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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2022
  2. Small molecule guests influence the functional properties of supramolecular hydrogels. Molecular-level understanding of such sol-gel compositions and structures is challenging due to the lack of long-range order and inherently heterogeneous sol-gel interface. In this study, insight into the uptake process of biologically relevant small molecules into guanosine-quartet(G4) borate hydrogels is obtained by gel-state magic-angle spinning (MAS) NMR spectroscopy. G4∙K + borate hydrogel can absorb up to 0.3 equivalent of cationic methylene blue (MB) without a significant disruption of the G4 fibrils that make up the gel, whereas the addition of over 0.3 equivalents of MB to the same gel leadsmore »to a gel-to-sol transition. The gel-to-sol transition process is characterized ex situ by analyzing and comparing the 1 H and 11 B MAS NMR spectra acquired before and after the MB uptake. In particular, 11 B isotropic chemical shifts and quadrupole interactions were determined by analyzing the 11 B MAS NMR spectra acquired at different magnetic fields, 11.7 T, 14.1 T and 20 T, which enable the different local bonding environments of borate anions in sol- and gel domains to be distinguished and identified. By comparison, uptake of heterocyclic molecules such as adenine, cytosine and 1-methylthymine into G4∙Na + borate hydrogels lead to stiff and clear gels while increasing the solubility of the nucleobases as compared to the solubility of the same compounds in water. G4∙Na + gel can uptake one equiv. of adenine with minimal disruption to the sol-gel framework, thus enhancing the adenine solubility up to an order of magnitude as compared to water. Combined multinuclear ( 1 H, 11 B and 23 Na) NMR spectroscopy analysis and vial inversion tests revealed that the nucleobases are embedded into pores of the sol phase rather than being closely interacting with the G-4 fibrils that make up the gel phase. These results indicate that G-4 hydrogels have potential applications as carrier systems for small molecules. Gel-state MAS NMR spectroscopy can be used to gain insight into host-guest interactions in complex heterogeneous sol-gel systems, which is often difficult to obtain from the conventional techniques such as X-ray scattering, electron microscopy and optical spectroscopy.« less
  3. Abstract

    The selection of low-radioactive construction materials is of utmost importance for the success of low-energy rare event search experiments. Besides radioactive contaminants in the bulk, the emanation of radioactive radon atoms from material surfaces attains increasing relevance in the effort to further reduce the background of such experiments. In this work, we present the$$^{222}$$222Rn emanation measurements performed for the XENON1T dark matter experiment. Together with the bulk impurity screening campaign, the results enabled us to select the radio-purest construction materials, targeting a$$^{222}$$222Rn activity concentration of$$10\,\mathrm{\,}\upmu \mathrm{Bq}/\mathrm{kg}$$10μBq/kgin$$3.2\,\mathrm{t}$$3.2tof xenon. The knowledge of the distribution of the$$^{222}$$222Rn sources allowed us to selectivelymore »eliminate problematic components in the course of the experiment. The predictions from the emanation measurements were compared to data of the$$^{222}$$222Rn activity concentration in XENON1T. The final$$^{222}$$222Rn activity concentration of$$(4.5\pm 0.1)\,\mathrm{\,}\upmu \mathrm{Bq}/\mathrm{kg}$$(4.5±0.1)μBq/kgin the target of XENON1T is the lowest ever achieved in a xenon dark matter experiment.

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  4. Abstract The DARWIN observatory is a proposed next-generation experiment to search for particle dark matter and for the neutrinoless double beta decay of $$^{136}$$ 136 Xe. Out of its 50 t total natural xenon inventory, 40 t will be the active target of a time projection chamber which thus contains about 3.6 t of $$^{136}$$ 136 Xe. Here, we show that its projected half-life sensitivity is $$2.4\times {10}^{27}\,{\hbox {year}}$$ 2.4 × 10 27 year , using a fiducial volume of 5 t of natural xenon and 10 year of operation with a background rate of less than 0.2 events/(t  $$\cdot $$ ·  year) in the energymore »region of interest. This sensitivity is based on a detailed Monte Carlo simulation study of the background and event topologies in the large, homogeneous target. DARWIN will be comparable in its science reach to dedicated double beta decay experiments using xenon enriched in $$^{136}$$ 136 Xe.« less