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Schistosomiasis is an inflammatory disease that occurs when schistosome species eggs are deposited in the liver, resulting in fibrosis and portal hypertension. Schistosomes can interact with host inflammasomes to elicit host immune responses, leading to mitochondrial damage, generation of high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activation of apoptosis during inflammation. This study aims to examine whether ROS and NF-κB (p65) expression elicited other types of inflammasome activation in Schistosoma mansoni-infected mouse livers. We examine the relationship between inflammasome activation, mitochondrial damage and ROS production in mouse livers infected with S. mansoni. We demonstrate a significant release of ROS and superoxides and increased NF-κB (p65) in S. mansoni-infected mouse livers. Moreover, activation of the NLRP3 and AIM2 inflammasomes was triggered by S. mansoni infection. Stimulation of HuH-7 hepatocellular carcinoma cells with soluble egg antigen induced activation of the AIM2 inflammasome pathway. In this study, we demonstrate that S. mansoni infection promotes both NLRP3 and AIM2 inflammasome activation.
A liver transplant recipient developed hospital-acquired symptomatic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 6a infection 14 months post transplant.
Standard outbreak investigation.
Patient chart review, interviews of patients and staff, observational study of patient care practices, environmental surveillance, blood collection simulation experiments, and phylogenetic study of HCV strains using partial envelope gene sequences (E1–E2) of HCV genotype 6a strains from the suspected source patient, the environment, and the index patient were performed.
Investigations and data review revealed no further cases of HCV genotype 6a infection in the transplant unit. However, a suspected source with a high HCV load was identified. HCV genotype 6a was found in a contaminated reusable blood-collection tube holder with barely visible blood and was identified as the only shared item posing risk of transmission to the index case patient. Also, 14 episodes of sequential blood collection from the source patient and the index case patient were noted on the computerized time log of the laboratory barcoding system during their 13 days of cohospitalization in the liver transplant ward. Disinfection of the tube holders was not performed after use between patients. Blood collection simulation experiments showed that HCV and technetium isotope contaminating the tip of the sleeve capping the sleeved-needle can reflux back from the vacuum-specimen tube side to the patient side.
A reusable blood-collection tube holder without disinfection between patients can cause a nosocomial HCV infection. Single-use disposable tube holders should be used according to the recommendations by Occupational Safety and Health Administration and World Health Organization.
Recurrent glioblastoma (GBM) has an unmet need for effective therapies. Toca 511 (vocimagene amiretrorepvec), a retroviral replicating vector with the transgene cytosine deaminase, selectively infects, persists and spreads in tumor. Subsequent oral administration of 5-fluorocytosine (Toca FC) produces 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) within infected cells. 5-FU kills cancer cells and myeloid derived suppressor cells, inducing robust antitumor immune responses in animal models. In 2 Phase 1 studies, Toca 511 was administered into the cavity wall after surgical resection (NCT01470794) or intratumoral injection by biopsy needle (NCT01156584). To provide context to the results observed, subjects were compared to an external lomustine treated control (Courtesy Denovo Biopharma; Wick 2010). Treatment with Toca 511/Toca FC from 2 Phase I studies showed significant improvement in OS HR equals to 0.48, p less than 0.001, with similar effect in the surgical resection (OS HR 0.45, p equals to 0.003) and intratumoral injection (OS HR 0.56, p equals to 0.060). Fewer related greater or equal to Grade 3 adverse events (AEs) were reported for Toca 511/Toca FC (2.5 percent) vs. lomustine (36.9 percent). There was a virtual absence of hematologic toxicity for Toca 511/Toca FC vs. lomustine (Grade greater or equal to 3 thrombocytopenia 23.8 percent). Discontinuations for AEs occurred in 0percent for Toca 511/Toca FC vs. 4.8 percent for lomustine. Toca 511 is surgically delivered and treatment-emergent AEs regardless of attribution included incision site pain (20 percent), procedural pain (12.5 percent), and wound infection (5 percent) vs. 0percent, 1.2 percent, 1.2 percent respectively for lomustine. Toca 511/Toca FC significantly improved survival and safety relative to lomustine. A Phase 2/3 trial has launched (NCT02414165).
After a long quiet phase AG Dra underwent an outstandingly active phase with two outbursts in 1980 Nov. and 1981 Nov.(Viotti et al, 1984). Since then a new quiet phase has followed. In this work we analyse two spectra of AG Dra, of which, one was taken in 1981 by C.C. Huang at the Haute-Provence Observatory using the Marly spectrograph with a dispersion of 80 A/mm at the 1.2 m telescope, the other was obtained by Dr Y.Andrillat in 1985 with the same instrument.
Figure 1 shows the spectral variations of AG Dra between 1981 and 1985. The main features of the emission line spectrum are not much different between the two spectra, except that in 1985 there was a new wide weak emission line at 3488 A possibly due to FeII. There were a lot of strong emission lines due to H, HeI, HeII and 0III in both spectra. The spectrum of the late-type component was much more obvious in 1985 than in 1981. In 1985 the lines of CaII K, CaIλ4227 and the G-band of CH were quite strong. In addition we measured a lot of absorption lines due to FeI, SrII and TiII on the 1985 plate. The Balmer continuum emission and the blue contiuum were enhanced in 1981. On the 1981 plate the stellar spectrum in ultraviolet can be traced beyond 3200 A and the blue continuum heavily veiled the spectrum of the cool component. In 1985 they were much weaker.
Over the past decade, the PV industry has witnessed tremendous growth in manufacturing scale and technology advancement, with PV generated electricity cost ever approaching grid parity. Among them, Si based thin film technology has made substantial progress in demonstrating its inherent advantages in lower material cost, ease of manufacturing and higher energy yield, etc. More recently, reduced product prices and competing technologies from crystalline silicon and other thin film technologies have made amorphous and microcrystalline silicon based thin film technology very challenging, and requires further increase in module efficiency and decrease in manufacturing cost. As one of the few companies in the world with significant manufacturing capacity for tandem thin film Si PV products, Chint Solar (Astronergy) has been at the forefront of technology development for the mass production of large-scale (Gen. 5, 1.43m2) Si thin film solar modules in the last 5 years. We will review major technology advancements which have been mass production proven and led to the mass produced tandem silicon thin film module with 10.0% plus stabilized efficiency, along with the field performance of those modules.
Staggered bottom-gate hydrogenated nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si:H) thin-film transistors (TFTs) were demonstrated on flexible colorless polyimide substrates. The dc and ac bias-stress stability of these TFTs were investigated with and without mechanical tensile stress applied in parallel to the current flow direction. The findings indicate that the threshold voltage shift caused by an ac gate-bias stress was smaller compared to that caused by a dc gate-bias stress. Frequency dependence of threshold voltage shift was pronounced in the negative gate-bias stress experiments. Compared to TFTs under pure electrical gate-bias stressing, the stability of the nc-Si:H TFTs degrades further when the mechanical tensile strain is applied together with an electrical gate-bias stress.
Polycrystalline silicon thin films were formed from the amorphous silicon thin film by the pulsed rapid thermal annealing process enhanced with a thin nickel seed layer through the vertical crystallization mechanism. In this paper, authors presented the results on the material properties of the crystallized film. The dopant and film thickness effects were also investigated. It has been demonstrated that a 2 μm thick amorphous silicon n+-i-p+ diode structure could be transformed into polycrystalline stack with a 4-pulse 1 sec 850°C heating and 5 sec cooling cycle process.
ZrO2 and HfO2 and their alloys with SiO2 are currently among the leading high-k materials for replacing SiOxNy as the gate dielectric for the sub-100 nm technology nodes. International SEMATECH (ISMT) is currently investigating integration issues associated with this required change in materials. Our work has focused on the integration of ALCVD deposited ZrO2 and HfO2 with an industry standard conventional MOSFET process flow with poly-Si electrode. Since the impact of contamination by these new high-k materials introduced in a production fab has not yet been established, it becomes very critical to prevent cross- contamination through the process tools in the fab. A baseline study was completed within ISMT's fab and appropriate protocols for handling high-k materials have been established. The integrated high-k gate stack in a conventional transistor flow should not only meet all the performance requirements of scaled transistors, but the gate dielectric film should be able withstand high-temperature anneal steps. Reactions between ZrO2 and Si have been observed at temperatures as low as 560°C (during the amorphous Si deposition process). Various wet chemistries were also evaluated for removing the high-k film inadvertently deposited on wafer backside, and it was found that ZrO2 etches at extremely slow rates in the majority of the common wet etch chemistries available in a fab. A new hot HF based process was found to be successful in lowering Zr contamination on the wafer backside to as low as 1.8 E10 atoms/cm2. The patterning of a high-k gate stack with poly-Si electrode is another area that required considerable focus. Various dry (plasma) etch and wet etch chemistries were evaluated for etching ZrO2 using both blanket films as well as wafers with patterned poly-Si gate over the high-k films. On the full CMOS flow device wafers, most of these wet chemistries resulted in severe pitting in the ZrO2 film remaining over the source/drain (S/D) areas, as well as in the Si substrate and the field oxide. A poly-Si gate over ZrO2 gate dielectric film was successfully patterned using the standard poly-Si gate etch (Cl2/HBr) for the main etch, followed by a combination of HF and H2SO4 clean for removing all of the ZrO2 remaining over the S/D area. This allowed the fabrication of low-resistance contacts to transistor S/D areas, which ultimately resulted in demonstration of functional transistors with high-k gate dielectric films.
The electrical performance of transistors built using thin films of the column IVB metal oxides ZrO2 and HfO2 deposited from their respective anhydrous metal nitrate precursors is presented. In contrast to earlier work on TiO2, which is thermodynamically unstable on silicon, ZrO2 and HfO2 form well-defined oxynitride interfacial layers and have a good interface with silicon with much less fixed charge. The inversion layer mobility for an HfO2 / SiOxNy / Si stack is comparable to that of a conventional SiOxNy/Si interface.
A simple and novel salicidation process applying pulsed laser annealing as the first annealing step was used to induce TiSi2 formation. Both Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscope results confirm the formation of a new phase of Ti disilicide, the pure C40 TiSi2 after laser irradiation. Direct C54 phase growth on the basis of C40 template bypassing the C49 phase is accomplished at the second annealing temperature as low as 600°C. Line width independent formation of the C54 phase was observed on patterned wafers using this salicidation process and “fine line effect” is thus eliminated.
The configurations of misfit dislocations in In0.2Ga0.8As/GaAs(001) hetero structures grown on slightly misoriented substrates was investigated by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Layers 6 nm, 20 nm and 40 nm thick were grown by MBE. The substrate was tilted in , , ,  and  directions at angles between 0° and 10°. Only in the 40 nm thick layers networks of 60° and 90° dislocations were formed. Misfit dislocations were found at the interface in <110> directions. In the substrate tilting range between 0° and 4° the changes in dislocation density can be explained by the different
character of α and β dislocations. For a substrate tilting above 6° the different dislocation sets show an increased anisotropy. The misfit dislocations at the interface were decorated by In atoms. The influence of three-dimensional crystal growth on increasing surface roughness is discussed.
The microstructure and electrical properties of μc-Si and μc-Si,C prepared by remote plasma-enhanced chemical-vapor deposition, PECVD, are reviewed. The microstructure has been characterized by transmission electron microscopy, TEM, infrared, IR, absorption and Raman scattering. The electrical properties were characterized by temperature-dependent dark-conductivity measurements. These studies have explained significant quantitative differences between the carrier transport properties of μc-Si and μc-Si,C alloys in terms of a band offset model for the interfacial potential steps between the amorphous and crystalline constituents of these material systems.
Ion implantation and thermal processing have been used to synthesize compound semiconductor nanocrystals (SiGe, GaAs, and CdSe) in both SiO2 and (0001) Al2O3. Equal doses of each constituent are implanted sequentially at energies chosen to give an overlap of the profiles. Subsequent annealing results in precipitation and the formation of compound nanocrystals. In SiO2 substrates, nanocrystals are nearly spherical and randomly oriented. In Al2O3, nanocrystals exhibit strong orientation both in-plane and along the surface normal.
The annealing behaviour of helium bubbles formed by ambient temperature 10 keV helium implantation into silicon has been studied using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and helium desorption spectroscopy (HDS). Although the TEM results indicated conventional bubble annealing processes due to bubble migration and coalescence, the HDS data demonstrated that helium can permeate out of bubbles in silicon around 1000K to leave behind empty cavities, thus giving a porous layer coincident with the original helium implant profile.
The addition of a low dose of implanted oxygen to the silicon-helium samples has been shown to strongly improve the stability of the porous layer, at least up to 1300K.
We report a new method for synthesizing Ge nano-crystallites embedded in SiNy film matrices. On the basis of the effect of the reactant precursors and preferential chemical bonding of Si-N and Ge-Ge, thin films with Ge clusters embedded in SiNy matrices have been prepared in the PECVD system with reactant gases of SiH4, GeH4 and NH3 mixed in the hydrogen plasma. The as-deposited films were then crystallized by Ar ion laser annealing or thermal annealing technique to form nanometer-sized Ge crystallites.
The composition and microstructures of these new type of sample were characterized by infrared absorption spectra, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and Raman scattering spectra. The results indicated that the average size of Ge crystallites was estimated to be 2-20 nm depending on the deposition and annealing parameters and can be controlled by a designed manner.
We discuss the preparation and electrical properties of B-doped μc-Si:H thin films prepared by reactive magnetron sputtering in a hydrogen containing ambient. The B-concentration, and hence the dark conductivity, have been varied by controlling the rf power supplied to two sputtering targets, one, of undoped c-Si, and the other of B-doped c-Si. Films deposited from either target alone display dark conductivity activation energies of approximately 0.5 eV due to Fermi level pinning by native donorlike defects and B-doping for samples prepared from the undoped and B-doped targets, respectively. Films deposited by simultaneously sputtering undoped and B-doped targets display activation energies which first increase to approximately 0.7 eV and then decrease as the fraction of power supplied to the B-doped target is increased. For the combination of deposition parameters used, the cross over point between B-compensated, n-type films, and B-doped p-type films occurs for powers of 50 W supplied to the B-doped target and 100 W to the undoped target. B-compensated samples display trends in photoconductive properties essentially identical to results for μc-Si:H samples prepared by remote plasma CVD. However, IR studies indicate that the material shows significant post-deposition oxide formation. TEM studies confirm the existence of a low-density, porous network. Work is underway to optimize the structural aspects of this material.
Bulk EuTe is a type II Heisenberg antiferromagnet (AF2) with a single magnetic phase transition temperature at 9.6 K. However, for several isolated EuTe (111) monolayers (MLs) as can be achieved in a superlattice (SL) structure, both ferrimagnetic-like and antiferromagnetic-like phase transitions can take place, depending on the SLs configuration. The temperature-dependent magnetization M(T) of such SLs has been studied near the transition temperature (Tc) by SQUID magnetometry. The functional forms of M(T) at T ≤ Tc can be described by mean-field theory for SLs with 3, 4 and 5 EuTe MLs per SL cell. The magnetic transition temperatures obtained by mean-field analysis, using bulk exchange coupling values, are in close agreement with observed Tc values for SLs with 2, 3, 4 and 5 EuTe MLs. The qualitative behavior of the surface specific heat can be deduced from M(T) data for SLs with three EuTe monolayers.
We utilized the conventional planar fabrication technique and the electrochemical etching method to prepare porous Si layers in the p-type region of a p/n junction, which could make the study on the transverse transport property of this material possible. The junctions were fabricated by low energy ion-implantation, with porous Si formed perpendicular to the junction and between two metal contacts. This structure confines currents to the direction parallel to the surface. Distinct features on current-voltage (I-V) curves has been observed.
The constrained crystallization in a-Si:H/a-SiNx:H multilayer structures by Ar ion laser annealing treatment has been studied by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and Raman scattering. HRTEM photograph shows that the a-Si:H layers crystallize without disturbing the multilayer structures and that the interfaces after the crystallization are atomically smooth and uniform. The lattice image of the Si crystallites arrayed one by one can be seen clearly in Si layers and the average size is roughly equal to the thickness of Si layer. The thermodynamics of constrained crystallization within multilayer structures has been discussed.