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  1. Abstract

    The active-particle number density is a key parameter for plasma material processing, space propulsion, and plasma-assisted combustion. The traditional actinometry method focuses on measuring the density of the atoms in the ground state, but there is a lack of an effective optical emission spectroscopy method to measure intra-shell excited-state densities. The latter atoms have chemical selectivity and higher energy, and they can easily change the material morphology as well as the ionization and combustion paths. In this work, we present a novel state-resolved actinometry (SRA) method, supported by a krypton line-ratio method for the electron temperature and density, to measure the number densities of nitrogen atoms in the ground and intra-shell excited states. The SRA method is based on a collisional-radiative model, considering the kinetics of atomic nitrogen and krypton including their excited states. The densities measured by our method are compared with those obtained from a dissociative model in a miniature electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) plasma source. Furthermore, the saturation effect, in which the electron density remains constant due to the microwave propagation in an ECR plasma once the power reaches a certain value, is used to verify the electron density measured by the line-ratio method. An ionization balance model is also presented to examine the measured electron temperature. All the values obtained with the different methods are in good agreement with each other, and hence a set of verified rate coefficient data used in our method can be provided. A novel concept, the ‘excited-state system’, is presented to quickly build an optical diagnostic method based on the analysis of quantum number propensity and selection rules.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2025
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2025
  3. Abstract

    Active galactic nuclei (AGN) light curves observed with different wave bands show that the variability in longer wavelength bands lags the variability in shorter wavelength bands. Measuring these lags, or reverberation mapping, is used to measure the radial temperature profile and extent of AGN disks, typically with a reprocessing model that assumes X-rays are the main driver of the variability in other wavelength bands. To demonstrate how this reprocessing works with realistic accretion disk structures, we use 3D local shearing box multifrequency radiation magnetohydrodynamic simulations to model the UV-emitting region of an AGN disk, which is unstable to the magnetorotational instability and convection. At the same time, we inject hard X-rays (>1 keV) into the simulation box to study the effects of X-ray irradiation on the local properties of the turbulence and the resulting variability of the emitted UV light curve. We find that disk turbulence is sufficient to drive intrinsic variability in emitted UV light curves and that a damped random walk model is a good fit to this UV light curve for timescales >5 days. Meanwhile, X-ray irradiation has negligible impact on the power spectrum of the emitted UV light curve. Furthermore, the injected X-ray and emitted UV light curves are only correlated if there is X-ray variability on timescales >1 day, in which case we find a correlation coefficientr= 0.34. These results suggest that if the opacity for hard X-rays is scattering dominated as in the standard disk model, hard X-rays are not the main driver of reverberation signals.

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    We use local stratified shearing-box simulations with magnetic field-aligned thermal conduction to study an idealized model of the coupling between a cold, radiatively efficient accretion disc, and an overlying, hot, two-temperature corona. Evaporation of a cold disc by conduction from the hot corona has been proposed as a means of mediating the soft-to-hard state transitions observed in X-ray binary systems. We model the coronal plasma in our local disc patch as an MHD fluid subject to both free-streaming ion conduction and a parametrized cooling function that captures the collisional transfer of energy from hot ions to colder, rapidly cooling leptons. In all of our models, independent of the initial net vertical magnetic flux (NF) threading the disc, we find no evidence of disc evaporation. The ion heat flux into the disc is radiated away before conduction can heat the disc’s surface layers. When an initial NF is present, steady-state temperature, density, and outflow velocities in our model coronae are unaffected by conduction. Instead of facilitating disc evaporation, thermal conduction is more likely to feed the disc with plasma condensing out of the corona, particularly in flows without NF. Our work indicates that uncertainties in the amount of NF threading the disc hold far greater influence over whether or not the disc will evaporate into a radiatively inefficient accretion flow compared to thermal conduction. We speculate that a change in net flux mediates disc truncation/evaporation.

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  5. This study reports, for the first time, the utilization of two-dimensional (2D) tellurium (Te) nanosheets for the efficient nonenzymatic detection of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). H2O2 acts as a pivotal biomarker with widespread applications across environmental, biological, industrial, and food processing domains. However, an excessive accumulation of H2O2 in the body poses a severe threat to human life. Consequently, the imperative need for a selective, sensitive, and cost-effective sensing platform for H2O2 detection has gained paramount significance. Employing a low-cost and straightforward hydrothermal method, Te nanosheets were synthesized to address the escalating demand for a reliable detection platform. The as-synthesized Te nanosheets are characterized through Raman spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy techniques. The electrochemical performance of the Te nanosheets integrated onto a glassy carbon (Te-GC) electrode was thoroughly investigated using cyclic voltammetry, differential pulse voltammetry, and chronoamperometry. The experiments were designed to evaluate the response of the Te-GC electrode in the presence and absence of H2O2, alongside its performance in the detection of other pertinent interfering analytes. The sensor shows a limit of detection of 0.47 µM and a sensitivity of 27.2 µA µM−1 cm−2 towards H2O2. The outcomes of this study demonstrate the efficacy of Te nanosheets as a promising material for nonenzymatic H2O2 detection in urine samples. The simplicity and cost-effectiveness of the hydrothermal synthesis process, coupled with the notable electrochemical performance of the Te/GC electrode, highlight the potential of Te nanosheets in the development of a robust sensing platform. This research contributes to the ongoing efforts to enhance our capabilities in monitoring and detecting H2O2, fostering advancements in environmental, biomedical, and industrial applications.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  6. Abstract The present work reports facile synthesis of CuFe 2 O 4 nanoparticles via co-precipitation method and formulation of its nanohybrids with polythiophene (PTh). The structural and morphological properties were investigated using fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectra (SEM-EDS) and UV–Vis spectroscopy. The band gap was found to decrease with increase in the loading of PTh and was found to be 2.52 eV for 1-PTh/CuFe 2 O 4 , 2.15 eV for 3-PTh/CuFe 2 O 4 and 1.89 eV for 5-PTh/CuFe 2 O 4 . The nanohybrids were utilized as photocatalysts for visible light induced degradation of diphenyl urea. Diphenyl urea showed 65% degradation using 150 mg catalyst within 120 min. Polyethylene (PE) was also degraded using these nanohybrids under visible light as well as microwave irradiation to compare its catalytic efficiency under both conditions. Almost 50% of PE was degraded under microwave and 22% under visible light irradiation using 5-PTh/CuFe 2 O 4 . The degraded diphenyl urea fragments were analyzed using LCMS and a tentative mechanism of degradation was proposed. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  9. Abstract

    Poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF)‐based polymers demonstrate great potential for applications in flexible and wearable electronics but show low piezoelectric coefficients (e.g., −d33< 30 pC N−1). The effective improvement for the piezoelectricity of PVDF is achieved by manipulating its semicrystalline structures. However, there is still a debate about which component is the primary contributor to piezoelectricity. Therefore, current methods to improve the piezoelectricity of PVDF can be classified into modulations of the amorphous phase, the crystalline region, and the crystalline–amorphous interface. Here, the basic principles and measurements of piezoelectric coefficients for soft polymers are first discussed. Then, three different categories of structural modulations are reviewed. In each category, the physical understanding and strategies to improve the piezoelectric performance of PVDF are discussed. In particular, the crucial role of the oriented amorphous fraction at the crystalline–amorphous interface in determining the piezoelectricity of PVDF is emphasized. At last, the future development of high performance piezoelectric polymers is outlooked.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024

    Most ultra-hot Jupiters (UHJs) show evidence of temperature inversions, in which temperature increases with altitude over a range of pressures. Temperature inversions can occur when there is a species that absorbs the stellar irradiation at a relatively high level of the atmospheres. However, the species responsible for this absorption remains unidentified. In particular, the UHJ KELT-20b is known to have a temperature inversion. Using high resolution emission spectroscopy from LBT/PEPSI we investigate the atomic and molecular opacity sources that may cause the inversion in KELT-20b, as well as explore its atmospheric chemistry. We confirm the presence of Fe i with a significance of 17σ. We also report a tentative 4.3σ detection of Ni i. A nominally 4.5σ detection of Mg i emission in the PEPSI blue arm is likely in fact due to aliasing between the Mg i cross-correlation template and the Fe i lines present in the spectrum. We cannot reproduce a recent detection of Cr i, while we do not have the wavelength coverage to robustly test past detections of Fe ii and Si i. Together with non-detections of molecular species like TiO, this suggests that Fe i is likely to be the dominant optical opacity source in the dayside atmosphere of KELT-20b and may be responsible for the temperature inversion. We explore ways to reconcile the differences between our results and those in literature and point to future paths to understand atmospheric variability.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 27, 2024