Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 315

World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology

[Nuclear and Quantum Engineering]

Online ISSN : 1307-6892

315 Regulatory Measures on Effective Nuclear Security and Safeguards System in Nigeria

Authors: Nnodi Chinweikpe Akelachi, Adebayo Oladini Kachollom Ifeoma


Insecurity and the possession of nuclear weapons for non-peaceful purposes constitute a major threat to global peace and security, and this undermines the capacity for sustainable development. In Nigeria, the threat of terrorism is a challenge to national stability. For over a decade, Nigeria has been faced with insecurity ranging from Boko-Haram terrorist groups, kidnapping and banditry. The threat exhibited by this non-state actor poses a huge challenge to nuclear and radiological high risks facilities in Nigeria. This challenge has resulted in the regulatory authority and International stakeholders formulating policies for a good mitigation strategy. This strategy is enshrined in formulated laws, regulations and guides like the repealed Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act 19 of 1995 (Nuclear safety, Physical Security and Safeguards Bill), the Nigerian Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities, and Nigerian Nuclear Safeguards Regulations of 2021. All this will help Nigeria’s effort to meet its national nuclear security and safeguards obligations. To further enhance the implementation of nuclear security and safeguards system, Nigeria has signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970, the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (INFCIRC/358) in 1988, Additional Protocol in 2007 as well as the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its amendment in 2005. In view of the evolving threats by non-state actors in Nigeria, physical protection security upgrades are being implemented in nuclear and all high-risk radiological facilities through the support of the United States Department of Energy (US-DOE). Also, the IAEA has helped strengthen nuclear security and safeguard systems through the provision of technical assistance and capacity development. Efforts are being made to address some of the challenges identified in the cause of implementing the measures for effective nuclear security and safeguards systems in Nigeria. However, there are eminent challenges in the implementation of the measures within the security and systems in Nigeria. These challenges need to be addressed for an effective security and safeguard regime in Nigeria. This paper seeks to address the challenges encountered in implementing the regulatory and stakeholder measures for effective security and safeguards regime in Nigeria, amongst others.

Keywords: nuclear regulatory body, nuclear facilities and activities, international stakeholders, security and safeguards measures

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314 Assessment of Naturally Occurring Radionuclides of the Surface Water in Vaal River, South Africa

Authors: Kgantsi B. T., Ochwelwang A. R., Mathuthu M., Jegede O. A.


Anthropogenic activities near water bodies contribute to poor water quality, which degrades the condition of the biota and elevates the risk to human health. The Vaal River is essential in supplying Gauteng and neighboring regions of South Africa with portable water for a variety of consumers and industries. Consequently, it is necessary to monitor and assess the radioactive risk in relation to the river's water quality. This study used an inductive coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICPMS) to analyze the radionuclide activity concentration in the Vaal River, South Africa. Along with thorium and potassium, the total uranium concentration was calculated using the isotopic content of uranium. The elemental concentration of ²³⁸U, ²³⁵U, ²³⁴U, ²³²Th, and 40K were translated into activity concentrations. To assess the water safety for all users and consumers, all values were compared to world average activity concentrations 35, 30, and 400 Bqkg⁻¹ for ²³⁸U, ²³⁴Th, and ⁴⁰K, respectively, according to the UNSCEAR report. The results will serve as a database for further monitoring and evaluation of the radionuclide from the river, taking cognisance of potential health hazards.

Keywords: Val Rivers, ICPMS, uranium, risks

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313 An Approach for Detection Efficiency Determination of High Purity Germanium Detector Using Cesium-137

Authors: Abdulsalam M. Alhawsawi


Estimation of a radiation detector's efficiency plays a significant role in calculating the activity of radioactive samples. Detector efficiency is measured using sources that emit a variety of energies from low to high-energy photons along the energy spectrum. Some photon energies are hard to find in lab settings either because check sources are hard to obtain or the sources have short half-lives. This work aims to develop a method to determine the efficiency of a High Purity Germanium Detector (HPGe) based on the 662 keV gamma ray photon emitted from Cs-137. Cesium-137 is readily available in most labs with radiation detection and health physics applications and has a long half-life of ~30 years. Several photon efficiencies were calculated using the MCNP5 simulation code. The simulated efficiency of the 662 keV photon was used as a base to calculate other photon efficiencies in a point source and a Marinelli Beaker form. In the Marinelli Beaker filled with water case, the efficiency of the 59 keV low energy photons from Am-241 was estimated with a 9% error compared to the MCNP5 simulated efficiency. The 1.17 and 1.33 MeV high energy photons emitted by Co-60 had errors of 4% and 5%, respectively. The estimated errors are considered acceptable in calculating the activity of unknown samples as they fall within the 95% confidence level.

Keywords: MCNP5, MonteCarlo simulations, efficiency calculation, absolute efficiency, activity estimation, Cs-137

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312 Colored Image Classification Using Quantum Convolutional Neural Networks Approach

Authors: Farina Riaz, Shahab Abdulla, Srinjoy Ganguly, Hajime Suzuki, Ravinesh C. Deo, Susan Hopkins


Recently, quantum machine learning has received significant attention. For various types of data, including text and images, numerous quantum machine learning (QML) models have been created and are being tested. Images are exceedingly complex data components that demand more processing power. Despite being mature, classical machine learning still has difficulties with big data applications. Furthermore, quantum technology has revolutionized how machine learning is thought of, by employing quantum features to address optimization issues. Since quantum hardware is currently extremely noisy, it is not practicable to run machine learning algorithms on it without risking the production of inaccurate results. To discover the advantages of quantum versus classical approaches, this research has concentrated on colored image data. Deep learning classification models are currently being created on Quantum platforms, but they are still in a very early stage. Black and white benchmark image datasets like MNIST and Fashion MINIST have been used in recent research. MNIST and CIFAR-10 were compared for binary classification, but the comparison showed that MNIST performed more accurately than colored CIFAR-10. This research will evaluate the performance of the QML algorithm on the colored benchmark dataset CIFAR-10 to advance QML's real-time applicability. However, deep learning classification models have not been developed to compare colored images like Quantum Convolutional Neural Network (QCNN) to determine how much it is better to classical. Only a few models, such as quantum variational circuits, take colored images. The methodology adopted in this research is a hybrid approach by using penny lane as a simulator. To process the 10 classes of CIFAR-10, the image data has been translated into grey scale and the 28 × 28-pixel image containing 10,000 test and 50,000 training images were used. The objective of this work is to determine how much the quantum approach can outperform a classical approach for a comprehensive dataset of color images. After pre-processing 50,000 images from a classical computer, the QCNN model adopted a hybrid method and encoded the images into a quantum simulator for feature extraction using quantum gate rotations. The measurements were carried out on the classical computer after the rotations were applied. According to the results, we note that the QCNN approach is ~12% more effective than the traditional classical CNN approaches and it is possible that applying data augmentation may increase the accuracy. This study has demonstrated that quantum machine and deep learning models can be relatively superior to the classical machine learning approaches in terms of their processing speed and accuracy when used to perform classification on colored classes.

Keywords: CIFAR-10, quantum convolutional neural networks, quantum deep learning, quantum machine learning

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311 A Real-World Roadmap and Exploration of Quantum Computers Capacity to Trivialise Internet Security

Authors: James Andrew Fitzjohn


This paper intends to discuss and explore the practical aspects of cracking encrypted messages with quantum computers. The theory of this process has been shown and well described both in academic papers and headline-grabbing news articles, but with all theory and hyperbole, we must be careful to assess the practicalities of these claims. Therefore, we will use real-world devices and proof of concept code to prove or disprove the notion that quantum computers will render the encryption technologies used by many websites unfit for purpose. It is time to discuss and implement the practical aspects of the process as many advances in quantum computing hardware/software have recently been made. This paper will set expectations regarding the useful lifespan of RSA and cipher lengths and propose alternative encryption technologies. We will set out comprehensive roadmaps describing when and how encryption schemes can be used, including when they can no longer be trusted. The cost will also be factored into our investigation; for example, it would make little financial sense to spend millions of dollars on a quantum computer to factor a private key in seconds when a commodity GPU could perform the same task in hours. It is hoped that the real-world results depicted in this paper will help influence the owners of websites who can take appropriate actions to improve the security of their provisions.

Keywords: quantum computing, encryption, RSA, roadmap, real world

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310 Development and Pre-clinical Evaluation of New ⁶⁴Cu-NOTA-Folate Conjugates for PET Imaging of Folate Receptor-Positive Tumors

Authors: Norah Al Hokbany, Ibrahim Al Jammaz, Basem Al Otaibi, Yousif Al Malki, Subhani M. Okarvi


Objective: The folate receptor is over-expressed in a wide variety of human tumors. Conjugates of folate have been shown to be selectively taken up by tumor cells via the folate receptor. In an attempt to develop new folate radiotracers with favorable biochemical properties for detecting folate receptor-positive cancers. Methods: we synthesized ⁶⁴Cu-NOTA- and ⁶⁴Cu-NOTAM-folate conjugates using a straightforward and simple one-step reaction. Radiochemical yields were greater than 95% (decay-corrected) with a total synthesis time of less than 20 min. Results: Radiochemical purities were always greater than 98% without high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) purification. These synthetic approaches hold considerable promise as a rapid and simple method for ⁶⁴Cu-folate conjugate preparation with high radiochemical yield in a short synthesis time. In vitro tests on the KB cell line showed that significant amounts of the radio conjugates were associated with cell fractions. Bio-distribution studies in nude mice bearing human KB xenografts demonstrated a significant tumor uptake and favorable bio-distribution profile for ⁶⁴Cu-NOTA- and ⁶⁴Cu-NOTAM-folate conjugate. The uptake in the tumors was blocked by the excess injection of folic acid, suggesting a receptor-mediated process. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that the ⁶⁴Cu-NOTAM-folate conjugate may be useful as a molecular probe for the detection and staging of folate receptor-positive cancers, such as ovarian cancer and their metastasis, as well as monitoring tumor response to treatment.

Keywords: folate, receptor, tumor imaging, ⁶⁴Cu-NOTA-folate, PET

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309 Normal Standardised Uptake Values Obtained From Quantitative 99mTc HYNIC PSMA-11 Spect/ct In Prostate Cancer Patients

Authors: Ritwik Sinha, Sachin Tayal Varun Shukla, Jay Prakash, Manoj Chauhan, Manikand M V


Aim: Retrospective evaluation of 99mTc HYNIC- PSMA-11 SPECT/CT and understanding its biodistribution in terms of SUV in histologically confirmed prostate cancer patients. Materials and methods: A retrospective analysis of a 99mTc HYNIC-PSMA-11 scan was done on twenty-four patients. The inclusion criteria were: biopsy-confirmed cases of carcinoma prostate, no previous treatment history to the author's best knowledge, patient studies having recorded height, weight, injected dose, and absence of multiple metastases. Data acquisition was done under General Electric's (GE) Discovery 670DR (model name) SPECT/CT, fitted with a low energy high, resolution collimator and 3/8inch sodium iodide detector. Radiolabelling of the kit was carried out with pertechnetate obtained from a 99Mo/99mTc generator (SDS). On average, 45mCi of 99mTc was added to the lyophilised vial containing 25µg of HYNIC-PSMA-11. An average adult dose of 15-20mCi per patient was injected, and images were acquired 2-3hrs post-injection. A whole body planar scan was acquired, followed by vertex to mid-thigh 3 bed SPECT-CT. Post-acquisition, fused images were analysed on Xeleris 4.0 DR for understanding the biodistribution and quantifying the corresponding SUV in various soft tissue and skeletal regions. Results: High SUV values were noted in the prostate (primary lesion), kidneys, salivary glands (parotid and submandibular), liver, and spleen. The SUV values graph obtained for soft tissue clearly depicted the path of renal clearance, as is evident from the values of the kidney and bladder. Secondly, the skeletal SUVmax values of the pelvis and vertebrae were observed to be higher in comparison to other bones. Conclusion: 99mTc HYNIC-PSMA-11 can give an interpretable image, and further prospective studies with standardized protocol can help establish a correlation between PSA, Gleason's Score, and SUVmax values of prostate and its clinical utility. Biodistribution was consistent with 68Ga PSMA imaging, a standard imaging radiotracer in carcinoma prostate patients.

Keywords: prostate cancer, PSMA, SUV, SPECT/CT

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308 Mid-IR Quantum Scanning Microscopy With Undetected Light

Authors: Josué Ricardo León Torres, Sebastian Töpfer, Marta Gilaberte Basset, Jorge Fuenzalida, Frank Setzpfandt, Markus Gräfe


Laser scanning microscopy (LSM) is known to be the workhorse for modern life-science. It allows us to get new insights into a variety of biological processes. LSM, together with illumination in the mid infrared region (Mid-IR), permits to map the chemical composition of samples to a space frame. However, low-light observations in the Mid-IR spectrum are still challenging and a limiting factor for a faster development. A label-free quantum imaging system is presented here, capable of performing the detection in the visible regime while illuminating the sample with undetected light in the Mid-IR region. Our quantum imaging with undetected light implementation aims to retrieve amplitude and phase images of biological samples containing a variety of functional groups that are present in the Mid-IR region. Due to the momentum correlations shared by the entangled photon-pair, the illumination can take place in the Mid-IR spectrum, and the detection can be carried out with silicon-based technology in the VIS spectrum.

Keywords: entangled photon-pair, functional groups, laser scanning microscopy, label-free, mid-ir, quantum correlations, quantum imaging, undetected light

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307 Enhanced Acquisition Time of a Quantum Holography Scheme within a Nonlinear Interferometer

Authors: Sergio Tovar-Pérez, Sebastian Töpfer, Markus Gräfe


The work proposes a technique that decreases the detection acquisition time of quantum holography schemes down to one-third; this allows the possibility to image moving objects. Since its invention, quantum holography with undetected photon schemes has gained interest in the scientific community. This is mainly due to its ability to tailor the detected wavelengths according to the needs of the scheme implementation. Yet this wavelength flexibility grants the scheme a wide range of possible applications; an important matter was yet to be addressed. Since the scheme uses digital phase-shifting techniques to retrieve the information of the object out of the interference pattern, it is necessary to acquire a set of at least four images of the interference pattern along with well-defined phase steps to recover the full object information. Hence, the imaging method requires larger acquisition times to produce well-resolved images. As a consequence, the measurement of moving objects remains out of the reach of the imaging scheme. This work presents the use and implementation of a spatial light modulator along with a digital holographic technique called quasi-parallel phase-shifting. This technique uses the spatial light modulator to build a structured phase image consisting of a chessboard pattern containing the different phase steps for digitally calculating the object information. Depending on the reduction in the number of needed frames, the acquisition time reduces by a significant factor. This technique opens the door to the implementation of the scheme for moving objects. In particular, the application of this scheme in imaging alive specimens comes one step closer.

Keywords: quasi-parallel phase shifting, quantum imaging, quantum holography, quantum metrology

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306 Digital Phase Shifting Holography in a Non-Linear Interferometer using Undetected Photons

Authors: Sebastian Töpfer, Marta Gilaberte Basset, Jorge Fuenzalida, Fabian Steinlechner, Juan P. Torres, Markus Gräfe


This work introduces a combination of digital phase-shifting holography with a non-linear interferometer using undetected photons. Non-linear interferometers can be used in combination with a measurement scheme called quantum imaging with undetected photons, which allows for the separation of the wavelengths used for sampling an object and detecting it in the imaging sensor. This method recently faced increasing attention, as it allows to use of exotic wavelengths (e.g., mid-infrared, ultraviolet) for object interaction while at the same time keeping the detection in spectral areas with highly developed, comparable low-cost imaging sensors. The object information, including its transmission and phase influence, is recorded in the form of an interferometric pattern. To collect these, this work combines the method of quantum imaging with undetected photons with digital phase-shifting holography with a minimal sampling of the interference. With this, the quantum imaging scheme gets extended in its measurement capabilities and brings it one step closer to application. Quantum imaging with undetected photons uses correlated photons generated by spontaneous parametric down-conversion in a non-linear interferometer to create indistinguishable photon pairs, which leads to an effect called induced coherence without induced emission. Placing an object inside changes the interferometric pattern depending on the object’s properties. Digital phase-shifting holography records multiple images of the interference with determined phase shifts to reconstruct the complete interference shape, which can afterward be used to analyze the changes introduced by the object and conclude its properties. An extensive characterization of this method was done using a proof-of-principle setup. The measured spatial resolution, phase accuracy, and transmission accuracy are compared for different combinations of camera exposure times and the number of interference sampling steps. The current limits of this method are shown to allow further improvements. To summarize, this work presents an alternative holographic measurement method using non-linear interferometers in combination with quantum imaging to enable new ways of measuring and motivating continuing research.

Keywords: digital holography, quantum imaging, quantum holography, quantum metrology

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305 Appraisal of Trace Elements in Scalp Hair of School Children in Kandal Province, Cambodia

Authors: Alireza Yavar, Sukiman Sarmani, Kok Siong Khoo


Trace element analysis of human hair has the potential to disclose retroactive information about an individual’s nutritional status and exposure. The residents of villages in Kandal province of Cambodia, due to dietary habits, lifestyle and ecological conditions, are unprotected from toxic elements particularly arsenic (As). The purpose of this research was to valuation levels of toxic and vital elements in scalp human hair. Scalp hair samples of 12-17 school children from three villages of Anglong Romiot (AR), Svay Romiot (SR) and Kampong Kong (KK) in the Kandal province of Cambodia were evaluated using k0- instrumental neutron activation method (k0-INAA). The samples were irradiated 6 hours in a Malaysian nuclear agency (MNA) research reactor and afterward, an HPGe detector was utilized to obtain gamma peaks of radionuclides in samples. We achieved profiles of 31 elements in human hair in our studied area, namely, As, Au, Br, Ca, Ce, Co, Dy, Eu152m, Hg197, Hg203, Ho, Ir, K, La, Lu, Mn, Na, Pa, Pt195m, Pt197, Sb, Sc46, Sc47, Sm, Sn117m, W181, W187, Yb169, Yb175, Zn and Zn69m. The precision of the method was assessed by evaluating ERM-DB001-human hair as certified reference materials (CRMs), and which experimental result of ERM-DB001 was consistent with certified values. Whereas Arsenic (As) pollution is major contamination in our studied area, correlation between the concentration of As and other elements were determined by Pearson’s correlation test that it may be useful as a database source for toxic and essential elements in the hair of teenage individuals in our studied area

Keywords: scalp human hair, toxic and essential elements, Kandal province of Cambodia, k₀- instrumental neutron activation method

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304 Arsenic and Mercury Levels in Scalp Hair of School Children of Three Villages in Kandal Province, Cambodia

Authors: Alireza Yavar, Sukiman Sarmani, Khoo Kok Siong


The residents of villages in Kandal province of Cambodia, because of dietary habits, lifestyle and ecological conditions, are exposed to toxic elements like arsenic (As) and mercury (Hg). For comparison purpose, scalp hair samples of 12-17 school children from three villages of Anglong Romiot (AR), Svay Romiot (SR) and Kampong Kong (KK) in Kandal province of Cambodia were considered using k0- instrumental neutron activation method (k0-INAA). The samples irradiated 6 hours with 750 kW power in Malaysian nuclear agency (MNA) research reactor and subsequently found gamma peaks of radionuclides in samples using HPGe detector. The average values of arsenic and mercury were 0.0 and 3.52 (mg/kg) in AR; 1.88 and 4.26 (mg/kg) in SR; 2.81 and 3.37 (mg/kg) in KK, respectively. The results indicate KK, SR, and AR villages were in high, medium and control level of arsenic pollution, respectively. However, Hg concentration were highest in SR, then KK and AR villages, respectively. The accuracy of the method was assessed by analyzing ERM-DB001-human hair as certified reference materials (CRMs), which experimental result of ERM-DB001 was consistent with certified values. In addition, correlation between As and Hg levels was found by Pearson’s correlation test.

Keywords: Kandal province of Cambodia, k0- instrumental neutron activation method., scalp human hair, arsenic and mercury

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303 Assessment of Arsenic, Cadmium and Lead for Scalp Hair of School Children in Kandal Province, Cambodia

Authors: Alireza Yavar, Sukiman Sarmani, Khoo Kok Sion


Hair samples of 12-17 years old school children from three villages of Svay Romiot (SR), Kampong Kong (KK), and Anglong Romiot (AR) in province of Kandal, Cambodia was analyzed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The average values of arsenic were 2.61, 0.46 and 0.15 (mg/kg) in KK, SR and AR, respectively. The results indicate KK, SR, and AR villages were in high, medium and control level of arsenic pollution, respectively. Maximum value of lead was found in AR village (29.36 mg/kg), however cadmium contents in these three villages showed no important variation (0.13, 0.20 and 0.17 mg/kg in KK, SR, and AR villages, respectively). The accuracy of the method was evaluated by analyzing ERM-DB001-human hair as certified reference material, which experimental result of ERM-DB001 was consistent with certified values.

Keywords: scalp hair, arsenic, cadmium and lead pollutions, Cambodia, ICP-MS

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302 Probing The Electronic Excitation Induced Structural Phase Transition In Nd2zr2o7 Using X-ray Techniques

Authors: Yogendar Singh, Parasmani Rajput, Pawan Kumar Kulriya


Understanding the radiation response of the pyrochlore structured ceramics in the nuclear reactor core-like environment is of quite an interest for their utilization as host matrices. Electronic excitation (100 MeV I7+) induced crystalline to amorphous phase transition in Nd2Zr2O7 pyrochlore synthesized through three steps solid-state sintering method was investigated. The x-ray diffraction, along with Raman spectroscopy and x-ray absorption spectroscopy experiments conducted on pristine and irradiated pyrochlore, showed an increase in the rate of amorphization with ion fluence. XRD results indicate that specimen is completely amorphized on irradiation at the highest fluence of 5×1013 ions/cm2. The EXAFS spectra of the K-Zr edge and the Nd LIII edge confirmed a significant change in the chemical environment of Nd upon swift heavy ion irradiation. Observation of a large change in the intensity of K-Zr pre-edge spectra is also a good indicator of the phase transition from pyrochlore to the amorphous phase, which is supported by the FT modulus of the LIII-Nd edge. However, the chemical environment of Zr is less affected by irradiation, but it clearly exhibits an increase in the degree of disorder.

Keywords: nuclear host matrices, swift heavy ion irradiation, x-ray absorption spectroscopy, pyrochlore oxides

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301 Investigation on Scattered Dose Rate and Exposure Parameters during Diagnostic Examination Done with an Overcouch X-Ray Tube in Nigerian Teaching Hospital

Authors: Gbenga Martins, Christopher J. Olowookere, Lateef Bamidele, Kehinde O. Olatunji


The aims of this research are to measure the scattered dose rate during an X-ray examination in an X-ray room, compare the scattered dose rate with exposure parameters based on the body region examined, and examine the X-ray examination done with an over couch tube. The research was carried out using Gamma Scout software installation on the computer system (Laptop) to record the radiation counts, pulse rate, and dose rate. The measurement was employed by placing the detector at 900 to the incident X-ray. Proforma was used for the collection of patients’ data such as age, sex, examination type, and initial diagnosis. Data such as focus skin distance (FSD), body mass index (BMI), body thickness of the patients, the beam output (kVp) were collected at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Western Nigeria. Total number of 136 patients was considered during this research. Dose rate range between 14.21 and 86.78 µSv/h for the plain abdominal region, 85.70 and 2.86 µSv/h for the lumbosacral region,1.3 µSv/yr and 3.6 µSv/yr in the pelvis region, 2.71 µSv/yr and 28.88 µSv/yr for leg region, 3.06 µSv/yr and 29.98 µSv/yr in hand region. The results of this study were compared with those of other studies carried out in other countries. The findings of this study indicated that the number of exposure parameters selected for each diagnostic examination contributed to the dose rate recorded. Therefore, these results call for a quality assurance program (QAP) in diagnostic X-ray units in Nigerian hospitals.

Keywords: X-radiation, exposure parameters, dose rate, pulse rate, number of counts, tube current, tube potential, diagnostic examination, scattered radiation

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300 A Comprehensive Safety Analysis for a Pressurized Water Reactor Fueled with Mixed-Oxide Fuel as an Accident Tolerant Fuel

Authors: Mohamed Y. M. Mohsen


The viability of utilising mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) ((U₀.₉, rgPu₀.₁) O₂) as an accident-tolerant fuel (ATF) has been thoroughly investigated. MOX fuel provides the best example of a nuclear waste recycling process. The MCNPX 2.7 code was used to determine the main neutronic features, especially the radial power distribution, to identify the hot channel on which the thermal-hydraulic (TH) study was performed. Based on the computational fluid dynamics technique, the simulation of the rod-centered thermal-hydraulic subchannel model was implemented using COMSOL Multiphysics. TH analysis was utilised to determine the axially and radially distributed temperatures of the fuel and cladding materials, as well as the departure from the nucleate boiling ratio (DNBR) along the coolant channel. COMSOL Multiphysics can simulate reality by coupling multiphysics, such as coupling between heat transfer and solid mechanics. The main solid structure parameters, such as the von Mises stress, volumetric strain, and displacement, were simulated using this coupling. When the neutronic, TH, and solid structure performances of UO₂ and ((U₀.₉, rgPu₀.₁) O₂) were compared, the results showed considerable improvement and an increase in safety margins with the use of ((U₀.₉, rgPu₀.₁) O₂).

Keywords: mixed-oxide, MCNPX, neutronic analysis, COMSOL-multiphysics, thermal-hydraulic, solid structure

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299 Interaction of Metals with Non-Conventional Solvents

Authors: Evgeny E. Tereshatov, C. M. Folden


Ionic liquids and deep eutectic mixtures represent so-called non-conventional solvents. The former, composed of discrete ions, is a salt with a melting temperature below 100°С. The latter, consisting of hydrogen bond donors and acceptors, is a mixture of at least two compounds, resulting in a melting temperature depression in comparison with that of the individual moiety. These systems also can be water-immiscible, which makes them applicable for metal extraction. This work will cover interactions of In, Tl, Ir, and Rh in hydrochloric acid media with eutectic mixtures and Er, Ir, and At in a gas phase with chemically modified α-detectors. The purpose is to study chemical systems based on non-conventional solvents in terms of their interaction with metals. Once promising systems are found, the next step is to modify the surface of α-detectors used in the online element production at cyclotrons to get the detector chemical selectivity. Initially, the metal interactions are studied by means of the liquid-liquid extraction technique. Then appropriate molecules are chemisorbed on the surrogate surface first to understand the coating quality. Finally, a detector is covered with the same molecule, and the metal sorption on such detectors is studied in the online regime. It was found that chemical treatment of the surface can result in 99% coverage with a monolayer formation. This surface is chemically active and can adsorb metals from hydrochloric acid solutions. Similarly, a detector surface was modified and tested during cyclotron-based experiments. Thus, a procedure of detectors functionalization has been developed, and this opens an interesting opportunity of studying chemisorption of elements which do not have stable isotopes.

Keywords: mechanism, radioisotopes, solvent extraction, gas phase sorption

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298 Chromatography Study of Fundamental Properties of Medical Radioisotope Astatine-211

Authors: Evgeny E. Tereshatov


Astatine-211 is considered one of the most promising radionuclides for Targeted Alpha Therapy. In order to develop reliable procedures to label biomolecules and utilize efficient delivery vehicle principles, one should understand the main chemical characteristics of astatine. The short half-life of 211At (~7.2 h) and absence of any stable isotopes of this element are limiting factors towards studying the behavior of astatine. Our team has developed a procedure for rapid and efficient isolation of astatine from irradiated bismuth material in nitric acid media based on 3-octanone and 1-octanol extraction chromatography resins. This process has been automated and it takes 20 min from the beginning of the target dissolution to the At-211 fraction elution. Our next step is to consider commercially available chromatography resins and their applicability in astatine purification in the same media. Results obtained along with the corresponding sorption mechanisms will be discussed.

Keywords: astatine-211, chromatography, automation, mechanism, radiopharmaceuticals

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297 Appliance of the Analytic Hierarchy Process Methodology for the Selection of a Small Modular Reactors to Enhance Maritime Traffic Decarbonisation

Authors: Sara Martín, Ying Jie Zheng, César Hueso


International shipping is considered one of the largest sources of pollution in the world, accounting for 812 million tons of CO2 emissions in the year 2018. Current maritime decarbonisation is based on the implementation of new fuel alternatives, such as LNG, biofuels, and methanol, among others, which are less polluting as well as less efficient. Despite being a carbon-free and highly-developed technology, nuclear propulsion is hardly discussed as an alternative. Scientifically, it is believed that Small Modular Reactors (SMR) could be a promising solution to decarbonized maritime traffic due to their small dimensions and safety capabilities. However, as of today, there are no merchant ships powered by nuclear systems. Therefore, this project aims to understand the challenges of the development of nuclear-fuelled vessels by analysing all SMR designs to choose the most suitable one. In order not to fall into subjectivities, the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) will be used to make the selection. This multiple-criteria evaluation technique analyses complex decisions by pairwise comparison of a number of evaluation criteria that can be applied to each SMR. The state-of-the-art 72 SMRs presented by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be analysed and ranked by a global parameter, calculated by applying the AHP methodology. The main target of the work is to find an adequate SMR system to power a ship. Top designs will be described in detail, and conclusions will be drawn from the results. This project has been conceived as an effort to foster the near-term development of zero-emission maritime traffic.

Keywords: international shipping, decarbonization, SMR, AHP, nuclear-fuelled vessels

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296 Development and Verification of the Idom Shielding Optimization Tool

Authors: Omar Bouhassoun, Cristian Garrido, César Hueso


The radiation shielding design is an optimization problem with multiple -constrained- objective functions (radiation dose, weight, price, etc.) that depend on several parameters (material, thickness, position, etc.). The classical approach for shielding design consists of a brute force trial-and-error process subject to previous designer experience. Therefore, the result is an empirical solution but not optimal, which can degrade the overall performance of the shielding. In order to automate the shielding design procedure, the IDOM Shielding Optimization Tool (ISOT) has been developed. This software combines optimization algorithms with the capabilities to read/write input files, run calculations, as well as parse output files for different radiation transport codes. In the first stage, the software was established to adjust the input files for two well-known Monte Carlo codes (MCNP and Serpent) and optimize the result (weight, volume, price, dose rate) using multi-objective genetic algorithms. Nevertheless, its modular implementation easily allows the inclusion of more radiation transport codes and optimization algorithms. The work related to the development of ISOT and its verification on a simple 3D multi-layer shielding problem using both MCNP and Serpent will be presented. ISOT looks very promising for achieving an optimal solution to complex shielding problems.

Keywords: optimization, shielding, nuclear, genetic algorithm

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295 High Purity Germanium Detector Characterization by Means of Monte Carlo Simulation through Application of Geant4 Toolkit

Authors: Milos Travar, Jovana Nikolov, Andrej Vranicar, Natasa Todorovic


Over the years, High Purity Germanium (HPGe) detectors proved to be an excellent practical tool and, as such, have established their today's wide use in low background γ-spectrometry. One of the advantages of gamma-ray spectrometry is its easy sample preparation as chemical processing and separation of the studied subject are not required. Thus, with a single measurement, one can simultaneously perform both qualitative and quantitative analysis. One of the most prominent features of HPGe detectors, besides their excellent efficiency, is their superior resolution. This feature virtually allows a researcher to perform a thorough analysis by discriminating photons of similar energies in the studied spectra where otherwise they would superimpose within a single-energy peak and, as such, could potentially scathe analysis and produce wrongly assessed results. Naturally, this feature is of great importance when the identification of radionuclides, as well as their activity concentrations, is being practiced where high precision comes as a necessity. In measurements of this nature, in order to be able to reproduce good and trustworthy results, one has to have initially performed an adequate full-energy peak (FEP) efficiency calibration of the used equipment. However, experimental determination of the response, i.e., efficiency curves for a given detector-sample configuration and its geometry, is not always easy and requires a certain set of reference calibration sources in order to account for and cover broader energy ranges of interest. With the goal of overcoming these difficulties, a lot of researches turned towards the application of different software toolkits that implement the Monte Carlo method (e.g., MCNP, FLUKA, PENELOPE, Geant4, etc.), as it has proven time and time again to be a very powerful tool. In the process of creating a reliable model, one has to have well-established and described specifications of the detector. Unfortunately, the documentation that manufacturers provide alongside the equipment is rarely sufficient enough for this purpose. Furthermore, certain parameters tend to evolve and change over time, especially with older equipment. Deterioration of these parameters consequently decreases the active volume of the crystal and can thus affect the efficiencies by a large margin if they are not properly taken into account. In this study, the optimisation method of two HPGe detectors through the implementation of the Geant4 toolkit developed by CERN is described, with the goal of further improving simulation accuracy in calculations of FEP efficiencies by investigating the influence of certain detector variables (e.g., crystal-to-window distance, dead layer thicknesses, inner crystal’s void dimensions, etc.). Detectors on which the optimisation procedures were carried out were a standard traditional co-axial extended range detector (XtRa HPGe, CANBERRA) and a broad energy range planar detector (BEGe, CANBERRA). Optimised models were verified through comparison with experimentally obtained data from measurements of a set of point-like radioactive sources. Acquired results of both detectors displayed good agreement with experimental data that falls under an average statistical uncertainty of ∼ 4.6% for XtRa and ∼ 1.8% for BEGe detector within the energy range of 59.4−1836.1 [keV] and 59.4−1212.9 [keV], respectively.

Keywords: HPGe detector, γ spectrometry, efficiency, Geant4 simulation, Monte Carlo method

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294 Investigation of Several New Ionic Liquids’ Behaviour during ²¹⁰PB/²¹⁰BI Cherenkov Counting in Waters

Authors: Nataša Todorović, Jovana Nikolov, Ivana Stojković, Milan Vraneš, Jovana Panić, Slobodan Gadžurić


The detection of ²¹⁰Pb levels in aquatic environments evokes interest in various scientific studies. Its precise determination is important not only for the radiological assessment of drinking waters but also ²¹⁰Pb, and ²¹⁰Po distribution in the marine environment are significant for the assessment of the removal rates of particles from the ocean and particle fluxes during transport along the coast, as well as particulate organic carbon export in the upper ocean. Measurement techniques for ²¹⁰Pb determination, gamma spectrometry, alpha spectrometry, or liquid scintillation counting (LSC) are either time-consuming or demand expensive equipment or complicated chemical pre-treatments. However, one other possibility is to measure ²¹⁰Pb on an LS counter if it is in equilibrium with its progeny ²¹⁰Bi - through the Cherenkov counting method. It is unaffected by the chemical quenching and assumes easy sample preparation but has the drawback of lower counting efficiencies than standard LSC methods, typically from 10% up to 20%. The aim of the presented research in this paper is to investigate the possible increment of detection efficiency of Cherenkov counting during ²¹⁰Pb/²¹⁰Bi detection on an LS counter Quantulus 1220. Considering naturally low levels of ²¹⁰Pb in aqueous samples, the addition of ionic liquids to the counting vials with the analysed samples has the benefit of detection limit’s decrement during ²¹⁰Pb quantification. Our results demonstrated that ionic liquid, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium salicylate, is more efficient in Cherenkov counting efficiency increment than the previously explored 2-hydroxypropan-1-amminium salicylate. Consequently, the impact of a few other ionic liquids that were synthesized with the same cation group (1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium benzoate, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium 3-hydroxybenzoate, and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium 4-hydroxybenzoate) was explored in order to test their potential influence on Cherenkov counting efficiency. It was confirmed that, among the explored ones, only ionic liquids in the form of salicylates exhibit a wavelength shifting effect. Namely, the addition of small amounts (around 0.8 g) of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium salicylate increases the detection efficiency from 16% to >70%, consequently reducing the detection threshold by more than four times. Moreover, the addition of ionic liquids could find application in the quantification of other radionuclides besides ²¹⁰Pb/²¹⁰Bi via Cherenkov counting method.

Keywords: liquid scintillation counting, ionic liquids, Cherenkov counting, ²¹⁰PB/²¹⁰BI in water

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293 Isolated Iterating Fractal Independently Corresponds with Light and Foundational Quantum Problems

Authors: Blair D. Macdonald


After nearly one hundred years of its origin, foundational quantum mechanics remains one of the greatest unexplained mysteries in physicists today. Within this time, chaos theory and its geometry, the fractal, has developed. In this paper, the propagation behaviour with an iteration of a simple fractal, the Koch Snowflake, was described and analysed. From an arbitrary observation point within the fractal set, the fractal propagates forward by oscillation—the focus of this study and retrospectively behind by exponential growth from a point beginning. It propagates a potentially infinite exponential oscillating sinusoidal wave of discrete triangle bits sharing many characteristics of light and quantum entities. The model's wave speed is potentially constant, offering insights into the perception and a direction of time where, to an observer, when travelling at the frontier of propagation, time may slow to a stop. In isolation, the fractal is a superposition of component bits where position and scale present a problem of location. In reality, this problem is experienced within fractal landscapes or fields where 'position' is only 'known' by the addition of information or markers. The quantum' measurement problem', 'uncertainty principle,' 'entanglement,' and the classical-quantum interface are addressed; these are a problem of scale invariance associated with isolated fractality. Dual forward and retrospective perspectives of the fractal model offer the opportunity for unification between quantum mechanics and cosmological mathematics, observations, and conjectures. Quantum and cosmological problems may be different aspects of the one fractal geometry.

Keywords: measurement problem, observer, entanglement, unification

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292 Theoretical and Experimental Investigation of Fe and Ni-TCNQ on Graphene

Authors: A. Shahsavar, Z. Jakub


Due to the outstanding properties of the 2D metal-organic frameworks (MOF), intensive computational and experimental studies have been done. However, the lack of fundamental studies of MOFs on the graphene backbone is observed. This work studies Fe and Ni as metal and tetracyanoquinodimethane (TCNQ) with a high electron affinity as an organic linker functionalized on graphene. Here we present DFT calculations results to unveil the electronic and magnetic properties of iron and nickel-TCNQ physisorbed on graphene. Adsorption and Fermi energies, structural, and magnetic properties will be reported. Our experimental observations prove Fe- and [email protected]/Ir(111) are thermally highly stable up to 500 and 250°C, respectively, making them promising materials for single-atom catalysts or high-density storage media.

Keywords: DFT, graphene, MTCNQ, self-assembly

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291 Nuclear Near Misses and Their Learning for Healthcare

Authors: Nick Woodier, Iain Moppett


Background: It is estimated that one in ten patients admitted to hospital will suffer an adverse event in their care. While the majority of these will result in low harm, patients are being significantly harmed by the processes meant to help them. Healthcare, therefore, seeks to make improvements in patient safety by taking learning from other industries that are perceived to be more mature in their management of safety events. Of particular interest to healthcare are ‘near misses,’ those events that almost happened but for an intervention. Healthcare does not have any guidance as to how best to manage and learn from near misses to reduce the chances of harm to patients. The authors, as part of a larger study of near-miss management in healthcare, sought to learn from the UK nuclear sector to develop principles for how healthcare can identify, report, and learn from near misses to improve patient safety. The nuclear sector was chosen as an exemplar due to its status as an ultra-safe industry. Methods: A Grounded Theory (GT) methodology, augmented by a scoping review, was used. Data collection included interviews, scenario discussion, field notes, and the literature. The review protocol is accessible online. The GT aimed to develop theories about how nuclear manages near misses with a focus on defining them and clarifying how best to support reporting and analysis to extract learning. Near misses related to radiation release or exposure were focused on. Results: Eightnuclear interviews contributed to the GT across nuclear power, decommissioning, weapons, and propulsion. The scoping review identified 83 articles across a range of safety-critical industries, with only six focused on nuclear. The GT identified that nuclear has a particular focus on precursors and low-level events, with regulation supporting their management. Exploration of definitions led to the recognition of the importance of several interventions in a sequence of events, but that do not solely rely on humans as these cannot be assumed to be robust barriers. Regarding reporting and analysis, no consistent methods were identified, but for learning, the role of operating experience learning groups was identified as an exemplar. The safety culture across nuclear, however, was heard to vary, which undermined reporting of near misses and other safety events. Some parts of the industry described that their focus on near misses is new and that despite potential risks existing, progress to mitigate hazards is slow. Conclusions: Healthcare often sees ‘nuclear,’ as well as other ultra-safe industries such as ‘aviation,’ as homogenous. However, the findings here suggest significant differences in safety culture and maturity across various parts of the nuclear sector. Healthcare can take learning from some aspects of management of near misses in nuclear, such as how they are defined and how learning is shared through operating experience networks. However, healthcare also needs to recognise that variability exists across industries, and comparably, it may be more mature in some areas of safety.

Keywords: culture, definitions, near miss, nuclear safety, patient safety

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290 The Structural, Elastic, Thermal, Electronic, and Magnetic Properties of Intermetallic rmn₂ge₂ (R=CA, Y, ND)

Authors: I. Benkaddour, Y. Benkaddour, A. Benk Addour


The structural, elastic, Thermal, electronic, and magnetic properties of intermetallic RMn₂Ge₂ (R= Ca, Y, Nd) are investigated by density functional theory (DFT), using the full potential –linearised augmented plane wave method (FP-LAPW). In this approach, the local-density approximation (LDA) is used for the exchange-correlation (XC) potential. The equilibrium lattice constant and magnetic moment agree well with the experiment. The density of states shows that these phases are conductors, with contribution predominantly from the R and Mn d states. We have determined the elastic constants C₁₁, C₁₂, C₁₃, C₄₄, C₃₃, andC₆₆ at ambient conditions in, which have not been established neither experimentally nor theoretically. Thermal properties, including the relative expansion coefficients and the heat capacity, have been estimated using a quasi-harmonic Debye model.

Keywords: RMn₂Ge₂, intermetallic, first-principles, density of states, mechanical properties

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289 Cosmic Muon Tomography at the Wylfa Reactor Site Using an Anti-Neutrino Detector

Authors: Ronald Collins, Jonathon Coleman, Joel Dasari, George Holt, Carl Metelko, Matthew Murdoch, Alexander Morgan, Yan-Jie Schnellbach, Robert Mills, Gareth Edwards, Alexander Roberts


At the Wylfa Magnox Power Plant between 2014–2016, the VIDARR prototype anti-neutrino detector was deployed. It is comprised of extruded plastic scintillating bars measuring 4 cm × 1 cm × 152 cm and utilised wavelength shifting fibres (WLS) and multi-pixel photon counters (MPPCs) to detect and quantify radiation. During deployment, it took cosmic muon data in accidental coincidence with the anti-neutrino measurements with the power plant site buildings obscuring the muon sky. Cosmic muons have a significantly higher probability of being attenuated and/or absorbed by denser objects, and so one-sided cosmic muon tomography was utilised to image the reactor site buildings. In order to achieve clear building outlines, a control data set was taken at the University of Liverpool from 2016 – 2018, which had minimal occlusion of the cosmic muon flux by dense objects. By taking the ratio of these two data sets and using GEANT4 simulations, it is possible to perform a one-sided cosmic muon tomography analysis. This analysis can be used to discern specific buildings, building heights, and features at the Wylfa reactor site, including the reactor core/reactor core shielding using ∼ 3 hours worth of cosmic-ray detector live time. This result demonstrates the feasibility of using cosmic muon analysis to determine a segmented detector’s location with respect to surrounding buildings, assisted by aerial photography or satellite imagery.

Keywords: anti-neutrino, GEANT4, muon, tomography, occlusion

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288 Computational Study on the Crystal Structure, Electronic and Optical Properties of Perovskites a2bx6 for Photovoltaic Applications

Authors: Harmel Meriem


The optoelectronic properties and high power conversion efficiency make lead halide perovskites ideal material for solar cell applications. However, the toxic nature of lead and the instability of organic cation are the two key challenges in the emerging perovskite solar cells. To overcome these challenges, we present our study about finding potential alternatives to lead in the form of A2BX6 perovskite using the first principles DFT-based calculations. The highly accurate modified Becke Johnson (mBJ) and hybrid functional (HSE06) have been used to investigate the Main Document Click here to view linked References to optoelectronic and thermoelectric properties of A2PdBr6 (A = K, Rb, and Cs) perovskite. The results indicate that different A-cations in A2PdBr6 can significantly alter their electronic and optical properties. Calculated band structures indicate semiconducting nature, with band gap values of 1.84, 1.53, and 1.54 eV for K2PdBr6, Rb2PdBr6, and Cs2PdBr6, respectively. We find strong optical absorption in the visible region with small effective masses for A2PdBr6. The ideal band gap and optimum light absorption suggest Rb2PdBr6 and Cs2PdBr6 potential candidates for the light absorption layer in perovskite solar cells. Additionally.

Keywords: soler cell, double perovskite, optoelectronic properties, ab-inotio study

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287 Quantum Information Scrambling and Quantum Chaos in Silicon-Based Fermi-Hubbard Quantum Dot Arrays

Authors: Nikolaos Petropoulos, Elena Blokhina, Andrii Sokolov, Andrii Semenov, Panagiotis Giounanlis, Xutong Wu, Dmytro Mishagli, Eugene Koskin, Robert Bogdan Staszewski, Dirk Leipold


We investigate entanglement and quantum information scrambling (QIS) by the example of a many-body Extended and spinless effective Fermi-Hubbard Model (EFHM and e-FHM, respectively) that describes a special type of quantum dot array provided by Equal1 labs silicon-based quantum computer. The concept of QIS is used in the framework of quantum information processing by quantum circuits and quantum channels. In general, QIS is manifest as the de-localization of quantum information over the entire quantum system; more compactly, information about the input cannot be obtained by local measurements of the output of the quantum system. In our work, we will first make an introduction to the concept of quantum information scrambling and its connection with the 4-point out-of-time-order (OTO) correlators. In order to have a quantitative measure of QIS we use the tripartite mutual information, in similar lines to previous works, that measures the mutual information between 4 different spacetime partitions of the system and study the Transverse Field Ising (TFI) model; this is used to quantify the dynamical spreading of quantum entanglement and information in the system. Then, we investigate scrambling in the quantum many-body Extended Hubbard Model with external magnetic field Bz and spin-spin coupling J for both uniform and thermal quantum channel inputs and show that it scrambles for specific external tuning parameters (e.g., tunneling amplitudes, on-site potentials, magnetic field). In addition, we compare different Hilbert space sizes (different number of qubits) and show the qualitative and quantitative differences in quantum scrambling as we increase the number of quantum degrees of freedom in the system. Moreover, we find a "scrambling phase transition" for a threshold temperature in the thermal case, that is, the temperature of the model that the channel starts to scramble quantum information. Finally, we make comparisons to the TFI model and highlight the key physical differences between the two systems and mention some future directions of research.

Keywords: condensed matter physics, quantum computing, quantum information theory, quantum physics

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286 Trehalose-Based Nanocarriers for Alleviation of Inflammation in Colitis

Authors: Wessam H. Abd-Elsalam, Mona M. Saber, Samar M. Abouelatta


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are considered a double edged sword in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). Some studies reported their advantageous effect in decreasing inflammation, and other studies reported that their use is associated with colitis aggravation. This study aimed to use specifically formulated trehalose-based nano-carriers that targets the colon in an attempt to alleviate inflammation caused by NSAIDs. L-α-phosphatidylcholine (PL), trehalose, and transcutol were used to prepare the trehalosomes (THs), which were also loaded with Tenoxicam(TXM) as a model NSAID. To optimize the formulation variables, a full 23 factorial design, using Design-Expert® software, was performed. The optimized formulation composed of trehalose: PL at a weight ratio of 1:1, 377.72 mg transcutol, and sonicated for 4 min, possessed a spherical shape with a size of 268.61 nm and EE% of 97.83% and released 70.22% of its drug content over 24 h. The superior protective action of TXM loaded THs compared to TXM suspension and drug-free THs was shown by the inhibition of the inflammatory biomarkers, namely; IL-1ß, IL-6, and TNF-alpha levels, as well as oxidative stress markers, measured as GSH and MDA. Improved histopathology of the colonic tissue in male New Zealand rabbits also confirmed the superiority of the TXM loaded THs compared to the unformulated drug or the drug free nano-carriers. Our findings highlight the prosperous role of THs in colon targeting and its anti-inflammatory characteristics in guarding against possible NSAIDs-driven exacerbation of colitis.

Keywords: inflammatory bowel disease, trehalose, trehalosomes, colon targeting

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