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The Comprehensive Assessment of Neurodegeneration and Dementia (COMPASS-ND) cohort study of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) is a national initiative to catalyze research on dementia, set up to support the research agendas of CCNA teams. This cross-country longitudinal cohort of 2310 deeply phenotyped subjects with various forms of dementia and mild memory loss or concerns, along with cognitively intact elderly subjects, will test hypotheses generated by these teams.
The COMPASS-ND protocol, initial grant proposal for funding, fifth semi-annual CCNA Progress Report submitted to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research December 2017, and other documents supplemented by modifications made and lessons learned after implementation were used by the authors to create the description of the study provided here.
The CCNA COMPASS-ND cohort includes participants from across Canada with various cognitive conditions associated with or at risk of neurodegenerative diseases. They will undergo a wide range of experimental, clinical, imaging, and genetic investigation to specifically address the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of these conditions in the aging population. Data derived from clinical and cognitive assessments, biospecimens, brain imaging, genetics, and brain donations will be used to test hypotheses generated by CCNA research teams and other Canadian researchers. The study is the most comprehensive and ambitious Canadian study of dementia. Initial data posting occurred in 2018, with the full cohort to be accrued by 2020.
Availability of data from the COMPASS-ND study will provide a major stimulus for dementia research in Canada in the coming years.
The development of algorithms for agile science and autonomous exploration has been pursued in contexts ranging from spacecraft to planetary rovers to unmanned aerial vehicles to autonomous underwater vehicles. In situations where time, mission resources and communications are limited and the future state of the operating environment is unknown, the capability of a vehicle to dynamically respond to changing circumstances without human guidance can substantially improve science return. Such capabilities are difficult to achieve in practice, however, because they require intelligent reasoning to utilize limited resources in an inherently uncertain environment. Here we discuss the development, characterization and field performance of two algorithms for autonomously collecting water samples on VALKYRIE (Very deep Autonomous Laser-powered Kilowatt-class Yo-yoing Robotic Ice Explorer), a glacier-penetrating cryobot deployed to the Matanuska Glacier, Alaska (Mission Control location: 61°42′09.3″N 147°37′23.2″W). We show performance on par with human performance across a wide range of mission morphologies using simulated mission data, and demonstrate the effectiveness of the algorithms at autonomously collecting samples with high relative cell concentration during field operation. The development of such algorithms will help enable autonomous science operations in environments where constant real-time human supervision is impractical, such as penetration of ice sheets on Earth and high-priority planetary science targets like Europa.
VALKYRIE (Very-deep Autonomous Laser-powered Kilowatt-class Yo-yoing Robotic Ice Explorer) is a NASA-funded project to develop key technologies for an autonomous ice penetrator, or cryobot, capable of delivering science payloads through outer planet ice caps and terrestrial glaciers. This 4 year effort will produce a cylindrical cryobot prototype 280 cm in length and 25 cm in diameter. One novel element of VALKYRIE’s design is the use of a high-energy laser as the primary power source. 1070 nm laser light is transmitted at 5 kW from a surface-based laser and injected into a custom-designed optical waveguide that is spooled out from the descending cryobot. Light exits the downstream end of the fiber, travels through diverging optics, and strikes an anodized aluminum beam dump, which channels thermal power to hot-water jets that melt the descent hole. Some beam energy is converted to electricity via photovoltaic cells, for running on-board electronics and jet pumps. Since the vehicle can be sterilized prior to deployment, and forward contamination is minimized as the melt path refreezes behind the cryobot, expansions on VALKYRIE concepts may enable cleaner access to deep subglacial lakes. This paper focuses on laser delivery and beam dump thermal design.
Mental health research funding priorities in high-income countries must balance longer-term investment in identifying neurobiological mechanisms of disease with shorter-term funding of novel prevention and treatment strategies to alleviate the current burden of mental illness. Prioritising one area of science over others risks reduced returns on the entire scientific portfolio.
We are developing a wide-field CCD camera system which is optimized for using weak gravitational lensing to study the distribution of dark matter in clusters of galaxies and eventually the field. The system will be used at the Apache Point Observatory (APO) 3.5 meter telescope in New Mexico.
The objective of this research was to describe proportional differences across time and region in management practices among southern cotton farmers who experienced glyphosate-resistant (GR) weeds on their farms earlier than those who experienced them later and among farmers who were closest to one of four historical outbreak epicenters: Lauderdale County, TN; Macon County, GA; Edgecombe County, NC; and Terry County, TX. A mail survey was conducted with cotton farmers in 2012 from 13 southern, cotton-producing states. Survey responses on practices used by farmers were classified into three broad categories of labor, mechanical/tillage/chemical (MTC), and cultural. Proportions of respondents using practices from each category were identified by time and region; across which, proportional-difference tests were conducted. Results indicated respondents encountering GR weeds earlier were more likely than farmers who experienced them later to use the three broad-category practices (labor, 98 vs. 92%; MTC, 95 vs. 89%; and cultural, 86 vs. 76%) and specific practices, including hooded sprayers (76 vs. 58%), in-season herbicide change (83 vs. 60%), and field-border management (60 vs. 35%). Also, respondents closest to Lauderdale County were more likely than farmers closest to Edgecombe County to use broad-labor practices (99 vs. 91%) and specific practices, including hand hoeing (96 vs. 84%), hand spraying (49 vs. 31%), spot spraying (76 vs. 59%), wick applicator (13 vs. 11%), and field-border management (58 vs. 39%). Education programs on weed management can be developed and tailored according to the time and regional differences to provide effective information and communication channels to farmers.
The synthesis of superconducting Tl-Ba-Ca-Cu-O thin films on metal foils (Au and Ag) by metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) has been investigated. Ba-Ca-Cu-O-(F) films are first prepared via MOCVD using fluorinated “second generation” metal-organic precursors. After an intermediate anneal with water vapor-saturated oxygen to promote removal of F, Tl is introduced by annealing in the presence of a mixture of oxides (Tl2O3, BaO, CaO, CuO) of a specific composition. Characterization of the thin films by scanning electron microscopy, EDX, x-ray diffraction, and variable temperature magnetization measurements has been carried out. High temperature superconductor (HTS) films of Tl2Ba2Ca1Cu2O8−x on Au foil exhibit a magnetically derived Tc = 80K and a high degree of texturing with the crystallite c-axes oriented perpendicular to the substrate surface as evidenced by enhanced (000 x-ray diffraction reflections. Thin film coverage on Ag foil becomes non-contiguous during the (Tl2O3, BaO, CaO, CuO) mixture anneal.
Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) are used to investigate Ti silicide formation mechanisms on a series of Ti on Si thin films annealed in ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) at different temperatures and durations. The competition between oxygen diffusion and the silicide formation reaction (the socalled “snowplough” effect) is observed directly, as well as a Ti-Si-O layer. The results from these controlled experiments are compared with those from Ti silicide films formed under rapid thermal annealing (RTA) conditions in a production furnace, with and without a TiW barrier layer.
The compound BaBiTe3 was prepared by the reaction of Ba/Bi/Te at over 700 °C either in K2TE4 or BaTe3 flux and was recrystallized in Ba/Te3 flux. The black rod-shaped polycrystalline material crystallizes in the orthorhombic space group P212121 with a=4.6077(2) A, b=17.0437(8) Å, c=18.2997(8) Å. Its structure is made of interdigitating columnar anionie [Bi4Te10(Te2)] ∞2+ “herring-bone” shaped segments which arrange into layers with Ba ions between them. The electrical conductivity, thermopower, thermal lattice conductivity, infrared absorption properties of this material suggest it is a narrow gap semiconductor.
Structural studies, electrical resistivity, and Seebeck coefficient measurements are reported in the range 4.2 − 300 K for single crystals of NiS2−xSex (0 ≤ x ≤ 0.71) grown from a Te melt. Over the entire temperature and composition ranges there are no large scale structural changes concomitant to a variety of magnetic ordering phenomena, and to a changeover from insulating to metallic characteristics as x increases. Thus, the evolution in transport characteristics with x can be studied without interference from the lattice; moreover, the electron count is unaffected by substitution of Se for S. The existence of anomalous peaks in resistivity as a function of temperature is attributed to significant electron correlation phenomena which allow the entropy of charge carrier to play a dominant role. The complex temperature dependence of the Seebeck coefficient is attributed to the participation of both electrons and holes in charge transport.
Thin films of lanthanum manganates doped with Ca2+, Sr2+, Ba2+ and Pb2+ have been deposited on Si(100) substrate and their electrical and magnetic properties were discussed with respect to the composition, structure and nature of the dopant. Buffer layers of YSZ and La0.8Al0.2O3 were employed and their effect on the materials was studied. Interesting magnetotransport properties were found in some of the films, where there is a large difference between the insulator-metal transition temperature and a ferromagnetic transition temperature.
Effective pattern transfer into (Pr,Ba,Ca)MnO3 and (La,Sr)MnO3 has been achieved using Cl2/Ar discharges operated under Inductively Coupled Plasma conditions. Etch rates up to 900 Å-min−1 for (La,Sr)MnO3 and 300 Å-min−1 for (Pr,Ba,Ca)MnO3 were obtained, with these rates being a strong function of ion flux, ion energy and ion-to-neutral ratio. The etching is still physically-dominated under all conditions, leading to significant surface smoothing on initially rough samples. Sub-micron (0.35 μm) features have been produced in both materials using SiNx as the mask.
Germanium dioxide nanowires have gained significant interest lately due to the the bandgap of 2.44 eV, and high index of refraction, n=1.63. In this paper we aim at investigating the lateral growth of high density metal-catalyzed germanium dioxide nanowires between electrodes. The gaps between two electrodes varied. The catalyst metal was placed on the electrodes, followed by a thermal annealing process, resulting in lateral growth of germanium dioxide whiskers with several microns length and eventually the formation of bridge-like nanostructures. These whiskers have certain unique properties, such as a high surface-to-volume ratio and the capability of connecting two electrodes. Because of these properties, the growth of whiskers from the electrodes has the potential to be developed as electronic devices such as nanosensors. These products are characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), as well as X-Ray diffraction (XRD).
We report the fabrication and characterization of thin film power generators composed 400 p- and n-type ErAs:InGaAs/InGaAlAs superlattice thermoelectric elements. The thermoelectric elements incorporate erbium arsenide metallic nanoparticles into the semiconductor superlattice structure to provide charge carriers and create scattering centers for phonons. 10 µm p- and n-type InGaAs/InGaAlAs superlattices with embedded ErAs nano-particles were grown on InP substrates using molecular beam epitaxy. Thermal conductivity values were measured using the 3ω method and cross-plane Seebeck coefficients were determined using Seebeck device test patterns. 400 element ErAs:InGaAs/InGaAlAs thin film power generators were fabricated from superlattice elements 10 µm thick and 200 µm × 200 µm in area. The output power was 4.7 milliwatts for an external electrical load resistor of 150 Ω at about 80 K temperature difference drop across the generator. We discuss the limitations to the generator's performance and provide suggestions for further improvement.
Electronic structure calculations were performed on PrFe4P12 filled skutterudite, in order to provide more information regarding its properties. The energy bands yielded information regarding the metallic behavior as well as a mini gap of 0.02 eV. Total and projected Density of States (DOS) yielded information for the existence of a hybridization between Pr -f, Fe -d and P -p orbitals. Hence, this compound could be considered a likely candidate as a thermoelectric compound.
The structural and thermoelectric properties of the AgSbTe2-SnTe quaternary system were studied. Powder averaged x-ray diffraction of Ag0.85SnSb1.15Te3 indicates a cubic NaCl-type structure in contrast with the single crystal refinements, which point towards tetragonal symmetry. Furthermore, high-resolution electron microscopy imaging revealed the system to be a nano-composite formed by thermodynamically driven compositional fluctuations rather than a solid solution as it was viewed in the past. The lattice thermal conductivity attains very low values, which is in accord with recent theories on thermal transport in heterogeneous systems. The charge transport properties of the system exhibit a rich physical behavior highlighted in the coexistence of an almost metallic carrier concentration (∼5×1021 cm−3) with a large thermoelectric power response of ∼160 μV/K at 650 K. This is attributed to a heavy hole effective mass that is almost six times that of the electron rest mass.