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January 19, 2011

Host: Ted Simons

ASU Microscopy

  |   Video
  • Arizona State University is known worldwide for the quality of its electron microscopes. Nathan Newman, director of the LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science at ASU, talks about microscopy at ASU.
  • Nathan Newman - Director, LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science, Arizona State University
Category: Science   |   Keywords: ASU, science,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Arizona State University is known worldwide for its electron microscopes. That reputation is about to be enhanced with the addition of two more electron microscopes. We take a closer look at this new equipment and what it means for ASU and the state, in another edition of "Arizona Technology and Innovation," "Horizon's" multimedia effort that focuses on the people, ideas, businesses and technologies shaping Arizona's future. For tonight's segment, I talked to Nate Newman, director of the center for solid state research at ASU. Nate, good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Nate Newman: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: How did ASU get so big regarding electron microscopes?

Nate Newman: That’s a great question. When ASU first started doing research, it was more or less in the '70s and so they had a few strong people who when we got major instruments they put them in centralized facilities and one the people they hired as a young faculty was John Cowley and he became, with time, the leading microscopist in United States and arguably the world and so as we developed and brought in more and more high-end equipment and they stayed in centralized facilities it produced a efficient and very effective way of having access to state-of-the-art instruments and so we have developed things that not only go with electron microscopity but a wide range of techniques that are available to the entire ASU community but as well as to and government labs and to industry.

Ted Simons: And I want to get to who else uses the microscopes in a second. Electron microscopes, what are they used for?

Nate Newman: Electron microscopes basically have a higher resolution than light. With light, you can see down to more or less as small as the width of a human hair. But with electron microscopes and with recent developments you can take that, which is about 100,000 atoms wide, you can actually probe down to a single row of atoms and more recently with what we're getting, you can probe in a single atom.

Ted Simons: So as far as the research is concerned, and again you mentioned industry uses those microscopes, how so? Uses them for what?

Nate Newman: When you're trying to solve a scientific problem, as for example, computers and chips, as they make them more and more dense, the sizes have shrunk from the human hair, of a 100,000 atoms 20 years ago, about 10 years ago it was about a 1,000 atoms. Now we're getting down to the sizes of 100 atoms so when making devices on the scale of 100 atoms and something is going right, you don't have to look but as we all know when you make something and make a complicated thing like a transistor and more importantly, a computer, you want to be able to see what went wrong. And so we can help them by not only looking at the device, we can look down and see where the individual atoms are and see what issues might have arrived. There could be a reaction; there could be species from the metal diffusing into the semi-conductor and that can degrade the device performance.

Ted Simons: Interesting. Ok, you've got the electron microscope, everyone loves it, its state-of-the-art, it's the best. Although, something new is happening at ASU. Talk to us about the new microscopes coming in.

Nate Newman: Yes what has happened is historically, when they used an electron microscope. It would be like the optical microscopes you see. You blanket the sample and use lenses and you can see a picture of the area you're looking at. More recently, they've learned how to focus the electron beam and within the last 10 years so much of electron microscopity is to scan the electron beam as long as it's small, you can go down to more or less the distance between atoms. In the last few years, one of the former ASU professors formed a company, NEON, and he corrected the images, called aboration increpted microscopes, so that the beam size is on the order of half an angstrom. That's compared to the distance between atoms, which is three angstroms. So you can actually go in and look at an individual atom by measuring some of the properties of the electrons that go through the sample, you can actually tell chemically what they are. You can see the structural properties and you can tell the chemical nature of the atoms and you can even look and see how they're bonded. Do they give up an extra electron, do they act like a metal? Do they hold on to electrons and become an insulator, or is there somewhere in between where they're called a semiconductor. We can probe the electronic and chemical and bonding structure down to the atom scale.

Ted Simons: It sounds like good for both research and for trouble shooting.

Nate Newman: Absolutely.

Ted Simons: Now, where did the funding come for this? This sounds like a hefty price.

Nate Newman: Exactly. The microscope we’re getting has a retail value of about $5 million. And it came from the national science foundation. Led by a grant written by ray carpenter and formed with a team of very strong electron microscopists people we have at ASU.

Ted Simons: Correct me if I'm wrong, but these microscopes will need their own new building, correct?

Nate Newman: Exactly.

Ted Simons: Why and where is the money going to come for that?

Nate Newman: That's a very good question that we’ve had for a while and I think we've solved it. The microscopes require very little vibration. If it's vibrating you can't see down to the atomic layer. Same with electromagnetic interference. When you have power lines and other things going by, again that can stir the electron beam. So we spent quite a bit of time, almost a year looking for a place on campus that was very low noise electrically, vibration and etc. Once we found that, we went to the university and with great support, the university supplied the infrastructure. So the way these grants work or how it works is typically, the funding can come from outside, like NSF, and then the university provides the infrastructure. And often the departments and colleges provide new personnel. So we have a staff member who is going to be running it and a new faculty member who is an expert. So it's a team effort between ASU and between the national government and also between the faculty and really attracting the best and brightest teachers and researchers.

Ted Simons: So where does this put ASU now in this particular field?

Nate Newman: Well, we've been the leader and most of the people that really lead in the United States have been traditionally trained at ASU. It's the best university that you'll find that ASU has been the leader. Has educated the leaders and that puts us as far as I can see, we always had the depth. When the new microscopes came out, some of them ended up -- very expensive, ended up at national labs and so there's a few around. The ones we acquired because we have such expertise have some very unique and advantageous features so we think we're the best in the country. And particularly since we have a teaching mission. Not only do we do cutting edge research, which is a very good way of teaching, we're also training the future generation in this field.
Ted Simons: Last question before we let you go. What timetable are we looking at to get these things online?

Nate Newman: The microscope was delivered two weeks ago and it should be operational in -- beginning to mid February. And probably the research is going to start pushing from that time forward.

Ted Simons: All right. Very good. Nate, thank you so much for joining us, we appreciate it.

Nate Newman: I appreciate the invitation and the chance to tell you about the center for solid state science.

Governor’s Budget Proposal

  |   Video
  • House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) discuss Governor Jan Brewer’s budget proposal.
  • John Kavanagh - State Representative(R-Fountain Hills)
  • Kyrsten Sinema - State Senator (D-Phoenix)
Keywords: governor, brewer,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The governor's budget calls for big cuts to the AHCCCS program and to higher education. The plan calls for an increase in corrections spending. And it uses a variety of accounting maneuvers, like another education rollover. Here to talk about the governor's budget proposal is Republican representative John Kavanagh and democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema. Good to have you both here. Thanks for joining us.

Kyrsten Sinema: Good to be here.

Ted Simons: Alright, It's out. We know that the governor has had mind. Your thoughts?

Kyrsten Sinema: Well I think the first things to recognize is this budget is based on an unconstitutional premise. The governor plans to cut $540 million from our AHCCCS program and she's going to ask the federal government for a waiver, but she’s not planning to ask the voters for a waiver and that's a problem because they're the one’s who passed this law in the first place. It's constitutionally protected and in 2000 when they passed 204, they said we have to provide this care. The bottom line, this is a fake budget with fake numbers.

Ted Simons: Let’s get to the waiver in a second, but first of all, your official thoughts.

John Kavanagh: I'm very pleased with the governor's budget. It's fiscally sound budget that takes the cuts necessary to get Arizona through these tough fiscal times and yet protects K-12 education as the governor promised and public safety.

Ted Simons: Governor’s budget guide, John Arnold, on last night on this program said there were no contingency cuts if the federal government does not provide the waiver or if the courts say you can't mess with this as the governor and lawmakers want to do. What happens if this thing doesn't go through?

John Kavanagh: Well we're pretty confident we will get the waiver. The Obama administration has been fairly reasonable in the insurance area. A number of private insurance companies and private companies have requested waivers for their insurance programs like McDonald's, and they had them. And they were given the waivers. In addition, we're not the only state seeking relief in these tough times. So I think they're going to give us the flexibility

Kyrsten Sinema: Well, even if the government were to give the waiver, which I don't think will happen because Arizona is no different than the other 49 states in tour country that are dealing with similar budget crisis. But even if we get the waiver, the governor still has to the ask the voters for permission and this is important. Last year, when the governor passed her budget, she had no contingency plan, if the voters fail to give her the money from first things first and growing smarter. Sure enough in November, the voters rejected her request to take the money. She had no contingency plan and we have a deeper budget hole now. The same scenario is happening again.

John Kavanagh: That's absolutely false with respect to going back to the voters. We're going to fully follow prop 204. Prop 204 stated that this money should be spent to expand our Medicaid beyond the additional people who got it. Beyond what 43 states give to people but also said if the tobacco settlement money, which was suppose to provide these funds wasn't enough, then other available funds could be used. The word "available" was in there and there are no funds available.

Kyrsten Sinema: Well and legislative counsel, which is a body made up of legislators just like us, actually published this in 2000 along with the ballot initiative that clearly said in the future, the legislature would not be able to reduce coverage for anyone in Arizona. They knew that we had to keep providing this coverage.

Ted Simons: Is it best for Arizona to fight these eligibility reductions knowing that, if it doesn't go through, it sounds like more cuts are on the way.

Kyrsten Sinema: Well, I think what's important to notice, we have to have a real budget.

Kyrsten Sinema: The problem with Governor Brewer's budget is the same problem we had last year. She bases her total budget on things that are not yet real and may never be real. So the bottom line is this. That $541 million is just a figment of hurt imagination right now. What we need to do is think about how to really solve the budget crisis and come up with commonsense compromises to fill the budget hole.

Ted Simons: Compromises possible here?

John Kavanagh: A common sense compromise from the democrat side of the aisle, with all due respect, is raising taxes here there and everywhere.

Kyrsten Sinema: Not true at all.

Ted Simons: Well, please.

Kyrsten Sinema: Well in fact, I've never supported a tax increase in my now seventh year in the legislature. In fact, I'm opposed one of the tax increases Republicans are offering that would increase homeowner property taxes. Instead, what I've offered and what many Democrats have offered is a plan to close some corporate tax loopholes that allow big corporations and the rich to get away without paying their fair share.

Ted Simons: Is that enough to bridge what will be a $1.15 and counting billion deficit?

Kyrsten Sinema: Absolutely. We have over $10 billion of tax exemptions in our code right now. My suggestion is that we close just a very small minority of those. Like for instance, on liposuctions and spa treatments. But just doing those kind of things can help reduce our deficit.

John Kavanagh: That is a myth. The so-called $10 billion in tax loopholes are not tax loopholes. A loophole is an omission in the law or poor wording that lets someone evade the spirit of the law. The $10 billion that the Democrats have been putting forward for the last two years are intentional omissions from sales tax. It's not taxing manufactured goods parts because when they're sold they're taxed. It's not taxing wholesale transactions because at retail they're taxed. They've literally have taken purposeful tax exemptions and claim they're loopholes and now want to tax them.

Kyrsten Sinema: Well and some of those examples I agree with. We should never tax business-to-business transactions or wholesale goods. But I think most Arizonians would agree that if someone is going to get elective liposuction because they think their thighs are too big, that they probably should pay the same tax I pay when I get a backpack for my niece or nephew to go to school.

Ted Simons: Ok I got to keep it moving here. We got this one-day, this one-time, one-day loan from first things first, 300 and some odd million dollars. Good idea?

Kyrsten Sinema: Well no it’s not a good idea. Unfortunately, these kinds of gimmicks that the legislature has been using for some years, really just pushes us down the road and that means our debt is continuing to pile up.

Ted Simons: That, first things first, one-day loan, which is interesting. Also another education rollover in debt to the schools now for a billion dollars—something along these lines -- again, good ideas?

John Kavanagh: Necessary idea. I mean, had we made the cuts two years ago that conservative Republicans wanted to make, we wouldn't be this far in the hole. Now that we're here, now that we’re half way through the current year and the federal maintenance of efforts requirements prevent us from going close to educational healthcare, where most of the money is, we have no choice but to get through the last half of this year with these short-term loans.

Kyrsten Sinema: I think the real challenge that we’ll face in the future is is legislatures and future legislatures will have to deal with this-- is what happens when we get to 2014 or 2015. When we start our economic recovery, either us or other legislatures will be saddled with more than $2 billion of annual debt and we’ll have to figure out how to pay that off.

Ted Simons: Well there also looks to be the idea of reducing corporate income tax and other economic development ideas, what do you see there? Anything that looks vital? Anything that looks good?

Kyrsten Sinema: Well absolutely. I've been a proponent for a long time of reducing corporate property taxes and increasing the exemption on business property tax which is personal property tax, like equipment. The challenge we face, really is how do we do that while also making sure we have enough money to fund the things important to Arizonans. Like education and healthcare. So I think we have to talk about where is that balance? We want to make Arizona more competitive for business; we also want to make sure we have a strong public education system.

John Kavanagh: We raised sales tax by roughly a billion dollars last year, we let an equalization property tax of a quarter of a billion come back. It's time to cut government, not continuing to tax and spend.

Ted Simons: The governor wants line item veto power? What do you think?

John Kavanagh: At this point, I will support it. I probably would have opposed it when I first came to legislature, but seeing how even in good times, even Republicans have difficulty controlling their spending urges, I think we must be restrained and I will support it.

Ted Simons: Who also wants to be able to alter a spending legislation aswell along with the line item veto. What do you think giving the governor that much power?

Kyrsten Sinema: Well the governor has line item veto power. What she's asking for is the ability to do it line item veto later after the budget is done and I would say, respectfully, that's our job and if she wants that to happen, she need to call us back in special session, retain the integrity of separation of powers and work together to make that happen .

Ted Simons: Alright, very good. We will stop it right there. Good discussion. Thanks for joining us, we appreciate it.

Kyrsten Sinema: Thank you.

Legislative Update

  |   Video
  • A mid-week legislative update with Arizona Capitol Times reporter Luige del Puerto.
  • Luige del Puerto - Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature   |   Keywords: legislative, update,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Governor Brewer called the legislature into a special session today. This, as lawmakers continue to go over the governor's budget plans. Here with the latest from the state capitol is Luige del Puerto of "The Arizona Capitol Times." Good to see you again. Thanks for joining us.

Luige del Puerto: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: I guess the big news down there is a special session for one particular issue and that issue is this waiver. Talk to us about that.

Luige del Puerto: Yes, the governor issued her call for a special session last night and the legislature complied and hastily convened into a special session today. The issue is the governor wants to seek a Medicaid waiver, basically, the state -- Governor Brewer's proposing to cut the budget by about -- the budget for AHCCCS by about $542 million. If we did that, we need to ask the federal government for permission because under the federal healthcare law, we cannot cut our spending or eligibility levels for Medicaid. So we need to ask for her permission.

Ted Simons: And that’s maintenance of effort required for federal law.

Luige del Puerto: That's correct.

Ted Simons: Ok now this is a request for a waiver. No guarantee at all that the Obama administration, the federal government, anyone in Washington is going to say ok.

Luige del Puerto: Precisely, and that's one of the points. Democrats who basically said, well, you know, the Obama administration will not grant us this waiver and they will not grant us this waiver because, you know, our case is not special. All our cases are facing the same budgetary problems that we're facing, therefore, if the Obama administration grants us a waiver, they'd have to extend the same to all other states.

Ted Simons: Not only that but even with the waiver, there's a lawsuit possible on this because this is voter approved.

Luige del Puerto: Andy Biggs was president of the senate appropriations committee said today that lawsuits are very likely because, you know, voters basically in 2000 said we're going to expand coverage and there's language in the proposition that says -- basically says whether we can use state funds and to what extent we can use state funds. The democrats are saying we have to fund this program. And the Republicans are countering the argument, saying there's some wiggle room in that proposition and we can choose not to fund AHCCCS.

Ted Simons: Was there much in the way of debate on this or was everyone pretty much on board?

Luige del Puerto: Debate in the sense that Republicans are pretty much agreeable, I think, to this proposal. The house and senate appropriation committees passed a -- at the committee level, this proposal today, it was a pretty -- it was a party line vote meaning...

Ted Simons: Sure.

Luige del Puerto: The Republicans supported it and the Democrats opposed it. There was much discussion in the senate, there was much discussion in the house but I think Republicans will pass this proposal tomorrow.

Ted Simons: I was going to say –- yeah, when we mentioned debate I meant Republicans there because obviously, the Democrats weren't too happy about it. But the Republicans pretty much went along?

Luige del Puerto: Well you know, they're agreeable to the idea, although senator Ron Gould told me today that they doesn't think the federal government will grant us this waiver and basically at this point, why would they grant us this waiver? And to his mind, it's a exercise in futility. But he said we have to go through this process, we have to go through this motion. And then when the -- when and if the federal government denies us that waiver, we can then at that point find out what we're going to do next.

Ted Simons: What are you hearing down there, regarding the governor's ideas of more power in terms of line item vetoes and altering the budget once a legislative process is done? Sounds like she might get blowback on that.

Luige del Puerto: Well on the contrary-- legislative leaders are, you know, they're -- here's the thing. If, if Napolitano was asking this, I think you would expect Republicans to basically have some uproar against this one. We're not seeing it from legislative leaders, in this particular case. We have John Kavanagh and Russell Pearce basically saying well if her intention is to cut spending which is in line with, shall we say, philosophical ideas on government, that's fine with them.

Ted Simons: So basically it's ok if we want to alter the constitution for this what, now, but what happens again if you get a democratic governor in there and all of a sudden, the tables change?

Luige del Puerto: Well, and certainly that’s the big question, but to their mind, anything that cuts down, trims the size of government is fine by them. So an intrusion, if that's what it is, an intrusion into their appropriation authority, as long as it gets them to their goal, that's ok with them.

Ted Simons: We are going to talk more about this in a second here but as far as this loan from first things first, the one-day loan, how is that going over down there?

Luige del Puerto: Well surprisingly, the signal from the legislature is encouraging for the governor. I also spoke with the executive director of first things first and they seem to be amenable to the idea. The legislature, the reaction is pretty much, you know, we -- we understand it's a budget gimmick, we don't like it's a gimmick but we probably need do it because there's no much choice in this particular case.

Ted Simons: And the same kind of idea regarding the rollover for public education and other quote/unquote gimmicks.

Luige del Puereto: True.

Ted Simons: Ok. Any other surprises going on down there?

Luige del Puerto: The thing about the $330 million rollover is that, like said earlier, if it was offered or proposed five, six years ago, there would be an uproar against it, but Ron Gould said and he's among those who are pretty much dead set against this particular idea, he said, in this case, we're not -- it used to reflect light to confuse people. Before, now we're not even doing it in this case. It’s just right there. It's a blatant gimmick to his mind and that's what it is.

Ted Simons: All right. Well, that's all the time we've got. Luige, good to see you. Thanks for joining us.

Luige del Puerto: Thank you.