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Article
Design of a High Sensitivity Pirani Gauge Based on Vanadium Oxide Film for High Vacuum Measurement
by , , , , , , and
Sensors 2022, 22(23), 9275; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22239275 (registering DOI) - 29 Nov 2022
Abstract
We have designed a hot-plate-type micro-Pirani vacuum gauge with a simple structure and compatibility with conventional semiconductor fabrication processes. In the Pirani gauge, we used a vanadium oxide (VOx) membrane as the thermosensitive component, taking advantage of the high temperature coefficient of resistance [...] Read more.
We have designed a hot-plate-type micro-Pirani vacuum gauge with a simple structure and compatibility with conventional semiconductor fabrication processes. In the Pirani gauge, we used a vanadium oxide (VOx) membrane as the thermosensitive component, taking advantage of the high temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR) of VOx. The TCR value of VOx is 2%K13%K1, an order of magnitude higher than those of other thermal-sensitive materials, such as platinum and titanium (0.3%K10.4%K1). On one hand, we used the high TCR of VOx to increase the Pirani sensitivity. On the other hand, we optimized the floating structure to decrease the thermal conductivity so that the detecting range of the Pirani gauge was extended on the low-pressure end. We carried out simulation experiments on the thermal zone of the Pirani gauge, the width of the cantilever beam, the material and thickness of the supporting layer, the thickness of the thermal layer (VOx), the depth of the cavity, and the shape and size. Finally, we decided on the basic size of the Pirani gauge. The prepared Pirani gauge has a thermal sensitive area of 130 × 130 μm2, with a cantilever width of 13 μm, cavity depth of 5 μm, supporting layer thickness of 300 nm, and VOx layer thickness of 110 nm. It has a dynamic range of 10−1~104 Pa and a sensitivity of 1.23 V/lgPa. The VOx Pirani was designed using a structure and fabrication process compatible with a VOx-based uncooled infrared microbolometer so that it can be integrated by wafer level. This work contains only our MEMS Pirani gauge device design, preparation process design, and readout circuit design, while the characterization and relevant experimental results will be reported in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MEMS Sensors and Applications)
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Article
A Study on Two Conditions for the Realization of Artificial Empathy and Its Cognitive Foundation
Philosophies 2022, 7(6), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7060135 (registering DOI) - 29 Nov 2022
Abstract
The realization of artificial empathy is conditional on the following: on the one hand, human emotions can be recognized by AI and, on the other hand, the emotions presented by artificial intelligence are consistent with human emotions. Faced with these two conditions, what [...] Read more.
The realization of artificial empathy is conditional on the following: on the one hand, human emotions can be recognized by AI and, on the other hand, the emotions presented by artificial intelligence are consistent with human emotions. Faced with these two conditions, what we explored is how to identify emotions, and how to prove that AI has the ability to reflect on emotional consciousness in the process of cognitive processing, In order to explain the first question, this paper argues that emotion identification mainly includes the following three processes: emotional perception, emotional cognition and emotional reflection. It proposes that emotional display mainly includes the following three dimensions: basic emotions, secondary emotions and abstract emotions. On this basis, the paper proposes that the realization of artificial empathy needs to meet the following three cognitive processing capabilities: the integral processing ability of external emotions, the integral processing ability of proprioceptive emotions and the processing ability of integrating internal and external emotions. We are open to whether the second difficulty can be addressed. In order to gain the reflective ability of emotional consciousness for AI, the paper proposes that artificial intelligence should include consistency on identification of external emotions and emotional expression, processing of ontological emotions and external emotions, integration of internal and external emotions and generation of proprioceptive emotions. Full article
Article
Could Religiosity and Religion Influence the Tax Morale of Individuals? An Empirical Analysis Based on Variable Selection Methods
Mathematics 2022, 10(23), 4497; https://doi.org/10.3390/math10234497 (registering DOI) - 29 Nov 2022
Abstract
When people who adhere to tax morality act in a situation where there is no sense of risk, no acceptance of the government, or no environment conducive to tax compliance, it is easier to see how they are motivated to do so. Tax [...] Read more.
When people who adhere to tax morality act in a situation where there is no sense of risk, no acceptance of the government, or no environment conducive to tax compliance, it is easier to see how they are motivated to do so. Tax morality is also known as the ethics of compliance. It is the independent cause that motivates a positive tax behaviour. Employees’ religious beliefs may impact their ideas and actions in organizational life, just as individuals’ attitudes, values, emotions, abilities, and behaviours influence their thoughts and actions at work. Religion can positively influence a worker’s loyalty, morale, and communication. In this context, the research seeks to determine whether religiosity and religion may have an effect on tax morale, examining whether an individual’s religiosity reduces tax evasion and increases the degree of tax morale. Using machine learning variable selection techniques appropriate for categorical variables, we have used the dataset of the Joint EVS/WVS 2017-2020 (European Value Survey/World Value Survey), allowing for comparisons of tax morality in more than 79 nations globally (chi-squared and mutual information). The empirical findings showed that the most important aspects of religiosity, such as religious denomination, belief in God, and the significance of God, along with the degree of trust placed in other religions and churches, have a considerable positive impact on the level of tax morale. Another significant conclusion relates to how much people feel the government is responsible, how much they care about their nation, and how satisfied they are with the political system—findings that have been shown to boost employee morale. The following are a person’s primary traits that indicate their financial morale: an adult above the age of 25, a full-time worker or retired person, married, and living alone. Therefore, employees that are morally upright, trustworthy, diligent, and committed to the workplace values of justice and decency raise morale generally and improve an organisation’s success. A business may enhance its reputation and help to secure its long-term success by establishing behavioural policies. Full article
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Review
Alcohol Withdrawal and the Associated Mood Disorders—A Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(23), 14912; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232314912 (registering DOI) - 29 Nov 2022
Abstract
Recreational use of alcohol is a social norm in many communities worldwide. Alcohol use in moderation brings pleasure and may protect the cardiovascular system. However, excessive alcohol consumption or alcohol abuse are detrimental to one’s health. Three million deaths due to excessive alcohol [...] Read more.
Recreational use of alcohol is a social norm in many communities worldwide. Alcohol use in moderation brings pleasure and may protect the cardiovascular system. However, excessive alcohol consumption or alcohol abuse are detrimental to one’s health. Three million deaths due to excessive alcohol consumption were reported by the World Health Organization. Emerging evidence also revealed the danger of moderate consumption, which includes the increased risk to cancer. Alcohol abuse and periods of withdrawal have been linked to depression and anxiety. Here, we present the effects of alcohol consumption (acute and chronic) on important brain structures—the frontal lobe, the temporal lobe, the limbic system, and the cerebellum. Apart from this, we also present the link between alcohol abuse and withdrawal and mood disorders in this review, thus drawing a link to oxidative stress. In addition, we also discuss the positive impacts of some pharmacotherapies used. Due to the ever-rising demands of life, the cycle between alcohol abuse, withdrawal, and mood disorders may be a never-ending cycle of destruction. Hence, through this review, we hope that we can emphasise the importance and urgency of managing this issue with the appropriate approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Drug Addiction)
Review
Efforts in Bioprospecting Research: A Survey of Novel Anticancer Phytochemicals Reported in the Last Decade
Molecules 2022, 27(23), 8307; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27238307 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
Bioprospecting natural products to find prominent agents for medical application is an area of scientific endeavor that has produced many clinically used bioactive compounds, including anticancer agents. These compounds come from plants, microorganisms, and marine life. They are so-called secondary metabolites that are [...] Read more.
Bioprospecting natural products to find prominent agents for medical application is an area of scientific endeavor that has produced many clinically used bioactive compounds, including anticancer agents. These compounds come from plants, microorganisms, and marine life. They are so-called secondary metabolites that are important for a species to survive in the hostile environment of its respective ecosystem. The kingdom of Plantae has been an important source of traditional medicine in the past and is also enormously used today as an exquisite reservoir for detecting novel bioactive compounds that are potent against hard-to-treat maladies such as cancer. Cancer therapies, especially chemotherapies, are fraught with many factors that are difficult to manage, such as drug resistance, adverse side effects, less selectivity, complexity, etc. Here, we report the results of an exploration of the databases of PubMed, Science Direct, and Google Scholar for bioactive anticancer phytochemicals published between 2010 and 2020. Our report is restricted to new compounds with strong-to-moderate bioactivity potential for which mass spectroscopic structural data are available. Each of the phytochemicals reported in this review was assigned to chemical classes with peculiar anticancer properties. In our survey, we found anticancer phytochemicals that are reported to have selective toxicity against cancer cells, to sensitize MDR cancer cells, and to have multitarget effects in several signaling pathways. Surprisingly, many of these compounds have limited follow-up studies. Detailed investigations into the synthesis of more functional derivatives, chemical genetics, and the clinical relevance of these compounds are required to achieve safer chemotherapy. Full article
Article
Flow-Induced Dynamic Behavior of Head-Cover Bolts in a Prototype Pump-Turbine during Load Rejection
Machines 2022, 10(12), 1130; https://doi.org/10.3390/machines10121130 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
In order to ensure stable grid operatiFon and improve power quality, active or passive load rejection of pumped storage power stations (PSPS) inevitably occurs from time to time. The rapid closing of the guide vanes will cause drastic changes in pressure pulsations in [...] Read more.
In order to ensure stable grid operatiFon and improve power quality, active or passive load rejection of pumped storage power stations (PSPS) inevitably occurs from time to time. The rapid closing of the guide vanes will cause drastic changes in pressure pulsations in the flow channel of the pump-turbine (PT) unit. The high-level pressure pulsations during load rejection transfer to the entire flow passage of the PT unit and generate strong vibrations on the head-cover and the connecting bolts. In this study, the 1D/3D joint simulation of the pipeline in a pumped storage power station and the turbine flow channels including the flow domains of the runner, crown chamber, band chamber, upper and lower labyrinths and pressure balance tubes is carried out first. Then, by applying the calculated pressure loads on the head-cover, stay vanes and bottom ring of the PT unit, the flow-induced dynamic behavior of the structures including the head-cover bolts is analyzed in detail. The results demonstrate that pressure loads on head-cover bolts change dramatically during the load rejection process. The flow-induced deformation of the inner head-cover during the load rejection is larger than that of other structures, and the flow-induced displacement and stress of different head-cover bolts are not uniform. The achieved conclusions in this study can be a useful reference for the design and operation of head-cover bolts for other PT units and high-head Francis turbine units. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Hydroelectric Power)
Article
Body Motion Sensor Analysis of Human-Induced Dynamic Load Factor (DLF) for Normal Walks on Slender Transparent Floors
J. Sens. Actuator Netw. 2022, 11(4), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/jsan11040081 - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
Modern constructions are often characterized by the presence of slender and aesthetically fascinating components and assemblies. For pedestrian systems in particular, such constructions are notoriously associated with possible vibration issues, and thus require special calculations. When these slender systems are made of structural [...] Read more.
Modern constructions are often characterized by the presence of slender and aesthetically fascinating components and assemblies. For pedestrian systems in particular, such constructions are notoriously associated with possible vibration issues, and thus require special calculations. When these slender systems are made of structural glass, additional effects due to transparency may also affect human behaviours and motions. In this paper, based on a single body motion, a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensor in the body’s centre of mass (CoM) is introduced, an extended, original experimental investigation is presented, and human-induced effects on slender transparent floors are discussed. Major attention is given to the well-known dynamic load factor (DLF) induced by a single pedestrian’s normal walk; a fixed walking rate is assigned, and different substructures (with major variations in their structural dynamic parameters) are taken into account. A discussion of experimental results is proposed for rigid reinforced concrete (RC), and a laboratory contrast system (SLAB#1), which is used as a reference for the analysis of DLF trends on relatively light and flexible transparent glass flooring systems (SLAB#2 and SLAB#3). It is shown that structural frequency and mass, but also possibly transparency, can affect human motion and result in a quantitative modification of measured DLF values, especially for the first and second harmonics of vertical force components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Journal of Sensor and Actuator Networks: 10th Year Anniversary)
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Review
Buck-Boost DC-DC Converters for Fuel Cell Applications in DC Microgrids—State-of-the-Art
Electronics 2022, 11(23), 3941; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11233941 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
The use of fuel cells in DC microgrids has been receiving a lot of attention from researchers and industry since both technologies can deliver clean energy with little to no environmental impact. To effectively integrate fuel cells in DC microgrids, a power converter [...] Read more.
The use of fuel cells in DC microgrids has been receiving a lot of attention from researchers and industry since both technologies can deliver clean energy with little to no environmental impact. To effectively integrate fuel cells in DC microgrids, a power converter that can equate the fuel cell’s voltage with the DC microgrid’s reference voltage is required. Based on the typical output voltages of fuel cells, buck-boost topologies are commonly used in this type of application. A variety of DC-DC buck-boost topologies, showing distinctive merits and drawbacks, are available in the literature. Therefore, this paper compiles, compares and describes different DC-DC buck-boost topologies that have been introduced in the literature over the past few years. Additionally, some design considerations are addressed, and future work is proposed. Full article
Article
Numerical Research on Biomass Gasification in a Quadruple Fluidized Bed Gasifier
Processes 2022, 10(12), 2526; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr10122526 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
Utilization of bioenergy with carbon capture can realize carbon-negative syngas production. The quadruple fluidized bed gasifier (QFBG) integrates a chemical looping oxygen generation process and a dual fluidized bed gasifier with limestone as bed material. It is one promising device that can convert [...] Read more.
Utilization of bioenergy with carbon capture can realize carbon-negative syngas production. The quadruple fluidized bed gasifier (QFBG) integrates a chemical looping oxygen generation process and a dual fluidized bed gasifier with limestone as bed material. It is one promising device that can convert biomass to H2-rich syngas whilst capturing CO2 with little energy penalty. However, experimental or numerical simulation of QFBG is rarely reported on due to its complex structure, hindering the further commercialization and deployment of QFBG. In this work, a new computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver is proposed to predict the complex physicochemical processes in QFBG based on the multi-phase particle in cell (MPPIC) methodology with the assistance of the open source software, OpenFOAM. The solver is first validated against experimental data in terms of hydrodynamics and reaction kinetics. Then, the solver is used to investigate the QFBG property. It is found that the QFBG can operate stably. The cold gas efficiency, H2 molar fraction, and CO2 capture rate of the QFBG are predicted to be 87.2%, 93.3%, and 90.5%, respectively, which is promising. It is believed that the solver can give reliable predictions for similar fluidized bed reactors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Numerical Simulation in Biomass Pyrolysis Processes)
Article
Towards Wireless Detection of Surface Modification of Silicon Nanowires by an RF Approach
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(23), 4237; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12234237 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
This paper shows the possibility to detect the presence of grafted molecules on the surface of silicon nanowires with a wireless RF radar approach based on the measurement of the backscattered signal of a resonant structure on which the nanowires are deposited. The [...] Read more.
This paper shows the possibility to detect the presence of grafted molecules on the surface of silicon nanowires with a wireless RF radar approach based on the measurement of the backscattered signal of a resonant structure on which the nanowires are deposited. The measured resonance frequency allows the determination of the intrinsic properties related to temperature and humidity variations, which can be related to the presence of the grafted molecules. Several functionalizations of nanowires have been realized and characterized. For the first time, an RF approach is used to detect significant differences related to the presence of grafted molecules on the surface of nanowires. In addition to detecting their presence, the obtained results show the potential of the radar approach to identify the type of functionalization of nanowires. A set of six different grafted molecules (including octadecyltrichlorosilane, ethynylpyrene, N3) was tested and correctly separated with the proposed approach. Various measurements of the same samples showed a good repeatability which made the approach compatible with the possibility of differentiating the molecules with each other by radar reading. Moreover, discussions about the application of such functionalizations are made to increase the sensibility of sensors using a radar approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Nanomaterials for Sensing and Detection)
Article
Optical Fiber Vibration Signal Identification Method Based on Improved YOLOv4
Sensors 2022, 22(23), 9259; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22239259 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
In the traditional peripheral-security-early-warning system, the endpoint detection and pattern recognition of the signals generated by the distributed optical fiber vibration sensors is completed step-by-step and in an orderly manner. The method by which these two processes may be placed end-to-end in a [...] Read more.
In the traditional peripheral-security-early-warning system, the endpoint detection and pattern recognition of the signals generated by the distributed optical fiber vibration sensors is completed step-by-step and in an orderly manner. The method by which these two processes may be placed end-to-end in a network model and processed simultaneously to improve work efficiency has increasingly become the focus of research. In this paper, the target detection algorithm combines the endpoint-detection and pattern-recognition processes of the vibration signal, which can not only quickly locate the start and end vibration positions of the signal but also accurately identify a certain type of signal. You Only Look Once v4 (YOLOv4) is one of the most advanced target detection algorithms, achieving the optimal balance of speed and accuracy. To reduce the complexity of the YOLOv4 model and solve the dataset’s unbalanced sample classification problem, we use a deep separable convolution (DSC) network and a focal loss function to improve the YOLOv4 model. In this paper, the five kinds of signals collected in real-time are visualized as two different datasets in oscillograph and time-frequency diagrams as detection objects. According to the experimental results, we obtained 98.50% and 93.48% mean Average Precision (mAP) and 84.8 and 69.9 frames per second (FPS), respectively, which are improved compared to YOLOv4. Comparing the improved algorithm with other optical fiber vibration signal recognition algorithms, the mAP and FPS values were improved, and the detection speed was about 20 times faster than that of other algorithms. The improved algorithm in this paper can quickly and accurately identify the vibration signal of external intrusion, reduce the false-alarm rate of the early-warning system, and improve the real-time detection rate of the system while ensuring high recognition accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Optical Sensors)
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Article
Human Randomness in the Rock-Paper-Scissors Game
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(23), 12192; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122312192 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
In this study, we investigated the human capacity to generate randomness in decision-making processes using the rock-paper-scissors (RPS) game. The randomness of the time series was evaluated using the time-series data of RPS moves made by 500 subjects who played 50 consecutive RPS [...] Read more.
In this study, we investigated the human capacity to generate randomness in decision-making processes using the rock-paper-scissors (RPS) game. The randomness of the time series was evaluated using the time-series data of RPS moves made by 500 subjects who played 50 consecutive RPS games. The indices used for evaluation were the Lempel–Ziv complexity and a determinism index obtained from a recurrence plot, and these indicators represent the complexity and determinism of the time series, respectively. The acquired human RPS time-series data were compared to a pseudorandom RPS sequence generated by the Mersenne Twister and the RPS time series generated by the RPS game’s strategy learned using the human RPS time series acquired via genetic programming. The results exhibited clear differences in randomness among the pseudorandom number series, the human-generated series, and the AI-generated series. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligence in Natural and Digital Computing)
Article
Polynomial Fuzzy Information Granule-Based Time Series Prediction
Mathematics 2022, 10(23), 4495; https://doi.org/10.3390/math10234495 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
Fuzzy information granulation transfers the time series analysis from the numerical platform to the granular platform, which enables us to study the time series at a different granularity. In previous studies, each fuzzy information granule in a granular time series can reflect the [...] Read more.
Fuzzy information granulation transfers the time series analysis from the numerical platform to the granular platform, which enables us to study the time series at a different granularity. In previous studies, each fuzzy information granule in a granular time series can reflect the average, range, and linear trend characteristics of the data in the corresponding time window. In order to get a more general information granule, this paper proposes polynomial fuzzy information granules, each of which can reflect both the linear trend and the nonlinear trend of the data in a time window. The distance metric of the proposed information granules is given theoretically. After studying the distance measure of the polynomial fuzzy information granule and its geometric interpretation, we design a time series prediction method based on the polynomial fuzzy information granules and fuzzy inference system. The experimental results show that the proposed prediction method can achieve a good long-term prediction. Full article
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Article
Determining Intermediary Closely Related Languages to Find a Mediator for Intertribal Conflict Resolution
Information 2022, 13(12), 557; https://doi.org/10.3390/info13120557 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
Indonesia has a diverse ethnic and cultural background. However, this diversity sometimes creates social problems, such as intertribal conflict. Because of the large differences among tribal languages, it is often difficult for conflicting parties to dialog for conflict resolution. To address this problem, [...] Read more.
Indonesia has a diverse ethnic and cultural background. However, this diversity sometimes creates social problems, such as intertribal conflict. Because of the large differences among tribal languages, it is often difficult for conflicting parties to dialog for conflict resolution. To address this problem, we aim to find intermediary closely related languages from a language similarity knowledge graph using the best-performing pathfinding algorithms. In this research, we analyze the performances of two pathfinding algorithms, namely, Dijkstra and Yen’s K, by comparing their execution time and the total lexical distances of the intermediary languages (called “the cost”). Our research findings show that even though the Dijkstra and Yen’s K algorithms have equal total cost for all the cases, Yen’s K outperformed Dijkstra at searching for intermediary languages that are closely related, with an average of 160% higher performance on execution time. The selection of native speakers of the obtained intermediary languages as mediators is formalized as an optimization problem with four criteria: language similarity, geographical distance, background, and expected salary. We present a case study where the intermediary closely related languages can be used as a guideline to find mediators who can help resolve the intertribal conflicts among Indonesian tribes. To calculate the first criteria, we implemented the Yen’s K algorithm to calculate the shortest path between target languages and return the path via the intermediary languages. This implementation shows the potential use of the mediator selection model defined in this paper in various other roles such as trader or salesman, politician’s spokesman, reporter or journalist, etc. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Information Applications)
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Article
Employee Compensation, Training and Financial Performance during the COVID-19 Pandemic
J. Risk Financial Manag. 2022, 15(12), 559; https://doi.org/10.3390/jrfm15120559 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is multi-faceted: first, to analyze the impact of employee compensation and training on firms’ financial performance and the moderating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the relationship between employee compensation and financial performance, as well as the relationship [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is multi-faceted: first, to analyze the impact of employee compensation and training on firms’ financial performance and the moderating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the relationship between employee compensation and financial performance, as well as the relationship between training and financial performance; and second, to analyze the decision-making process pertaining to these two aspects of human resources both prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study utilizes a sample of 103 Belgian pharmaceutical firms whose financial statements were published in the Bureau Van Djik database between 2012 and 2021. The estimation approach employed was panel data analysis, and the Generalized Method of Moments was used to evaluate the robustness of the system. Whether or not a crisis exists greatly alters the parameters that influence a pharmaceutical company’s business performance. Specifically, the results reveal that the COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial and negative impact on financial performance. Human resource factors, which include employee compensation and training, more accurately explain the company’s performance. The key contribution of such an approach is to illustrate that human resource-related factors have an impact on performance indicators during various types of crises, thereby assisting HR managers in making the best decision during times of crisis. It provides basic guidelines for policymakers to adhere to in order to have a better knowledge of how human capital characteristics might be utilized to improve the performance of their businesses during times of crisis. In addition, this research demonstrates that the firm’s unique characteristics may affect the success of Belgian businesses. Full article
Article
DE Models with Combined H0·rd from BAO and CMB Dataset and Friends
Universe 2022, 8(12), 631; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe8120631 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
It has been theorized that dynamical dark energy (DDE) could be a possible solution to Hubble tension. To avoid degeneracy between Hubble parameter H0 and sound horizon scale rd, in this article, we use their multiplication as one parameter [...] Read more.
It has been theorized that dynamical dark energy (DDE) could be a possible solution to Hubble tension. To avoid degeneracy between Hubble parameter H0 and sound horizon scale rd, in this article, we use their multiplication as one parameter c/H0rd, and we use it to infer cosmological parameters for 6 models—ΛCDM and 5 DDE parametrizations—the Chevallier–Polarski–Linder (CPL), the Barboza–Alcaniz (BA), the low correlation (LC), the Jassal–Bagla–Padmanabhan (JBP) and the Feng–Shen–Li-Li models. We choose a dataset that treats this combination as one parameter, which includes the baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO) data 0.11z2.40 and additional points from the cosmic microwave background (CMB) peaks (z1090). To them, we add the marginalized Pantheon dataset and GRB dataset. We see that the tension is moved from H0 and rd to c/H0rd and Ωm. There is only one model that satisfies the Planck 2018 constraints on both parameters, and this is LC with a huge error. The rest cannot fit into both constraints. ΛCDM is preferred, with respect to the statistical measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modified Gravity Approaches to the Tensions of ΛCDM)
Article
The Potential of Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) to Supply Net Zero Carbon Housing
Buildings 2022, 12(12), 2081; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12122081 - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
Governments throughout the EU and the UK face a persistent challenge of satisfying the continual growth in demand for housing and create zero carbon buildings. This paper presents a novel conceptual framework and empirical results to evaluate the potential for Structurally Insulated Panels [...] Read more.
Governments throughout the EU and the UK face a persistent challenge of satisfying the continual growth in demand for housing and create zero carbon buildings. This paper presents a novel conceptual framework and empirical results to evaluate the potential for Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) to address this challenge. Firstly, we present a comprehensive analysis of the energy performance of a SIPs building in the UK to evaluate the potential for such technologies to satisfy the energy and carbon objectives. Using our unique data set we show that SIPs can exceed the necessary energy efficiency standards and reach Net Zero Carbon. Secondly, we introduce game theory as a novel conceptual framework to understand the incentives of the manufacturers of SIPs and UK/EU authorities. This enables us to identify potential sources of incentive conflict, which inhibit the diffusion of such technologies. We demonstrate that it benefits both parties to engage in medium investment, but the inferior under investment scenario can emerge if the UK/EU does not provide leadership and commitment to SIPs technologies. Regardless of the market design in terms of the timing of decisions, the maximum level of support by both the UK/EU and the SIPs manufacturers cannot be achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Energy Efficiency in Smart Cities and Construction)
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Article
Radiotherapy with Helium Ions Has the Potential to Improve Both Endocrine and Neurocognitive Outcome in Pediatric Patients with Ependymoma
Cancers 2022, 14(23), 5865; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14235865 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
Ependymomas are the third most-frequent pediatric brain tumors. To prevent local recurrence, the resection site should be irradiated. Compared to photon radiation treatment, proton therapy often achieves even better results regarding target coverage and organ-sparing. Due to their physical properties, helium ions could [...] Read more.
Ependymomas are the third most-frequent pediatric brain tumors. To prevent local recurrence, the resection site should be irradiated. Compared to photon radiation treatment, proton therapy often achieves even better results regarding target coverage and organ-sparing. Due to their physical properties, helium ions could further reduce side effects, providing better protection of healthy tissue despite similar target coverage. In our in silico study, 15 pediatric ependymoma patients were considered. All patients underwent adjuvant radiotherapeutic treatment with active-scanned protons at Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center (HIT). Both helium ion and highly conformal IMRT plans were calculated to evaluate the potential dosimetric advantage of ion beam therapy compared to the current state-of-the-art photon-based treatments. To estimate the potential clinical benefit of helium ions, normal tissue complication probabilities (NTCP) were calculated. Target coverage was comparable in all three modalities. As expected, the integral dose absorbed by healthy brain tissue could be significantly reduced with protons by up to −48% vs. IMRT. Even compared to actively scanned protons, relative dose reductions for critical neuronal structures of up to another −39% were achieved when using helium ions. The dose distribution of helium ions is significantly superior when compared to proton therapy and IMRT due to the improved sparing of OAR. In fact, previous studies could clearly demonstrate that the dosimetric advantage of protons translates into a measurable clinical benefit for pediatric patients with brain tumors. Given the dose–response relationship of critical organs at risk combined with NTCP calculation, the results of our study provide a strong rationale that the use of helium ions has the potential to even further reduce the risk for treatment related sequelae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Brain Cancer Treatment)
Article
Pharmacological Characterization of Purified Full-Length Dopamine Transporter from Drosophila melanogaster
Cells 2022, 11(23), 3811; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11233811 - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
The dopamine transporter (DAT) is a member of the neurotransmitter:sodium symporter (NSS) family, mediating the sodium-driven reuptake of dopamine from the extracellular space thereby terminating dopaminergic neurotransmission. Our current structural understanding of DAT is derived from the resolutions of DAT from Drosophila melanogaster [...] Read more.
The dopamine transporter (DAT) is a member of the neurotransmitter:sodium symporter (NSS) family, mediating the sodium-driven reuptake of dopamine from the extracellular space thereby terminating dopaminergic neurotransmission. Our current structural understanding of DAT is derived from the resolutions of DAT from Drosophila melanogaster (dDAT). Despite extensive structural studies of purified dDAT in complex with a variety of antidepressants, psychostimulants and its endogenous substrate, dopamine, the molecular pharmacology of purified, full length dDAT is yet to be elucidated. In this study, we functionally characterized purified, full length dDAT in detergent micelles using radioligand binding with the scintillation proximity assay. We elucidate the consequences of Na+ and Cl binding on [3H]nisoxetine affinity and use this to evaluate the binding profiles of substrates and inhibitors to the transporter. Additionally, the technique allowed us to directly determine a equilibrium binding affinity (Kd) for [3H]dopamine to dDAT. To compare with a more native system, the affinities of specified monoamines and inhibitors was determined on dDAT, human DAT and human norepinephrine transporter expressed in COS-7 cells. With our gathered data, we established a pharmacological profile for purified, full length dDAT that will be useful for subsequent biophysical studies using dDAT as model protein for the mammalian NSS family of proteins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurotransmitter Transporters in Health and Disease)
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Article
Genetic and Antimicrobial Resistance Profiles of Mammary Pathogenic E. coli (MPEC) Isolates from Bovine Clinical Mastitis
Pathogens 2022, 11(12), 1435; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11121435 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
Mammary pathogenic E. coli (MPEC) is one of the main pathogens of environmental origin responsible for causing clinical mastitis worldwide. Even though E. coli are strongly associated with transient or persistent mastitis and the economic impacts of this disease, the virulence factors involved [...] Read more.
Mammary pathogenic E. coli (MPEC) is one of the main pathogens of environmental origin responsible for causing clinical mastitis worldwide. Even though E. coli are strongly associated with transient or persistent mastitis and the economic impacts of this disease, the virulence factors involved in the pathogenesis of MPEC remain unknown. Our aim was to characterize 110 MPEC isolates obtained from the milk of cows with clinical mastitis, regarding the virulence factor-encoding genes present, adherence patterns on HeLa cells, and antimicrobial resistance profile. The MPEC isolates were classified mainly in phylogroups A (50.9%) and B1 (38.2%). None of the isolates harbored genes used for diarrheagenic E. coli classification, but 26 (23.6%) and 4 (3.6%) isolates produced the aggregative or diffuse adherence pattern, respectively. Among the 22 genes investigated, encoding virulence factors associated with extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli pathogenesis, fimH (93.6%) was the most frequent, followed by traT (77.3%) and ompT (68.2%). Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis revealed six pulse-types with isolates obtained over time, thus indicating persistent intramammary infections. The genes encoding beta-lactamases detected were as follows: blaTEM (35/31.8%); blaCTX-M-2/blaCTX-M-8 (2/1.8%); blaCTX-M-15 and blaCMY-2 (1/0.9%); five isolates were classified as extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producers. As far as we know, papA, shf, ireA, sat and blaCTX-M-8 were detected for the first time in MPEC. In summary, the genetic profile of the MPEC studied was highly heterogeneous, making it impossible to establish a common genetic profile useful for molecular MPEC classification. Moreover, the detection of ESBL-producing isolates is a serious public health concern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens in Ruminant Mastitis)
Article
Tuning the Curing Efficiency of Conventional Accelerated Sulfur System for Tailoring the Properties of Natural Rubber/Bromobutyl Rubber Blends
Materials 2022, 15(23), 8466; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15238466 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
The state of cure and the vulcanizate properties of a conventional accelerated sulfur (CV) cured 50/50 blend of natural rubber (NR) and bromobutyl rubber (BIIR) were inferior. However, this blend exhibits a higher extent of cure with remarkable improvements in its mechanical properties, [...] Read more.
The state of cure and the vulcanizate properties of a conventional accelerated sulfur (CV) cured 50/50 blend of natural rubber (NR) and bromobutyl rubber (BIIR) were inferior. However, this blend exhibits a higher extent of cure with remarkable improvements in its mechanical properties, particularly the tensile strength, modulus and hardness after curing with a combination of accelerated sulfur and three parts per hundred rubber (phr) of a bismaleimide (MF3). Moreover, with the use of 0.25 phr of dicumyl peroxide (DCP) along with the CV/MF3 system, the compression set property of the CV-only cured blend could be reduced from 68% to 15%. The enhanced compatibility between NR and BIIR with the aid of bismaleimide via the Diels–Alder reaction was identified as the primary reason for the improved cure state and the mechanical properties. However, the incorporation of a certain amount of bismaleimide as a crosslink in the NR phase of the blend, via a radical initiated crosslinking process by the action of DCP, is responsible for the improved compression set properties Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Rubber Composites II)
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Article
Ten-Year Experience with Transapical and Direct Transaortic Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement to Address Patients with Aortic Stenosis and Peripheral Vascular Disease
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2022, 9(12), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd9120422 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
Objective: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) through alternative access routes is indicated in patients with severe aortic valve stenosis and diseased peripheral arteries. We analysed and compared the outcome of patients undergoing transapical (TA) and direct transaortic (TAO) TAVR procedures. Methods: [...] Read more.
Objective: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) through alternative access routes is indicated in patients with severe aortic valve stenosis and diseased peripheral arteries. We analysed and compared the outcome of patients undergoing transapical (TA) and direct transaortic (TAO) TAVR procedures. Methods: Preoperative characteristics, procedural details, and thirty-day outcome of patients undergoing transapical (TA-TAVR group) and direct transaortic (TAO-TAVR group) TAVR procedures were prospectively collected and retrospectively analysed. Results: From March 2012 to March 2022, 81 TA and 82 TAO-TAVR (total: 163 cases) were performed with balloon-expanding (n = 120; 73.6%) and self-expandable (n = 43; 26.4%) valves. The mean age was 79.7 ± 6.2 and 81.9 ± 6.7 years for the TA- and TAO-TAVR groups, respectively (p = 0.032). Females were more represented in the TAO-TAVR group (56% vs. 32%; p = 0.003) while TA-TAVR patients showed a higher prevalence of previous vascular surgery (20% vs. 6%; p = 0.01), previous cardiac surgery (51% vs. 3.6%; p < 0.001), and porcelain aorta (22% vs. 5%; p = 0.001). The mean ejection fraction was 49.0 ± 14.6% (TA) and 53.5 ± 12.2% (TAO) (p = 0.035) while mean gradients were 35.6 ± 13.2 mmHg (TA) and 40.4 ± 16.1 mmHg (TAO) (p = 0.045). The median EuroSCORE-II was 5.0% (IQR: 3.0–11.0) and 3.9% (IQR: 2.5–5.4) for the TA- and TAO-TAVR groups, respectively (p = 0.005). The procedural time was shorter for TA procedures (97 min (IQR: 882–118) vs. 102 min (IQR: 88–129); p = 0.133). Mortality at day 30 was 6% in both groups (p = 1.000); the permanent pacemaker implantation rate was similar (8.6% vs. 9.7%; p = 1.000), and hospital stay was shorter for the TAO group (8 days (IQR: 6–11) vs. 10 days (IQR: 7–13); p = 0.025). Conclusions: Our results show that transapical and direct transaortic TAVR in high-risk patients with diseased peripheral arteries provide satisfactory clinical results with similar thirty-day outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI))
Article
Electrodeposition of Copper Oxides as Cost-Effective Heterojunction Photoelectrode Materials for Solar Water Splitting
Coatings 2022, 12(12), 1839; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings12121839 - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
Photoelectrocatalytic hydrogen production is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions for carbon neutrality and meeting energy demands. Pivotal advances in photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting have been achieved by increasing solar light absorption. P-type Cu-based metal oxide materials have a wide range of energy [...] Read more.
Photoelectrocatalytic hydrogen production is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions for carbon neutrality and meeting energy demands. Pivotal advances in photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting have been achieved by increasing solar light absorption. P-type Cu-based metal oxide materials have a wide range of energy band gaps and outstanding band edges for PEC water splitting. In this study, we first prepared Cu2O thin films using electrodeposition and fabricated a heterojunction structure of CuO/Cu2O by controlling annealing temperatures. The surface morphological, optical, and electrochemical properties were characterized using various analytical tools. X-ray and Raman spectroscopic approaches were used to verify the heterojunction of CuO/Cu2O, while surface analyses revealed surface roughness changes in thin films as the annealing temperatures increased. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopic measurements in conjunction with the Mott–Schottky analysis confirm that the CuO/Cu2O heterojunction thin film can boost photocurrent generation (1.03 mA/cm2 at 0 V vs. RHE) via enhanced light absorption, a higher carrier density, and a higher flat band potential than CuO and Cu2O thin films (0.92 and 0.08 mA/cm2, respectively). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Electrochemical Surface Properties)
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Article
Randomized Feasibility Pilot Trial of Adding a New Three-Dimensional Adjustable Posture-Corrective Orthotic to a Multi-Modal Program for the Treatment of Nonspecific Neck Pain
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(23), 7028; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11237028 - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility and effect of a multimodal program for the management of chronic nonspecific neck pain CNSNP with the addition of a 3D adjustable posture corrective orthotic (PCO), with a focus on patient recruitment and [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility and effect of a multimodal program for the management of chronic nonspecific neck pain CNSNP with the addition of a 3D adjustable posture corrective orthotic (PCO), with a focus on patient recruitment and retention. This report describes a prospective, randomized controlled pilot study with twenty-four participants with CNSNP and definite 3D postural deviations who were randomly assigned to control and study groups. Both groups received the same multimodal program; additionally, the study group received a 3D PCO to perform mirror image® therapy for 20–30 min while the patient was walking on a treadmill 2–3 times per week for 10 weeks. Primary outcomes included feasibility, recruitment, adherence, safety, and sample size calculation. Secondary outcomes included neck pain intensity by numeric pain rating scale (NPRS), neck disability index (NDI), active cervical ROM, and 3D posture parameters of the head in relation to the thoracic region. Measures were assessed at baseline and after 10 weeks of intervention. Overall, 54 participants were screened for eligibility, and 24 (100%) were enrolled for study participation. Three participants (12.5%) were lost to reassessment before finishing 10 weeks of treatment. The between-group mean differences in change scores indicated greater improvements in the study group receiving the new PCO intervention. Using an effect size of 0.797, α > 0.05, β = 80% between-group improvements for NDI identified that 42 participants were required for a full-scale RCT. This pilot study demonstrated the feasibility of recruitment, compliance, and safety for the treatment of CNSNP using a 3D PCO to a multimodal program to positively affect CNSNP management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spine Rehabilitation in 2022 and Beyond)
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Article
Weather Influence on Native and Alien Mantis Dynamics and Their Abundance in the Current Climate Change Conditions
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 15861; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142315861 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
Humans have traded and transported alien species for millennia, both with and without intention to spread them to new areas. Consistent knowledge of their ecology will allow decision makers to take suitable conservation actions, with the aim of avoiding threatening native species. Praying [...] Read more.
Humans have traded and transported alien species for millennia, both with and without intention to spread them to new areas. Consistent knowledge of their ecology will allow decision makers to take suitable conservation actions, with the aim of avoiding threatening native species. Praying mantids (Mantodea) are predatory insects with a high impact on local invertebrates’ fauna. An alien mantis species (Hierodula tenuidentata) could create a disequilibrium in both the local ecosystem and in autochthonous mantid species (Mantis religiosa) if it can adapt to the local ecological conditions. Through this study, we reveal that the number of Hierodula tenuidentata individuals from an Eastern European Natura 2000 site was 7.6 times higher than the number of Mantis religiosa suggesting a higher density of the allochthonous species in the study area. According to a GLM analysis, the population of Mantis religiosa, measured from August to the end of October, declines more rapidly and is negatively influenced by the number of days from the first day of the year, while the population of Hierodula tenuidentata is influenced by local weather factors. This is the first study which analyzes the influence of local weather factors (namely air temperature, precipitation, daily atmospheric pressure, daily wind direction and speed, daily cloud cover, sunshine duration and number of days from the first day of the year) on the abundance dynamic of mantises in order to understand their ecology in the current climate change influence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Invasion and Biodiversity)
Article
Quantitative Estimation of COD Values from an Array of Metal Nanoparticle Modified Electrodes and Artificial Neural Networks
Chemosensors 2022, 10(12), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/chemosensors10120504 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
Water quality monitoring has become critical in modern societies in multiple areas and at different stages. In this regard, chemical oxygen demand (COD) has become a key index in water testing, as it readily allows the determination of its overall quality and the [...] Read more.
Water quality monitoring has become critical in modern societies in multiple areas and at different stages. In this regard, chemical oxygen demand (COD) has become a key index in water testing, as it readily allows the determination of its overall quality and the presence of organic contaminants. However, conventional COD determination presents several drawbacks in view of the use of toxic reagents and possible interferences. The electrochemical determination of COD can be an alternative with many advantages, especially if using an array of sensors. Herein, the use of an electronic tongue (ET) for the estimation of COD was explored. The proposed ET was formed by an array of five voltammetric electrodes modified with different metal nanoparticles. An artificial neural network (ANN) model was built based on the responses of the array towards glucose and glycine as standards. This model was then used with real and spiked water samples, and the results compared to the electrochemical calibration and the commercial COD colorimetric methods. While the COD values of the real samples were low and outside the range of the ANN model, a satisfactory prediction for the spiked samples was achieved, showing a good agreement with the reference colorimetric method, that was better than the performance of the conventional electrochemical calibration method. Full article
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Review
Assessment of Concrete Strength Using the Combination of NDT—Review and Performance Analysis
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(23), 12190; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122312190 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
This paper presents a review on combining NDT techniques, such as rebound hammer and ultrasonic pulse velocity, for assessing concrete compressive strength. These methods, though being favorably not invasive and easy to be extended to a larger number of elements, are affected by [...] Read more.
This paper presents a review on combining NDT techniques, such as rebound hammer and ultrasonic pulse velocity, for assessing concrete compressive strength. These methods, though being favorably not invasive and easy to be extended to a larger number of elements, are affected by many contingency factors. The SonReb technique suggests combining the two methods to partially offset their low reliability if considered separately. For years, this concept was introduced in order to improve the evaluation compared with the use of one NDT. In order to combine the ultrasonic pulse velocity and rebound hammer, many empirical, multiparametric models were proposed in the literature as linear, power, exponential, or polynomial. However, the variety of these models emphasizes that they can give a correct strength prediction only for the particular cases that they are derived for. Therefore, to assess concrete on site, the strength should be predicted using a calibration procedure due to the variability of existing concrete mixes. This paper presents a brief outline of the key aspects of strength assessment, including the different approaches used to build the SonReb model and a calibration procedure for assessing concrete strength. A comparison study between the different approaches is proposed, and a performance analysis using Monte Carlo simulations is discussed. Finally, the estimation capacity of the existing model identification approaches is investigated, and the effect of the “trade-off” is analyzed for different random sampling with varying the number of cores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The State of the Art in Non-destructive Evaluation of Concrete)
Article
Comparison of Different Dielectric Models to Estimate Penetration Depth of L- and S-Band SAR Signals into the Ground Surface
Geographies 2022, 2(4), 734-742; https://doi.org/10.3390/geographies2040045 - 28 Nov 2022
Abstract
We evaluate the penetration depth of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) signals into the ground surface at different frequencies. We applied dielectric models (Dobson empirical, Hallikainen, and Dobson semi-empirical) on the ground surface composed of different soil types (sandy, loamy, and clayey). These models [...] Read more.
We evaluate the penetration depth of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) signals into the ground surface at different frequencies. We applied dielectric models (Dobson empirical, Hallikainen, and Dobson semi-empirical) on the ground surface composed of different soil types (sandy, loamy, and clayey). These models result in different penetration depths for the same set of sensors and soil properties. The Dobson semi-empirical model is more sensitive to the soil properties, followed by the Hallikainen and Dobson empirical models. We used the Dobson semi-empirical model to study the penetration depth of the upcoming NASA-ISRO synthetic aperture radar (NISAR) mission operated at the L-band (1.25 GHz) and the S-band (3.22 GHz) into the ground. We observed that depending upon the soil types, the penetration depth of the SAR signals ranges between 0 to 10 cm for the S-band and 0 to 25 cm for the L-band. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Geographies in 2022)
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