Recent Submissions

  • Constructing robust and highly-selective hydrogel membranes by bioadhesion-inspired method for CO 2 separation

    Wu, Yingzhen; Zhou, Tiantian; Wu, Hong; Fu, Weixian; Wang, Xinru; Wang, Shaofei; Yang, Leixin; Wu, Xingyu; Ren, Yanxiong; Jiang, Zhongyi; Wang, Baoyi (Elsevier BV, 2018-06-01)
    Water-swollen hydrogel membranes are good candidates for CO2 separations due to the favorable solubility of CO2 in water. However, the excessive amount of water often causes the poor mechanical property and low selectivity. Herein, we propose a bioadhesion-inspired method to construct robust and high-performance CO2 separation membranes via in situ generation of polydopamine (PDA) nanoaggregates within poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) matrix. PDA nanoaggregates entangled with PVA chains and formed hydrogen bonding with hydroxyl groups from PVA chains. Physical cross-linking occurred between PVA chains and PDA nanoaggregates. Compared with the PVA membrane, the PVA-PDA hybrid membrane with the dopamine content of 0.5mol% exhibited a 1.7-fold increase in tensile strength and a 2.2-fold increase in the tensile modulus. The membranes were used for CO2/CH4 separation. The physical cross-linking resulted in a PVA chain rigidification region around PDA nanoaggregates, which hindered the penetration of larger-size gas molecules and thus enhancing the CO2/CH4 selectivity. Moreover, the abundant amine groups from PDA nanoaggregates could facilitate CO2 transport. The optimized hybrid hydrogel membrane exhibited CO2/CH4 selectivity of 43.2, which was 43.85% higher than that of the PVA membrane. The bioadhesion-inspired method opens up new opportunities to exploit the potential application of hydrogel membranes.
  • Species delineation and hybrid identification using diagnostic nuclear markers for Plectropomus leopardus and Plectropomus maculatus

    He, Song; Harrison, Hugo B.; Berumen, Michael L. (Elsevier BV, 2018-06-01)
    Diagnostic molecular markers are an essential tool in the study of species’ ecology and evolution, particularly in closely related and sympatric species. Furthermore, the increasing awareness of wild-hybrids has led to a renewed interest in rapid diagnostic assays. Here, we test the ability of two mitochondrial (Cytb and COI) and two nuclear markers (ETS2 and TMO-4c4) to confidently discriminate purebred P. leopardus and P. maculatus and their first-generation hybrids. A sample of 48 purebred individuals and 91 interspecific hybrids were used in this study and their delineation confirmed using a set of microsatellite markers. Our results indicate mitochondrial markers could not distinguish even between species but both nuclear markers confidently identified species and first-generation hybrids. However, later-generation hybrids could not always be confidently identified due to on-going introgression between species. Our findings provide a robust tool to distinguish purebred individuals and interspecific hybrids in a pair of species with an unexpectedly high incidence of hybridization. The quick species discrimination abilities provided by these diagnostic markers are important for stock assessment and recruitment studies of these important fishery species.
  • Bacterial polyextremotolerant bioemulsifiers from arid soils improve water retention capacity and humidity uptake in sandy soil

    Raddadi, Noura; Giacomucci, Lucia; Marasco, Ramona; Daffonchio, Daniele; Cherif, Ameur; Fava, Fabio (Springer Nature, 2018-05-31)
    Water stress is a critical issue for plant growth in arid sandy soils. Here, we aimed to select bacteria producing polyextremotolerant surface-active compounds capable of improving water retention and humidity uptake in sandy soils.From Tunisian desert and saline systems, we selected eleven isolates able to highly emulsify different organic solvents. The bioemulsifying activities were stable with 30% NaCl, at 4 and 120 °C and in a pH range 4-12. Applications to a sandy soil of the partially purified surface-active compounds improved soil water retention up to 314.3% compared to untreated soil. Similarly, after 36 h of incubation, the humidity uptake rate of treated sandy soil was up to 607.7% higher than untreated controls.Overall, results revealed that polyextremotolerant bioemulsifiers of bacteria from arid and desert soils represent potential sources to develop new natural soil-wetting agents for improving water retention in arid soils.
  • The Arabidopsis homolog of human G3BP1 is a key regulator of stomatal and apoplastic immunity

    Abulfaraj, Aala A.; Mariappan, Kiruthiga; Bigeard, Jean; Manickam, Prabhu; Blilou, Ikram; Guo, Xiujie; Al-Babili, Salim; Pflieger, Delphine; Hirt, Heribert; Rayapuram, Naganand (Life Science Alliance, LLC, 2018-05-31)
    Mammalian Ras-GTPase–activating protein SH3-domain–binding proteins (G3BPs) are a highly conserved family of RNA-binding proteins that link kinase receptor-mediated signaling to RNA metabolism. Mammalian G3BP1 is a multifunctional protein that functions in viral immunity. Here, we show that the Arabidopsis thaliana homolog of human G3BP1 negatively regulates plant immunity. Arabidopsis g3bp1 mutants showed enhanced resistance to the virulent bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. Pathogen resistance was mediated in Atg3bp1 mutants by altered stomatal and apoplastic immunity. Atg3bp1 mutants restricted pathogen entry into stomates showing insensitivity to bacterial coronatine–mediated stomatal reopening. AtG3BP1 was identified as a negative regulator of defense responses, which correlated with moderate up-regulation of salicylic acid biosynthesis and signaling without growth penalty.
  • Towards informed metrics for examining the role of human-induced animal responses in tag studies on wild animals

    Wilson, Rory P.; Holton, Mark; Wilson, Vianney L.; Gunner, Richard; Tysse, Brenda; Wilson, Gwendoline I; Quintana, Flavio; Duarte, Carlos M.; Scantlebury, D. Michael (Wiley, 2018-05-31)
    Two prime issues can detrimentally affect animals that have been equipped with tags; (i) the effect of the capture and restraint process and (ii) the effect of the tag itself. This work examines some of the issues surrounding quantification of tag effects on wild animals for both restrained and free-living animals. A new method to quantify stress effects based on monitoring ventilation rates in relation to activity is suggested for restrained animals which may help improve the practice of handling animals. It is also suggested that various metrics, many derived from accelerometers, can be examined in tagged wild animals to examine the change in behaviours over time with a view to having a better understanding of welfare issues, assuring the quality of recorded data and informing best practice. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • Hydrothermal synthesis of p-type nanocrystalline NiO nanoplates for high response and low concentration hydrogen gas sensor application

    Nakate, Umesh T.; Lee, Gun Hee; Ahmad, Rafiq; Patil, Pramila; Bhopate, Dhanaji P.; Hahn, Y.B.; Yu, Y.T.; Suh, Eun-kyung (Elsevier BV, 2018-05-30)
    High quality nanocrystalline NiO nanoplates were synthesized using surfactant and template free hydrothermal route. The gas sensing properties of NiO nanoplates were investigated. The nanoplates morphology of NiO with average thickness ~20 nm and diameter ~100 nm has been confirmed by FE-SEM and TEM. Crystalline quality of NiO has been studied using HRTEM and SAED techniques. Structural properties and elemental compositions have been analysed by XRD and energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS) respectively. The detailed investigation of structural parameters has been carried out. The optical properties of NiO were analyzed from UV-Visible and photoluminescence spectra. NiO nanoplates have good selectivity towards hydrogen (H2) gas. The lowest H2 response of 3% was observed at 2 ppm, whereas 90% response was noted for 100 ppm at optimized temperature of 200 °C with response time 180 s. The H2 responses as functions of different operating temperature as well as gas concentrations have been studied along with sensor stability. The hydrogen sensing mechanism was also elucidated.
  • Carrier dynamics of InxGa1-xN/GaN multiple quantum wells grown on (−201) β-Ga2O3 for bright vertical light emitting diodes

    Mumthaz Muhammed, Mufasila; Xu, Jian; Wehbe, Nimer; Roqan, Iman S. (The Optical Society, 2018-05-30)
    High-quality InxGa1-xN/GaN multi-quantum well (MQW) structures (0.05≤x≤0.13), are successfully grown on transparent and conductive (−201)-oriented β-Ga2O3 substrate. Scanning-transmission electron microscopy and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) show well-defined high quality MQWs, while the In and Ga compositions in the wells and the barriers are estimated by SIMS. Temperature-dependant Photoluminescence (PL) confirms high optical quality with a strong bandedge emission and negligble yellow band. time-resolved PL measurements (via above/below-GaN bandgap excitations) explain carrier dynamics, showing that the radiative recombination is predominant. Our results demonstrate that (−201)-oriented β-Ga2O3 is a strong candidate as a substrate for III-nitride-based vertical- emitting devices.
  • Flexible InGaN nanowire membranes for enhanced solar water splitting

    Elafandy, Rami T.; Elafandy, Rami T.; Min, Jung-Wook; Zhao, Chao; Ng, Tien Khee; Ooi, Boon S. (The Optical Society, 2018-05-30)
    III-Nitride nanowires (NWs) have recently emerged as potential photoelectrodes for efficient solar hydrogen generation. While InGaN NWs epitaxy over silicon is required for high crystalline quality and economic production, it leads to the formation of the notorious silicon nitride insulating interface as well as low electrical conductivity which both impede excess charge carrier dynamics and overall device performance. We tackle this issue by developing, for the first time, a substrate-free InGaN NWs membrane photoanodes, through liftoff and transfer techniques, where excess charge carriers are efficiently extracted from the InGaN NWs through a proper ohmic contact formed with a high electrical conductivity metal stack membrane. As a result, compared to conventional InGaN NWs on silicon, the fabricated free-standing flexible membranes showed a 10-fold increase in the generated photocurrent as well as a 0.8 V cathodic shift in the onset potential. Through electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, accompanied with TEM-based analysis, we further demonstrated the detailed enhancement within excess charge carrier dynamics of the photoanode membranes. This novel configuration in photoelectrodes demonstrates a novel pathway for enhancing the performance of III-nitrides photoelectrodes to accelerate their commercialization for solar water splitting.
  • Quantified Hole Concentration in AlGaN Nanowires for High-Performance Ultraviolet Emitters

    Zhao, Chao; Ebaid, Mohamed; Zhang, Huafan; Priante, Davide; Janjua, Bilal; Zhang, Daliang; Wei, Nini; Alhamoud, Abdullah; Shakfa, M. Khaled; Ng, Tien Khee; Ooi, Boon S. (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2018-05-29)
    P-type doping in wide bandgap and new classes of ultra-wide bandgap materials has long been a scientific and engineering problem. The challenges arise from the large activation energy of dopants and high densities of dislocations in materials. We report here, a significantly enhanced p-type conduction using high-quality AlGaN nanowires. For the first time, the hole concentration in Mg-doped AlGaN nanowires is quantified. The incorporation of Mg into AlGaN was verified by correlation with photoluminescence and Raman measurements. The open-circuit potential measurements further confirmed the p-type conductivity; while Mott-Schottky experiments measured a hole concentration of 1.3×1019 cm-3. These results from photoelectrochemical measurements allow us to design prototype ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) incorporating the AlGaN quantum-disks-in-nanowire and optimized p-type AlGaN contact layer for UV-transparency. The ~335-nm LEDs exhibited a low turn-on voltage of 5 V with a series resistance of 32 Ω, due to the efficient p-type doping of the AlGaN nanowires. The bias-dependent Raman measurements further revealed the negligible self-heating of devices. This study provides an attractive solution to evaluate electrical properties of AlGaN, which is applicable to other wide bandgap nanostructures. Our results are expected to open doors to new applications for wide and ultra-wide bandgap materials.
  • Chick chorioallantoic membrane assay as an in vivo model to study the effect of nanoparticle-based anticancer drugs in ovarian cancer

    Vu, Binh Thanh; Shahin, Sophia Allaf; Croissant, Jonas G.; Fatieiev, Yevhen; Matsumoto, Kotaro; Le-Hoang Doan, Tan; Yik, Tammy; Simargi, Shirleen; Conteras, Altagracia; Ratliff, Laura; Jimenez, Chiara Mauriello; Raehm, Laurence; Khashab, Niveen M.; Durand, Jean-Olivier; Glackin, Carlotta; Tamanoi, Fuyuhiko (Springer Nature, 2018-05-29)
    New therapy development is critically needed for ovarian cancer. We used the chicken egg CAM assay to evaluate efficacy of anticancer drug delivery using recently developed biodegradable PMO (periodic mesoporous organosilica) nanoparticles. Human ovarian cancer cells were transplanted onto the CAM membrane of fertilized eggs, resulting in rapid tumor formation. The tumor closely resembles cancer patient tumor and contains extracellular matrix as well as stromal cells and extensive vasculature. PMO nanoparticles loaded with doxorubicin were injected intravenously into the chicken egg resulting in elimination of the tumor. No significant damage to various organs in the chicken embryo occurred. In contrast, injection of free doxorubicin caused widespread organ damage, even when less amount was administered. The lack of toxic effect of nanoparticle loaded doxorubicin was associated with specific delivery of doxorubicin to the tumor. Furthermore, we observed excellent tumor accumulation of the nanoparticles. Lastly, a tumor could be established in the egg using tumor samples from ovarian cancer patients and that our nanoparticles were effective in eliminating the tumor. These results point to the remarkable efficacy of our nanoparticle based drug delivery system and suggests the value of the chicken egg tumor model for testing novel therapies for ovarian cancer.
  • Candidate enzymes for saffron crocin biosynthesis are localized in multiple cellular compartments

    Demurtas, Olivia Costantina; Frusciante, Sarah; Ferrante, Paola; Diretto, Gianfranco; Azad, Noraddin Hosseinpour; Pietrella, Marco; Aprea, Giuseppe; Taddei, Anna Rita; Romano, Elena; Mi, Jianing; Al-Babili, Salim; Frigerio, Lorenzo; Giuliano, Giovanni (American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), 2018-05-29)
    Saffron is composed of the dried stigmas of Crocus sativus and is the most expensive spice on Earth. Its red color is due to the apocarotenoid glycosides, crocins, which accumulate in the vacuole and reach up to 10% of the stigma dry weight. We have previously characterized the first dedicated enzyme in crocin biosynthesis, CsCCD2, which cleaves zeaxanthin to yield crocetin dialdehyde. In this work, we identified six putative aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) transcripts expressed in saffron stigmas. When expressed in E. coli, only one of corresponding proteins (CsALDH3I1), was able to convert crocetin dialdehyde into the crocin precursor, crocetin. CsALDH3I1 carries a C-terminal hydrophobic domain, similar to that of a Neurospora membrane-associated apocarotenoid dehydrogenase, YLO-1. We also characterized a UDP-glycosyltransferase enzyme, CsUGT74AD1, able to convert crocetin to crocins 1 and 2'. In vitro assays showed high specificity of CsALDH3I1 for crocetin dialdehyde and long chain apocarotenals, and of CsUGT74AD1 for crocetin. Upon extract fractionation, the CsCCD2, CsALDH3I1 and CsUGT74AD1 enzymes partitioned in the insoluble fraction, suggesting that they are associated to membranes or to large insoluble complexes. Immunogold labeling of saffron stigmas and confocal microscopy of fusions to Green Fluorescent Protein expressed in N. benthamiana leaves revealed that CsCCD2 localizes to plastids, CsALDH3I1 to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and CsUGT74AD1 to the cytoplasm, in association with cytoskeletal-like structures. Based on our and on literature data, we propose that the ER and cytoplasm function as
  • Genetic Determinants Associated With in Vivo Survival of Burkholderia cenocepacia in the Caenorhabditis elegans Model

    Wong, Yee-Chin; Abd El Ghany, Moataz; Ghazzali, Raeece N. M.; Yap, Soon-Joo; Hoh, Chee-Choong; Pain, Arnab; Nathan, Sheila (Frontiers Media SA, 2018-05-29)
    A Burkholderia cenocepacia infection usually leads to reduced survival and fatal cepacia syndrome in cystic fibrosis patients. The identification of B. cenocepacia essential genes for in vivo survival is key to designing new anti-infectives therapies. We used the Transposon-Directed Insertion Sequencing (TraDIS) approach to identify genes required for B. cenocepacia survival in the model infection host, Caenorhabditis elegans. A B. cenocepacia J2315 transposon pool of ∼500,000 mutants was used to infect C. elegans. We identified 178 genes as crucial for B. cenocepacia survival in the infected nematode. The majority of these genes code for proteins of unknown function, many of which are encoded by the genomic island BcenGI13, while other gene products are involved in nutrient acquisition, general stress responses and LPS O-antigen biosynthesis. Deletion of the glycosyltransferase gene wbxB and a histone-like nucleoid structuring (H-NS) protein-encoding gene (BCAL0154) reduced bacterial accumulation and attenuated virulence in C. elegans. Further analysis using quantitative RT-PCR indicated that BCAL0154 modulates B. cenocepacia pathogenesis via transcriptional regulation of motility-associated genes including fliC, fliG, flhD, and cheB1. This screen has successfully identified genes required for B. cenocepacia survival within the host-associated environment, many of which are potential targets for developing new antimicrobials.
  • Positivity-preserving CE/SE schemes for solving the compressible Euler and Navier–Stokes equations on hybrid unstructured meshes

    Shen, Hua; Parsani, Matteo (Elsevier BV, 2018-05-28)
    We construct positivity-preserving space–time conservation element and solution element (CE/SE) schemes for solving the compressible Euler and Navier–Stokes equations on hybrid unstructured meshes consisting of triangular and rectangular elements. The schemes use an a posteriori limiter to prevent negative densities and pressures based on the premise of preserving optimal accuracy. The limiter enforces a constraint for spatial derivatives and does not change the conservative property of CE/SE schemes. Several numerical examples suggest that the proposed schemes preserve accuracy for smooth flows and strictly preserve positivity of densities and pressures for the problems involving near vacuum and very strong discontinuities.
  • Flashed-feed VMD configuration as a novel method for eliminating temperature polarization effect and enhancing water vapor flux

    Alsaadi, Ahmad Salem; Alpatova, Alla; Lee, Jung Gil; Francis, Lijo; Ghaffour, NorEddine (Elsevier BV, 2018-05-28)
    The coupling of heat and mass transfer in membrane distillation (MD) process makes enhancing water vapor flux and determining MD membrane mass transfer coefficient (MTC) fairly challenging due to the development of temperature gradient near the membrane surface, referred to as temperature polarization (TP). As a result, the change in feed temperature at the membrane surface will be difficult to measure accurately. In this paper, the effect of TP was decoupled from the membrane MTC by preventing the liquid feed stream from contacting the membrane surface through the use of a novel custom-made vacuum MD (VMD) module design. Results showed that a temperature difference of 10°C between the feed bulk and feed temperatures at the membrane surface/interface is estimated to take place in the typical VMD configuration, while the proposed flashed-feed VMD configuration eliminates TP effect and gives a flux 3.5-fold higher (200kg/ under similar operating conditions. Therefore, it can be concluded that heat transfer coefficient is considered to be the main factor controlling resistance of water vapor flux in the typical VMD configuration. The measured MTC of the tested commercial membrane was found to be more accurate and the highest among all reported MTCs in the MD literature (2.44×10−6kg/m2.s.Pa). Additionally, a transmembrane temperature difference of 5°C and 10°C in the novel configuration can produce water vapor fluxes of about 9kg/ and 40kg/, respectively, at a feed temperature of 70°C, which is very attractive for scaling-up the process.
  • Efficient Photon Recycling and Radiation Trapping in Cesium Lead Halide Perovskite Waveguides

    Dursun, Ibrahim; Zheng, Yangzi; Guo, Tianle; de Bastiani, Michele; Turedi, Bekir; Sinatra, Lutfan; Haque, Mohammed; Sun, Bin; Zhumekenov, Ayan A.; Saidaminov, Makhsud I.; Garcia de Arquer, F. Pelayo; Sargent, Edward H.; Wu, Tao; Gartstein, Yuri N; Bakr, Osman; Mohammed, Omar F.; Malko, Anton V. (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-26)
    Cesium lead halide perovskite materials have attracted considerable attention for potential applications in lasers, light emitting diodes and photodetectors. Here, we provide the experimental and theoretical evidence for photon recycling in CsPbBr3 perovskite microwires. Using two-photon excitation, we recorded photoluminescence (PL) lifetimes and emission spectra as a function of the lateral distance between PL excitation and collection positions along the microwire, with separations exceeding 100 µm. At longer separations, the PL spectrum develops a red-shifted emission peak accompanied by an appearance of well-resolved rise times in the PL kinetics. We developed quantitative modeling that accounts for bimolecular recombination and photon recycling within the microwire waveguide and is sufficient to account for the observed decay modifications. It relies on a high radiative efficiency in CsPbBr3 perovskite microwires and provides crucial information about the potential impact of photon recycling and waveguide trapping on optoelectronic properties of cesium lead halide perovskite materials.
  • SiC-C Composite as A Highly Stable and Easily Regenerable Photothermal Material for Practical Water Evaporation

    Shi, Le; Shi, Yusuf; Li, Renyuan; Chang, Jian; Zaouri, Noor A.; Ahmed, Elaf Ali; Jin, Yong; Zhang, Chenlin; Zhuo, Sifei; Wang, Peng (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-26)
    Solar-driven water distillation by photothermal materials is emerging as a promising way of renewable energy-driven clean water production. In designing photothermal materials, light absorption, photo-to-thermal conversion efficiency, and ability to localize thermal energy at the water-air interface are three important considerations. However, one additional consideration, regenerability, has so far slipped out of the photothermal material designs at status quo. This work reveals that there is a fouling layer formed during photothermal evaporation of real seawater (Red Sea water) and domestic wastewater, which once formed, would be difficult to remove. Herein, we synthesize a SiC-C composite monolith as an effective photothermal material where carbon acts as photothermal component and SiC serves as a heat conductor and strong structural support. The high mechanical strength of the monolithic composite makes it able to withstand repeatedly high strength physical cleaning by brush scrubbing and sonication and the anti-carbon-loss mechanism generates zero carbon loss during the physical cleaning. In the case of the domestic wastewater evaporation, the bio- and organic foulants on the SiC-C composite monolith can be totally removed by annealing at 1000 oC in N2 atmosphere. We believe that the SiC-C composite monoliths are promising photothermal materials in practical solar-driven water evaporation applications thanks to their highly stable and easily regenerable properties and therefore more research efforts are warranted to further improve their performances.
  • Inherent Electrochemistry and Charge Transfer Properties of Few-Layer Two Dimensional Ti3C2Tx MXene

    Nayak, Pranati; Jiang, Qiu; Mohanraman, Rajeshkumar; Anjum, Dalaver H.; Hedhili, Mohamed N.; Alshareef, Husam N. (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2018-05-25)
    We report the effect of Ti3C2Tx MXene flake thickness on its inherent electrochemistry and heterogeneous charge transfer characteristics. It is shown that the Ti3C2Tx undergoes irreversible oxidation in the positive potential window, which strongly depends on the flake thickness and pH of the electrolyte. Few-layer Ti3C2Tx exhibits faster electron transfer kinetics (k0=0.09533 cm/s) with Fe(CN)64−/3− redox mediator compared to multi-layer Ti3C2Tx (k0= 0.00503 cm/s). In addition, few-layer free standing Ti3C2Tx film electrode remains intact after enduring irreversible oxidation.
  • INLA goes extreme: Bayesian tail regression for the estimation of high spatio-temporal quantiles

    Opitz, Thomas; Huser, Raphaël; Bakka, Haakon; Rue, Haavard (Springer Nature, 2018-05-25)
    This work is motivated by the challenge organized for the 10th International Conference on Extreme-Value Analysis (EVA2017) to predict daily precipitation quantiles at the 99.8% level for each month at observed and unobserved locations. Our approach is based on a Bayesian generalized additive modeling framework that is designed to estimate complex trends in marginal extremes over space and time. First, we estimate a high non-stationary threshold using a gamma distribution for precipitation intensities that incorporates spatial and temporal random effects. Then, we use the Bernoulli and generalized Pareto (GP) distributions to model the rate and size of threshold exceedances, respectively, which we also assume to vary in space and time. The latent random effects are modeled additively using Gaussian process priors, which provide high flexibility and interpretability. We develop a penalized complexity (PC) prior specification for the tail index that shrinks the GP model towards the exponential distribution, thus preventing unrealistically heavy tails. Fast and accurate estimation of the posterior distributions is performed thanks to the integrated nested Laplace approximation (INLA). We illustrate this methodology by modeling the daily precipitation data provided by the EVA2017 challenge, which consist of observations from 40 stations in the Netherlands recorded during the period 1972–2016. Capitalizing on INLA’s fast computational capacity and powerful distributed computing resources, we conduct an extensive cross-validation study to select the model parameters that govern the smoothness of trends. Our results clearly outperform simple benchmarks and are comparable to the best-scoring approaches of the other teams.
  • Quantification of Ionic Diffusion in Lead Halide Perovskite Single Crystals

    Peng, Wei; Aranda, Clara; Bakr, Osman; Garcia-Belmonte, Germà; Bisquert, Juan; Guerrero, Antonio (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-25)
    Lead halide perovskites are mixed electronic/ionic semiconductors that have recently revolutionized the photovoltaics field. The physical characterization of the ionic conductivity has been rather elusive due to the highly intermixing of ionic and electronic current. In this work the synthesis of low defect density monocrystalline MAPbBr3 (MA=Methyl ammonium) solar cells free of hole transport layer (HTL) suppresses the effect of electronic current. Impedance spectroscopy reveals the characteristic signature of ionic diffusion (the Warburg element and transmission line equivalent circuit) and ion accumulation at the MAPbBr3/Au interface. Diffusion coefficients are calculated based on a good correlation between thickness of MAPbBr3 and characteristic diffusion transition frequency. In addition, reactive external interfaces are studied by comparison of polycrystalline MAPbBr3 devices prepared either with or without a HTL. The low frequency response in IS measurements is correlated with the chemical reactivity of moving ions with the external interfaces and diffusion into the HTL.
  • Insights into Brevibacillus borstelensis AK1 through Whole Genome Sequencing: A Thermophilic Bacterium Isolated from a Hot Spring in Saudi Arabia

    Khalil, Amjad B.; Neelamegam, Sivakumar; Arslan, Muhammad; Saleem, Hamna; Alqarawi, Sami (Hindawi Limited, 2018-05-24)
    Brevibacillus borstelensis AK1 is a thermophile which grows between the temperatures of 45°C and 70°C. The present study is an extended genome report of B. borstelensis AK1 along with the morphological characterization. The strain is isolated from a hot spring in Saudi Arabia (southeast of the city Gazan). It is observed that the strain AK1 is rod-shaped, motile, and strictly aerobic bacterium. The whole genome sequence resulted in 29 contigs with a total length of 5,155,092 bp. In total, 3,946 protein-coding genes and 139 RNA genes were identified. Comparison with the previously submitted strains of B. borstelensis strains illustrates that strain AK1 has a small genome size but high GC content. The strain possesses putative genes for degradation of a wide range of substrates including polyethylene (plastic) and long-chain hydrocarbons. These genomic features may be useful for future environmental/biotechnological applications.

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