389 research outputs found

    The application of the thermal energy analyser to the analysis of nitrosamines and organic nitrates

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    The thermal energy analyser (TEA) has been used as a detector to analyse five different types of samples of nitrosamines and organic nitrates. Results are presented for the analysis of nitrosodimethylamine in aqueous samples using capillary gas chromatography, with a detection limit of less than 20 ppb. Total nitrosamine content of personal hygiene products was determined using chemical denitrosation coupled to the TEA, with a similar lower limit. Nitroglycerin and pentaerythritoltetranitrate were analysed qualitatively in explosives residues. Attempts were made to quantify nitrosodiethanolamine in a dye, and nitroglycerin in blood, and the initial findings are presented

    BHPR research: qualitative1. Complex reasoning determines patients' perception of outcome following foot surgery in rheumatoid arhtritis

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    Background: Foot surgery is common in patients with RA but research into surgical outcomes is limited and conceptually flawed as current outcome measures lack face validity: to date no one has asked patients what is important to them. This study aimed to determine which factors are important to patients when evaluating the success of foot surgery in RA Methods: Semi structured interviews of RA patients who had undergone foot surgery were conducted and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis of interviews was conducted to explore issues that were important to patients. Results: 11 RA patients (9 ♂, mean age 59, dis dur = 22yrs, mean of 3 yrs post op) with mixed experiences of foot surgery were interviewed. Patients interpreted outcome in respect to a multitude of factors, frequently positive change in one aspect contrasted with negative opinions about another. Overall, four major themes emerged. Function: Functional ability & participation in valued activities were very important to patients. Walking ability was a key concern but patients interpreted levels of activity in light of other aspects of their disease, reflecting on change in functional ability more than overall level. Positive feelings of improved mobility were often moderated by negative self perception ("I mean, I still walk like a waddling duck”). Appearance: Appearance was important to almost all patients but perhaps the most complex theme of all. Physical appearance, foot shape, and footwear were closely interlinked, yet patients saw these as distinct separate concepts. Patients need to legitimize these feelings was clear and they frequently entered into a defensive repertoire ("it's not cosmetic surgery; it's something that's more important than that, you know?”). Clinician opinion: Surgeons' post operative evaluation of the procedure was very influential. The impact of this appraisal continued to affect patients' lasting impression irrespective of how the outcome compared to their initial goals ("when he'd done it ... he said that hasn't worked as good as he'd wanted to ... but the pain has gone”). Pain: Whilst pain was important to almost all patients, it appeared to be less important than the other themes. Pain was predominately raised when it influenced other themes, such as function; many still felt the need to legitimize their foot pain in order for health professionals to take it seriously ("in the end I went to my GP because it had happened a few times and I went to an orthopaedic surgeon who was quite dismissive of it, it was like what are you complaining about”). Conclusions: Patients interpret the outcome of foot surgery using a multitude of interrelated factors, particularly functional ability, appearance and surgeons' appraisal of the procedure. While pain was often noted, this appeared less important than other factors in the overall outcome of the surgery. Future research into foot surgery should incorporate the complexity of how patients determine their outcome Disclosure statement: All authors have declared no conflicts of interes

    The NANOGrav 15-year Data Set: Search for Anisotropy in the Gravitational-Wave Background

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    The North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) has reported evidence for the presence of an isotropic nanohertz gravitational wave background (GWB) in its 15 yr dataset. However, if the GWB is produced by a population of inspiraling supermassive black hole binary (SMBHB) systems, then the background is predicted to be anisotropic, depending on the distribution of these systems in the local Universe and the statistical properties of the SMBHB population. In this work, we search for anisotropy in the GWB using multiple methods and bases to describe the distribution of the GWB power on the sky. We do not find significant evidence of anisotropy, and place a Bayesian 95%95\% upper limit on the level of broadband anisotropy such that (Cl>0/Cl=0)<20%(C_{l>0} / C_{l=0}) < 20\%. We also derive conservative estimates on the anisotropy expected from a random distribution of SMBHB systems using astrophysical simulations conditioned on the isotropic GWB inferred in the 15-yr dataset, and show that this dataset has sufficient sensitivity to probe a large fraction of the predicted level of anisotropy. We end by highlighting the opportunities and challenges in searching for anisotropy in pulsar timing array data.Comment: 19 pages, 11 figures; submitted to Astrophysical Journal Letters as part of Focus on NANOGrav's 15-year Data Set and the Gravitational Wave Background. For questions or comments, please email [email protected]

    The NANOGrav 15-Year Data Set: Detector Characterization and Noise Budget

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    Pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) are galactic-scale gravitational wave detectors. Each individual arm, composed of a millisecond pulsar, a radio telescope, and a kiloparsecs-long path, differs in its properties but, in aggregate, can be used to extract low-frequency gravitational wave (GW) signals. We present a noise and sensitivity analysis to accompany the NANOGrav 15-year data release and associated papers, along with an in-depth introduction to PTA noise models. As a first step in our analysis, we characterize each individual pulsar data set with three types of white noise parameters and two red noise parameters. These parameters, along with the timing model and, particularly, a piecewise-constant model for the time-variable dispersion measure, determine the sensitivity curve over the low-frequency GW band we are searching. We tabulate information for all of the pulsars in this data release and present some representative sensitivity curves. We then combine the individual pulsar sensitivities using a signal-to-noise-ratio statistic to calculate the global sensitivity of the PTA to a stochastic background of GWs, obtaining a minimum noise characteristic strain of 7×10157\times 10^{-15} at 5 nHz. A power law-integrated analysis shows rough agreement with the amplitudes recovered in NANOGrav's 15-year GW background analysis. While our phenomenological noise model does not model all known physical effects explicitly, it provides an accurate characterization of the noise in the data while preserving sensitivity to multiple classes of GW signals.Comment: 67 pages, 73 figures, 3 tables; published in Astrophysical Journal Letters as part of Focus on NANOGrav's 15-year Data Set and the Gravitational Wave Background. For questions or comments, please email [email protected]

    The NANOGrav 15-year Data Set: Bayesian Limits on Gravitational Waves from Individual Supermassive Black Hole Binaries

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    Evidence for a low-frequency stochastic gravitational wave background has recently been reported based on analyses of pulsar timing array data. The most likely source of such a background is a population of supermassive black hole binaries, the loudest of which may be individually detected in these datasets. Here we present the search for individual supermassive black hole binaries in the NANOGrav 15-year dataset. We introduce several new techniques, which enhance the efficiency and modeling accuracy of the analysis. The search uncovered weak evidence for two candidate signals, one with a gravitational-wave frequency of \sim4 nHz, and another at \sim170 nHz. The significance of the low-frequency candidate was greatly diminished when Hellings-Downs correlations were included in the background model. The high-frequency candidate was discounted due to the lack of a plausible host galaxy, the unlikely astrophysical prior odds of finding such a source, and since most of its support comes from a single pulsar with a commensurate binary period. Finding no compelling evidence for signals from individual binary systems, we place upper limits on the strain amplitude of gravitational waves emitted by such systems.Comment: 23 pages, 13 figures, 2 tables. Accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters as part of Focus on NANOGrav's 15-year Data Set and the Gravitational Wave Background. For questions or comments, please email [email protected]

    The NANOGrav 15-year data set: Search for Transverse Polarization Modes in the Gravitational-Wave Background

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    Recently we found compelling evidence for a gravitational wave background with Hellings and Downs (HD) correlations in our 15-year data set. These correlations describe gravitational waves as predicted by general relativity, which has two transverse polarization modes. However, more general metric theories of gravity can have additional polarization modes which produce different interpulsar correlations. In this work we search the NANOGrav 15-year data set for evidence of a gravitational wave background with quadrupolar Hellings and Downs (HD) and Scalar Transverse (ST) correlations. We find that HD correlations are the best fit to the data, and no significant evidence in favor of ST correlations. While Bayes factors show strong evidence for a correlated signal, the data does not strongly prefer either correlation signature, with Bayes factors 2\sim 2 when comparing HD to ST correlations, and 1\sim 1 for HD plus ST correlations to HD correlations alone. However, when modeled alongside HD correlations, the amplitude and spectral index posteriors for ST correlations are uninformative, with the HD process accounting for the vast majority of the total signal. Using the optimal statistic, a frequentist technique that focuses on the pulsar-pair cross-correlations, we find median signal-to-noise-ratios of 5.0 for HD and 4.6 for ST correlations when fit for separately, and median signal-to-noise-ratios of 3.5 for HD and 3.0 for ST correlations when fit for simultaneously. While the signal-to-noise-ratios for each of the correlations are comparable, the estimated amplitude and spectral index for HD are a significantly better fit to the total signal, in agreement with our Bayesian analysis.Comment: 11 pages, 5 figure

    How to Detect an Astrophysical Nanohertz Gravitational-Wave Background

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    Analysis of pulsar timing data have provided evidence for a stochastic gravitational wave background in the nHz frequency band. The most plausible source of such a background is the superposition of signals from millions of supermassive black hole binaries. The standard statistical techniques used to search for such a background and assess its significance make several simplifying assumptions, namely: i) Gaussianity; ii) isotropy; and most often iii) a power-law spectrum. However, a stochastic background from a finite collection of binaries does not exactly satisfy any of these assumptions. To understand the effect of these assumptions, we test standard analysis techniques on a large collection of realistic simulated datasets. The dataset length, observing schedule, and noise levels were chosen to emulate the NANOGrav 15-year dataset. Simulated signals from millions of binaries drawn from models based on the Illustris cosmological hydrodynamical simulation were added to the data. We find that the standard statistical methods perform remarkably well on these simulated datasets, despite their fundamental assumptions not being strictly met. They are able to achieve a confident detection of the background. However, even for a fixed set of astrophysical parameters, different realizations of the universe result in a large variance in the significance and recovered parameters of the background. We also find that the presence of loud individual binaries can bias the spectral recovery of the background if we do not account for them.Comment: 14 pages, 8 figure

    The NANOGrav 15-year Data Set: Observations and Timing of 68 Millisecond Pulsars

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    We present observations and timing analyses of 68 millisecond pulsars (MSPs) comprising the 15-year data set of the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav). NANOGrav is a pulsar timing array (PTA) experiment that is sensitive to low-frequency gravitational waves. This is NANOGrav's fifth public data release, including both "narrowband" and "wideband" time-of-arrival (TOA) measurements and corresponding pulsar timing models. We have added 21 MSPs and extended our timing baselines by three years, now spanning nearly 16 years for some of our sources. The data were collected using the Arecibo Observatory, the Green Bank Telescope, and the Very Large Array between frequencies of 327 MHz and 3 GHz, with most sources observed approximately monthly. A number of notable methodological and procedural changes were made compared to our previous data sets. These improve the overall quality of the TOA data set and are part of the transition to new pulsar timing and PTA analysis software packages. For the first time, our data products are accompanied by a full suite of software to reproduce data reduction, analysis, and results. Our timing models include a variety of newly detected astrometric and binary pulsar parameters, including several significant improvements to pulsar mass constraints. We find that the time series of 23 pulsars contain detectable levels of red noise, 10 of which are new measurements. In this data set, we find evidence for a stochastic gravitational-wave background.Comment: 90 pages, 74 figures, 6 tables; published in Astrophysical Journal Letters as part of Focus on NANOGrav's 15-year Data Set and the Gravitational Wave Background. For questions or comments, please email [email protected]
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