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The mammal family Tenrecidae (Afrotheria: Afrosoricida) is endemic to Madagascar. Here we present the conservation priorities for the 31 species of tenrec that were assessed or reassessed in 2015–2016 for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Six species (19.4%) were found to be threatened (4 Vulnerable, 2 Endangered) and one species was categorized as Data Deficient. The primary threat to tenrecs is habitat loss, mostly as a result of slash-and-burn agriculture, but some species are also threatened by hunting and incidental capture in fishing traps. In the longer term, climate change is expected to alter tenrec habitats and ranges. However, the lack of data for most tenrecs on population size, ecology and distribution, together with frequent changes in taxonomy (with many cryptic species being discovered based on genetic analyses) and the poorly understood impact of bushmeat hunting on spiny species (Tenrecinae), hinders conservation planning. Priority conservation actions are presented for Madagascar's tenrecs for the first time since 1990 and focus on conserving forest habitat (especially through improved management of protected areas) and filling essential knowledge gaps. Tenrec research, monitoring and conservation should be integrated into broader sustainable development objectives and programmes targeting higher profile species, such as lemurs, if we are to see an improvement in the conservation status of tenrecs in the near future.
The preconception, pregnancy and immediate postpartum and newborn periods are times for mothers and their offspring when they are especially vulnerable to major stressors – those that are sudden and unexpected and those that are chronic. Their adverse effects can transcend generations. Stressors can include natural disasters or political stressors such as conflict and/or migration. Considerable evidence has accumulated demonstrating the adverse effects of natural disasters on pregnancy outcomes and developmental trajectories. However, beyond tracking outcomes, the time has arrived for gathering more information related to identifying mechanisms, predicting risk and developing stress-reducing and resilience-building interventions to improve outcomes. Further, we need to learn how to encapsulate both the quantitative and qualitative information available and share it with communities and authorities to mitigate the adverse developmental effects of future disasters, conflicts and migrations. This article briefly reviews prenatal maternal stress and identifies three contemporary situations (wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada; hurricane Harvey in Houston, USA and transgenerational and migrant stress in Pforzheim, Germany) where current studies are being established by Canadian investigators to test an intervention. The experiences from these efforts are related along with attempts to involve communities in the studies and share the new knowledge to plan for future disasters or tragedies.
Exposure to threat-related early life stress (ELS) has been related to vulnerability for stress-related disorders in adulthood, putatively via disrupted corticolimbic circuits involved in stress response and regulation. However, previous research on ELS has not examined both the intrinsic strength and flexibility of corticolimbic circuits, which may be particularly important for adaptive stress responding, or associations between these dimensions of corticolimbic dysfunction and acute stress response in adulthood.
Seventy unmedicated women varying in history of threat-related ELS completed a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan to evaluate voxelwise static (overall) and dynamic (variability over a series of sliding windows) resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) of bilateral amygdala. In a separate session and subset of participants (n = 42), measures of salivary cortisol and affect were collected during a social-evaluative stress challenge.
Higher severity of threat-related ELS was related to more strongly negative static RSFC between amygdala and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and elevated dynamic RSFC between amygdala and rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC). Static amygdala-DLPFC antagonism mediated the relationship between higher severity of threat-related ELS and blunted cortisol response to stress, but increased dynamic amygdala-rACC connectivity weakened this mediated effect and was related to more positive post-stress mood.
Threat-related ELS was associated with RSFC within lateral corticolimbic circuits, which in turn was related to blunted physiological response to acute stress. Notably, increased flexibility between the amygdala and rACC compensated for this static disruption, suggesting that more dynamic medial corticolimbic circuits might be key to restoring healthy stress response.
Experiments on the National Ignition Facility show that multi-dimensional effects currently dominate the implosion performance. Low mode implosion symmetry and hydrodynamic instabilities seeded by capsule mounting features appear to be two key limiting factors for implosion performance. One reason these factors have a large impact on the performance of inertial confinement fusion implosions is the high convergence required to achieve high fusion gains. To tackle these problems, a predictable implosion platform is needed meaning experiments must trade-off high gain for performance. LANL has adopted three main approaches to develop a one-dimensional (1D) implosion platform where 1D means measured yield over the 1D clean calculation. A high adiabat, low convergence platform is being developed using beryllium capsules enabling larger case-to-capsule ratios to improve symmetry. The second approach is liquid fuel layers using wetted foam targets. With liquid fuel layers, the implosion convergence can be controlled via the initial vapor pressure set by the target fielding temperature. The last method is double shell targets. For double shells, the smaller inner shell houses the DT fuel and the convergence of this cavity is relatively small compared to hot spot ignition. However, double shell targets have a different set of trade-off versus advantages. Details for each of these approaches are described.
The Wisconsin Plasma Astrophysics Laboratory (WiPAL) is a flexible user facility designed to study a range of astrophysically relevant plasma processes as well as novel geometries that mimic astrophysical systems. A multi-cusp magnetic bucket constructed from strong samarium cobalt permanent magnets now confines a
, fully ionized, magnetic-field-free plasma in a spherical geometry. Plasma parameters of
provide an ideal testbed for a range of astrophysical experiments, including self-exciting dynamos, collisionless magnetic reconnection, jet stability, stellar winds and more. This article describes the capabilities of WiPAL, along with several experiments, in both operating and planning stages, that illustrate the range of possibilities for future users.
The present study aimed to investigate the effect of dietary actinidin on the kinetics of gastric digestion of beef muscle proteins and on the rate of stomach emptying in growing pigs. For this purpose, 120 pigs (mean body weight 28 (sd 2·9) kg) were fed beef muscle protein-based diets containing either actinidin (fresh green kiwifruit pulp or gold kiwifruit pulp supplemented with purified actinidin) or no actinidin (fresh gold kiwifruit pulp or green kiwifruit pulp with inactivated actinidin). Additionally, fifteen pigs were fed with a protein-free diet to determine the endogenous protein flow. Pigs were euthanised at exactly 0·5, 1, 3, 5 and 7 h postprandially (n 6 per time point for each kiwifruit diet and n 3 for protein-free diet). Stomach chyme was collected for measuring gastric retention, actinidin activity, individual beef muscle protein digestion based on SDS–PAGE and the degree of hydrolysis based on the appearance of free amino groups. The stomach emptying of DM and N was faster when actinidin was present in the diet (P< 0·05): the half gastric emptying time of DM was 137 v. 172 min ( ± 7·4 min pooled standard error) for the diets with and without actinidin, respectively. The presence of dietary actinidin in the stomach chyme increased the digestion of beef muscle protein (P< 0·05) and, more specifically, those proteins with a high molecular weight (>34 kDa; P< 0·05). In conclusion, dietary actinidin fed in the form of fresh green kiwifruit increased the rate of gastric emptying and the digestion of several beef muscle proteins.
Two community-based density case-control studies were performed to assess risk factors for cholera transmission during inter-peak periods of the ongoing epidemic in two Haitian urban settings, Gonaives and Carrefour. The strongest associations were: close contact with cholera patients (sharing latrines, visiting cholera patients, helping someone with diarrhoea), eating food from street vendors and washing dishes with untreated water. Protective factors were: drinking chlorinated water, receiving prevention messages via television, church or training sessions, and high household socioeconomic level. These findings suggest that, in addition to contaminated water, factors related to direct and indirect inter-human contact play an important role in cholera transmission during inter-peak periods. In order to reduce cholera transmission in Haiti intensive preventive measures such as hygiene promotion and awareness campaigns should be implemented during inter-peak lulls, when prevention activities are typically scaled back.
Investigation of optical absorption in ∼25μm thick, monocrystalline silicon (Si) substrates obtained from a novel exfoliation technique is done by fabricating solar cells with single heterojunction architecture (without using intrinsic amorphous silicon layer) with diffused back junction and local back contact. The ease of process flow and the rugged and flexible nature of the substrates due to thick metal backing enables use of various light-trapping and optical absorption enhancement schemes traditionally practiced in the industry for thicker (>120μm) substrates. Optical measurement of solar cells using antireflective coating, texturing on both surfaces, and back surface dielectric/metal stack as mirror to reflect the long wavelength light from the back surface show a very low front surface reflectance of 4.6% in the broadband spectrum (300nm-1200nm). The illuminated current voltage (IV) and external quantum efficiency (EQE) measurement of such solar cell shows a high integrated current density of 34.4mA/cm2, which implies significant internal photon reflection. Our best cell with intrinsic amorphous silicon (i-a-Si) layer with only rear surface textured shows an efficiency of 14.9%. EQE data shows improved blue response and current density due to better front surface passivation. Simulations suggest that with optimized light trapping and surface passivation, such thin c-Si cells can reach efficiencies >20%.
It is well known that the cadmium chloride annealing treatment is an essential step in the manufacture of efficient thin film cadmium telluride solar cells. It has been recognized that the combination of annealing at ∼4000C together with the addition of cadmium chloride at the surface induces re-crystallisation of the cadmium telluride layer and also affects the n-type cadmium sulfide. We have applied advanced micro-structural characterization techniques to distinguish the effect of the annealing and the cadmium chloride treatments on the properties of the cadmium telluride deposited via close space sublimation (CSS) and relate these observations to device performance. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) has shown a variation in stacking fault density with annealing temperature and annealing time. Stacking faults observed within the cadmium telluride grains in TEM were partially removed post annealing; these findings show that temperature alone has a role in the reduction of stacking faults. However, since we have previously observed almost complete removal of stacking faults with annealing in combination with cadmium chloride, the cadmium chloride is essential to defect removal and high efficiency cells.
Nanoscale heterojunction systems consisting of fullerenes blended with conjugated polymers are promising materials candidates for achieving high performance organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices. In order to understand the phase behaviour in these thin film devices, we have used neutron reflectivity to determine the behavior of model conjugated polymer-fullerene mixtures. Neutron reflectivity is particularly useful for these types of thin film studies since the fullerenes generally have a higher scattering contrast with respect to most polymers. We are studying model bulk heterojunction (BHJ) films based on mixtures of poly(3-hexyl thiophene)s (P3HT), a widely used photoconductive polymer, and different fullerenes (C60, PCBM and bis-PCBM). We have used neutron reflection measurements to determine the film morphology normal to the film surfaces in real device configurations. The novelty of the approach over previous studies is that the BHJ layer is measured with the confining films of PEDOT/PSS and Al in place. Using this model system, we have measured the effect of typical thermal annealing processes on the film development as a function of the polythiophene-fullerene mixtures.
We have investigated the effect of temperature annealing on bilayer heterojunction solar cells based on poly[9,9’-hexyl-fluorene-alt-bithiophene] as active layer. Film morphology for different temperature annealing was probed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and the values of roughness range from 0.59 up to 2.15 nm. The best photovoltaic performance was found for devices with active layer annealed at 200°C with power conversion efficiency (η) of 2.8 % while devices without annealing presented only 0.4%. This performance enhancement is attributed to the reduction of traps and increased hole mobility after the thermal annealing.
Block copolymers are considered to be highly attractive materials with regards to future applications of nanomaterials and nanostructures owing to their self-assembling nature. Block copolymers, when supplied with sufficient energy, phase separate at the nanoscales to form periodically ordered structures in the nanometer-scale range. A diversity of architectures can be accessed via composition control of individual block components. An exciting area of application for block copolymer self assembly is organic photovoltaic devices (OPV‟s) where it is expected that the very high interfacial area of the blocks with ∼10-20 nm domain spacing would be highly advantageous for exciton diffusion and separation. For this purpose BCPs composed of amorphous (non-conjugated) polymers can also serve as a template for directed assembly of nanoparticles. Zone annealing is a well established method predominantly utilized for metallurgical and semi-conductor purification processes, where recrystallization and oriented grain growth occur on the planar front formed by the cooling-edge of the zone. We have previously applied this process to create highly ordered BCP cylinders that are parallel to the substrate with orientational control, long range order and faster ordering kinetics than conventional thermal annealing. In the present paper, we extend this idea to block copolymer - [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) blend system and report how the presence of PCBM nanoparticles influence the micro-phase separation behavior of cylinder forming poly(styrene-b-2-vinyl pyridine) under a dynamic thermal gradient field. A range of scattering techniques have been on the BCP:PCBM blend system, including grazing incidence small angle x-ray scattering (GISAXS) experiments to characterize in-plane and lateral ordering of BCP-PCBM blend system.
Measurements are presented which show the effect of proton irradiation on the irreversibility line and critical current in Tl2 CaBa2Cu2O8 thin films. These data show that the irreversibility line is dependent on the defect structure and that the pinning energy is increased by proton irradiation. This leads to an increase in the critical current density at 60 K for the lowest radiation dose. Further irradiation reduces the critical current, even while the irreversibility line is enhanced.
The diffusion of Cu, Ag and Au has been measured in implanted, amorphous Si, over the range 150–600° C. The diffusion coefficients are characterized by Arrhenius relationships with activation energies for Cu, Ag and Au of 1.25, 1.6 and 1.4 eV respectively. The solubility of Au in amorphous Si was measured to be 6 orders of magnitude greater than crystalline Si at a temperature of 515°C. The Cu, Ag and Au are segregated ahead of the moving amorphous-crystalline interface. The presence of Au can increase the velocity of the interface.
Laser-assisted deposition of GaAs, AlAs and [AIGa]As thin films on Ge(100) substrates from trimethylgallium-trimethylarsenic and trimethylaluminumtrimethylarsenic Lewis acid-base adduct source materials is reported. A parametric study has been performed in which reactive gas pressure, substrate temperature, laser fluence, laser wavelength (248 nm or 193 nm). and orientation of the laser beam with respect to the substrate have been varied. In the case of irradiation parallel to the substrate, stoichiometric films of GaAs and [AIGa]As have been obtained. The data suggest that for irradiation perpendicular to the substrate a competition exists between desorption and photodeposition, which adversely affects film stoichiometry under the conditions studied.
Manganese has four allotropes with an equilibrium melting point of the high temperature δ-phase at 1517 K and calculated metastable melting points for the ϒ, β and α phases at 1501 K, 1481 K and 1395 K, respectively. Our observations for Mn irradiated with a pulsed laser and supporting estimates of maximum allotropic transition rates indicate that transformations between allotropes are suppressed during heating with ~ 25 ns laser pulses, as well as during subsequent cooling. Upon pulsed heating of β-Mn to the melt threshold, the melt is undercooled 122 K below the δ-Mn melting point. For incident laser pulse energy densities near the melting threshold, resolidification involves regrowth of β-Mn from the substrate. At energy densities well above threshold, the ϒ-Mn phase forms by separate nucleation and growth from the undercooled melt, and is retained upon rapid solidification. From these results and analyses, we conclude that significant melt undercooling, which may exceed 100 K, can occur during pulsed laser melting of metallic crystals and that the resulting crystalline structure is determined by both thermodynamics and nucleation kinetics.
Experimental evidence for laser melting of graphite, by irradiation with 30ns pulses from a ruby laser, is presented. RBS-channeling analysis, Raman scattering and TEM measurements reveal that the surface of graphite melts at a threshold energy density of about 0.6 J/cm2. For laser pulse energy densities above 0.6 J/cm2, the melt front penetration depth increases nearly linearly with increasing energy density. An intense emission of carbon particles during and after irradiation is observed. The thickness of the carbon layer removed in this process also increases nearly linearly with increasing pulse fluence. A dramatic redistribution of ion implanted impurities is also observed. Furthermore, the crystalline structure of the resolidified material is shown to depend on the energy density of the laser pulse. In order to explain these phenomena, a model for laser melting of graphite at high temperatures to form liquid carbon has been developed in which a free electron gas approximation is used to describe the properties of liquid carbon. The model is solved numerically to give the time and depth dependences of the temperature as a function of the laser pulse energy density. Very good agreement is found between the observed melt depth dependence on laser pulse energy density, as determined by RBS-channeling, and the model calculations. The redistribution of ion implanted impurities and the modification of the crystalline structure, caused by the pulsed laser irradiation, are also consistent with the model and permit the determination, for the first time, of interfacial segregation coefficients for impurities in liquid carbon. The model also predicts that liquid carbon at low pressure (p < 1 kbar) has metallic properties.