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  1. Single crystals of the perovskite nickelate NdNiO3 with dimensions of up to 50 μm on edge have been successfully grown using the flux method at a temperature of 400 °C and oxygen pressure of 200 bar. The crystals were investigated by a combination of techniques, including high-resolution synchrotron X-ray single-crystal and powder diffraction and physical property measurements such as magnetic susceptibility and resistivity. Resistivity measurements revealed a metal-insulator transition (MIT) at TMIT~180 K with apparent thermal hysteresis; however, no superlattice peaks or peak splitting below TMIT, which corresponds to a structural transition from Pbnm to P21/n, was observed. The successful growth of NdNiO3 crystals at relatively low temperatures and oxygen pressure provides an alternative approach for preparing single crystals of interesting perovskites such as RNiO3 (R = Sm-Lu) and parent phases of superconducting square planar nickelates.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Xeno-nucleic acids (XNAs) are synthetic genetic polymers with backbone structures composed of non-ribose or non-deoxyribose sugars. Phosphonomethylthreosyl nucleic acid (pTNA), a type of XNA that does not base pair with DNA or RNA, has been suggested as a possible genetic material for storing synthetic biology information in cells. A critical step in this process is the synthesis of XNA episomes using laboratory-evolved polymerases to copy DNA information into XNA. Here, we investigate the polymerase recognition of pTNA nucleotides using X-ray crystallography to capture the post-catalytic complex of engineered polymerases following the sequential addition of two pTNA nucleotides onto the 3′-end of a DNA primer. High-resolution crystal structures reveal that the polymerase mediates Watson–Crick base pairing between the extended pTNA adducts and the DNA template. Comparative analysis studies demonstrate that the sugar conformation and backbone position of pTNA are structurally more similar to threose nucleic acid than DNA even though pTNA and DNA share the same six-atom backbone repeat length. Collectively, these findings provide new insight into the structural determinants that guide the enzymatic synthesis of an orthogonal genetic polymer, and may lead to the discovery of new variants that function with enhanced activity.

  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 28, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023

    We measure the enclosed Milky Way mass profile to Galactocentric distances of ∼70 and ∼50 kpc using the smooth, diffuse stellar halo samples of Bird et al. The samples are Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) and Sloan Digital Sky Survey/Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration (SDSS/SEGUE) K giants (KG) and SDSS/SEGUE blue horizontal branch (BHB) stars with accurate metallicities. The 3D kinematics are available through LAMOST and SDSS/SEGUE distances and radial velocities and Gaia DR2 proper motions. Two methods are used to estimate the enclosed mass: 3D spherical Jeans equation and Evans et al. tracer mass estimator (TME). We remove substructure via the Xue et al. method based on integrals of motion. We evaluate the uncertainties on our estimates due to random sampling noise, systematic distance errors, the adopted density profile, and non-virialization and non-spherical effects of the halo. The tracer density profile remains a limiting systematic in our mass estimates, although within these limits we find reasonable agreement across the different samples and the methods applied. Out to ∼70 and ∼50 kpc, the Jeans method yields total enclosed masses of 4.3 ± 0.95 (random) ±0.6 (systematic) × 1011 M⊙ and 4.1 ± 1.2 (random) ±0.6 (systematic) × 1011 M⊙ for the KG and BHB stars, respectively.more »For the KG and BHB samples, we find a dark matter virial mass of $M_{200}=0.55^{+0.15}_{-0.11}$ (random) ±0.083 (systematic) × 1012 M⊙ and $M_{200}=1.00^{+0.67}_{-0.33}$ (random) ±0.15 (systematic) × 1012 M⊙, respectively.

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  7. We solve a long-standing challenge to the integrity of votes cast without the supervision of a voting booth: ``{\it improper influence},'' which typically refers to any combination of vote buying and voter coercion. Our approach allows each voter, or their trusted agents (which we call ``{\it hedgehogs}''), to {\it ``nullify''} (effectively cancel) their vote in a way that is unstoppable, irrevocable, and forever unattributable to the voter. In particular, our approach enhances security of online, remote, public-sector elections, for which there is a growing need and the threat of improper influence is most acute. We introduce the new approach, give detailed cryptographic protocols, show how it can be applied to several voting settings, and describe our implementation. The protocols compose a full voting system, which we call {\it {\votexx}}, including registration, voting, nullification, and tallying---using an anonymous communication system for registration, vote casting, and other communication in the system. We demonstrate how the technique can be applied to known systems, including where ballots can be mailed to voters and voters use codes on the ballot to cast their votes online. In comparison with previous proposals, our system makes fewer assumptions and protects against a strong adversary who learns all ofmore »the voter's keys. In {\votexx}, each voter has two public-private key pairs. Without revealing their private keys, each voter registers their public keys with the election authority. Each voter may share their keys with one or more hedgehogs. During nullification, the voter, or one or more of their hedgehogs, can interact through the anonymous communication system to nullify a vote by proving knowledge of one of the voter's private keys via a zero-knowledge proof without revealing the private key. We describe a fully decentralizable implementation of {\votexx}, including its public bulletin board, which could be implemented on a blockchain.« less
  8. Abstract Ocean heat content (OHC) is key to estimating the energy imbalance of the earth system. Over the past two decades, an increasing number of OHC studies were conducted using oceanic objective analysis (OA) products. Here we perform an intercomparison of OHC from eight OA products with a focus on their robust features and significant differences over the Argo period (2005-2019), when the most reliable global scale oceanic measurements are available. For the global ocean, robust warming in the upper 2000 m is confirmed. The 0-300 m layer shows the highest warming rate but is heavily modulated by interannual variability, particularly the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. The 300-700 m and 700-2000 m layers, on the other hand, show unabated warming. Regionally, the Southern Ocean and mid-latitude North Atlantic show a substantial OHC increase, and the subpolar North Atlantic displays an OHC decrease. A few apparent differences in OHC among the examined OA products were identified. In particular, temporal means of a few OA products that incorporated other ocean measurements besides Argo show a global-scale cooling difference, which is likely related to the baseline climatology fields used to generate those products. Large differences also appear in the interannual variability in the Southernmore »Ocean and in the long-term trends in the subpolar North Atlantic. These differences remind us of the possibility of product-dependent conclusions on OHC variations. Caution is therefore warranted when using merely one OA product to conduct OHC studies, particularly in regions and on timescales that display significant differences.« less