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  1. Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) provides a low-temperature, highly-efficient, and catalyst-free route to fabricate graphene materials by virtue of the unique properties of plasma. In this paper, we conduct reactive molecular dynamics simulations to theoretically study the detailed growth process of graphene by PECVD at the atomic scale. Hydrocarbon radicals with different carbon/hydrogen (C/H) ratios are employed as dissociated precursors in the plasma environment during the growth process. The simulation results show that hydrogen content in the precursors significantly affects the growth behavior and properties of graphene ( e.g. , the quality of obtained graphene, which is indicated by the number of hexagonal carbon rings formed in the graphene sheets). Moreover, increasing the content of hydrogen in the precursors is shown to reduce the growth rate of carbon clusters, and prevent the formation of curved carbon structures during the growth process. The findings provide a detailed understanding of the fundamental mechanisms regarding the effects of hydrogen on the growth of graphene in a PECVD process.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 4, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  3. Polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs) have shown promise in pushing the limits of gas separation membranes, recently redefining upper bounds for a variety of gas pair separations. However, many of these membranes still suffer from reductions in permeability over time, removing the primary advantage of this class of polymer. In this work, a series of pentiptycene-based PIMs incorporated into copolymers with PIM-1 are examined to identify fundamental structure–property relationships between the configuration of the pentiptycene backbone and its accompanying linear or branched substituent group. The incorporation of pentiptycene provides a route to instill a more permanent, configuration-based free volume, resistant to physical aging via traditional collapse of conformation-based free volume. PPIM-ip-C and PPIM-np-S, copolymers with C- and S-shape backbones and branched isopropoxy and linearn-propoxy substituent groups, respectively, each exhibited initial separation performance enhancements relative to PIM-1. Additionally, aging-enhanced gas permeabilities were observed, a stark departure from the typical permeability losses pure PIM-1 experiences with aging. Mixed-gas separation data showed enhanced CO2/CH4selectivity relative to the pure-gas permeation results, with only ∼20% decreases in selectivity when moving from a CO2partial pressure of ∼2.4 to ∼7.1 atm (atmospheric pressure) when utilizing a mixed-gas CO2/CH4feed stream. These results highlight the potential of pentiptycene’s intrinsic,more »configurational free volume for simultaneously delivering size-sieving above the 2008 upper bound, along with exceptional resistance to physical aging that often plagues high free volume PIMs.

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  4. Abstract

    Directed high-speed motion of nanoscale objects in fluids can have a wide range of applications like molecular machinery, nano robotics, and material assembly. Here, we report ballistic plasmonic Au nanoparticle (NP) swimmers with unprecedented speeds (~336,000 μm s−1) realized by not only optical pushing but also pulling forces from a single Gaussian laser beam. Both the optical pulling and high speeds are made possible by a unique NP-laser interaction. The Au NP excited by the laser at the surface plasmon resonance peak can generate a nanoscale bubble, which can encapsulate the NP (i.e., supercavitation) to create a virtually frictionless environment for it to move, like the Leidenfrost effect. Certain NP-in-bubble configurations can lead to the optical pulling of NP against the photon stream. The demonstrated ultra-fast, light-driven NP movement may benefit a wide range of nano- and bio-applications and provide new insights to the field of optical pulling force.