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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 20, 2024
  2. Aqueous Zn/MnO 2 batteries with their environmental sustainability and competitive cost, are becoming a promising, safe alternative for grid-scale electrochemical energy storage. Presented as a promising design principle to deliver a higher theoretical capacity, this work offers fundamental understanding of the dissolution–deposition mechanism of Zn/β-MnO 2 . A multimodal synchrotron characterization approach including three operando X-ray techniques (powder diffraction, absorption spectroscopy, and fluorescence microscopy) is coupled with elementally resolved synchrotron X-ray nano-tomography. Together they provide a direct correlation between structural evolution, reaction chemistry, and 3D morphological changes. Operando synchrotron X-ray diffraction and spectroscopy show a crystalline-to-amorphous phase transition. Quantitative modeling of the operando data by Rietveld refinement for X-ray diffraction and multivariate curve resolution (MCR) for X-ray absorption spectroscopy are used in a complementary fashion to track the structural and chemical transitions of both the long-range (crystalline phases) and short-range (including amorphous phases) ordering upon cycling. Scanning X-ray microscopy and full-field nano-tomography visualizes the morphology of electrodes at different electrochemical states with elemental sensitivity to spatially resolve the formation of the Zn- and Mn-containing phases. Overall, this work critically indicates that for Zn/MnO 2 aqueous batteries, the reaction pathways involving Zn–Mn complex formation upon cycling become independent of the polymorphs of the initial electrode and sheds light on the interplay among structural, chemical, and morphological evolution for electrochemically driven phase transitions. 
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  3. Heparan sulfate (HS) glycosaminoglycans are widely expressed on the mammalian cell surfaces and extracellular matrices and play important roles in a variety of cell functions. Studies on the structure–activity relationships of HS have long been hampered by the challenges in obtaining chemically defined HS structures with unique sulfation patterns. Here, we report a new approach to HS glycomimetics based on iterative assembly of clickable disaccharide building blocks that mimic the disaccharide repeating units of native HS. Variably sulfated clickable disaccharides were facilely assembled into a library of mass spec-sequenceable HS-mimetic oligomers with defined sulfation patterns by solution-phase iterative syntheses. Microarray and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) binding assays corroborated molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and confirmed that these HS-mimetic oligomers bind protein fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) in a sulfation-dependent manner consistent with that of the native HS. This work established a general approach to HS glycomimetics that can potentially serve as alternatives to native HS in both fundamental research and disease models. 
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  4. Abstract As the heat generation at device footprint continuously increases in modern high-tech electronics, there is an urgent need to develop new cooling devices that balance the increasing power demands. To meet this need, cutting-edge cooling devices often utilize microscale structures that facilitate two-phase heat transfer. However, it has been difficult to understand how microstructures enhance evaporation performances through traditional experimental methods due to low spatial resolution. The previous methods can only provide coarse interpretations on how physical properties such as permeability, thermal conduction, and effective surface areas interact at the microscale to effectively dissipate heat. This motivates researchers to develop new methods to observe and analyze local evaporation phenomena at the microscale. Herein, we present techniques to characterize submicron to macroscale evaporative phenomena of microscale structures by using microlaser-induced fluorescence (μLIF). We corroborate the use of unsealed temperature-sensitive dyes by systematically investigating the effects of temperature, concentration, and liquid thickness on the fluorescence intensity. Considering these factors, we analyze the evaporative performances of microstructures using two approaches. The first approach characterizes the overall and local evaporation rates by measuring the solution drying time. The second approach employs an intensity-to-temperature calibration curve to convert temperature-sensitive fluorescence signals to surface temperatures, which calculates the submicron-level evaporation rates. Using these methods, we reveal that the local evaporation rate between microstructures is high but is balanced with a large capillary-feeding. This study will enable engineers to decompose the key thermofluidic parameters contributing to the evaporative performance of microscale structures. 
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  5. Thin-film solid-state interfacial dealloying (thin-film SSID) is an emerging technique to design nanoarchitecture thin films. The resulting controllable 3D bicontinuous nanostructure is promising for a range of applications including catalysis, sensing, and energy storage. Using a multiscale microscopy approach, we combine X-ray and electron nano-tomography to demonstrate that besides dense bicontinuous nanocomposites, thin-film SSID can create a very fine (5–15 nm) nanoporous structure. Not only is such a fine feature among one of the finest fabrications by metal-agent dealloying, but a multilayer thin-film design enables creating nanoporous films on a wider range of substrates for functional applications. Through multimodal synchrotron diffraction and spectroscopy analysis with which the materials’ chemical and structural evolution in this novel approach is characterized in details, we further deduce that the contribution of change in entropy should be considered to explain the phase evolution in metal-agent dealloying, in addition to the commonly used enthalpy term in prior studies. The discussion is an important step leading towards better explaining the underlying design principles for controllable 3D nanoarchitecture, as well as exploring a wider range of elemental and substrate selections for new applications. 
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