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Abstract

An innovative system designed for the continuous monitoring of acoustic climate of urban areas was presented in the paper. The assessment of environmental threats is performed using online data, acquired through a grid of engineered monitoring stations collecting comprehensive information about the acoustic climate of urban areas. The grid of proposed devices provides valuable data for the purpose of long and short time acoustic climate analysis. Dynamic estimation of noise source parameters and real measurement results of emission data are utilized to create dynamic noise maps accessible to the general public. This operation is performed through the noise source prediction employing a propagation model being optimized for computer cluster implementation requirements. It enables the system to generate noise maps in a reasonable time and to publish regularly map updates in the Internet. Moreover, the functionality of the system was extended with new techniques for assessing noise-induced harmful effects on the human hearing system. The principle of operation of the dosimeter is based on a modified psychoacoustic model of hearing and on the results of research performed with participation of volunteers concerning the impact of noise on hearing. The primary function of the dosimeter is to estimate, in real time, auditory effects which are caused by exposure to noise. The results of measurements and simulations performed by the system prototype are depicted and analyzed. Several cases of long-term and short-term measurements of noise originating from various sources were considered in detail. The presented outcomes of predicted degree of the hearing threshold shift induced during the noise exposure can increase the awareness of harmfulness of excessive sound levels.
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Abstract

Graphene is a very promising material for potential applications in many fields. Since manufacturing technologies of graphene are still at the developing stage, low-frequency noise measurements as a tool for evaluating their quality is proposed. In this work, noise properties of polymer thick-film resistors with graphene nano-platelets as a functional phase are reported. The measurements were carried out in room temperature. 1/f noise caused by resistance fluctuations has been found to be the main component in the specimens. The parameter values describing noise intensity of the polymer thick-film specimens have been calculated and compared with the values obtained for other thick-film resistors and layers used in microelectronics. The studied polymer thick-film specimens exhibit rather poor noise properties, especially for the layers with a low content of the functional phase.
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Abstract

The paper presents the current state of knowledge concerning the sources of noise generated by wind turbines, force measurement methodology, and assessment of noise onerousness in this type of installation, on the basis of a study concerning a wind farm with five REpower MM92 wind turbines and the electric power of 2 MW and the sound power level of 104.2 dB(A) each. Particular attention was focused on the often discussed problem of presence of infrasound generated by turbines and on the requirements of the applicable reference methodologies for the measurement of wind speed to 5 m/s, while the turbine reaches its full power at speeds above 10 m/s.
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Abstract

The assessment of teachers' exposure to noise in primary schools was carried out on the basis of: questionnaire studies (covering 187 teachers in 3 schools), noise measurements at the teachers' workplaces, measurements of the school rooms acoustic properties (reverberation time and speech transmission index STI in 72 classrooms), analysis of statistical data regarding hazards and occupational diseases in the education sector. The studies have shown that noise is the main factor of annoyance in the school environment. Over 50% of questioned teachers consider noise as annoying and near 40% as very annoying or unbearable. A-weighted equivalent continuous sound pressure levels measured in classrooms, teacher rooms and common rooms are in the range of 58-80 dB and they exceed 55 dB (criteria of noise annoyance). The most frequently reported subjective feelings and complaints (over 90%) are: growth of psychical and emotional tension, irritation, difficulties in concentrating, hoarseness, cough. Noise in schools is also a harmful factor. High A-weighted equivalent continuous sound pressure levels ranging from 80 to 85 dB, measured in corridors during pauses and in sports halls, can cause the risk of hearing damage among PE teachers and persons oversensitive to noise. The latter concerns both teachers and pupils. High background noise levels (55-65 dB) force teachers to raise their voice. It can lead to the development of an occupational disease - chronic voice disorders due to excessive vocal effort lasting for at least 15 years. In the education sector 785 new cases of this disease were reported only in 2008. Poor acoustics in classrooms (reverberation time ranging from 0.8 to 1.7 s, STI < 0.6 in 50% of classrooms) have an adverse influence on speech reception and make the teaching and learning processes difficult.
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Abstract

Measurement of low-frequency noise properties of modern electronic components is a very demanding challenge due to the low magnitude of a noise signal and the limit of a dissipated power. In such a case, an ac technique with a lock-in amplifier or the use of a low-noise transformer as the first stage in the signal path are common approaches. A software dual-phase virtual lock-in (VLI) technique has been developed and tested in low-frequency noise studies of electronic components. VLI means that phase-sensitive detection is processed by a software layer rather than by an expensive hardware lock-in amplifier. The VLI method has been tested in exploration of noise in polymer thick-film resistors. Analysis of the obtained noise spectra of voltage fluctuations confirmed that the 1/f noise caused by resistance fluctuations is the dominant one. The calculated value of the parameter describing the noise intensity of a resistive material, C = 1·10−21 m3, is consistent with that obtained with the use of a dc method. On the other hand, it has been observed that the spectra of (excitation independent) resistance noise contain a 1/f component whose intensity depends on the excitation frequency. The phenomenon has been explained by means of noise suppression by impedances of the measurement circuit, giving an excellent agreement with the experimental data.
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Abstract

Low-frequency noise measurements have long been recognized as a valuable tool in the examination of quality and reliability of metallic interconnections in the microelectronic industry. While characterized by very high sensitivity, low-frequency noise measurements can be extremely time-consuming, especially when tests have to be carried out over an extended temperature range and with high temperature resolution as it is required by some advanced characterization approaches recently proposed in the literature. In order to address this issue we designed a dedicated system for the characterization of the low-frequency noise produced by a metallic line vs temperature. The system combines high flexibility and automation with excellent background noise levels. Test temperatures range from ambient temperature up to 300◦C. Measurements can be completely automated with temperature changing in pre-programmed steps. A ramp temperature mode is also possible that can be used, with proper caution, to virtually obtain a continuous plot of noise parameters vs temperature.
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Abstract

This paper presents the design and measurements of low-noise multichannel front-end electronics for recording extra-cellular neuronal signals using microelectrode arrays. The integrated circuit contains 64 readout channels and is fabricated in CMOS 180 nm technology. A single readout channel is built of an AC coupling circuit at the input, a low-noise preamplifier, a band-pass filter and a second amplifier. In order to reduce the number of output lines, the 64 analog signals from readout channels are multiplexed to a single output by an analog multiplexer. The chip is optimized for low noise and good matching performance and has the possibility of pass-band tuning. The low cut-off frequency can be tuned in the 1 Hz - 60 Hz range while the high cut-off frequency can be tuned in the 3.5 kHz - 15 kHz range. For the nominal gain setting at 44 dB and power dissipation per single channel of 220 μW, the equivalent input noise is in the range from 6 μV - 11 μV rms depending on the band-pass filter settings. The chip has good uniformity concerning the spread of its electrical parameters from channel to channel. The spread of the gain calculated as standard deviation to mean value is about 4.4% and the spread of the low cut-off frequency set at 1.6 Hz is only 0.07 Hz. The chip occupies 5×2.3 mm2 of silicon area. To our knowledge, our solution is the first reported multichannel recording system which allows to set in each recording channel the low cut-off frequency within a single Hz with a small spread of this parameter from channel to channel. The first recordings of action potentials from the thalamus of the rat under urethane anesthesia are presented.
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Abstract

The paper presents the method and results of low-frequency noise measurements of modern mid-wavelength infrared photodetectors. A type-II InAs/GaSb superlattice based detector with nBn barrier architecture is compared with a high operating temperature (HOT) heterojunction HgCdTe detector. All experiments were made in the range 1 Hz - 10 kHz at various temperatures by using a transimpedance detection system, which is examined in detail. The power spectral density of the nBn’s dark current noise includes Lorentzians with different time constants while the HgCdTe photodiode has more uniform 1/f - shaped spectra. For small bias, the low-frequency noise power spectra of both devices were found to scale linearly with bias voltage squared and were connected with the fluctuations of the leakage resistance. Leakage resistance noise defines the lower noise limit of a photodetector. Other dark current components give raise to the increase of low-frequency noise above this limit. For the same voltage biasing devices, the absolute noise power densities at 1 Hz in nBn are 1 to 2 orders of magnitude lower than in a MCT HgCdTe detector. In spite of this, low-frequency performance of the HgCdTe detector at ~ 230K is still better than that of InAs/GaSb superlattice nBn detector.
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