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Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Background: Detection of unusual carbapenemase-producing organisms (CPOs) in a healthcare facility may signify broader regional spread. During investigation of a VIM-producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa (VIM-CRPA) outbreak in a long-term acute-care hospital in central Florida, enhanced surveillance identified VIM-CRPA from multiple facilities, denoting potential regional emergence. We evaluated infection control and performed screening for CPOs in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) across the region to identify potential CPO reservoirs and improve practices. Methods: All SNFs in 2 central Florida counties were offered a facility-wide point-prevalence survey (PPS) for CPOs and a nonregulatory infection control consultation. PPSs were conducted using a PCR-based screening method; specimens with a carbapenemase gene detected were cultured to identify the organisms. Infection control assessments focused on direct observations of hand hygiene (HH), environmental cleaning, and the sink splash zone. Thoroughness of environmental cleaning was evaluated using fluorescent markers applied to 6 standardized high-touch surfaces in at least 2 rooms per facility. Results: Overall, 21 (48%) SNFs in the 2-county region participated; 18 conducted PPS. Bed size ranged from 40 to 391, 5 (24%) facilities were ventilator-capable SNFs (vSNFs), and 12 had short-stay inpatient rehabilitation units. Of 1,338 residents approached, 649 agreed to rectal screening, and 14 (2.2%) carried CPOs. CPO-colonized residents were from the ventilator-capable units of 3 vSNFs (KPC-CRE=7; KPC-CRPA=1) and from short-stay units of 2 additional facilities (VIM-CRPA, n = 5; KPC-CRE, n = 1). Among the 5 facilities where CPO colonization was identified, the prevalence ranged from 1.1% in a short-stay unit to 16.1% in a ventilator unit. All facilities had access to soap and water in resident bathrooms; 14 (67%) had alcohol-based hand rubs accessible. Overall, mean facility HH adherence was 52% (range, 37%–66%; mean observations per facility = 106) (Fig. 1). We observed the use of non–EPA-registered disinfectants and cross contamination from dirty to clean areas during environmental cleaning; the overall surface cleaning rate was 46% (n = 178 rooms); only 1 room had all 6 markers removed. Resident supplies were frequently stored in the sink splash zone. Conclusions: A regional assessment conducted in response to emergence of VIM-CRPA identified a relatively low CPO prevalence at participating SNFs; CPOs were primarily identified in vSNFs and among short-stay residents. Across facilities, we observed low adherence to core infection control practices that could facilitate spread of CPOs and other resistant organisms. In this region, targeting ventilator and short-stay units of SNFs for surveillance and infection control efforts may have the greatest prevention impact.
Quantifying reasonable crop yield gaps and determining potential regions for yield improvement can facilitate regional plant structure adjustment and promote crop production. The current study attempted to evaluate the yield gap in a region at multi-scales through model simulation and farmer investigation. Taking the winter wheat yield gap in the Huang-Huai-Hai farming region (HFR) for the case study, 241 farmers’ fields in four typical high-yield demonstration areas were surveyed to determine the yield limitation index and attainable yield. In addition, the theoretical and realizable yield gap of winter wheat in 386 counties of the HFR was assessed. Results showed that the average field yield of the demonstration plots was 8282 kg/ha, accounting for 0.72 of the potential yield, which represented the highest production in the region. The HFR consists of seven sub-regions designated 2.1–2.7: the largest attainable yield gap existed in the 2.6 sub-region, in the southwest of the HFR, while the smallest was in the 2.2 sub-region, in the northwest of the HFR. With a high irrigated area rate, the yield gap in the 2.2 sub-region could hardly be reduced by increasing irrigation, while a lack of irrigation remained an important limiting factor for narrowing the yield gap in 2.3 sub-region, in the middle of the HFR. Therefore, a multi-scale yield gap evaluation framework integrated with typical field survey and crop model analysis could provide valuable information for narrowing the yield gap.
Intensive poultry production is heavily reliant on electricity for maintaining shed environments as well as in the supply of feed, lighting, the shed environment and water. During the last three decades, the demand and supply gap for electricity has plagued Pakistan. The energy crisis became even worse from 2006-07, with 18 hours rotational load shedding being implemented. During the last decade, there has been a major increase in environmentally controlled poultry farms in Pakistan which require continuous electricity supply to operate their automatic feeding, drinking and environmental control systems. Broiler farmers have opted for diesel generators to meet their electricity needs, which has subsequently increased total cost of production. Therefore, sustainable and economical energy solutions are required for Pakistani broiler farmers to be competitive in local and international markets. In this paper, the potential for solar energy is analysed, the poultry industry's energy needs are quantified and the use of PV-diesel hybrid power systems in environmentally controlled broiler houses is examined.
We examined the spatial distribution pattern and meteorological drivers of dengue fever (DF) in Guangdong Province, China. Annual incidence of DF was calculated for each county between 2005 and 2011 and the geographical distribution pattern of DF was examined using Moran's I statistic and excess risk maps. A time-stratified case-crossover study was used to investigate the short-term relationship between DF and meteorological factors and the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI). High-epidemic DF areas were restricted to the Pearl River Delta region and the Han River Delta region, Moran's I of DF distribution was significant from 2005 to 2006 and from 2009 to 2011. Daily vapour pressure, mean and minimum temperatures were associated with increased DF risk. Maximum temperature and SOI were negatively associated with DF transmission. The risk of DF was non-randomly distributed in the counties in Guangdong Province. Meteorological factors could be important predictors of DF transmission.
We are presently using the Chandra X-ray Observatory to conduct the first systematic X-ray survey of planetary nebulae (PNe) in the solar neighborhood. The Chandra Planetary Nebula Survey (ChanPlaNS) is a 570 ks Chandra Cycle 12 Large Program targeting 21 high-excitation PNe within ~1.5 kpc of Earth. When complete, this survey will provide a suite of new X-ray diagnostics that will inform the study of late stellar evolution, binary star astrophysics, and wind interactions. Among the early results of ChanPlaNS (when combined with archival Chandra data) is a surprisingly high detection rate of relatively hard X-ray emission from CSPNe. Specifically, X-ray point sources are clearly detected in roughly half of the ~30 high-excitation PNe observed thus far by Chandra, and all but one of these X-ray-emitting CSPNe display evidence for a hard (few MK) component in their Chandra spectra. Only the central star of the Dumbbell appears to display “pure” hot blackbody emission from a ~200 kK hot white dwarf photosphere in the X-ray band. Potential explanations for the“excess” hard X-ray emission detected from the other CSPNe include late-type companions (heretofore undetected, in most cases) whose coronae have been rejuvenated by recent interactions with the mass-losing WD progenitor, non-LTE effects in hot white dwarf photospheres, self-shocking variable winds from the central star, and slow (re-)accretion of previously ejected red giant envelope mass.
The factors which influence the ductility of cast samples of TiAl-based alloys are briefly reviewed with emphasis on alloys where microstructural refinement has been used in an attempt to improve ductility. The grain size in cast samples of different TiAl-based alloys can be refined either by high additions of about 1at% boron, or by lower additions of about 0.2at%. In addition it is possible to refine the microstructure by massively transforming samples and heat treating the transformed samples in the (alpha + gamma) phase field to precipitate alpha. Significantly different ductilities are found in different alloys with similar grain sizes or with similar microstructures and the origins of the improvements in ductility and of these differences are discussed in this paper. The role of alloying elements in influencing the degree of order in alpha 2 and in turn influencing slip in alpha 2 is discussed.
Saunders's Gull Larus saundersi is a breeding endemic of Common Seepweed Suaeda glauca habitats on the east coast of China and south-west coast of South Korea. Much of this habitat has been lost and degraded due to human land use and expansion of the introduced Smooth Cordgrass Spartina alterniflora. Yancheng National Nature Reserve (NNR) is one of three breeding and wintering areas in China. We used satellite images from 1992 to 2007 and visual interpretation combined with ground truthing to classify the land cover and quantify changes in land use and land cover (LULC) in areas of Yancheng NNR used by Saunders's Gull. The Common Seepweed habitat, in which this species nests, decreased in area by 79.1% (27,358 ha) over 15 years, predominantly as a result of conversion to aquaculture ponds (18,929 ha), and is now centred in the south-east of Yancheng NNR. The total population size of Saunders's Gull was maintained at over 900 individuals from 1999 to 2006 in Yancheng NNR, but was only 575 in 2007, and the number of breeding sites decreased from eight in 1992 and 1994 to a single site in 2000–2006 and two sites in 2007. From 1999 to 2007, the breeding population in the core area of Yancheng NNR accounted for 94.93% of the total population, and its nest-site spatial turnover rate was 0.84 ± 0.08 (n = 7 years), but it tended to decrease by about 40% in 2007 because of degradation of the Common Seepweed community. The conversion of Common Seepweed habitats to other habitat types and expansion of introduced Smooth Cordgrass were the major and direct reasons for the loss and degradation of breeding habitats of Saunders's Gull. Smooth Cordgrass habitats increased in area by 321.9% (11,057 ha) during this period and centred on the east, gradually occupying the mudflats, except the beach from Liangduo River to the south of Yancheng NNR, where potential breeding sites for the Saunders's Gull could be located. We discuss the implications of our results for the conservation this species and management of its habitats.
The main pathological characteristics of hepatic fibrosis in schistosomiasis are the proliferation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and the deposition of collagen type I (Col I) and collagen type III (Col III). Transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGF-β1) plays an important role in hepatic fibrosis. Paeoniflorin (PAE) has been reported to have immunoregulatory effects; however, the mechanism of its anti-hepatic fibrosis in S. japonicum has not been elucidated. In the present study, we found that mouse peritoneal macrophages (PMφs) stimulated by soluble egg antigen (SEA) of S. japonicum could secrete TGF-β1, and the TGF-β1 in the peritoneal macrophage-conditioned medium (PMCM) could induce proliferation of HSCs and secretion of Col I and III. We selected PMCM at 1:2 dilution as the optimum PMCM (OPMCM). Then we treated HSCs pre-incubated with OPMCM with PAE, and found that the inhibition of HSC proliferation or Col I and III production were closely correlated with the concentration of PAE. Further investigation found that PAE significantly decreased the Smad3 transcription and phosphorylation in HSCs stimulated by OPMCM. In conclusion, SEA plays a key role in hepatic fibrosis by inducing TGF-β1 from PMφs. PAE can exert anti-fibrogenic effects by inhibiting HSCs proliferation and down-regulating Smad3 expression and phosphorylation through TGF-β1 signalling.
Silicon on insulator (SOI) substrate is a key materials for nano-scaling IC device and the requirement for its crystal structure and quality is really high. Nanothick silicon thin film can be transferred onto a handle wafer from a donation wafer to form a SOI wafer after this process including hydrogen implantation of donation wafer, wafer bonding, and thermal treatment at moderately high temperatures of 400 to 600 degree centigrade. The expansion of the hydrogen molecular evolving from the implanted hydrogen ions interacting with silicon dangling bonds and trapped inside the microcavities located near the ion projected range resulted in exfoliation of the silicon thin film in the final heating step. The hydrogen molecules inside the microcavities tend to expand along the bonded interface rather than radially to form individual blisters. Finally, the fracture failure of ion implanted area parallel to the bonded interface near the projected ion range is formed by the sideway expansion of the cavities due to the diffusion supply of implanted hydrogen excited by thermal energy. Microwave processing can lower the activity energy to speed the chemical reaction so that it leads the format of microcavities occurring at low temperature by directly exciting the implanted hydrogen ions by microwave energy and also results in decreasing the critical dosage for layer splitting. However, microwave irradiation alone at room temperature causes the formation of lots of nucleus sites of micro-voids filled by hydrogen molecule which is immobility in silicon resulting in the issue of uniformity of transferred layer. In this study, the hydrogen implanted silicon substrate was irradiated by microwave at low temperature (200 degree centigrade) rather than microwave alone to co-activate the implanted hydrogen ions in silicon to increase not only kinetic energy but also mobility to successfully achieve a completely transferred layer in a short time.
Recently, PVDF-TrFE-CFE terpolymer was developed in Penn State University. The polymer exhibits relaxor ferroelectric behavior. At room temperature, the low-field dielectric constant can be as high as 50-60, more than ten times larger than other dielectric polymer materials, such as Polypropylene, the most widely-used polymer materials for capacitor applications. Due to the large change of electric field induced polarization and high breakdown field, energy density of the terpolymer can reach ∼10 J/cm3, much larger than other polymer materials. In this paper, experimental results on energy density and non-linear dielectric behavior of the terpolymer will be reported.
An overview of SiGe modulation-doped field-effect transistor (MODFET) technology is provided. The layer structures and mobility enhancements for both p- and n-channel modulation-doped quantum wells are described and compared to mobilities in Si/SiO2 inversion layers. Next, previous results on high-performance n- and p-MODFETs fabricated at IBM and elsewhere are reviewed, followed by recent results on laterally-scaled Si/SiGe n-MODFETs with gate lengths as small as 70 nm. We conclude with a discussion of the materials issues for the future vertical and lateral scaling of SiGe MODFETs.
GeB− Cluster ions have been used to effectively produce 0.65-2keV boron for low energy ion implantation. We have generated the GeB− cluster ions using the SNICS ion source (source of negative ion by cesium sputtering). Shallow junctions have been made by the GeB− cluster ions implanting into Si substrates at 15keV, 1×1015/cm2 and 5keV, 5×1014/cm2. The junction depth as small as 37nm has been achieved by rapid thermal annealing of the 5 keV sample at 1000°C for 1 second. A two-step annealing was also performed to study the diffusion of B in the GeB− ion cluster implanted Si by annealing the 15 keV implanted sample at 550°C/300sec+1000°C/10sec. We found that the junction depth of the two-step annealed sample was only half of the one-step annealed sample. TEM (transmission electron microscopy) showed clear recrystallization of the amorphized layer with no observable residual defects. We briefly discussed the role of Ge in regards to reduction of the junction depth.
Transmission electron microscopy and high-resolution electron microscopy have been used to study microstructural properties of conductive SrRuO3 films grown by pulsed laser deposition on (001) LaAlO3 and (001) SrTiO3 substrates. It was found that the SrRuO3 films deposited on both substrates consist of mixed domains of  and  orientations, with orientation relationships that can be described as (i) (001)f ‖ (001)s and f ‖ s and (ii) (110)f ‖ (001)s and f ‖ s, respectively. The SrRuO3 films deposited on SrTiO3, in particular, were found to have a layered domain structure, with the  domain grown initially on the substate, followed by growth of the  oriented domain with increasing thickness. The films on SrTiO3 are strained and have a coherent interface with the substrate. The SrRuO3 films deposited on LaAlO3, on the other hand, contain a high density of structural defects such as stacking faults and microtwins on the (022) planes. Microtwins as large as 50 nm in thickness are observed in the films deposited on LaAlO3. Possible causes for the observed structural defects in the films are discussed.
There are several activities in the development of low dielectric constant materials, including fluorlnation of SiO2, low-k organic polymers, and porous materials. No one material satisfies all the requirements for multilevel interconnections, which include low dielectric constant, high mechanical strength, good dimensional stability, good high temperature stability, easy processing, and low H2O absorption and outgassing. In this research, a new material system has been studied. This process-controlled low-k material can have dielectric constant as low as 2.0 with good thermal stability. It can provide low viscosity for reflow processing to achieve excellent planarization and gap filling. Low moisture uptake and high mechanical strength can be achieved. Most interesting is, it can be made to be photosensitive at deep-UV range, which provides the possibility of eliminating many chemicals and complicated processes in photolithography. Process cost can be expected to drop significantly. Damascene and dual damascene processes were proposed using this new low-k material, which can be much simpler compared to the traditional process.
We have made a comparative invetigation of the surface microstructures of epitaxially grown ferroelectric SrBi2Ta2O9, BaTiO3 films, and metallic SrRuO3 films, using scanning probe microscopy. Though their lattices (or pseudotetrogonal lattices) match closely with SrTiO3 (001) substrates, SPM results show very different surface microstructures. The surfaces of SrRuO3 films display atomically flat terraces of 90° oriented step edges. The size of steps is about 6 Å. The surface of BaTiO3 films deposited at various temperatures displays uniform rectangular islands. Different stages of SrBi2Ta2O9 epitaxial growth have been studied on thickness gradient films, which show clearly 2D nucleation and layer-by-layer growth, following a transition from 2D to 3D island growth. It finally develops into a surface exhibiting round hills consisting of curved terraces with size of steps ranging from 6 Å to 12.5 Å.
High quality YBa2Cu3O7–δ, (YBCO) epitaxial thin films grown on MgO substrate with a strainrelieved SrTiO3 (STO) buffer layer have been investigated by Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS), ion channeling and high resolution cross sectional transmission electron microscopy (XTEM). The in-situ growth of STO buffer layer along with the YBCO films was carried out by pulsed laser ablation. In this work, minimum yield of channeling measurements have shown that a very thin STO buffer layer is sufficient to grow highly crystalline YBCO thin films on MgO substrates. TEM studies showed that the STO layers were strain-relieved by an array of periodic edge dislocations. The YBCO films on STO buffer, as in those grown directly on an STO substrate, evolved from a strained layer to a largely dislocation free area.