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  1. Abstract

    Understanding the nexus between food, energy, and water systems (FEW) is critical for basins with intensive agricultural water use as they face significant challenges under changing climate and regional development. We investigate the food, energy, and water nexus through a regional hydroeconomic optimization (RHEO) modeling framework. The crop production in RHEO is estimated through a hierarchical regression model developed using a biophysical model, AquaCropOS, forced with daily climatic inputs. Incorporating the hierarchical model within the RHEO also reduces the computation time by enabling parallel programming within the AquaCropOS and facilitates mixed irrigation—rainfed, fully irrigated and deficit irrigation—strategies. To demonstrate the RHEO framework, we considered a groundwater‐dominated basin, South Flint River Basin, Georgia, for developing mixed irrigation strategies over 31 years. Our analyses show that optimal deficit irrigation is economically better than full irrigation, which increases the groundwater pumping cost. Thus, considering deficit irrigation in a groundwater‐dominated basin reduces the water, carbon, and energy footprints, thereby reducing FEW vulnerability. The RHEO also could be employed for analyzing FEW nexus under potential climate change and future regional development scenarios.

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  2. Twisting or sliding two-dimensional crystals with respect to each other gives rise to moiré patterns determined by the difference in their periodicities. Such lattice mismatches can exist for several reasons: differences between the intrinsic lattice constants of the two layers, as is the case for graphene on BN; rotations between the two lattices, as is the case for twisted bilayer graphene; and strains between two identical layers in a bilayer. Moiré patterns are responsible for a number of new electronic phenomena observed in recent years in van der Waals heterostructures, including the observation of superlattice Dirac points for graphene on BN, collective electronic phases in twisted bilayers and twisted double bilayers, and trapping of excitons in the moiré potential. An open question is whether we can use moiré potentials to achieve strong trapping potentials for electrons. Here, we report a technique to achieve deep, deterministic trapping potentials via strain-based moiré engineering in van der Waals materials. We use strain engineering to create on-demand soliton networks in transition metal dichalcogenides. Intersecting solitons form a honeycomb-like network resulting from the three-fold symmetry of the adhesion potential between layers. The vertices of this network occur in bound pairs with different interlayer stacking arrangements. One vertex of the pair is found to be an efficient trap for electrons, displaying two states that are deeply confined within the semiconductor gap and have a spatial extent of 2 nm. Soliton networks thus provide a path to engineer deeply confined states with a strain-dependent tunable spatial separation, without the necessity of introducing chemical defects into the host materials. 
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  3. Abstract

    Large dams degrade the river’s health by heavily regulating the natural flows. Despite a long history of research on flow regulation due to dams, most studies focused only on the impact of a single dam and ignored the combined impact of flow regulation on a river network. We propose a new Dynamic Flow Alteration Index (DFAI) to quantify the local and cumulative degree of regulation by comparing the observed controlled flows with the naturalized flows based on a moving time horizon for the highly regulated Colorado River Basin. The proposed DFAI matches closely to dam’s localized regulation for headwater gages and starts to diverge as we move downstream due to increase in cumulative impact of the dams. DFAI considers the impact of dam operations on flow characteristics such as shifting of peak flow occurrence and dampening of peak flows. DFAI estimates the degree of regulation to be small for upstream dams and finds the maximum network regulation to be 2.52 years at Glen Canyon reservoir. DFAI also successfully captures the reduction in cumulative regulation when dam operations (e.g., Hoover Dam) bring the altered flow in synchronization with natural regime due to downstream flow requirements. The impact of San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program is also captured by DFAI as the reduction in network regulation drops by 1.5 years for Navajo Dam. Our findings using DFAI suggest the need to develop naturalized flows for major river basins to quantify the flow alteration under continually changing climate and human influences.

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  5. Abstract

    Large dams are a leading cause of river ecosystem degradation. Although dams have cumulative effects as water flows downstream in a river network, most flow alteration research has focused on local impacts of single dams. Here we examined the highly regulated Colorado River Basin (CRB) to understand how flow alteration propagates in river networks, as influenced by the location and characteristics of dams as well as the structure of the river network—including the presence of tributaries. We used a spatial Markov network model informed by 117 upstream‐downstream pairs of monthly flow series (2003–2017) to estimate flow alteration from 84 intermediate‐to‐large dams representing >83% of the total storage in the CRB. Using Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator regression, we then investigated how flow alteration was influenced by local dam properties (e.g., purpose, storage capacity) and network‐level attributes (e.g., position, upstream cumulative storage). Flow alteration was highly variable across the network, but tended to accumulate downstream and remained high in the main stem. Dam impacts were explained by network‐level attributes (63%) more than by local dam properties (37%), underscoring the need to consider network context when assessing dam impacts. High‐impact dams were often located in sub‐watersheds with high levels of native fish biodiversity, fish imperilment, or species requiring seasonal flows that are no longer present. These three biodiversity dimensions, as well as the amount of dam‐free downstream habitat, indicate potential to restore river ecosystems via controlled flow releases. Our methods are transferrable and could guide screening for dam reoperation in other highly regulated basins.

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  6. The lactose permease of Escherichia coli (LacY), a dynamic polytopic membrane transport protein, catalyzes galactoside/H + symport and operates by an alternating access mechanism that exhibits multiple conformations, the distribution of which is altered by sugar-binding. Camelid nanobodies were made against a double-mutant Gly46 → Trp/Gly262 → Trp (LacY WW ) that produces an outward-open conformation, as opposed to the cytoplasmic open-state crystal structure of WT LacY. Nanobody 9047 (Nb9047) stabilizes WT LacY in a periplasmic-open conformation. Here, we describe the X-ray crystal structure of a complex between LacY WW , the high-affinity substrate analog 4-nitrophenyl-α- d -galactoside (NPG), and Nb9047 at 3-Å resolution. The present crystal structure demonstrates that Nb9047 binds to the periplasmic face of LacY, primarily to the C-terminal six-helical bundle, while a flexible loop of the Nb forms a bridge between the N- and C-terminal halves of LacY across the periplasmic vestibule. The bound Nb partially covers the vestibule, yet does not affect the on-rates or off-rates for the substrate binding to LacY WW , which implicates dynamic flexibility of the Nb–LacY WW complex. Nb9047-binding neither changes the overall structure of LacY WW with bound NPG, nor the positions of side chains comprising the galactoside-binding site. The current NPG-bound structure exhibits a more occluded periplasmic vestibule than seen in a previous structure of a (different Nb) apo-LacY WW /Nb9039 complex that we argue is caused by sugar-binding, with major differences located at the periplasmic ends of transmembrane helices in the N-terminal half of LacY. 
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  7. Abstract

    Resources used in lithium‐ion batteries are becoming more expensive due to their high demand, and the global cobalt market heavily depends on supplies from countries with high geopolitical risks. Alternative battery technologies including magnesium‐ion batteries are therefore desirable. Progress toward practical magnesium‐ion batteries are impeded by an absence of suitable anodes that can operate with conventional electrolyte solvents. Although alloy‐type magnesium‐ion battery anodes are compatible with common electrolyte solvents, they suffer from severe failure associated with huge volume changes during cycling. Consequently, achieving more than 200 cycles in alloy‐type magnesium‐ion battery anodes remains a challenge. Here an unprecedented long‐cycle life of 1000 cycles, achieved at a relatively high (dis)charge rate of 3 C (current density: 922.5 mA g−1) in Mg2Ga5alloy‐type anode, taking advantage of near‐room‐temperatures solid–liquid phase transformation between Mg2Ga5(solid) and Ga (liquid), is demonstrated. This concept should open the way to the development of practical anodes for next‐generation magnesium‐ion batteries.

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