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  1. Abstract Polymer membranes have been used extensively for Angstrom-scale separation of solutes and molecules. However, the pore size of most polymer membranes has been considered an intrinsic membrane property that cannot be adjusted in operation by applied stimuli. In this work, we show that the pore size of an electrically conductive polyamide membrane can be modulated by an applied voltage in the presence of electrolyte via a mechanism called electrically induced osmotic swelling. Under applied voltage, the highly charged polyamide layer concentrates counter ions in the polymer network via Donnan equilibrium and creates a sizeable osmotic pressure to enlarge the free volume and the effective pore size. The relation between membrane potential and pore size can be quantitatively described using the extended Flory-Rehner theory with Donnan equilibrium. The ability to regulate pore size via applied voltage enables operando modulation of precise molecular separation in-situ. This study demonstrates the amazing capability of electro-regulation of membrane pore size at the Angstrom scale and unveils an important but previously overlooked mechanism of membrane-water-solute interactions. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  3. Abstract Background

    Plastid genomes (plastomes) have long been recognized as highly conserved in their overall structure, size, gene arrangement and content among land plants. However, recent studies have shown that some lineages present unusual variations in some of these features. Members of the cactus family are one of these lineages, with distinct plastome structures reported across disparate lineages, including gene losses, inversions, boundary movements or loss of the canonical inverted repeat (IR) region. However, only a small fraction of cactus diversity has been analysed so far.

    Methods

    Here, we investigated plastome features of the tribe Opuntieae, the remarkable prickly pear cacti, which represent one of the most diverse and important lineages of Cactaceae. We assembled de novo the plastome of 43 species, representing a comprehensive sampling of the tribe, including all seven genera, and analysed their evolution in a phylogenetic comparative framework. Phylogenomic analyses with different datasets (full plastome sequences and genes only) were performed, followed by congruence analyses to assess signals underlying contentious nodes.

    Key Results

    Plastomes varied considerably in length, from 121 to 162 kbp, with striking differences in the content and size of the IR region (contraction and expansion events), including a lack of the canonical IR in some lineages and the pseudogenization or loss of some genes. Overall, nine different types of plastomes were reported, deviating in the presence of the IR region or the genes contained in the IR. Overall, plastome sequences resolved phylogenetic relationships within major clades of Opuntieae with high bootstrap values but presented some contentious nodes depending on the dataset analysed (e.g. whole plastome vs. genes only). Congruence analyses revealed that most plastidial regions lack phylogenetic resolution, while few markers are supporting the most likely topology. Likewise, alternative topologies are driven by a handful of plastome markers, suggesting recalcitrant nodes in the phylogeny.

    Conclusions

    Our study reveals a dynamic nature of plastome evolution across closely related lineages, shedding light on peculiar features of plastomes. Variation of plastome types across Opuntieae is remarkable in size, structure and content and can be important for the recognition of species in some major clades. Unravelling connections between the causes of plastome variation and the consequences for species biology, physiology, ecology, diversification and adaptation is a promising and ambitious endeavour in cactus research. Although plastome data resolved major phylogenetic relationships, the generation of nuclear genomic data is necessary to confront these hypotheses and assess the recalcitrant nodes further.

     
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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 10, 2024
  5. Abstract Charge transport in organic molecular crystals (OMCs) is conventionally categorized into two limiting regimes − band transport, characterized by weak electron-phonon (e-ph) interactions, and charge hopping due to localized polarons formed by strong e-ph interactions. However, between these two limiting cases there is a less well understood intermediate regime where polarons are present but transport does not occur via hopping. Here we show a many-body first-principles approach that can accurately predict the carrier mobility in this intermediate regime and shed light on its microscopic origin. Our approach combines a finite-temperature cumulant method to describe strong e-ph interactions with Green-Kubo transport calculations. We apply this parameter-free framework to naphthalene crystal, demonstrating electron mobility predictions within a factor of 1.5−2 of experiment between 100 and 300 K. Our analysis reveals the formation of a broad polaron satellite peak in the electron spectral function and the failure of the Boltzmann equation in the intermediate regime. 
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  6. Abstract

    Charge transport in organic molecular crystals (OMCs) is conventionally categorized into two limiting regimes − band transport, characterized by weak electron-phonon (e-ph) interactions, and charge hopping due to localized polarons formed by strong e-ph interactions. However, between these two limiting cases there is a less well understood intermediate regime where polarons are present but transport does not occur via hopping. Here we show a many-body first-principles approach that can accurately predict the carrier mobility in this intermediate regime and shed light on its microscopic origin. Our approach combines a finite-temperature cumulant method to describe strong e-ph interactions with Green-Kubo transport calculations. We apply this parameter-free framework to naphthalene crystal, demonstrating electron mobility predictions within a factor of 1.5−2 of experiment between 100 and 300 K. Our analysis reveals the formation of a broad polaron satellite peak in the electron spectral function and the failure of the Boltzmann equation in the intermediate regime.

     
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