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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-11-23
    Description: Alloy design based on single–principal-element systems has approached its limit for performance enhancements. A substantial increase in strength up to gigapascal levels typically causes the premature failure of materials with reduced ductility. Here, we report a strategy to break this trade-off by controllably introducing high-density ductile multicomponent intermetallic nanoparticles (MCINPs) in complex alloy systems. Distinct from the intermetallic-induced embrittlement under conventional wisdom, such MCINP-strengthened alloys exhibit superior strengths of 1.5 gigapascals and ductility as high as 50% in tension at ambient temperature. The plastic instability, a major concern for high-strength materials, can be completely eliminated by generating a distinctive multistage work-hardening behavior, resulting from pronounced dislocation activities and deformation-induced microbands. This MCINP strategy offers a paradigm to develop next-generation materials for structural applications.
    Keywords: Materials Science
    Print ISSN: 0036-8075
    Electronic ISSN: 1095-9203
    Topics: Biology , Chemistry and Pharmacology , Geosciences , Computer Science , Medicine , Natural Sciences in General , Physics
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-03-12
    Description: Electrochemical nitrogen-to-ammonia fixation is emerging as a sustainable strategy to tackle the hydrogen- and energy-intensive operations by Haber-Bosch process for ammonia production. However, current electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR) progress is impeded by overwhelming competition from the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) across all traditional NRR catalysts and the requirement for elevated temperature/pressure. We achieve both excellent NRR selectivity (~90%) and a significant boost to Faradic efficiency by 10 percentage points even at ambient operations by coating a superhydrophobic metal-organic framework (MOF) layer over the NRR electrocatalyst. Our reticular chemistry approach exploits MOF’s water-repelling and molecular-concentrating effects to overcome HER-imposed bottlenecks, uncovering the unprecedented electrochemical features of NRR critical for future theoretical studies. By favoring the originally unfavored NRR, we envisage our electrocatalytic design as a starting point for high-performance nitrogen-to-ammonia electroconversion directly from water vapor–abundant air to address increasing global demand of ammonia in (bio)chemical and energy industries.
    Electronic ISSN: 2375-2548
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-05-10
    Description: The mammalian retina system consists of a complicated photoreceptor structure, which exhibits extensive random synaptic connections. To study retinal development and degeneration, various experimental models have been used previously, but these models are often uncontrollable, are difficult to manipulate, and do not provide sufficient similarity or precision. Therefore, the mechanisms in many retinal diseases remain unclear because of the limited capability in observing the progression and molecular driving forces. For example, photoreceptor degeneration can spread to surrounding healthy photoreceptors via a phenomenon known as the bystander effect; however, no in-depth observations can be made to decipher the molecular mechanisms or the pathways that contribute to the spreading. It is then necessary to build dissociated neural networks to investigate the communications with controllability of cells and their treatment. We developed a neural network chip (NN-Chip) to load single neurons into highly ordered microwells connected by microchannels for synapse formation to build the neural network. By observing the distribution of apoptosis spreading from light-induced apoptotic cones to the surrounding cones, we demonstrated convincing evidence of the existence of a cone-to-cone bystander killing effect. Combining the NN-Chip with microinjection technology, we also found that the gap junction protein connexin 36 (Cx36) is critical for apoptosis spreading and the bystander effect in cones. In addition, our unique NN-Chip platform provides a quantitative, high-throughput tool for investigating signaling mechanisms and behaviors in neurons and opens a new avenue for screening potential drug targets to cure retinal diseases.
    Electronic ISSN: 2375-2548
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-08-18
    Description: Leveraging the quantum information-processing ability of superconducting circuits and long-distance distribution ability of optical photons promises the realization of complex and large-scale quantum networks. In such a scheme, a coherent and efficient quantum transducer between superconducting and photonic circuits is critical. However, this quantum transducer is still challenging because the use of intermediate excitations in current schemes introduces extra noise and limits bandwidth. We realize direct and coherent transduction between superconducting and photonic circuits based on the triple-resonance electro-optic principle, with integrated devices incorporating both superconducting and optical cavities on the same chip. Electromagnetically induced transparency is observed, indicating the coherent interaction between microwave and optical photons. Internal conversion efficiency of 25.9 ± 0.3% has been achieved, with 2.05 ± 0.04% total efficiency. Superconducting cavity electro-optics offers broad transduction bandwidth and high scalability and represents a significant step toward integrated hybrid quantum circuits and distributed quantum computation.
    Electronic ISSN: 2375-2548
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-09-06
    Description: Transparent microelectrode arrays have emerged as increasingly important tools for neuroscience by allowing simultaneous coupling of big and time-resolved electrophysiology data with optically measured, spatially and type resolved single neuron activity. Scaling down transparent electrodes to the length scale of a single neuron is challenging since conventional transparent conductors are limited by their capacitive electrode/electrolyte interface. In this study, we establish transparent microelectrode arrays with high performance, great biocompatibility, and comprehensive in vivo validations from a recently developed, bilayer-nanomesh material composite, where a metal layer and a low-impedance faradaic interfacial layer are stacked reliably together in a same transparent nanomesh pattern. Specifically, flexible arrays from 32 bilayer-nanomesh microelectrodes demonstrated near-unity yield with high uniformity, excellent biocompatibility, and great compatibility with state-of-the-art wireless recording and real-time artifact rejection system. The electrodes are highly scalable, with 130 kilohms at 1 kHz at 20 μm in diameter, comparable to the performance of microelectrodes in nontransparent Michigan arrays. The highly transparent, bilayer-nanomesh microelectrode arrays allowed in vivo two-photon imaging of single neurons in layer 2/3 of the visual cortex of awake mice, along with high-fidelity, simultaneous electrical recordings of visual-evoked activity, both in the multi-unit activity band and at lower frequencies by measuring the visual-evoked potential in the time domain. Together, these advances reveal the great potential of transparent arrays from bilayer-nanomesh microelectrodes for a broad range of utility in neuroscience and medical practices.
    Electronic ISSN: 2375-2548
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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