Astrocyte-derived Wnt growth factors regulate blood-brain barrier integrity
Cathrin Jacqueline Czupalla
Insights into a Lipid Regulator by Solid-State MAS NMR: Kinetic and Structure-Functional Studies on Diacylglycerol Kinase
Sandra Johanna Ullrich
- In this thesis the integral membrane protein diacylglycerol kinase (DAGK) from E.coli is investigated with solid-state NMR. The aim is to gain an insight into the enzyme’s mechanism through integration of kinetic, structural and dynamic data. The biological function of DAGK is the transfer of the γ-phosphate group from Mg*ATP to diacylglycerol (DAG) building phosphatidic acid (PA) as port of the membrane-derived oligosaccharide cycle[31,34]. Surprisingly, DAGK does not share structural or sequential similarities with other kinases. Typical sequence motives found in other kinases, which catalyze phosphoryl transfer reactions, are not found. In its physiological form DAGK is a homo-trimer with nine transmembrane helices, three catalytic centers and a size of 39.6 kDa.
First, the set-up of a real-time 31P MAS NMR experiment is shown. This experiment allows measuring in real-time the simultaneous ATP hydrolysis in the aqueous phase and lipid substrate phos-phorylation in the membrane phase with atomic resolution under magic angle spinning. After fast transfer of the sample into the NMR spectrometer the enzymatic reaction is started with a temperature jump. This approach of real-time MAS NMR in a dual-phase system was demonstrated for the lipid substrate analogs dioleoyl- (DOG) and dibutyrylglycerol (DBG), with a C8 and C4 aliphatic chain, respectively. The combination of 31P direct and cross polarization functions as a dynamic filter. In the 31P direct polarized experiment nuclei in both phases are detected, while in the 31P cross polar-ized experiment, only nuclei in the membrane phase are detected. Rates for substrate turnover, i.e. degradation of γP-, βP, αP-ATP and build-up of βP-, αP-ADP, free phosphate as side reaction, and PA are obtained, which reveal a Michaelis-Menten behavior with regard to Mg*ATP and DBG. Here Mg*ATP and DBG follow a random-equilibrium model, where every substrate can bind indepen-dently from the other substrate. Analyses of the peak integrals from educts and products of the enzymatic reaction, revealed the stoichiometry of the reaction: 1.5 ATP molecules are used to phos-phorylate one DBG molecule. The excess of ATP is attributed to the basal ATPase activity. Further-more, experiments with ATPγS, usually regarded as a non-hydrolysable ATP-analog, where carried out. Surprisingly, DAGK hydrolyzes ATPγS and also transfers the thio-phosphate group to the lipid acceptor DBG, which points to a certain degree of plasticity in the active center. A phosphorylated enzyme intermediate was not detected. These results suggest the building of a ternary complex of Mg*ATP, DBG and DAGK performing a direct-phosphoryl transfer reaction, without passing through a phosphorylated enzyme intermediate. Experiments with the transition state analog ortho-vanadate (Vi) showed a decoupling of the ATP hydrolysis activity from lipid substrate phosphorylation. This indicates a specific transfer site for the γ-phosphate group from ATP to DAG, which can be blocked by Vi.
A general disadvantage of NMR spectroscopy compared to other spectroscopic methods is its inherent low sensitivity. One possible starting point for the improvement of signal-to-noise per unit time is the reduction of the spin-lattice relaxation time of protons. Usually 95 % of the experi-mental time is required for the relaxation of the 1H to equilibrium. The addition of paramagnetic species can be used to reduce the 1H T1. In a comprehensive study four different paramagnetic agents were tested: Cu2+-EDTA, Cu2+-EDTA-tag, Gd3+-TTAHA and Gd3+-DOTA. The titration of these paramagnetic complexes showed the principle feasibility of this approach, but differences between the tested species exist. The most promising complex is Gd3+-DOTA which, at a concentration of 2 mM, causes a 10-time improvement of signal-to-noise ratio per unit time. This allowed measuring 2D 13C-13C correlation spectra of proteoliposomes in one tenth of the usual required experimental time (i.e. 10 hours vs. 4 days) with good signal-to-noise.
For the investigation of structural or dynamic changes in the protein upon substrate interaction with MAS NMR, the spectral properties CP efficiency and resolution of the DAGK in liposomes needed to be improved. The most critical step during sample preparation is the reconstitution of the membrane protein from detergent micelles into a membrane of synthetic lipids under detergent removal. For this procedure the important criteria are enzymatic activity, measured in a coupled ATPase assay, and homogeneity of the proteoliposomes, which was tested e.g. on a discontinuous sucrose step gradient. Therefore an extensive study was carried out, in which different detergents, lipids and lipid mixtures, techniques for detergent removal and different protein-to-lipid ratios were tested. A direct correlation between high ATPase activity and good resolution was not found. Moreover, active DAGK in a mixture of DMPC and cholesterol, which emulates the membrane features of a membrane containing DAG, showed the best CP efficiency and resolution.
The assignment of the protein backbone and amino acid side chains the first mandatory step towards the investigation of structural and dynamical features influencing and defining the enzymatic mechanism by MAS NMR. As the assignment procedure is very time consuming for a total protein, a special labeling scheme for DAGK was developed, which allows assigning most of the protein areas presumably involved in enzyme catalysis. The assignment of DAGK with solution NMR was not transferable to the MAS NMR spectra. Most important for the assignment process were the unique pairs, two consecutive amino acids which only appear once in the amino acid sequence. These unique pairs served as anchor points. Five different multinuclear MAS NMR experiments (DARR, NCO, NCA, NCACX, NCOCX) were required for the sequential assignment. It was possible to assign 35 % of the total amino acid sequence with one sample and 8 experiments acquired at 850 MHz. The secondary structure analysis showed subtle differences to the DAGK assignment with solution NMR, which can be attributed to the different environment in lipid bilayers and detergent micelles.
Data about structural and dynamical changes under substrate interaction can reveal details about the enzymatic mechanism. Therefore changes in chemical shift in 2D heteronuclear correlation experiments in the apo-state and under substrate saturated conditions with the substrates Mg*AMP-PNP, a non-hydrolysable ATP-analog, DOG, a mixture of Mg*AMP-PNP and DOG as well as inhibited by Vi were recorded. The most significant peak changes were observed at the interface membrane-cytoplasm as well as the the N-terminal amphipathic helix. The residues revealing chemical shift perturbations correlate with conserved residues or such residues, for which importance for catalysis and/or folding could be shown in mutation studies. Especially noticeable were the changes at the amino acids Asn 72, Lys 64, His 87, Tyr 86 and Asp 95.
Beside changes of the chemical shift, changes of line width or signal doubling were observable. These changes can point to a correlation with dynamic reorientations in the μs-ms time regime, which are most relevant for enzymatic processes. The protein backbone dynamics in the apo-state as well as saturated with the substrates or inhibited with Vi were investigated with a 15N-CODEX experiment, which is based on the reorientation of the CSA tensor upon dynamical changes. Specific effects of the different substrates or analogs on the protein backbone dynamic were revealed complementing the structural data and the chemical shift perturbation experiments.
Mechanisms of nanofractal structure formation and post-growth evolution
Veronika V. Dick
- Nanotechnology is a rapidly developing branch of science, which is focused on the study of phenomena at the nanometer scale, in particular related to the possibilities of matter manipulation. One of the main goals of nanotechnology is the development of controlled, reproducible, and industrially transposable nanostructured materials.
The conventional technique of thin-film growth by deposition of atoms, small atomic clusters and molecules on surfaces is the general method, which is often used in nanotechnology for production of new materials. Recent experiments show, that patterns with different morphology can be formed in the course of nanoparticles deposition process on a surface. In this context, predicting of the final architecture of the growing materials is a fundamental problem worth studying.
Another factor, which plays an important role in industrial applications of new materials, is the question of post-growth stability of deposited structures. The understanding of the post-growth relaxation processes would give a possibility to estimate the lifetime of the deposited material depending on the conditions at which the material was fabricated. Controllable post-growth manipulations with the architecture of deposited structures opens new path for engineering of nanostructured materials.
The task of this thesis is to advance understanding mechanisms of formation and post-growth evolution of nanostructured materials fabricated by atomic clusters deposition on a surface. In order to achieve this goal the following main problems were addressed:
1. The properties of isolated clusters can significantly differ from those of analogous clusters occurring on a solid surface. The difference is caused by the interaction between the cluster and the solid. Therefore, the understanding of structural and dynamical properties of an atomic cluster on a surface is a topic of intense interest from the scientific and technological point of view. In the thesis, stability, energy, and geometry of an atomic cluster on a solid surface were studied using a liquid drop approach which takes into account the cluster-solid interaction. Geometries of the deposited clusters are compared with those of isolated clusters and the differences are discussed.
2. The formation scenarios of patterns on a surface in the course of the process of cluster deposition depend strongly on the dynamics of deposited clusters. Therefore, an important step towards predicting pattern morphology is to study dynamics of a single cluster on a surface. The process of cluster diffusion on a surface was modeled with the use of classical molecular dynamics technique, and the diffusion coefficients for the silver nanoclusters were obtained from the analysis of trajectories of the clusters. The dependence of the diffusion coefficient on the system’s temperature and cluster-surface interaction was established. The results of the calculations are compared with the available experimental results for the diffusion coefficient of silver clusters on graphite surface.
3. The methods of classical molecular dynamics cannot be used for modeling the self-assembly processes of atomic clusters on a surface, because these processes occur on the minutes timescale, what would require an unachievable computer resource for the simulation. Based on the results of molecular dynamics simulations for a single cluster on a surface a Monte-Carlo based approach has been developed to describe the dynamics of the self-assembly of nanoparticles on a surface. This method accounts for the free particle diffusion on a surface, aggregation into islands and detachment from these islands. The developed method is allowed to study pattern formation of structures up to thousands nm, as well as the stability of these structures. Developed method was implemented in MBN Explorer computer package.
4. The process of the pattern formation on a surface was modeled for several different scenarios. Based on the analysis of results of simulations was suggested a criterion, which can be used to distinguish between different patterns formed on a surface, for example: between fractals or compact islands.This criteria can be used to predict the final morphology of a growing structure.
5. The post-growth evolution of patterns on a surface was also analyzed. In particular, attention in the thesis is payed to a systematical theoretical analysis of the post-growth processes occurring in nanofractals on a surface. The time evolution of fractal morphology in the course of the post-growth relaxation was analyzed, the results of these calculations were compared with experimental data available for the post-growth relaxation of silver cluster fractals on graphite substrate.
All the aforementioned problems are discussed in details in the thesis.
Biochemische Charakterisierung der Cytochrom-c-Oxidase-Biogenesefaktoren CtaA und Surf1
- Die Atmungskette ist für aerob lebende Organismen die wichtigste Quelle zur Erzeugung von Energie. Der Cytochrom c Oxidase (COX) kommt hierbei als letztem Enzym innerhalb der Elektronentransportkette eine besondere Bedeutung zu. Im mitochondrialen Fall besteht die Oxidase aus bis zu 13 Untereinheiten, deren Assemblierung in einem gerichteten und strikt regulierten Prozess von statten geht. Defekte innerhalb des Assemblierungsprozesses führen zu schweren respiratorischen Defiziten, die die Ursache für neurodegenerative und myopathische Erkrankungen sind. Der Assemblierungsprozess wird bei der Hefe von mehr als 30 verschiedenen Proteinfaktoren begleitet, die sich letztlich nicht als Untereinheiten im COX Holoenzym finden. Die Cytochrom c Oxidase des Bodenbakteriums Paracoccus denitrificans weist nicht nur eine hohe strukturelle Ähnlichkeit zu den Haupt-Untereinheiten I-III der mitochondrialen Oxidase auf, sondern das Bakterium kodiert ebenfalls für eine Reihe von Assemblierungsfaktoren, die am Einbau der Häm a- und Kupfer-Kofaktoren beteiligt sind. Beispiele hierfür sind die Biogenesefaktoren Häm a Synthase (CtaA) und die Surf1-Proteine (Surf1c und Surf1q), deren biochemische Charakterisierung das vorrangige Ziel dieser Arbeit war.
In diesem Sinne wurden für CtaA Expressions- und Aufreinigungsprotokolle entwickelt, die es erlaubten, das Enzym in drei spektroskopisch unterscheidbaren, mit verschiedenen Häm-Typen beladenen Formen zu isolieren. Mit Hilfe einer Mutationsstudie konnten sowohl für Surf1c als auch für Surf1q an einer Häm a-Bindung beteiligte Aminosäurereste identifiziert werden. Hierbei erlaubte insbesondere die Charakterisierung eines konservierten Tryptophanrestes die Entwicklung eines Bindungsmodells von Häm a an Surf1. Die Etablierung eines in vitro Häm-Transfer Assays wies zum ersten Mal eine direkte Interaktion zwischen CtaA und Surf1 nach, in deren Verlauf spezifisch Häm a von CtaA auf Surf1 übertragen wird. Expressionsstudien von CtaA in Paracoccus zeigten zweifelsfrei, dass die Synthese von Häm a auf Ebene des Vorläufermoleküls Häm b reguliert ist und eine Synthese des Kofaktors an eine Abgabe an Untereinheit I im Rahmen der COX-Biogenese gekoppelt ist. Eine nähere Charakterisierung der durch Deletion von surf1c hervorgerufenen Defekte der COX erwies, dass die Oxidase neben einer bereits beschriebenen Reduktion des Häm a-Gehalts überraschenderweise auch in Form von Häm b einen unphysiologischen Häm-Typ bindet.
Zusammengenommen erhärten die gewonnen Erkenntnisse die These, dass Surf1 direkt an der Inkorporation der Häm a-Kofaktoren in die Untereinheit I der Oxidase beteiligt ist. Dabei wirkt das Protein möglicherweise als molekularer Filter, der für den Einbau des physiologisch bedeutsamen Häm-Typs (Häm a) verantwortlich ist. Darüber hinaus stabilisiert es als vermittelnder Faktor die Interaktion von CtaA und Untereinheit I und sorgt somit für einen erleichterten und koordinierten Einbau des Häms in die Oxidase. Die in dieser Arbeit am bakteriellen Modellsystem gewonnen Erkenntnisse sollten aufgrund der hohen Ähnlichkeit sowohl der Cytochrom c Oxidase als auch der beteiligten Biogenesefaktoren direkte Rückschlüsse auf die Geschehnisse im humanen System erlauben.
Effekte der Reorganisation des klinischen Unterrichts auf die klinische Kompetenz
- Hintergrund: Seit 1972 wurde am Fachbereich Medizin der Goethe Universität Frankfurt ein Anamnese- und Untersuchungskurs (UkliF=Untersuchungskurs klinischer Fächer) für Studierende des 1. klinischen Semesters durchgeführt. Dieser Kurs war in den letzten Jahren durch die mangelnde Kursstruktur als wenig zufriedenstellend für alle Beteiligten aufgefallen. Die Fragestellung war demnach, ob es möglich ist durch Reorganisation des klinischen Unterrichts bessere klinische Kompetenz bei den Studierenden und damit bessere Ergebnisse in der „objective structured clinical examination” (OSCE) zu erreichen.
Methoden: Zunächst wurde ein Lernzielkatalog erstellt und ein neues Unterrichtskonzept für den UkliF implementiert. Der neue Untersuchungskurs bestand aus drei Teilen: Zu Beginn ging es um Klärung der Anamneseerhebung und praktische Übungen mit Simulationspatienten. Danach wurden an mehreren Kurstagen klar definierte Teile der körperlichen Untersuchung besprochen und geübt, um schließlich Anamnese und körperliche Untersuchung mit echten Patienten zu praktizieren. Das neue Unterrichtskonzept sah darüber hinaus eine didaktische Schulung für alle beteiligten Lehrenden vor. Die randomisiert ausgewählten Dozenten absolvierten eine sechsstündige Schulung (n=14). In dieser wurden das neue Kurskonzept, die Lehrmethoden und Informationen über Simulationspatienten vorgestellt. Nachfolgend wurden didaktische Grundlagen, Tipps und Tricks für aktiven Unterricht und Regeln des Feedbacks besprochen. In dieser Schulung wurde eine mangelnde Standardisierbarkeit der Untersuchungstechniken erkannt, woraufhin strukturierte Untersuchungsvideos erstellt wurden, um im Anschluss einen Aufbau-Workshop mit diesen Videos stattfinden zu lassen. Für diese Dissertation wurde der Unterricht zunächst teilweise nach dem alten und zum Teil nach dem neuen Verfahren durchgeführt. Zur Überprüfung der Effizienz der Maßnahmen wurde die OSCE als veränderungssensitive Methode gewählt. Alle Studierenden wurden nach Ende ihres Untersuchungskurses in einer 6-Stationen-OSCE evaluiert. 60 Studierende wurden randomisiert in Gruppe A (neuer Kurs mit trainierten Dozenten; n= 24) und Gruppe B (alter Kurs; n=36). Um einen zusätzlichen Nutzen durch einen vorbereitenden OSCE-Workshop vor der Prüfung nachzuweisen, wurde Gruppe A nochmals unterteilt in Gruppe A1 ohne OSCE-Workshop (n=10) und Gruppe A2 mit zusätzlichem OSCE-Workshop (n=14).
Ergebnisse: Gruppe A erreichte signifikant bessere Ergebnisse in der OSCE mit einem Median von 65% und Gruppe B mit 54% der maximal erreichbaren Punkte (p<0,001). In der Subgruppenanalyse konnte kein signifikanter Unterschied zwischen Gruppe A1 und A2 gezeigt werden. Die Kursevaluation durch die Studierenden zeigte eine positive Bewertung des neuen Kurskonzept. Die Evaluation der Dozentenschulung ergab eine Bewertung (in Schulnoten) mit einer Gesamtnote von 1,3 (SD 0,5).
Schlussfolgerung: Diese Studie zeigt, dass ein gut strukturierter Kurs mit klar definierten Lernzielen und speziell trainierten Lehrenden die Studierendenleistungen in der OSCE signifikant erhöhen kann. Es konnte kein zusätzlicher Effekt durch einen vorbereitenden OSCE-Workshop gezeigt werden, was bedeuten kann, dass Kompetenz im Umgang mit der Prüfungsform keinen Störfaktor darstellt für das Ergebnis der Verbesserung der Prüfungsleistung in der OSCE.
Letztendlich kann durch einfache Mittel, wie die Umstrukturierung und Reorganisation des klinischen Unterrichts, ein großer Effekt erzielt werden und die Lehre eine deutliche Verbesserung erfahren. Nach der Pilotstudie lässt sich nun das neue Kurskonzept für alle Studierenden einsetzen und so die Professionalität in der medizinischen Lehre an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt sichern.
Characterization of Aquifex aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase and its heterologous production in Escherichia coli
- This work presents a biochemical, functional and structural characterization of Aquifex aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase obtained using both a native form (AAF1FO) and a heterologous form (EAF1FO) of this enzyme.
F1FO ATP synthases catalyze the synthesis of ATP from ADP and inorganic phosphate driven by ion motive forces across the membrane and therefore play a key cellular function. Because of their central role in supporting life, F1FO ATP synthases are ubiquitous and have been remarkably conserved throughout evolution. For their biological importance, F1FO ATP synthases have been extensively studied for many decades and many of them were characterized from both a functional and a structural standpoint. However, important properties of ATP synthases – specifically properties pertaining to their membrane embedded subunits – have yet to be determined and no structures are available to date for the intact enzyme complex. Therefore, F1FO ATP synthases are still a major focus of research worldwide. Our research group had previously reported an initial characterization of AAF1FO and had indicated that this enzyme presents unique features, i.e. a bent central stalk and a putatively heterodimeric peripheral stalk. Based on such a characterization, this enzyme revealed promising for structural and functional studies on ATP synthases and became the focus of this doctoral thesis. Two different lines of research were followed in this work.
First, the characterization of AAF1FO was extended by bioinformatic, biochemical and enzymatic analyses. The work on AAF1FO led to the identification of a new detergent that maintains a higher homogeneity and integrity of the complex, namely the detergent trans-4-(trans-4’-propylcyclohexyl)cyclohexyl-α-D-maltoside (α-PCC). The characterization of AAF1FO in this new detergent showed that AAF1FO is a proton-dependent, not a sodium ion-dependent ATP synthase and that its ATP hydrolysis mechanism needs to be triggered and activated by high temperatures, possibly inducing a conformational switch in subunit γ. Moreover, this approach suggested that AAF1FO may present unusual features in its membrane subunits, i.e. short N-terminal segments in subunits a and c with implications for the membrane insertion mechanism of these subunits.
Investigating on these unique features of A. aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase could not be done using A. aeolicus cells, because these require a harsh and dangerous environment for growth and they are inaccessible to genetic manipulations. Therefore, a second approach was pursued, in which an expression system was created to produce the enzyme in the heterologous host E. coli. This second approach was experimentally challenging, because A. aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase is a 500-kDa multimeric membrane enzyme with a complicated and still not entirely determined stoichiometry and because its encoding genes are scattered throughout A. aeolicus genome, rather than being organized in one single operon. However, an artificial operon suitable for expression was created in this work and led to the successful production of an active and fully assembled form of Aquifex aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase. Such artificial operon was created using a stepwise approach, in which we expressed and studied first individual subunits, then subcomplexes, and finally the entire F1FO ATP synthase complex. We confirmed experimentally that subunits b1 and b2 form a heterodimeric subcomplex in the E. coli membranes, which is a unique case among ATP synthases of non-photosynthetic organisms. Moreover, we determined that the b1b2 subcomplex is sufficient to recruit the soluble F1 subcomplex to the membranes, without requiring the presence of the other membrane subunits a and c. The latter subunits can be produced in our expression system only when the whole ATP synthase is expressed, but not in isolation nor in the context of smaller FO subcomplexes. These observations led us to propose a novel mechanism for the assembly of ATP synthases, in which first the F1 subcomplex attaches to the membrane via subunit b1b2, and then cring and subunits a assemble to complete the FO subcomplex. Furthermore, we could purify the heterologous ATP synthase (EAF1FO) to homogeneity by chromatography and electro-elution. Enzymatic assays showed that the purified form of EAF1FO is as active as AAF1FO. Peptide mass fingerprinting showed that EAF1FO is composed of the same subunits as AAF1FO and all soluble and membrane subunits could be identified. Finally, single-particle electron microscopy analysis revealed that the structure of EAF1FO is identical to that of AAF1FO. Therefore, the EAF1FO expression system serves as a reliable platform for investigating on properties of AAF1FO.
Specifically, in this work, EAF1FO was used to study the membrane insertion mechanism of rotary subunit c. Subunits c possess different lengths and levels of hydrophobicity across species and by analyzing their N-terminal variability, four phylogenetic groups of subunits c were distinguished (groups 1 to 4). As a member of group 2, the subunit c from A. aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase is characterized by an N-terminal segment that functions as a signal peptide with SRP recognition features, a unique case for bacterial F1FO ATP synthases. By accurately designing mutants of EAF1FO, we determined that such a signal peptide is strictly necessary for membrane insertion of subunit c and we concluded that A. aeolicus subunit c inserts into E. coli membranes using a different pathway than E. coli subunit c. Such a property may be common to other ATP synthases from extremophilic organisms, which all cluster in the same phylogenetic group.
In conclusion, the successful production of the fully assembled and active F1FO ATP synthase from A. aeolicus in E. coli reported in this work provides a novel genetic system to study A. aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase. To a broader extent, it will also serve in the future as a solid reference for designing strategies aimed at producing large multi-subunit complexes with complicated stoichiometry.
Development of terahertz vacuum electronics for array receivers
- Heterodyne array receivers are employed in radio astronomy to reduce the observing time needed for mapping extended sources. One of the main factors limiting the amount of pixels in terahertz receivers is the difficulty of generating a sufficient amount of local oscillator power. Another challenge is efficient diplexing and coupling of local oscillator and signal power to the detectors. These problems are attacked in this dissertation by proposing the application of two vacuum electronic terahertz amplifier types for the amplification of the LO-signal and by introducing a new method for finding the defects in a quasioptical diplexer.
A traveling wave tube (TWT) design based on a square helix slow wave structure (SWS) at 825 GHz is introduced. It exhibits a simulated small-signal gain of 18.3 dB and a 3-dB bandwidth of 69 GHz. In order to generate LO-power at even higher frequencies, the operation of an 850-GHz square helix TWT as a frequency doubler has been studied. A simulated conversion efficiency of 7% to 1700 GHz, comparable with the state-of-art solid-state doublers, has been achieved for an input power of 25 mW.
The other amplifier type discussed in this work is a 1-THz cascade backward wave amplifier based on a double corrugated waveguide SWS. Specifically, three input/output coupler types between a rectangular waveguide and the SWS are presented. The structures have been realized with microfabrication, and the results of loss measurements at 1 THz will be shown.
Diplexing of the LO- and signal beams is often performed with a Martin-Puplett interferometer. Misalignment and deformation of the quasioptical components causes the polarization state of the output signal to be incorrect, which leads to coupling losses. A ray-tracing program has been developed for studying the influence of such defects. The measurement results of the diplexer of a multi-pixel terahertz receiver operated at the APEX telescope have been analyzed with the program, and the results are presented. The program allows the quasioptical configuration of the diplexer to be corrected in order to obtain higher receiver sensitivity.
Pólya urns via the contraction method
- In this thesis, the asymptotic behaviour of Pólya urn models is analyzed, using an approach based on the contraction method. For this, a combinatorial discrete time embedding of the evolution of the composition of the urn into random rooted trees is used. The recursive structure of the trees is used to study the asymptotic behavior using ideas from the contraction method.
The approach is applied to a couple of concrete Pólya urns that lead to limit laws with normal distributions, with non-normal limit distributions, or with asymptotic periodic distributional behavior.
Finally, an approach more in the spirit of earlier applications of the contraction method is discussed for one of the examples. A general transfer theorem of the contraction method is extended to cover this example, leading to conditions on the coefficients of the recursion that are not only weaker but also in general easier to check.
Analyzing user feedback of on-line communities
- The economic success of the World Wide Web makes it a highly competitive environment for web businesses. For this reason, it is crucial for web business owners to learn what their customers want. This thesis provides a conceptual framework and an implementation of a system that helps to better understand the behavior and potential interests of web site visitors by accounting for both explicit and implicit feedback. This thesis is divided into two parts.
The first part is rooted in computer science and information systems and uses graph theory and an extended click-stream analysis to define a framework and a system tool that is useful for analyzing web user behavior by calculating the interests of the users.
The second part is rooted in behavioral economics, mathematics, and psychology and is investigating influencing factors on different types of web user choices. In detail, a model for the cognitive process of rating products on the Web is defined and an importance hierarchy of the influencing factors is discovered.
Both parts make use of techniques from a variety of research fields and, therefore, contribute to the area of Web Science.
The formation and the geochemical and thermal evolution of the lithospheric mantle beneath the Kaapvaal craton recorded by subcalcic garnets from harzburgites and by pristine eclogites and garnet-pyroxenites
- The mantle xenoliths collected by kimberlites indicate that the subcratonic mantle underneath the Archean crust is mostly a residue of high degrees of partial melting which was subsequently reenriched. The majority of the xenoliths show cryptic metasomatism and only few modal metasomatism.
Much effort has been put into deciphering different kinds of enrichment processes within the mantle. Here, we take the approach to look into the inventory of subcalcic garnets which stem from cpx-free harzburgites and dunites. These subcalcic garnets, commonly with sinusoidal REE patterns, carry the major budget of the trace elements of their host rock. Thus, they are promising objects to study both depletion and enrichment. Most importantly, the analysis of a single grain subcalcic garnetwill provide almost all important information of the bulk rock. Our aim is to gain detailed information mainly on metasomatism on a craton wide scale by combining major, trace elements and Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd isotopic signatures from subcalcic garnets. Eventually, we will summarize the metasomatic agent(s) and processes and possibly the timing of the enrichment within the lithospheric mantle underneath the Kaapvaal craton.