ResearchPad - insulators Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Multipurpose chemical liquid sensing applications by microwave approach]]> In this work, a novel sensor based on printed circuit board (PCB) microstrip rectangular patch antenna is proposed to detect different ratios of ethanol alcohol in wines and isopropyl alcohol in disinfectants. The proposed sensor was designed by finite integration technique (FIT) based high-frequency electromagnetic solver (CST) and was fabricated by Proto Mat E33 machine. To implement the numerical investigations, dielectric properties of the samples were first measured by a dielectric probe kit then uploaded into the simulation program. Results showed a linear shifting in the resonant frequency of the sensor when the dielectric constant of the samples were changed due to different concentrations of ethanol alcohol and isopropyl alcohol. A good agreement was observed between the calculated and measured results, emphasizing the usability of dielectric behavior as an input sensing agent. It was concluded that the proposed sensor is viable for multipurpose chemical sensing applications.

<![CDATA[Study on dielectric properties of high organic sulfur coking coal and modeling sulfur compounds]]>

Coking coal is geologically scarce resource and most of them cannot be directly used in steel making due to their higher sulfur content. One desulfurization method that has great potential for massive application is microwave desulfurization, which removes the relatively stubborn organic sulfur under mild conditions. The dielectric properties of coals determine the efficiency of the microwave energy absorption. The key to describing the mechanism of microwave desulfurization and further improvement of the desulfurization efficiency is the dielectric response of organic sulfur compounds in coal to microwave. This study focuses on existing formand microwave response of organic sulfur components of three typical coking coal in China. Resultsshowed that the major organic sulfur in selected coals is thiophene which has a stable structure and is the most difficult to be removed. Several dielectric peaks (dielectric loss)andsignificant differencesofeach selected coal samples are observed. The microwave absorption peaks of the model sulfur compounds are identified to be within 9-11GHz. The real parts of the relative dielectric constants (hereinafter referred to as ε′) shows a decreasing trend as: diphenyl sulfoxide > diphenyl sulfone > diphenyl sulfide > dibenzothiophene > Octadecane thiol. Response to microwaveare observed to be distinctively different between sulfur-containing and sulfur-free model compounds. The dielectric polarization of mixture (coal mixed with model sulfur compounds) is greater than pure coal. Meanwhile the higher the sulfur content of the coal, the greater the ε′ is. Sulfur componentsin coal can significantly influence its polarization.

<![CDATA[Characterization of In-Body to On-Body Wireless Radio Frequency Link for Upper Limb Prostheses]]>

Wireless implanted devices can be used to interface patients with disabilities with the aim of restoring impaired motor functions. Implanted devices that record and transmit electromyographic (EMG) signals have been applied for the control of active prostheses. This simulation study investigates the propagation losses and the absorption rate of a wireless radio frequency link for in-to-on body communication in the medical implant communication service (MICS) frequency band to control myoelectric upper limb prostheses. The implanted antenna is selected and a suitable external antenna is designed. The characterization of both antennas is done by numerical simulations. A heterogeneous 3D body model and a 3D electromagnetic solver have been used to model the path loss and to characterize the specific absorption rate (SAR). The path loss parameters were extracted and the SAR was characterized, verifying the compliance with the guideline limits. The path loss model has been also used for a preliminary link budget analysis to determine the feasibility of such system compliant with the IEEE 802.15.6 standard. The resulting link margin of 11 dB confirms the feasibility of the system proposed.

<![CDATA[Impact of tumor position, conductivity distribution and tissue homogeneity on the distribution of tumor treating fields in a human brain: A computer modeling study]]>


Tumor treating fields (TTFields) are increasingly used in the treatment of glioblastoma. TTFields inhibit cancer growth through induction of alternating electrical fields. To optimize TTFields efficacy, it is necessary to understand the factors determining the strength and distribution of TTFields. In this study, we provide simple guiding principles for clinicians to assess the distribution and the local efficacy of TTFields in various clinical scenarios.


We calculated the TTFields distribution using finite element methods applied to a realistic head model. Dielectric property estimates were taken from the literature. Twentyfour tumors were virtually introduced at locations systematically varied relative to the applied field. In addition, we investigated the impact of central tumor necrosis on the induced field.


Local field “hot spots” occurred at the sulcal fundi and in deep tumors embedded in white matter. The field strength was not higher for tumors close to the active electrode. Left/right field directions were generally superior to anterior/posterior directions. Central necrosis focally enhanced the field near tumor boundaries perpendicular to the applied field and introduced significant field non-uniformity within the tumor.


The TTFields distribution is largely determined by local conductivity differences. The well conducting tumor tissue creates a preferred pathway for current flow, which increases the field intensity in the tumor boundaries and surrounding regions perpendicular to the applied field. The cerebrospinal fluid plays a significant role in shaping the current pathways and funnels currents through the ventricles and sulci towards deeper regions, which thereby experience higher fields. Clinicians may apply these principles to better understand how TTFields will affect individual patients and possibly predict where local recurrence may occur. Accurate predictions should, however, be based on patient specific models. Future work is needed to assess the robustness of the presented results towards variations in conductivity.

<![CDATA[Universality of the emergent scaling in finite random binary percolation networks]]>

In this paper we apply lattice models of finite binary percolation networks to examine the effects of network configuration on macroscopic network responses. We consider both square and rectangular lattice structures in which bonds between nodes are randomly assigned to be either resistors or capacitors. Results show that for given network geometries, the overall normalised frequency-dependent electrical conductivities for different capacitor proportions are found to converge at a characteristic frequency. Networks with sufficiently large size tend to share the same convergence point uninfluenced by the boundary and electrode conditions, can be then regarded as homogeneous media. For these networks, the span of the emergent scaling region is found to be primarily determined by the smaller network dimension (width or length). This study identifies the applicability of power-law scaling in random two phase systems of different topological configurations. This understanding has implications in the design and testing of disordered systems in diverse applications.

<![CDATA[Reducing DNA context dependence in bacterial promoters]]>

Variation in the DNA sequence upstream of bacterial promoters is known to affect the expression levels of the products they regulate, sometimes dramatically. While neutral synthetic insulator sequences have been found to buffer promoters from upstream DNA context, there are no established methods for designing effective insulator sequences with predictable effects on expression levels. We address this problem with Degenerate Insulation Screening (DIS), a novel method based on a randomized 36-nucleotide insulator library and a simple, high-throughput, flow-cytometry-based screen that randomly samples from a library of 436 potential insulated promoters. The results of this screen can then be compared against a reference uninsulated device to select a set of insulated promoters providing a precise level of expression. We verify this method by insulating the constitutive, inducible, and repressible promotors of a four transcriptional-unit inverter (NOT-gate) circuit, finding both that order dependence is largely eliminated by insulation and that circuit performance is also significantly improved, with a 5.8-fold mean improvement in on/off ratio.

<![CDATA[Towards a critical evaluation of an empirical and volume-based solvation function for ligand docking]]>

Molecular docking is an important tool for the discovery of new biologically active molecules given that the receptor structure is known. An excellent environment for the development of new methods and improvement of the current methods is being provided by the rapid growth in the number of proteins with known structure. The evaluation of the solvation energies outstands among the challenges for the modeling of the receptor-ligand interactions, especially in the context of molecular docking where a fast, though accurate, evaluation is ought to be achieved. Here we evaluated a variation of the desolvation energy model proposed by Stouten (Stouten P.F.W. et al, Molecular Simulation, 1993, 10: 97–120), or SV model. The SV model showed a linear correlation with experimentally determined solvation energies, as available in the database FreeSolv. However, when used in retrospective docking simulations using the benchmarks DUD, charged-matched DUD and DUD-Enhanced, the SV model resulted in poorer enrichments when compared to a pure force field model with no correction for solvation effects. The data provided here is consistent with other empirical solvation models employed in the context of molecular docking and indicates that a good model to account for solvent effects is still a goal to achieve. On the other hand, despite the inability to improve the enrichment of retrospective simulations, the SV solvation model showed an interesting ability to reduce the number of molecules with net charge -2 and -3 e among the top-scored molecules in a prospective test.

<![CDATA[The Drosophila speciation factor HMR localizes to genomic insulator sites]]>

Hybrid incompatibility between Drosophila melanogaster and D. simulans is caused by a lethal interaction of the proteins encoded by the Hmr and Lhr genes. In D. melanogaster the loss of HMR results in mitotic defects, an increase in transcription of transposable elements and a deregulation of heterochromatic genes. To better understand the molecular mechanisms that mediate HMR’s function, we measured genome-wide localization of HMR in D. melanogaster tissue culture cells by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Interestingly, we find HMR localizing to genomic insulator sites that can be classified into two groups. One group belongs to gypsy insulators and another one borders HP1a bound regions at active genes. The transcription of the latter group genes is strongly affected in larvae and ovaries of Hmr mutant flies. Our data suggest a novel link between HMR and insulator proteins, a finding that implicates a potential role for genome organization in the formation of species.

<![CDATA[The influence of lightning induced voltage on the distribution power line polymer insulators]]>

Protection of medium voltage (MV) overhead lines against the indirect effects of lightning is an important issue in Malaysia and other tropical countries. Protection of these lines against the indirect effects of lightning is a major concern and can be improved by several ways. The choice of insulator to be used for instance, between the glass, ceramic or polymer, can help to improve the line performance from the perspective of increasing the breakdown strength. In this paper, the electrical performance of a 10 kV polymer insulator under different conditions for impulse, weather and insulator angle with respect to a cross-arm were studied (both experimental and modelling) and the results were discussed accordingly. Results show that the weather and insulator angle (with respect to the cross-arm) are surprisingly influenced the values of breakdown voltage and leakage current for both negative and positive impulses. Therefore, in order to select a proper protection system for MV lines against lightning induced voltage, consideration of the local information concerning the weather and also the insulator angles with respect to the cross-arm are very useful for line stability and performance.

<![CDATA[Genome-Wide Mapping Targets of the Metazoan Chromatin Remodeling Factor NURF Reveals Nucleosome Remodeling at Enhancers, Core Promoters and Gene Insulators]]>

NURF is a conserved higher eukaryotic ISWI-containing chromatin remodeling complex that catalyzes ATP-dependent nucleosome sliding. By sliding nucleosomes, NURF is able to alter chromatin dynamics to control transcription and genome organization. Previous biochemical and genetic analysis of the specificity-subunit of Drosophila NURF (Nurf301/Enhancer of Bithorax (E(bx)) has defined NURF as a critical regulator of homeotic, heat-shock and steroid-responsive gene transcription. It has been speculated that NURF controls pathway specific transcription by co-operating with sequence-specific transcription factors to remodel chromatin at dedicated enhancers. However, conclusive in vivo demonstration of this is lacking and precise regulatory elements targeted by NURF are poorly defined. To address this, we have generated a comprehensive map of in vivo NURF activity, using MNase-sequencing to determine at base pair resolution NURF target nucleosomes, and ChIP-sequencing to define sites of NURF recruitment. Our data show that, besides anticipated roles at enhancers, NURF interacts physically and functionally with the TRF2/DREF basal transcription factor to organize nucleosomes downstream of active promoters. Moreover, we detect NURF remodeling and recruitment at distal insulator sites, where NURF functionally interacts with and co-localizes with DREF and insulator proteins including CP190 to establish nucleosome-depleted domains. This insulator function of NURF is most apparent at subclasses of insulators that mark the boundaries of chromatin domains, where multiple insulator proteins co-associate. By visualizing the complete repertoire of in vivo NURF chromatin targets, our data provide new insights into how chromatin remodeling can control genome organization and regulatory interactions.

<![CDATA[Computational Identification of Genomic Features That Influence 3D Chromatin Domain Formation]]>

Recent advances in long-range Hi-C contact mapping have revealed the importance of the 3D structure of chromosomes in gene expression. A current challenge is to identify the key molecular drivers of this 3D structure. Several genomic features, such as architectural proteins and functional elements, were shown to be enriched at topological domain borders using classical enrichment tests. Here we propose multiple logistic regression to identify those genomic features that positively or negatively influence domain border establishment or maintenance. The model is flexible, and can account for statistical interactions among multiple genomic features. Using both simulated and real data, we show that our model outperforms enrichment test and non-parametric models, such as random forests, for the identification of genomic features that influence domain borders. Using Drosophila Hi-C data at a very high resolution of 1 kb, our model suggests that, among architectural proteins, BEAF-32 and CP190 are the main positive drivers of 3D domain borders. In humans, our model identifies well-known architectural proteins CTCF and cohesin, as well as ZNF143 and Polycomb group proteins as positive drivers of domain borders. The model also reveals the existence of several negative drivers that counteract the presence of domain borders including P300, RXRA, BCL11A and ELK1.

<![CDATA[Investigation of New Microstrip Bandpass Filter Based on Patch Resonator with Geometrical Fractal Slot]]>

A compact dual-mode microstrip bandpass filter using geometrical slot is presented in this paper. The adopted geometrical slot is based on first iteration of Cantor square fractal curve. This filter has the benefits of possessing narrower and sharper frequency responses as compared to microstrip filters that use single mode resonators and traditional dual-mode square patch resonators. The filter has been modeled and demonstrated by Microwave Office EM simulator designed at a resonant frequency of 2 GHz using a substrate of εr = 10.8 and thickness of h = 1.27 mm. The output simulated results of the proposed filter exhibit 22 dB return loss, 0.1678 dB insertion loss and 12 MHz bandwidth in the passband region. In addition to the narrow band gained, miniaturization properties as well as weakened spurious frequency responses and blocked second harmonic frequency in out of band regions have been acquired. Filter parameters including insertion loss, return loss, bandwidth, coupling coefficient and external quality factor have been compared with different values of perturbation dimension (d). Also, a full comparative study of this filter as compared with traditional square patch filter has been considered.

<![CDATA[Microwave Bandpass Filter Based on Mie-Resonance Extraordinary Transmission]]>

Microwave bandpass filter structure has been designed and fabricated by filling the periodically metallic apertures with dielectric particles. The microwave cannot transmit through the metallic subwavelength apertures. By filling the metallic apertures with dielectric particles, a transmission passband with insertion loss 2 dB appears at the frequency of 10–12 GHz. Both simulated and experimental results show that the passband is induced by the Mie resonance of the dielectric particles. In addition, the passband frequency can be tuned by the size and the permittivity of the dielectric particles. This approach is suitable to fabricate the microwave bandpass filters.

<![CDATA[Magnetoelectric Response in Multiferroic SrFe12O19 Ceramics]]>

We report here realization of ferroelectricity, ferromagnetism and magnetocapacitance effect in singleSrFe12O19ceramic at room temperature. The ceramics demonstrate a saturated polarization hysteresis loop, two nonlinear I-V peaks and large anomaly of dielectric constant near Curie temperature, which confirm the intrinsic ferroelectricity of SrFe12O19 ceramicswith subsequent heat-treatment in O2atmosphere. The remnant polarization of the SrFe12O19 ceramic is estimated to be 103μC/cm2. The ceramic also exhibits strong ferromagnetic characterization, the coercive field and remnant magnetic moment are 6192Oe and 35.8emu/g, respectively. Subsequent annealing SrFe12O19 ceramics in O2 plays a key role on revealing its intrinsic ferroelectricity and improving the ferromagnetism through transforming Fe2+ into Fe3+. By applying a magnetic field, the capacitance demonstrates remarkable change along with B field, the maximum rate of change in ε (Δε(B)/ε(0)) is 1174%, which reflects a giant magnetocapacitance effect in SrFe12O19. XPS and molecular magnetic moment measurements confirmed the transformation of Fe2+ into Fe3+ and removal of oxygen vacancies upon O2 heat treatment. These combined functional responses in SrFe12O19 ceramics opens substantial possibilities for applications in novel electric devices.

<![CDATA[Colorimetric detection of melamine in milk by using gold nanoparticles-based LSPR via optical fibers]]>

A biosensing system with optical fibers is proposed for the colorimetric detection of melamine in liquid milk samples by using the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) of unmodified gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). The biosensing system consists of a broadband light source that covers the spectral range from 200 nm to 1700 nm, an optical attenuator, three types of 600 μm premium optical fibers with SMA905 connectors and a miniature spectrometer with a linear charge coupled device (CCD) array. The biosensing system with optical fibers is low-cost, simple and is well-proven for the detection of melamine. Its working principle is based on the color changes of AuNPs solution from wine-red to blue due to the inter-particle coupling effect that causes the shifts of wavelength and absorbance in LSPR band after the to-be-measured melamine samples were added. Under the optimized conditions, the detection response of the LSPR biosensing system was found to be linear in melamine detection in the concentration range from 0μM to 0.9 μM with a correlation coefficient (R2) 0.99 and a detection limit 33 nM. The experimental results obtained from the established LSPR biosensing system in the actual detection of melamine concentration in liquid milk samples show that this technique is highly specific and sensitive and would have a huge application prospects.

<![CDATA[Cold Atmospheric Plasma, Created at the Tip of an Elongated Flexible Capillary Using Low Electric Current, Can Slow the Progression of Melanoma]]>


Cold Atmospheric Plasma Jet (CAPJ), with ion temperature close to room temperature, has tremendous potential in biomedical engineering, and can potentially offer a therapeutic option that allows cancer cell elimination without damaging healthy tissue. We developed a hand-held flexible device for the delivery of CAPJ to the treatment site, with a modified high-frequency pulse generator operating at a RMS voltage of <1.2 kV and gas flow in the range 0.3–3 l/min. The aims of our study were to characterize the CAPJ emitted from the device, and to evaluate its efficacy in elimination of cancer cells in-vitro and in-vivo.

Methods and Results

The power delivered by CAPJ was measured on a floating or grounded copper target. The power did not drastically change over distances of 0–14 mm, and was not dependent on the targets resistance. Temperature of CAPJ-treated target was 23°-36° C, and was dependent on the voltage applied. Spectroscopy indicated that excited OH- radicals were abundant both on dry and wet targets, placed at different distances from the plasma gun. An in-vitro cell proliferation assay demonstrated that CAPJ treatment of 60 seconds resulted in significant reduction in proliferation of all cancer cell lines tested, and that CAPJ activated medium was toxic to cancer cells. In-vivo, we treated cutaneous melanoma tumors in nude mice. Tumor volume was significantly decreased in CAPJ-treated tumors relatively to controls, and high dose per fraction was more effective than low dose per fraction treatment. Importantly, pathologic examination revealed that normal skin was not harmed by CAPJ treatment.


This preliminary study demonstrates the efficacy of flexible CAPJ delivery system against melanoma progression both in-vitro and in-vivo. It is envisioned that adaptation of CAPJ technology for different kinds of neoplasms use may provide a new modality for the treatment of solid tumors.

<![CDATA[Regulation of the BMP Signaling-Responsive Transcriptional Network in the Drosophila Embryo]]>

The BMP signaling pathway has a conserved role in dorsal-ventral axis patterning during embryonic development. In Drosophila, graded BMP signaling is transduced by the Mad transcription factor and opposed by the Brinker repressor. In this study, using the Drosophila embryo as a model, we combine RNA-seq with Mad and Brinker ChIP-seq to decipher the BMP-responsive transcriptional network underpinning differentiation of the dorsal ectoderm during dorsal-ventral axis patterning. We identify multiple new BMP target genes, including positive and negative regulators of EGF signaling. Manipulation of EGF signaling levels by loss- and gain-of-function studies reveals that EGF signaling negatively regulates embryonic BMP-responsive transcription. Therefore, the BMP gene network has a self-regulating property in that it establishes a balance between its activity and that of the antagonistic EGF signaling pathway to facilitate correct patterning. In terms of BMP-dependent transcription, we identify key roles for the Zelda and Zerknüllt transcription factors in establishing the resulting expression domain, and find widespread binding of insulator proteins to the Mad and Brinker-bound genomic regions. Analysis of embryos lacking the BEAF-32 insulator protein shows reduced transcription of a peak BMP target gene and a reduction in the number of amnioserosa cells, the fate specified by peak BMP signaling. We incorporate our findings into a model for Mad-dependent activation, and discuss its relevance to BMP signal interpretation in vertebrates.

<![CDATA[Role of CTCF in Regulating SLC45A3-ELK4 Chimeric RNA]]>

The chimeric RNA, SLC45A3-ELK4, was found to be a product of cis-splicing between the two adjacent genes (cis-SAGe). Despite the biological and clinical significance of SLC45A3-ELK4, its generating mechanism has not been elucidated. It was shown in one cell line that the binding of transcription factor CTCF to the insulators located at or near the gene boundaries, inversely correlates with the level of the chimera. To investigate the mechanism of such cis-SAGe events, we sequenced potential regions that may play a role in such transcriptional read-through. We could not detect mutations at the transcription termination site, insulator sites, splicing sites, or within CTCF itself in LNCaP cells, thus suggesting a “soft-wired” mechanism in regulating the cis-SAGe event. To investigate the role CTCF plays in regulating the chimeric RNA expression, we compared the levels of CTCF binding to the insulators in different cell lines, as well as clinical samples. Surprisingly, we did not find an inverse correlation between CTCF level, or its bindings to the insulators and SLC45A3-ELK4 expression among different samples. However, in three prostate cancer cell lines, different environmental factors can cause the expression levels of the chimeric RNA to change, and these changes do inversely correlate with CTCF level, and/or its bindings to the insulators. We thus conclude that CTCF and its bindings to the insulators are not the primary reasons for differential SLC45A3-ELK4 expression in different cell lines, or clinical cases. However, they are the likely mechanism for the same cells to respond to different environmental cues, in order to regulate the expression of SLC45A3-ELK4 chimeric RNA. This response to different environmental cues is not general to other cis-SAGe events, as we only found one out of 16 newly identified chimeric RNAs showing a pattern similar to SLC45A3-ELK4.

<![CDATA[Functional Dissection of the Blocking and Bypass Activities of the Fab-8 Boundary in the Drosophila Bithorax Complex]]>

Functionally autonomous regulatory domains direct the parasegment-specific expression of the Drosophila Bithorax complex (BX-C) homeotic genes. Autonomy is conferred by boundary/insulator elements that separate each regulatory domain from its neighbors. For six of the nine parasegment (PS) regulatory domains in the complex, at least one boundary is located between the domain and its target homeotic gene. Consequently, BX-C boundaries must not only block adventitious interactions between neighboring regulatory domains, but also be permissive (bypass) for regulatory interactions between the domains and their gene targets. To elucidate how the BX-C boundaries combine these two contradictory activities, we have used a boundary replacement strategy. We show that a 337 bp fragment spanning the Fab-8 boundary nuclease hypersensitive site and lacking all but 83 bp of the 625 bp Fab-8 PTS (promoter targeting sequence) fully rescues a Fab-7 deletion. It blocks crosstalk between the iab-6 and iab-7 regulatory domains, and has bypass activity that enables the two downstream domains, iab-5 and iab-6, to regulate Abdominal-B (Abd-B) transcription in spite of two intervening boundary elements. Fab-8 has two dCTCF sites and we show that they are necessary both for blocking and bypass activity. However, CTCF sites on their own are not sufficient for bypass. While multimerized dCTCF (or Su(Hw)) sites have blocking activity, they fail to support bypass. Moreover, this bypass defect is not rescued by the full length PTS. Finally, we show that orientation is critical for the proper functioning the Fab-8 replacement. Though the inverted Fab-8 boundary still blocks crosstalk, it disrupts the topology of the Abd-B regulatory domains and does not support bypass. Importantly, altering the orientation of the Fab-8 dCTCF sites is not sufficient to disrupt bypass, indicating that orientation dependence is conferred by other factors.

<![CDATA[Improved Simulation of Electrodiffusion in the Node of Ranvier by Mesh Adaptation]]>

In neural structures with complex geometries, numerical resolution of the Poisson-Nernst-Planck (PNP) equations is necessary to accurately model electrodiffusion. This formalism allows one to describe ionic concentrations and the electric field (even away from the membrane) with arbitrary spatial and temporal resolution which is impossible to achieve with models relying on cable theory. However, solving the PNP equations on complex geometries involves handling intricate numerical difficulties related either to the spatial discretization, temporal discretization or the resolution of the linearized systems, often requiring large computational resources which have limited the use of this approach. In the present paper, we investigate the best ways to use the finite elements method (FEM) to solve the PNP equations on domains with discontinuous properties (such as occur at the membrane-cytoplasm interface). 1) Using a simple 2D geometry to allow comparison with analytical solution, we show that mesh adaptation is a very (if not the most) efficient way to obtain accurate solutions while limiting the computational efforts, 2) We use mesh adaptation in a 3D model of a node of Ranvier to reveal details of the solution which are nearly impossible to resolve with other modelling techniques. For instance, we exhibit a non linear distribution of the electric potential within the membrane due to the non uniform width of the myelin and investigate its impact on the spatial profile of the electric field in the Debye layer.