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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
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  3. Structurally regular nanopore arrays fabricated to contain independently controllable annular electrodes represent a new kind of architecture capable of electrochemically addressing small collections of matter—down to the single entity (molecule, particle, and biological cell) level. Furthermore, these nanopore electrode arrays (NEAs) can also be interrogated optically to achieve single entity spectroelectrochemistry. Larger entities such as nanoparticles and single bacterial cells are investigated by dark-field scattering and potential-controlled single-cell luminescence experiments, respectively, while NEA-confined molecules are probed by single molecule luminescence. By carrying out these experiments in arrays of identically constructed nanopores, massively parallel collections of single entities can be investigated simultaneously. The multilayer metal–insulator design of the NEAs enables highly efficient redox cycling experiments with large increases in analytical sensitivity for chemical sensing applications. NEAs may also be augmented with an additional orthogonally designed nanopore layer, such as a structured block copolymer, to achieve hierarchically organized multilayer structures with multiple stimulus-responsive transport control mechanisms. Finally, NEAs constructed with a transparent bottom layer permit optical access to the interior of the nanopore, which can result in the cutoff of far-field mode propagation, effectively trapping radiation in an ultrasmall volume inside the nanopore. The bottom metal layer may be used as bothmore »a working electrode and an optical cladding layer, thus, producing bifunctional electrochemical zero-mode waveguide architectures capable of carrying out spectroelectrochemical investigations down to the single molecule level.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 7, 2023
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  5. Wetting and dewetting behavior in channel-confined hydrophobic volumes is used in biological membranes to effect selective ion/molecular transport. Artificial biomimetic hydrophobic nanopores have been devised utilizing wetting and dewetting, however, tunable mass transport control utilizing multiple transport modes is required for applications such as controllable release/transport, water separation/purification and energy conversion. Here, we investigate the potential-induced wetting and dewetting behavior in a pH-responsive membrane composed of a polystyrene- b -poly(4-vinylpyridine) (PS- b -P4VP) block copolymer (BCP) when fabricated as a hierarchically-organized sandwich structure on a nanopore electrode array (NEA), i.e. BCP@NEA. At pH < p K a (P4VP) (p K a ∼ 4.8), the BCP acts as an anion-exchange membrane due to the hydrophilic, protonated P4VP cylindrical nanodomains, but at pH > p K a (P4VP), the P4VP domains exhibit charge-neutral, hydrophobic and collapsed structures, blocking mass transport via the hydrophobic membrane. However, when originally prepared in a dewetted condition, mass transport in the BCP membrane may be switched on if sufficiently negative potentials are applied to the BCP@NEA architecture. When the hydrophobic BCP membrane is introduced on top of 2-electrode-embedded nanopore arrays, electrolyte solution in the nanopores is introduced, then isolated, by exploiting the potential-induced wetting and dewetting transitionsmore »in the BCP membrane. The potential-induced wetting/dewetting transition and the effect on cyclic voltammetry in the BCP@NEA structures is characterized as a function of the potential, pH and ionic strength. In addition, chronoamperometry and redox cycling experiments are used to further characterize the potential response. The multi-modal mass transport system proposed in this work will be useful for ultrasensitive sensing and single-molecule studies, which require long-time monitoring to explore reaction dynamics as well as molecular heterogeneity in nanoconfined volumes.« less
  6. Microbes, such as bacteria, can be described, at one level, as small, self-sustaining chemical factories. Based on the species, strain, and even the environment, bacteria can be useful, neutral or pathogenic to human life, so it is increasingly important that we be able to characterize them at the molecular level with chemical specificity and spatial and temporal resolution in order to understand their behavior. Bacterial metabolism involves a large number of internal and external electron transfer processes, so it is logical that electrochemical techniques have been employed to investigate these bacterial metabolites. In this mini-review, we focus on electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical methods that have been developed and used specifically to chemically characterize bacteria and their behavior. First, we discuss the latest mechanistic insights and current understanding of microbial electron transfer, including both direct and mediated electron transfer. Second, we summarize progress on approaches to spatiotemporal characterization of secreted factors, including both metabolites and signaling molecules, which can be used to discern how natural or external factors can alter metabolic states of bacterial cells and change either their individual or collective behavior. Finally, we address in situ methods of single-cell characterization, which can uncover how heterogeneity in cell behavior is reflectedmore »in the behavior and properties of collections of bacteria, e.g. bacterial communities. Recent advances in (spectro)electrochemical characterization of bacteria have yielded important new insights both at the ensemble and the single-entity levels, which are furthering our understanding of bacterial behavior. These insights, in turn, promise to benefit applications ranging from biosensors to the use of bacteria in bacteria-based bioenergy generation and storage.« less
  7. As the energy storage markets demand increased capacity of rechargeable batteries, Li metal anodes have regained major attention due to their high theoretical specific capacity. However, Li anodes tend to have dendritic growth and constant electrolyte consumption upon cycling, which lead to safety concerns, low Coulombic efficiency, and short cycle life of the battery. In this work, both conductive and non-conductive 3D porous hosts were coupled with a viscous (melt) polymer electrolyte. The cross-section of the hosts showed good contact between porous hosts and the melt polymer electrolyte before and after extensive cycling, indicating that the viscous electrolyte successfully refilled the space upon Li stripping. Upon deep Li deposition/stripping cycling (5 mAh cm-2), the non-conductive host with the viscous electrolyte successfully cycled, while conductive host allowed rapid short circuiting. Post-mortem cross-sectional imaging showed that the Li deposition was confined to the top layers of the host. COMSOL simulations indicated that current density was higher and more restricted to the top of the conductive host with the polymer electrolyte than the liquid electrolyte. This resulted in quicker short circuiting of the polymer electrolyte cell during deep cycling. Thus, the non-conductive 3D host is preferred for coupling with the melt polymer electrolyte.
  8. Fluorescence microscopy imaging speed is fundamentally limited by the measurement signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). To improve image SNR for a given image acquisition rate, computational denoising techniques can be used to suppress noise. However, common techniques to estimate a denoised image from a single frame either are computationally expensive or rely on simple noise statistical models. These models assume Poisson or Gaussian noise statistics, which are not appropriate for many fluorescence microscopy applications that contain quantum shot noise and electronic Johnson–Nyquist noise, therefore a mixture of Poisson and Gaussian noise. In this paper, we show convolutional neural networks (CNNs) trained on mixed Poisson and Gaussian noise images to overcome the limitations of existing image denoising methods. The trained CNN is presented as an open-source ImageJ plugin that performs real-time image denoising (within tens of milliseconds) with superior performance (SNR improvement) compared to conventional fluorescence microscopy denoising methods. The method is validated on external datasets with out-of-distribution noise, contrast, structure, and imaging modalities from the training data and consistently achieves high-performance (><#comment/>8dB) denoising in less time than other fluorescence microscopy denoising methods.