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The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
In this proceeding paper, we introduce the recent results of Galactic maser astrometry by mainly focusing on those obtained with Japanese VLBI array VERA. So far we have obtained parallaxes for 86 sources including preliminary results, and combination with the data obtained with VLBA/BeSSeL provides astrometric results for 159 sources. With these most updated results we conduct preliminary determinations of Galactic fundamental parameters, obtaining R0 = 8.16 ± 0.26 kpc and Θ0 = 237 ± 8 km/s. We also derive the rotation curve of the Milky Way Galaxy and confirm the previous results that the rotation curve is fairly flat between 5 kpc and 16 kpc, while a remarkable deviation is seen toward the Galactic center region. In addition to the results on the Galactic structure, we also present brief overviews on other science topics related to masers conducted with VERA, and also discuss the future prospect of the project.
We will report the activities of the VERA single-dish observations. We are carrying out single-dish observations with two purposes. The first purpose is the monitoring of known H2O maser sources. At present, we are carrying out monitoring observations for 312 H2O maser sources at intervals of two months. The second purpose is the search for new water maser sources. We selected 901 target sources from the AKARI FIS Bright Source Catalogue. We found 61 new H2O maser sources.
NUMO and JAEA have been conducting a joint research since FY2011, which is aimed
to enhance the methodology of repository design and performance assessment in
preliminary investigation stage for the deep geological disposal of high-level
radioactive waste. As a part of this joint research, we have been developing
glass dissolution models which include various processes derived from
glass-overpack-bentonite buffer interaction, considering the precipitation of
Fe-silicates associated with steel overpack corrosion, and Si transport through
altered layer of glass. The objective of this modeling work is to show
comprehensively the lifetime of the vitrified waste due to glass matrix
dissolution timescales through sensitivity analysis, and to identify the
feature/process that most strongly influences the lifetime, and to identify
future R&D issues that would help to improve the nuclide transport
analysis with confidential value and the safety case in future. The sensitivity
analysis suggested that the duration of the glass dissolution might be predicted
in the ranges from 3.8×103 to 1.9×105
years. Also, the results indicated that the precipitation of
Fe–silicate has the strongest influence on the long-team behavior of
CIGS thin films were irradiated with 100 or 250 keV electrons to reveal the radiation defect by analyzing PL measurement. The PL intensity decreased due to non-radiative recombination defects induced by electron irradiation. Furthermore, the intensity 0.8 eV peak of the PL spectrum was observed from CIGS films irradiated with 250 eV electrons and is said to correspond to In-antisite defects in CIGS materials. The defects can usually change into InCu-VCu complex defects combined with VCu, since the formation energy of the complex defect is lower than that of each defect. Cu interstitial defects induced by 250 keV electron irradiation would diffuse to VCu of the complex defect, whereupon the complex defect might become an In-antisite defect due to 250 keV electron irradiation.
Three-dimensional fluid-attenuated inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging has been used to detect alterations in the composition of inner-ear fluid. This study investigated the association between hearing level and the signal intensity of pre- and post-contrast three-dimensional fluid-attenuated inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging in patients with sudden-onset sensorineural hearing loss.
Three-dimensional fluid-attenuated inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 18 patients with sudden-onset sensorineural hearing loss: 12 patients with mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss (baseline hearing levels of 60 dB or less) and 6 patients with severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss (baseline hearing levels of more than 60 dB).
High-intensity signals in the inner ear were observed in two of the six patients (33 per cent) with severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss, but not in those with mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss (mid-p test, p = 0.049). These signals were observed on magnetic resonance imaging scans 6 or 18 days after sensorineural hearing loss onset.
The results indicate that three-dimensional fluid-attenuated inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging is not a useful tool for detecting inner-ear abnormalities in patients with mild sensorineural hearing loss.
Atomic-resolution structural and spectroscopic characterization techniques (scanning transmission electron microscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy) are combined with nanoscale electrical measurements (conductive atomic force microscopy) to study at the atomic scale the properties of graphene grown epitaxially through the controlled graphitisation of Si-face and C-face hexagonal SiC(0001) substrates by high temperature annealing. A scanning transmission electron microscopy analysis, carried out at 60KeV of beam energy, below the knock-on threshold for carbon to ensure no damage is imparted to the film by the electron beam, demonstrates that the buffer layer present on the planar SiC(0001) Si-face delaminates from it on the (11-2n) facets of SiC surface steps, In addition, electron energy loss spectroscopy reveals that the delaminated layer has a similar electronic configuration to purely sp2-hybridized graphene. A thin amorphous film is found on the C-face, instead, which strongly suppresses epitaxy with the SiC substrate. Structurally, the amorphous area is inhomgeneous, as its Si-concentration gradually decreases while approaching the first graphene layer, which is purely sp2-hybridized. Based on these features, we discuss differences and similarities between the C-only buffer layer that forms on the Si-face of SiC with respect to the thicker C/Si amorphous film of the C-face.
A seroprevalence survey on measles, mumps, rubella and varicella was conducted on healthcare workers (HCWs) at Shimane University Hospital, Japan utilizing an enzyme immunoassay. Of 1811 HCWs tested, 91·8% were seropositive to measles, 92·1% to mumps, 89·5% to rubella and 96·3% to varicella. Sex-related differences in seroprevalence were found in rubella (males vs. females: 84·7 vs. 92·2%, P < 0·001). Moreover, males aged 30–39 years were most susceptible to rubella (22·4%), which may be attributed to the design of childhood immunization programmes in Japan. Individuals aged ⩽29 years were more susceptible to measles (14·3%) and mumps (10·9%), compared to other age groups. There were no significant sex- and age-related differences in varicella seroprevalence. The physician occupational group was more susceptible to rubella, but no significant occupational-related difference was observed in the other diseases. Susceptible subjects, with negative or equivocal serological results were given a vaccine which induced seroconversion in most vaccinees. Seroconversion occurred more frequently in the equivocal group than in the negative group. These findings provide a new insight for the seroprevalence survey of vaccine-preventable diseases in Japanese HCWs with special reference to vaccine efficacy.
Vitamin D and folate are associated with decreased colorectal cancer risk and their association with colorectal cancer prognosis is under investigation. We assessed the levels of plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3), folate and vitamin B12 in an international pilot study in order to determine variability of these biomarkers based on geographical location. Plasma 25(OH)D3, folate and vitamin B12 concentrations were measured in 149 invasive, newly diagnosed colorectal cancer cases from Heidelberg (Germany), Seattle (WA, USA), and Tampa (FL, USA) and in ninety-one age- and sex-matched controls. Their associations with potential predictors were assessed using multivariate linear regression analyses. Plasma 25(OH)D3, folate and vitamin B12 concentrations differed by location. Other predictors were season for 25(OH)D3 and tumour stage (vitamin B12). Season-corrected average 25(OH)D3 concentrations were higher in Heidelberg (31·7 ng/ml; range 11·0–83·0 ng/ml) than in Seattle (23·3 ng/ml; range 4·0–80·0 ng/ml) and Tampa (21·1 ng/ml; range 4·6–51·6 ng/ml). In Heidelberg, a strong seasonal variation was observed. Folate (11·1 ng/ml) and vitamin B12 (395 pg/ml) concentrations in Heidelberg were lower than those in Seattle (25·3 ng/ml and 740 pg/ml, respectively) and Tampa (23·8 ng/ml and 522 pg/ml, respectively). Differences in plasma 25(OH)D3 and folate concentrations between Heidelberg and the US sites were observed, probably reflecting variation in outdoor activities and sun-avoidance behaviour during summer as well as in folic acid fortification and supplement use. Intra-site differences at each study location were greater than between-location variability, suggesting that individual health behaviours play a significant role. Nevertheless, the intra-site differences we observed may be due to chance because of the limited sample size. Our pilot study illustrates the value of an international cohort in studying colorectal cancer prognosis to discern geographical differences in a broad range of exposures.
The combined motion of the human thumb, index and middle fingers while rotating a small object across the extended, intermediate and flexed planes with respect to the fingers was analyzed. Auto reflective markers were attached on the fingers to track their motion across three postures and planes via a 3D motion capture system. Central, right and left rotation postures were considered in each plane for investigation and the rotation experiments were performed with 30 healthy subjects. The obtained data were used to compute the finger joint angles. Based on the three criteria of (i) manipulability measure, (ii) major axis direction angle of the manipulability ellipsoid and (iii) ratio of the minor over major axis lengths, the collective behavior of the fingers was studied. It has been found after analysis that the thumb and middle finger were active, while the index finger operated passively when manipulating small objects in cooperative rotational motion across the three planes. Activeness refers to the independence of a digit in controlling the motion of an object whereas passiveness denotes its dependence on other digits. An active finger governs the motion of an object whereas a passive finger simply supports it. The results of this investigation are of great importance in planning treatment for rehabilitation and for designing controllers for robotic therapists, finger exoskeletons and prostheses.
CIGS solar cells were irradiated with 250 keV electrons, which can create only Cu-related defects in the cell, to reveal the radiation defect. The EL image of CIGS solar cells before electron irradiation at 120 K described small grains, thought to be those of the CIGS. After 250 keV electron irradiation of the CIGS cell, the cell was uniformly illuminated compared to before the electron irradiation and the observed grains were unclear. In addition, the EL intensity rose with increasing electron fluence, meaning the change in EL efficiency may be attributable to the decreased likelihood of non-irradiative recombination in intrinsic defects due to electron-induced defects. Since the light soaking effect for CIGS solar cells is reported the same phenomena, the 250 keV electron radiation effects for CIGS solar cells might be equivalent to the effect.
This paper shows a new semiconductor bonding technology for mechanically stacked multi-junction solar cells. Our strategy is the combination of conductive nanoparticle alignments and the van der Waals bonding technique. With this method, reasonably low bonding resistances and minimal optical absorption losses were simultaneously attained for the use of mechanically stacked solar cells. We examined a GaInP(Eg-1.89 eV)/GaAs (Eg-1.42 eV)/InGaAsP (Eg-1.15 eV) three-junction solar cell fabricated with this bonding method. As a result, the total efficiency of 22.5% was achieved, which was in good agreement with the theoretically predicted value. These results suggested that our bonding method is highly useful to fabricate high-efficiency mechanically stacked multi-junction solar cells.