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Strings of nanovortices discovered in skyrmion research



News, Pharmaceuticals

A new physical phenomenon has been discovered by a team of scientists from Germany, Sweden and China: complex cord-shaped structures made of skyrmions, tiny magnetic vortices. Skyrmions were first experimentally detected a good 10 years ago and have since been the subject of numerous investigations and a possible basis for innovative concepts for information processing with higher performance and less energy consumption. Moreover, skyrmions influence the magnettoresistive and thermodynamic properties of a material. The discovery therefore has relevance to both applied and fundamental research.

Strings, threads and braid structures are ubiquitous: from the laces in shoes to the wool thread in sweaters, the braid on the head to the steel cable that supports many a bridge. In nature, too, such structures are a common pattern that can, for example, give plant fibers tensile or flexural strength. Physicists at Forschungszentrum Jülich and their team colleagues from Stockholm and Hefei have now discovered such nanoscale structures in alloys of iron and the semimetal germanium.

The nanocords each consist of several skyrmions that are twisted together to a greater or lesser extent, like the strands of a dew. Skyrmions, in turn, consist of magnetic moments that point in different directions and together take the form of an elongated tiny vortex. Each individual skyrmion strand is less than one micrometer in diameter. The length of the magnetic structures is limited only by the thickness of the samples; they extend from one surface of the samples to the opposite one.

Previous studies by other scientists had found such filaments to be largely linear, almost rod-shaped. But ultrahigh-resolution microscopic studies at the Ernst Ruska Center in Jülich and theoretical investigations at the Peter Grünberg Institute in Jülich revealed a more diverse picture: in fact, the filaments can twist together to varying degrees. The complex shapes stabilize the magnetic structures, the researchers say. That makes them particularly interesting for applications.

“Mathematics knows a great variety of such structures. Now we know that this theoretical knowledge can be translated into real physical phenomena. Such structures inside magnetic solids suggest unique electrical and magnetic properties. However, further research is needed to verify this.”

– Dr Nikolai Kiselev

As an explanation for the discrepancy between their studies and previous ones, the researcher points to the fact that ultrahigh-resolution electron microscopy studies do not simply provide an image of the sample, as is known, for example, from an optical microscope. That’s because quantum mechanical phenomena come into play when the high-energy electrons interact with those of the sample.

“It is quite conceivable that other researchers have also seen these structures under the microscope, but have not been able to interpret them. This is because it is not possible to directly infer the distribution of magnetization directions in the sample from the data obtained. Instead, it is necessary to create a theoretical model of the sample of and from this to generate an electron microscopic image, so to speak,” Kiselev explains. “If the theoretical and experimental images match, one can conclude that the model is capable of representing reality.” When it comes to ultrahigh-resolution analyses of this kind, Forschungszentrum Jülich and its Ernst Ruska Center are among the world’s leading institutions.

News Processing Technologies Safety & Security

Staying grounded even at altitude



During a demonstration run as part of the DGUV “Aerial Work Platforms” trainer training course, Matthias Müller forgot to test the emergency stop function, got stuck with the scissor lift on several cones and hit his head on a roof beam of the training hall. The academy director did a lot of things wrong during the demonstration – and thus everything right. After all, his goal was to train the participants to evaluate test rides in every detail. This will be part of their daily routine after receiving their certificate. 

Comprehensive starter package

After several days of theoretical and practical training at the modern “Campus M – Home of Safety.” at the company’s headquarters in Blaustein, they are allowed to instruct and train operators of aerial work platforms and issue certificates of competence in accordance with DGUV Principle 308-008 – for telescopic and truck-mounted platforms and vertical lifts, among other things. The newly qualified trainers can also carry out annual follow-up training, and the company also provided them with a start-up package containing presentations and documentation aids for their own training. 

Designing driving courses

The training also included information on legal requirements for aerial work platforms, on liability and responsibility, instruction in technical basics and the various types of construction and drive, traffic regulations and traffic routes, and the design of driving courses. For Matthias Müller, whose academy also conducts the trainer training in accordance with the IPAF Handbook and in coordination with IPAF Germany, it is clear: “The need to train qualified trainers for MEWP operators arises both from the high risk potential during use and from a large number of relevant regulations.”

Guidance on moderation

For Miriam Winter of “Hessen Mobil,” this was a wealth of information. By taking on new tasks, the employee of Hesse’s road and traffic management department is entering completely new territory for her with the certificate – and immediately felt comfortable at the training as the only participant: “The exchange with colleagues was very good for me. I was able to take away some concrete tips.” In addition to the practical practice runs, it was also important for her to learn how to moderate instruction: “At AST, I learned how to lead a group, teach it, and get it excited about a topic.” Siggi Kern, on the other hand, is already an “old hand” in the broad field of aerial work platforms. But for him, too, there is always something to learn: “For me, it was important to get into the depths of the legislation in addition to the practical instruction. This allowed me to learn more about the high responsibility of employers and their concern for the physical integrity of employees.”

But one thing is clear: MEWP operators must also always be mindful and prudent, and learn that even at heights, you should always stay grounded. 

Occupational safety rethought

The company is one of the leading engineering firms for occupational health and safety in Germany and operates Campus M “Home of Safety.”, one of the most innovative training centers for occupational safety in Germany. The company offers an extensive seminar and training program, including virtual reality simulators. The focus is on practical training and further education and trainer certification in the field of safety management and technology – also available as an e-learning offering on request.

Fire protection management and company certifications round off the range of services. The training program, as well as the company itself, are ISO 9001 certified. Founded in 2003 by Angelika and Matthias Müller, the company now employs around 15 people who rethink the area of occupational safety on a daily basis and thus help to make the working lives of many people safer every day.

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Measurement, Instrumentation, Control & Automation Mechanical & Thermal Processes News Processing Technologies

Inauguration of the modern corporate campus in the greater Houston area



Endress+Hauser has invested $34 million in a modern corporate campus near Pearland, Texas, in the greater Houston area. A large new training center, office space for 110 employees, a calibration laboratory and a repair shop have been built on 112,000 square meters. The new building strengthens the Group’s presence in the Gulf region.

Located in Pearland, Texas, the building is in the heart of the economically strong Gulf of Mexico region. “The expansion reflects our strong roots in the USA. It demonstrates our proximity to our customers and helps us to serve them even better in the future,” said Matthias Altendorf, Group CEO during the dedication ceremony on October 26, 2021.

Training facility for customer training

The new campus features the largest process training unit in the U.S., with 200 pieces of equipment and seven tanks, as well as a laboratory for metrology and process analytics. Local customers and partners can learn how to use modern measurement and automation technology here in customized training courses.

In addition, the campus is equipped for the accredited calibration of instruments for flow, temperature and pressure measurement. These can be carried out both in the laboratory and with a mobile calibration system at the customer’s site. A service workshop completes the range of services.

Sustainable construction in regional style

When planning the campus, the company placed great emphasis on sustainability. The building is already the fifth in the U.S. to be certified according to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards for environmentally friendly construction. In addition, regional materials were used in the interior and exterior to reflect Texas architecture.

Cross-company collaboration

The campus provides space for 110 employees. In addition to Endress+Hauser teams, the new building also houses the gas analysis business unit, the laboratory analysis specialists of subsidiary Analytik Jena, and regional sales and service partner Vector Controls & Automation Group.

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Ingredients & Auxiliary Materials Measurement, Instrumentation, Control & Automation News Processing Technologies

Decanter for leading paper and packaging manufacturer in South Asia



Two CF 8000 decanters have now been supplied by GEA to ITC Paperboards and Specialty Papers Division in Bhadrachalam, India. The decanters support the modernization and new construction project.

The Paperboards and Specialty Papers Division is a company in the paper and board industry in South Asia. Modern recovery boilers will be installed at the site to improve the ash handling process. The two new CF 8000 decanters are important components of the ash leaching stage of a modern Chemical Recovery Boiler.

The advanced chemical recovery boilers are not only an integral part of the pulp recovery process, but also generate electricity and steam for the entire mill. This project is being carried out by Valmet, the world’s leading developer and supplier of process technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. Valmet, in turn, had contracted GEA to supply the CF 8000 decabnters as part of this overall project.

Serves as immediate and later as long-term solution

The company has already delivered the two decanters. As a first step, they were initially installed to support the three existing, old recovery boilers. When the new boiler is ready, the ash leaching system, including the two decanters, will be connected to it. The installation of the decanters so far is therefore initially an interim solution, but one that will allow ITC to continue production without interruption and without interruption.

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