Based at Thornton Science Park, the new Faculty of Science and Engineering is located in a major research and innovation hub for the North West which is only a 20-minute bus trip from the main Chester Campus. The Faculty offers degrees in engineering and science disciplines using a strongly interdisciplinary teaching philosophy.

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  • Robot companion cats for people at home with dementia: A qualitative case study on companotics

    Pike, Joanne; Picking, Richard; Cunningham, Stuart; Wrexham Glyndwr University; Wrexham Glyndwr University; University of Chester (SAGE Publications, 2020-07-16)
    The use of robot companion pets for people in care homes has been extensively studied. The results are largely positive and suggest that they are valuable in enhancing wellbeing, communication and behavioural aspects. However, there has been little research in people’s own homes, possibly due to the cost and complexity of some of the robot pets currently available. As dementia affects people in different ways, this study explores the effects of a robot cat for people in their own homes, without specifically investigating the effects on a particular symptom. We utilised a case study design to investigate the proposition that various factors influence the impact of a robot cat on the person living with dementia and their carer, including acceptability of the robot pet and acceptance of dementia and its symptoms. The qualitative analysis explores the similarities and differences within the data which were gathered during interviews with people with dementia and their families. This analysis revealed four themes: Distraction, Communication, Acceptance and rejection, and Connecting with the cat and connecting with others. These themes were synthesised into two overarching themes: the effect of the cat on mood and behaviour, and The interaction with the cat. We present the acceptability and impact of the robot cat on symptoms of dementia, with data presented across and within the group of participants. Our analysis suggests that benefits of the robot pet were evident, and although this was a small-scale study, where they were accepted, robot pets provided positive outcomes for the participants and their families.
  • Supervised machine learning for audio emotion recognition: Enhancing film sound design using audio features, regression models and artificial neural networks

    Cunningham, Stuart; Ridley, Harrison; Weinel, Jonathan; Picking, Richard; Wrexham Glyndwr University; Manchester Metropolitan University; London South Bank University; University of Chester (Springer, 2020-04-22)
    The field of Music Emotion Recognition has become and established research sub-domain of Music Information Retrieval. Less attention has been directed towards the counterpart domain of Audio Emotion Recognition, which focuses upon detection of emotional stimuli resulting from non-musical sound. By better understanding how sounds provoke emotional responses in an audience, it may be possible to enhance the work of sound designers. The work in this paper uses the International Affective Digital Sounds set. A total of 76 features are extracted from the sounds, spanning the time and frequency domains. The features are then subjected to an initial analysis to determine what level of similarity exists between pairs of features measured using Pearson’s r correlation coefficient before being used as inputs to a multiple regression model to determine their weighting and relative importance. The features are then used as the input to two machine learning approaches: regression modelling and artificial neural networks in order to determine their ability to predict the emotional dimensions of arousal and valence. It was found that a small number of strong correlations exist between the features and that a greater number of features contribute significantly to the predictive power of emotional valence, rather than arousal. Shallow neural networks perform significantly better than a range of regression models and the best performing networks were able to account for 64.4% of the variance in prediction of arousal and 65.4% in the case of valence. These findings are a major improvement over those encountered in the literature. Several extensions of this research are discussed, including work related to improving data sets as well as the modelling processes.
  • A multi-genre model for music emotion recognition using linear regressors

    Griffiths, Darryl; Cunningham, Stuart; Weinel, Jonathan; Picking, Richard; Wrexham Glyndwr University; Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Greenwich; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2021-09-21)
    Making the link between human emotion and music is challenging. Our aim was to produce an efficient system that emotionally rates songs from multiple genres. To achieve this, we employed a series of online self-report studies, utilising Russell's circumplex model. The first study (n = 44) identified audio features that map to arousal and valence for 20 songs. From this, we constructed a set of linear regressors. The second study (n = 158) measured the efficacy of our system, utilising 40 new songs to create a ground truth. Results show our approach may be effective at emotionally rating music, particularly in the prediction of valence.
  • Evaluating Use of the Doppler Effect to Enhance Auditory Alerts

    Cunningham, Stuart; McGregor, Iain; Manchester Metropolitan University; Edinburgh Napier University; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2021-02-10)
    Auditory alerts are an essential part of many multi-modal interaction scenarios, particularly in safety and mission critical settings, such as hospitals and transportation. A variety of strategies can be employed in the design of auditory alerts, often orienting manipulation of volume and pitch parameters. However, manipulations by applying a Doppler effect are under-investigated. A perceptual listening test is conducted (n = 100) using multiple alert sounds that are subjected to a variety of volume, pitch, and Doppler manipulations, with the unaltered sounds serving as a benchmark. Applying a mixed methods approach consisting of inferential statistics and thematic analysis, it is found that decreases in volume and a Doppler simulation of a sound moving away reduce importance and urgency, increase safety, are harder to detect, and are perceived as being more distant in perceptions of auditory alerts. Further, increases in volume and a Doppler simulation of a sound approaching are effective in communicating safety, whilst pitch manipulations were much less effective. Further work is required to provide wider, ecologically valid, verification of these findings, particularly as to how listener detection of Doppler and volume manipulations can be improved.
  • High quality of LiMg0.9Zn0.06Ni0.04PO4-TiO2 microwave ceramic and its application for 5G dielectric waveguide bandpass filter

    Chen, Long; Liu, Huan; Jiang, Yu; Li, Shuai; Luo, Xinjiang; You, Bin; Li, Aihua; Hu, Yuanyun; Baxter, Harry; Yang, Bin; et al. (Elsevier, 2023-01-30)
    A new microwave dielectric composite ceramic (1-x) wt%LiMg0.9Zn0.06Ni0.04PO4-x wt%TiO2 (0≤x≤18wt%) was synthesized in the low sintering temperature range of 850 oC -975 oC by the solid-state reaction method. The XRD diffractogram confirmed the coexistence of LiMg0.9Zn0.06Ni0.04PO4 and TiO2, and no second phase was detected. Due to their opposite τf values, the τf values of LiMg0.9Zn0.06Ni0.04PO4 solid solution ceramics were adjusted by adding different volume fractions of TiO2. The composite ceramic with x=15wt% sintered at 975 oC shows desirable microwave dielectric properties of εr~10.30, Q×f ~ 58,400GHz (tanδ=2.093×10-4), and τf ~ +4.04ppm/ oC (at ~12GHz). Based on the 85wt% LiMg0.9Zn0.06Ni0.04PO4-15wt% TiO2 ceramics, a fourth order dielectric waveguide filter filled with composite ceramics is designed and packaged for the RF front-end of the China Mobile 5G base station. The test results show that the center frequency of the filter is 4.65GHz, the working bandwidth is 300MHz, the filter has a good out of band rejection capability, and the insertion loss in band is 0.18dB. Combined with the filter test data and material performance, the designed dielectric waveguide filter meets the communication requirements of the base station, and the higher Q×f microwave dielectric ceramic material can achieve low insertion loss and excellent frequency selection performance of the filter.
  • Velocity distribution of liquid phase at gas-liquid two-phase stratified flow based on particle image velocimetry

    Han, Bangbang; Gao, Qixin; Liu, Xu; Ge, Bin; Faraj, Yousef; Fang, Lide
    Horizontal gas-liquid flows are commonly encountered in the production section of the oil and gas industry. To further understand all parameters of the pipe cross-section, this paper use particle image velocimetry to study the circular pipe cross-section liquid velocity distribution rule. Firstly the focus is on the software and hardware combination of image correction system, to solve the influence of different refractive indexes of medium and pipeline curvature caused by image distortion. Secondly, the velocity distribution law of the corrected stratified flow (the range of liquid flow of 0.09–0.18 m3/h, and gas flow range of 0.3–0.7 m3/h) cross-section at different flow points of the pipeline cross-section at x  = 0 and in the Y direction at the maximum liquid velocity is studied. It is found that these distribution laws are caused by the influence of the interphase force of the gas-liquid interface and the resistance of the pipe wall. The current measurements also produce a valuable data set that can be used to further improve the stratified flow model for gas-liquid flow.
  • Automated retrieval and comparison of sheet metal parts

    Yang, Yang; Hinduja, Srichand; Owudunni, Oladele O (Informa UK Limited, 2023-01-16)
  • (Ba0.6Sr0.4)TiO3/PEEK composites modified by Polyethersulfone with low dielectric constant and high dielectric tunability under DC bias

    Yang, Bin; Liu, Shuhang; Guo, Yiting; Hu, Guoxin; Wu, Sichen; Xu, Jie; Chen, Jianxin; Bulejak, Weronika; Baxter, Harry; Kong, Jie; et al. (Elsevier, 2023-01-19)
    Ceramic/polyetheretherketone (PEEK) composites show a wide range of applications and have attracted extensive interest in the scientific community due to their outstanding dielectric and mechanical characteristics. However, the interface connection between the ceramic and PEEK is a vital issue that must be addressed to improve their physical and electrical properties. In this work, the polyethersulfone resin (PES) was selected as interface modifier between barium strontium titanate (Ba0.6Sr0.4TiO3, BST) and PEEK. Cold-pressing sintering was used to create BST/PEEK materials with superior dielectric frequency stability and dielectric tunability. The effects of PES content on the morphology and dielectric characteristics of PES modified BST/PEEK materials were investigated. The results showed PES could improve the dispersion of BST particles in polymer. The dielectric constant, dielectric tunability, and breakdown strength increased first, then reduced as PES content increased. The composite had the most homogeneous microstructure and the best dielectric properties when the PES content was 7.5vol%. The frequency dispersion factor F(x) was much smaller than that of other ceramic/polymer composites reported. In addition, the dielectric tunability of the composites could reach a relatively high level (34.18%) while the dielectric constant was as low as 14. The dielectric tunable efficiency (TuE) was proposed to evaluate the property of low dielectric constant and high dielectric tunability under DC bias. The TuE of PES modified BST/PEEK composites show the highest value comparing with reported dielectric tunable composites. This research laid the path for the development of a novel ceramic/polymer composite with good interface bonding and high dielectric tunability.
  • THz probing ferroelectric domain wall dynamics

    Yang, Bin; University of Chester (IEEE, 2022-12-27)
    This work uses THz time domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) to detect the dynamics of domain walls in a Aurivillius phase ferroelectric ceramic, Ca 0.96 Rb 0.02 Ce 0.02 Bi 2 Nb 2 O 9 . Results show that ferroelectric domain walls are active at the THz band, with lower dielectric permittivity compared with that of the domain. This work has verified that it is feasible to use domain wall engineering method to optimize properties of ferroelectrics at the THz band, which help create new applications for ferroelectric materials at THz frequency.
  • L1 scheme for solving an inverse problem subject to a fractional diffusion equation

    Li, Binjie; Xie, Xiaoping; Yan, Yubin (Elsevier, 2023-01-19)
    This paper considers the temporal discretization of an inverse problem subject to a time fractional diffusion equation. Firstly, the convergence of the L1 scheme is established with an arbitrary sectorial operator of spectral angle < π / 2 , that is the resolvent set of this operator contains { z ∈ C ∖ { 0 } : | Arg z | < θ } for some π / 2 < θ < π . The relationship between the time fractional order α ∈ ( 0 , 1 ) and the constants in the error estimates is precisely characterized, revealing that the L1 scheme is robust as α approaches 1. Then an inverse problem of a fractional diffusion equation is analyzed, and the convergence analysis of a temporal discretization of this inverse problem is given. Finally, numerical results are provided to confirm the theoretical results.
  • Higher moments for the Stochastic Cahn - Hilliard Equation with multiplicative Fourier noise

    Antonopoulou, Dimitra; University of Chester (IOP publishing, 2023-01-03)
    We consider in dimensions $d=1,2,3$ the $\eps$-dependent stochastic Cahn-Hilliard equation with a multiplicative and sufficiently regular in space infinite dimensional Fourier noise with strength of order $\mathcal{O}(\eps^\gamma)$, $\gamma>0$. The initial condition is non-layered and independent from $\eps$. Under general assumptions on the noise diffusion $\sigma$, we prove moment estimates in $H^1$ (and in $L^\infty$ when $d=1$). Higher $H^2$ regularity $p$-moment estimates are derived when $\sigma$ is bounded, yielding as well space H\"older and $L^\infty$ bounds for $d=2,3$, and path a.s. continuity in space. All appearing constants are expressed in terms of the small positive parameter $\eps$. As in the deterministic case, in $H^1$, $H^2$, the bounds admit a negative polynomial order in $\eps$. Finally, assuming layered initial data of initial energy uniformly bounded in $\eps$, as proposed by X.F. Chen in \cite{chenjdg}, we use our $H^1$ $2$d-moment estimate and prove the stochastic solution's convergence to $\pm 1$ as $\eps\rightarrow 0$ a.s., when the noise diffusion has a linear growth.
  • New methodology to reduce power by using smart street lighting system

    Al-khaykan, Ameer; Aziz, Ali Saleh; Al-Kharsan, Ibrahim H.; Counsell, John M. (Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2022-12-08)
    One of most important things now is to create smart street and smart lighting system to save enormous electrical energy. Especially Iraq is suffering shortage of electrical energy generation up to 45%. Because of this, Iraq needs to save a lot of electrical energy in the entire country so as to meet the electrical demand and reduce the large amount of CO2 emission. However, this work presents a very unique and economic control lighting system (CLS) for main streets and sidewalks, which can control the lighting system to give sufficient illumination to the drivers and the pedestrians simultaneously. And at the same time, the CLS system can reduce a lot of electrical energy consumption and the CO2 emissions together. However, by using these smart systems with the exciting illumination source in the streets, the CLS can minimize the electrical energy consumed for the lighting at the main roads and the footpath by about 60% and can use the surplus energies to fill the shortage of electricity in the country. Also, this system will increase the lifetime of the lighting system which means further decrease in cost. Finally, this work presents new type of illumination source, high-intensity discharge (HID), which can reduce the electrical consumption much more by up to 90%, when using the CLS with HID.
  • Lossless Compression of Neuromorphic Vision Sensor Data Based on Point Cloud Representation

    Martini, Maria; Adhuran, Jayasingham; Khan, Nabeel; Kingston University London; University of Chester (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2022-11-14)
    Visual information varying over time is typically captured by cameras that acquire data via images (frames) equally spaced in time. Using a different approach, Neuromorphic Vision Sensors (NVSs) are emerging visual capturing devices that only acquire information when changes occur in the scene. This results in major advantages in terms of low power consumption, wide dynamic range, high temporal resolution, and lower data rates than conventional video. Although the acquisition strategy already results in much lower data rates than conventional video, such data can be further compressed. To this end, in this paper we propose a lossless compression strategy based on point cloud compression, inspired by the observation that, by appropriately reporting NVS data in a $(x,y,t)$ tridimensional space, we have a point cloud representation of NVS data. The proposed strategy outperforms the benchmark strategies resulting in a compression ratio up to 30% higher for the considered.
  • Design and Simulation of Reversible Time-Synchronized Quantum-Dot Cellular Automata Combinational Logic Circuits with Ultralow Energy Dissipation

    Edwards, Gerard; Alharbi, Mohammed; Stocker, Richard; University of Chester; John Moores University
    The quantum-dot cellular automata (QCA) represent emerging nanotechnology that is poised to supersede the current complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor digital integrated circuit technology. QCA constitutes an extremely promising transistor-less paradigm that can be downscaled to the molecular level, thereby facilitating tera-scale device integration and extremely low energy dissipation. Reversible QCA circuits, which have reversibility sustained down from the logical level to the physical level, can execute computing operations dissipating less energy than the Landauer energy limit (kBTln2). Time synchronization of logic gates is an essential additional requirement, especially in cases involving complex circuits, for ensuring accurate computational results. This paper reports the design and simulation of eight new both logically and physically reversible time-synchronized QCA combinational logic circuits. The new circuit design presented here mitigates the clock delay problems, which are caused by the non-synchronization of logic gate information, via the use of an inherently more symmetric circuit configuration. The simulation results confirm the behaviour of the proposed reversible time-synchronized QCA combinational logic circuits which exhibit ultralow energy dissipation and simultaneously provide accurate computational results.
  • Rare earth ion-doped Y2.95R0.05MgAl3SiO12 (R = Yb, Y, Dy, Eu, Sm) garnet-type microwave ceramics for 5G application

    Ye, Zijun; Jiang, Yu; Mao, Minmin; Xiu, Zhiyu; Chi, Mengjiao; Wu, Guofa; Liu, Bing; Wang, Dawei; Yang, Bin; Song, Kaixin; et al. (MDPI, 2022-11-11)
    In this work, Y2.95R0.05MgAl3SiO12 (R=Yb, Y, Dy, Eu, Sm) microwave single-phase dielectric ce-ramics were successfully prepared via conventional ceramic technology by doping a series of rare earth elements with different ionic radius (Yb, Y, Dy, Eu, Sm) for the first time. The effects of A site occupied by rare earth elements on the microwave dielectric properties of Y2.95R0.05MgAl3SiO12 were studied by crystal structure refinement, scanning electron microscope (SEM), bond valence theory, P-V-L theory and infrared reflection spectroscopy. It was found that the ionicity of Y-O bond, the lattice energy, the bond energy and bond valance of Al(Tet)-O bond had important effects on microwave dielectric properties. Particularly, the optimum microwave dielectric properties were obtained for Y2.95Dy0.05MgAl3SiO12 sintered at 1575 °C for 6 h, with εr = 9.68, Q×f = 68,866 GHz, and τf = -35.8 ppm/°C, displaying its potential prospect in the 5G communication.
  • Terahertz Faraday rotation of SrFe12O19 hexaferrites enhanced by Nb-doping

    Hu, Zimeng; Stenning, Gavin B. G.; Koval, Vladimir; Wu, Jiyue; Yang, Bin; Leavesley, Alisa; Wylde, Richard; Reece, Michael J.; Jia, Chenglong; Yan, Haixue; et al. (American Chemical Society, 2022-10-04)
    The magneto-optical and dielectric behaviour of M-type hexaferrites as permanent magnets in the THz band are essential for potential applications like microwave absorbers and antennas, while are rarely reported recent years. In this work, single-phase SrFe12-xNbxO19 hexaferrite ceramics were prepared by conventional solid state sintering method. Temperature-dependent of dielectric parameters were investigated here to search the relationship between dielectric response and magnetic phase transition. The saturated magnetization increases by nearly 12% while the coercive field decreases by 30% in the x = 0.03 composition compared to that of the x = 0.00 sample. Besides, Nb substitution improves the magneto-optical behaviour in the THz band by comparing the Faraday rotation parameter from 0.75 (x = 0.00) to 1.30 (x = 0.03). The changes in the magnetic properties are explained by a composition-driven increase of the net magnetic moment and enhanced ferromagnetic exchange coupling. The substitution of donor dopant Nb on the Fe site is a feasible way to obtain multifunctional M-type hexaferrites, as preferred candidates for permanent magnets, sensors and other electronic devices.
  • FinFET-based non-linear analog signal processing modules

    Sharma, Vipin Kumar; Ansari, Mohammad Samar; Parveen, Tahira; Aligarh Muslim University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2022-11-08)
    FinFETs exhibit far superior transistor characteristics (better gate control and a lower sub-threshold slope) as compared to the standard MOSFETs, this paper first employs the FinFETs in the design of an operational transconductance amplifier (OTA). The FinFET-based OTA offers a linearity range and - 3 dB bandwidth of 300 mV and 631.81 GHz, respectively. Further, the non-linear applications of the proposed OTA, viz. voltage divider, memristor emulator, and a memristive neuron, are presented. The proposed analog voltage divider circuit contains one OTA and two external N-FinFETs. The maximum bandwidth obtained for the voltage divider is 217.54 GHz. The memristor emulator contains one OTA, two external N-FinFETs, and one grounded capacitor. The proposed emulator circuit follows the signature characteristics of the actual memristor device. The frequency response characteristics of the proposed emulator circuit depict a bandwidth of 22.7 GHz. The proposed emulator shows non-volatile as well as electronically tunable features. Next, Monte-Carlo simulation analysis has been performed on the proposed circuits in order to observe the effects of statistical variation in different operating conditions. Furthermore, we propose a FinFET-based passive memristive neuron model using a memristor emulator circuit. The proposed neuron circuit follows a tangent hyperbolic activation function. All the proposed circuits are suitable for monolithic implementation. The proposed circuits are verified using 20 nm FinFET technology. The simulation results obtained using HSPICE agree well with the theoretical analysis.
  • Finite difference method for time-fractional Klein-Gordon equation on an unbounded domain using artificial boundary conditions

    Yan, Yubin; Peng, Ding; Yan, Yuyuan; Liang, Zongqi; Jimei University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2022-11-09)
    A finite difference method for time-fractional Klein-Gordon equation with the fractional order $\alpha \in (1, 2]$ on an unbounded domain is studied. The artificial boundary conditions involving the generalized Caputo derivative are derived using the Laplace transform technique. Stability and error estimates of the proposed finite difference scheme are proved in detail by using the discrete energy method. Numerical examples show that the artificial boundary method is a robust and efficient method for solving the time-fractional Klein-Gordon equation on an unbounded domain.
  • Construction of DNA Codes from Composite Matrices and a Bio-Inspired Optimization Algorithm

    Dougherty, Steven T.; Korban, Adrian; Sahinkaya, Serap; Ustun, Deniz; University of Scranton; University of Chester; Tarsus University (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2022-10-26)
  • Correction of High-Order Lk Approximation for Subdiffusion

    Shi, Jiankang; Chen, Minghua; Yan, Yubin; Coa, Jianxiong; Lanzhou University; University of Chester; Lanzhou University of Technology (Springer, 2022-09-07)
    The subdiffusion equations with a Caputo fractional derivative of order $\alpha \in (0, 1)$ arise in a wide variety of practical problems, which describe the transport processes, in the force-free limit, slower than Brownian diffusion. In this work, we derive the correction schemes of the Lagrange interpolation with degree $k ( \leq 6)$ convolution quadrature, called $L_{k}$ approximation, for the subdiffusion. The key step of designing correction algorithm is to calculate the explicit form of the coefficients of $L_{k}$ approximation by the polylogarithm function or Bose-Einstein integral. To construct a $\tau_{8}$ approximation of Bose-Einstein integral, the desired $(k+1-\alpha)$th-order convergence rate can be proved for the correction $L_{k}$ scheme with nonsmooth data, which is higher than kth-order BDFk method in [Jin, Li, and Zhou, SIAM J. Sci. Comput., 39 (2017), A3129–A3152; Shi and Chen, J. Sci. Comput., (2020) 85:28]. The numerical experiments with spectral method are given to illustrate theoretical results.

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