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November 16, 2018
CRAG’s Researchers discover how to generate plants with enhanced drought resistance
Barcelona Synchrotron Park surrounding area is certainly the park’s prime value offered to its companies. This environment is made of a dense business fabric and the leading research centres of the neighbouring BSP’s partner Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).

In CRAG, one of these centres, an important discovery recently published in Nature Communications has been made: a research team led by CRAG researcher Ana Caño-Delgado has obtained plants that are more resistant to water scarcity by genetic modifications.
To this date, the scientific community had not been able to obtain a drought resistant plant without affecting plant growth.
Researchers are already working to apply this knowledge obtained with the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana in cereals and horticultural species.

More information here
 
November 08, 2018
The Barcelona manifesto: for a city-led science and technology diplomacy
“By 2025, the 600 largest urban economies in the world will produce 65% of global economic growth. By 2050, nearly 70% of the world population will be urban. Cities are innovation powerhouses, transforming the international scene and bypassing nation-states and their borders. They have become the early adopters of emerging technologies, testbeds for scientific change and autonomous diplomatic players”.

This paragraph is part of the introduction of “the Barcelona manifesto / For a city-led science and technology diplomacy” presented on November 6 during the launch event of the SciTech DiploHub initiative that aims at making Barcelona the first city to implement a science and diplomacy strategy.
 
One of the missions is to consolidate Barcelona as an innovation capital. With the Barcelona Supercomputing Center and the ALBA synchrotron, Barcelona has two large-scale scientific facilities that made the Catalan capital be part of these cities that offer to their business and R&D ecosystems the tools to innovate and grow.
 
The first SciTech DiploHub’s action concerns the SciTech diaspora: it consists in taking advantages of the next Christmas period to start identifying, bringing together and empowering the community of scientists and engineers from Barcelona and alumni of the city’s research centers and universities currently based abroad: this diaspora can help identify practices and opportunities and engage wider audiences around the world.
 
Good luck to the SciTech DiploHub initiative!
November 02, 2018
Food packaging? ALBA!
Two recent experiments carried out at the ALBA synchrotron once again remind us how ALBA can be useful for developing new products, in this case in the food packaging sector.

On one hand, researchers from the Food Safety and Preservation department of the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC) are looking for more sustainable ways of producing food packaging with appropriate mechanical and chemical properties. They are investigating biopolymers that can be made from biomass such as algae.

They have analysed how adding different microalgae species can modify the properties of starch-based biopolymers. During the process, they have been performing SAXS/WAXS experiments at the refurbished NCD-SWEET beamline of the ALBA Synchrotron, devoted to non-crystalline diffraction. Results show that Spirulina microalgae is a promising alternative for replacing part of the corn starch matrix of biopolymers.
 
Furthermore, Samtack is a manufacturer of glues and adhesives specialized in the sector of graphic arts and packaging. Samtack has developed a new flexible multilayer system, in collaboration with the University of Zaragoza and the Complutense University of Madrid, that contains Selenium nanoparticles and is capable to increase food shelf life by absorbing free radicals.

The samples studied at ALBA consisted of different preparations of Selenium nanoparticles plastics laminates and solutions to check the amount of elemental selenium and other selenium oxidation states in each sample. The results obtained provided to Samtack very valuable information to improve the synthesis of the new flexible multilayer system. 

It should be noted that Samtack used ALBA thanks to the CALIPSOplus European project that helps SMEs access European light sources. In this regard, a CALIPSOplus call is open until December 21 to request financing support.

Learn more about these two experiments: here and here
 
October 25, 2018
SENER: on the way to Mercury!
BepiColombo module, composed of two satellites developed by the European Space Agency and its Japanese counterpart, respectively, took off from Kourou (French Guiana) on last October 19 to initiate its journey towards Mercury, a planet little explored and still very mysterious.

In this project, the SENER group companies with Catalan headquarters in the Barcelona Synchrotron Park are responsible for the low-gain antennas, the medium-gain antenna and the waveguides for routing the signal and the pointing mechanism for the high-gain antenna. These units are responsible for staying in contact with the Earth at all times by transmitting the satellite's telemetry and receiving its telecommands, as well as sending all the scientific data. SENER also manufactured the magnetometer boom, which separates the instruments from the satellite's magnetic influence. All these instruments are thus a critical element to the success of the mission.

BepiColombo launch is just the beginning of a 7-year very long trip (8.5 billion kilometers): Although Mercury, the nearest planet from the Sun, is relatively closed (the shortest Earth-Mercury distance is 80 million kilometers), the giant mass of the Sun does not allow a straight trip: if so, BepiColombo could not be decelerated and would inexorably fall into our star.

The technological challenge imposed by the proximity of the Sun is huge. For instance, some materials will have to resist to both extremely low (-170ºC) and high (450ºC) temperatures.

When BepiColombo arrives close to Mercury in December 2025, both scientific modules (MPO for Europe and Mio from Japan) will split up and begin their respective mission on two different orbits around the planet. MPO (11 instruments) will investigate the surface and the composition of Mercury and Mio (5 instruments) will focus on the environment (magnetosphere, atmosphere, dust, solar wind).

To follow the mission: here

Have a nice trip! See you there!
 
 
October 18, 2018
The Barcelona Industry Week promotes the (4.0) revolution
The so-called 4.0 industrial revolution seems unstoppable and forces companies to operate their digital transformations.

The Barcelona Industry Week held this week, is dedicated to the 4.0 industry and plans to attract 21,000 professional visitors in its second edition. This event wants to provide answers to this new economic and social reality with the aim of helping the industrial and productive fabric to meet these new challenges.

IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Robotics or 3D are just some of the technologies that are already transforming the industry and that will be addressed by the Barcelona Industry Week. This international event is made up of three fairs: In(3D)dustry From Need To Solutions, focused on 3D printing and advanced manufacturing, the IoT Solutions World Congress, focused on the Internet of Things, and Healthio, newly created, focussed on innovations in the health sector.

To bits, businessmen!
 
 
October 11, 2018
Everything you’ve always wanted to know about Alba synchrotron
The ALBA Synchrotron has published its annual report. This document covers the most remarkable activities of 2017, a selection of scientific highlights, technology reviews and facts & figures of the facility last year.
 
At page 8, we read:
Alba in brief:
• User operations started in 2012 • 3 GeV 150 mA Top-Up operations with a current variation lower than 1% • 5900h of operation with 4650h user time - 98% availability • 21 M€ operation budget in 2017 • Proposals have increased from about 200 in 2012 to almost 400 in 2017. Average overboooking factor: 2 • User affiliation: 65% national, 30% European, 5% non-European • Eight beamlines in operation, three under construction, one under design and three pending approval”

To learn more about Alba: 110 other pages available here.
 
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