ResearchPad - General Materials Science https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[A State-of-the-Art Review on Soil Reinforcement Technology Using Natural Plant Fiber Materials: Past Findings, Present Trends and Future Directions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b599d4b463d7e77ce8a4a35

Incorporating sustainable materials into geotechnical applications increases day by day due to the consideration of impacts on healthy geo-environment and future generations. The environmental issues associated with conventional synthetic materials such as cement, plastic-composites, steel and ashes necessitate alternative approaches in geotechnical engineering. Recently, natural fiber materials in place of synthetic material have gained momentum as an emulating soil-reinforcement technique in sustainable geotechnics. However, the natural fibers are innately different from such synthetic material whereas behavior of fiber-reinforced soil is influenced not only by physical-mechanical properties but also by biochemical properties. In the present review, the applicability of natural plant fibers as oriented distributed fiber-reinforced soil (ODFS) and randomly distributed fiber-reinforced soil (RDFS) are extensively discussed and emphasized the inspiration of RDFS based on the emerging trend. Review also attempts to explore the importance of biochemical composition of natural-fibers on the performance in subsoil reinforced conditions. The treatment methods which enhances the behavior and lifetime of fibers, are also presented. While outlining the current potential of fiber reinforcement technology, some key research gaps have been highlighted at their importance. Finally, the review briefly documents the future direction of the fiber reinforcement technology by associating bio-mediated technological line.

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<![CDATA[Electromagnetic Nanoparticles for Sensing and Medical Diagnostic Applications]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b599d86463d7e77ce8a4a36

A modeling and design approach is proposed for nanoparticle-based electromagnetic devices. First, the structure properties were analytically studied using Maxwell’s equations. The method provides us a robust link between nanoparticles electromagnetic response (amplitude and phase) and their geometrical characteristics (shape, geometry, and dimensions). Secondly, new designs based on “metamaterial” concept are proposed, demonstrating great performances in terms of wide-angle range functionality and multi/wide behavior, compared to conventional devices working at the same frequencies. The approach offers potential applications to build-up new advanced platforms for sensing and medical diagnostics. Therefore, in the final part of the article, some practical examples are reported such as cancer detection, water content measurements, chemical analysis, glucose concentration measurements and blood diseases monitoring.

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<![CDATA[Indentation Behavior and Mechanical Properties of Tungsten/Chromium co-Doped Bismuth Titanate Ceramics Sintered at Different Temperatures]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b599d10463d7e77ce8a4a34

A sort of tungsten/chromium(W/Cr) co-doped bismuth titanate (BIT) ceramics (Bi4Ti2.95W0.05O12.05 + 0.2 wt % Cr2O3, abbreviate to BTWC) are ordinarily sintered between 1050 and 1150 °C, and the indentation behavior and mechanical properties of ceramics sintered at different temperatures have been investigated by both nanoindentation and microindentation technology. Firstly, more or less Bi2Ti2O7 grains as the second phase were found in BTWC ceramics, and the grain size of ceramics increased with increase of sintering temperatures. A nanoindentation test for BTWC ceramics reveals that the testing hardness of ceramics decreased with increase of sintering temperatures, which could be explained by the Hall–Petch equation, and the true hardness could be calculated according to the pressure-state-response (PSR) model considering the indentation size effect, where the value of hardness depends on the magnitude of load. While, under the application of microsized Vickers, the sample sintered at a lower temperature (1050 °C) gained four linearly propagating cracks, however, they were observed to shorten in the sample sintered at a higher temperature (1125 °C). Moreover, both the crack deflection and the crack branching existed in the latter. The hardness and the fracture toughness of BTWC ceramics presented a contrary variational tendency with increase of sintering temperatures. A high sintering tends to get a lower hardness and a higher fracture toughness, which could be attributed to the easier plastic deformation and the stronger crack inhibition of coarse grains, respectively, as well as the toughening effect coming from the second phase.

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<![CDATA[Quantifying Reversible Surface Binding via Surface-Integrated Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b59809e463d7e76777e0222

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We present a simple and versatile single-molecule-based method for the accurate determination of binding rates to surfaces or surface bound receptors. To quantify the reversible surface attachment of fluorescently labeled molecules, we have modified previous schemes for fluorescence correlation spectroscopy with total internal reflection illumination (TIR-FCS) and camera-based detection. In contrast to most modern applications of TIR-FCS, we completely disregard spatial information in the lateral direction. Instead, we perform correlation analysis on a spatially integrated signal, effectively converting the illuminated surface area into the measurement volume. In addition to providing a high surface selectivity, our new approach resolves association and dissociation rates in equilibrium over a wide range of time scales. We chose the transient hybridization of fluorescently labeled single-stranded DNA to the complementary handles of surface-immobilized DNA origami structures as a reliable and well-characterized test system. We varied the number of base pairs in the duplex, yielding different binding times in the range of hundreds of milliseconds to tens of seconds, allowing us to quantify the respective surface affinities and binding rates.

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<![CDATA[Hybrid Perovskites: Prospects for Concentrator Solar Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b591f7e463d7e56f0caf8ff

Abstract

Perovskite solar cells have shown a meteoric rise of power conversion efficiency and a steady pace of improvements in their stability of operation. Such rapid progress has triggered research into approaches that can boost efficiencies beyond the Shockley–Queisser limit stipulated for a single‐junction cell under normal solar illumination conditions. The tandem solar cell architecture is one concept here that has recently been successfully implemented. However, the approach of solar concentration has not been sufficiently explored so far for perovskite photovoltaics, despite its frequent use in the area of inorganic semiconductor solar cells. Here, the prospects of hybrid perovskites are assessed for use in concentrator solar cells. Solar cell performance parameters are theoretically predicted as a function of solar concentration levels, based on representative assumptions of charge‐carrier recombination and extraction rates in the device. It is demonstrated that perovskite solar cells can fundamentally exhibit appreciably higher energy‐conversion efficiencies under solar concentration, where they are able to exceed the Shockley–Queisser limit and exhibit strongly elevated open‐circuit voltages. It is therefore concluded that sufficient material and device stability under increased illumination levels will be the only significant challenge to perovskite concentrator solar cell applications.

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<![CDATA[Automated image segmentation-assisted flattening of atomic force microscopy images]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b59143f463d7e552e09626f

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) images normally exhibit various artifacts. As a result, image flattening is required prior to image analysis. To obtain optimized flattening results, foreground features are generally manually excluded using rectangular masks in image flattening, which is time consuming and inaccurate. In this study, a two-step scheme was proposed to achieve optimized image flattening in an automated manner. In the first step, the convex and concave features in the foreground were automatically segmented with accurate boundary detection. The extracted foreground features were taken as exclusion masks. In the second step, data points in the background were fitted as polynomial curves/surfaces, which were then subtracted from raw images to get the flattened images. Moreover, sliding-window-based polynomial fitting was proposed to process images with complex background trends. The working principle of the two-step image flattening scheme were presented, followed by the investigation of the influence of a sliding-window size and polynomial fitting direction on the flattened images. Additionally, the role of image flattening on the morphological characterization and segmentation of AFM images were verified with the proposed method.

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<![CDATA[Coherent Nanotwins and Dynamic Disorder in Cesium Lead Halide Perovskite Nanocrystals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5bfca18bd5eed0c484ff89f6

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Crystal defects in highy luminescent colloidal nanocrystals (NCs) of CsPbX3 perovskites (X = Cl, Br, I) are investigated. Here, using X-ray total scattering techniques and the Debye scattering equation (DSE), we provide evidence that the local structure of these NCs always exhibits orthorhombic tilting of PbX6 octahedra within locally ordered subdomains. These subdomains are hinged through a two-/three-dimensional (2D/3D) network of twin boundaries through which the coherent arrangement of the Pb ions throughout the whole NC is preserved. The density of these twin boundaries determines the size of the subdomains and results in an apparent higher-symmetry structure on average in the high-temperature modification. Dynamic cooperative rotations of PbX6 octahedra are likely at work at the twin boundaries, causing the rearrangement of the 2D or 3D network, particularly effective in the pseudocubic phases. An orthorhombic, 3D γ-phase, isostructural to that of CsPbBr3 is found here in as-synthesized CsPbI3 NCs.

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<![CDATA[Probing DNA Translocations with Inplane Current Signals in a Graphene Nanoribbon with a Nanopore]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b4cd87a463d7e0fba429e03

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Many theoretical studies predict that DNA sequencing should be feasible by monitoring the transverse current through a graphene nanoribbon while a DNA molecule translocates through a nanopore in that ribbon. Such a readout would benefit from the special transport properties of graphene, provide ultimate spatial resolution because of the single-atom layer thickness of graphene, and facilitate high-bandwidth measurements. Previous experimental attempts to measure such transverse inplane signals were however dominated by a trivial capacitive response. Here, we explore the feasibility of the approach using a custom-made differential current amplifier that discriminates between the capacitive current signal and the resistive response in the graphene. We fabricate well-defined short and narrow (30 nm × 30 nm) nanoribbons with a 5 nm nanopore in graphene with a high-temperature scanning transmission electron microscope to retain the crystallinity and sensitivity of the graphene. We show that, indeed, resistive modulations can be observed in the graphene current due to DNA translocation through the nanopore, thus demonstrating that DNA sensing with inplane currents in graphene nanostructures is possible. The approach is however exceedingly challenging due to low yields in device fabrication connected to the complex multistep device layout.

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<![CDATA[Structural, Electronic, and Thermodynamic Properties of Tetragonal t-SixGe3−xN4]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b4c887c463d7e0cf6817986

The structural, mechanical, anisotropic, electronic, and thermal properties of t-Si3N4, t-Si2GeN4, t-SiGe2N4, and t-Ge3N4 in the tetragonal phase are systematically investigated in the present work. The mechanical stability is proved by the elastic constants of t-Si3N4, t-Si2GeN4, t-SiGe2N4, and t-Ge3N4. Moreover, they all demonstrate brittleness, because B/G < 1.75, and v < 0.26. The elastic anisotropy of t-Si3N4, t-Si2GeN4, t-SiGe2N4, and t-Ge3N4 is characterized by Poisson’s ratio, Young’s modulus, the percentage of elastic anisotropy for bulk modulus AB, the percentage of elastic anisotropy for shear modulus AG, and the universal anisotropic index AU. The electronic structures of t-Si3N4, t-Si2GeN4, t-SiGe2N4, and t-Ge3N4 are all wide band gap semiconductor materials, with band gaps of 4.26 eV, 3.94 eV, 3.83 eV, and 3.25 eV, respectively, when using the Heyd-Scuseria-Ernzerhof (HSE06) hybrid functional. Moreover, t-Ge3N4 is a quasi-direct gap semiconductor material. The thermodynamic properties of t-Si3N4, t-Si2GeN4, t-SiGe2N4, and t-Ge3N4 are investigated utilizing the quasi-harmonic Debye model. The effects of temperature and pressure on the thermal expansion coefficient, heat capacity, Debye temperature, and Grüneisen parameters are discussed in detail.

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<![CDATA[Bismuth Oxysulfide and Its Polymer Nanocomposites for Efficient Purification]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b4c88c3463d7e0cf6817987

The danger of toxic organic pollutants in both aquatic and air environments calls for high-efficiency purification material. Herein, layered bismuth copper oxychalcogenides, BiCuSO, nanosheets of high photocatalytic activity were introduced to the PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride). The fibrous membranes provide an easy, efficient, and recyclable way to purify organic pollutant. The physical and photophysical properties of the BiCuSO and its polymer composite were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), ultraviolet-visible diffuse reflection spectroscopy (DRS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), electron spin resonance (EPR). Photocatalysis of Congo Red reveals that the BiCuSO/PVDF shows a superior photocatalytic activity of a 55% degradation rate in 70 min at visible light. The high photocatalytic activity is attributed to the exposed active {101} facets and the triple vacant associates VBiVOVBi. By engineering the intrinsic defects on the surface of bismuth oxysulfide, high solar-driven photocatalytic activity can be approached. The successful fabrication of the bismuth oxysulfide and its polymer nanocomposites provides an easy and general approach for high-performance purification materials for various applications.

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<![CDATA[Gas Separation Properties of Polyimide Thin Films on Ceramic Supports for High Temperature Applications]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b4c8715463d7e0cf6817981

Novel selective ceramic-supported thin polyimide films produced in a single dip coating step are proposed for membrane applications at elevated temperatures. Layers of the polyimides P84®, Matrimid 5218®, and 6FDA-6FpDA were successfully deposited onto porous alumina supports. In order to tackle the poor compatibility between ceramic support and polymer, and to get defect-free thin films, the effect of the viscosity of the polymer solution was studied, giving the entanglement concentration (C*) for each polymer. The C* values were 3.09 wt. % for the 6FDA-6FpDA, 3.52 wt. % for Matrimid®, and 4.30 wt. % for P84®. A minimum polymer solution concentration necessary for defect-free film formation was found for each polymer, with the inverse order to the intrinsic viscosities (P84® ≥ Matrimid® >> 6FDA-6FpDA). The effect of the temperature on the permeance of prepared membranes was studied for H2, CH4, N2, O2, and CO2. As expected, activation energy of permeance for hydrogen was higher than for CO2, resulting in H2/CO2 selectivity increase with temperature. More densely packed polymers lead to materials that are more selective at elevated temperatures.

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<![CDATA[A Facile Strategy to Enhance the Dielectric and Mechanical Properties of MWCNTs/PVDF Composites with the Aid of MMA-co-GMA Copolymer]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b4c8835463d7e0cf6817985

A facile strategy is adopted to prepare carboxylic functionalized multiwalled carbon nanotube (c-MWCNT) modified high dielectric constant (high-k) poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) composites with the aid of methyl methacrylate-co-glycidyl methacrylate copolymer (MG). The MG is miscible with PVDF and the epoxy groups of the copolymer can react with the carboxylic groups of c-MWCNT, which induce the uniform dispersion of c-MWCNT and a form insulator layer on the surface of c-MWCNT. The c-MWCNTs/MG/PVDF composites with 8 vol % c-MWCNT present excellent dielectric properties with high dielectric constant (~448) and low dielectric loss (~2.36) at the frequency of 1 KHz, the dielectric loss is much lower than the c-MWCNT/PVDF composites without MG. The obvious improvement in dielectric properties ascribes to the existence of MG, which impede the direct contact of c-MWCNTs and PVDF and avoid the formation of conductive network. Therefore, we propose a practical and simple strategy for preparing composites with excellent dielectric properties, which are promising for applications in electronics devices.

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<![CDATA[Correction: Photobleaching of YOYO-1 in super-resolution single DNA fluorescence imaging]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b4c771c463d7e0c20d25f0f ]]> <![CDATA[Washable and Reliable Textile Electrodes Embedded into Underwear Fabric for Electrocardiography (ECG) Monitoring]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b4bdc85463d7e7e0dcdb8a8

A medical quality electrocardiogram (ECG) signal is necessary for permanent monitoring, and an accurate heart examination can be obtained from instrumented underwear only if it is equipped with high-quality, flexible, textile-based electrodes guaranteeing low contact resistance with the skin. The main objective of this article is to develop reliable and washable ECG monitoring underwear able to record and wirelessly send an ECG signal in real time to a smart phone and further to a cloud. The article focuses on textile electrode design and production guaranteeing optimal contact impedance. Therefore, different types of textile fabrics were coated with modified poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) in order to develop and manufacture reliable and washable textile electrodes assembled to female underwear (bras), by sewing using commercially available conductive yarns. Washability tests of connected underwear containing textile electrodes and conductive threads were carried out up to 50 washing cycles. The influence of standardized washing cycles on the quality of ECG signals and the electrical properties of the textile electrodes were investigated and characterized.

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<![CDATA[Tribological Behaviors of Graphene and Graphene Oxide as Water-Based Lubricant Additives for Magnesium Alloy/Steel Contacts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b4bdc3e463d7e7e0dcdb8a7

The tribological behaviors of graphene and graphene oxide (GO) as water-based lubricant additives were evaluated by use of a reciprocating ball-on-plate tribometer for magnesium alloy-steel contacts. Three sets of test conditions were examined to investigate the effect of concentration, the capacity of carrying load and the endurance of the lubrication film, respectively. The results showed that the tribological behaviors of water can be improved by adding the appropriate graphene or GO. Compared with pure deionized water, 0.5 wt.% graphene nanofluids can offer reduction of friction coefficient by 21.9% and reduction of wear rate by 13.5%. Meanwhile, 0.5 wt.% GO nanofluids were found to reduce the friction coefficient and wear rate up to 77.5% and 90%, respectively. Besides this, the positive effect of the GO nanofluids was also more pronounced in terms of the load-carrying capacity and the lubrication film endurance. The wear mechanisms have been tentatively proposed according to the observation of the worn surfaces by field emission scanning electron microscope-energy dispersive spectrometer (FESEM-EDS) and Raman spectrum as well as the wettability of the nanofluids on the magnesium alloy surface by goniometer.

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<![CDATA[Computational and Experimental Mechanical Modelling of a Composite Grouted Splice Sleeve Connector System]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b4bdccc463d7e7e0dcdb8a9

Owing to its controllable tolerance, simple operation and no need for welding at construction site, the composite system involving grouted cement material, steel material and ductile iron material is widely used as grouted splice sleeve (GSS) connector for connecting precast concrete structures. However, the current design recommendations for such a composite connection system do not accurately account for its material nonlinearity behavior. In the present study, a three-dimensional nonlinear finite element model of a GSS connector is developed by considering the nonlinear material behavior of each component to fully investigate its mechanical performance under axial tension. To validate the proposed computational model and demonstrate the nonlinear response of the GSS connector, the pullout experimental test of two engineering specimens is carried out under monotonic tensile load, and a good agreement between the numerical and experimental test results is observed. Then, the sensitivity analysis of some controlling material properties and geometrical parameters is performed using the validated computational model to further understand the performance of such a composite structure in load carrying capacity and ductility of the connections to meet the rapid engineering applications of precast concrete structures.

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<![CDATA[Combined pulsed laser deposition and non-contact atomic force microscopy system for studies of insulator metal oxide thin films]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b4bb258463d7e7b755cb5a0

We have designed and developed a combined system of pulsed laser deposition (PLD) and non-contact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM) for observations of insulator metal oxide surfaces. With this system, the long-period iterations of sputtering and annealing used in conventional methods for preparing a metal oxide film surface are not required. The performance of the combined system is demonstrated for the preparation and high-resolution NC-AFM imaging of atomically flat thin films of anatase TiO2(001) and LaAlO3(100).

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<![CDATA[Recombinant phosphatidylserine-binding nanobodies for targeting of extracellular vesicles to tumor cells: a plug-and-play approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5bf6f2c5d5eed0c484d81f05

Decoration of isolated extracellular vesicles with recombinant phosphatidylserine-binding nanobodies increases their uptake by tumor cells.

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<![CDATA[Electron-driven and thermal chemistry during water-assisted purification of platinum nanomaterials generated by electron beam induced deposition]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5bf67e3ed5eed0c484ca24c6

Focused electron beam induced deposition (FEBID) is a versatile tool for the direct-write fabrication of nanostructures on surfaces. However, FEBID nanostructures are usually highly contaminated by carbon originating from the precursor used in the process. Recently, it was shown that platinum nanostructures produced by FEBID can be efficiently purified by electron irradiation in the presence of water. If such processes can be transferred to FEBID deposits produced from other carbon-containing precursors, a new general approach to the generation of pure metallic nanostructures could be implemented. Therefore this study aims to understand the chemical reactions that are fundamental to the water-assisted purification of platinum FEBID deposits generated from trimethyl(methylcyclopentadienyl)platinum(IV) (MeCpPtMe3). The experiments performed under ultrahigh vacuum conditions apply a combination of different desorption experiments coupled with mass spectrometry to analyse reaction products. Electron-stimulated desorption monitors species that leave the surface during electron exposure while post-irradiation thermal desorption spectrometry reveals products that evolve during subsequent thermal treatment. In addition, desorption of volatile products was also observed when a deposit produced by electron exposure was subsequently brought into contact with water. The results distinguish between contributions of thermal chemistry, direct chemistry between water and the deposit, and electron-induced reactions that all contribute to the purification process. We discuss reaction kinetics for the main volatile products CO and CH4 to obtain mechanistic information. The results provide novel insights into the chemistry that occurs during purification of FEBID nanostructures with implications also for the stability of the carbonaceous matrix of nanogranular FEBID materials under humid conditions.

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<![CDATA[Bombyx mori silk/titania/gold hybrid materials for photocatalytic water splitting: combining renewable raw materials with clean fuels]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5bf67e45d5eed0c484ca2683

The synthesis, structure, and photocatalytic water splitting performance of two new titania (TiO2)/gold(Au)/Bombyx mori silk hybrid materials are reported. All materials are monoliths with diameters of up to ca. 4.5 cm. The materials are macroscopically homogeneous and porous with surface areas between 170 and 210 m2/g. The diameter of the TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) – mainly anatase with a minor fraction of brookite – and the Au NPs are on the order of 5 and 7–18 nm, respectively. Addition of poly(ethylene oxide) to the reaction mixture enables pore size tuning, thus providing access to different materials with different photocatalytic activities. Water splitting experiments using a sunlight simulator and a Xe lamp show that the new hybrid materials are effective water splitting catalysts and produce up to 30 mmol of hydrogen per 24 h. Overall the article demonstrates that the combination of a renewable and robust scaffold such as B. mori silk with a photoactive material provides a promising approach to new monolithic photocatalysts that can easily be recycled and show great potential for application in lightweight devices for green fuel production.

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