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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 29, 2024
  2. In the past three years, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious health, environmental, societal, and economic challenges globally. Sterilization is one of the most efficient methods to mitigate the spread of infectious viruses like SARS-CoV-2. However, extreme sterilization practices can cause serious health and environmental problems worldwide. Heat, ultraviolet C (UVC), and chemical disinfectants require high energy consumption and can cause health concerns, environmental pollution, and chemical overuse. In this paper, we evaluated the efficiency of corona discharge (CD) as an environmentally and energy-friendly sterilization method on different surfaces for sterilization. It was confirmed that CD is an efficient sterilization process for most surfaces and personal protective equipment (PPE). CD allows for a reduction in disinfectant use, addresses the PPE shortage problem, and reduces plastic pollution and biowaste. The air sterilization effect of CD creates a promising option to reduce airborne pathogens. To address the safety concerns of CD, the heat, UVC, and ozone emissions of CD were confirmed to be within a safe range. A wireless, affordable CD robot was developed with the capability to scan along pre-designed paths while having the capability to avoid static and moving obstacles. Automated CD devices and robots can be favorable sterilization solutions for the future as a contactless, more environmentally friendly, efficient, affordable, and portable solution. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 19, 2024
  3. Glycine, the simplest amino acid, is considered a promising functional biomaterial owing to its excellent biocompatibility and strong out-of-plane piezoelectricity. Practical applications require glycine films to be manufactured with their strong piezoelectric polar 〈001〉 direction aligned with the film thickness. Based on the recently-developed solidification approach of a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and glycine aqueous solution, in this work, we demonstrate that the crystal orientation of the as-synthesized film is determined by the orientation of glycine crystal nuclei. By controlling the local nucleation kinetics via surface curvature tuning, we shifted the nucleation site from the edge to the middle of the liquid film, and thereby aligned the 〈001〉 direction vertically. As a result, the PVA–glycine–PVA sandwich film exhibits the highest aver-age piezoelectric coefficient d 33 of 6.13 ± 1.13 pC N −1 . This work demonstrates a promising kinetic approach to achieve crystallization and property control in a scalable biocrystal manufacturing process. 
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  4. Density functional theory calculations are combined with time-resolved photoluminescence experiments to identify the species responsible for the reversible trapping of holes following photoexcitation of InP/ZnSe/ZnS core/shell/shell quantum dots (QDs) having excess indium in the shell [P. Cavanaugh et al., J. Chem. Phys. 155, 244705 (2021)]. Several possible assignments are considered, and a substitutional indium adjacent to a zinc vacancy, In3+/VZn2−, is found to be the most likely. This assignment is consistent with the observation that trapping occurs only when the QD has excess indium and is supported by experiments showing that the addition of zinc oleate or acetate decreases the extent of trapping, presumably by filling some of the vacancy traps. We also show that the addition of alkyl carboxylic acids causes increased trapping, presumably by the creation of additional zinc vacancies. The calculations show that either a single In2+ ion or an In2+–In3+ dimer is much too easily oxidized to form the reversible traps observed experimentally, while In3+ is far too difficult to oxidize. Additional experimental data on InP/ZnSe/ZnS QDs synthesized in the absence of chloride demonstrates that the reversible traps are not associated with Cl−. However, a zinc vacancy adjacent to a substitutional indium is calculated to have its highest occupied orbitals about 1 eV above the top of the valence band of bulk ZnSe, in the appropriate energy range to act as reversible traps for quantum confined holes in the InP valence band. The associated orbitals are predominantly composed of p orbitals on the Se atoms adjacent to the Zn vacancy.

     
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  5. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The summer intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) is characterized by a northward-moving rainband in the Indo–western Pacific warm pool region. The physical origin of the ISO is not fully understood, as it is masked by strong interaction of convection and circulation. This study examines intraseasonal to interannual variability during June–August over the Indo–western Pacific warm pool region. The results show that the tropical northwest Pacific anomalous anticyclone (NWP-AAC) is a fundamental mode on both intraseasonal and interannual time scales, destabilized by the monsoon mean state, specifically through barotropic energy conversion and convective feedback in the low-level confluence between the monsoon westerlies and easterly trade winds. On the interannual time scale, the NWP-AAC shows a biennial tendency, reversing phase from the summer of El Niño to the summer that follows; the AAC in post–El Niño summer is excited indirectly through sea surface temperature anomalies in the Indo–NWP. On the intraseasonal time scale, the column-integrated moisture advection causes the NWP-AAC-related convection to propagate northward. Our results provide a unifying view of multiscale Asian summer monsoon variability, with important implications for subseasonal to seasonal prediction. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    A quantitative understanding of the nanoscale piezoelectric property will unlock many application potentials of the electromechanical coupling phenomenon under quantum confinement. In this work, we present an atomic force microscopy- (AFM-) based approach to the quantification of the nanometer-scale piezoelectric property from single-crystalline zinc oxide nanosheets (NSs) with thicknesses ranging from 1 to 4 nm. By identifying the appropriate driving potential, we minimized the influences from electrostatic interactions and tip-sample coupling, and extrapolated the thickness-dependent piezoelectric coefficient ( d 33 ). By averaging the measured d 33 from NSs with the same number of unit cells in thickness, an intriguing tri-unit-cell relationship was observed. From NSs with 3 n unit cell thickness ( n = 1 , 2, 3), a bulk-like d 33 at a value of ~9 pm/V was obtained, whereas NSs with other thickness showed a ~30% higher d 33 of ~12 pm/V. Quantification of d 33 as a function of ZnO unit cell numbers offers a new experimental discovery toward nanoscale piezoelectricity from nonlayered materials that are piezoelectric in bulk. 
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  7. null (Ed.)
    Creating two-dimensional (2D) geometry from nonlayered catalytic materials may significantly advance electrocatalyst design. The 2D morphology of three-dimensional lattices (2D nonlayered materials) offer large structural distortions, massive surface dangling bonds, and coordinated-unsaturated surface atoms, which can induce high surface chemical activity and promote the chemisorption of reactants and fast interfacial charge transfer, thereby enhancing the electrocatalytic performance. In this article, we review typical strategies for structural engineering and manipulation of electronic states to enable the unique electrocatalytic advantages of 2D nonlayered materials. An overview is presented on recent research advances in the development of 2D nonlayered materials for catalyzing the representative electrochemical reactions that are essential to energy and sustainability, including hydrogen evolution, oxygen evolution, oxygen reduction, and CO 2 reduction. For each type of redox reactions, their unique catalytic performance and underlying mechanism are discussed. Important achievements and key challenges are also discussed. 
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  8. null (Ed.)