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Liver fibrosis and cirrhosis are one of the critical complications in Fontan patients. However, there are no well-established non-invasive and quantitative techniques for evaluating liver abnormalities in Fontan patients. Intravoxel incoherent motion diffusion-weighted imaging with MRI is a non-invasive and quantitative method to evaluate capillary network perfusion and molecular diffusion. The objective of this study is to assess the feasibility of intravoxel incoherent motion imaging in evaluating liver abnormalities in Fontan children.
Materials and Methods:
Five consecutive Fontan patients and four age-matched healthy volunteers were included. Fontan patients were 12.8 ± 1.5 years old at the time of MRI scan. Intravoxel incoherent motion imaging parameters (D, D*, and f values) within the right hepatic lobe were compared. Laboratory test, ultrasonography, and cardiac MRI were also conducted in the Fontan patients. Results of cardiac catheterization conducted within one year of the intravoxel incoherent motion imaging were also examined.
In Fontan patients, laboratory test and liver ultrasonography showed almost normal liver condition. Cardiac catheter and MRI showed good Fontan circulation. Cardiac index was 2.61 ± 0.23 L/min/m2. Intravoxel incoherent motion imaging parameters D, D*, and f values were lower in Fontan patients compared with controls (D: 1.1 ± 0.0 versus 1.3 ± 0.2 × 10−3 mm2/second (p = 0.04), D*: 30.8 ± 24.8 versus 113.2 ± 25.6 × 10−3 mm2/second (p < 0.01), and f: 13.2 ± 3.1 versus 22.4 ± 2.4% (p < 0.01), respectively).
Intravoxel incoherent motion imaging is feasible for evaluating liver abnormalities in children with Fontan circulation.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a widely used spice that has various biological effects, and aqueous extracts of turmeric exhibit potent antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory activity. Bisacurone, a component of turmeric extract, is known to have similar effects. Oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines play an important role in ethanol-induced liver injury. This study was performed to evaluate the influence of a hot water extract of C. longa (WEC) or bisacurone on acute ethanol-induced liver injury. C57BL/6 mice were orally administered WEC (20 mg/kg body weight; BW) or bisacurone (60 µg/kg BW) at 30 min before a single dose of ethanol was given by oral administration (3·0 g/kg BW). Plasma levels of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase were markedly increased in ethanol-treated mice, while the increase of these enzymes was significantly suppressed by prior administration of WEC. The increase of alanine aminotransferase was also significantly suppressed by pretreatment with bisacurone. Compared with control mice, animals given WEC had higher hepatic tissue levels of superoxide dismutase and glutathione, as well as lower hepatic tissue levels of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances, TNF-α protein and IL-6 mRNA. These results suggest that oral administration of WEC may have a protective effect against ethanol-induced liver injury by suppressing hepatic oxidation and inflammation, at least partly through the effects of bisacurone.
Direct electrical measurement of single grain boundaries is performed for ZnO-based multilayer ceramic varistors with fine grains of 2 µm, using a nano-prober. The effect of ZnO grains on non-linearity is shown to be significant. The microstructure is comprised at least two non-linear types as good- and bad-junctions. The numerical ratio of good to bad is estimated to be about one (non-linearity exponent αmax ≥ 10) to two (<10), which is independent of microstructural development as grain growth. The grain control of twinning as well as crystal orientation and donor concentration is considered effective in the further improvement.
This study describes the nonlinear characteristics of SrCoO3-doped ZnO varistors and multilayer ceramic varistors (MLCVs) with copper electrodes, both of which are sintered in a reducing atmosphere. Due to postannealing effects in air or N2 with low-oxygen concentration (0.02%), bulk disks can be sintered in a reducing atmosphere, with a usable V1 mA/mm (e.g., 1600 V for bulk bodies or 1200 V for Cu cofiring) and highly nonlinear indices (α10 μA = V1 mA/V10 μA < 1.3), regardless of whether cofiring with Cu electrodes on disk surfaces was conducted or not. On the basis of this procedure, Cu-MLCVs were successfully produced, without oxidation of Cu-internal electrodes or structural defects. They exhibited high stability as well as a useful nonlinearity of V1 mA = 10.4 V and α10 μA = 1.93. The resultant stability against electrostatic discharge (ESD) satisfies the highest standard of level 4 in IEC61000-4-2 (ESD stability test). This is the first report to show that MLCVs with base metals have practical properties, including stability.
Indium oxide doped with tin oxide, or ITO, has been widely used as an electrode material for flat panel displays. However, the rare metal in ITO is a limited natural resource. We succeeded in developing a material composed solely of elements with abundant reserves. We present the results of analyzing the electronic structure of an Mg-based compound based on its electrical conductivity. Mg-C thin films were prepared by sputtering method. A new transparent and electrically conductive material, Mg(OH)2-C, was formed after reacting the Mg-C film with moisture in air. On average, its transmittance of visible light was 90%. The mechanism for the effect of carbon on the electrical conductivity of Mg(OH)2 was examined on the basis of XPS spectra and DV-Xa molecular orbital calculations. The value of the band gap shows that Mg(OH)2 is an insulator. It was revealed that a new orbital appears when the number of substituting carbon atoms increases in the Mg(OH)2 lattice. It was possible to measure the new orbital that consisted of C-2s and C-2p. In addition, a comparison between the calculated electronic state around the valence band and the result measured by XPS of the obtained film reveals that they are in extremely close agreement.
Layer transfer and simultaneous activation of phosphorus atoms in Si films induced by semiconductor diode laser (SDL) irradiation have been investigated. Phosphorus-doped a-Si films supported by columns on a starting substrate (quartz) and a counter substrate (glass) were closely contacted face-to-face, and an 812 nm light from a SDL was irradiated to the a-Si films from the backside of the starting substrate. After SDL irradiation, 20μm wide and 1000μm long Si films were transferred to the counter substrate and were crystallized simultaneously. From optical microscope images, it was confirmed that the original form was completely maintained after the film transfer. The electrical conductivity of transferred Si film was as high as 708 S/cm. Hall measurement of the films revealed very high electron concentration of 9.5×1020 cm-3, which indicated efficient doping is achieved by the laser transfer technique.
Potato (Solanum tuberosum) tubers contain vitamin C (VC) and commercial potato chips have more VC content per wet weight by dehydration during frying. However, intestinal absorption of VC from orally ingested potatoes and its transfer to the blood remains questionable. The present study was designed to determine whether the dietary consumption of potatoes affects VC concentration in plasma and urinary excretion of VC in human subjects. After overnight fasting, five healthy Japanese men between 22 and 27 years of age consumed 87 g mashed potatoes and 282 g potato chips. Each portion contained 50 mg of VC, 50 mg VC in mineral water and mineral water. Before and after a single episode of ingestion, blood and urine samples were collected every 30 min or 1 h for 8 h. When measured by subtraction of the initial baseline value before administration of potatoes from the values measured throughout the 8 h test period, plasma VC concentrations increased almost linearly up to 3 h. Subsequently, the values of potato-fed subjects were higher than those of water, but did not differ significantly from those of VC in water (P = 0·14 and P = 0·5). Less VC tended to be excreted in urine during the 8 h test than VC in water alone (17·0 (sem 7·5) and 25·9 (sem 8·8) v. 47·9 (sem 17·9) μmol/mmol creatinine). Upon human consumption, mashed potatoes and potato chips provide VC content that is effectively absorbed in the intestine and transferred to the blood. Clearly, potatoes are a readily available source of dietary VC.
Back surface passivation is one of the major challenges in the backside illuminated sensor technology. Ion implantation followed by non-melt pulsed Laser Thermal Annealing (LTA) has been identified as a promising candidate to address this issue. In this work, a shallow B-doped layer is implanted at the backside, further activated using LTA in the non-melt regime. LTA process effectiveness in terms of crystal damage recovery as well as dopant diffusion and activation is studied through room-temperature photoluminescence, Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy and four-point probe sheet resistance. These studies demonstrate that non-melt LTA with multiple pulses induces high activation without visible diffusion with an effective curing of the implantation-induced crystalline defects. This is made possible thanks to a submicrosecond process timescale coupled to a reasonable number of shots as shown by thermal simulations and simple diffusion estimations.
Low temperature deposited Interdigitated All Back Contact a-Si:H/c-Si Heterojunction (IBC-SHJ) devices are a promising approach for high efficiency, low cost solar cells on thin wafers. Thin intrinsic a-Si:H films (i-a-Si:H) deposited below 300°C provide excellent surface passivation and high Voc. However, the optical properties of a-Si:H layers and electronic band alignment at the heterointerface are critical to reduce optical losses and transport barriers in IBC-SHJ solar cells. At the front illumination surface, a wide band gap (Eg) i-a-Si:H layer with good passivation is desirable for high Voc and Jsc while at the rear surface a narrower Eg i-a-Si:H layer with good passivation is required for higher FF and Voc as seen in 2D numerical simulation. Various substrate temperature, H2/SiH4 dilution ratio and plasma power conditions were explored to obtain i-a-Si:H with good passivation and desired Eg. All the deposited films are characterized by Variable Angle Spectroscopic Ellipsometry (VASE) to determine Eg and thickness and by Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to estimate hydrogen content and microstructure factor. Passivation qualities are examined by quasi-steady state photoconductance (QSS-PC) measurement. The i-layer Eg, was varied in the range from ~1.65eV to 1.91eV with lifetime >1 ms. Lowest Eg is obtained just prior to the structure transition from amorphous to epitaxial-like growth. The FF of IBC-SHJ devices improved from 20% to 70% as Eg of the a-Si:H rear passivation layer decreased from 1.78 to 1.65 eV.
A novel setup for Raman measurements under small angles of incidence during the parallel plate plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition of μc-Si:H films is described. The possible influence of disturbances introduced by the setup on growing films is studied. The substrate heating by the probe beam is investigated and reduced as far as possible. It is shown that with optimized experimental parameters the influence of the in-situ measurements on a growing film can be neglected. With optimized settings, in-situ Raman measurements on the intrinsic layer of a microcrystalline silicon solar cell are carried out with a time resolution of about 40 s corresponding to 20 nm of deposited material during each measurement.
An amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) photoconductor array with two distinct integrated amorphous silicon carbon alloy (a-SiC:H) high pass filters is used to detect two of the cell intrinsic fluorophores. The cutoff wavelength of the filters is tuned by the carbon content in the film. The fluorophores of interest – reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) are indicative of the redox state of the cells. Concentrations down to 1 μM for NADH and 50 μM for FAD were detected.
X-ray-excited luminescence of GaN doped with Eu ions as a luminescent center was observed in the wavelength range from 350 nm to 650 nm. Three peaks at 375 nm, 550 nm and 622 nm were found. To survey the mechanism of the photoluminescence due to non-resonance excitation, photoluminescence X-ray excitation spectra are also measured. The mechanism of the luminescence occurrence was briefly discussed based on the model developed by Emura et al.
In this paper we show that a flash lamp can be employed to induce controlled lateral solidification of a-Si thin films. Specifically, a dual xenon-arc-lamp-based system was utilized to induce location-controlled complete melting by shaping the incident beam using a contact mask. The resulting laterally solidified microstructure consisted of exceptionally long grains (~10s to ~100s of μm) that were relatively free of intragrain-defects. With further development and optimization, the approach may lead to cost-effective/high-throughput processes and systems that can capture and enhance the advantages of laser-based/melt-mediated crystallization techniques.
Light-induced metastability of amorphous/microcrystalline (micromorph) silicon tandem solar cell, in which the microcrystalline bottom cell was deposited in a single-chamber system, has been studied under a white light for more than 1000 hours. Two different light-induced metastable behaviors were observed. The first type was the conventional light-induced degradation, where the open-circuit voltage (Voc), fill factor (FF), and short-circuit current density (Jsc) were degraded, hence the efficiency was degraded as well. This phenomenon was observed mainly in the tandem cells with a bottom cell limited current mismatch. The second type was with a light-induced increase in Voc, which sometimes resulted in an increase in efficiency. The second type of light-induced metastability was observed in the tandem cells with a top cell limited current mismatch. The possible mechanisms for these phenomena are discussed.
Thin film silicon solar cells are attractive for photovoltaics; however, the poor charge transport in this material requires that the devices are thinner than the absorption length. Adequate absorption can nevertheless be achieved by light scattering at textured interfaces because light can get trapped inside the absorber layer if it is scattered into angles above the critical angle of total internal reflection. This situation can be identified with the propagation of a guided mode in a waveguide where silicon plays the role of the high index guiding medium and the interface texture serves to couple the incident light to modes via grating coupling. We present an experimental realization of a solar cell structure on a line grating where the enhanced photocurrent can be clearly related to resonant excitation of waveguide modes.
Photoluminescence (PL) spectra obtained with correlated set of experiments investigating grain boundary characteristics and diffusion processes in nanocrystalline silicon alloys (nc-Si:H), provide insight regarding formation and passivation of electronic defects in these regions. Based upon current results and previous works we believe thermally driven processes induce a PL band centered at 0.7 eV upon thermal annealing, and most likely involve diffusion of hydrogen and oxygen near interfaces. A nc-Si:H sample set with varied crystal volume fraction, Xc, was subject to thermal annealing treatments at different temperatures – each exceeding the deposition temperature. Fourier-transform photoluminescence (FTPL) and Fourier-transform infrared absorption spectroscopy (FTIR), were employed to correlate the relative 0.7 eV defect band emergence with compositional changes indicative of Si–Hx and Si–O species, for each sample, at each temperature, respectively. Hydrogen effusion data provide additional perspective.
We find the Xc to strongly affect susceptibility of nc-Si:H to oxygen related effects. The higher the Xc, the more readily oxygen penetrates the nc-Si:H network. We attribute this relationship to elevated diffusivity of oxygen in highly crystalline nc-Si:H materials, owing to their abundance of gain boundaries and interfaces, which serve as pathways for impurity migration. These findings corroborate the expectation that oxygen impurities and diffusion processes contribute to development of microstructural features giving rise to radiative recombination through deep defects in nc-Si:H.
We have fabricated large-area, thin-film multijunction solar cells based on hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) and nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si:H) made in a large area batch reactor. The device structure consisted of an a-Si:H/nc-Si:H/nc-Si:H stack on Ag/ZnO back reflector coated stainless steel substrate, deposited using our proprietary High Frequency (HF) glow discharge technique. For the nc-Si:H films, we investigated two deposition rate regimes: (i) low rate <1 nm/s and (ii) high rate >1 nm/s. We optimized the deposition parameters, such as pressure, gas flow, dilution, and power. We did SIMS analysis on the optimized films, and found the impurity concentrations were one order of magnitude lower than the films made with the conventional RF process. In particular, the oxygen concentration is reduced to ~1018 cm-3. This value is among the lowest oxygen concentration reported in literature. The low impurity content is attributed to proprietary cathode hardware and the optimized deposition process. During the initial optimization and investigative phase, we fabricated small-area (0.25 cm2 and 1.1 cm2) cells. The information obtained from the initial phase was used to fabricate large-area (aperture area 400 cm2) cells, and encapsulated the cells using the same flexible encapsulants that are used in our commercial product. We have light soaked the low-rate and high-rate encapsulated modules. The highest initial efficiency of the low-rate modules is 12.0% as confirmed by NREL. The highest corresponding stable efficiency attained for the low-rate samples cells is 11.35%. For the high-rate small-area (1.1 cm2) cells, the highest initial active-area efficiency and corresponding stable efficiency attained are 13.97% and 12.9%, respectively. We present the details of the research conducted to develop the low- and high-rate cells and modules.
The roles of hydrogen plasma radicals on passivation of several kinds of crystallized poly-Si thin films were investigated using optical emission spectroscopy (OES) combined with Hall mobility, Raman spectra, and absorption coefficient spectra. It was found that different kinds of hydrogen plasma radicals are responsible for passivation of dissimilar poly-Si crystallized by different method. Radicals Hα with lower energy are mainly responsible for passivating the poly-Si crystallized by solid phase crystallization (SPC) whose crystallization precursor was made by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). Higher energy radicals H* are more effective in passivating defects left over by Ni in poly-Si crystallized by Metal Induced Crystallization (MIC). The highest energy radicals Hβ and Hγ are needed to passivate the defects in poly-Si crystallized by SPC but whose precursor was made by low pressure CVD (LPCVD).