Recent Submissions

  • Comment on “A periodic grain consolidation model of porous media” [Phys. Fluids A 1, 38 (1989)]

    Khirevich, Siarhei; Patzek, Tadeusz (Physics of Fluids, AIP Publishing, 2019-10-11) [Article]
    In this document, we correct the friction coefficient values presented in Table III in a study by Larson and Higdon [“A periodic grain consolidation model of porous media,” Phys. Fluids A 1, 38 (1989)]. The authors addressed the problem of Stokes flow through periodic arrays of (non)overlapping spheres and determined the friction coefficients. It appears that the volume of the overlapping region of spheres was not taken into account, which affected the total solid concentration and systematically biased the corresponding friction coefficient values. We correct the sphere concentration and friction coefficients, and validate our approach with lattice-Boltzmann simulations. The suggested correction is valid in the case of overlapping spheres only, when the volume of the overlapping region is positive.
  • Assessing the Range of Validity of Current Tube Models through Analysis of a Comprehensive Set of Star–Linear 1,4-Polybutadiene Polymer Blends

    Hall, Ryan; Desai, Priyanka S.; Kang, Beom-Goo; Huang, Qifan; Lee, Sanghoon; Chang, Taihyun; Venerus, David C.; Mays, Jimmy; Ntetsikas, Konstantinos; Polymeropoulos, George; Hadjichristidis, Nikolaos; Larson, Ronald G. (Macromolecules, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2019-10-10) [Article]
    We blend newly synthesized nearly monodisperse four-arm star 1,4-polybutadienes with various well-entangled linear polymers, confirming the conclusions in Desai et al. [ Macromolecules201649 (13)49644977] that advanced tube models, namely, the hierarchical 3.0 and branch-on-branch models [Wang, Z.; J. Rheol.201054 (2)223260], fail to predict the linear rheological data when the pure linear polymers have shorter relaxation times, but within 3–4 orders of magnitude of the star polymer. However, when the linear polymer has a longer relaxation time than the star, our new work, surprisingly, finds that non-monotonic dependence of terminal relaxation behavior on composition is both observed experimentally and captured by the models. Combined with previous data from the literature, we present results from over 50 1,4-polybutadiene star–linear blends, suitable for thorough testing of rheological models of entangled polymers.
  • Remotely sensing phytoplankton size structure in the Red Sea

    Gittings, John; Brewin, Robert J.W.; Raitsos, Dionysios E.; Kheireddine, Malika; Ouhssain, Mustapha; Jones, Burton; Hoteit, Ibrahim (Remote Sensing of Environment, Elsevier BV, 2019-10-09) [Article]
    Phytoplankton size structure impacts ocean food-web dynamics and biogeochemical cycling, and is thus an important ecological indicator that can be utilised to quantitatively evaluate the state of marine ecosystems. Potential alterations to size structure are predicted to occur in tropical regions under future scenarios of climate change. Therefore, there is an increasing requirement for the synoptic monitoring of phytoplankton size structure in marine systems. The Red Sea remains a comparatively unexplored tropical marine ecosystem, particularly with regards to its large-scale biological dynamics. Using an in situ pigment dataset acquired in the Red Sea, we parameterise a two-component, abundance-based phytoplankton size model and apply it to remotely-sensed observations of chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentration, to infer Chl-a in two size classes of phytoplankton, small cells <2 μm in size (picophytoplankton) and large cells >2 μm in size. Satellite-derived estimates of phytoplankton size structure are in good agreement with corresponding in situ measurements and also capture the spatial variability related to regional mesoscale dynamics. Our analysis reveals that, for the estimation of Chl-a in the two size classes, the model performs comparably or in some cases better, to validations in other oceanic regions. Our model parameterisation will be useful for future studies on the seasonal and interannual variability of phytoplankton size classes in the Red Sea, which may ultimately be relevant for understanding trophic linkages between phytoplankton size structure and fisheries, and the development of marine management strategies.
  • New Insight on the Role of Electrolyte Additives in Rechargeable Lithium Ion Batteries

    Ming, Jun; Cao, Zhen; Wu, Yingqiang; Wahyudi, Wandi; Wang, Wenxi; Guo, Xianrong; Cavallo, Luigi; Hwang, Jang-Yeon; Shamim, Atif; Li, Lain-Jong; Sun, Yang-Kook; Alshareef, Husam N. (ACS Energy Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2019-10-08) [Article]
    Solid electrolyte interphase (SEI)-forming agents such as vinylene carbonate, sulfone, and cyclic sulfate are commonly believed to be film-forming additives in lithium-ion batteries that help to enhance graphite anode stability. However, we find that the film-forming effect and the resultant SEI may not be the only reasons for the enhanced graphite stability. This is because the as-formed SEI cannot inhibit Li+–solvent co-intercalation once the additive is removed from the electrolyte. Instead, we show that the Li+ solvation structure, which is modified by these additives, plays a critical role in achieving reversible Li+ (de)intercalation within graphite. This discovery is confirmed in both carbonate and ether-based electrolytes. We show that the problem of graphite exfoliation caused by Li+–solvent co-intercalation can be mitigated by adding ethene sulfate to tune the Li+ coordination structure. This work brings new insight into the role of additives in electrolytes, expanding the prevailing thinking over the past 2 decades. In addition, this finding can guide the design of more versatile electrolytes for advanced rechargeable metal-ion batteries.
  • Proteome-level assessment of origin, prevalence and function of Leucine-Aspartic Acid (LD) motifs.

    Alam, Tanvir; Alazmi, Meshari; Naser, Rayan Mohammad Mahmoud; Huser, Franceline; Momin, Afaque Ahmad Imtiyaz; Astro, Veronica; Hong, Seungbeom; Walkiewicz, Katarzyna Wiktoria; Canlas, Christian G; Huser, Raphaël; Ali, Amal J.; Merzaban, Jasmeen; Adamo, Antonio; Jaremko, Mariusz; Jaremko, Lukasz; Bajic, Vladimir B.; Gao, Xin; Arold, Stefan T. (Bioinformatics (Oxford, England), Oxford University Press (OUP), 2019-10-05) [Article]
    MOTIVATION:Leucine-aspartic acid (LD) motifs are short linear interaction motifs (SLiMs) that link paxillin family proteins to factors controlling cell adhesion, motility and survival. The existence and importance of LD motifs beyond the paxillin family is poorly understood. RESULTS:To enable a proteome-wide assessment of LD motifs, we developed an active-learning based framework (LDmotif finder; LDMF) that iteratively integrates computational predictions with experimental validation. Our analysis of the human proteome revealed a dozen new proteins containing LD motifs. We found that LD motif signalling evolved in unicellular eukaryotes more than 800 Myr ago, with paxillin and vinculin as core constituents, and nuclear export signal (NES) as a likely source of de novo LD motifs. We show that LD motif proteins form a functionally homogenous group, all being involved in cell morphogenesis and adhesion. This functional focus is recapitulated in cells by GFP-fused LD motifs, suggesting that it is intrinsic to the LD motif sequence, possibly through their effect on binding partners. Our approach elucidated the origin and dynamic adaptations of an ancestral SLiM, and can serve as a guide for the identification of other SLiMs for which only few representatives are known. AVAILABILITY:LDMF is freely available online at; Source code is available at SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
  • Ultralong cycle stability of aqueous zinc-ion batteries with zinc vanadium oxide cathodes

    Wang, Lulu; Huang, Kuo-Wei; Chen, Jitao; Zheng, Junrong (Science Advances, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2019-10-04) [Article]
    Rechargeable aqueous zinc-ion batteries are promising candidates for large-scale energy storage but are plagued by the lack of cathode materials with both excellent rate capability and adequate cycle life span. We overcome this barrier by designing a novel hierarchically porous structure of Zn-vanadium oxide material. This Zn0.3V2O5·1.5H2O cathode delivers a high specific capacity of 426 mA·h g−1 at 0.2 A g−1 and exhibits an unprecedented superlong-term cyclic stability with a capacity retention of 96% over 20,000 cycles at 10 A g−1. Its electrochemical mechanism is elucidated. The lattice contraction induced by zinc intercalation and the expansion caused by hydronium intercalation cancel each other and allow the lattice to remain constant during charge/discharge, favoring cyclic stability. The hierarchically porous structure provides abundant contact with electrolyte, shortens ion diffusion path, and provides cushion for relieving strain generated during electrochemical processes, facilitating both fast kinetics and long-term stability.
  • Modeling and Experimental Study of the Vibration Effects in Urban Free-Space Optical Communication Systems

    Cai, Wenqi; Ndoye, Ibrahima; Ooi, Boon S.; Alouini, Mohamed-Slim; Laleg-Kirati, Taous-Meriem (IEEE Photonics Journal, IEEE, 2019-10-04) [Article]
    Free-space optical (FSO) communication, considered as a last-mile technology, is widely used in many urban scenarios. However, the performance of urban free-space optical (UFSO) communication systems fades in the presence of system vibration caused by many factors in the chaotic urban environment. In this paper, we develop a dedicated indoor vibration platform and atmospheric turbulence to estimate the Bifurcated-Gaussian (B-G) distribution model of the receiver optical power under different vibration levels and link distances using nonlinear iteration method. Mean square error (MSE) and coefficient of determination ($R^2$) metrics have been used to show a good agreement between the PDFs of the experimental data with the resulting B-G distribution model. Besides, the UFSO channel under the effects of both vibration and atmospheric turbulence is also explored under three atmospheric turbulence conditions. Our proposed B-G distribution model describes the vibrating UFSO channels properly and can easily help to perform and evaluate the link performance of UFSO systems, e.g., bit-error-rate (BER), outage probability. Furthermore, this work paves the way for constructing completed auxiliary control subsystems for robust UFSO links and contributes to more extensive optical communication scenarios, such as underwater optical communication, etc.
  • Disruption of the coordination between host circadian rhythms and malaria parasite development alters the duration of the intraerythrocytic cycle

    Subudhi, Amit; O'Donnell, Aidan John; Ramaprasad, Abhinay; Abkallo, Hussein M.; Kaushik, Abhinav; Ansari, Hifzur Rahman; Abdel-Haleem, Alyaa M.; Rached, Fathia Ben; Kaneko, Osamu; Culleton, Richard; Reece, Sarah E.; Pain, Arnab (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 2019-10-03) [Preprint]
    Malaria parasites complete their intra-erythrocytic developmental cycle (IDC) in multiples of 24 hours (depending on the species), suggesting a circadian basis to the asexual cell cycle, but the mechanism controlling this periodicity is unknown. Combining in vivo and in vitro approaches using rodent and human malaria parasites, we reveal that: (i) 57% of Plasmodium chabaudi genes exhibit 24 h circadian periodicity in transcription; (ii) 58% of these genes lose transcriptional rhythmicity when the IDC is out-of-synchrony with host rhythms; (iii) 9% of Plasmodium falciparum genes show circadian transcription under free-running conditions; (iv) Serpentine receptor 10 (SR10) has a circadian transcription profile and disrupting it in rodent malaria parasites shortens the IDC by 2-3 hours; (v) Multiple processes including DNA replication and the ubiquitin and proteasome pathways are affected by loss of coordination with host rhythms and by disruption of SR10. Our results show that malaria parasites are at least partly responsible for scheduling their IDCs explaining the fitness benefits of coordination with host rhythms.
  • Can Fish and Cell Phones Teach Us about Our Health?

    Lee, Michael A; Duarte, Carlos M.; Eguíluz, V. M.; Heller, Daniel A; Langer, Robert; Meekan, Mark G; Sikes, Hadley D; Srivastava, Mani; Strano, Michael S; Wilson, Rory P (ACS sensors, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2019-10-03) [Article]
    Biologging is a scientific endeavor that studies the environment and animals within it by outfitting the latter with sensors of their dynamics as they roam freely in their natural habitats. As wearable technologies advance for the monitoring of human health, it may be instructive to reflect on the successes and failures of biologging in field biology over the past few decades. Several lessons may be of value. Physiological sensors can
  • Deciphering photocarrier dynamics for tuneable high-performance perovskite-organic semiconductor heterojunction phototransistors

    Lin, Yen-Hung; Huang, Wentao; Pattanasattayavong, Pichaya; Lim, Jongchul; Li, Ruipeng; Sakai, Nobuya; Panidi, Julianna; Hong, Min Ji; Ma, Chun; Wei, Nini; Wehbe, Nimer; Fei, Zhuping; Heeney, Martin; Labram, John G.; Anthopoulos, Thomas D.; Snaith, Henry J. (Nature Communications, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-10-02) [Article]
    Looking beyond energy harvesting, metal-halide perovskites offer great opportunities to revolutionise large-area photodetection technologies due to their high absorption coefficients, long diffusion lengths, low trap densities and simple processability. However, successful extraction of photocarriers from perovskites and their conversion to electrical signals remain challenging due to the interdependency of photogain and dark current density. Here we report hybrid hetero-phototransistors by integrating perovskites with organic semiconductor transistor channels to form either “straddling-gap” type-I or “staggered-gap” type-II heterojunctions. Our results show that gradual transforming from type-II to type-I heterojunctions leads to increasing and tuneable photoresponsivity with high photogain. Importantly, with a preferential edge-on molecular orientation, the type-I heterostructure results in efficient photocarrier cycling through the channel. Additionally, we propose the use of a photo-inverter circuitry to assess the phototransistors’ functionality and amplification. Our study provides important insights into photocarrier dynamics and can help realise advanced device designs with “on-demand” optoelectronic properties.
  • Iodine-transfer polymerization and CuAAC “click” chemistry: A versatile approach toward poly(vinylidene fluoride)-based amphiphilic triblock terpolymers

    Patil, Yogesh Raghunath; Zapsas, Georgios; Gnanou, Yves; Hadjichristidis, Nikolaos (Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, Wiley, 2019-10-01) [Article]
    This study presents the synthesis and properties of linear PVDF-based amphiphilic triblock terpolymers with PS and PEO, [PVDF-b-PS-b-PEO], by adopting a procedure that involves: (a) iodine-transfer polymerization (ITP) of VDF with 1-iodoperfluorohexane (C6F13I) serving as chain-transfer agent (CTA) to afford C6F13-PVDF-I, (b) ITP of styrene with the C6F13-PVDF-I macromolecular-CTA to obtain C6F13-PVDF-b-PS-I diblock copolymer, (c) end-group exchange from iodo- to azido-group by nucleophilic substitution reaction with NaN3, and (d) copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) with alkyne-terminated PEO to achieve C6F13-PVDF-b-PS-b-PEO triblock terpolymers. The 1H and 19F NMR spectroscopy confirmed the presence of all blocks, while gel permeation chromatography traces showed the living nature of ITP technique. The self-assembly of these terpolymers was investigated in films (atomic force microscopy and DSC), as well as in aqueous and organic solvents (DLS). The analysis of crystalline phases based on the FTIR spectroscopy indicated the conversion of PVDF α-phase into α + β-phases and β + γ-phases upon the incorporation of PS and PEO blocks, respectively. The synthesized amphiphilic copolymers were evaluated (fluorescence spectroscopy) as carriers of small hydrophobic molecules in water. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2019
  • A new tricrystalline triblock terpolymer by combining polyhomologation and ring-opening polymerization. synthesis and thermal properties

    Ladelta, Viko; Zapsas, Georgios; Gnanou, Yves; Hadjichristidis, Nikolaos (Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, Wiley, 2019-10-01) [Article]
    New tricrystalline triblock terpolymers, polyethylene-block-poly(ε-caprolactone)-block-poly(L-lactide) (PE-b-PCL-b-PLLA), were synthesized by ROP of ε-caprolactone (CL) and L-lactide (LLA) from linear ω-hydroxyl polyethylene (PE-OH) macroinitiators. The linear PE-OH macroinitiators were prepared by C1 polymerization of methylsulfoxonium methylide (polyhomologation). Tin(II) 2-ethylhexanoate was used as the catalyst for the sequential ROP of CL and LLA in one-pot polymerization at 85 °C in toluene (PE-OH macroinitiators are soluble in toluene at 80 °C). 1H NMR spectra confirmed the formation of PE-b-PCL-b-PLLA triblock terpolymers through the appearance of the characteristic proton peaks of each block. GPC traces showed the increase in the number average molecular weight from PE-OH macroinitiator to PE-b-PCL, and PE-b-PCL-b-PLLA corroborating the successful synthesis. The existence of three crystalline blocks was proved by DSC and XRD spectroscopy. © 2019 The Authors. Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2019
  • 17% Efficient Organic Solar Cells Based on Liquid Exfoliated WS2 as a Replacement for PEDOT:PSS

    Lin, Yuanbao; Adilbekova, Begimai; Firdaus, Yuliar; Yengel, Emre; Faber, Hendrik; Sajjad, Muhammad; Zheng, Xiaopeng; Yarali, Emre; Seitkhan, Akmaral; Bakr, Osman; El Labban, Abdulrahman; Schwingenschlögl, Udo; Tung, Vincent; McCulloch, Iain; Laquai, Frédéric; Anthopoulos, Thomas D. (Advanced Materials, Wiley, 2019-10-01) [Article]
    The application of liquid-exfoliated 2D transition metal disulfides (TMDs) as the hole transport layers (HTLs) in nonfullerene-based organic solar cells is reported. It is shown that solution processing of few-layer WS2 or MoS2 suspensions directly onto transparent indium tin oxide (ITO) electrodes changes their work function without the need for any further treatment. HTLs comprising WS2 are found to exhibit higher uniformity on ITO than those of MoS2 and consistently yield solar cells with superior power conversion efficiency (PCE), improved fill factor (FF), enhanced short-circuit current (JSC), and lower series resistance than devices based on poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) and MoS2. Cells based on the ternary bulk-heterojunction PBDB-T-2F:Y6:PC71BM with WS2 as the HTL exhibit the highest PCE of 17%, with an FF of 78%, open-circuit voltage of 0.84 V, and a JSC of 26 mA cm−2. Analysis of the cells' optical and carrier recombination characteristics indicates that the enhanced performance is most likely attributed to a combination of favorable photonic structure and reduced bimolecular recombination losses in WS2-based cells. The achieved PCE is the highest reported to date for organic solar cells comprised of 2D charge transport interlayers and highlights the potential of TMDs as inexpensive HTLs for high-efficiency organic photovoltaics.
  • An improved indirect evaporative cooler experimental investigation

    Shahzad, Muhammad Wakil; Burhan, Muhammad; Ybyraiymkul, Doskhan; Oh, Seung Jin; Ng, Kim Choon (Applied Energy, Elsevier BV, 2019-10-01) [Article]
    Air conditioning has enhanced the work efficiency and improved life style by maintaining comfortable environment. The growing demand of air conditioning has negative impact on energy and environment. In 2015, air conditioning consumed 6% of total global electricity produced and it is expected to increase to 20% by 2050. The leveling-off conventional chiller’s efficiency at 0.85 ± 0.03 kW/Rton due to pairing of dehumidification and cooling processes in one machine is not only the major reason of high energy consumption but also the key limitation in efficiency improvement. The de-coupling of dehumidification and cooling processes can be one of the solution to achieve the quantum jump in the performance, 0.6 ± 0.03 kW/Rton, by improving individual processes. We proposed an improved indirect evaporative cooler system for sensible cooling that can be combined with dehumidification processes to achieve sustainable cooling goals. The experimentation on 800 mm long and 280 mm wide generic cell showed that it can produce temperature differential up to 10 °C with small area of heat transfer. It was showed that the proposed vertical heat exchanger configuration with multi point injection of working air is the best configuration of the indirect evaporative cooler, achieving coefficient of performance level of 78 for cooling alone. We expect that overall coefficient of performance level of 7–8 is achievable by incorporating efficient dehumidification processes. We also presented detailed design parameters that can be used as a reference for commercial system design.
  • Computer-aided drug repurposing for cancer therapy: Approaches and opportunities to challenge anticancer targets.

    Mottini, Carla; Napolitano, Francesco; Li, Zhongxiao; Gao, Xin; Cardone, Luca (Seminars in cancer biology, Elsevier BV, 2019-09-29) [Article]
    Despite huge efforts made in academic and pharmaceutical worldwide research, current anticancer therapies achieve effective treatment in a limited number of neoplasia cases only. Oncology terms such as big killers - to identify tumours with yet a high mortality rate - or undruggable cancer targets, and chemoresistance, represent the current therapeutic debacle of cancer treatments. In addition, metastases, tumour microenvironments, tumour heterogeneity, metabolic adaptations, and immunotherapy resistance are essential features controlling tumour response to therapies, but still, lack effective therapeutics or modulators. In this scenario, where the pharmaceutical productivity and drug efficacy in oncology seem to have reached a plateau, the so-called drug repurposing - i.e. the use of old drugs, already in clinical use, for a different therapeutic indication - is an appealing strategy to improve cancer therapy. Opportunities for drug repurposing are often based on occasional observations or on time-consuming pre-clinical drug screenings that are often not hypothesis-driven. In contrast, in-silico drug repurposing is an emerging, hypothesis-driven approach that takes advantage of the use of big-data. Indeed, the extensive use of -omics technologies, improved data storage, data meaning, machine learning algorithms, and computational modeling all offer unprecedented knowledge of the biological mechanisms of cancers and drugs' modes of action, providing extensive availability for both disease-related data and drugs-related data. This offers the opportunity to generate, with time and cost-effective approaches, computational drug networks to predict, in-silico, the efficacy of approved drugs against relevant cancer targets, as well as to select better responder patients or disease' biomarkers. Here, we will review selected disease-related data together with computational tools to be exploited for the in-silico repurposing of drugs against validated targets in cancer therapies, focusing on the oncogenic signaling pathways activation in cancer. We will discuss how in-silico drug repurposing has the promise to shortly improve our arsenal of anticancer drugs and, likely, overcome certain limitations of modern cancer therapies against old and new therapeutic targets in oncology.
  • 3D Analysis of Ordered Porous Polymeric Particles using Complementary Electron Microscopy Methods

    Alvarez, Juan; Saudino, Giovanni; Musteata, Valentina-Elena; Madhavan, Poornima; Genovese, Alessandro; Behzad, Ali Reza; Sougrat, Rachid; Boi, Cristiana; Peinemann, Klaus-Viktor; Nunes, Suzana Pereira (Scientific Reports, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-09-27) [Article]
    Highly porous particles with internal triply periodic minimal surfaces were investigated for sorption of proteins. The visualization of the complex ordered morphology requires complementary advanced methods of electron microscopy for 3D imaging, instead of a simple 2D projection: transmission electron microscopy (TEM) tomography, slice-and-view focused ion beam (FIB) and serial block face (SBF) scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The capability of each method of 3D image reconstruction was demonstrated and their potential of application to other synthetic polymeric systems was discussed. TEM has high resolution for details even smaller than 1 nm, but the imaged volume is relatively restricted (2.5 μm)3. The samples are pre-sliced in an ultramicrotome. FIB and SBF are coupled to a SEM. The sample sectioning is done in situ, respectively by an ion beam or an ultramicrotome, SBF, a method so far mostly applied only to biological systems, was particularly highly informative to reproduce the ordered morphology of block copolymer particles with 32-54 nm nanopores and sampling volume (20 μm)3.
  • Use of the Phen-NaDPO:Sn(SCN) 2 Blend as Electron Transport Layer Results to Consistent Efficiency Improvements in Organic and Hybrid Perovskite Solar Cells

    Seitkhan, Akmaral; Neophytou, Marios; Kirkus, Mindaugas; Abou-Hamad, Edy; Hedhili, Mohamed N.; Yengel, Emre; Firdaus, Yuliar; Faber, Hendrik; Lin, Yuanbao; Tsetseris, Leonidas; McCulloch, Iain; Anthopoulos, Thomas D. (Advanced Functional Materials, Wiley, 2019-09-27) [Article]
    A simple approach that enables a consistent enhancement of the electron extracting properties of the widely used small-molecule Phen-NaDPO and its application in organic solar cells (OSCs) is reported. It is shown that addition of minute amounts of the inorganic molecule Sn(SCN)2 into Phen-NaDPO improves both the electron transport and its film-forming properties. Use of Phen-NaDPO:Sn(SCN)2 blend as the electron transport layer (ETL) in binary PM6:IT-4F OSCs leads to a remarkable increase in the cells' power conversion efficiency (PCE) from 12.6% (Phen-NaDPO) to 13.5% (Phen-NaDPO:Sn(SCN)2). Combining the hybrid ETL with the best-in-class organic ternary PM6:Y6:PC70BM systems results to a similarly remarkable PCE increase from 14.2% (Phen-NaDPO) to 15.6% (Phen-NaDPO:Sn(SCN)2). The consistent PCE enhancement is attributed to reduced trap-assisted carrier recombination at the bulk-heterojunction/ETL interface due to the presence of new energy states formed upon chemical interaction of Phen-NaDPO with Sn(SCN)2. The versatility of this hybrid ETL is further demonstrated with its application in perovskite solar cells for which an increase in the PCE from 16.6% to 18.2% is also demonstrated.
  • Functional metagenomic analysis of dust-associated microbiomes above the Red Sea.

    Aalismail, Nojood; Ngugi, David K; Diaz Rua, Ruben; Alam, Intikhab; Cusack, Michael; Duarte, Carlos M. (Scientific reports, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-09-26) [Article]
    Atmospheric transport is a major vector for the long-range transport of microbial communities, maintaining connectivity among them and delivering functionally important microbes, such as pathogens. Though the taxonomic diversity of aeolian microorganisms is well characterized, the genomic functional traits underpinning their survival during atmospheric transport are poorly characterized. Here we use functional metagenomics of dust samples collected on the Global Dust Belt to initiate a Gene Catalogue of Aeolian Microbiome (GCAM) and explore microbial genetic traits enabling a successful aeolian lifestyle in Aeolian microbial communities. The GCAM reported here, derived from ten aeolian microbial metagenomes, includes a total of 2,370,956 non-redundant coding DNA sequences, corresponding to a yield of ~31 × 106 predicted genes per Tera base-pair of DNA sequenced for the aeolian samples sequenced. Two-thirds of the cataloged genes were assigned to bacteria, followed by eukaryotes (5.4%), archaea (1.1%), and viruses (0.69%). Genes encoding proteins involved in repairing UV-induced DNA damage and aerosolization of cells were ubiquitous across samples, and appear as fundamental requirements for the aeolian lifestyle, while genes coding for other important functions supporting the aeolian lifestyle (chemotaxis, aerotaxis, germination, thermal resistance, sporulation, and biofilm formation) varied among the communities sampled.
  • Factors Regulating the Relationship Between Total and Size-Fractionated Chlorophyll-a in Coastal Waters of the Red Sea.

    Brewin, Robert J W; Moran, Xose Anxelu G.; Raitsos, Dionysios E; Gittings, John A; Calleja Cortes, Maria de Lluch; Viegas, Miguel; Ansari, Mohd Ikram; Al-otaibi, Najwa Aziz; Huete-Stauffer, Tamara M; Hoteit, Ibrahim (Frontiers in microbiology, Frontiers Media SA, 2019-09-26) [Article]
    Phytoplankton biomass and size structure are recognized as key ecological indicators. With the aim to quantify the relationship between these two ecological indicators in tropical waters and understand controlling factors, we analyzed the total chlorophyll-a concentration, a measure of phytoplankton biomass, and its partitioning into three size classes of phytoplankton, using a series of observations collected at coastal sites in the central Red Sea. Over a period of 4 years, measurements of flow cytometry, size-fractionated chlorophyll-a concentration, and physical-chemical variables were collected near Thuwal in Saudi Arabia. We fitted a three-component model to the size-fractionated chlorophyll-a data to quantify the relationship between total chlorophyll and that in three size classes of phytoplankton [pico- (<2 μm), nano- (2-20 μm) and micro-phytoplankton (>20 μm)]. The model has an advantage over other more empirical methods in that its parameters are interpretable, expressed as the maximum chlorophyll-a concentration of small phytoplankton (pico- and combined pico-nanophytoplankton, Cpm and Cp,nm , respectively) and the fractional contribution of these two size classes to total chlorophyll-a as it tends to zero (D p and D p,n ). Residuals between the model and the data (model minus data) were compared with a range of other environmental variables available in the dataset. Residuals in pico- and combined pico-nanophytoplankton fractions of total chlorophyll-a were significantly correlated with water temperature (positively) and picoeukaryote cell number (negatively). We conducted a running fit of the model with increasing temperature and found a negative relationship between temperature and parameters Cpm and Cp,nm and a positive relationship between temperature and parameters D p and D p,n . By harnessing the relative red fluorescence of the flow cytometric data, we show that picoeukaryotes, which are higher in cell number in winter (cold) than summer (warm), contain higher chlorophyll per cell than other picophytoplankton and are slightly larger in size, possibly explaining the temperature shift in model parameters, though further evidence is needed to substantiate this finding. Our results emphasize the importance of knowing the water temperature and taxonomic composition of phytoplankton within each size class when understanding their relative contribution to total chlorophyll. Furthermore, our results have implications for the development of algorithms for inferring size-fractionated chlorophyll from satellite data, and for how the partitioning of total chlorophyll into the three size classes may change in a future ocean.
  • Effect of D-ring C-3’ methylation of strigolactone analogs on their transcription regulating activity in rice

    Jamil, Muhammad; Haider, Imran; Kountche, Boubacar Amadou; Al-Babili, Salim (Plant Signaling & Behavior, Informa UK Limited, 2019-09-25) [Article]
    Strigolactones (SLs) are a well-known class of plant hormones, which are involved in a number of developmental and adaptation processes and mediate different interspecific interactions. In spite of the growing knowledge on SL biosynthesis and signal transduction, effects of structural modifications on the activity and efficiency of SLs and their analogs remain largely elusive. SLs are characterized by the presence of a lactone ring (D-ring) that is connected by an enol ether bridge to a second moiety. In this study, we investigated the effect of additional D-ring methylation of SL analogs on their transcription regulating activity. For this purpose, we compared the SL analogs MP13 and AR8, which differ only by the presence of a methyl group at the C-3ʹ atom in the latter. Transcription regulating activity was determined by quantitative real-time PCR measurement of transcript levels of SL-dependent, feed-back regulated genes in treated wild type and ccd7 mutant rice seedlings. Results obtained indicate that C-3ʹ methylation reduces the transcription regulating activity, as shown by the more pronounced suppression of the SL biosynthesis genes DWARF27 (D27) and CAROTENOID CLEAVAGE DIOXYGENASES (CCD7 and CCD8) and higher induction of the SL signaling repressor gene DWARF53 (D53) in MP13 treated seedlings. These results are consistent with a recent study on the biological activities of MP13 and AR8.

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