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  1. SUMMARY  The mechanisms that regulate the vast diversity of plant organ shapes such as the fruit remain to be fully elucidated. TONNEAU1 Recruiting Motif proteins (TRMs) have been implicated in the control of organ shapes in a number of plant species, including tomato. However, the role of many of them are unknown. TRMs interact with Ovate Family Proteins (OFPs) via the M8 domain. However, the in planta function of the TRM-OFP interaction in regulating shape is unknown.  We used CRISPR/Cas9 to generate knock-out mutants in TRM proteins from different subclades and in-frame mutants within the M8 domain to investigate their roles in organ shape and interactions with OFPs.  Our findings indicate that TRMs impact organ shape along both the medio-lateral and proximo-distal axes of growth. Mutations in Sltrm3/4 and Sltrm5 act additively to rescue the elongated fruit phenotype of ovate/Slofp20 (o/s) to a round shape. Contrary, mutations in Sltrm19 and Sltrm17/20a result in fruit elongation and further enhance the obovoid phenotype in the o/s mutant.  This study supports a combinatorial role of the TRM-OFP regulon where OFPs and TRMs expressed throughout development have both redundant and opposing roles in regulating organ shape.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 3, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Electrical modulation of magnetic states in single-phase multiferroic materials, using domain-wall magnetoelectric (ME) coupling, can be enhanced substantially by controlling the population density of the ferroelectric (FE) domain walls during polarization switching. In this work, we investigate the domain-wall ME coupling in multiferroic h-YbFeO3thin films, in which the FE domain walls induce clamped antiferromagnetic (AFM) domain walls with reduced magnetization magnitude. Simulation according to the phenomenological theory indicates that the domain-wall ME effect is dramatically enhanced when the separation between the FE domain walls shrinks below the characteristic width of the clamped AFM domain walls during the ferroelectric switching. Experimentally, we show that while the magnetization magnitude remains same for both the positive and the negative saturation polarization states, there is evidence of magnetization reduction at the coercive voltages. These results suggest that the domain-wall ME effect is viable for electrical control of magnetization.

  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  5. Abstract

    Lignin is an aromatic biopolymer found in ubiquitous sources of woody biomass. Designing and optimizing lignin valorization processes requires a fundamental understanding of lignin structures. Experimental characterization techniques, such as 2D-heteronuclear single quantum coherence (HSQC) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra, could elucidate the global properties of the polymer molecules. Computer models could extend the resolution of experiments by representing structures at the molecular and atomistic scales. We introduce a graph-based multiscale modeling framework for lignin structure generation and visualization. The framework employs accelerated rejection-free polymerization and hierarchical Metropolis Monte Carlo optimization algorithms. We obtain structure libraries for various lignin feedstocks based on literature and new experimental NMR data for poplar wood, pinewood, and herbaceous lignin. The framework could guide researchers towards feasible lignin structures, efficient space exploration, and future kinetics modeling. Its software implementation in Python, LigninGraphs, is open-source and available on GitHub.

    Graphical abstract

  6. Power devices are highly desirable to possess excellent avalanche and short-circuit (or surge-current) robustness for numerous power electronics applications like automotive powertrains, electric grids, motor drives, among many others. Current commercial GaN power device, the lateral GaN high-electron-mobility transistor (HEMT), is known to have no avalanche capability and very limited short-circuit robustness. These limitations have become a roadblock for penetration of GaN devices in many industrial power applications. Recently, through collaborations with NexGen Power Systems (NexGen), Inc., we have demonstrated breakthrough avalanche, surge-current and short-circuit robustness in NexGen’s vertical GaN p-n diodes and fin-shape junction-gate field-effect-transistors (Fin-JFETs). These large-area GaN diodes and Fin-JFETs were manufactured in NexGen’s 100 mm GaN-on-GaN fab. The demonstrated avalanche, surge-current and short-circuit capabilities are comparable or even superior to Si and SiC power devices. Additionally, vertical GaN Fin-JFETs were found to fail to open-circuit under avalanche and short-circuit conditions, which is highly desirable for the system safety. This talk reviews the key robustness results of vertical GaN power devices and unveils the enabling device physics. Fundamentally, these results signify that, in contrast to some popular belief, GaN devices with appropriate designs can achieve excellent robustness and thereby encounter no barriers for applications in electric vehicles,more »grids, renewable processing, and industrial motor drives.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 20, 2023
  7. Abstract

    Advances in microfluidic technologies rely on engineered 3D flow patterns to manipulate samples at the microscale. However, current methods for mapping flows only provide limited 3D and temporal resolutions or require highly specialized optical set-ups. Here, we present a simple defocusing approach based on brightfield microscopy and open-source software to map micro-flows in 3D at high spatial and temporal resolution. Our workflow is both integrated in ImageJ and modular. We track seed particles in 2D before classifying their Z-position using a reference library. We compare the performance of a traditional cross-correlation method and a deep learning model in performing the classification step. We validate our method on three highly relevant microfluidic examples: a channel step expansion and displacement structures as single-phase flow examples, and droplet microfluidics as a two-phase flow example. First, we elucidate how displacement structures efficiently shift large particles across streamlines. Second, we reveal novel recirculation structures and folding patterns in the internal flow of microfluidic droplets. Our simple and widely accessible brightfield technique generates high-resolution flow maps and it will address the increasing demand for controlling fluids at the microscale by supporting the efficient design of novel microfluidic structures.

  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  9. The behavior of liquid-phase polymer in nanoscale cavities are essential and important to many technological processes. The level of our understanding on them, however, is still limited. This paper reports a new photofluidic technique to capture, or “freeze-frame”, the capillary rise of polymer into elastomeric nanocavities with nanoscopic resolutions and reveals nonlinear and unstable natures of the polymeric capillary effect. Based on the results, a nanofluidic model is also proposed to explain the anomalies. Both the freeze-framing technique and the established model will open new pathways to analyze and utilize nanofluidics.