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In this issue:
Science Snapshot: Nickel Nanocubes
How Are Inventions Handled at SLAC?
Colloquium Today: Strange Bedfellows—Quantum Mechanics and Data Mining

SLAC Today

Monday - January 24, 2011

Science Snapshot: Nickel Nanocubes

Kiwis Alec LaGrow and Bridget Ingham at SSRL Beamline 1-4. (Photo by Kelen Tuttle.)

Earlier this month, some very small crystals quietly grew inside an experimental hutch at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource. Just outside, Victoria University of Wellington Ph.D. student Alec LaGrow (working with Professor Richard Tilley) and Industrial Research Limited senior scientist Bridget Ingham recorded how the crystals developed, looking for insight that could make some big noise in the catalysis community.

The researchers sought to discover how the size, shape and growth dynamics of nickel nanocrystals change when they're subjected to molecules known generally to limit their growth. By tracking the growth of these cubes over time, LaGrow and Ingham aimed to understand the process of nickel nanocrystal formation and the fundamentals of the crystallization that affect their shape. This in the future will allow greater ability for control of these systems.

"The end goal is to be able to favor growth in certain directions and tailor the shape," LaGrow said. "If we can control the shape, we can alter the reactivity." This could have big implications for the field of catalysis, which seeks to speed molecular reactions for applications in everything from pollution mitigation to solar fuel production, LaGrow said. 

How Are Inventions Handled at SLAC?

Get the Answers Wednesday, January 26

Bring your questions on how inventions at SLAC are handled by the SLAC Office of Technology Transfer to a meeting on January 26, Wednesday, at 3 p.m. in the Building 41 Yellow Room. SLAC OTT staff will host this one-hour meeting and answer your questions.

Colloquium Today: Strange Bedfellows—Quantum Mechanics and Data Mining

(Image - SLAC Colloquium banner)

SLAC theorist Marvin Weinstein will discuss a novel approach to problems in data mining in a SLAC colloquium, today at 4:15 p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium.

One often hears that physics not only benefits the world by increasing our knowledge of how the world around us works, but through the social benefits of spin-off technologies. Next Monday, Weinstein will talk about a very surprising form of spin-off that comes from understanding how quantum physics works and applying that knowledge to problems that have nothing to do with quantum mechanics. He will discuss an algorithm he invented with his colleague David Horn of Tel Aviv University, which is related to problems in data mining: a highly visual approach called Dynamic Quantum Clustering.

Weinstein promises to tell you what the fifty-billion-dollar-a-year data mining industry is interested in, explain the nature of their problems and remind you of enough quantum mechanics (through movies) to tell you how his trick works to capture clustering information. He will show a simple example of how the computer algorithm works, as well as some of the problems in biology, business, astrophysics and particle physics to which it has been applied. 

The talk is free and open to all.

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