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

Concept: Phase


Optical microscopy is one of the most contributive tools for cell biology in the past decades. Many microscopic techniques with various functions have been developed to date, i.e., phase contrast microscopy, differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy, confocal microscopy, two photon microscopy, superresolution microscopy, etc. However, person who is in charge of an experiment has to select one of the several microscopic techniques to achieve an experimental goal, which makes the biological assay time-consuming and expensive. To solve this problem, we have developed a microscopic system with various functions in one instrument based on the optical Fourier transformation with a lens system for detection while focusing on applicability and user-friendliness for biology. The present instrument can arbitrarily modulate the pupil function with a micro mirror array on the Fourier plane of the optical pathway for detection. We named the present instrument DiMPS (Distinct optical Modulated Pupil function System). The DiMPS is compatible with conventional fluorescent probes and illumination equipment, and gives us a Fourier-filtered image, a pseudo-relief image, and a deep focus depth. Furthermore, DiMPS achieved a resolution enhancement (pseudo-superresolution) of 110 nm through the subtraction of two images whose pupil functions are independently modulated. In maximum, the spatial and temporal resolution was improved to 120 nm and 2 ms, respectively. Since the DiMPS is based on relay optics, it can be easily combined with another microscopic instrument such as confocal microscope, and provides a method for multi-color pseudo-superresolution. Thus, the DiMPS shows great promise as a flexible optical microscopy technique in biological research fields.

Concepts: Cell, Biology, Optics, Microscope, Phase, Microscopy, Confocal microscopy, Fourier series


We utilized an in vitro adult mouse extensor digitorum longus (EDL) nerve-attached preparation to characterize the responses of muscle spindle afferents to ramp-and-hold stretch and sinusoidal vibratory stimuli. Responses were measured at both room (24°C) and muscle body temperature (34°C). Muscle spindle afferent static firing frequencies increased linearly in response to increasing stretch lengths to accurately encode the magnitude of muscle stretch (tested at 2.5%, 5% and 7.5% of resting length [Lo]). Peak firing frequency increased with ramp speeds (20% Lo/sec, 40% Lo/sec, and 60% Lo/sec). As a population, muscle spindle afferents could entrain 1:1 to sinusoidal vibrations throughout the frequency (10-100 Hz) and amplitude ranges tested (5-100 µm). Most units preferentially entrained to vibration frequencies close to their baseline steady-state firing frequencies. Cooling the muscle to 24°C decreased baseline firing frequency and units correspondingly entrained to slower frequency vibrations. The ramp component of stretch generated dynamic firing responses. These responses and related measures of dynamic sensitivity were not able to categorize units as primary (group Ia) or secondary (group II) even when tested with more extreme length changes (10% Lo). We conclude that the population of spindle afferents combines to encode stretch in a smoothly graded manner over the physiological range of lengths and speeds tested. Overall, spindle afferent response properties were comparable to those seen in other species, supporting subsequent use of the mouse genetic model system for studies on spindle function and dysfunction in an isolated muscle-nerve preparation.

Concepts: Wave, Phase, Frequency, Hertz, Wavelength, Extensor digitorum muscle, Muscle spindle, Vibration


This paper is a theoretical analysis of mirror tilt in a Michelson interferometer and its effect on the radiant flux over the active area of a rectangular photodetector or image sensor pixel. It is relevant to sensor applications using homodyne interferometry where these opto-electronic devices are employed for partial fringe counting. Formulas are derived for radiant flux across the detector for variable location within the fringe pattern and with varying wave front angle. The results indicate that the flux is a damped sine function of the wave front angle, with a decay constant of the ratio of wavelength to detector width. The modulation amplitude of the dynamic fringe pattern reduces to zero at wave front angles that are an integer multiple of this ratio and the results show that the polarity of the radiant flux changes exclusively at these multiples. Varying tilt angle causes radiant flux oscillations under an envelope curve, the frequency of which is dependent on the location of the detector with the fringe pattern. It is also shown that a fringe count of zero can be obtained for specific photodetector locations and wave front angles where the combined effect of fringe contraction and fringe tilt can have equal and opposite effects. Fringe tilt as a result of a wave front angle of 0.05° can introduce a phase measurement difference of 16° between a photodetector/pixel located 20 mm and one located 100 mm from the optical origin.

Concepts: Optics, Ratio, Wave, Phase, Wavelength, Periodic function, Michelson interferometer, Active pixel sensor


A new gait phase detection system for continuous monitoring based on wireless sensorized insoles is presented. The system can be used in gait analysis mobile applications, and it is designed for real-time demarcation of gait phases. The system employs pressure sensors to assess the force exerted by each foot during walking. A fuzzy rule-based inference algorithm is implemented on a smartphone and used to detect each of the gait phases based on the sensor signals. Additionally, to provide a solution that is insensitive to perturbations caused by non-walking activities, a probabilistic classifier is employed to discriminate walking forward from other low-level activities, such as turning, walking backwards, lateral walking, etc. The combination of these two algorithms constitutes the first approach towards a continuous gait assessment system, by means of the avoidance of non-walking influences.

Concepts: Algorithm, Assessment, Phase, Transducer, Personal digital assistant, Sensor, Sensors, Locomotion


The real-world experiences of young athletes follow a non-linear and dynamic trajectory and there is growing recognition that facing and overcoming a degree of challenge is desirable for aspiring elites and as such, should be recognized and employed. However, there are some misunderstandings of this “talent needs trauma” perspective with some research focusing excessively or incorrectly on the incidence of life and sport challenge as a feature of effective talent development. The objective of the study was to examine what factors associated with such “trauma” experiences may or may not discriminate between high, medium, and low achievers in sport, classified as super-champions, champions or almosts. A series of retrospective interviews were used with matched triads (i.e., super-champions, champions, or almosts) of performers (N = 54) from different sports. Data collection was organized in three phases. In the first phase, a graphic time line of each performer’s career was developed. The second phase explored the specific issues highlighted by each participant in a chronological sequence. The third phase was a retrospective reflection on “traumatic” motivators, coach/significant other inputs and psychological challenges experienced and skills employed. Data suggested qualitative differences between categories of performers, relating to several perceptual and experiential features of their development. No evidence was found for the necessity of major trauma as a feature of development. There was a lack of discrimination across categories of performers associated with the incidence of trauma and, more particularly, life or non-sport trauma. These findings suggest that differences between levels of adult achievement relate more to what performers bring to the challenges than what they experience. A periodized and progressive set of challenge, preceded and associated with specific skill development, would seem to offer the best pathway to success for the majority.

Concepts: Psychology, Retrospective, Experience, Phase, Suggestion, Discrimination, Challenge, The Rocky Road


The ability of surface acoustic waves to trap and manipulate micrometer-scale particles and biological cells has led to many applications involving “acoustic tweezers” in biology, chemistry, engineering, and medicine. Here, we present 3D acoustic tweezers, which use surface acoustic waves to create 3D trapping nodes for the capture and manipulation of microparticles and cells along three mutually orthogonal axes. In this method, we use standing-wave phase shifts to move particles or cells in-plane, whereas the amplitude of acoustic vibrations is used to control particle motion along an orthogonal plane. We demonstrate, through controlled experiments guided by simulations, how acoustic vibrations result in micromanipulations in a microfluidic chamber by invoking physical principles that underlie the formation and regulation of complex, volumetric trapping nodes of particles and biological cells. We further show how 3D acoustic tweezers can be used to pick up, translate, and print single cells and cell assemblies to create 2D and 3D structures in a precise, noninvasive, label-free, and contact-free manner.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Organism, Cell biology, Wave, Phase, Standing wave, Cell theory


We derive two principal components (PCs) of temporal magnetic field variations over the solar cycles 21-24 from full disk magnetograms covering about 39% of data variance, with σ = 0.67. These PCs are attributed to two main magnetic waves travelling from the opposite hemispheres with close frequencies and increasing phase shift. Using symbolic regeression analysis we also derive mathematical formulae for these waves and calculate their summary curve which we show is linked to solar activity index. Extrapolation of the PCs backward for 800 years reveals the two 350-year grand cycles superimposed on 22 year-cycles with the features showing a remarkable resemblance to sunspot activity reported in the past including the Maunder and Dalton minimum. The summary curve calculated for the next millennium predicts further three grand cycles with the closest grand minimum occurring in the forthcoming cycles 26-27 with the two magnetic field waves separating into the opposite hemispheres leading to strongly reduced solar activity. These grand cycle variations are probed by α - Ω dynamo model with meridional circulation. Dynamo waves are found generated with close frequencies whose interaction leads to beating effects responsible for the grand cycles (350-400 years) superimposed on a standard 22 year cycle. This approach opens a new era in investigation and confident prediction of solar activity on a millenium timescale.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Mathematics, Sun, Electric current, Principal component analysis, Phase, Sunspot, Solar cycle


Acoustic holographic rendering in complete analogy with optical holography are useful for various applications, ranging from multi-focal lensing, multiplexed sensing and synthesizing three-dimensional complex sound fields. Conventional approaches rely on a large number of active transducers and phase shifting circuits. In this paper we show that by using passive metamaterials as subwavelength pixels, holographic rendering can be achieved without cumbersome circuitry and with only a single transducer, thus significantly reducing system complexity. Such metamaterial-based holograms can serve as versatile platforms for various advanced acoustic wave manipulation and signal modulation, leading to new possibilities in acoustic sensing, energy deposition and medical diagnostic imaging.

Concepts: Diffraction, Optics, Physics, Coherence, Wave, Phase, Modulation, Holography


Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) is a powerful tool to investigate the functional role of neural circuits and may provide a means to restore sensation for patients for whom peripheral stimulation is not an option. In a series of psychophysical experiments with nonhuman primates, we investigate how stimulation parameters affect behavioral sensitivity to ICMS. Specifically, we deliver ICMS to primary somatosensory cortex through chronically implanted electrode arrays across a wide range of stimulation regimes. First, we investigate how the detectability of ICMS depends on stimulation parameters, including pulse width, frequency, amplitude, and pulse train duration. Then, we characterize the degree to which ICMS pulse trains that differ in amplitude lead to discriminable percepts across the range of perceptible and safe amplitudes. We also investigate how discriminability of pulse amplitude is modulated by other stimulation parameters-namely, frequency and duration. Perceptual judgments obtained across these various conditions will inform the design of stimulation regimes for neuroscience and neuroengineering applications.

Concepts: Psychology, Perception, Sense, Somatosensory system, Primate, Phase, Wavelength, Somatosensory cortex


Many biophotonic structures have their spectral properties of reflection ‘tuned’ using the (zeroth-order) Bragg criteria for phase constructive interference. This is associated with a periodicity, or distribution of periodicities, parallel to the direction of illumination. The polarization properties of these reflections are, however, typically constrained by the dimensional symmetry and intrinsic dielectric properties of the biological materials. Here we report a linearly polarizing reflector in a stomatopod crustacean that consists of 6-8 layers of hollow, ovoid vesicles with principal axes of ~550 nm, ~250 nm and ~150 nm. The reflection of unpolarized normally incident light is blue/green in colour with maximum reflectance wavelength of 520 nm and a degree of polarization greater than 0.6 over most of the visible spectrum. We demonstrate that the polarizing reflection can be explained by a resonant coupling with the first-order, in-plane, Bragg harmonics. These harmonics are associated with a distribution of periodicities perpendicular to the direction of illumination, and, due to the shape-anisotropy of the vesicles, are different for each linear polarization mode. This control and tuning of the polarization of the reflection using shape-anisotropic hollow scatterers is unlike any optical structure previously described and could provide a new design pathway for polarization-tunability in man-made photonic devices.

Concepts: Optics, Fundamental physics concepts, Light, Electromagnetic radiation, Phase, Polarization, Birefringence