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The PULSE@Parkes project has been designed to monitor the rotation of radio pulsars over time spans of days to years. The observations are obtained using the Parkes 64-m and 12-m radio telescopes by Australian and international high school students. These students learn the basis of radio astronomy and undertake small projects with their observations. The data are fully calibrated and obtained with the state-of-the-art pulsar hardware available at Parkes. The final data sets are archived and are currently being used to carry out studies of 1) pulsar glitches, 2) timing noise, 3) pulse profile stability over long time scales and 4) the extreme nulling phenomenon. The data are also included in other projects such as gamma-ray observatory support and for the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array project. In this paper we describe the current status of the project and present the first scientific results from the Parkes 12-m radio telescope. We emphasise that this project offers a straightforward means to enthuse high school students and the general public about radio astronomy while obtaining scientifically valuable data sets.
The first direct detection of gravitational waves may be made through observations of pulsars. The principal aim of pulsar timing-array projects being carried out worldwide is to detect ultra-low frequency gravitational waves (f ∼ 10−9–10−8 Hz). Such waves are expected to be caused by coalescing supermassive binary black holes in the cores of merged galaxies. It is also possible that a detectable signal could have been produced in the inflationary era or by cosmic strings. In this paper, we review the current status of the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array project (the only such project in the Southern hemisphere) and compare the pulsar timing technique with other forms of gravitational-wave detection such as ground- and space-based interferometer systems.
A ‘pulsar timing array’ (PTA), in which observations of a large sample of pulsars spread across the celestial sphere are combined, allows investigation of ‘global’ phenomena such as a background of gravitational waves or instabilities in atomic timescales that produce correlated timing residuals in the pulsars of the array. The Parkes Pulsar Timing Array (PPTA) is an implementation of the PTA concept based on observations with the Parkes 64-m radio telescope. A sample of 20 ms pulsars is being observed at three radio-frequency bands, 50 cm (~700 MHz), 20 cm (~1400 MHz), and 10 cm (~3100 MHz), with observations at intervals of two to three weeks. Regular observations commenced in early 2005. This paper describes the systems used for the PPTA observations and data processing, including calibration and timing analysis. The strategy behind the choice of pulsars, observing parameters, and analysis methods is discussed. Results are presented for PPTA data in the three bands taken between 2005 March and 2011 March. For 10 of the 20 pulsars, rms timing residuals are less than 1 μs for the best band after fitting for pulse frequency and its first time derivative. Significant ‘red’ timing noise is detected in about half of the sample. We discuss the implications of these results on future projects including the International Pulsar Timing Array and a PTA based on the Square Kilometre Array. We also present an ‘extended PPTA’ data set that combines PPTA data with earlier Parkes timing data for these pulsars.
The Parkes pulsar data archive currently provides access to 144044 data files obtained from observations carried out at the Parkes observatory since the year 1991. Around 105 files are from surveys of the sky, the remainder are observations of 775 individual pulsars and their corresponding calibration signals. Survey observations are included from the Parkes 70 cm and the Swinburne Intermediate Latitude surveys. Individual pulsar observations are included from young pulsar timing projects, the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array and from the PULSE@Parkes outreach program. The data files and access methods are compatible with Virtual Observatory protocols. This paper describes the data currently stored in the archive and presents ways in which these data can be searched and downloaded.
Cerebrospinal fluid leakage is the most common complication of endoscopic trans-sphenoidal pituitary surgery. However, there is no uniformly accepted way of managing this complication when it occurs intra-operatively. This paper describes a quick, simple technique, involving layered fibrin glue and gelatin sponge, which does not compromise post-operative patient follow up.
Retrospective review of all endoscopic pituitary surgery cases conducted at a single institution since the introduction of this technique in 2002.
A total of 120 endoscopic pituitary operations were performed (96 primary procedures and 24 revisions). All intra-operative cerebrospinal fluid leaks were managed using the described method, with a failure rate of 3.6 per cent. The overall post-operative leakage rate was 1.7 per cent.
This simple, conservative technique avoids the need for further dissection and the use of non-absorbable foreign material, and has a low incidence of post-operative cerebrospinal fluid leakage.
Gaia is an ESA space astrometry mission due for launch in 2011–12. We describe part of the work carried out in the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium, namely the Astrometric Global Iterative Solution (AGIS) currently being implemented at the European Space Astronomy Center (ESAC) in Spain and largely based on algorithms developed at Lund Observatory. Some provisional results based on simulated observations of one million stars are presented, demonstrating convergence at microarcsec level independent of initial conditions.
Spontaneous enophthalmos unrelated to trauma or surgery is rare. The term ‘silent sinus syndrome’ has been used to describe this process where, in particular,there is an absence of any sino-nasal symptoms. The enophthalmos and hypoglobus that occurs inthese subjects is caused by atelectasis of the maxillary antrum, which itself appears to be due to chronic maxillary hypoventilation. We report a case of silent sinus syndrome that arose following insertion of a nasogastric tube. Whilst acute paranasal sinusitis is a well-described sequela of nasal intubation, this association with a rare, and as yet unexplained, phenomenon may go some way to explain its aetiology.
As MEMS devices become ever more sensitive, even slight shifts in materials properties can be detrimental to device performance. Radiation-induced defects can change both the dimensions and mechanical properties of MEMS materials, which will be of concern to designers of MEMS for applications involving radiation exposure, such as those in a reactor environment or in space. We have performed atomistic simulations of the effect that defects and amorphous regions, such as could be produced by radiation damage, have on the elastic constants of silicon. We have then applied the results of the elastic constant shift calculations to a hypothetical MEMS device, and calculated the difference that would be generated by this effect.
We investigated the electrical characteristics of the MOSCAP structures with W/WNx/poly Si1−xGex gates stack using C-V and I-V. The low frequency C-V measurements demonstrated that the flat band voltage of the W/WNx /poly Si0.4Ge0.6 stack was lower than that of W/ WNx /poly Si0.2Ge0.8 stack by 0.3V, and showed less gate-poly-depletion-effect than that of W/ WNx /poly- Si0.2Ge0.8 gates due to the increase of dopant activation rate with the increase of Ge content in the poly Si1−xGex films. As Ge content in poly Si1−xGex increased, the leakage current level increased a little due to the increase of direct tunneling and QBD became higher due to the lower boron penetration.
A study is made of radiation-induced expansion/compaction in Pyrex and Hoya SD-2 glasses, which are used as substrates for MEMS devices. Glass samples were irradiated with a neutron fluence composed primarily of thermal neutrons, and a flotation technique was employed to measure the resulting density changes in the glass. Transport of Ions in Matter (TRIM) calculations were performed to relate fast (∼1 MeV) neutron atomic displacement damage to that of boron thermal neutron capture events, and measured density changes in the glass samples were thus proportionally attributed to thermal and fast neutron fluences. The trend for strain with thermal neutron fluence (n/cm2) was found to be a linear compaction of -2.8×10−20 for Pyrex and -1.0×10−21 for Hoya SD-2. For fast neutron fluence, the trend for strain was also linear: -6.1×10−21for Pyrex and -7.9×10−22 for Hoya SD-2. The measured radiation-induced compaction of Pyrex is found to agree with that of previous studies. To our knowledge, this work represents the first study of compaction in Hoya SD-2 with neutron fluence. Hoya SD-2 is of considerable importance to MEMS, owing to its close thermal expansivity match to silicon from 25-500 C.
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.
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.
In this paper we report the growth of thin titanium oxide films on Si (100) and quartz at low temperatures (≤350°C) by photo-induced chemical vapor deposition (photo-CVD) with 222 nm UV radiation using a novel injection liquid source, which overcomes the reproducible problem in conventional bubblers. The properties of the films formed have been studied using ellipsometry, UV spectrophotometry and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) measurements. Nanostructured films were observed by atomic force microscopy (AFM). It was found that crystalline TiO2 films could be formed at deposition temperatures as low as 210°C by x-ray di ffraction (XRD). The influence of the deposition temperature on the film is discussed. The refractive index as high as 2.5 can be obtained at a deposition temperature of 350°C, while an optical transmittance of between 80-95% in the visible region of the spectrum was obtained at different deposition temperatures. Physical and optical characterization both reveal good film qualities, rendering this technique promising for a wide range of industrial application in low temperature microelectronic and optoelectronic material processing as well as for many heat sensitive compounds.
Silicon dioxide is an important catalyst material, a mainstay insulator in microelectronics, and a widely distributed terrestrial and marine skeletal mineral. Geologically, it is found in one of a large number of polymorphic crystalline states, but can also be rendered “amorphous” by rapid cooling from the melt through a glass transition, depositing from a vapor or from solution (in radiolaria skeletons), oxidizing silicon, or irradiating with electrons, ions or neutrons. While the structures of the crystalline polymorphs are well documented, the structure of even the exhaustively studied vitreous silica remains largely enigmatic. Diffraction provides average information about short-range order—which appears to comprise [SiO4] tetrahedral units in all but a high-pressure crystalline polymorph—but is relatively insensitive to alternative medium-range arrangements of these structural units. One sensitive, but little understood, indicator is the position and shape of the first sharp diffraction peak (FSDP).
Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of a-SiC using several Tersoff potentials have been performed and their influences on structure ordering were studied. It was found that using different potential cutoffs leads to remarkably different structures. An abrupt cutoff at 2.5 Å greatly increases the chemical ordering of a-SiC by disfavoring the formation of Si-Si bonds. In addition, annealing of SiC cascades embedded in β-SiC was simulated, and the final structures were compared. Again, much stronger topological and chemical ordering was observed in the structure modeled with the 2.5 Å potential cutoff.
Refinement of several topologically generated displacement cascades in silica has been conducted using molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. Several metastable amorphous silicas with substantially different medium-range order (as characterized by ring topologies) were obtained. However, their total correlation functions were found scarcely distinguishable. Major structural reconstruction was observed when the refinement took place above a glass transition temperature, below which the cascades largely retained their original topological ring structures. Attempts are made to correlate topological ring distributions with the first sharp diffraction peak, which may in turn provide some insight into the medium range structures of irradiated silicas.