### Recent Submissions

• #### Three-Dimensional Electromagnetic Void Space

(Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society (APS), 2021-09-17) [Article]
Electromagnetic void space is a medium, while geometrically occupying a finite volume of space, optically equivalent to an infinitesimal point, in which electromagnetic waves do not experience any phase accumulation. Here, we report the first realization of three-dimensional (3D) electromagnetic void space by an all-dielectric photonic crystal possessing vanishing permittivity and permeability simultaneously. The 3D electromagnetic void space offers distinctive functionalities inaccessible to its 2D or acoustic counterparts because of the fundamental changes in topology, which comes from the ascension of dimensionality as well as the transverse nature of electromagnetic waves. In particular, we demonstrate, both theoretically and experimentally, that the transmission through such a 3D void space is unaffected by its inner boundaries, but highly sensitive to the outer boundaries. This enables many applications such as the impurity “antidoping” effect, outer-boundary-controlled switching, and 3D perfect wave steering. Our work paves a road toward 3D exotic optics of an optically infinitesimal point.
• #### Crystallization and Morphology of Triple Crystalline Polyethylene-b-poly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(ε-caprolactone) PE-b-PEO-b-PCL Triblock Terpolymers

(Polymers, MDPI AG, 2021-09-16) [Article]
The morphology and crystallization behavior of two triblock terpolymers of polymethylene, equivalent to polyethylene (PE), poly (ethylene oxide) (PEO), and poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL) are studied: PE227.1-b-PEO4615.1-b-PCL3210.4 (T1) and PE379.5-b-PEO348.8-b-PCL297.6 (T2) (superscripts give number average molecular weights in kg/mol and subscripts composition in wt %). The three blocks are potentially crystallizable, and the triple crystalline nature of the samples is investigated. Polyhomologation (C1 polymerization), ring-opening polymerization, and catalyst-switch strategies were combined to synthesize the triblock terpolymers. In addition, the corresponding PE-b-PEO diblock copolymers and PE homopolymers were also analyzed. The crystallization sequence of the blocks was determined via three independent but complementary techniques: differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), in situ SAXS/WAXS (small angle X-ray scattering/wide angle X-ray scattering), and polarized light optical microscopy (PLOM). The two terpolymers (T1 and T2) are weakly phase segregated in the melt according to SAXS. DSC and WAXS results demonstrate that in both triblock terpolymers the crystallization process starts with the PE block, continues with the PCL block, and ends with the PEO block. Hence triple crystalline materials are obtained. The crystallization of the PCL and the PEO block is coincident (i.e., it overlaps); however, WAXS and PLOM experiments can identify both transitions. In addition, PLOM shows a spherulitic morphology for the PE homopolymer and the T1 precursor diblock copolymer, while the other systems appear as non-spherulitic or microspherulitic at the last stage of the crystallization process. The complicated crystallization of tricrystalline triblock terpolymers can only be fully grasped when DSC, WAXS, and PLOM experiments are combined. This knowledge is fundamental to tailor the properties of these complex but fascinating materials.
• #### Features of structure, magnetic state and electrodynamic performance of SrFe12−xInxO19

(Scientific reports, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-09-16) [Article]
Indium-substituted strontium hexaferrites were prepared by the conventional solid-phase reaction method. Neutron diffraction patterns were obtained at room temperature and analyzed using the Rietveld methods. A linear dependence of the unit cell parameters is found. In3+ cations are located mainly in octahedral positions of 4fVI and 12 k. The average crystallite size varies within 0.84–0.65 μm. With increasing substitution, the TC Curie temperature decreases monotonically down to ~ 520 K. ZFC and FC measurements showed a frustrated state. Upon substitution, the average and maximum sizes of ferrimagnetic clusters change in the opposite direction. The Mr remanent magnetization decreases down to ~ 20.2 emu/g at room temperature. The Ms spontaneous magnetization and the keff effective magnetocrystalline anisotropy constant are determined. With increasing substitution, the maximum of the ε/ real part of permittivity decreases in magnitude from ~ 3.3 to ~ 1.9 and shifts towards low frequencies from ~ 45.5 GHz to ~ 37.4 GHz. The maximum of the tg(α) dielectric loss tangent decreases from ~ 1.0 to ~ 0.7 and shifts towards low frequencies from ~ 40.6 GHz to ~ 37.3 GHz. The low-frequency maximum of the μ/ real part of permeability decreases from ~ 1.8 to ~ 0.9 and slightly shifts towards high frequencies up to ~ 34.7 GHz. The maximum of the tg(δ) magnetic loss tangent decreases from ~ 0.7 to ~ 0.5 and shifts slightly towards low frequencies from ~ 40.5 GHz to ~ 37.7 GHz. The discussion of microwave properties is based on the saturation magnetization, natural ferromagnetic resonance and dielectric polarization types.
• #### Low-Defect, High Molecular Weight Indacenodithiophene (IDT) Polymers Via a C–H Activation: Evaluation of a Simpler and Greener Approach to Organic Electronic Materials

(ACS Materials Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2021-09-16) [Article]
The development, optimization, and assessment of new methods for the preparation of conjugated materials is key to the continued progress of organic electronics. Direct C–H activation methods have emerged and developed over the last 10 years to become an invaluable synthetic tool for the preparation of conjugated polymers for both redox-active and solid-state applications. Here, we evaluate direct (hetero)arylation polymerization (DHAP) methods for the synthesis of indaceno[1,2-b:5,6-b′]dithiophene-based polymers. We demonstrate, using a range of techniques, including direct visualization of individual polymer chains via high-resolution scanning tunneling microscopy, that DHAP can produce polymers with a high degree of regularity and purity that subsequently perform in organic thin-film transistors comparably to those made by other cross-coupling polymerizations that require increased synthetic complexity. Ultimately, this work results in an improved atom economy by reducing the number of synthetic steps to access high-performance molecular and polymeric materials.
• #### Malat-1-PRC2-EZH1 interaction supports adaptive oxidative stress dependent epigenome remodeling in skeletal myotubes

(Cell Death & Disease, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-09-16) [Article]
AbstractPRC2-mediated epigenetic function involves the interaction with long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Although the identity of some of these RNAs has been elucidated in the context of developmental programs, their counterparts in postmitotic adult tissue homeostasis remain uncharacterized. To this aim, we used terminally differentiated postmitotic skeletal muscle cells in which oxidative stress induces the dynamic activation of PRC2-Ezh1 through Embryonic Ectoderm Develpment (EED) shuttling to the nucleus. We identify lncRNA Malat-1 as a necessary partner for PRC2-Ezh1-dependent response to oxidative stress. We show that in this pathway, PRC2-EZH1 dynamic assembly, and in turn stress induced skeletal muscle targeted genes repression, depends specifically on Malat-1. Our study reports about PRC2–RNA interactions in the physiological context of adaptive oxidative stress response and identifies the first lncRNA involved in PRC2-Ezh1 function.
• #### Investigation of a Separated Short-Wavelength Peak in InGaN Red Light-Emitting Diodes

(Crystals, MDPI AG, 2021-09-15) [Article]
We fabricated indium gallium nitride (InGaN) red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with a peak emission wavelength of 649 nm and investigated their electroluminescence (EL) properties. An additional separated peak in the EL spectrum of the red LEDs at 20 mA was observed at 465 nm. This additional peak also exhibits a blue-shift with increasing currents as does the main emission peak. Using high-resolution microscopy, we observed many point-like emission spots in the EL emission images at the currents below 1 mA. However, these emission spots cannot be identified at currents above 5 mA because the red emission from quantum wells (QWs) is much stronger than that emitted by these spots. Finally, we demonstrate that these emission spots are related to the defects generated in red QWs. The measured In content was lower at the vicinity of the defects, which was regarded as the reason for separated short-wavelength emission in red InGaN LEDs.
• #### Capturing 3D atomic defects and phonon localization at the 2D heterostructure interface

(Science Advances, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2021-09-15) [Article]
The three-dimensional (3D) local atomic structures and crystal defects at the interfaces of heterostructures control their electronic, magnetic, optical, catalytic, and topological quantum properties but have thus far eluded any direct experimental determination. Here, we use atomic electron tomography to determine the 3D local atomic positions at the interface of a MoS2-WSe2 heterojunction with picometer precision and correlate 3D atomic defects with localized vibrational properties at the epitaxial interface. We observe point defects, bond distortion, and atomic-scale ripples and measure the full 3D strain tensor at the heterointerface. By using the experimental 3D atomic coordinates as direct input to first-principles calculations, we reveal new phonon modes localized at the interface, which are corroborated by spatially resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy. We expect that this work will pave the way for correlating structure-property relationships of a wide range of heterostructure interfaces at the single-atom level.
• #### Two-Dimensional TiO2/TiS2 Hybrid Nanosheet Anodes for High-Rate Sodium-Ion Batteries

(ACS Applied Energy Materials, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2021-09-15) [Article]
The sodium-ion battery (NIB) is promising for next-generation energy storage systems. One promising anode material is titanium dioxide (TiO2). However, the sluggish sodiation/desodiation kinetics of TiO2 hinders its application in NIBs. Herein, we converted TiO2 into a two-dimensional (2D) TiO2/TiS2 hybrid to improve its sodium storage capability. The 2D TiO2/TiS2 hybrid nanosheet electrode provides high kinetics and excellent cycling performance for sodium-ion storage. This work provides a promising strategy to develop 2D hybrid nanomaterials for high-performance sodium storage devices.
• #### Janus monolayers of magnetic transition metal dichalcogenides as an all-in-one platform for spin-orbit torque

(Physical Review B, American Physical Society (APS), 2021-09-15) [Article]
We theoretically predict that vanadium-based Janus dichalcogenide monolayers constitute an ideal platform for spin-orbit torque memories. Using first-principles calculations, we demonstrate that magnetic exchange and magnetic anisotropy energies are higher for heavier chalcogen atoms, while the broken inversion symmetry in the Janus form leads to the emergence of Rashba-like spin-orbit coupling. The spin-orbit torque efficiency is evaluated using optimized quantum transport methodology and found to be comparable to heavy nonmagnetic metals. The coexistence of magnetism and spin-orbit coupling in such materials with tunable Fermi-level opens new possibilities for monitoring magnetization dynamics in the perspective of nonvolatile magnetic random access memories.
• #### Recent Progress on Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity and Thermally Modified Analogue Materials for Membrane-Based Fluid Separations

(Small Structures, Wiley, 2021-09-14) [Article]
Solution-processable amorphous glassy polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs) are promising microporous organic materials for membrane-based gas and liquid separations due to their high surface area and internal free volume, thermal and chemical stability, and excellent separation performance. This review provides an overview of the most recent developments in the design and transport properties of novel ladder PIM materials, polyimides of intrinsic microporosity (PIM–PIs), functionalized PIMs and PIM–PIs, PIM-derived thermally rearranged (TR), and carbon molecular sieve (CMS) membrane materials as well as PIM-based thin film composite membranes for a wide range of energy-intensive gas and liquid separations. In less than two decades, PIMs have significantly lifted the performance upper bounds in H2/N2, H2/CH4, O2/N2, CO2/N2, and CO2/CH4 separations. However, PIMs are still limited by their insufficient gas-pair selectivity to be considered as promising materials for challenging industrial separations such as olefin/paraffin separations. An optimum pore size distribution is required to further improve the selectivity of a PIM for a given application. Specific attention is given to the potential use of PIM-based CMS membranes for energy-intensive CO2/CH4, N2/CH4, C2H4/C2H6, and C3H6/C3H8 separations, and thin film composite membranes containing PIM motifs for liquid separations.
• #### Comprehensive analytical approaches reveal species-specific search strategies in sympatric apex predatory sharks

(Ecography, Wiley, 2021-09-14) [Article]
Animals follow specific movement patterns and search strategies to maximize encounters with essential resources (e.g. prey, favourable habitat) while minimizing exposures to suboptimal conditions (e.g. competitors, predators). While describing spatiotemporal patterns in animal movement from tracking data is common, understanding the associated search strategies employed continues to be a key challenge in ecology. Moreover, studies in marine ecology commonly focus on singular aspects of species' movements, however using multiple analytical approaches can further enable researchers to identify ecological phenomena and resolve fundamental ecological questions relating to movement. Here, we used a set of statistical physics-based methods to analyze satellite tracking data from three co-occurring apex predators (tiger, great hammerhead and bull sharks) that predominantly inhabit productive coastal regions of the northwest Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. We analyzed data from 96 sharks and calculated a range of metrics, including each species' displacements, turning angles, dispersion, space-use and community-wide movement patterns to characterize each species' movements and identify potential search strategies. Our comprehensive approach revealed high interspecific variability in shark movement patterns and search strategies. Tiger sharks displayed near-random movements consistent with a Brownian strategy commonly associated with movements through resource-rich habitats. Great hammerheads showed a mixed-movement strategy including Brownian and resident-type movements, suggesting adaptation to widespread and localized high resource availability. Bull sharks followed a resident movement strategy with restricted movements indicating localized high resource availability. We hypothesize that the species-specific search strategies identified here may help foster the co-existence of these sympatric apex predators. Following this comprehensive approach provided novel insights into spatial ecology and assisted with identifying unique movement and search strategies. Similar future studies of animal movement will help characterize movement patterns and also enable the identification of search strategies to help elucidate the ecological drivers of movement and to understand species' responses to environmental change.
• #### The time course of molecular acclimation to seawater in a euryhaline fish.

(Scientific reports, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-09-14) [Article]
The Arabian pupfish, Aphanius dispar, is a euryhaline fish inhabiting both inland nearly-freshwater desert ponds and highly saline Red Sea coastal lagoons of the Arabian Peninsula. Desert ponds and coastal lagoons, located respectively upstream and at the mouths of dry riverbeds ("wadies"), have been found to potentially become connected during periods of intense rainfall, which could allow the fish to migrate between these different habitats. Flash floods would therefore flush Arabian pupfish out to sea, requiring a rapid acclimation to a greater than 40 ppt change in salinity. To investigate the molecular pathways of salinity acclimation during such events, a Red Sea coastal lagoon and a desert pond population were sampled, with the latter exposed to a rapid increase in water salinity. Changes in branchial gene expression were investigated via genome-wide transcriptome measurements over time from 6 h to 21 days. The two natural populations displayed basal differences in genes related to ion transport, osmoregulation and immune system functions. These mechanisms were also differentially regulated in seawater transferred fish, revealing their crucial role in long-term adaptation. Other processes were only transiently activated shortly after the salinity exposure, including cellular stress response mechanisms, such as molecular chaperone synthesis and apoptosis. Tissue remodelling processes were also identified as transient, but took place later in the timeline, suggesting their importance to long-term acclimation as they likely equip the fish with lasting adaptations to their new environment. The alterations in branchial functional pathways displayed by Arabian pupfish in response to salinity increases are diverse. These reveal a large toolkit of molecular processes important for adaptation to hyperosmolarity that allow for successful colonization to a wide variety of different habitats.
• #### Brazilian Semi-Arid Mangroves-Associated Microbiome as Pools of Richness and Complexity in a Changing World.

(Frontiers in microbiology, Frontiers Media S.A., 2021-09-13) [Article]
Mangrove microbiomes play an essential role in the fate of mangroves in our changing planet, but the factors regulating the biogeographical distribution of mangrove microbial communities remain essentially vague. This paper contributes to our understanding of mangrove microbiomes distributed along three biogeographical provinces and ecoregions, covering the exuberant mangroves of Amazonia ecoregion (North Brazil Shelf) as well as mangroves located in the southern limit of distribution (Southeastern ecoregion, Warm Temperate Southwestern Atlantic) and mangroves localized on the drier semi-arid coast (Northeastern ecoregion, Tropical Southwestern Atlantic), two important ecotones where poleward and landward shifts, respectively, are expected to occur related to climate change. This study compared the microbiomes associated with the conspicuous red mangrove ($\textit{Rhizophora mangle}$) root soils encompassing soil properties, latitudinal factors, and amplicon sequence variants of 105 samples. We demonstrated that, although the northern and southern sites are over 4,000 km apart, and despite $\textit{R. mangle}$ genetic divergences between north and south populations, their microbiomes resemble each other more than the northern and northeastern neighbors. In addition, the northeastern semi-arid microbiomes were more diverse and displayed a higher level of complexity than the northern and southern ones. This finding may reflect the endurance of the northeast microbial communities tailored to deal with the stressful conditions of semi-aridity and may play a role in the resistance and growing landward expansion observed in such mangroves. Minimum temperature, precipitation, organic carbon, and potential evapotranspiration were the main microbiota variation drivers and should be considered in mangrove conservation and recovery strategies in the Anthropocene. In the face of changes in climate, land cover, biodiversity, and chemical composition, the richness and complexity harbored by semi-arid mangrove microbiomes may hold the key to mangrove adaptability in our changing planet.
• #### An Aqueous Mg 2+ -Based Dual-Ion Battery with High Power Density

(Advanced Functional Materials, Wiley, 2021-09-13) [Article]
Rechargeable Mg batteries promise low-cost, safe, and high-energy alternatives to Li-ion batteries. However, the high polarization strength of Mg2+ leads to its strong interaction with electrode materials and electrolyte molecules, resulting in sluggish Mg2+ dissociation and diffusion as well as insufficient power density and cycling stability. Here an aqueous Mg2+-based dual-ion battery is reported to bypass the penalties of slow dissociation and solid-state diffusion. This battery chemistry utilizes fast redox reactions on the polymer electrodes, i.e., anion (de)doping on the polyaniline (PANI) cathode and (de)enolization upon incorporating Mg2+ on the polyimide anode. The kinetically favored and stable electrodes depend on designing a saturated aqueous electrolyte of 4.5 m Mg(NO3)2. The concentrated electrolyte suppresses the irreversible deprotonation reaction of the PANI cathode to enable excellent stability (a lifespan of over 10 000 cycles) and rate performance (33% capacity retention at 500 C) and avoids the anodic parasitic reaction of nitrate reduction to deliver the stable polyimide anode (86.2% capacity retention after 6000 cycles). The resultant full Mg2+-based dual-ion battery shows a high specific power of 10 826 W kg−1, competitive with electrochemical supercapacitors. The electrolyte and electrode chemistries elucidated in this study provide an alternative approach to developing better-performing Mg-based batteries.
• #### Design of experiment optimization of aligned polymer thermoelectrics doped by ion-exchange

(Applied Physics Letters, AIP Publishing, 2021-09-13) [Article]
Organic thermoelectrics offer the potential to deliver flexible, low-cost devices that can directly convert heat to electricity. Previous studies have reported high conductivity and thermoelectric power factor in the conjugated polymer poly[2,5-bis(3-tetradecylthiophen-2-yl)thieno[3,2-b]thiophene] (PBTTT). Here, we investigate the thermoelectric properties of PBTTT films in which the polymer chains were aligned uniaxially by mechanical rubbing, and the films were doped by a recently developed ion exchange technique that provides a choice over the counterions incorporated into the film, allowing for more optimized morphology and better stability than conventional charge transfer doping. To optimize the polymer alignment process, we took advantage of two Design of Experiment (DOE) techniques: regular two-level factorial design and central composite design. Rubbing temperature Trub and post-alignment annealing temperature Tanneal were the two factors that were most strongly correlated with conductivity. We were able to achieve high polymer alignment with a dichroic ratio >15 and high electrical conductivities of up to 4345 S/cm for transport parallel to the polymer chains, demonstrating that the ion exchange method can achieve conductivities comparable/higher than conventional charge transfer doping. While the conductivity of aligned films increased by a factor of 4 compared to unaligned films, the Seebeck coefficient (S) remained nearly unchanged. The combination of DOE methodology, high-temperature rubbing, and ion exchange doping provides a systematic, controllable strategy to tune structure–thermoelectric property relationships in semiconducting polymers
• #### Clean Carbon Cycle via High-Performing and Low-Cost Solar-Driven Production of Freshwater

(Advanced Sustainable Systems, Wiley, 2021-09-12) [Article]
While renewable power available worldwide costs increasingly less than the least expensive option based on fossil fuels, countries continue to increase their coal-fired capacity, which should conversely fall by 80% within a decade to limit global warming effects. To address the challenges to the implementation of such an aim, here, a path is explored that leverages on a previously unrecognized aspect of coal, opening to a new solar-driven carbon cycle that is environmentally friendly. By engineering the porosity matrix of coal into a suitably designed compressed volumetric structure, and by coupling it with a network of cotton fibers, it is possible to create a record performing device for freshwater production, with a desalination rate per raw material cost evaluated at 1.39 kg h −1 \$ −1 at one sun intensity. This value is between two and three times higher than any other solar desalination device proposed to date. These results could envision a clean and socially sustainable cycle for carbon materials that, while enabling an enhanced water economy with global access to freshwater and sanitation, poses zero risks of reinjecting 𝐶𝑂2 into the environment through competing economies in the fossil's market.
• #### Efficient land desertification detection using a deep learning-driven generative adversarial network approach: A case study

(Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience, Wiley, 2021-09-12) [Article]
Precisely detecting land cover changes aids in improving the analysis of the dynamics of the landscape and plays an essential role in mitigating the effects of desertification. Mainly, sensing desertification is challenging due to the high correlation between desertification and like-desertification events (e.g., deforestation). An efficient and flexible deep learning approach is introduced to address desertification detection through Landsat imagery. Essentially, a generative adversarial network (GAN)-based desertification detector is designed and for uncovering the pixels influenced by land cover changes. In this study, the adopted features have been derived from multi-temporal images and incorporate multispectral information without considering image segmentation preprocessing. Furthermore, to address desertification detection challenges, the GAN-based detector is constructed based on desertification-free features and then employed to identify atypical events associated with desertification changes. The GAN-detection algorithm flexibly learns relevant information from linear and nonlinear processes without prior assumption on data distribution and significantly enhances the detection's accuracy. The GAN-based desertification detector's performance has been assessed via multi-temporal Landsat optical images from the arid area nearby Biskra in Algeria. This region is selected in this work because desertification phenomena heavily impact it. Compared to some state-of-the-art methods, including deep Boltzmann machine (DBM), deep belief network (DBN), convolutional neural network (CNN), as well as two ensemble models, namely, random forests and AdaBoost, the proposed GAN-based detector offers superior discrimination performance of deserted regions. Results show the promising potential of the proposed GAN-based method for the analysis and detection of desertification changes. Results also revealed that the GAN-driven desertification detection approach outperforms the state-of-the-art methods.