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  1. Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) were synthesized via a block copolymer-assisted hydrothermal method and the phase purity and the crystal structure were investigated by X-ray diffraction. The Rietveld analysis of X-ray diffractometer spectra shows the hexagonal phase symmetry of α-Fe2O3. Further, the vibrational study suggests Raman active modes: 2A1g + 5Eg associated with α-Fe2O3, which corroborates the Rietveld analysis and orbital analysis of 2PFe. The superparamagnetic behavior is confirmed by magnetic measurements performed by the physical properties measurement system. The systematic study of the Congo red (CR) interaction with IONPs using a UV-visible spectrophotometer and a liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry system equipped with a triple quadrupole mass analyzer and an electrospray ionization interface shows effective adsorption. In visible light, the Fe2O3 nanoparticles get easily excited and generate electrons and holes. The photogenerated electrons reduce the Fe3+ ions to Fe2+ ions. The Fe2+/H2O2 oxidizes CR by the Fenton mechanism. The strong adsorption ability of prepared nanoparticles towards dyes attributes the potential candidates for wastewater treatment and other catalytic applications. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2024
  2. We demonstrated the efficient coupling of BiFeO3 (BFO) ferroelectric material within the carbon–sulfur (C-S) composite cathode, where polysulfides are trapped in BFO mesh, reducing the polysulfide shuttle impact, and thus resulting in an improved cyclic performance and an increase in capacity in Li-S batteries. Here, the built-in internal field due to BFO enhances polysulfide trapping. The observation of a difference in the diffusion behavior of polysulfides in BFO-coupled composites suggests more efficient trapping in BFO-modified C-S electrodes compared to pristine C-S composite cathodes. The X-ray diffraction results of BFO–C-S composite cathodes show an orthorhombic structure, while Raman spectra substantiate efficient coupling of BFO in C-S composites, in agreement with SEM images, showing the interconnected network of submicron-size sulfur composites. Two plateaus were observed at 1.75 V and 2.1 V in the charge/discharge characteristics of BFO–C-S composite cathodes. The observed capacity of ~1600 mAh g−1 in a 1.5–2.5 V operating window for BFO30-C10-S60 composite cathodes, and the high cyclic stability substantiate the superior performance of the designed cathode materials due to the efficient reduction in the polysulfide shuttle effect in these composite cathodes. 
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  3. We report the first direct synthesis of graphene on SiO2/Si by hot-filament chemical vapor deposition. Graphene deposition was conducted at low pressures (35 Torr) with a mixture of methane/hydrogen and a substrate temperature of 970 °C followed by spontaneous cooling to room temperature. A thin copper-strip was deposited in the middle of the SiO2/Si substrate as catalytic material. Raman spectroscopy mapping and atomic force microscopy measurements indicate the growth of few-layers of graphene over the entire SiO2/Si substrate, far beyond the thin copper-strip, while X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy showed negligible amounts of copper next to the initially deposited strip. The scale of the graphene nanocrystal was estimated by Raman spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy. 
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  4. In this research, the shuttle effect and the low sulfur activation of lithium–sulfur batteries were mitigated by coating the cathode side of Celgard 2400 separators with mixtures of carbon black/chitosan or carbon black/polyvinylidene fluoride using the simple slurry technique. Carbon nanoparticles and the polar groups of the polymers were responsible for boosting the reaction kinetics of sulfur and the chemical and physical trapping of lithium polysulfides. The adsorption of sulfur species in the coated separators was confirmed by the morphologic changes observed in the AFM and SEM images and by the new elements presented in the EDX spectra after 100 charge/discharge cycles. The high intensity of the peaks in the cyclic voltammograms and the long plateaus in the discharge profiles support the improvement in the reaction kinetics. The batteries with the carbon black/chitosan- and carbon black/polyvinylidene fluoride-coated separators reached high specific discharge capacities of 833 and 698 mAhg−1, respectively, after 100 cycles at 0.5 C. This is promising for this kind of technology, and detailed results are presented in the article. 
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  5. null (Ed.)