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It is commonly believed that the parent compounds of high-Tc cupratres are, universally, charge transfer insulators and triggered by Mott physics. In our experiments using metal-organic decomposition (MOD), however, accumulating evidences show that the parent compounds of “electron-doped” superconductors, RE2-xCexCuO4 [RE = rare earth ion] with x = 0, are not Mott insulators but superconductors [1-5]. They have a Tc of 30 K and crystallize in the Nd2CuO4 (T’) structure. Most likely, the sharp contradiction between our results and commonly achieved data originates from the complicated oxygen chemistry in these materials. The as-synthesized specimens contain a fair amount of impurity interstitial oxygen. Throughout the reduction process it is required to remove exclusively impurity oxygen while preserving regular oxygen site occupied in order to obtain superconductivity. With decreasing x the constraints of the reduction process are getting more tight. In this study, we systematically investigated the post-annealing process using MBE-grown T’-Pr2CuO4 films. The MBE films were reduced ex-situ in a tubular furnace following a specially designed 2-step process, as in the case of MOD films. The films were annealed at Ta = 700 - 850°C in a reducing atmosphere (PO2 = 2 x 10−5 − 2 x 10−3 atm) and finally reduced at a lower temperature Tred = 450 – 700°C under vacuum (< 10−4 Torr). The film properties systematically changed with Ta, PO2, and Tred. The optimized Tred varies from 475°C to 650°C mainly depending on Ta, since the microstructure and grain size of the films are determined by Ta. Optimal superconducting properties are Tc of 26 K, while ρ(300 K) = 250 μΩcm, and RRR ~ 10. We believe the combination of thin-film synthesis and specially designed post-reduction process enabled us to obtain nearly intact CuO2 planes. Samples prepared by above-mentioned method unveiled the intrinsic properties of the parent compounds, which are not triggered by Mott physics. This result also agrees with the recent calculation result indicating the parent compounds with T’ structure are not charge transfer insulators [6-8].
In preparation for actual repository implementation, designs that could be tailored to specific sites need to be considered. This requires a paradigm shift in design philosophy, moving away from a single reference design towards a flexible and systematic “catalogue” of engineered barrier components and associated repository infrastructure. To support this development, novel methodology for both developing and comparing repository design options for Japanese vitrified high-level radioactive waste (HLW) has been examined. This paper will outline the background of the project and, in particular, some novel approaches examined for facilitating optimisation of practical repository designs. It is complemented by a companion paper - Matsumoto et al: Application of Formal Knowledge Engineering Approaches to Develop A Design Catalogue for A Japanese HLW Repository -, which describes the repository design process in more detail and illustrates results of first dry runs of the methodology.
The volunteer siting of disposal facilities for vitrified high-level radioactive waste (HLW) and TRU waste in Japan results in a particular need for flexibility to allow repositories to be tailored to specific sites. Instead of a single reference concept, a “catalogue” of designs for individual repository components is being developed, which can then be combined to form optimum solutions for particular site boundary conditions. As highlighted in a companion paper – Makino et al: Supporting Development of Practical Designs for a Japanese HLW Repository –, which puts the repository design process in the context of the Japanese HLW programme, the complexity of this work justifies use of advanced Knowledge Engineering approaches. In this paper three components are described – development of the knowledge base, assessing tacit system understanding and production of innovative solutions to resolve conflicts between requirements.
Poly (cyclohexanedimethanol cyclohexanedicarboxlic acid) (PCC), a fairly newly synthesized polyester, has been studied. Having a good experience of increasing both thermal stability and service temperature when applied to typical polymers, poly (tetramethylene glycol) (PTMG) was selected as a softening agent that was randomly copolymerized into the PCC chains. Another widely-used polyester, poly (ethylene terephthalate) (PET) was also produced in order to investigate the effect of PTMG, which was compared with the properties of the newly developed random PCC-PTMG copolymers (PCCP). In this study, the crystalline structures, the thermal and the mechanical properties of both PCC and PET containing different ratios of the random segment of PTMG were investigated by differential scanning calorimetery (DSC) and tensile tester.
It was found that the crystallization rate of pure PCC was significantly slow, whereas for PCCP, PTMG effectively accelerated the crystallization rate with increasing PTMG, and the sample with 25 wt% of PTMG had the fastest crystallization rate in all PCCP samples. Here, the PTMG acted as an accelerator, simultaneously depressing the movement of PCC molecular chains. The elastic recovery test indicated that the ability of PTMG as a softening agent was highly demonstrated at 20 wt% of PTMG. The results of PCCP were compared with those of PET-PTMG copolymers (PETP) and it was found that there were optimum values of PTMG for the crystallization rate on both samples. Additionally, the results of the elastic recovery test indicated that the softening effects observed in PCCP were more pronounced than those observed in PETP.
We have carried out multi-epoch VLBI observations of the H2O maser sources associated with young stellar objects (YSOs) in nearby molecular clouds with VERA (VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry), which is a newly constructed VLBI network in Japan (Kobayashi et al. 2003). The main goal of our study is to measure the absolute proper motions and distances to nearby molecular clouds within 1 kpc from the Sun, to reveal their 3-dimensional structures and dynamical properties. Using the VERA dual-beam receiving system (Honma et al. 2003), we have carried out phase-referencing VLBI observations and measured annual parallaxes and absolute proper motions of the H2O maser features with respect to the extragalactic radio sources. We have successfully detected the annual parallax of one of the H2O maser features in Orion KL to be 2.29±0.10 mas, corresponding to the distance of 437±19 pc from the Sun (Hirota et al. 2007). In addition, the annual parallax of SVS13 in NGC 1333 is also determined to be4.10±0.17 mas, corresponding to the distance of 244±10 pc from the Sun, although the life time of the maser features are only 6 months. The absolute proper motions of the H2O maser features associated with Orion KL and NGC 1333 are derived, possibly indicating the outflow motions from the YSOs as well as the systemic motions of the powering sources.
Asterosap, a group of equally active isoforms of sperm-activating peptides from the egg jelly of the starfish Asterias amurensis, functions as a chemotactic factor for sperm. It transiently increases the intracellular cGMP level of sperm, which in turn induces a transient elevation of intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i). Using a fluorescent Ca2+-sensitive dye, Fluo-4 AM, we measured the changes in sperm [Ca2+]i in response to asterosap. KB-R7943 (KB), a selective inhibitor of Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX), significantly inhibited the asterosap-induced transient elevation of [Ca2+]i, suggesting that asterosap influences [Ca2+]i through activation of a K+-dependent NCX (NCKX). An NCKX activity of starfish sperm also shows K+ dependency like other NCKXs. Therefore, we cloned an NCKX from the starfish testes and predicted that it codes for a 616 amino acid protein that is a member of the NCKX family. Pharmacological evidence suggests that this exchanger participates in the asterosap-induced Ca2+ entry into sperm.
In the starfish, Asterias amurensis, the cooperation of three components of the egg jelly, namely ARIS (acrosome reaction-inducing substance), Co-ARIS and asterosap, is responsible for the induction of acrosome reaction. For the induction, ARIS alone is enough in high-Ca2+ or high-pH seawater, but, besides ARIS, the addition of either Co-ARIS or asterosap is required in normal seawater. Asterosap transiently increased both the intracellular pH (pHi) and Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i), while ARIS slightly elevated the basal level of [Ca2+]i. However, a sustained elevation of [Ca2+]i and acrosome reaction occurred if sperm were simultaneously treated with ARIS and asterosap. EGTA inhibited the sustained [Ca2+]i elevation and acrosome reaction. The sustained [Ca2+]i elevation and acrosome reaction were highly susceptible to SKF96365 and Ni2+, specific blockers of the store-operated Ca2+ channel (SOC). These results suggest that sustained [Ca2+]i elevation, mediated by the SOC-like channel, is a prerequisite for the acrosome reaction. In high-pH seawater, ARIS alone induced a prominent [Ca2+]i increase and acrosome reaction, which were similarly sensitive to SKF96365. The acrosome reaction was effectively induced by ARIS alone when pHi was artificially increased to more than 7.7. Asterosap increased pHi from 7.6±0.1 to 7.7±0.1. Furthermore, the sustained [Ca2+]i elevation and acrosome reaction, induced by a combination of ARIS and asterosap, were drastically inhibited by a slight reduction in pHi. Taking these results into account, we suggest that an asterosap-induced pHi elevation is required for triggering the ARIS-induced sustained [Ca2+]i elevation and consequent acrosome reaction.
In the starfish, Asterias amurensis, the cooperation of three components of the egg jelly, i.e. ARIS (acrosome reaction-inducing substance), Co-ARIS and asterosap, is responsible for inducing the acrosome reaction. Experimentally, ARIS and asterosap are sufficient for the induction. However, when sperm are treated only with asterosap, they become unresponsive to the egg jelly to undergo the reaction. In this study, we analysed the mechanism of the acrosome reaction, using sperm inactivation by asterosap as a clue. Asterosap causes a rapid and transient increase in intracellular cGMP through the activation of the asterosap receptor, a guanylyl cyclase, and causes an increase in intracellular Ca2+. When sperm were pretreated with asterosap, the guanylyl cyclase seemed to be inactivated irreversibly by dephosphorylation. They were still responsive to ARIS but no longer to asterosap. However, in the presence of IBMX or zaprinast, inhibitors against phosphodiesterases (PDEs), they retained their capacity to undergo the acrosome reaction in response to the egg jelly or ARIS alone. IBMX and zaprinast suppressed the intracellular catabolism of cGMP, but not of cAMP. These results suggest that guanylyl cyclase and cGMP-specific, IBMX- and zaprinast-susceptible PDEs are involved in the regulation of the acrosome reaction.
We assessed marine reservoir age R(t) for the costal area of the northwest Pacific using radiocarbon measurements of the annually banded coral core (Porites sp) collected on Ishigaki Island in southern Japan. Reservoir age R(t) during the early 1900s at the Pacific coast of Ishigaki Island ranged between 290 and 455 14C yr, with a weighted mean of 355 ± 25 14C yr (n=5, ±1 σ). The regional-specific ΔR, defined as 14C age difference of regional and world ocean surface layer, was 35 ± 25 14C yr (n=5, ±1σ) on average and increased between 1900 and 1950.