Electrical and Electronic Engineering - Research Publications

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    Indoor infrared optical wireless localization system with background light power estimation capability
    Wang, K ; Nirmalathas, A ; Lim, C ; Alameh, K ; Li, H ; Skafidas, E (OPTICAL SOC AMER, 2017-09-18)
    The indoor user localization function is in high demand for high-speed wireless communications, navigations and smart-home applications. The optical wireless technology has been used to localize end users in indoor environments. However, its accuracy is typically very limited, due to the ambient light, which is relatively strong. In this paper, a novel high-localization-accuracy optical wireless based indoor localization system, based on the use of the mechanism that estimates background light intensity, is proposed. Both theoretical studies and demonstration experiments are carried out. Experimental results show that the accuracy of the proposed optical wireless indoor localization system is independent on the localization light strength, and that an average localization error as small as 2.5 cm is attained, which is 80% better than the accuracy of previously reported optical wireless indoor localization systems.
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    Silicon nanowire photodetector enhanced by a bow-tie antenna
    Felic, GK ; Al-Dirini, F ; Hossain, FM ; Thanh, CN ; Skafidas, E (SPRINGER, 2014-05-01)
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    An ab-initio Computational Method to Determine Dielectric Properties of Biological Materials
    Abeyrathne, CD ; Halgamuge, MN ; Farrell, PM ; Skafidas, E (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2013-05-08)
    Frequency dependent dielectric properties are important for understanding the structure and dynamics of biological materials. These properties can be used to study underlying biological processes such as changes in the concentration of biological materials, and the formation of chemical species. Computer simulations can be used to determine dielectric properties and atomic details inaccessible via experimental methods. In this paper, a unified theory utilizing molecular dynamics and density functional theory is presented that is able to determine the frequency dependent dielectric properties of biological materials in an aqueous solution from their molecular structure alone. The proposed method, which uses reaction field approximations, does not require a prior knowledge of the static dielectric constant of the material. The dielectric properties obtained from our method agree well with experimental values presented in the literature.
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    Predicting the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder using gene pathway analysis
    Skafidas, E ; Testa, R ; Zantomio, D ; Chana, G ; Everall, IP ; Pantelis, C (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2014-04-01)
    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) depends on a clinical interview with no biomarkers to aid diagnosis. The current investigation interrogated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of individuals with ASD from the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) database. SNPs were mapped to Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG)-derived pathways to identify affected cellular processes and develop a diagnostic test. This test was then applied to two independent samples from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) and Wellcome Trust 1958 normal birth cohort (WTBC) for validation. Using AGRE SNP data from a Central European (CEU) cohort, we created a genetic diagnostic classifier consisting of 237 SNPs in 146 genes that correctly predicted ASD diagnosis in 85.6% of CEU cases. This classifier also predicted 84.3% of cases in an ethnically related Tuscan cohort; however, prediction was less accurate (56.4%) in a genetically dissimilar Han Chinese cohort (HAN). Eight SNPs in three genes (KCNMB4, GNAO1, GRM5) had the largest effect in the classifier with some acting as vulnerability SNPs, whereas others were protective. Prediction accuracy diminished as the number of SNPs analyzed in the model was decreased. Our diagnostic classifier correctly predicted ASD diagnosis with an accuracy of 71.7% in CEU individuals from the SFARI (ASD) and WTBC (controls) validation data sets. In conclusion, we have developed an accurate diagnostic test for a genetically homogeneous group to aid in early detection of ASD. While SNPs differ across ethnic groups, our pathway approach identified cellular processes common to ASD across ethnicities. Our results have wide implications for detection, intervention and prevention of ASD.
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    All-Graphene Planar Self-Switching MISFEDs, Metal-Insulator-Semiconductor Field-Effect Diodes
    Al-Dirini, F ; Hossain, FM ; Nirmalathas, A ; Skafidas, E (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2014-02-05)
    Graphene normally behaves as a semimetal because it lacks a bandgap, but when it is patterned into nanoribbons a bandgap can be introduced. By varying the width of these nanoribbons this band gap can be tuned from semiconducting to metallic. This property allows metallic and semiconducting regions within a single Graphene monolayer, which can be used in realising two-dimensional (2D) planar Metal-Insulator-Semiconductor field effect devices. Based on this concept, we present a new class of nano-scale planar devices named Graphene Self-Switching MISFEDs (Metal-Insulator-Semiconductor Field-Effect Diodes), in which Graphene is used as the metal and the semiconductor concurrently. The presented devices exhibit excellent current-voltage characteristics while occupying an ultra-small area with sub-10 nm dimensions and an ultimate thinness of a single atom. Quantum mechanical simulation results, based on the Extended Huckel method and Nonequilibrium Green's Function Formalism, show that a Graphene Self-Switching MISFED with a channel as short as 5 nm can achieve forward-to-reverse current rectification ratios exceeding 5000.
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    A Label-Free, Quantitative Fecal Hemoglobin Detection Platform for Colorectal Cancer Screening
    Soraya, GV ; Nguyen, TC ; Abeyrathne, CD ; Huynh, DH ; Chan, J ; Nguyen, PD ; Nasr, B ; Chana, G ; Kwan, P ; Skafidas, E (MDPI, 2017-06-01)
    The early detection of colorectal cancer is vital for disease management and patient survival. Fecal hemoglobin detection is a widely-adopted method for screening and early diagnosis. Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is favored over the older generation chemical based Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) as it does not require dietary or drug restrictions, and is specific to human blood from the lower digestive tract. To date, no quantitative FIT platforms are available for use in the point-of-care setting. Here, we report proof of principle data of a novel low cost quantitative fecal immunochemical-based biosensor platform that may be further developed into a point-of-care test in low-resource settings. The label-free prototype has a lower limit of detection (LOD) of 10 µg hemoglobin per gram (Hb/g) of feces, comparable to that of conventional laboratory based quantitative FIT diagnostic systems.
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    Pathway-wide association study identifies five shared pathways associated with schizophrenia in three ancestral distinct populations
    Liu, C ; Bousman, CA ; Pantelis, C ; Skafidas, E ; Zhang, D ; Yue, W ; Everall, IP (SPRINGERNATURE, 2017-02-21)
    Genome-wide association studies have confirmed the polygenic nature of schizophrenia and suggest that there are hundreds or thousands of alleles associated with increased liability for the disorder. However, the generalizability of any one allelic marker of liability is remarkably low and has bred the notion that schizophrenia may be better conceptualized as a pathway(s) disorder. Here, we empirically tested this notion by conducting a pathway-wide association study (PWAS) encompassing 255 experimentally validated Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways among 5033 individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia and 5332 unrelated healthy controls across three distinct ethnic populations; European-American (EA), African-American (AA) and Han Chinese (CH). We identified 103, 74 and 87 pathways associated with schizophrenia liability in the EA, CH and AA populations, respectively. About half of these pathways were uniquely associated with schizophrenia liability in each of the three populations. Five pathways (serotonergic synapse, ubiquitin mediated proteolysis, hedgehog signaling, adipocytokine signaling and renin secretion) were shared across all three populations and the single-nucleotide polymorphism sets representing these five pathways were enriched for single-nucleotide polymorphisms with regulatory function. Our findings provide empirical support for schizophrenia as a pathway disorder and suggest schizophrenia is not only a polygenic but likely also a poly-pathway disorder characterized by both genetic and pathway heterogeneity.
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    A Silk Fibroin Bio-Transient Solution Processable Memristor
    Yong, J ; Hassan, B ; Liang, Y ; Ganesan, K ; Rajasekharan, R ; Evans, R ; Egan, G ; Kavehei, O ; Li, J ; Chana, G ; Nasr, B ; Skafidas, E (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-11-07)
    Today's electronic devices are fabricated using highly toxic materials and processes which limits their applications in environmental sensing applications and mandates complex encapsulation methods in biological and medical applications. This paper proposes a fully resorbable high density bio-compatible and environmentally friendly solution processable memristive crossbar arrays using silk fibroin protein which demonstrated bipolar resistive switching ratio of 104 and possesses programmable device lifetime characteristics before the device gracefully bio-degrades, minimizing impact to environment or to the implanted host. Lactate dehydrogenase assays revealed no cytotoxicity on direct exposure to the fabricated device and support their environmentally friendly and biocompatible claims. Moreover, the correlation between the oxidation state of the cations and their tendency in forming conductive filaments with respect to different active electrode materials has been investigated. The experimental results and the numerical model based on electro-thermal effect shows a tight correspondence in predicting the memristive switching process with various combinations of electrodes which provides insight into the morphological changes of conductive filaments in the silk fibroin films.
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    WDR62 Regulates Early Neural and Glial Progenitor Specification of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells
    Alshawaf, AJ ; Antonic, A ; Skafidas, E ; Ng, DC-H ; Dottori, M (HINDAWI LTD, 2017-01-01)
    Mutations in WD40-repeat protein 62 (WDR62) are commonly associated with primary microcephaly and other developmental cortical malformations. We used human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) to examine WDR62 function during human neural differentiation and model early stages of human corticogenesis. Neurospheres lacking WDR62 expression showed decreased expression of intermediate progenitor marker, TBR2, and also glial marker, S100β. In contrast, inhibition of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signalling during hPSC neural differentiation induced upregulation of WDR62 with a corresponding increase in neural and glial progenitor markers, PAX6 and EAAT1, respectively. These findings may signify a role of WDR62 in specifying intermediate neural and glial progenitors during human pluripotent stem cell differentiation.
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    Graphene foam as a biocompatible scaffold for culturing human neurons
    D'Abaco, GM ; Mattei, C ; Nasr, BK ; Hudson, EJ ; Alshawaf, AJ ; Chana, G ; Everall, IP ; Nayagam, B ; Dottori, M ; Skafidas, E (ROYAL SOC, 2018-03-01)
    In this study, we explore the use of electrically active graphene foam as a scaffold for the culture of human-derived neurons. Human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived cortical neurons fated as either glutamatergic or GABAergic neuronal phenotypes were cultured on graphene foam. We show that graphene foam is biocompatible for the culture of human neurons, capable of supporting cell viability and differentiation of hESC-derived cortical neurons. Based on the findings, we propose that graphene foam represents a suitable scaffold for engineering neuronal tissue and warrants further investigation as a model for understanding neuronal maturation, function and circuit formation.