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  1. Photo-induced thiol-ene crosslinking of allyl-functionalized cellulose nanocrystal (CNC)/polymer nanocomposites allows access to films that mimic the water-enhanced mechanical gradient characteristics of the squid beak. These films are prepared by mixing the functionalized CNCs and polymer in a solvent before solution casting and drying. The photocrosslinking agents are then imbibed into the film before UV exposure. Reported herein are studies aimed at better understanding the effect of the film preparation procedure, film thickness and the conditions under which the UV treatment is carried out. It was found that when the film is heated at a temperature higher than its glass transitionmore »temperature (Tg) during the UV irradiation step there is a greater enhancement in the mechanical properties of the films, presumably on account of more efficient crosslinking between the CNC fillers. Moreover, composite films that were compression molded (at 90°C) before the imbibing step displayed lower mechanical properties compared to the as-cast films, which is attributed to phase separation of the CNC fillers and polymer matrix during this additional processing step. Finally, the film thickness was also found to be a critical factor that affects the degree of crosslinking. For example, thinner films (50 µm) displayed a higher wet modulus ca. 130 MPa compared to ca. 80 MPa for the thicker films (150 µm). Understanding the processing conditions allows access to a larger range of mechanical properties which is important for the design of new bio-inspired mechanical gradient nanocomposites.« less
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  4. Abstract We search for gravitational-wave signals associated with gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) detected by the Fermi and Swift satellites during the second half of the third observing run of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo (2019 November 1 15:00 UTC–2020 March 27 17:00 UTC). We conduct two independent searches: a generic gravitational-wave transients search to analyze 86 GRBs and an analysis to target binary mergers with at least one neutron star as short GRB progenitors for 17 events. We find no significant evidence for gravitational-wave signals associated with any of these GRBs. A weighted binomial test of the combined results finds nomore »evidence for subthreshold gravitational-wave signals associated with this GRB ensemble either. We use several source types and signal morphologies during the searches, resulting in lower bounds on the estimated distance to each GRB. Finally, we constrain the population of low-luminosity short GRBs using results from the first to the third observing runs of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. The resulting population is in accordance with the local binary neutron star merger rate.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  6. Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) span the approximate mass range 100−10 5   M ⊙ , between black holes (BHs) that formed by stellar collapse and the supermassive BHs at the centers of galaxies. Mergers of IMBH binaries are the most energetic gravitational-wave sources accessible by the terrestrial detector network. Searches of the first two observing runs of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo did not yield any significant IMBH binary signals. In the third observing run (O3), the increased network sensitivity enabled the detection of GW190521, a signal consistent with a binary merger of mass ∼150  M ⊙ providing direct evidencemore »of IMBH formation. Here, we report on a dedicated search of O3 data for further IMBH binary mergers, combining both modeled (matched filter) and model-independent search methods. We find some marginal candidates, but none are sufficiently significant to indicate detection of further IMBH mergers. We quantify the sensitivity of the individual search methods and of the combined search using a suite of IMBH binary signals obtained via numerical relativity, including the effects of spins misaligned with the binary orbital axis, and present the resulting upper limits on astrophysical merger rates. Our most stringent limit is for equal mass and aligned spin BH binary of total mass 200  M ⊙ and effective aligned spin 0.8 at 0.056 Gpc −3 yr −1 (90% confidence), a factor of 3.5 more constraining than previous LIGO-Virgo limits. We also update the estimated rate of mergers similar to GW190521 to 0.08 Gpc −3 yr −1 .« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023