Resonant pickups for non-destructive single-particle detection in heavy-ion storage rings and first experimental results
Mohammad Shahab Sanjari
Visual working memory contents bias ambiguous structure from motion perception
Karl R. Gegenfurtner
- The way we perceive the visual world depends crucially on the state of the observer. In the present study we show that what we are holding in working memory (WM) can bias the way we perceive ambiguous structure from motion stimuli. Holding in memory the percept of an unambiguously rotating sphere influenced the perceived direction of motion of an ambiguously rotating sphere presented shortly thereafter. In particular, we found a systematic difference between congruent dominance periods where the perceived direction of the ambiguous stimulus corresponded to the direction of the unambiguous one and incongruent dominance periods. Congruent dominance periods were more frequent when participants memorized the speed of the unambiguous sphere for delayed discrimination than when they performed an immediate judgment on a change in its speed. The analysis of dominance time-course showed that a sustained tendency to perceive the same direction of motion as the prior stimulus emerged only in the WM condition, whereas in the attention condition perceptual dominance dropped to chance levels at the end of the trial. The results are explained in terms of a direct involvement of early visual areas in the active representation of visual motion in WM.
Shedding light on reaction mechanisms : structure determination of reactive intermediates and investigation of protein structural dynamics using 2D-IR spectroscopy
Andreas T. Meßmer
- Detailed knowledge of reaction mechanisms is key to understanding chemical, biological, and biophysical processes. For many reasons, it is desirable to comprehend how a reaction proceeds and what influences the reaction rate and its products.
In biophysics, reaction mechanisms provide insight into enzyme and protein function, the reason why they are so efficient, and what determines their reaction rates. They also reveal the relationship between the function of a protein and its structure and dynamics.
In chemistry, reaction mechanisms are able to explain side products, solvent effects, and the stereochemistry of a product. They are also the basis for potentially optimizing reactions with respect to yield, enhancing the stereoselectivity, or for modifying reactions in order to obtain other related products.
A key step to investigate reaction mechanisms is the identification and characterization of intermediates, which may be reactive, short-lived, and therefore only weakly populated. Nowadays, the structures of those can in most cases only be hypothesized based on products, side products, and isolable intermediates, because intermediates with a life time of less than a few microseconds are not accessible with the commonly used techniques for structure determination such as X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.
In this thesis, two-dimensional infrared (2D-IR) spectroscopy is shown to be a powerful complement to the existing techniques for structure determination in solution. 2D-IR spectroscopy uses a femtosecond laser setup to investigate interactions between vibrations - analogous to 2D-NMR, which investigates the interactions between spins. Its ultrafast time resolution makes 2D-IR spectroscopy particularly well suited for the two topics investigated in this thesis: Structure Determination of Reactive Intermediates and Conformational Dynamics of Proteins.
Structure Determination of Reactive Intermediates: The focus of this thesis is using polarization-dependent 2D-IR (P2D-IR) spectroscopy for structure determination of N-crotonyloxazolidinone (referred to as 1), a small organic compound with a chiral oxazolidinone, known as Evans auxiliary, and its reactive complexes with the Lewis acids SnCl4 and Mg(ClO4)2. Chiral oxazolidinones in combination with Lewis acids have frequently been used in stereoselective synthesis for over 30 years. Nevertheless, the detailed mechanisms are in many cases xvi ABSTRACT still mere hypotheses and have not yet been experimentally proven. By accurately measuring the angles between the transition dipole moments in the molecules using an optimized P2D-IR setup and comparing the results to DFT calculations, the conformation of 1 and the conformation and coordination of the main complexes with SnCl4 and Mg(ClO4)2 are unequivocally identified and analyzed in depth. Structural details, such as a slight twist in the solution structure of 1, are detected using P2D-IR spectroscopy; these cannot be inferred from NMR spectroscopy or DFT calculations. In addition to the main Lewis acid complexes, complexes in low concentration are detected and tentatively assigned to different conformations and complexation geometries. The knowledge of those structures is essential for rationalizing the observed stereoselectivities. Additionally, a method is introduced that enables structure determination of molecules in complex mixtures and even in the presence of molecules with similar spectral properties and in high concentration. This work sets the stage for future studies of other substrate-catalyst complexes and reaction intermediates for which the structure determination has not been possible to date.
Conformational Dynamics of Proteins: Exchange 2D-IR spectroscopy allows the investigation of fast dynamics without disturbing the equilibrium of the exchanging species. It is therefore well suited to investigate fast dynamics of proteins and to reveal the speed limit of those. The temperature dependence of the conformational dynamics between the myoglobin substates A1 and A3 in equilibrium is analyzed. The various substates of myoglobin can be detected with FTIR spectroscopy, if carbon monoxide is bound to the heme. From previous studies it is known that the exchange rates at room temperature are in the picosecond time range, well suited to be investigated by 2D-IR spectroscopy. In the temperature range between 0 °C and 40 °C only a weak temperature dependence of the exchange rate in the myoglobin mutant L29I is observed in the present study. The exchange rate approximately doubles from 15 ns-1 at 0 °C to 31 ns-1 at 40 °C. It turned out that the conformational dynamics correlates linearly with the solvent viscosity, which itself is temperature dependent. Comparing our results to measurements at cryogenic temperatures, the linear relation between exchange time constant for this process and the viscosity is shown for the temperature range between -100 °C and 40 °C (corresponding to a viscosity change of 14 orders of magnitude). Thus, it is proven that the dynamics of the conformational switching are mainly determined by solvent dynamics, i.e., the protein dynamics are slaved to the solvent dynamics. This is the first time slaving is observed for such fast processes (in the picosecond time range). The observation implies a long-range structural rearrangement between the myoglobin substates A1 and A3. In addition, the exchange for other mutants and wild type myoglobin is analyzed qualitatively and found to agree with the conclusions drawn from L29I myoglobin.
Molecular dynamics simulations and docking of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs): a possible approach to personalized HIV treatment
Florian D. Roessler
Peter J. Bond
- The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is currently ranked sixth in the worldwide causes of death . One treatment approach is to inhibit reverse transcriptase (RT), an enzyme essential for reverse transcription of viral RNA into DNA before integration into the host genome . By using non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs) , which target an allosteric binding site, major side effects can be evaded. Unfortunately, high genetic variability of HIV in combination with selection pressure introduced by drug treatment enables the virus to develop resistance against this drug class by developing point mutations. This situation necessitates treatment with alternative NNRTIs that target the particular RT mutants encountered in a patient.
Previously, proteochemometric approaches have demonstrated some success in predicting binding of particular NNRTIs to individual mutants; however a structurebased approach may help to further improve the predictive success of such models. Hence, our aim is to rationalize the experimental activity of known NNRTIs against a variety of RT mutants by combining molecular modeling, long-timescale atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulation sampling and ensemble docking. Initial control experiments on known inhibitor-RT mutant complexes using this protocol were successful, and the predictivity for further complexes is currently being evaluated. In addition to predictive power, MD simulations of multiple RT mutants are providing fundamental insight into the dynamics of the allosteric NNRTI binding site which is useful for the design of future inhibitors. Overall, work of this type is hoped to contribute to the development of predictive efficacy models for individual patients, and hence towards personalized HIV treatment options.
Stimulation of TRPV1 by Green Laser Light
- Low-level laser irradiation of visible light had been introduced as a medical treatment already more than 40 years ago, but its medical application still remains controversial. Laser stimulation of acupuncture points has also been introduced, and mast-cells degranulation has been suggested. Activation of TRPV ion channels may be involved in the degranulation. Here, we investigated whether TRPV1 could serve as candidate for laser-induced mast cell activation. Activation of TRPV1 by capsaicin resulted in degranulation. To investigate the effect of laser irradiation on TRPV1, we used the Xenopus oocyte as expression and model system. We show that TRPV1 can functionally be expressed in the oocyte by (a) activation by capsaicin (K 1/2 = 1.1 μM), (b) activation by temperatures exceeding 42°C, (c) activation by reduced pH (from 7.4 to 6.2), and (d) inhibition by ruthenium red. Red (637 nm) as well as blue (406 nm) light neither affected membrane currents in oocytes nor did it modulate capsaicin-induced current. In contrast, green laser light (532 nm) produced power-dependent activation of TRPV1. In conclusion, we could show that green light is effective at the cellular level to activate TRPV1. To which extend green light is of medical relevance needs further investigation.
Inhibition of Activity of GABA Transporter GAT1 by δ-Opioid Receptor
- Analgesia is a well-documented effect of acupuncture. A critical role in pain sensation plays the nervous system, including the GABAergic system and opioid receptor (OR) activation. Here we investigated regulation of GABA transporter GAT1 by δOR in rats and in Xenopus oocytes. Synaptosomes of brain from rats chronically exposed to opiates exhibited reduced GABA uptake, indicating that GABA transport might be regulated by opioid receptors. For further investigation we have expressed GAT1 of mouse brain together with mouse δOR and μOR in Xenopus oocytes. The function of GAT1 was analyzed in terms of Na(+)-dependent [(3)H]GABA uptake as well as GAT1-mediated currents. Coexpression of δOR led to reduced number of fully functional GAT1 transporters, reduced substrate translocation, and GAT1-mediated current. Activation of δOR further reduced the rate of GABA uptake as well as GAT1-mediated current. Coexpression of μOR, as well as μOR activation, affected neither the number of transporters, nor rate of GABA uptake, nor GAT1-mediated current. Inhibition of GAT1-mediated current by activation of δOR was confirmed in whole-cell patch-clamp experiments on rat brain slices of periaqueductal gray. We conclude that inhibition of GAT1 function will strengthen the inhibitory action of the GABAergic system and hence may contribute to acupuncture-induced analgesia.
Ion stopping in dense plasma target for high energy density physics
Dieter H. H. Hoffmann
Olga N. Rosmej
Naeem Ahmad Tahir
Boris Y. Sharkov
Alexey A. Golubev
Vladimir E. Fortov
- The basic physics of nonrelativistic and electromagnetic ion stopping in hot and ionized plasma targets is thoroughly updated. Corresponding projectile-target interactions involve enhanced projectile ionization and coupling with target free electrons leading to significantly larger energy losses in hot targets when contrasted to their cold homologues. Standard stoppping formalism is framed around the most economical extrapolation of high velocity stopping in cold matter. Further elaborations pay attention to target electron coupling and nonlinearities due to enhanced projectile charge state, as well. Scaling rules are then used to optimize the enhanced stopping of MeV/amu ions in plasmas with electron linear densities nel ~ 10 18 -10 20 cm -2 . The synchronous firing of dense and strongly ionized plasmas with the time structure of bunched and energetic multicharged ion beam then allow to probe, for the first time, the long searched enhanced plasma stopping and projectile charge at target exit. Laser ablated plasmas (SPQR1) and dense linear plasma columns (SPQR2) show up as targets of choice in providing accurate and on line measurements of plasma parameters. Corresponding stopping results are of a central significance in asserting the validity of intense ion beam scenarios for driving thermonuclear pellets. Other applications of note feature thorium induced fission, novel ion sources and specific material processing through low energy ion beams. Last but not least, the given ion beam-plasma target interaction physics is likely to pave a way to the production and diagnostics of warm dense matter (WDM).
Dynamical effects and disorder in ultracold bosonic matter
- In this thesis, various aspects on the theoretical description of ultracold bosonic atoms in optical lattices are investigated. After giving a brief introduction to the fundamental concepts of BECs, atomic physics, interatomic interactions and experimental procedures in chapter (1), we derive the Bose-Hubbard model from first principles in chapter (2). In this chapter, we also introduce and discuss a technique to efficiently determine Wannier states, which, in contrast to current techniques, can also be extended to inhomogeneous systems. This technique is later extended to higher dimensional, non-separable lattices in chapter (5). The many-body physics and phases of the Bose-Hubbard is shortly presented in chapter (3) in conjunction with Gutzwiller mean-field theory, and the recently devised projection operator approach. We then return to the derivation of an improved microscopic many-body Hamiltonian, which contains higher band contributions in the presence of interactions in chapter (4). We then move on to many-particle theory. To demonstrate the conceptual relations required in the following chapter, we derive Bogoliubov theory in chapter (5.3.4) in three different ways and discuss the connections. Furthermore, this derivation goes beyond the usual version discussed in most textbooks and papers, as it accounts for the fact, that the quasi-particle Hamiltonian is not diagonalizable in the condensate and the eigenvectors have to be completed by additional vectors to form a basis. This leads to a qualitatively different quasi-particle Hamiltonian and more intricate transformation relations as a result. In the following two chapters (7, 8), we derive an extended quasi-particle theory, which goes beyond Bogoliubov theory and is not restricted to weak interactions or a large condensate fraction. This quasi-particle theory naturally contains additional modes, such as the amplitude mode in the strongly interacting condensate. Bragg spectroscopy, a momentum-resolved spectroscopic technique, is introduced and used for the first experimental detection of the amplitude mode at finite quasi-momentum in chapter (9). The closely related lattice modulation spectroscopy is discussed in chapter (10). The results of a time-dependent simulation agree with experimental data, suggesting that also the amplitude mode, and not the sound mode, was probed in these experiments. In chapter (11) the dynamics of strongly interacting bosons far from equilibrium in inhomogeneous potentials is explored. We introduce a procedure that, in conjunction with the collapse and revival of the condensate, can be used to create exotic condensates, while particularly focusing on the case of a quadratic trapping potential. Finally, in chapter (12), we turn towards the physics of disordered systems derive and discuss in detail the stochastic mean-field theory for the disordered Bose-Hubbard model.
Density functional theory and dynamical mean field theory: applications to correlated electron materials
- The study of systems whose properties are governed by electronic correlations is a corner stone of modern solid-state physics. Often, such systems feature unique and distinct properties like Mott metal-insulator transitions, rich phase diagrams, and high sensitivity to subtle changes in the applied conditions. Whereas the standard approach to electronic structure calculations, density functional theory (DFT), is able to address the complexity of real-world materials but is known to have serious limitations in the description of correlations, the dynamical mean-field theory (DMFT) has become an established method for the treatment of correlated fermions, first on the level of minimal models and later in combination with DFT, termed LDA+DMFT.
This thesis presents theoretical calculations on different materials exhibiting correlated physics, where we aim at covering a range in terms of systems --from rather weakly correlated to strongy correlated-- as well as in terms of methods, from DFT calculations to combined LDA+DMFT calculations. We begin with a study on a selection of iron pnictides, a recently discovered family of high-temperature superconductors with varying degree of correlation strength, and show that their magnetic and optical properties can be assessed to some degree within DFT, despite the correlated nature of these systems. Next, extending our analysis to the inclusion of correlations in the framework of LDA+DMFT, we discuss the electronic structure of the iron pnictide LiFeAs which we find to be well described by Fermi liquid theory with regard to many of its properties, yet we see distinct changes in its Fermi surface upon inclusion of correlations. We continue the study of low-energy properties and specifically Fermi surfaces on two more iron pnictides, LaFePO and LiFeP, and predict a topology change of their Fermi surfaces due to the effect of correlations, with possible implications for their superconducting properties. In our last study, we close the circle by presenting LDA+DMFT calculations on an organic molecular crystal on the verge of a Mott metal-insulator transition; there, we find the spectral and optical properties to display signatures of strong electronic correlations beyond Fermi liquid theory.
Verification of Monte Carlo transport codes by activation experiments
- With the increasing energies and intensities of heavy-ion accelerator facilities, the problem of an excessive activation of the accelerator components caused by beam losses becomes more and more important. Numerical experiments using Monte Carlo transport codes are performed in order to assess the levels of activation. The heavy-ion versions of the codes were released approximately a decade ago, therefore the verification is needed to be sure that they give reasonable results. Present work is focused on obtaining the experimental data on activation of the targets by heavy-ion beams. Several experiments were performed at GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung. The interaction of nitrogen, argon and uranium beams with aluminum targets, as well as interaction of nitrogen and argon beams with copper targets was studied. After the irradiation of the targets by different ion beams from the SIS18 synchrotron at GSI, the γ-spectroscopy analysis was done: the γ-spectra of the residual activity were measured, the radioactive nuclides were identified, their amount and depth distribution were detected. The obtained experimental results were compared with the results of the Monte Carlo simulations using FLUKA, MARS and SHIELD. The discrepancies and agreements between experiment and simulations are pointed out. The origin of discrepancies is discussed. Obtained results allow for a better verification of the Monte Carlo transport codes, and also provide information for their further development. The necessity of the activation studies for accelerator applications is discussed. The limits of applicability of the heavy-ion beam-loss criteria were studied using the FLUKA code. FLUKA-simulations were done to determine the most preferable from the radiation protection point of view materials for use in accelerator components.