• Virtual reality training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation in schools

      Rees, Nigel; John, Nigel W.; Beever, Lee; Vaughan, Neil; Powell, C; Fletcher, A; Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust; Swansea University; University of Chester; University of Exeter; British Heart Foundation; London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (Mark Allen Healthcare, 2021-09-11)
      UK average survival from Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) survival is around 8.6%, which is significantly lower than other high performing countries with survival rates of over 20%. A cardiac arrest victim is 2–4 times more likely to survive OHCA with bystander CPR provision. Mandatory Teaching CPR to children in school is acknowledged to be the most effective way to reach the entire population and improving the bystander CPR rate and is endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) “Kids Save Lives” statement. Despite this, Wales is yet to follow other home nations by including CPR training as a mandatory within the school’s curriculum. In this paper, we explore the role of teaching CPR to schoolchildren and report on the development by Computer scientists at the University of Chester and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) of VCPR, a virtual environment to help teach the procedure. VCPR was developed in three stages: identifying requirements and specifications; development of a prototype; and management—development of software, further funding and exploring opportunities for commercialisation. We describe the opportunities in Wales to skill up the whole population over time in CPR and present our Virtual reality (VR) technology is emerging as a powerful for teaching CPR in schools.
    • New Self-dual Codes from 2 x 2 block circulant matrices, Group Rings and Neighbours of Neighbours

      Gildea, Joe; Kaya, Abidin; Roberts, Adam; Taylor, Rhian; Tylyshchak, Alexander; University of Chester; Harmony Public Schools; Uzhgorod National University (American Institute of Mathematical Sciences, 2021-09-01)
      In this paper, we construct new self-dual codes from a construction that involves a unique combination; $2 \times 2$ block circulant matrices, group rings and a reverse circulant matrix. There are certain conditions, specified in this paper, where this new construction yields self-dual codes. The theory is supported by the construction of self-dual codes over the rings $\FF_2$, $\FF_2+u\FF_2$ and $\FF_4+u\FF_4$. Using extensions and neighbours of codes, we construct $32$ new self-dual codes of length $68$. We construct 48 new best known singly-even self-dual codes of length 96.
    • Layer Dynamics for the one dimensional $\eps$-dependent Cahn-Hilliard / Allen-Cahn Equation

      Antonopoulou, Dimitra; Karali, Georgia; Tzirakis, Konstantinos; University of Chester; University of Crete; IACM/FORTH (Springer, 2021-08-27)
      We study the dynamics of the one-dimensional ε-dependent Cahn-Hilliard / Allen-Cahn equation within a neighborhood of an equilibrium of N transition layers, that in general does not conserve mass. Two different settings are considered which differ in that, for the second, we impose a mass-conservation constraint in place of one of the zero-mass flux boundary conditions at x = 1. Motivated by the study of Carr and Pego on the layered metastable patterns of Allen-Cahn in [10], and by this of Bates and Xun in [5] for the Cahn-Hilliard equation, we implement an N-dimensional, and a mass-conservative N−1-dimensional manifold respectively; therein, a metastable state with N transition layers is approximated. We then determine, for both cases, the essential dynamics of the layers (ode systems with the equations of motion), expressed in terms of local coordinates relative to the manifold used. In particular, we estimate the spectrum of the linearized Cahn-Hilliard / Allen-Cahn operator, and specify wide families of ε-dependent weights δ(ε), µ(ε), acting at each part of the operator, for which the dynamics are stable and rest exponentially small in ε. Our analysis enlightens the role of mass conservation in the classification of the general mixed problem into two main categories where the solution has a profile close to Allen-Cahn, or, when the mass is conserved, close to the Cahn-Hilliard solution.
    • New Extremal Binary Self-dual Codes from block circulant matrices and block quadratic residue circulant matrices

      Gildea, Joe; Kaya, Abidin; Taylor, Rhian; Tylyshchak, Alexander; Yildiz, Bahattin; University of Chester; Sampoerna University; Uzhgorod National University; Northern Arizona University (Elsevier, 2021-08-20)
      In this paper, we construct self-dual codes from a construction that involves both block circulant matrices and block quadratic residue circulant matrices. We provide conditions when this construction can yield self-dual codes. We construct self-dual codes of various lengths over F2 and F2 + uF2. Using extensions, neighbours and sequences of neighbours, we construct many new self-dual codes. In particular, we construct one new self-dual code of length 66 and 51 new self-dual codes of length 68.
    • Spatial discretization for stochastic semilinear subdiffusion driven by integrated multiplicative space-time white noise

      Yan, Yubin; Hoult, James; Wang, Junmei; University of Chester; LuLiang University (MDPI, 2021-08-12)
      Spatial discretization of the stochastic semilinear subdiffusion driven by integrated multiplicative space-time white noise is considered. The spatial discretization scheme discussed in Gy\"ongy \cite{gyo_space} and Anton et al. \cite{antcohque} for stochastic quasi-linear parabolic partial differential equations driven by multiplicative space-time noise is extended to the stochastic subdiffusion. The nonlinear terms $f$ and $\sigma$ satisfy the global Lipschitz conditions and the linear growth conditions. The space derivative and the integrated multiplicative space-time white noise are discretized by using finite difference methods. Based on the approximations of the Green functions which are expressed with the Mittag-Leffler functions, the optimal spatial convergence rates of the proposed numerical method are proved uniformly in space under the suitable smoothness assumptions of the initial values.
    • Oscillatory and stability of a mixed type difference equation with variable coefficients

      Yan, Yubin; Pinelas, Sandra; Ramdani, Nedjem; Yenicerioglu, Ali Fuat; RUDN University; University of Saad Dahleb Blida; Kocaeli University; University of Chester (Inderscience, 2021-08-12)
      The goal of this paper is to study the oscillatory and stability of the mixed type difference equation with variable coefficients \[ \Delta x(n)=\sum_{i=1}^{\ell}p_{i}(n)x(\tau_{i}(n))+\sum_{j=1}^{m}q_{j}(n)x(\sigma_{i}(n)),\quad n\ge n_{0}, \] where $\tau_{i}(n)$ is the delay term and $\sigma_{j}(n)$ is the advance term and they are positive real sequences for $i=1,\cdots,l$ and $j=1,\cdots,m$, respectively, and $p_{i}(n)$ and $q_{j}(n)$ are real functions. This paper generalise some known results and the examples illustrate the results.
    • Characterization of microwave and terahertz dielectric properties of single crystal La2Ti2O7 along one single direction

      Zhang, Man; Tang, Zhiyong; Zhang, Hangfeng; Smith, Graham; Jiang, Qinghui; Saunders, Theo; Yang, Bin; Yan, Haixue; Huazhong University of Science and Technology; University of Chester; Queen Mary University of London; Chinese Academy of Sciences (Elsevier, 2021-08-02)
      New generation wireless communication systems require characterisations of dielectric permittivity and loss tangent at microwave and terahertz bands. La2Ti2O7 is a candidate material for microwave application. However, all the reported microwave dielectric data are average value from different directions of a single crystal, which could not reflect its anisotropic nature due to the layered crystal structure. Its dielectric properties at the microwave and terahertz bands in a single crystallographic direction have rarely been reported. In this work, a single crystal ferroelectric La2Ti2O7 was prepared by floating zone method and its dielectric properties were characterized from 1 kHz to 1 THz along one single direction. The decrease in dielectric permittivity with increasing frequency is related to dielectric relaxation from radio frequency to microwave then to terahertz band. The capability of characterizing anisotropic dielectric properties of a single crystal in this work opens the feasibility for its microwave and terahertz applications.
    • Group Codes, Composite Group Codes and Constructions of Self-Dual Codes

      Gildea, Joe; Korban, Adrian (University of Chester, 2021-08)
      The main research presented in this thesis is around constructing binary self-dual codes using group rings together with some well-known code construction methods and the study of group codes and composite group codes over different alphabets. Both these families of codes are generated by the elements that come from group rings. A search for binary self-dual codes with new weight enumerators is an ongoing research area in algebraic coding theory. For this reason, we present a generator matrix in which we employ the idea of a bisymmetric matrix with its entries being the block matrices that come from group rings and give the necessary conditions for this generator matrix to produce a self-dual code over a fi nite commutative Frobenius ring. Together with our generator matrix and some well-known code construction methods, we find many binary self-dual codes with parameters [68, 34, 12] that have weight enumerators that were not known in the literature before. There is an extensive literature on the study of different families of codes over different alphabets and speci fically finite fi elds and finite commutative rings. The study of codes over rings opens up a new direction for constructing new binary self-dual codes with a rich automorphism group via the algebraic structure of the rings through the Gray maps associated with them. In this thesis, we introduce a new family of rings, study its algebraic structure and show that each member of this family is a commutative Frobenius ring. Moreover, we study group codes over this new family of rings and show that one can obtain codes with a rich automorphism group via the associated Gray map. We extend a well established isomorphism between group rings and the subring of the n x n matrices and show its applications to algebraic coding theory. Our extension enables one to construct many complex n x n matrices over the ring R that are fully de ned by the elements appearing in the first row. This property allows one to build generator matrices with these complex matrices so that the search field is practical in terms of the computational times. We show how these complex matrices are constructed using group rings, study their properties and present many interesting examples of complex matrices over the ring R. Using our extended isomorphism, we de ne a new family of codes which we call the composite group codes or for simplicity, composite G-codes. We show that these new codes are ideals in the group ring RG and prove that the dual of a composite G-code is also a composite G-code. Moreover, we study generator matrices of the form [In | Ω(v)]; where In is the n x n identity matrix and Ω(v) is the composite matrix that comes from the extended isomorphism mentioned earlier. In particular, we show when such generator matrices produce self-dual codes over finite commutative Frobenius rings. Additionally, together with some generator matrices of the type [In | Ω(v)] and the well-known extension and neighbour methods, we fi nd many new binary self-dual codes with parameters [68, 34, 12]. Lastly in this work, we study composite G-codes over formal power series rings and finite chain rings. We extend many known results on projections and lifts of codes over these alphabets. We also extend some known results on γadic codes over the infi nite ring R∞
    • Error estimates of a continuous Galerkin time stepping method for subdiffusion problem

      Yan, Yubin; Yan, Yuyuan; Liang, Zongqi; Egwu, Bernard; Jimei University; University of Chester (Springer, 2021-07-29)
      A continuous Galerkin time stepping method is introduced and analyzed for subdiffusion problem in an abstract setting. The approximate solution will be sought as a continuous piecewise linear function in time $t$ and the test space is based on the discontinuous piecewise constant functions. We prove that the proposed time stepping method has the convergence order $O(\tau^{1+ \alpha}), \, \alpha \in (0, 1)$ for general sectorial elliptic operators for nonsmooth data by using the Laplace transform method, where $\tau$ is the time step size. This convergence order is higher than the convergence orders of the popular convolution quadrature methods (e.g., Lubich's convolution methods) and L-type methods (e.g., L1 method), which have only $O(\tau)$ convergence for the nonsmooth data. Numerical examples are given to verify the robustness of the time discretization schemes with respect to data regularity.
    • Multi-metric Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Remote Learning in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Indicators and Guidance for Future Preparedness

      Behera, Amar Kumar; de Sousa, Ricardo Alves; Oleksik, Valentin; Dong, Jingyan; Fritzen, Daniel; University of Chester; University of Aveiro; Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu; North Carolina State University; SATC College (UK Data Service, 2021-07-27)
      This data set contains data collected from 5 universities in 5 countries about the effectiveness of e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically tailored to mechanical and industrial engineering students. A survey was administered in May, 2020 at these universities simultaneously, using Google Forms. The survey had 41 questions, including 24 questions on a 5-point Likert scale. The survey questions gathered data on their program of study, year of study, university of enrolment and mode of accessing their online learning content. The Likert scale questions on the survey gathered data on the effectiveness of digital delivery tools, student preferences for remote learning and the success of the digital delivery tools during the pandemic. All students enrolled in modules taught by the authors of this study were encouraged to fill the survey up. Additionally, remaining students in the departments associated with the authors were also encouraged to fill up the form through emails sent on mailing lists. The survey was also advertised on external websites such as survey circle and facebook. Crucial insights have been obtained after analysing this data set that link the student demographic profile (gender, program of study, year of study, university) to their preferences for remote learning and effectiveness of digital delivery tools. This data set can be used for further comparative studies and was useful to get a snapshot of student preferences and e-learning effectiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic, which required the use of e-learning tools on a wider scale than previously and using new modes such as video conferencing that were set up within a short timeframe of a few days or weeks.
    • Non-Exhaust Vehicle Emissions of Particulate Matter and VOC from Road Traffic: A Review

      Harrison, Roy; Allan, James; Caruthers, David; Heal, Matthew; Lewis, Alastair; Marner, Ben; Murrells, Tim; Williams, Andrew; University of Birmingham; University of Manchester; Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants; University of Edinburgh; University of York; Air Quality Consultants; Ricardo Energy and Environment; University of Chester; King Abdulaziz University (Elsevier, 2021-07-01)
      As exhaust emissions of particles and volatile organic compounds (VOC) from road vehicles have progressively come under greater control, non-exhaust emissions have become an increasing proportion of the total emissions, and in many countries now exceed exhaust emissions. Non-exhaust particle emissions arise from abrasion of the brakes and tyres and wear of the road surface, as well as from resuspension of road dusts. The national emissions, particle size distributions and chemical composition of each of these sources is reviewed. Most estimates of airborne concentrations derive from the use of chemical tracers of specific emissions; the tracers and airborne concentrations estimated from their use are considered. Particle size distributions have been measured both in the laboratory and in field studies, and generally show particles to be in both the coarse (PM2.5-10) and fine (PM2.5) fractions, with a larger proportion in the former. The introduction of battery electric vehicles is concluded to have only a small effect on overall road traffic particle emissions. Approaches to numerical modelling of non-exhaust particles in the atmosphere are reviewed. Abatement measures include engineering controls, especially for brake wear, improved materials (e.g. for tyre wear) and road surface cleaning and dust suppressants for resuspension. Emissions from solvents in screen wash and de-icers now dominate VOC emissions from traffic in the UK, and exhibit a very different composition to exhaust VOC emissions. Likely future trends in non-exhaust particle emissions are described.
    • Talos: a prototype Intrusion Detection and Prevention system for profiling ransomware behaviour

      Wood, Ashley; Eze, Thaddeus; Speakman, Lee; University of Chester (Academic Conferences International, 2021-06-24)
      Abstract: In this paper, we profile the behaviour and functionality of multiple recent variants of WannaCry and CrySiS/Dharma, through static and dynamic malware analysis. We then analyse and detail the commonly occurring behavioural features of ransomware. These features are utilised to develop a prototype Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS) named Talos, which comprises of several detection mechanisms/components. Benchmarking is later performed to test and validate the performance of the proposed Talos IDPS system and the results discussed in detail. It is established that the Talos system can successfully detect all ransomware variants tested, in an average of 1.7 seconds and instigate remedial action in a timely manner following first detection. The paper concludes with a summarisation of our main findings and discussion of potential future works which may be carried out to allow the effective detection and prevention of ransomware on systems and networks.
    • New binary self-dual codes of lengths 56, 58, 64, 80 and 92 from a modification of the four circulant construction.

      Gildea, Joe; Korban, Adrian; Roberts, Adam; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2021-05-31)
      In this work, we give a new technique for constructing self-dual codes over commutative Frobenius rings using $\lambda$-circulant matrices. The new construction was derived as a modification of the well-known four circulant construction of self-dual codes. Applying this technique together with the building-up construction, we construct singly-even binary self-dual codes of lengths 56, 58, 64, 80 and 92 that were not known in the literature before. Singly-even self-dual codes of length 80 with $\beta \in \{2,4,5,6,8\}$ in their weight enumerators are constructed for the first time in the literature.
    • Composite Matrices from Group Rings, Composite G-Codes and Constructions of Self-Dual Codes

      Dougherty, Steven; Gildea, Joe; Korban, Adrian; Kaya, Abidin; University of Scranton; University of Chester; Harmony School of Technology (Springer, 2021-05-19)
      In this work, we define composite matrices which are derived from group rings. We extend the idea of G-codes to composite G-codes. We show that these codes are ideals in a group ring, where the ring is a finite commutative Frobenius ring and G is an arbitrary finite group. We prove that the dual of a composite G-code is also a composite G-code. We also define quasi-composite G-codes. Additionally, we study generator matrices, which consist of the identity matrices and the composite matrices. Together with the generator matrices, the well known extension method, the neighbour method and its generalization, we find extremal binary self-dual codes of length 68 with new weight enumerators for the rare parameters $\gamma$ = 7; 8 and 9: In particular, we find 49 new such codes. Moreover, we show that the codes we find are inaccessible from other constructions.
    • Millimeter-Wave Free-Space Dielectric Characterization

      Liu, Xiaoming; Gan, Lu; Yang, Bin; Anhui Normal University; Wuhu CEPREI Information Industry Technology Research Institute; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2021-05-07)
      Millimeter wave technologies have widespread applications, for which dielectric permittivity is a fundamental parameter. The non-resonant free-space measurement techniques for dielectric permittivity using vector network analysis in the millimeter wave range are reviewed. An introductory look at the applications, significance, and properties of dielectric permittivity in the millimeter wave range is addressed first. The principal aspects of free-space millimeter wave measurement methods are then discussed, by assessing a variety of systems, theoretical models, extraction algorithms and calibration methods. In addition to conventional solid dielectric materials, the measurement of artificial metamaterials, liquid, and gaseous-phased samples are separately investigated. The pros of free-space material extraction methods are then compared with resonance and transmission line methods, and their future perspective is presented in the concluding part.
    • G-Codes, self-dual G-Codes and reversible G-Codes over the Ring Bj,k

      Dougherty, Steven; Gildea, Joe; Korban, Adrian; Sahinkaya, Serap; Tarsus University; University of Chester (Springer, 2021-05-03)
      In this work, we study a new family of rings, Bj,k, whose base field is the finite field Fpr . We study the structure of this family of rings and show that each member of the family is a commutative Frobenius ring. We define a Gray map for the new family of rings, study G-codes, self-dual G-codes, and reversible G-codes over this family. In particular, we show that the projection of a G-code over Bj,k to a code over Bl,m is also a G-code and the image under the Gray map of a self-dual G-code is also a self-dual G-code when the characteristic of the base field is 2. Moreover, we show that the image of a reversible G-code under the Gray map is also a reversible G2j+k-code. The Gray images of these codes are shown to have a rich automorphism group which arises from the algebraic structure of the rings and the groups. Finally, we show that quasi-G codes, which are the images of G-codes under the Gray map, are also Gs-codes for some s.
    • Volatile Liquid Detection by Terahertz Technologies

      Baxter, Harry W.; Worrall, Adam A.; Pang, Jie; Chen, Riqing; Yang, Bin; University of Chester; Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (Frontiers Media, 2021-04-08)
      The prospect of being able to move through security without the inconvenience of separating liquids from bags is an exciting one for passengers, and there are important operational benefits for airports as well. Here, two terahertz (THz) systems, 100 GHz sub-THz line scanner and attenuation total reflection-based THz time domain spectroscopy (TDS), have been used to demonstrate the capability of identifying different liquid samples. Liquid samples’ THz complex permittivities are measured and their differences have contributed to the variation of 100 GHz 2D images of volatile liquids with different volumes inside of cannister bottles. The acquired attenuation images at 100 GHz can easily be used to distinguish highly absorbed liquids (Water, Ethanol, Fuel Treatment Chemicals) and low loss liquids (Petrol, Diesel, Kerosene and Universal Bottle Cleaner). The results give a promising feasibility for mm-wave imager and THz spectroscopy to efficiently identify different volatile liquids.
    • Group rings: Units and their applications in self-dual codes

      Gildea, Joe; Taylor, Rhian (University of Chester, 2021-03)
      The initial research presented in this thesis is the structure of the unit group of the group ring Cn x D6 over a field of characteristic 3 in terms of cyclic groups, specifically U(F3t(Cn x D6)). There are numerous applications of group rings, such as topology, geometry and algebraic K-theory, but more recently in coding theory. Following the initial work on establishing the unit group of a group ring, we take a closer look at the use of group rings in algebraic coding theory in order to construct self-dual and extremal self-dual codes. Using a well established isomorphism between a group ring and a ring of matrices, we construct certain self-dual and formally self-dual codes over a finite commutative Frobenius ring. There is an interesting relationships between the Automorphism group of the code produced and the underlying group in the group ring. Building on the theory, we describe all possible group algebras that can be used to construct the well-known binary extended Golay code. The double circulant construction is a well-known technique for constructing self-dual codes; combining this with the established isomorphism previously mentioned, we demonstrate a new technique for constructing self-dual codes. New theory states that under certain conditions, these self-dual codes correspond to unitary units in group rings. Currently, using methods discussed, we construct 10 new extremal self-dual codes of length 68. In the search for new extremal self-dual codes, we establish a new technique which considers a double bordered construction. There are certain conditions where this new technique will produce self-dual codes, which are given in the theoretical results. Applying this new construction, we construct numerous new codes to verify the theoretical results; 1 new extremal self-dual code of length 64, 18 new codes of length 68 and 12 new extremal self-dual codes of length 80. Using the well established isomorphism and the common four block construction, we consider a new technique in order to construct self-dual codes of length 68. There are certain conditions, stated in the theoretical results, which allow this construction to yield self-dual codes, and some interesting links between the group ring elements and the construction. From this technique, we construct 32 new extremal self-dual codes of length 68. Lastly, we consider a unique construction as a combination of block circulant matrices and quadratic circulant matrices. Here, we provide theory surrounding this construction and conditions for full effectiveness of the method. Finally, we present the 52 new self-dual codes that result from this method; 1 new self-dual code of length 66 and 51 new self-dual codes of length 68. Note that different weight enumerators are dependant on different values of β. In addition, for codes of length 68, the weight enumerator is also defined in terms of γ, and for codes of length 80, the weight enumerator is also de ned in terms of α.
    • An experimental and computational investigation of pressurised anaerobic digestion

      Wilkinson, Steve; Liang, Zhixuan (University of Chester, 2021-01)
      The aim of this work is to gain a greater understanding of the effect of headspace pressure on biogas production from anaerobic digestion. This is important to improve the energy content of the biogas i.e., increase the methane content and therefore reduce the need for upgrading to scrub out carbon dioxide. In addition, headspace pressure can potentially be used to provide energy for mixing and gas sparging, thereby removing the need for mechanical agitation. In this work, an existing computational model was adapted to investigate its prediction of the variation of biogas production as headspace pressure is increased above atmospheric. The simulation results were accompanied with experimental work using periodic venting of sealed laboratory bottles. The headspace pressure was inferred from the weight loss during venting to atmosphere. In addition, a fully instrumented, pressurised digestor system was designed and constructed in which headspace pressure could be measured directly. Experiments were conducted with headspace pressures of up to 3.4 barg. The biogas that accumulated in the headspace during the digestion process was sampled periodically to determine its composition. The results showed that biogas produced at higher pressures has a higher methane content. A mass balance for the headspace sampling process, which assumed no gas was released from the liquid during sampling, was compared to experimental measurements. This led to the discovery that the effective Henry’s constant for the solubility of carbon dioxide could be an order of magnitude lower in digestate than the known value for pure water. Both the adapted model and the laboratory-scale experiments showed that as the headspace pressure increases, the production rate of biogas decreases. The adapted model also gives slightly higher methane content for higher pressure. The model was then used to estimate the specific growth rates of bacteria used in the laboratory-scale experiments and the agreement was not good, which indicates further changes to the model are needed. The results show that the rate of biogas production reduces as the headspace pressure increases but the rate of decrease is not very steep. This same trend was also displayed for yeast fermentation, which was also studied as another model process for pressurised biological gas production. The variation of the rate of 𝐶𝑂2 evolution with pressure was also used to infer the concentration of dissolved 𝐶𝑂2 within the fermenting yeast cells. Finally, turning attention back to anaerobic digestion processes for energy, it is encouraging that at the relatively modest elevation of pressure required for sparging to give mixing (less than 0.5 barg), the reduction in biogas evolution is small. This small penalty might therefore be offset in a production scale system by the reduced costs of mixing and increased methane content of the biogas.
    • Modified magnetic core-shell mesoporous silica nano-formulations with encapsulated quercetin exhibit anti-amyloid and antioxidant activity

      Halevas, Eleftherios; Mavroidi, Barbara; Nday, Christiane; Tang, Jianhua; Smith, Graham; Boukos, Nikos; Litsardakis, George; Pelecanou, Maria; Salifoglou, Athanasios; NCSR "Demokritos" Athens (Halevas, Mavroidi, Pelecanou), University of Chester (Tang, Smith), Aristotle University of Thessalonika (Litsardakis, Nday) (Elsevier, 2020-10-06)
      Targeted tissue drug delivery is a challenge in contemporary nanotechnologically driven therapeutic approaches, with the interplay interactions between nanohost and encapsulated drug shaping the ultimate properties of transport, release and efficacy of the drug at its destination. Prompted by the need to pursue the synthesis of such hybrid systems, a family of modified magnetic core-shell mesoporous silica nano-formulations was synthesized with encapsulated quercetin, a natural flavonoid with proven bioactivity. The new nanocarriers were produced via the sol-gel process, using tetraethoxysilane as a precursor and bearing a magnetic core of surface-modified monodispersed magnetite colloidal superparamagnetic nanoparticles, subsequently surface-modified with polyethylene glycol 3000 (PEG3k). The arising nano-formulations were evaluated for their textural and structural properties, exhibiting enhanced solubility and stability in physiological media, as evidenced by the loading capacity, entrapment efficiency results and in vitro release studies of their load. Guided by the increased bioavailability of quercetin in its encapsulated form, further evaluation of the biological activity of the magnetic as well as non-magnetic core-shell nanoparticles, pertaining to their anti-amyloid and antioxidant potential, revealed interference with the aggregation of β-amyloid peptide (Aβ) in Alzheimer’s disease, reduction of Aβ cellular toxicity and minimization of Aβ-induced Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) generation. The data indicate that the biological properties of released quercetin are maintained in the presence of the host nanocarriers. Collectively, the findings suggest that the emerging hybrid nano-formulations can function as efficient nanocarriers of hydrophobic natural flavonoids in the development of multifunctional nanomaterials toward therapeutic applications.