News Article | May 15, 2014
The speed and efficiency of flash is making serious impressions on the enterprise, as organisations across multiple sectors eye the benefits of the technology. But those who work with flash every day believe the advantages currently being reaped only represent the beginning of the journey for flash in the enterprise. Vaughn Stewart, Chief Evangelist at Pure Storage, shares this philosophy, so Tech Radar Pro cornered him to get the low down on why flash is so important and where it is now taking IT. TechRadar Pro: We've been hearing a lot about enterprise flash recently, but what's the big deal? Vaughn Stewart: Flash is a massively disruptive technology. Enterprise storage vendors that are still reliant today on hard disks for performance storage are in a position eerily similar to that of Kodak a decade ago: confronted with a new technology that can dramatically undercut their current products and disrupt their business model. When we talk about flash being disruptive, let's look at what it has changed outside of the datacentre already. Take companies that make 35mm film for cameras for example. Kodak's business was changed overnight by flash-based digital cameras. Flash provides greater scalability and application consistency while consuming fewer datacentre resources than anything possible with disk-based storage. But it's not as simple as a new broom sweeping older technologies out of the way in an instant. TRP: Where else is flash making waves? VS: Outside of the datacentre, flash-based storage is the stuff that makes smartphones and consumer web applications like Google search and Facebook so quick. Many laptop computers use flash storage, in the form of SSDs. Our phones and MP3 players use flash. Our search engines and social networks deliver results and analyse problems before we've finished our sentences – all thanks to flash. TRP: Why have some companies been slow on the uptake of flash? VS: In the case of enterprise flash, cost has been the barrier to broad market adoption. Flash is expensive, so most vendors implement it in small quantities alongside disk to aid performance by acting as a cache. A better, more cost-effective way of fixing this is to combine flash with software that makes it more affordable – by using less flash – and more reliable by reducing the volume of data being written. TRP: How can flash users extend the life of flash? VS: Real-time data reduction technologies extend the life of flash by reducing the volume of data being written. SSD reliability increases in direct correlation to the number of data reduction technologies. Only some arrays are capable of this – and many more are hybrids of flash and hard disk, which combine the weaknesses as well as the strengths of both and ultimately fall short on reliability. TRP: What's wrong with a hybrid array, where storage combines both flash and hard disk storage? VS: Hybrid storage is used by companies that want to combine the speed of flash with the cost efficiency of disk. But these legacy systems, with flash bolted on, combine all of the weaknesses as well as the strengths of both, which ultimately makes them fall short. That is because flash stores and serves data in a manner that is significantly different than disk. Read activity is lightning fast, and too many writes can wear out the medium, but this is where software becomes key to making enterprise flash work, as it not only delivers affordability, it makes more reliable at a hardware level. TRP: Ok, you've said that flash is fast, but what are the other benefits? VS: While the immediate benefit of flash is apparent, there's a second less obvious benefit worth pointing out. We know that the value of all-flash extends beyond storage and boosts the speed of enterprise applications. To take this argument one step further, consider the fact that a great deal of enterprise software is written to make allowances for the speed restrictions inherent in disk. TRP: Why should companies become flash aware? VS: Flash is already causing massive upheavals within the datacentre and we're just at the beginning of a tipping point. Some will take cautious steps, and choose the comfort of a legacy array strapped with flash or the promise of a hybrid. Both of these will help in the near-term. The visionaries will embark on the journey to an all-flash-fuelled enterprise. All-flash storage systems, made affordable and reliable by software designed for flash, will help these leaders unlock multiple new opportunities and massively increase their competitive business advantage. TRP: Finally, how will all this change enterprise storage? VS: By removing the HDD, lag and utilising flash, a new realm of possibility emerges:
The design and operation of the fluorescent probes are simple. Credit: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University In recent years, formaldehyde has been discovered to be illegally used in food processing for bleaching and preservation purposes, arousing health concerns by the general public. PolyU's highly selective formaldehyde rapid detection method involves only simple procedures. It can test 10 food samples on-site in one go in comparison to traditional methods which entail 30 minutes for the testing of each food sample one by one. Its cost is less than HK$30, which is 90% lower than traditional testing methods. If the food sample contains formaldehyde, under hand-held UV light, the fluorescent probes will appear to be fluorescent blue, which can be easily observed by naked eyes. Traditional methods for formaldehyde measurement are liquid chromatography which involves chemical derivation of formaldehyde, chromatographic separation and instrumental analysis of the formaldehyde content with reference to the sample standard. However, these methods require expensive instruments, sophisticated operational skills, tedious sample preparation and time-consuming analysis. Given their low testing through-put, the testing of 10 food samples would require up to 5 hours (10 X 30 minutes), making these methods not suitable for on-site food safety inspection. In addition, the test results of formaldehyde testing kits available in the market are easily interfered by irrelevant substances. Their low selectivity and stability make them difficult to satisfy the on-site food safety inspection and high through-put needs of the industry and authorities. Based on prior research on a chemical reaction that enables chemical coupling of 1) amine-functionalized resins, 2) formaldehyde and 3) fluorescent dyes via gold catalysis, PolyU researchers have developed fluorescent probes for rapid detection of formaldehyde in food with excellent selectivity and high stability. Firstly, researchers added pre-treated food samples, amine-functionalized resins, fluorescent dyes and gold catalysts into a container, and heated the solution at 50 oC for 1 hour. After that, organic solvents were added to wash out excessive reagents. The three-component coupling reaction will connect resin-linked sterically bulky amines and fluorescent alkynes through chemical bonding with formaldehyde in food so that the surface of the resins will give out fluorescent blue colour under hand-held UV light. One can easily detect the formaldehyde concentration by observing the brightness of the fluorescent colour by naked eyes. Not only is the design and operation of PolyU's invention simple, it does not require expensive instruments and sophisticated operational skills. It can test 10 food samples in one go, making it an ideal solution for on-site food safety inspection and front-line quality control. The research was conducted by ABCT in collaboration with Guangdong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau. The related paper has been recently published in Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, a leading journal in Organic Chemistry. A joint PolyU-GDCIQ China patent has been filed. The research team will continue to enhance the formaldehyde rapid detection method, which include developing a new class of tunable fluorescent dyes and developing high through-put rapid detection formats.
Home > Press > Tiny 'flasks' speed up chemical reactions: Self-assembling nanosphere clusters may improve everything from drug synthesis to drug delivery Abstract: Miniature self-assembling "flasks" created at the Weizmann Institute may prove a useful tool in research and industry. The nanoflasks, which have a span of several nanometers, or millionths of a millimeter, can accelerate chemical reactions for research. In the future, they might facilitate the manufacture of various industrial materials and perhaps even serve as vehicles for drug delivery. Dr. Rafal Klajn of the Weizmann Institute's Organic Chemistry Department and his team were originally studying the light-induced self-assembly of nanoparticles. They were employing a method earlier developed by Klajn in which inorganic nanoparticles are coated in a single layer of organic molecules that change their configuration when exposed to light; these alter the properties of the nanoparticles such that they self-assemble into crystalline clusters. When spherical nanoparticles of gold or other materials self-assembled into a cluster, empty spaces formed between them, like those between oranges packed in a case. Klajn and his team members realized that the empty spaces sometimes trapped water molecules, which led them to suggest that they could also trap "guest" molecules of other materials and function as tiny flasks for chemical reactions. A cluster of a million nanoparticles would contain a million such nanoflasks. As reported in Nature Nanotechnology, when the scientists trapped molecules that tend to react with one another inside the nanoflasks, they found that the chemical reaction ran a hundred times faster than the same reaction taking place in solution. Being confined inside the nanoflasks greatly increased the concentration of the molecules and organized them in a way that caused them to react more readily. Enzymes speed up chemical reactions in a similar manner - by confining the reacting molecules within a pocket. Although clusters of nanoparticles containing empty spaces have been created before, the advantage of the Weizmann Institute method is that the clusters are dynamic and reversible, so molecules can be inserted and released on demand. The clusters self-assemble when nanoparticles are exposed to ultraviolet light, but exposure to regular light causes them to disassemble, so that the same nanoparticles can be reused in numerous cycles. Moreover, the scientists found that by decorating their nanoparticles with a mixture of different chemicals, they could trap molecules inside the nanoflasks in a highly selective manner. For example, from a mixture of spiral-shaped molecules, they could cause left- or right-handed spirals to be trapped, a skill that can be particularly important for drug synthesis. For future industrial use, the nanoflasks may prove useful in speeding up numerous chemical reactions, such as polymerization reactions needed for the manufacture of plastics. The method might also be applied one day in drug delivery. The drug would be delivered inside nanoflasks to the target organ and released at the required time when the nanoflasks would disassemble upon exposure to light. ### Dr. Klajn's team included Dr. Hui Zhao, Dr. T. Udaya Bhaskara Rao, Michal Sawczyk, Kristina Kucanda, Dr. Debasish Manna, Dr. Pintu K. Kundu and Dr. Ji-Woong Lee. They worked in collaboration with Dr. Petr Kral and his group at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Rafal Klajn's research is supported by the Abramson Family Center for Young Scientists; the Rothschild Caesarea Foundation; the Mel and Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer Fund for New Scientists; the estate of Olga Klein Astrachan; and the European Research Council. About Weizmann Institute of Science The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world's top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. Noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences, the Institute is home to scientists, students, technicians and supporting staff. Institute research efforts include the search for new ways of fighting disease and hunger, examining leading questions in mathematics and computer science, probing the physics of matter and the universe, creating novel materials and developing new strategies for protecting the environment. For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
News Article | August 25, 2016
Using only 15 chemical transforms, scientists at Caltech have managed to construct the complex molecule (+)-ryanodol starting from (S)-pulegone, a commercially available terpene. That’s a dramatic reduction in step count compared to the previous ryanodol-synthesis record of 35 steps, held by the University of Tokyo’s Masayuki Inoue. “Today, the emphasis in total synthesis of complex natural or nonnatural products is to discover a strategy that will allow us to make the product in a minimum number of steps,” says Pierre Deslongchamps, the University of Sherbrook chemistry professor who reported the first ryanodol synthesis in 41 steps in 1979. “Indeed, to succeed in the synthesis of ryanodol in 15 steps is absolutely remarkable.” Ryanodol is a hydrolyzed derivative of the natural product ryanodine, an insecticidal molecule that comes from the tropical shrub Ryania speciosa Vahl. Hydrolysis converts a pyrrole ester in ryanodine to an alcohol in ryanodol. Ryanodine, and to a lesser extent ryanodol, target certain calcium ion channels—known as ryanodine receptors—which are important for movement and cognition. Analogs of ryanodol, made possible by this short synthesis, could be useful as biological probes for studying these receptors. Kangway V. Chuang, Chen Xu, and Sarah E. Reisman presented the work at the American Chemical Society national meeting in the Division of Organic Chemistry on Sunday and published a report on the work in Science today (DOI: 10.1126/science.aag1028). Ryanodol’s five rings and multiple alcohol groups make it particularly challenging to construct, Reisman says. In devising their strategy to make (+)-ryanodol, Reisman and her group envisioned doing a Pauson-Khand reaction as a key step. This method of constructing five-membered rings via the cycloaddition of an alkene, an alkyne, and carbon monoxide, Reisman says, helped the chemists deconstruct ryanodol to a much more tractable target. Another key step, she points out, was a selenium dioxide oxidation that unexpectedly performed three oxidations at once. “I think that if I had proposed that oxidation in a grant proposal it would not have been funded,” Reisman says. But by studying some minor by-products they originally saw when they first tried the oxidation, the chemists were able to generate much of ryanodol’s complexity in a single step. “The alignment of the 15 reactions in this synthesis is highly optimized and sophisticated and clearly demonstrates the ingenuity of the strategic design by the Reisman group,” Inoue comments. “At the strategic level, it is difficult to imagine a more concise approach,” adds Jeffrey S. Johnson, an expert in organic synthesis at the University of North Carolina. “It is always a feat to improve upon a multistep synthesis. To cut the step count by more than half on such a challenging target is rare, exciting, and enabling.” CORRECTION: On Sept. 9, 2016, this story was updated to correct when the first ryanodol synthesis was reported by Pierre Deslongchamps’ group at the University of Sherbrook. This synthesis was actually first reported in 1979 (Can. J. Chem. DOI: 10.1139/v79-547). The full paper on the synthesis was published in 1990.
Abstract: Graphene is one of the most promising new materials. However, researchers across the globe are still looking for a way to produce defect-free graphene at low costs. Chemists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universiät Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now succeeded in producing defect-free graphene directly from graphite for the first time. They recently published their findings in the journal Nature Communications (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12411). Graphene is two dimensional and consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is particularly good at conducting electricity and heat, transparent and flexible yet strong. Graphene's unique properties make it suitable for use in a wide range of pioneering technologies, such as in transparent electrodes for flexible displays. However, the semi-conductor industry will only be able to use graphene successfully once properties such as the size, area and number of defects - which influence its conductivity - can be improved during synthesis. A team of FAU researchers led by Dr. Andreas Hirsch from the Chair of Organic Chemistry II has recently made a crucial break-through in this area. With the help of the additive benzonitrile, they have found a way of producing defect-free graphene directly from a solution. Their method enables the graphene - which is of a higher quality than ever achieved before - to be cut without causing defects and also allows specific electronic properties to be set through the number of charge carriers. Furthermore, their technique is both low-cost and efficient. A common way of synthesising graphene is through chemical exfoliation of graphite. In this process, metal ions are embedded in graphite, which is made of carbon, resulting in what is known as an intercalation compound. The individual layers of carbon - the graphene - are separated using solvents. The stabilised graphene then has to be separated from the solvent and reoxidised. However, defects in the individual layers of carbon, such as hydration and oxidation of carbon atoms in the lattice, can occur during this process. FAU researchers have now found a solution to this problem. By adding the solvent benzonitrile, the graphene can be removed without any additional functional groups forming - and it remains defect-free. 'This discovery is a break-through for experts in the international field of reductive graphene synthesis,' Professor Hirsch explains. 'Based on this discovery we can expect to see major advancements in terms of the applications of this type of graphene which is produced using wet chemical exfoliation. An example could be cutting defect-free graphene for semi-conductor or sensor technology.' Additional benefits The method devised by FAU researchers has another advantage: the reduced benzonitrile molecule formed during the reaction turns red as long as it does not come into contact with oxygen or water. This change in colour allows the number of charge carriers in the system to be determined easily through absorption measurements. This could previously only be done by measuring voltage and means that graphene and battery researchers now have a new way of measuring the charge state. For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.