting them at the core of the fourth industrial revolution.”

“Electrically conductive polymers are usually quite brittle,” explained Mr. Yehu about the challenge the group had overcome. “To solve this, we created a composite material that is a little like fabric: the individual polymer ‘threads’ cannot withstand the strain on the material, but their movement relative to each other lets it stretch without breaking. It is not too different from what lends stretch to t-shirts. This allows the conductive polymer withstand extreme mechanical conditions without losing its electrical properties.”

What makes this achievement more important is that the materials the group used are very cheap, resulting in an inexpensive sensor. “If we make a device that is very expensive, only a small number of institutions in the Western World can afford to use it. We want the technological advances we achieve to benefit everyone, regardless of their geographic location and socio-economic status,” said Prof. Haick. True to his word, among the laboratory’s other projects is a tuberculosis-diagnosing sticker patch, sorely needed in developing countries.

Dr. Arnab Maity

The scientists who contributed to this study are Yehu David Horev, Dr. Arnab Maity, Dr. Youbin Zheng, Yana Milyutin, Dr. Muhammad Khatib, Dr. Ning Tang, and Prof. Hossam Haick from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; Miaomiao Yuan from the Eighth Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, China; Dr. Ran Yosef Suckeveriene from the Department of Water Industry Engineering at the Kinneret Academic College; and Prof. Weiwei Wu from the School of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology at Xidian University, China.

Click here for the paper in Advanced Materials

 

Most Innovative Student Projects in Biomedical Engineering

Share on:

From fighting COVID-19 to detecting heart disease, these are some of the Technion’s most innovative student projects in biomedical engineering

From detecting cardiovascular disease, to fighting coronavirus, Faculty of Biomedical Engineering students recently presented an array of innovative projects that integrated everything they had learned.
During project development, the students had to go through all the stages needed to bring an idea to fruition. Starting with a medical problem which they had to tackle, they had to combine and implement medical know-how with engineering skills and scientific knowledge in order to provide a real-world solution. This hands-on experience exposes and prepares Technion graduates to the high-tech and biomed industries, and to biomedical research in a way that encourages multidisciplinary work. Therefore, such projects are vital for their future career and entrepreneurial skills.

Here’s a glimpse into some of the most intriguing (and often lifesaving) student projects in biomedical engineering.

 

Early detection of cardiovascular disease  – Sivan Barash and Shachar Zigron took first place in the student project competition, presenting a novel way of labelling macrophage cells, making them detectable by MRI. Macrophages are cells involved in the detection and destruction of bacteria. Cardiovascular disease is strongly associated in the public mind with fat storage in the body, but recent studies have shown significant involvement of inflammation in the process. Since macrophage cells have a major role in inflammation, being able to observe their movement within the body would facilitate scientists’ exploration of the connection between inflammation and cardiovascular disease. The duo’s project has lain the groundwork for in-vivo studies soon to be conducted in the laboratory of Prof. Katrien Vandoorne.

AI-based decision support machine for fetal monitoring  – Second place went to Amit Parizat and Rotem Shapira, who created an artificial intelligence (AI) system to analyze the output of the fetal monitor during labor and serve as a decision support machine. Complications during labor develop rapidly and can harm mother and child. The fetal monitor alerts healthcare providers of complications during labor. However, analyzing the monitor’s long signals manually is challenging and leads to obstetrics teams recommending a Caesarean “just in case” at the slightest indication, to the point that currently a third of all births in the U.S. involve a C-section, and only 20% of
C-sections are later found to have been necessary. C-sections carry risks to the mother and involve a long recovery and long-term side effects. Amit and Rotem proved the feasibility of training an AI machine to predict complications during childbirth, preventing unnecessary invasive intervention, while ensuring that intervention is performed when needed. To achieve this, the two worked with the Obstetrics and Newborn Medicine Division at the Carmel Medical Center.

Treating cancer  – Orel Shahadi and Or Levy, coming in third, developed a 3D model that simulates drug penetration into solid tumors, facilitating development of new drugs and drug combinations to treat cancer. Their innovative model features an inner cluster of cells engineered to display fluorescence, surrounded by an outer layer of cells. Change in the cells’ fluorescence served as an indicator, providing a way to measure drug penetration into the tumor with a high level of precision.

Detecting heart rhythm problems   – Yonathan Belicha and Daniel Cherniavsky, who took fourth place, explored a novel approach to diagnosing cardiac arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems), using nothing more than a few 1-minute videos of the patient – the kind of videos one might make using one’s smartphone. The natural contraction and relaxation of the heart cause minute changes in the human skin color. Yonathan and Daniel extracted those very small changes from the video, and from them – the subject’s pulse. Using this, they trained an AI system to recognize cardiac arrhythmia.

Fighting coronavirus with… ultrasound – Finally, Mor Ventura, Dekel Brav and Omri Magen, coming in fifth, tackled one of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 epidemic. Classification of the COVID-19 severity degree is usually done in hospitals using CT. However, CT machines’ availability is strained, they are expensive, and the process is further complicated by the need to transfer a patient with a highly contagious disease to and from the machine. Mor and Omri explored the possibility of using lung ultrasound instead, obtaining the necessary diagnostic information faster and more easily at the patient’s bedside, also significantly reducing the workload in healthcare facilities. To this end, they first developed an image-processing algorithm to “read” and label lung ultrasounds, identifying areas of interest and ignoring artefacts. Using the results of this algorithm, the trio then trained a neural network to classify the ultrasound videos and identify the severity of the patient’s illness. The project was conducted in collaboration with the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

Award-winning FemTech startup – Asaf Licht and Zeinat Awwad presented the entrepreneurship project. Just finishing their bachelor’s degree, the two have already turned their project into a startup called Harmony. Their project is a FemTech initiative, developing a wearable, continuous, and non-invasive tracker to monitor women’s hormonal levels, aiming to ease the process of IVF, but also relevant for avoiding pregnancy, or alternatively for increasing the chances of getting pregnant. Currently, IVF procedures requires a blood test multiple times a week; Harmony seeks to replace that with an at-home device that provides continuous measurements while reducing discomfort. This project won first place in the EuroTech Innovation Day startup competition.

To read about additional student projects recently presented at the Technion, click here

Solution to the Chaotic Three-Body Problem

Share on:

Solution to the Chaotic Three-Body Problem

Scientists find an effective solution for the centuries-old famous three-body problem in physics, and all related to a drunkard’s walk

The three-body problem is one of the oldest problems in physics: it concerns the motions of systems of three bodies – like the Sun, Earth, and the Moon – and how their orbits change and evolve due to their mutual gravity. The three-body problem has been a focus of scientific inquiry ever since Newton.

Star orbits in a three-body system

When one massive object comes close to another, their relative motion follows a trajectory dictated by their mutual gravitational attraction, but as they move along, and change their positions along their trajectories, the forces between them, which depend on their mutual positions, also change, which, in turn, affects their trajectory et cetera. For two bodies (e.g. like Earth moving around the Sun without the influence of other bodies), the orbit of the Earth would continue to follow a very specific curve, which can be accurately described mathematically (an ellipse). However, once one adds another object, the complex interactions lead to the three-body problem, namely, the system becomes chaotic and unpredictable, and one cannot simply specify the system evolution over long time-scales. Indeed, while this phenomenon has been known for over 400 years, ever since Newton and Kepler, a neat mathematical description for the three-body problem is still lacking. 

In the past, physicists – including Newton himself – have tried to solve this so-called three-body problem; in 1889, King Oscar II of Sweden even offered a prize, in commemoration of his 60th birthday, to anybody who could provide a general solution. In the end, it was the French mathematician Henri Poincaré who won the competition. He ruined any hope for a full solution by proving that such interactions are chaotic, in the sense that the final outcome is essentially random; in fact, his finding opened a new scientific field of research, termed chaos theory. 

The absence of a solution to the three-body problem means that scientists cannot predict what happens during a close interaction between a binary system (formed of two stars that orbit each other like Earth and the Sun) and a third star, except by simulating it on a computer, and following the evolution step-by-step. Such simulations show that when such an interaction occurs, it proceeds in two phases: first, a chaotic phase when all three bodies pull on each other violently, until one star is ejected far from the other two, which settle down to an ellipse. If the third star is on a bound orbit, it eventually comes back down towards the binary, whereupon the first phase ensues, once again. This triple dance ends when, in the second phase, one of the star escapes on an un-bound orbit, never to return.

Professor Hagai Perets (Left) and Ph.D. student Yonadav Barry Ginat

In a paper accepted for publication in Physical Review X this month, Ph.D. student Yonadav Barry Ginat and Professor Hagai Perets of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology used this randomness to provide a statistical solution to the entire two-phase process. Instead of predicting the actual outcome, they calculated the probability of any given outcome of each phase-1 interaction. While chaos implies that a complete solution is impossible, its random nature allows one to calculate the probability that a triple interaction ends in one particular way, rather than another. Then, the entire series of close approaches could be modeled by using a particular type of mathematics, known as the theory of random walks, sometimes called “drunkard’s walk.” The term got its name from mathematicians thinking about a drunk would walk, essentially of taking it to be a random process – with each step the drunk doesn’t realize where they are and takes the next step in some random direction. The triple system behaves, essentially, in the same way. After each close encounter, one of the stars is ejected randomly (but with the three stars collectively still conserving the overall energy and momentum of the system). One can think of the series of close encounters as a drunkard’s walk. Like a drunk’s step, a star is ejected randomly, comes back, and another (or the same star) is ejected to a likely different random direction (similar to another step taken by the drunk) and comes back, and so forth, until a star is completely ejected to never come back (and the drunk falls into a ditch).

Another way of thinking about this is to notice the similarities with how one would describe the weather. It also exhibits the same phenomenon of chaos the Poincaré discovered, and that is why the weather is so hard to predict. Meteorologists therefore have to recourse to probabilistic predictions (think about that time when a 70% chance of rain on your favorite weather application ended up as a glorious sunshine in reality). Moreover, to predict the weather in a week from now, meteorologists have to account for the probabilities of all possible types of weather in the intervening days, and only by composing them together can they get a proper long-term forecast.

What Ginat and Perets showed in their research was how this could be done for the three-body problem: they computed the probability of each phase-2 binary-single configuration (the probability of finding different energies, for example), and then composed all of the individual phases, using the theory of random walks, to find the final probability of any possible outcome, much like one would do to find long-term weather forecasts.

“We came up with the random walk model in 2017, when I was an undergraduate student,” said Mr. Ginat, “I took a course that Prof. Perets taught, and there I had to write an essay on the three-body problem. We didn’t publish it at the time, but when I started a Ph.D., we decided to expand the essay and publish it.”

The three-body problem was studied independently by various research groups in recent years, including Nicholas Stone of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, collaborating with Nathan Leigh, then at the American Museum of Natural History, and Barak Kol, also of the Hebrew University. Now, with the current study by Ginat and Perets, the entire, multi-stage, three-body interaction is fully solved, statistically.

“This has important implications for our understanding of gravitational systems, and in particular in cases where many encounters between three stars occur, like in dense clusters of stars,” said Prof. Perets. “In such regions many exotic systems form through three-body encounters, leading to collisions between stars and compact objects like black holes, neutron stars and white dwarves, which also produce gravitational waves that have been first directly detected only in the last few years. The statistical solution could serve as an important step in modelling and predicting the formation of such systems.”

The random walk model can also do more: so far, studies of the three-body problem treat the individual stars as idealized point particles. In reality, of course, they are not, and their internal structure might affect their motion, for example, in tides. Tides on Earth are caused by the Moon and change the former’s shape slightly. Friction between the water and the rest of our planet dissipates some of the tidal energy as heat. Energy is conserved, however, so this heat must come from the Moon’s energy, in its motion about the Earth. Similarly for the three-body problem, tides can draw orbital energy out of the three-bodies’ motion.

 
“The random walk model accounts for such phenomena naturally,” said Mr. Ginat, “all you have to do is to remove the tidal heat from the total energy in each step, and then compose all the steps. We found that we were able to compute the outcome probabilities in this case, too.” As it turns out a drunkard’s walk can sometime shed light on some of the most fundamental questions in physics. 

Click here for the paper in Physical Review X

 

Why are the Elderly at Risk?

Share on:

Why are the Elderly at Risk?

Technion researchers delve into the aging of the immune system and the means of reversing this process

Professor Doron Melamed (right) and Dr. Reem Dowery

The elderly population appears to be more vulnerable to COVID-19, and vaccines are less effective in protecting them. Why? In her doctoral thesis under the guidance of Professor Doron Melamed, Reem Dowery discovers the answer, explores the aging process of the immune system, and presents means of rejuvenating it. The findings are now published in Blood.

Memory B lymphocytes are cells within the human body that are responsible for long-term production of effective antibodies. They are formed when the body is exposed to a new pathogen (i.e. virus, microbe, etc.). Upon consequent exposures to the same pathogen, they recognise it and elicit an enhanced antibody response to trigger an accelerated and augmented immunity. These cells are long-lived, capable of surviving and maintaining immune memory for many years. They are what vaccines attempt to generate, providing the body with a first exposure to what it interprets as the pathogen.

It has been known for some time that the formation of memory B lymphocytes is not as effective in the elderly population, putting them at greater risk when facing new pathogens such as COVID-19. Now, for the first time the research group of Prof. Doron Melamed of the Technion’s Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine were able to explain why this is so. The group found that as with many other systems in the body, the immune system maintains a steady-state, homeostasis. It turns out that existing memory B lymphocytes, by means of hormonal signals, impede the production of new ones. As a result, with age the human immune system becomes more adept in responding to pathogens it had encountered before, but less capable of adapting to new threats. The same process makes vaccines less effective in protecting the elderly population.

Melamed Research group

With the explanation found, and the signaling pathway through which the phenomenon occurs explained, the researchers wondered, could it be possible to alter, to rejuvenate the immune system? To answer that question, Prof. Melamed’s lab collaborated with the departments of haematology and rheumatology in the Sourasky Medical Centre and the Rambam Health Care Centre, respectively. As part of treatment for some medical conditions (among them lupus, lymphoma, and multiple sclerosis), patients undergo B-cell depletion. In other words, a significant amount of memory B lymphocytes are removed from their body. Examining aged patients who underwent this procedure, the group found their immune system rejuvenated, and their body able to produce new high potent B lymphocytes once again.

An effect similar to B-cell depletion can be produced by inhibiting one of the hormones in the signalling pathway that supresses the production of new memory B lymphocytes. This ground-breaking proof-of-concept study of Reem Dowery and Prof. Melamed has opened the way for exploring the rejuvenation of the immune system. Its more immediate implications are on understanding the immune response in elderly population and providing the correct disease-preventive measures in light of this new information, in particular with regard to the current COVID-19 epidemic.

Click here for the paper in Blood

 

Growing Lymph Vessels in a Lab

Share on:

Growing Lymph Vessels in a Lab

Technion scientists have succeeded in producing an engineered lymph vessel network, opening path to novel lymphedema treatment

An engineered structure implanted in a mouse. Green: the transplanted lymphatic network; In blue: the mouse lymphatic network connects to the transplanted network.

 

Prof. Shulamit Levenberg

Technion scientists have managed to grow an engineered human lymphatic vessel network. Published in PNAS, the study was led by postdoctoral fellow Dr. Shira Landau and conducted in the laboratory of Professor Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion Faculty of Biomedical Engineering. The significance of the researchers’ findings lies in a better understanding of lymphatic vessel generation, which could have implications for treatment of lymphedema and the generation of more lifelike tissue flaps.

The lymphatic vessels are built similar to veins. They collect the fluid between the cells in all body tissues. This lymphatic fluid is collected by lymph capillaries, then transported via progressively larger lymphatic vessels through lymph nodes, before emptying ultimately into major veins. The lymphatic system also plays an important role in the body’s immune response. Damage to the lymphatic vessels results in localised swelling, a condition called lymphedema. Lymphedema currently has no cure. Common treatments that provide partial improvement include compression of the affected limb and massage. In severe cases, bypass surgery is prescribed.

Dr. Shira LandauIn the lab, Dr. Shira Landau and her coresearchers grew human lymphatic vessels, together with blood vessels and supporting cells, creating engineered tissue with a functioning vessel network. This was done from inner-lining cells of lymphatic vessels, together with blood vessels respectively, together with support cells, all seeded on sheets of collagen – the main structural protein of the body’s connective tissue. That is, their engineered tissue mimics as closely as possible the body’s natural structures. From this seemingly simple starting point, the group had within a few days a network of vessels that displayed both the arrangement and the functionality expected of them in the body. The engineered tissue was further implanted into a mouse, and successfully integrated with the mouse’s lymph and blood vessels.

This success by the Technion scientists has multiple implications. First, the platform they grew would facilitate the study of lymphatic vessels, their formation, and the factors that affect them. Second, lymphedema, which currently lacks effective treatment, could be in the future treated by implanting a functional network of smaller and larger lymph vessels that would merge with the host’s system, all grown from the patient’s own cells, eliminating fear of rejection. Third, engineered tissue flaps, that is units containing multiple tissues necessary for transplantation, such as muscle, blood vessels, and connective tissue, could be made more lifelike, containing lymph vessels as well. This would improve the implant’s integration and speed up healing.

Click here for the paper in PNAS

Nature Communications

Share on:

Nature Communications:
Technion Researchers Develop Innovative Rapid Imaging Technology

Visualizing the movement of C. elegans with the new technology. Creating such videos had not been previously feasible with SPI technologies.
Professor Amir Rosenthal

Researchers at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have developed an innovative rapid imaging technology and demonstrated its performance in reconstructing the movement of a minute animal. Published in Nature Communications, the development project was headed by Professor Amir Rosenthal, doctoral student Evgeny Hahamovich, and master’s student Sagi Monin of the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Doctoral student Evgeny Hahamovich

The research team’s technology is based on the innovative SPI (single-pixel imaging) concept – the production of high-quality images using a device equipped with only a single detector. This concept, which enables photographs to be taken without a camera, has vast potential for diverse applications, such as the development of components of warning systems in autonomous vehicles or enhanced image depth in microscopy of biological tissues.

Master’s student Sagi Monin

SPI is based on the illumination of an object with encoded light patterns, generally by means of a projector. Based on the properties of the light reflected and propagated by the object, the image of the object can be produced using reconstruction algorithms. The problem is that to date, these systems have been hampered by significant limitations, one of them being the slow image acquisition rate, which is the result of the fact that the projectors themselves are slow. This has, until now, limited use of the systems to photographing stationary objects.

 

Visualizing the movement of C. elegans with the new technology. Creating such videos had not been previously feasible with SPI technologies.

The Technion research team broke through this limitation by applying a new method for spatially encoding light at unprecedented frequencies – 2.4 MHz as opposed to 22 kHz, which is the maximum frequency currently available in SPI technology. This represents an improvement of more than a hundredfold in projection rates and image acquisition rates. By using a rotating device fitted with a coding mask, the researchers created a completely new illumination pattern and an SPI microscope with unprecedented capabilities.

To demonstrate the system’s capabilities, the research group produced videos with a frame rate of 72 FPS (frames per second). The films accurately depict the complex movement of the nematode worm, C. elegans, an impossible achievement using currently available SPI technology.

 

 

The study was funded by the Ollendorf Minerva Center.

 

Click here for the paper in Nature Communications

Technion Makes Dramatic Move: Disposables Will Be Discontinued

Share on:

Technion Makes Dramatic Move: On October 1, 2021, Purchases of Disposables Will Be Discontinued

Professor Boaz Golany

In less than three months, on October 1, 2021, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology will stop buying disposable utensils. The decision by Technion Executive Vice President & Director General Professor Boaz Golany came after a lengthy research study and a thorough review of the alternatives.

In 2019, the Technion bought more than 2.3 million disposable cups, almost one million disposable teaspoons, and hundreds of thousands of other single-use items. Disposable utensils currently account for approximately 9% of waste on campus, and the present move is intended to reduce the amount of waste and reduce associated expenses.

In parallel to the CEO’s decision, the Technion will be providing its faculties and units with information on relevant and more environmentally friendly alternatives. Until adequate alternatives are found, the decision excludes cafeterias and small events held in the faculties. It is important to note, however, that even in these cases, the Technion will encourage a shift to reusable plates, cups, and cutlery.

“This is a comprehensive move that encompasses the Technion as a whole, and its implications are far-reaching,” said Prof. Golany. “In the past few years, the Technion has shifted into high gear in all aspects touching upon sustainability. Two important milestones that preceded the present move are the approval of Technion’s Strategic Plan of 2016 and the Technion Comptroller’s Report of 2019, which led to important recommendations related to sustainability. Our handling of these issues integrates research, teachings, and practices, which means that we will be placing special emphasis on promoting additional science-based steps that have the potential to bring about dramatic positive change.”

Professor Daniel Orenstein

The move is being led by the Technion’s Sustainability Hub under the academic guidance of Professor Daniel Orenstein, who has authored important research on the issue of sustainability at universities, and the Hub’s coordinator, Dr. Ronit Cohen Seffer.

“Our view of sustainability and material consumption is holistic, and encompasses all potential responses: reduce, reuse and recycle,” said Prof. Orenstein. “There is no doubt that recycling is important, but reuse and reduction are especially important goals because they prevent pollution already in the production phase.” The production phase of disposable utensils is accompanied by emissions of toxic substances and greenhouse gases, and the transportation of the goods is also the source of a great deal of pollution.

“Before making this decision, we studied every aspect of the alternative – the use of reusable utensils – and we recognize that in addition to discontinuing the use of disposables, we must provide instructions on the right way to reduce the environmental impact of the alternative, too,” added Prof. Orenstein. “It is important to place consumption habits in a much broader context, which is the attempt to minimize damage to the environment on all fronts: energy, waste, land pollution, water and air pollution, and others.”