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Concept: Specific heat capacity


The superconductor-insulator transition (SIT) is considered an excellent example of a quantum phase transition that is driven by quantum fluctuations at zero temperature. The quantum critical point is characterized by a diverging correlation length and a vanishing energy scale. Low-energy fluctuations near quantum criticality may be experimentally detected by specific heat, cp, measurements. Here we use a unique highly sensitive experiment to measure cp of two-dimensional granular Pb films through the SIT. The specific heat shows the usual jump at the mean field superconducting transition temperature marking the onset of Cooper pairs formation. As the film thickness is tuned towards the SIT, is relatively unchanged, while the magnitude of the jump and low-temperature specific heat increase significantly. This behaviour is taken as the thermodynamic fingerprint of quantum criticality in the vicinity of a quantum phase transition.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Fundamental physics concepts, Condensed matter physics, Thermodynamics, Heat, Superconductivity, Specific heat capacity, Quantum phases


A molecular diagnostic assay utilizing reverse transcription-recombinase polymerase amplification (RT-RPA) at an isothermal constant temperature of 39°C and target-specific primers and probe were developed for the rapid, sensitive, and specific detection of tomato chlorotic dwarf viroid (TCDVd) in infected leaf and seed tissues. The performance of the AmplifyRP(®) Acceler8™ RT-RPA diagnostic assay, utilizing a lateral flow strip contained within an amplicon detection chamber, was evaluated and the results were compared with a standard RT-PCR assay. The AmplifyRP(®) Acceler8™ assay was specific for TCDVd in leaf and seed tissues, its sensitivity was comparable to conventional RT-PCR in leaf tissues, and it does not require extensive sample purification, specialized equipment, or technical expertise. This is the first report utilizing an RT-RPA assay to detect viroids and the assay can be used both in the laboratory and in the field for TCDVd detection.

Concepts: Specific heat capacity, Intensive and extensive properties, Viroid, Viroids


Prostate cancer (PC) relative risks (RRs) are typically estimated based on status of close relatives or presence of any affected relatives. This study provides RR estimates using extensive and specific PC family history.

Concepts: Family, Cancer, Metastasis, Prostate cancer, Physical quantities, Intrinsic and extrinsic properties, Specific heat capacity, Intensive and extensive properties


The decline of habitat for elephants due to expanding human activity is a serious conservation problem. This has continuously escalated the human-elephant conflict in Africa and Asia. Elephants make extensive use of powerful infrasonic calls (rumbles) that travel distances of up to several kilometers. This makes elephants well-suited for acoustic monitoring because it enables detecting elephants even if they are out of sight. In sight, their distinct visual appearance makes them a good candidate for visual monitoring. We provide an integrated overview of our interdisciplinary project that established the scientific fundamentals for a future early warning and monitoring system for humans who regularly experience serious conflict with elephants. We first draw the big picture of an early warning and monitoring system, then review the developed solutions for automatic acoustic and visual detection, discuss specific challenges and present open future work necessary to build a robust and reliable early warning and monitoring system that is able to operate in situ.

Concepts: Human, Carcinoma in situ, Africa, Acoustics, In situ, Elephant, Specific heat capacity, Infrasound


Lithium metal is a promising anode material for Li-ion batteries due to its high theoretical specific capacity and low potential. The growth of dendrites is a major barrier to the development of high capacity, rechargeable Li batteries with lithium metal anodes, and hence, significant efforts have been undertaken to develop new electrolytes and separator materials that can prevent this process or promote smooth deposits at the anode. Central to these goals, and to the task of understanding the conditions that initiate and propagate dendrite growth, is the development of analytical and nondestructive techniques that can be applied in situ to functioning batteries. MRI has recently been demonstrated to provide noninvasive imaging methodology that can detect and localize microstructure buildup. However, until now, monitoring dendrite growth by MRI has been limited to observing the relatively insensitive metal nucleus directly, thus restricting the temporal and spatial resolution and requiring special hardware and acquisition modes. Here, we present an alternative approach to detect a broad class of metallic dendrite growth via the dendrites' indirect effects on the surrounding electrolyte, allowing for the application of fast 3D (1)H MRI experiments with high resolution. We use these experiments to reconstruct 3D images of growing Li dendrites from MRI, revealing details about the growth rate and fractal behavior. Radiofrequency and static magnetic field calculations are used alongside the images to quantify the amount of the growing structures.

Concepts: Electrochemistry, Metal, Potassium, Battery, Electrolysis, Lithium-ion battery, Lithium, Specific heat capacity


Lithium-sulfur batteries (Li-S batteries) have attracted intense interest because of their high specific capacity and low cost, although they are still hindered by severe capacity loss upon cycling caused by the soluble lithium polysulfide intermediates. Although many structure innovations at the material and device levels have been explored for the ultimate goal of realizing long cycle life of Li-S batteries, it remains a major challenge to achieve stable cycling while avoiding energy and power density compromises caused by the introduction of significant dead weight/volume and increased electrochemical resistance. Here we introduce an ultrathin composite film consisting of naphthalimide-functionalized poly(amidoamine) dendrimers and graphene oxide nanosheets as a cycling stabilizer. Combining the dendrimer structure that can confine polysulfide intermediates chemically and physically together with the graphene oxide that renders the film robust and thin (<1% of the thickness of the active sulfur layer), the composite film is designed to enable stable cycling of sulfur cathodes without compromising the energy and power densities. Our sulfur electrodes coated with the composite film exhibit very good cycling stability, together with high sulfur content, large areal capacity, and improved power rate.

Concepts: Density, Electrochemistry, Supramolecular chemistry, Rechargeable battery, Introduction, Specific heat capacity, Specific weight, Polysulfide


The rise of large-scale recordings of neuronal activity has fueled the hope to gain new insights into the collective activity of neural ensembles. How can one link the statistics of neural population activity to underlying principles and theories? One attempt to interpret such data builds upon analogies to the behaviour of collective systems in statistical physics. Divergence of the specific heat-a measure of population statistics derived from thermodynamics-has been used to suggest that neural populations are optimized to operate at a “critical point”. However, these findings have been challenged by theoretical studies which have shown that common inputs can lead to diverging specific heat. Here, we connect “signatures of criticality”, and in particular the divergence of specific heat, back to statistics of neural population activity commonly studied in neural coding: firing rates and pairwise correlations. We show that the specific heat diverges whenever the average correlation strength does not depend on population size. This is necessarily true when data with correlations is randomly subsampled during the analysis process, irrespective of the detailed structure or origin of correlations. We also show how the characteristic shape of specific heat capacity curves depends on firing rates and correlations, using both analytically tractable models and numerical simulations of a canonical feed-forward population model. To analyze these simulations, we develop efficient methods for characterizing large-scale neural population activity with maximum entropy models. We find that, consistent with experimental findings, increases in firing rates and correlation directly lead to more pronounced signatures. Thus, previous reports of thermodynamical criticality in neural populations based on the analysis of specific heat can be explained by average firing rates and correlations, and are not indicative of an optimized coding strategy. We conclude that a reliable interpretation of statistical tests for theories of neural coding is possible only in reference to relevant ground-truth models.

Concepts: Statistics, Fundamental physics concepts, Population, Thermodynamics, Heat, Heat equation, Specific heat capacity, Thermal mass


Water exists as two nuclear-spin isomers, para and ortho, determined by the overall spin of its two hydrogen nuclei. For isolated water molecules, the conversion between these isomers is forbidden and they act as different molecular species. Yet, these species are not readily separated, and no pure para sample has been produced. Accordingly, little is known about their specific physical and chemical properties, conversion mechanisms, or interactions. The production of isolated samples of both spin isomers is demonstrated in pure beams of para and ortho water in their respective absolute ground state. These single-quantum-state samples are ideal targets for unraveling spin-conversion mechanisms, for precision spectroscopy and fundamental symmetry-breaking studies, and for spin-enhanced applications, for example laboratory astrophysics and astrochemistry or hypersensitized NMR experiments.

Concepts: Water, Hydrogen, Proton, Molecule, Chemistry, Atom, Chemical bond, Specific heat capacity


Using THz spectroscopy we were able to probe changes that occur in the hydrogen bond network dynamics upon solvation of alcohol chains. The THz spectra can be decomposed into the spectrum of bulk water, tetrahedral hydration water, and more disordered (or interstitial) hydration water. The tetrahedrally-ordered hydration water exhibits a band at 195 cm-1 and is localized around the hydrophobic moiety. The interstitial component yields a band at 164 cm-1 and is associated with hydration water in the first hydration shell. Temperature dependent changes in the low frequency spectrum of solvated alcohol chains can be correlated with changes of heat capacity, entropy, and free energy upon solvation. Surprisingly, not the tetrahedrally-ordered component but the interstitial hydration water is found to be mainly responsible for the temperature-dependent change in ΔCp and ΔG. The solute specific offset in free energy is attributed to void formation and scales linearly with the chain length.

Concepts: Energy, Fundamental physics concepts, Temperature, Thermodynamics, Heat, Entropy, Conservation of energy, Specific heat capacity


Extensive research has been undertaken over the last 30 years on the methods underpinning clinical practice guidelines (CPGs), including their development, updating, reporting, tailoring for specific purposes, implementation and evaluation. This has resulted in an increasing number of terms, tools and acronyms. Over time, CPGs have shifted from opinion-based to evidence-informed, including increasingly sophisticated methodologies and implementation strategies, and thus keeping abreast of evolution in this field of research can be challenging.

Concepts: Clinical trial, The Current, Specific heat capacity