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  1. null (Ed.)
    Bimetallic bis-urea functionalized salen-aluminum catalysts have been developed for cyclic carbonate synthesis from epoxides and CO2. The urea moiety provides a bimetallic scaffold through hydrogen bonding, which expedites the cyclic carbonate formation reaction under mild reaction conditions. The turnover frequency (TOF) of the bis-urea salen Al catalyst is three times higher than that of a μ-oxo-bridged catalyst, and 13 times higher than that of a monomeric salen aluminum catalyst. The bimetallic reaction pathway is suggested based on urea additive studies and kinetic studies. Additionally, the X-ray crystal structure of a bis-urea salen Ni complex supports the self-assembly of the bis-urea salen metal complex through hydrogen bonding. 
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  2. Nanocomposite polymer electrolytes (CPEs) are promising materials for all-solid-state lithium metal batteries (LMBs) due to their enhanced ionic conductivities and stability to the lithium anode. MXenes are a new two-dimensional, 2D, family of early transition metal carbides and nitrides, which have a high aspect ratio and a hydrophilic surface. Herein, using a green, facile aqueous solution blending method, we uniformly dispersed small amounts of Ti 3 C 2 T x into a poly(ethylene oxide)/LiTFSI complex (PEO 20 -LiTFSI) to fabricate MXene-based CPEs (MCPEs). The addition of the 2D flakes to PEO simultaneously retards PEO crystallization and enhances its segmental motion. Compared to the 0D and 1D nanofillers, MXenes show higher efficiency in ionic conductivity enhancement and improvement in the performance of LMBs. The CPE with 3.6 wt% MXene shows the highest ionic conductivity at room temperature (2.2 × 10 −5 S m −1 at 28 °C). An LMB using MCPE with only 1.5 wt% MXene shows rate capability and stability comparable with that of the state-of-the-art CPELMBs. We attribute the excellent performance to the 2D geometry of the filler, the good dispersion of the flakes in the polymer matrix, and the functional group-rich surface. 
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  3. Abstract

    Block copolymers (BCPs) are of growing interest because of their extensive utility in tissue engineering, particularly in biomimetic approaches where multifunctionality is critical. We synthesized polycaprolactone‐polyacrylic acid (PCL‐b‐PAA) BCP and crystallized it onto PCL nanofibers, making BCP nanofiber shish kebab (BCP NFSK) structures. When mineralized in 2× simulated body fluid, BCP NFSK mimic the structure of mineralized collagen fibrils. We hypothesized that the addition of a calcium phosphate layer of graded roughness on the nano‐structure of the nanofiber shish kebabs would enhance preosteoblast alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, which has been shown to be a critical component in bone matrix formation. The objectives in the study were to investigate the effect of mineralization on cell proliferation and ALP activity, and to also investigate the effect of BCP NFSK periodicity, a structural feature describing the distance between PCL‐b‐PAA crystals on the nanofiber core, on cell proliferation, and ALP activity. ALP activity of cells cultured on the mineralized BCP NFSK template was significantly higher than the nonmineralized BCP NFSK templates. Interestingly, no statistical difference was observed in ALP activity when the periodic varied, indicating that surface chemistry seemed to play a larger role than the surface roughness.

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