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Increasing the number of quantum bits while preserving precise control of their quantum electronic properties is a significant challenge in materials design for the development of semiconductor quantum computing devices. Semiconductor heterostructures can host multiple quantum dots that are electrostatically defined by voltages applied to an array of metallic nanoelectrodes. The structural distortion of multiple-quantum-dot devices due to elastic stress associated with the electrodes has been difficult to predict because of the large micrometer-scale overall sizes of the devices, the complex spatial arrangement of the electrodes, and the sensitive dependence of the magnitude and spatial variation of the stress on processing conditions. Synchrotron X-ray nanobeam Bragg diffraction studies of a GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructure reveal the magnitude and nanoscale variation of these distortions. Investigations of individual linear electrodes reveal lattice tilts consistent with a 28-MPa compressive residual stress in the electrodes. The angular magnitude of the tilts varies by up to 20% over distances of less than 200 nm along the length of the electrodes, consistent with heterogeneity in the metal residual stress. A similar variation of the crystal tilt is observed in multiple-quantum-dot devices, due to a combination of the variation of the stress and the complex electrode arrangement. The heterogeneity in particular can lead to significant challenges in the scaling of multiple-quantum-dot devices due to differences between the charging energies of dots and uncertainty in the potential energy landscape. Alternatively, if incorporated in design, stress presents a new degree of freedom in device fabrication.
A small fauna of vertebrates is recorded from the Insect Limestone, Bembridge Marls Member, Bouldnor Formation, late Priabonian, latest Eocene, of the Isle of Wight, UK. The taxa represented are unidentified teleost fishes, lizards including a scincoid, unidentified birds and the theridomyid rodent Isoptychus. The scincoid represents the youngest record of the group in the UK. Of particular note is the taphonomic interpretation based on the preservation of anatomical parts of land-based tetrapods that would have been most likely transported to the site of deposition by wind, namely bird feathers and pieces of shed lizard skin. These comprise the majority of the specimens and suggest that the dominant transport mechanism was wind.
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations on the basis of an internationally agreed set of criteria. We present the first review of the development and spread of the IBA concept since it was launched by BirdLife International (then ICBP) in 1979 and examine some of the characteristics of the resulting inventory. Over 13,000 global and regional IBAs have so far been identified and documented in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in almost all of the world’s countries and territories, making this the largest global network of sites of significance for biodiversity. IBAs have been identified using standardised, data-driven criteria that have been developed and applied at global and regional levels. These criteria capture multiple dimensions of a site’s significance for avian biodiversity and relate to populations of globally threatened species (68.6% of the 10,746 IBAs that meet global criteria), restricted-range species (25.4%), biome-restricted species (27.5%) and congregatory species (50.3%); many global IBAs (52.7%) trigger two or more of these criteria. IBAs range in size from < 1 km2 to over 300,000 km2 and have an approximately log-normal size distribution (median = 125.0 km2, mean = 1,202.6 km2). They cover approximately 6.7% of the terrestrial, 1.6% of the marine and 3.1% of the total surface area of the Earth. The launch in 2016 of the KBA Global Standard, which aims to identify, document and conserve sites that contribute to the global persistence of wider biodiversity, and whose criteria for site identification build on those developed for IBAs, is a logical evolution of the IBA concept. The role of IBAs in conservation planning, policy and practice is reviewed elsewhere. Future technical priorities for the IBA initiative include completion of the global inventory, particularly in the marine environment, keeping the dataset up to date, and improving the systematic monitoring of these sites.
Nanostructures offer the opportunity to control the vibrational properties of via the scattering of phonons due to boundaries and mass disorder as well as through changes in the phonon dispersion due to spatial confinement. Advances in understanding these effects have the potential to lead to thermoelectrics with an improved figure of merit by lowering the thermal conductivity and to provide insight into electron-phonon scattering rates in nanoelectronics. Characterizing the phonon population in nanomaterials has been challenging because of their small volume and because optical techniques probe only a small fraction of reciprocal space. Recent developments in x-ray scattering now allow the phonon population to be evaluated across all of reciprocal space in samples with volumes as small as several cubic micrometers. We apply this approach, synchrotron x-ray thermal diffuse scattering (TDS), to probe the population of phonons within a Si/SiGe/Si trilayer nanomembrane. The distributions of scattered intensity from Si/SiGe/Si trilayer nanomembranes and Si nanomembranes with uniform composition are qualitatively similar, with features arising from the elastic anisotropy of the diamond structure. The TDS signal for the Si/SiGe/Si nanomembrane, however, has higher intensity than the Si membrane of the same total thickness by approximately 3.75%. Possible origins of the enhancement in scattering from SiGe in comparison with Si include the larger atomic scattering factor of Ge atoms within the SiGe layer or reduced phonon frequencies due to alloying.
Metal oxide-based transistors can be fabricated by low-cost, large-area solution processing methods, but involve a trade-off between low processing temperature, facile charge transport and high-capacitance/low-voltage transistor gates. We achieve these simultaneously by fabricating zinc oxide and sodium-incorporated alumina (SA) thin films with temperature not exceeding 200 to 250 °C using aqueous and combustion precursors, respectively. X-ray reflectivity shows a compositionally distinct SA boundary layer forming near the substrate and that a portion of the SA is chemically removed during the subsequent semiconductor deposition. Improved etch resistance and reduced dielectric leakage was obtained when (3-glycidoxypropyl) trimethoxysilane was included in the SA precursor.
This study examined whether high-variability auditory training on natural speech can benefit experienced second-language English speakers who already are exposed to natural variability in their daily use of English. The subjects were native French speakers who had learned English in school; experienced listeners were tested in England and the less experienced listeners were tested in France. Both groups were given eight sessions of high-variability phonetic training for English vowels, and were given a battery of perception and production tests to evaluate their improvement. The results demonstrated that both groups learned to similar degrees, suggesting that training provides a type of learning that is distinct from that obtained in more naturalistic situations.