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  1. Molybdenum disulfide (MoS 2 ) is a layered material with outstanding electrical and optical properties. Numerous studies evaluate the performance in sensors, catalysts, batteries, and composites that can benefit from guidance by simulations in all-atom resolution. However, molecular simulations remain difficult due to lack of reliable models. We introduce an interpretable force field for MoS 2 with record performance that reproduces structural, interfacial, and mechanical properties in 0.1% to 5% agreement with experiments. The model overcomes structural instability, deviations in interfacial and mechanical properties by several 100%, and empirical fitting protocols in earlier models. It is compatible with several forcemore »fields for molecular dynamics simulation, including the interface force field (IFF), CVFF, DREIDING, PCFF, COMPASS, CHARMM, AMBER, and OPLS-AA. The parameters capture polar covalent bonding, X-ray structure, cleavage energy, infrared spectra, bending stability, bulk modulus, Young's modulus, and contact angles with polar and nonpolar solvents. We utilized the models to uncover the binding mechanism of peptides to the MoS 2 basal plane. The binding strength of several 7mer and 8mer peptides scales linearly with surface contact and replacement of surface-bound water molecules, and is tunable in a wide range from −86 to −6 kcal mol −1 . The binding selectivity is multifactorial, including major contributions by van-der-Waals coordination and charge matching of certain side groups, orientation of hydrophilic side chains towards water, and conformation flexibility. We explain the relative attraction and role of the 20 amino acids using computational and experimental data. The force field can be used to screen and interpret the assembly of MoS 2 -based nanomaterials and electrolyte interfaces up to a billion atoms with high accuracy, including multiscale simulations from the quantum scale to the microscale.« less
  2. Abstract

    Properties of semiconductors are largely defined by crystal imperfections including native defects. Van der Waals (vdW) semiconductors, a newly emerged class of materials, are no exception: defects exist even in the purest materials and strongly affect their electrical, optical, magnetic, catalytic and sensing properties. However, unlike conventional semiconductors where energy levels of defects are well documented, they are experimentally unknown in even the best studied vdW semiconductors, impeding the understanding and utilization of these materials. Here, we directly evaluate deep levels and their chemical trends in the bandgap of MoS2, WS2and their alloys by transient spectroscopic study. One ofmore »the deep levels is found to follow the conduction band minimum of each host, attributed to the native sulfur vacancy. A switchable, DX center - like deep level has also been identified, whose energy lines up instead on a fixed level across different hosts, explaining a persistent photoconductivity above 400 K.

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  3. Multi-elemental alloy nanoparticles (MEA-NPs) hold great promise for catalyst discovery in a virtually unlimited compositional space. However, rational and controllable synthesize of these intrinsically complex structures remains a challenge. Here, we report the computationally aided, entropy-driven design and synthesis of highly efficient and durable catalyst MEA-NPs. The computational strategy includes prescreening of millions of compositions, prediction of alloy formation by density functional theory calculations, and examination of structural stability by a hybrid Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics method. Selected compositions can be efficiently and rapidly synthesized at high temperature (e.g., 1500 K, 0.5 s) with excellent thermal stability. We appliedmore »these MEA-NPs for catalytic NH 3 decomposition and observed outstanding performance due to the synergistic effect of multi-elemental mixing, their small size, and the alloy phase. We anticipate that the computationally aided rational design and rapid synthesis of MEA-NPs are broadly applicable for various catalytic reactions and will accelerate material discovery.« less
  4. Abstract

    In the field of beam physics, two frontier topics have taken center stage due to their potential to enable new approaches to discovery in a wide swath of science. These areas are: advanced, high gradient acceleration techniques, and x-ray free electron lasers (XFELs). Further, there is intense interest in the marriage of these two fields, with the goal of producing a very compact XFEL. In this context, recent advances in high gradient radio-frequency cryogenic copper structure research have opened the door to the use of surface electric fields between 250 and 500 MV m−1. Such an approach is foreseenmore »to enable a new generation of photoinjectors with six-dimensional beam brightness beyond the current state-of-the-art by well over an order of magnitude. This advance is an essential ingredient enabling an ultra-compact XFEL (UC-XFEL). In addition, one may accelerate these bright beams to GeV scale in less than 10 m. Such an injector, when combined with inverse free electron laser-based bunching techniques can produce multi-kA beams with unprecedented beam quality, quantified by 50 nm-rad normalized emittances. The emittance, we note, is the effective area in transverse phase space (x,px/mec) or (y,py/mec) occupied by the beam distribution, and it is relevant to achievable beam sizes as well as setting a limit on FEL wavelength. These beams, when injected into innovative, short-period (1–10 mm) undulators uniquely enable UC-XFELs having footprints consistent with university-scale laboratories. We describe the architecture and predicted performance of this novel light source, which promises photon production per pulse of a few percent of existing XFEL sources. We review implementation issues including collective beam effects, compact x-ray optics systems, and other relevant technical challenges. To illustrate the potential of such a light source to fundamentally change the current paradigm of XFELs with their limited access, we examine possible applications in biology, chemistry, materials, atomic physics, industry, and medicine—including the imaging of virus particles—which may profit from this new model of performing XFEL science.

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