• Atomic and vibrational origins of mechanical toughness in bioactive cement during setting

      Tian, Kun V.; Yang, Bin; Yue, Yuan-Zheng; Bowron, Daniel T.; Mayers, Jerry; Donnan, Robert S.; Dobo-Nagy, Csaba; Nicholson, John W.; Greer, A. Lindsay; Chass, Gregory A.; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2015-11-09)
      Bioactive glass ionomer cements (GICs) have been in widespread use for ~40 years in dentistry and medicine. However, these composites fall short of the toughness needed for permanent implants. Significant impediment to improvement has been the requisite use of conventional destructive mechanical testing, which is necessarily retrospective. Here we show quantitatively, through the novel use of calorimetry, terahertz (THz) spectroscopy and neutron scattering, how GIC’s developing fracture toughness during setting is related to interfacial THz dynamics, changing atomic cohesion and fluctuating interfacial configurations. Contrary to convention, we find setting is non-monotonic, characterized by abrupt features not previously detected, including a glass–polymer coupling point, an early setting point, where decreasing toughness unexpectedly recovers, followed by stress-induced weakening of interfaces. Subsequently, toughness declines asymptotically to long-term fracture test values. We expect the insight afforded by these in situ non-destructive techniques will assist in raising understanding of the setting mechanisms and associated dynamics of cementitious materials.
    • Bacillus Spores and Their Relevant Chemicals Studied by Terahertz Time Domain Spectroscopy

      Tang, Jianhua; Yang, Bin; Llewellyn, Ian; Cutler, Ronald R.; Donnan, Robert S.; Queen Mary University of London; University of Bolton (Elsevier, 2013-12-28)
      Terahertz Time Domain Spectroscopy has been used to investigate 0.2 to 2.2 terahertz (THz) transmission responses of Bacillus spores and their related chemical components. Whilst no THz signatures could be clearly associated with either sporulated cells or their chief chemical components, differing degrees of signal attenuation and frequency-dependent light scattering were observed depending on spore composition and culture media. The observed monotonic increase in absorption by spores over this THz spectral domain is mainly from Mie scattering and also from remnant water bound to the spores.
    • Comparing Terahertz transmission response on pH-dependent apomyoglobin proteins dynamics with circular dichroism

      Qiu, Junyi; Yang, Bin; Sushko, Oleksandr; Pikersgill, Richard W.; Donnan, Robert S.; University of Chester (IEEE, 2014-12-08)
      Terahertz time domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) was used to study the transmission responses of pH-dependent apomyoglobin (ApoMb) dissolved solutions in 0.2-2.2 THz frequency domain, the THz-TDS technique was also benchmarked against circular dichroism (CD) by studying pH-related folding states changes of ApoMb protein. Results revealed that differences of pH-dependent ApoMb/water dynamics can be detected directly by the THz refractive index spectrum, and these differences are further proved to be caused mainly the effect of protonation of water and possibly water response leaded by protein conformation change.
    • Dielectric and Double Debye Parameters of Artificial Normal Skin and Melanoma

      Yang, Bin; Zhang, Rui; Yang, Ke; AbuAli, Najah A.; Hayajneh, Mohammad; Philpott, Mike; Abbasi, Qammer H.; Alomainy, Akram; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-05-16)
      The aim of this study is to characterise the artificial normal skin and melanoma by testing samples with different fibroblast and metastatic melanoma cell densities using terahertz (THz) time-domain spectroscopy (TDS) attenuated total reflection (ATR) technique. Results show that melanoma samples have higher refractive index and absorption coefficient than artificial normal skin with the same fibroblast density in the frequency range between 0.4 and 1.6 THz, and this contrast increases with frequency. It is primarily because that the melanoma samples have higher water content than artificial normal skin, and the main reason to melanoma containing more water is that tumour cells degrade the contraction of the collagen lattice. In addition, complex refractive index and permittivity of the melanoma samples have larger variations than that of normal skin samples. For example, the refractive index of artificial normal skin at 0.5 THz increases 4.3% while that of melanoma samples increases 8.7% when the cell density rises from 0.1 to 1 M/ml. It indicates that cellular response of fibroblast and melanoma cells to THz radiation is significantly different. Furthermore, the extracted double Debye (DD) model parameters demonstrate that the static permittivity at low frequency and slow relaxation time can be reliable classifiers to differentiate melanoma from healthy skin regardless of the cell density. This study helps understand the complex response of skin tissues to THz radiation and the origin of the contrast between normal skin and cancerous tissues.
    • Electromagnetic wave absorption properties of ternary poly (vinylidene fluoride)/magnetite nanocomposites with carbon nanotubes and graphene

      Tsonos, Christos; Soin, Navneet; Tomara, Georgia N.; Yang, Bin; Psarras, Georgios C.; Kanapitsas, Athanasios; Siores, Elias; University of Chester (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2015-12-21)
      Ternary nanocomposite systems of poly(vinylidene fluoride)/magnetite/carbon nanotube (PVDF/Fe3O4/CNT) and poly(vinylidene fluoride)/magnetite/graphene (PVDF/Fe3O4/GN), were prepared using high shear twin screw compounding followed by compression moulding. The electromagnetic (EM) microwave absorption properties of the nanocomposites were investigated in the frequency range of 3–10 GHz. PVDF/Fe3O4/CNT samples with the thickness d = 0.7 mm present a minimum reflection loss (RL) of −28.8 dB at 5.6 GHz, while all the RL values in the measurement frequency range 3–10 GHz are lower than −10 dB. PVDF/Fe3O4/GN with a thickness of 0.9 mm, presents a minimum RL of −22.6 dB at 5.4 GHz, while all the RL values in the measurement frequency range 3–10 GHz are lower than −10 dB as well. The excellent microwave absorption properties of both nanocomposites, in terms of minimum RL value and broad absorption bandwidth, are mainly due to the enhanced magnetic losses. The results indicate that the ternary nanocomposites studied here, can be used as an attractive candidate for EM absorption materials in diverse fields of various technological applications, not only in the frequency range 3–10 GHz, but also at frequencies <3 GHz for PVDF/Fe3O4/CNT and >10 GHz for PVDF/Fe3O4/GN with a realistic thickness of close to 1 mm.
    • Experimental demonstration of a transparent graphene millimetre wave absorber with 28% fractional bandwidth at 140 GHz

      Wu, Bian; Tuncer, Hatice M.; Naeem, Majid; Yang, Bin; Cole, Matthew T.; Milne, William I.; Hao, Yang; Queen Mary University of London (Nature Publishing Group, 2014-02-19)
      The development of transparent radio-frequency electronics has been limited, until recently, by the lack of suitable materials. Naturally thin and transparent graphene may lead to disruptive innovations in such applications. Here, we realize optically transparent broadband absorbers operating in the millimetre wave regime achieved by stacking graphene bearing quartz substrates on a ground plate. Broadband absorption is a result of mutually coupled Fabry-Perot resonators represented by each graphene-quartz substrate. An analytical model has been developed to predict the absorption performance and the angular dependence of the absorber. Using a repeated transfer-and-etch process, multilayer graphene was processed to control its surface resistivity. Millimetre wave reflectometer measurements of the stacked graphene-quartz absorbers demonstrated excellent broadband absorption of 90% with a 28% fractional bandwidth from 125-165 GHz. Our data suggests that the absorbers’ operation can also be extended to microwave and low-terahertz bands with negligible loss in performance.
    • Isolation of a Ferroelectric Intermediate Phase in Antiferroelectric Dense Sodium Niobate Ceramics

      Yang, Bin; Zhang, Hangfeng; Yan, Haixue; Abrahams, Isaac (Elsevier, 2019-08-22)
      Switchable ferroelectric/antiferroelectric ceramics are of significant interest for high power energy storage applications. Grain size control of this switching is an interesting approach to controlling polarization and hence dielectric properties. However, the use of this approach in technologically relevant ceramics is hindered by difficulty in fabricating dense ceramics with small grain sizes. Here an intermediate polar ferroelectric phase (P21ma) has been isolated in dense bulk sodium niobate ceramics by grain size control through spark plasma sintering methods. Our findings, supported by XRD, DSC, P-E (I-E) loops and dielectric characterization, provide evidence that the phase transition from the antiferroelectric (AFE) R-phase, in space group Pnmm, above 300 C, to the AFE P-phase, in space group Pbma, at room temperature, always involves the polar intermediate P21ma phase and that the P21ma to Pbma transition can be suppressed by reducing grain size.
    • Micromachined Thick Mesh Filters for Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Applications

      Wang, Yi; Yang, Bin; Tian, Yingtao; Donnan, Robert S.; Lancaster, Michael J.; University of Bolton (IEEE, 2014-03-01)
      This paper presents several freestanding bandpass mesh filters fabricated using an SU-8 based micromachining technique. The important geometric feature of the filters, which SU8 is able to increase, is the thickness of the cross-shaped micromachined slots. This is 5 times its width. This thickness offers an extra degree of control over the resonance characteristics. The large thickness not only strengthens the structures, but also enhances the resonance quality factor (Q-factor). A 0.3 mm thick, single layer, mesh filter resonant at 300 GHz has been designed, fabricated and its performance verified. The measured Q-factor is 16.3 and the insertion loss is 0.98 dB. Two multi-layer filter structures have also been demonstrated. The first one is a stacked structure of two single mesh filters producing a double thickness, which achieved a further increased Q-factor of 27. This is over six times higher than a thin mesh filter. The second multi-layer filter is an electromagnetically coupled structure forming a two-pole filter. The coupling characteristics are discussed based on experimental and simulation results. These thick mesh filters can potentially be used for sensing and material characterization at millimeter-wave and terahertz frequencies.
    • Microstructure and broadband dielectric properties of Zn2SiO4 ceramics with nano-sized TiO2 addition

      Weng, Zhangzhao; Song, Chunxiao; Xiong, Zhaoxian; Xue, Hao; Sun, Wenfeng; Zhang, Yan; Yang, Bin; Reece, Michael J.; Yan, Haixue; Xiamen University; Capital Normal University; University of Chester; Queen Mary, University of London; China Electronic Product Reliability and Environmental Testing Research Institute (Elsevier, 2019-04-06)
      Zn2SiO4 ceramics with nano-sized TiO2 addition (ZST) were synthesized by conventional solid state method. The association between the new composite’s microstructures and dielectric properties reveals that reduced pores, increased density and average grain sizes with increasing sintering temperatures, have contributed to the increased permittivities at kHz and microwave bands; the decrease of the permittivities at 1275 0C is due to the form of twin planes. At the terahertz band, the competition of generating oxygen vacancies and forming them into twin crystallographic shear planes dominates the change of permittivities: the crystallographic shear planes decrease the permittivity at the sintering temperature 12250C and 12500C, and the high-rate generation of oxygen vacancies at 1275 0C increases the permittivities. The ZST ceramics demonstrate stable permittivity and low dielectric losses (<10-3 from 10 kHz to microwave band; and < 10-2 at THz range); and the temperature coefficient of resonant frequency is optimized to close zero. These advanced dielectric properties and low sintering temperature (<13000C) provide the ZST ceramics great potential in designing microwave and THz devices.
    • Microwave and terahertz dielectric properties of MgTiO3–CaTiO3 ceramics

      Huang, Jinbao; Yang, Bin; Yu, Chuying; Zhang, Guang; Xue, Hao; Xiong, Zhaoxian; Viola, Giuseppe; Donnan, Robert S.; Yan, Haixue; Reece, Michael J.; et al. (Elsevier, 2015-10-05)
      The THz dielectric properties of MgTiO3–CaTiO3 ceramics are reported. The ceramics were prepared via a solid-state reaction route and the sintering conditions were optimized to obtain ceramics with high permittivity and low loss in the terahertz frequency domain. The amount of impurities (MgTi2O5) and grain size increased with increasing sintering temperature. The dielectric properties improved with increasing density, and the best terahertz dielectric performance was obtained at 1260 °C, with a permittivity of 17.73 and loss of 3.07×10−3. Ceramics sintered above 1260 °C showed a sharp increase in loss, which is ascribed to an increase in the impurity content.
    • Perovskite Srx(Bi1-xNa0.97-xLi0.03)0.5TiO3 ceramics with polar nano regions for high power energy storage

      Wu, Jiyue; Mahajan, Amit; Riekehr, Lars; Zhang, Hangfeng; Yang, Bin; Meng, Nan; Zhang, Zhen; Yan, Haixue; Queen Mary University of London; Uppsala University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2018-06-06)
      Dielectric capacitors are very attractive for high power energy storage. However, the low energy density of these capacitors, which is mainly limited by the dielectric materials, is still the bottleneck for their applications. In this work, lead-free single-phase perovskite Srx(Bi1-xNa0.97-xLi0.03)0.5TiO3 (x=0.30 and 0.38) bulk ceramics, prepared using solid-state reaction method, were carefully studied for the dielectric capacitor application. Polar nano regions (PNRs) were created in this material using co-substitution at A-site to enable relaxor behaviour with low remnant polarization (Pr) and high maximum polarization (Pmax). Moreover, Pmax was further increased due to reversible electric field induced phase transitions. Comprehensive structural and electrical studies were performed to confirm the PNRs and the reversible phase transitions. And finally a high energy density (1.70 J/cm3) with an excellent efficiency (87.2%) was achieved using the contribution of PNRs and field-induced transitions in this material, making it among the best performing lead-free dielectric ceramic bulk material for high energy storage.
    • The power of VNA-driven quasi-optics to sense group molecular action in condensed phase systems

      Donnan, Robert S.; Tian, Kun V.; Yang, Bin; Chass, Gregory A.; University of Chester (2014-12-08)
      The versatility for quasi-optical circuits, driven by modern vector network analysers, is demonstrated for the purpose of low energy (meV) coherent spectroscopy. One such example is shown applied to the curing dynamics of a non-mercury-based dental cement. This highlights the special place the methodology holds as a `soft-probe' to reveal the time-resolved energetics of condensed phased systems as they self-organise to adopt their low energy state.
    • Quality Mapping of Offset Lithographic Printed Antenna Substrates and Electrodes by Millimeter-Wave Imaging

      Zhang, Jiao; Tang, Jianhua; Sun, Wenfeng; Zhang, Yan; Yang, Bin; Wang, Xinke; University of Chester (MDPI, 2019-06-14)
      Offset lithographic printed flexible antenna substrate boards and electrodes have attracted much attention recently due to the boost of flexible electronics. Unmanned quality inspection of these printed substrate boards and electrodes demands high-speed, large-scale and nondestructive methods, which is highly desired for manufacturing industries. The work here demonstrates two kinds of millimeter (mm)-wave imaging technologies for the quality (surface uniformity and functionality parameters) inspection of printed silver substrates and electrodes on paper and thin polyethylene film, respectively. One technology is a mm-wave line scanner system and the other is a terahertz-time domain spectroscopy-based charge-coupled device (CCD) imaging system. The former shows the ability of detecting transmitted mm-wave amplitude signals only; its detection is fast in a second time scale and the system shows great potential for the inspection of large-area printed surface uniformity. The latter technology achieves high spatial resolution images of up to hundreds of micrometers at the cost of increased inspection time, in a time scale of tens of seconds. With the exception of absorption rate information, the latter technology offers additional phase information, which can be used to work out 2D permittivity distribution. Moreover, its uniformity is vital for the antenna performance. Additionally, the results demonstrate that compression rolling treatment significantly improves the uniformity of printed silver surfaces and enhances the substrate’s permittivity values.
    • Quality-Control of UV offset Lithographicaly Printed Electronic-Ink by THz Technology

      Zeng, Yang; Donnan, Robert S.; Edwards, Marc; Yang, Bin; University of Chester (IEEE Conference Publications, 2017-10-16)
      In this paper, a novel quality-monitor method of inkjet-printed electronics based on terahertz (THz) sensing is presented. Specifically, two different approaches, namely THz reflection spectroscopy and THz near-field scanning, are proposed.
    • SrFe12O19 based ceramics with ultra-low dielectric loss in the millimetre-wave band

      Yu, Chuying; Zeng, Yang; Yang, Bin; Wylde, Richard; Donnan, Robert S.; Wu, Jiyue; Xu, Jie; Gao, Feng; Abrahams, Isaac; Reece, Michael J.; et al. (AIP Publishing, 2018-04-02)
      Non-reciprocal devices such as isolators and circulators, based mainly on ferromagnetic materials, require extremely low dielectric loss in order for strict power-link budgets to be met for millimetre (mm)-wave and terahertz (THz) systems. The dielectric loss of commercial SrFe12O19 hexaferrite was significantly reduced to below 0.002 in the 75 - 170 GHz band by thermal annealing. While the overall concentration of Fe2+ and oxygen vacancy defects is relatively low in the solid, their concentration at the surface is significantly higher, allowing for a surface sensitive technique such as XPS to monitor the Fe3+/Fe2+ redox reaction. Oxidation of Fe2+ and a decrease in oxygen vacancies is found at the surface on annealing, which is reflected in the bulk sample by a small change in unit cell volume. The significant decrease in dielectric loss property can be attributed to the decreased concentration of charged defects such as Fe2+ and oxygen vacancies through annealing process, which demonstrated that thermal annealing could be effective in improving the dielectric performance of ferromagnetic materials for various applications.
    • Terahertz Characterisation of UV Offset Lithographically Printed Electronic-Ink

      Zeng, Yang; Edwards, Marc; Stevens, Robert; Bowen, John; Donnan, Robert S.; Yang, Bin; University of London; National University of Defense Technology; University of Chester; Nottingham Trent University; University of Reading (Elsevier, 2017-06-10)
      Inkjet-printed electronics are showing promising potential in practical applications, but methods for real-time, non-contact monitoring of printing quality are lacking. This work explores Terahertz (THz) sensing as an approach for such monitoring. It is demonstrated that alterations in the localised dielectric characteristics of inkjet-printed electronics can be qualitatively distinguished using quasi-optically-based, sub-THz reflection spectroscopy. Decreased reflection coefficients caused by the sintering process are observed and quantified. Using THz near-field scanning imaging, it is shown that sintering produces a more uniform spatial distribution of permittivity in the printed carbon patterns. Images generated using THz-TDS based imaging are presented, demonstrating the combination of high resolution imaging with quantification of complex permittivities. This work, for the first time, demonstrates the feasibility of quality control in printed electronic-ink with THz sensing, and is of practical significance to the development of in-situ and non-contact commercial-quality characterisation methods for inkjet-printed electronics.
    • Titanium Dioxide Engineered for Near-dispersionless High Terahertz Permittivity and Ultra-low-loss

      Chuying, Yu; Zeng, Yang; Yang, Bin; Donnan, Robert S.; Huang, Jinbao; Xiong, Zhaoxian; Mahajan, Amit; Shi, Baogui; Ye, Haitao; Binions, Russell; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2017-07-26)
      Realising engineering ceramics to serve as substrate materials in high-performance terahertz(THz) that are low-cost, have low dielectric loss and near-dispersionless broadband, high permittivity, is exceedingly demanding. Such substrates are deployed in, for example, integrated circuits for synthesizing and converting nonplanar and 3D structures into planar forms. The Rutile form of titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been widely accepted as commercially economical candidate substrate that meets demands for both low-loss and high permittivities at sub-THz bands. However, the relationship between its mechanisms of dielectric response to the microstructure have never been systematically investigated in order to engineer ultra-low dielectric-loss and high value, dispersionless permittivities. Here we show TiO2 THz dielectrics with high permittivity (ca. 102.30) and ultra-low loss (ca. 0.0042). These were prepared by insight gleaned from a broad use of materials characterisation methods to successfully engineer porosities, second phase, crystallography shear-planes and oxygen vacancies during sintering. The dielectric loss achieved here is not only with negligible dispersion over 0.2 - 0.8 THz, but also has the lowest value measured for known high-permittivity dielectrics. We expect the insight afforded by this study will underpin the development of subwavelength-scale, planar integrated circuits, compact high Q-resonators and broadband, slow-light devices in the THz band.