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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  2. Electronic and optoelectronic devices often require multifunctional properties combined with conductivity that are not achieved from a single species of molecules. The capability to tune chain length, shape, and physicochemical characteristics of conductive copolymers provides substantial benefits for a wide range of scientific areas that require unique and engineered optical, electrical, or optoelectronic properties. Although efforts have been made to develop synthetic routes to realize such promising copolymers, an understanding of the process–structure–property relationship of the synthesis methods needs to be further enhanced. In addition, since traditional methods are often limited to achieving pinhole-free, large-area coverage, and conformal coating of copolymer films with thickness controllability, unconventional synthetic strategies to address these issues need to be established. This Perspective article intends to enhance knowledge on the process–structure–property relationship of functional copolymers by providing the definition of copolymers, polymerization mechanisms, and a comparison of traditional and emerging synthetic methods with reaction parameters and tuned physical properties. In parallel, practical applications featuring the desired copolymers in electronic, optical, and sensing devices are showcased. Last, a pathway toward further advancement of unique copolymers for next-generation device applications is discussed. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 31, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  4. Abstract

    All‐solid‐state Li‐metal batteries (ASLMBs) represent a significant breakthrough in the quest to overcome limitations associated with traditional Li‐ion batteries, particularly in energy density and safety aspects. However, widespread implementation is stymied due to a lack of profound understanding of the complex mechano‐electro‐chemical behavior of Li metal in the ASLMBs. Herein, operando neutron imaging and X‐ray computed tomography (XCT) are leveraged to nondestructively visualize Li behaviors within ASLMBs. This approach offers real‐time observations of Li evolutions, both pre‐ and post‐ occurrence of a “soft short”. The coordination of 2D neutron radiography and 3D neutron tomography enables charting of the terrain of Li metal deformation operando. Concurrently, XCT offers a 3D insight into the internal structure of the battery following a “soft short”. Despite the manifestation of a “soft short”, the persistence of Faradaic processes is observed. To study the elusive “soft short” , phase field modeling is coupled with electrochemistry and solid mechanics theory. The research unravels how external pressure curbs dendrite growth, potentially leading to dendrite fractures and thus uncovering the origins of both “soft” and “hard” shorts in ASLMBs. Furthermore, by harnessing finite element modeling, it dive deeper into the mechanical deformation and the fluidity of Li metal.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 15, 2024
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  7. Rapid and ultrasensitive point-of-care RNA detection plays a critical role in the diagnosis and management of various infectious diseases. The gold-standard detection method of reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is ultrasensitive and accurate yet limited by the lengthy turnaround time (1-2 days). On the other hand, antigen test offers rapid at-home detection (15-20 min) but suffers from low sensitivity and high false-negative rates. An ideal point-of-care diagnostic device would combine the merits of PCR-level sensitivity and rapid sample-to-result workflow comparable to antigen testing. However, the existing RNA detection platform typically possesses superior sensitivity or rapid sample-to-result time, but not both. This paper reports a point-of-care microfluidic device that offers ultrasensitive yet rapid detection of viral RNA from clinical samples. The device consists of a microfluidic chip for precisely manipulating small volumes of samples, a miniaturized heater for viral lysis and ribonuclease (RNase) inactivation, a CRISPR Cas13a- electrochemical sensor for target preamplification-free and ultrasensitive RNA detection, and a smartphone-compatible potentiostat for data acquisition. As demonstrations, the devices achieve the detection of heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 samples with a limit of detection (LOD) down to 10 aM within 25 minutes, which is comparable to the sensitivity of RT-PCR and rapidness of antigen test. The platform also successfully distinguishes all nine positive unprocessed clinical SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal swab samples from four negative samples within 25 minutes of sample-to-result time. Together, this device provides a point-of-care solution that can be deployed in diverse settings beyond laboratory environments for rapid and accurate detection of RNA from clinical samples. The device can potentially be expandable to detect other viral targets, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) self-testing and Zika virus, where rapid and ultrasensitive point-of-care detection is required. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 26, 2024
  8. Memristors, a two-terminal device, have a resistance that can be changed and retained in two or more different states when subjected to electrical stresses. This unique function makes memristors now an attractive area of research for next-generation electronic devices such as memory and advanced computation. However, credible characterization methods for memristors are not fully established yet to understand fundamental working mechanisms and objectively evaluate figures of merit performance. This review encompasses various characterization methods from materials to electrical characteristics to identify the fundamentals of memristor operations. Meanwhile, large performance variation is the main bottleneck hindering the adoption of this class of devices in practical applications. Thus, the second part of this article focuses on the types of variation and other reliability issues of memristors. Possible strategies to enhance reliability are suggested as well. Topics covered in this review on memristors’ characterization techniques and reliability are of significant relevance to many studies that seek to advance the state of the art in electronic devices and systems towards neuromorphic computing. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 24, 2024
  9. The driving mileage of electric vehicles (EVs) has been substantially improved in recent years with the adoption of Ni-based layered oxide materials as the battery cathode. The average charging period of EVs is still time-consuming, compared with the short refueling time of an internal combustion engine vehicle. With the guidance from the United States Department of Energy, the charging time of refilling 60% of the battery capacity should be less than 6 min for EVs, indicating that the corresponding charging rate for the cathode materials is to be greater than 6C. However, the sluggish kinetic conditions and insufficient thermal stability of the Ni-based layered oxide materials hinder further application in fast-charging operations. Most of the recent review articles regarding Ni-based layered oxide materials as cathodes for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) only touch degradation mechanisms under slow charging conditions. Of note, the fading mechanisms of the cathode materials for fast-charging, of which the importance abruptly increases due to the development of electric vehicles, may be significantly different from those of slow charging conditions. There are a few review articles regarding fast-charging; however, their perspectives are limited mostly to battery thermal management simulations, lacking experimental validations such as microscale structure degradations of Ni-based layered oxide cathode materials. In this review, a general and fundamental definition of fast-charging is discussed at first, and then we summarize the rate capability required in EVs and the electrochemical and kinetic properties of Ni-based layered oxide cathode materials. Next, the degradation mechanisms of LIBs leveraging Ni-based cathodes under fast-charging operation are systematically discussed from the electrode scale to the particle scale and finally the atom scale (lattice oxygen-level investigation). Then, various strategies to achieve higher rate capability, such as optimizing the synthesis process of cathode particles, fabricating single-crystalline particles, employing electrolyte additives, doping foreign ions, coating protective layers, and engineering the cathode architecture, are detailed. All these strategies need to be considered to enhance the electrochemical performance of Ni-based oxide cathode materials under fast-charging conditions. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 2, 2024
  10. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023