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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  2. Liu, Zhiwen ; Psaltis, Demetri ; Shi, Kebin (Ed.)
  3. Abstract Metal-free electrocatalysts represent a main branch of active materials for oxygen evolution reaction (OER), but they excessively rely on functionalized conjugated carbon materials, which substantially restricts the screening of potential efficient carbonaceous electrocatalysts. Herein, we demonstrate that a mesostructured polyacrylate hydrogel can afford an unexpected and exceptional OER activity – on par with that of benchmark IrO 2 catalyst in alkaline electrolyte, together with a high durability and good adaptability in various pH environments. Combined theoretical and electrokinetic studies reveal that the positively charged carbon atoms within the carboxylate units are intrinsically active toward OER, and spectroscopic operando characterizations also identify the fingerprint superoxide intermediate generated on the polymeric hydrogel backbone. This work expands the scope of metal-free materials for OER by providing a new class of polymeric hydrogel electrocatalysts with huge extension potentials. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  5. Liu, Zhiwen ; Psaltis, Demetri ; Shi, Kebin (Ed.)
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 3, 2024
  7. Abstract

    Here, we study the upper critical solution temperature triggered phase transition of thermally responsive poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether acrylate-co-poly(ethylene glycol) phenyl ether acrylate-block-polystyrene nanoassemblies in isopropanol. To gain mechanistic insight into the organic solution-phase dynamics of the upper critical solution temperature polymer, we leverage variable temperature liquid-cell transmission electron microscopy correlated with variable temperature liquid resonant soft X-ray scattering. Heating above the upper critical solution temperature triggers a reduction in particle size and a morphological transition from a spherical core shell particle with a complex, multiphase core to a micelle with a uniform core and Gaussian polymer chains attached to the surface. These correlated solution phase methods, coupled with mass spectral validation and modeling, provide unique insight into these thermoresponsive materials. Moreover, we detail a generalizable workflow for studying complex, solution-phase nanomaterials via correlative methods.

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