Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Layer


Spatial resolution, spectral contrast and occlusion are three major bottlenecks for non-invasive inspection of complex samples with current imaging technologies. We exploit the sub-picosecond time resolution along with spectral resolution provided by terahertz time-domain spectroscopy to computationally extract occluding content from layers whose thicknesses are wavelength comparable. The method uses the statistics of the reflected terahertz electric field at subwavelength gaps to lock into each layer position and then uses a time-gated spectral kurtosis to tune to highest spectral contrast of the content on that specific layer. To demonstrate, occluding textual content was successfully extracted from a packed stack of paper pages down to nine pages without human supervision. The method provides over an order of magnitude enhancement in the signal contrast and can impact inspection of structural defects in wooden objects, plastic components, composites, drugs and especially cultural artefacts with subwavelength or wavelength comparable layers.

Concepts: Diffraction, Optics, Fundamental physics concepts, Light, Layer, Wavelength, Telescope, OSI model


Superoleophobic surfaces are of interest for anti-fouling, self-cleaning, anti-smudge, low-drag, anti-fog, and oil-water separation applications. Current bioinspired surfaces are of limited use due to a lack of mechanical durability. A so-called layer-by-layer approach, involving charged species with electrostatic interactions between layers, can provide the flexibility needed to improve adhesion to the substrate while providing a low surface tension coating at the air interface. In this work, a polyelectrolyte binder, SiO2 nanoparticles, and a fluorosurfactant are spray deposited separately to create a durable, superoleophobic coating. Polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride (PDDA) polyelectrolyte was complexed with a fluorosurfactant layer (FL), which provides oil repellency while being hydrophilic. This oleophobic/superhydrophilic behavior was enhanced through the use of roughening with SiO2 particles resulting in a superoleophobic coating with hexadecane contact angles exceeding 155° and tilt angles of less than 4°. The coating is also superhydrophilic, which is desirable for oil-water separation applications. The durability of these coatings was examined through the use of micro- and macrowear experiments. These coatings currently display characteristics of transparency. Fabrication of these coatings via the layer-by-layer technique results in superoleophobic surfaces displaying improved durability compared to existing work where either the durability or the oil-repellency is compromised.

Concepts: Electric charge, Improve, Layer, Wetting, Coating, Surface, Mechanical, PolyDADMAC


A novel procedure for biopolymer surface nanostructuring with defined surface roughness and pattern dimension is presented. The surface properties of sputtered platinum layers on the biocompatible polymer poly(l-lactic acid) (PLLA) are presented. The influence of thermal treatment on surface morphology and electrical resistance and Pt distribution in ca. 100 nm of altered surface is described. The thickness, roughness and morphology of Pt structures were determined by atomic force microscopy. Surface sheet resistance was studied by a two-point technique. It was the sequence of Pt layer sputtering followed by thermal treatment that dramatically changed the structure of the PLLA’s surface. Depending on the Pt thickness, the ripple-like and worm-like patterns appeared on the surface for thinner and thicker Pt layers, respectively. Electrokinetic analysis confirmed the Pt coverage of PLLA and the slightly different behaviour of non-annealed and annealed surfaces. The amount and distribution of platinum on the PLLA is significantly altered by thermal annealing.

Concepts: Layer, Differential geometry, Friction, Electrical resistance, Resistivity, Annealing, Sheet resistance, Skin effect


Unipolar resistance switching (RS) in TiO2 thin films originates from the repeated formation and rupture of the Magnéli phase conducting filaments through repeated nano-scale phase transitions. By applying the Johnson-Mehl-Avrami (JMA) type kinetic model to the careful analysis on the evolution of transient current in a pulse-switching, it was possible to elucidate the material specific evolution of the Magnéli phase filament. This methodology was applied to the two types of TiO2 films grown by plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition (PEALD) and sputtering. These two samples have structurally and electrically distinctive properties: PEALD film exhibited high variability in switching parameters and required an electroforming while sputtered film showed higher uniformity without distinct electroforming process. The JMA-type kinetic analysis of the RS behaviors revealed that the rejuvenation of the filament is accomplished by repeated one-dimensional nucleation followed by a two-dimensional growth in PEALD samples, whereas one-dimensional nucleation-free mechanism dominates in sputtered films.

Concepts: Layer, Manifold, Chemical vapor deposition, Thin film, Spinodal decomposition, Crystal growth, Sputtering, Self-cleaning glass


The UV-to-visible rejection ratio is one of the important figure of merits of GaN-based UV photodetectors. For cost-effectiveness and large-scale fabrication of GaN devices, we tried to grow a GaN epitaxial layer on silicon substrate with complicated buffer layers for a stress-release. It is known that the structure of the buffer layers affects the performance of devices fabricated on the GaN epitaxial layers. In this study, we show that the design of a buffer layer structure can make effect on the UV-to-visible rejection ratio of GaN UV photodetectors. The GaN photodetector fabricated on GaN-on-silicon substrate with a step-graded AlxGa-xN buffer layer has a highly-selective photoresponse at 365-nm wavelength. The UV-to-visible rejection ratio of the GaN UV photodetector with the step-graded AlxGa1-xN buffer layer was an order-of-magnitude higher than that of a photodetector with a conventional GaN/AlN multi buffer layer. The maximum photoresponsivity was as high as 5 × 10(-)² A/W. This result implies that the design of buffer layer is important for photoresponse characteristics of GaN UV photodetectors as well as the crystal quality of the GaN epitaxial layers.

Concepts: Ultraviolet, Effect, Electromagnetic radiation, Layer, Epitaxy, OSI model, Gallium nitride, Photodetector


Many chameleons, and panther chameleons in particular, have the remarkable ability to exhibit complex and rapid colour changes during social interactions such as male contests or courtship. It is generally interpreted that these changes are due to dispersion/aggregation of pigment-containing organelles within dermal chromatophores. Here, combining microscopy, photometric videography and photonic band-gap modelling, we show that chameleons shift colour through active tuning of a lattice of guanine nanocrystals within a superficial thick layer of dermal iridophores. In addition, we show that a deeper population of iridophores with larger crystals reflects a substantial proportion of sunlight especially in the near-infrared range. The organization of iridophores into two superposed layers constitutes an evolutionary novelty for chameleons, which allows some species to combine efficient camouflage with spectacular display, while potentially providing passive thermal protection.

Concepts: Biology, Sun, Sociology, Layer, Change, Photonic crystal, Camouflage, Chromatophore


Crossbar resistive switching devices down to 40 × 40 nm(2) in size comprising 3-nm-thick HfO2 layers are forming-free and exhibit up to 10(5) switching cycles. Four-nanometer-thick devices display the ability of gradual switching in both directions, thus emulating long-term potentiation/depression properties akin to biological synapses. Both forming-free and gradual switching properties are modeled in terms of oxygen vacancy generation in an ultrathin HfO2 layer. By applying the voltage pulses to the opposite electrodes of nanodevices with the shape emulating spikes in biological neurons, spike-timing-dependent plasticity functionality is demonstrated. Thus, the fabricated memristors in crossbar geometry are promising candidates for hardware implementation of hybrid CMOS-neuron/memristor-synapse neural networks.

Concepts: Nervous system, Neuron, Brain, Synapse, Layer, Neural network, Memristor, Crossbar latch


Layered ice deposits at the poles of Mars record a detailed history of accumulation and erosion related to climate processes. Radar investigations measure these layers and provide evidence for climate changes such as ice advance and retreat. We present a detailed analysis of observational data showing that ~87,000 cubic kilometers of ice have accumulated at the poles since the end of the last ice age ~370,000 years ago; this volume is equivalent to a global layer of ~60 centimeters. The majority of the material accumulated at the north pole. These results provide both a means to understand the accumulation history of the polar deposits as related to orbital Milankovitch cycles and constraints for better determination of Mars' past and future climates.

Concepts: Earth, Layer, Arctic Ocean, Poles, North Pole, Latitude, Interglacial, Milankovitch cycles


Orientated focal cross-linking can be used to generate surface anisotropy, improve material stiffness and layer integration for the production of a stable 3D construct. Riboflavin (0.25mM) diffusion into plastically compressed (PC) collagen gel was assessed by measuring the diffusion depth of riboflavin with time. The dynamic force analyser was used for peel force testing for interlayer cross-linking and material stiffness in perpendicular axis after orientated/topical cross-linking. One minute riboflavin diffusion time on either surface will saturate >12% of the collagen gel. Bonding strength doubled between PC collagen gel layers with a 5min increase in cross-linking time (between 4 and 9min) and break stress was increased significantly after cross-linking. Importantly, mechanical anisotropy was introduced in the break stress using orientated stripes of riboflavin in cross-linking, almost doubling the break stress parallel to the stripes. Limited riboflavin penetration in 1min means that surface photo-dynamic cross-linking will enhance deep cell survival within the gel. Riboflavin mediated focal/orientated cross-linking generated new predictable anisotropy at the construct. The increase in bonding strength between layers after cross-linking enhances layer integration and graded surface stiffness will impact on cellular/mechanical properties of compressed gels.

Concepts: Layer, Force, Materials science, Classical mechanics, Young's modulus, Gel, Gelatin


The diatomite dynamic membrane (DDM) was utilized to dewater Chlorella pyrenoidosa of 2g dry weight/L under continuous-flow mode, whose ultimate algae concentration ranged from 43g to 22g dry weight/L of different culture time. The stable flux of DDM could reach 30L/m(2)h over a 24h operation time without backwash. Influences of extracellular organic matters (EOM) on filtration behavior and membrane fouling were studied. The DDM was divided into three sub-layers, the slime layer, the algae layer and the diatomite layer from the outside to the inside of the cake layer based on components and morphologies. It was found that EOM caused membrane fouling by accumulating in the slime and algae layers. The DDM intercepted polysaccharides, protein-like substances, humic-like substances and some low-MW organics. Proteins were indicated the major membrane foulants with increased protein/polysaccharide ratio from the slime layer to the diatomite layer as culture time increased. This method could be applied to subsequent treatment of microalgae coupling technology of wastewater treatment or microalgae harvesting for producing biofuel.

Concepts: Algae, Bacteria, Cell membrane, Layer, Cellulose, Organic matter, Chlorella, Chlorella pyrenoidosa