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2020


Interface-mediated spontaneous symmetry breaking and mutual communication between drops containing chemically active particles
Interface-mediated spontaneous symmetry breaking and mutual communication between drops containing chemically active particles

Singh, D., Domínguez, A., Choudhury, U., Kottapalli, S., Popescu, M., Dietrich, S., Fischer, P.

Nature Communications, 11(2210), May 2020 (article)

Abstract
Symmetry breaking and the emergence of self-organized patterns is the hallmark of com- plexity. Here, we demonstrate that a sessile drop, containing titania powder particles with negligible self-propulsion, exhibits a transition to collective motion leading to self-organized flow patterns. This phenomenology emerges through a novel mechanism involving the interplay between the chemical activity of the photocatalytic particles, which induces Mar- angoni stresses at the liquid–liquid interface, and the geometrical confinement provided by the drop. The response of the interface to the chemical activity of the particles is the source of a significantly amplified hydrodynamic flow within the drop, which moves the particles. Furthermore, in ensembles of such active drops long-ranged ordering of the flow patterns within the drops is observed. We show that the ordering is dictated by a chemical com- munication between drops, i.e., an alignment of the flow patterns is induced by the gradients of the chemicals emanating from the active particles, rather than by hydrodynamic interactions.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Spectrally selective and highly-sensitive UV photodetection with UV-A, C band specific polarity switching in silver plasmonic nanoparticle enhanced gallium oxide thin-film
Spectrally selective and highly-sensitive UV photodetection with UV-A, C band specific polarity switching in silver plasmonic nanoparticle enhanced gallium oxide thin-film

Arora, K., Singh, D., Fischer, P., Kumar, M.

Adv. Opt. Mat., March 2020 (article)

Abstract
Traditional photodetectors generally show a unipolar photocurrent response when illuminated with light of wavelength equal or shorter than the optical bandgap. Here, we report that a thin film of gallium oxide (GO) decorated with plasmonic nanoparticles, surprisingly, exhibits a change in the polarity of the photocurrent for different UV bands. Silver (Ag) nanoparticles are vacuum-deposited onto β-Ga2O3 and the AgNP@GO thin films show a record responsivity of 250 A/W, which significantly outperforms bare GO planar photodetectors. The photoresponsivity reverses sign from +157 µA/W in the UV-C band under unbiased operation to -353 µA/W in the UV-A band. The current reversal is rationalized by considering the charge dynamics stemming from hot electrons generated when the incident light excites a local surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) in the Ag nanoparticles. The Ag nanoparticles improve the external quantum efficiency and detectivity by nearly one order of magnitude with high values of 1.2×105 and 3.4×1014 Jones, respectively. This plasmon-enhanced solar blind GO detector allows UV regions to be spectrally distinguished, which is useful for the development of sensitive dynamic imaging photodetectors.

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[BibTex]


Investigating photoresponsivity of graphene-silver hybrid nanomaterials in the ultraviolet
Investigating photoresponsivity of graphene-silver hybrid nanomaterials in the ultraviolet

Deshpande, P., Suri, P., Jeong, H., Fischer, P., Ghosh, A., Ghosh, G.

J. Chem. Phys., 152, pages: 044709, January 2020 (article)

Abstract
There have been several reports of plasmonically enhanced graphene photodetectors in the visible and the near infrared regime but rarely in the ultraviolet. In a previous work, we have reported that a graphene-silver hybrid structure shows a high photoresponsivity of 13 A/W at 270 nm. Here, we consider the likely mechanisms that underlie this strong photoresponse. We investigate the role of the plasmonic layer and examine the response using silver and gold nanoparticles of similar dimensions and spatial arrangement. The effect on local doping, strain, and absorption properties of the hybrid is also probed by photocurrent measurements and Raman and UV-visible spectroscopy. We find that the local doping from the silver nanoparticles is stronger than that from gold and correlates with a measured photosensitivity that is larger in devices with a higher contact area between the plasmonic nanomaterials and the graphene layer.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


A High-Fidelity Phantom for the Simulation and Quantitative Evaluation of Transurethral Resection of the Prostate
A High-Fidelity Phantom for the Simulation and Quantitative Evaluation of Transurethral Resection of the Prostate

Choi, E., Adams, F., Gengenbacher, A., Schlager, D., Palagi, S., Müller, P., Wetterauer, U., Miernik, A., Fischer, P., Qiu, T.

Annals of Biomed. Eng., 48, pages: 437-446, January 2020 (article)

Abstract
Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure that requires experience and skill of the surgeon. To permit surgical training under realistic conditions we report a novel phantom of the human prostate that can be resected with TURP. The phantom mirrors the anatomy and haptic properties of the gland and permits quantitative evaluation of important surgical performance indicators. Mixtures of soft materials are engineered to mimic the physical properties of the human tissue, including the mechanical strength, the electrical and thermal conductivity, and the appearance under an endoscope. Electrocautery resection of the phantom closely resembles the procedure on human tissue. Ultrasound contrast agent was applied to the central zone, which was not detectable by the surgeon during the surgery but showed high contrast when imaged after the surgery, to serve as a label for the quantitative evaluation of the surgery. Quantitative criteria for performance assessment are established and evaluated by automated image analysis. We present the workflow of a surgical simulation on a prostate phantom followed by quantitative evaluation of the surgical performance. Surgery on the phantom is useful for medical training, and enables the development and testing of endoscopic and minimally invasive surgical instruments.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Interactive Materials – Drivers of Future Robotic Systems
Interactive Materials – Drivers of Future Robotic Systems

Fischer, P.

Adv. Mat., January 2020 (article)

Abstract
A robot senses its environment, processes the sensory information, acts in response to these inputs, and possibly communicates with the outside world. Robots generally achieve these tasks with electronics-based hardware or by receiving inputs from some external hardware. In contrast, simple microorganisms can autonomously perceive, act, and communicate via purely physicochemical processes in soft material systems. A key property of biological systems is that they are built from energy-consuming ‘active’ units. Exciting developments in material science show that even very simple artificial active building blocks can show surprisingly rich emergent behaviors. Active non-equilibrium systems are therefore predicted to play an essential role to realize interactive materials. A major challenge is to find robust ways to couple and integrate the energy-consuming building blocks to the mechanical structure of the material. However, success in this endeavor will lead to a new generation of sophisticated micro- and soft-robotic systems that can operate autonomously.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Effect of the soft layer thickness of magnetization reversal process of exchange-spring nanomagnet patterns

Son, K., Schütz, G., Goering, E.

{Current Applied Physics}, 20(4):477-483, Elsevier B.V., Amsterdam, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]


{Creating zero-field skyrmions in exchange-biased multilayers through X-ray illumination}
Creating zero-field skyrmions in exchange-biased multilayers through X-ray illumination

Guang, Y., Bykova, I., Liu, Y., Yu, G., Goering, E., Weigand, M., Gräfe, J., Kim, S. K., Zhang, J., Zhang, H., Yan, Z., Wan, C., Feng, J., Wang, X., Guo, C., Wei, H., Peng, Y., Tserkovnyak, Y., Han, X., Schütz, G.

{Nature Communications}, 11, Nature Publishing Group, London, 2020 (article)

Abstract
Skyrmions, magnetic textures with topological stability, hold promises for high-density and energy-efficient information storage devices owing to their small size and low driving-current density. Precise creation of a single nanoscale skyrmion is a prerequisite to further understand the skyrmion physics and tailor skyrmion-based applications. Here, we demonstrate the creation of individual skyrmions at zero-field in an exchange-biased magnetic multilayer with exposure to soft X-rays. In particular, a single skyrmion with 100-nm size can be created at the desired position using a focused X-ray spot of sub-50-nm size. This single skyrmion creation is driven by the X-ray-induced modification of the antiferromagnetic order and the corresponding exchange bias. Furthermore, artificial skyrmion lattices with various arrangements can be patterned using X-ray. These results demonstrate the potential of accurate optical control of single skyrmion at sub-100 nm scale. We envision that X-ray could serve as a versatile tool for local manipulation of magnetic orders.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


{Tuning the magnetic properties of permalloy-based magnetoplasmonic crystals for sensor applications}
Tuning the magnetic properties of permalloy-based magnetoplasmonic crystals for sensor applications

Murzin, D. V., Belyaev, V. K., Groß, F., Gräfe, J., Rivas, M., Rodionova, V. V.

{Japanese Journal of Applied Physics}, 59(SE), IOP Publishing Ltd, Bristol, England, 2020 (article)

Abstract
Miniature magnetic sensors based on magnetoplasmonic crystals (MPlCs) exhibit high sensitivity and high spatial resolution, which can be obtained by the excitation of surface plasmon polaritons. A field dependence of surface plasmon polaritons' enhanced magneto-optical response strongly correlates with magnetic properties of MPlCs that can be tuned by changing spatial parameters, such as the period and height of diffraction gratings and thicknesses of functional layers. This work compares the magnetic properties of MPlCs based on Ni80Fe20 (permalloy) obtained from local (longitudinal magneto-optical Kerr effect) and bulk (vibrating-sample magnetometry) measurements and demonstrates an ability to control sensors' performance through changing the magnetic properties of the MPlCs. The influence of the substrate's geometry (planar or sinusoidal and trapezoidal diffraction grating profiles) and the thickness of the surface layer is examined.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Analytical classical density functionals from an equation learning network

Lin, S., Martius, G., Oettel, M.

The Journal of Chemical Physics, 152(2):021102, 2020, arXiv preprint \url{https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.12752} (article)

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Preprint_PDF DOI [BibTex]

Preprint_PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Element-resolved study of the evolution of magnetic response in FexN compounds

Chen, Y., Gölden, D., Dirba, I., Huang, M., Gutfleisch, O., Nagel, P., Merz, M., Schuppler, S., Schütz, G., Alff, L., Goering, E.

{Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials}, 498, NH, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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The role of temperature and drive current in skyrmion dynamics

Litzius, K., Leliaert, J., Bassirian, P., Rodrigues, D., Kromin, S., Lemesh, I., Zazvorka, J., Lee, K., Mulkers, J., Kerber, N., Heinze, D., Keil, N., Reeve, R. M., Weigand, M., Van Waeyenberge, B., Schütz, G., Everschor-Sitte, K., Beach, G. S. D., Kläui, M.

{Nature Electronics}, 3(1):30-36, Springer Nature, London, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Magnetic flux penetration into micron-sized superconductor/ferromagnet bilayers

Simmendinger, J., Weigand, M., Schütz, G., Albrecht, J.

{Superconductor Science and Technology}, 33(2), IOP Pub., Bristol, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Fabrication and temperature-dependent magnetic properties of large-area L10-FePt/Co exchange-spring magnet nanopatterns

Son, K., Schütz, G.

{Physica E: Low-Dimensional Systems And Nanostructures}, 115, North-Holland, Amsterdam, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


Magnetic Anisotropy in Thin Layers of (Mn,Zn)Fe2O4 on SrTiO3 (001)
Magnetic Anisotropy in Thin Layers of (Mn,Zn)Fe2O4 on SrTiO3 (001)

Denecke, R., Welke, M., Huth, P., Gräfe, J., Brachwitz, K., Lorenz, M., Grundmann, M., Ziese, M., Esquinazi, P. D., Goering, E., Schütz, G., Schindler, K., Chassé, A.

physica status solidi (b), n/a(n/a):1900627, 2020 (article)

Abstract
Herein, a ferrimagnetic manganese zinc ferrite (Mn0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4) film with a thickness of 200 nm is prepared without a buffer layer on strontium titanate (001) (SrTiO3) using pulsed laser deposition. Its magnetic properties are investigated using superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID), X-ray absorption spectroscopy with subsequent X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) and magneto-optic Kerr effect (MOKE). Hysteresis loops derived from SQUID exhibits bulk-like properties. This can further be confirmed by bulk-like XMCD spectra. In remanent magnetization, an in-plane magnetization with basically no out-of-plane component is found. The magnetic moments derived by the sum rule formalism from the XMCD data are in good agreement to the magnetization observed by SQUID and MOKE. XMCD as well as MOKE reveal an in-plane angular fourfold magnetic anisotropy with the easy direction along [110] for (Mn0.5Zn0.5)Fe2O4 on SrTiO3. The element-specific magnetic moments from XMCD show a stronger contribution of Fe to the anisotropy than of Mn and distinct contributions of the orbital moments.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Research trend of metal-organic frameworks for magnetic refrigeration materials application

Kim, S., Son, K., Oh, H.

Korean Journal of Materials Research, 30(3):136-141, Materials Society of Korea, Seoul, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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How to functionalise metal-organic frameworks to enable guest nanocluster embedment

King, J., Zhang, L., Doszczeczko, S., Sambalova, O., Luo, H., Rohman, F., Phillips, O., Borgschulte, A., Hirscher, M., Addicoat, M., Szilágyi, P. A.

{Journal of Materials Chemistry A}, 8(9):4889-4897, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Magnetic and microstructural properties of anisotropic MnBi magnets compacted by spark plasma sintering

Chen, Y., Gregori, G., Rheingans, B., Huang, W., Kronmüller, H., Schütz, G., Goering, E.

{Journal of Alloys and Compounds}, 830, Elsevier B.V., Lausanne, Switzerland, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Biocompatible magnetic micro- and nanodevices: Fabrication of FePt nanopropellers and cell transfection

Kadiri, V. M., Bussi, C., Holle, A. W., Son, K., Kwon, H., Schütz, G., Gutierrez, M. G., Fischer, P.

Advanced Materials, 32(25), Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Generation and characterization of focused helical x-ray beams

Loetgering, L., Baluktsian, M., Keskinbora, K., Horstmeyer, R., Wilhein, T., Schütz, G., Eikema, K. S. E., Witte, S.

Science Advances, 6(7), American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2020 (article)

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Generation and characterization of focused helical x-ray beams link (url) DOI [BibTex]

Generation and characterization of focused helical x-ray beams link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Materials for hydrogen-based energy storage - past, recent progress and future outlook

Hirscher, M., Yartys, V. A., Baricco, M., Bellosta von Colbe, J., Blanchard, D., Bowman Jr., R. C., Broom, D. P., Buckley, C. E., Chang, F., Chen, P., Cho, Y. W., Crivello, J., Cuevas, F., David, W. I. F., de Jongh, P. E., Denys, R. V., Dornheim, M., Felderhoff, M., Filinchuk, Y., Froudakis, G. E., Grant, D. M., Gray, E. M., Hauback, B. C., He, T., Humphries, T. D., Jensen, T. R., Kim, S., Kojima, Y., Latroche, M., Li, H., Lotostskyy, M. V., Makepeace, J. W., M\oller, K. T., Naheed, L., Ngene, P., Noréus, D., Nyg\aard, M. M., Orimo, S., Paskevicius, M., Pasquini, L., Ravnsbaek, D. B., Sofianos, M. V., Udovic, T. J., Vegge, T., Walker, G. S., Webb, C. J., Weidenthaler, C., Zlotea, C.

{Journal of Alloys and Compounds}, 827, Elsevier B.V., Lausanne, Switzerland, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


{Thermal nucleation and high-resolution imaging of submicrometer magnetic bubbles in thin thulium iron garnet films with perpendicular anisotropy}
Thermal nucleation and high-resolution imaging of submicrometer magnetic bubbles in thin thulium iron garnet films with perpendicular anisotropy

Büttner, F., Mawass, M. A., Bauer, J., Rosenberg, E., Caretta, L., Avci, C. O., Gräfe, J., Finizio, S., Vaz, C. A. F., Novakovic, N., Weigand, M., Litzius, K., Förster, J., Träger, N., Groß, F., Suzuki, D., Huang, M., Bartell, J., Kronast, F., Raabe, J., Schütz, G., Ross, C. A., Beach, G. S. D.

{Physical Review Materials}, 4(1), American Physical Society, College Park, MD, 2020 (article)

Abstract
Ferrimagnetic iron garnets are promising materials for spintronics applications, characterized by ultralow damping and zero current shunting. It has recently been found that few nm-thick garnet films interfaced with a heavy metal can also exhibit sizable interfacial spin-orbit interactions, leading to the emergence, and efficient electrical control, of one-dimensional chiral domain walls. Two-dimensional bubbles, by contrast, have so far only been confirmed in micrometer-thick films. Here, we show by high resolution scanning transmission x-ray microscopy and photoemission electron microscopy that submicrometer bubbles can be nucleated and stabilized in ∼25-nm-thick thulium iron garnet films via short heat pulses generated by electric current in an adjacent Pt strip, or by ultrafast laser illumination. We also find that quasistatic processes do not lead to the formation of a bubble state, suggesting that the thermodynamic path to reaching that state requires transient dynamics. X-ray imaging reveals that the bubbles have Bloch-type walls with random chirality and topology, indicating negligible chiral interactions at the garnet film thickness studied here. The robustness of thermal nucleation and the feasibility demonstrated here to image garnet-based devices by x-rays both in transmission geometry and with sensitivity to the domain wall chirality are critical steps to enabling the study of small spin textures and dynamics in perpendicularly magnetized thin-film garnets.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


{Real-space imaging of confined magnetic skyrmion tubes}
Real-space imaging of confined magnetic skyrmion tubes

Birch, M. T., Cortés-Ortuño, D., Turnbull, L. A., Wilson, M. N., Groß, F., Träger, N., Laurenson, A., Bukin, N., Moody, S. H., Weigand, M., Schütz, G., Popescu, H., Fan, R., Steadman, P., Verezhak, J. A. T., Balakrishnan, G., Loudon, J. C., Twitchett-Harrison, A. C., Hovorka, O., Fangohr, H., Ogrin, F., Gräfe, J., Hatton, P. D.

Nature Communications, 11, pages: 1726, 2020 (article)

Abstract
Magnetic skyrmions are topologically nontrivial particles with a potential application as information elements in future spintronic device architectures. While they are commonly portrayed as two dimensional objects, in reality magnetic skyrmions are thought to exist as elongated, tube-like objects extending through the thickness of the host material. The study of this skyrmion tube state (SkT) is vital for furthering the understanding of skyrmion formation and dynamics for future applications. However, direct experimental imaging of skyrmion tubes has yet to be reported. Here, we demonstrate the real-space observation of skyrmion tubes in a lamella of FeGe using resonant magnetic x-ray imaging and comparative micromagnetic simulations, confirming their extended structure. The formation of these structures at the edge of the sample highlights the importance of confinement and edge effects in the stabilisation of the SkT state, opening the door to further investigation into this unexplored dimension of the skyrmion spin texture.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Current-induced dynamical tilting of chiral domain walls in curved microwires

Finizio, S., Wintz, S., Mayr, S., Huxtable, A. J., Langer, M., Bailey, J., Burnell, G., Marrows, C. H., Raabe, J.

Applied Physics Letters, 116(18), American Institute of Physics, Melville, NY, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Highly effective hydrogen isotope separation through dihydrogen bond on Cu(I)-exchanged zeolites well above liquid nitrogen temperature

Xiong, R., Zhang, L., Li, P., Luo, W., Tang, T., Ao, B., Sang, G., Chen, C., Yan, X., Chen, J., Hirscher, M.

Chemical Engineering Journal, 391, Elsevier, Lausanne, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Room temperature ferromagnetism driven by Ca-doped BiFeO3 multiferroic functional material

Marzouk, M., Hashem, H. M., Soltan, S., Ramadan, A. A.

{Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics}, 31(7):5599-5607, Springer, Norwell, MA, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]

2018


Role of symmetry in driven propulsion at low Reynolds number
Role of symmetry in driven propulsion at low Reynolds number

Sachs, J., Morozov, K. I., Kenneth, O., Qiu, T., Segreto, N., Fischer, P., Leshansky, A. M.

Phys. Rev. E, 98(6):063105, American Physical Society, December 2018 (article)

Abstract
We theoretically and experimentally investigate low-Reynolds-number propulsion of geometrically achiral planar objects that possess a dipole moment and that are driven by a rotating magnetic field. Symmetry considerations (involving parity, $\widehat{P}$, and charge conjugation, $\widehat{C}$) establish correspondence between propulsive states depending on orientation of the dipolar moment. Although basic symmetry arguments do not forbid individual symmetric objects to efficiently propel due to spontaneous symmetry breaking, they suggest that the average ensemble velocity vanishes. Some additional arguments show, however, that highly symmetrical ($\widehat{P}$-even) objects exhibit no net propulsion while individual less symmetrical ($\widehat{C}\widehat{P}$-even) propellers do propel. Particular magnetization orientation, rendering the shape $\widehat{C}\widehat{P}$-odd, yields unidirectional motion typically associated with chiral structures, such as helices. If instead of a structure with a permanent dipole we consider a polarizable object, some of the arguments have to be modified. For instance, we demonstrate a truly achiral ($\widehat{P}$- and $\widehat{C}\widehat{P}$-even) planar shape with an induced electric dipole that can propel by electro-rotation. We thereby show that chirality is not essential for propulsion due to rotation-translation coupling at low Reynolds number.

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link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]

2018


link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Optical and Thermophoretic Control of Janus Nanopen Injection into Living Cells
Optical and Thermophoretic Control of Janus Nanopen Injection into Living Cells

Maier, C. M., Huergo, M. A., Milosevic, S., Pernpeintner, C., Li, M., Singh, D. P., Walker, D., Fischer, P., Feldmann, J., Lohmüller, T.

Nano Letters, 18, pages: 7935–7941, November 2018 (article) Accepted

Abstract
Devising strategies for the controlled injection of functional nanoparticles and reagents into living cells paves the way for novel applications in nanosurgery, sensing, and drug delivery. Here, we demonstrate the light-controlled guiding and injection of plasmonic Janus nanopens into living cells. The pens are made of a gold nanoparticle attached to a dielectric alumina shaft. Balancing optical and thermophoretic forces in an optical tweezer allows single Janus nanopens to be trapped and positioned on the surface of living cells. While the optical injection process involves strong heating of the plasmonic side, the temperature of the alumina stays significantly lower, thus allowing the functionalization with fluorescently labeled, single-stranded DNA and, hence, the spatially controlled injection of genetic material with an untethered nanocarrier.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


A swarm of slippery micropropellers penetrates the vitreous body of the eye
A swarm of slippery micropropellers penetrates the vitreous body of the eye

Wu, Z., Troll, J., Jeong, H. H., Wei, Q., Stang, M., Ziemssen, F., Wang, Z., Dong, M., Schnichels, S., Qiu, T., Fischer, P.

Science Advances, 4(11):eaat4388, November 2018 (article)

Abstract
The intravitreal delivery of therapeutic agents promises major benefits in the field of ocular medicine. Traditional delivery methods rely on the random, passive diffusion of molecules, which do not allow for the rapid delivery of a concentrated cargo to a defined region at the posterior pole of the eye. The use of particles promises targeted delivery but faces the challenge that most tissues including the vitreous have a tight macromolecular matrix that acts as a barrier and prevents its penetration. Here, we demonstrate novel intravitreal delivery microvehicles slippery micropropellers that can be actively propelled through the vitreous humor to reach the retina. The propulsion is achieved by helical magnetic micropropellers that have a liquid layer coating to minimize adhesion to the surrounding biopolymeric network. The submicrometer diameter of the propellers enables the penetration of the biopolymeric network and the propulsion through the porcine vitreous body of the eye over centimeter distances. Clinical optical coherence tomography is used to monitor the movement of the propellers and confirm their arrival on the retina near the optic disc. Overcoming the adhesion forces and actively navigating a swarm of micropropellers in the dense vitreous humor promise practical applications in ophthalmology.

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Video: Nanorobots propel through the eye link (url) DOI [BibTex]

Video: Nanorobots propel through the eye link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Fast spatial scanning of 3D ultrasound fields via thermography
Fast spatial scanning of 3D ultrasound fields via thermography

Melde, K., Qiu, T., Fischer, P.

Applied Physics Letters, 113(13):133503, September 2018 (article)

Abstract
We propose and demonstrate a thermographic method that allows rapid scanning of ultrasound fields in a volume to yield 3D maps of the sound intensity. A thin sound-absorbing membrane is continuously translated through a volume of interest while a thermal camera records the evolution of its surface temperature. The temperature rise is a function of the absorbed sound intensity, such that the thermal image sequence can be combined to reveal the sound intensity distribution in the traversed volume. We demonstrate the mapping of ultrasound fields, which is several orders of magnitude faster than scanning with a hydrophone. Our results are in very good agreement with theoretical simulations.

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link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Diffusion Measurements of Swimming Enzymes with Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy
Diffusion Measurements of Swimming Enzymes with Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy

Günther, J., Börsch, M., Fischer, P.

Accounts of Chemical Research, 51(9):1911-1920, August 2018 (article)

Abstract
Self-propelled chemical motors are chemically powered micro- or nanosized swimmers. The energy required for these motors’ active motion derives from catalytic chemical reactions and the transformation of a fuel dissolved in the solution. While self-propulsion is now well established for larger particles, it is still unclear if enzymes, nature’s nanometer-sized catalysts, are potentially also self-powered nanomotors. Because of its small size, any increase in an enzyme’s diffusion due to active self-propulsion must be observed on top of the enzyme’s passive Brownian motion, which dominates at this scale. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) is a sensitive method to quantify the diffusion properties of single fluorescently labeled molecules in solution. FCS experiments have shown a general increase in the diffusion constant of a number of enzymes when the enzyme is catalytically active. Diffusion enhancements after addition of the enzyme’s substrate (and sometimes its inhibitor) of up to 80\% have been reported, which is at least 1 order of magnitude higher than what theory would predict. However, many factors contribute to the FCS signal and in particular the shape of the autocorrelation function, which underlies diffusion measurements by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. These effects need to be considered to establish if and by how much the catalytic activity changes an enzyme’s diffusion.We carefully review phenomena that can play a role in FCS experiments and the determination of enzyme diffusion, including the dissociation of enzyme oligomers upon interaction with the substrate, surface binding of the enzyme to glass during the experiment, conformational changes upon binding, and quenching of the fluorophore. We show that these effects can cause changes in the FCS signal that behave similar to an increase in diffusion. However, in the case of the enzymes F1-ATPase and alkaline phosphatase, we demonstrate that there is no measurable increase in enzyme diffusion. Rather, dissociation and conformational changes account for the changes in the FCS signal in the former and fluorophore quenching in the latter. Within the experimental accuracy of our FCS measurements, we do not observe any change in diffusion due to activity for the enzymes we have investigated.We suggest useful control experiments and additional tests for future FCS experiments that should help establish if the observed diffusion enhancement is real or if it is due to an experimental or data analysis artifact. We show that fluorescence lifetime and mean intensity measurements are essential in order to identify the nature of the observed changes in the autocorrelation function. While it is clear from theory that chemically active enzymes should also act as self-propelled nanomotors, our FCS measurements show that the associated increase in diffusion is much smaller than previously reported. Further experiments are needed to quantify the contribution of the enzymes’ catalytic activity to their self-propulsion. We hope that our findings help to establish a useful protocol for future FCS studies in this field and help establish by how much the diffusion of an enzyme is enhanced through catalytic activity.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Uphill production of dihydrogen by enzymatic oxidation of glucose without an external energy source
Uphill production of dihydrogen by enzymatic oxidation of glucose without an external energy source

Suraniti, E., Merzeau, P., Roche, J., Gounel, S., Mark, A. G., Fischer, P., Mano, N., Kuhn, A.

Nature Communications, 9(1):3229, August 2018 (article)

Abstract
Chemical systems do not allow the coupling of energy from several simple reactions to drive a subsequent reaction, which takes place in the same medium and leads to a product with a higher energy than the one released during the first reaction. Gibbs energy considerations thus are not favorable to drive e.g., water splitting by the direct oxidation of glucose as a model reaction. Here, we show that it is nevertheless possible to carry out such an energetically uphill reaction, if the electrons released in the oxidation reaction are temporarily stored in an electromagnetic system, which is then used to raise the electrons' potential energy so that they can power the electrolysis of water in a second step. We thereby demonstrate the general concept that lower energy delivering chemical reactions can be used to enable the formation of higher energy consuming reaction products in a closed system.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Chemical micromotors self-assemble and self-propel by spontaneous symmetry breaking
Chemical micromotors self-assemble and self-propel by spontaneous symmetry breaking

Yu, T., Chuphal, P., Thakur, S., Reigh, S. Y., Singh, D. P., Fischer, P.

Chem. Comm., 54, pages: 11933-11936, August 2018 (article)

Abstract
Self-propelling chemical motors have thus far required the fabrication of Janus particles with an asymmetric catalyst distribution. Here, we demonstrate that simple, isotropic colloids can spontaneously assemble to yield dimer motors that self-propel. In a mixture of isotropic titanium dioxide colloids with photo-chemical catalytic activity and passive silica colloids, light illumination causes diffusiophoretic attractions between the active and passive particles and leads to the formation of dimers. The dimers constitute a symmetry-broken motor, whose dynamics can be fully controlled by the illumination conditions. Computer simulations reproduce the dynamics of the colloids and are in good agreement with experiments. The current work presents a simple route to obtain large numbers of self-propelling chemical motors from a dispersion of spherically symmetric colloids through spontaneous symmetry breaking.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


A machine from machines
A machine from machines

Fischer, P.

Nature Physics, 14, pages: 1072–1073, July 2018 (misc)

Abstract
Building spinning microrotors that self-assemble and synchronize to form a gear sounds like an impossible feat. However, it has now been achieved using only a single type of building block -- a colloid that self-propels.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Chemotaxis of Active Janus Nanoparticles
Chemotaxis of Active Janus Nanoparticles

Popescu, M. N., Uspal, W. E., Bechinger, C., Fischer, P.

Nano Letters, 18(9):5345–5349, July 2018 (article)

Abstract
While colloids and molecules in solution exhibit passive Brownian motion, particles that are partially covered with a catalyst, which promotes the transformation of a fuel dissolved in the solution, can actively move. These active Janus particles are known as “chemical nanomotors” or self-propelling “swimmers” and have been realized with a range of catalysts, sizes, and particle geometries. Because their active translation depends on the fuel concentration, one expects that active colloidal particles should also be able to swim toward a fuel source. Synthesizing and engineering nanoparticles with distinct chemotactic properties may enable important developments, such as particles that can autonomously swim along a pH gradient toward a tumor. Chemotaxis requires that the particles possess an active coupling of their orientation to a chemical gradient. In this Perspective we provide a simple, intuitive description of the underlying mechanisms for chemotaxis, as well as the means to analyze and classify active particles that can show positive or negative chemotaxis. The classification provides guidance for engineering a specific response and is a useful organizing framework for the quantitative analysis and modeling of chemotactic behaviors. Chemotaxis is emerging as an important focus area in the field of active colloids and promises a number of fascinating applications for nanoparticles and particle-based delivery.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Bioinspired microrobots
Bioinspired microrobots

Palagi, S., Fischer, P.

Nature Reviews Materials, 3, pages: 113–124, May 2018 (article)

Abstract
Microorganisms can move in complex media, respond to the environment and self-organize. The field of microrobotics strives to achieve these functions in mobile robotic systems of sub-millimetre size. However, miniaturization of traditional robots and their control systems to the microscale is not a viable approach. A promising alternative strategy in developing microrobots is to implement sensing, actuation and control directly in the materials, thereby mimicking biological matter. In this Review, we discuss design principles and materials for the implementation of robotic functionalities in microrobots. We examine different biological locomotion strategies, and we discuss how they can be artificially recreated in magnetic microrobots and how soft materials improve control and performance. We show that smart, stimuli-responsive materials can act as on-board sensors and actuators and that ‘active matter’ enables autonomous motion, navigation and collective behaviours. Finally, we provide a critical outlook for the field of microrobotics and highlight the challenges that need to be overcome to realize sophisticated microrobots, which one day might rival biological machines.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Nonlinear decoding of a complex movie from the mammalian retina

Botella-Soler, V., Deny, S., Martius, G., Marre, O., Tkačik, G.

PLOS Computational Biology, 14(5):1-27, Public Library of Science, May 2018 (article)

Abstract
Author summary Neurons in the retina transform patterns of incoming light into sequences of neural spikes. We recorded from ∼100 neurons in the rat retina while it was stimulated with a complex movie. Using machine learning regression methods, we fit decoders to reconstruct the movie shown from the retinal output. We demonstrated that retinal code can only be read out with a low error if decoders make use of correlations between successive spikes emitted by individual neurons. These correlations can be used to ignore spontaneous spiking that would, otherwise, cause even the best linear decoders to “hallucinate” nonexistent stimuli. This work represents the first high resolution single-trial full movie reconstruction and suggests a new paradigm for separating spontaneous from stimulus-driven neural activity.

al

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


Graphene-silver hybrid devices for sensitive photodetection in the ultraviolet
Graphene-silver hybrid devices for sensitive photodetection in the ultraviolet

Paria, D., Jeong, H. H., Vadakkumbatt, V., Deshpande, P., Fischer, P., Ghosh, A., Ghosh, A.

Nanoscale, 10, pages: 7685-7693, April 2018 (article)

Abstract
The weak light-matter interaction in graphene can be enhanced with a number of strategies, among which sensitization with plasmonic nanostructures is particularly attractive. This has resulted in the development of graphene-plasmonic hybrid systems with strongly enhanced photodetection efficiencies in the visible and the IR, but none in the UV. Here, we describe a silver nanoparticle-graphene stacked optoelectronic device that shows strong enhancement of its photoresponse across the entire UV spectrum. The device fabrication strategy is scalable and modular. Self-assembly techniques are combined with physical shadow growth techniques to fabricate a regular large-area array of 50 nm silver nanoparticles onto which CVD graphene is transferred. The presence of the silver nanoparticles resulted in a plasmonically enhanced photoresponse as high as 3.2 A W-1 in the wavelength range from 330 nm to 450 nm. At lower wavelengths, close to the Van Hove singularity of the density of states in graphene, we measured an even higher responsivity of 14.5 A W-1 at 280 nm, which corresponds to a more than 10 000-fold enhancement over the photoresponse of native graphene.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Nanoparticles on the move for medicine
Nanoparticles on the move for medicine

Fischer, P.

Physics World Focus on Nanotechnology, pages: 26028, (Editors: Margaret Harris), IOP Publishing Ltd and individual contributors, April 2018 (article)

Abstract
Peer Fischer outlines the prospects for creating “nanoswimmers” that can be steered through the body to deliver drugs directly to their targets Molecules don’t move very fast on their own. If they had to rely solely on diffusion – a slow and inefficient process linked to the Brownian motion of small particles and molecules in solution – then a protein mole­cule, for instance, would take around three weeks to travel a single centimetre down a nerve fibre. This is why active transport mechanisms exist in cells and in the human body: without them, all the processes of life would happen at a pace that would make snails look speedy.

pf

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


Photogravitactic Microswimmers
Photogravitactic Microswimmers

Singh, D. P., Uspal, W. E., Popescu, M. N., Wilson, L. G., Fischer, P.

Adv. Func. Mat., 28, pages: 1706660, Febuary 2018 (article)

Abstract
Abstract Phototactic microorganisms are commonly observed to respond to natural sunlight by swimming upward against gravity. This study demonstrates that synthetic photochemically active microswimmers can also swim against gravity. The particles initially sediment and, when illuminated at low light intensities exhibit wall‐bound states of motion near the bottom surface. Upon increasing the intensity of light, the artificial swimmers lift off from the wall and swim against gravity and away from the light source. This motion in the bulk has been further confirmed using holographic microscopy. A theoretical model is presented within the framework of self‐diffusiophoresis, which allows to unequivocally identify the photochemical activity and the phototactic response as key mechanisms in the observed phenomenology. Since the lift‐off threshold intensity depends on the particle size, it can be exploited to selectively address particles with the same density from a polydisperse mixture of active particles and move them in or out of the boundary region. This study provides a simple design strategy to fabricate artificial microswimmers whose two‐ or three‐dimensional swimming behavior can be controlled with light.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Chiral Plasmonic Hydrogen Sensors
Chiral Plasmonic Hydrogen Sensors

Matuschek, M., Singh, D. P., Hyeon-Ho, J., Nesterov, M., Weiss, T., Fischer, P., Neubrech, F., Na Liu, L.

Small, 14(7):1702990, Febuary 2018 (article)

Abstract
In this article, a chiral plasmonic hydrogen‐sensing platform using palladium‐based nanohelices is demonstrated. Such 3D chiral nanostructures fabricated by nanoglancing angle deposition exhibit strong circular dichroism both experimentally and theoretically. The chiroptical properties of the palladium nanohelices are altered upon hydrogen uptake and sensitively depend on the hydrogen concentration. Such properties are well suited for remote and spark‐free hydrogen sensing in the flammable range. Hysteresis is reduced, when an increasing amount of gold is utilized in the palladium‐gold hybrid helices. As a result, the linearity of the circular dichroism in response to hydrogen is significantly improved. The chiral plasmonic sensor scheme is of potential interest for hydrogen‐sensing applications, where good linearity and high sensitivity are required.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Acoustic Fabrication via the Assembly and Fusion of Particles
Acoustic Fabrication via the Assembly and Fusion of Particles

Melde, K., Choi, E., Wu, Z., Palagi, S., Qiu, T., Fischer, P.

Advanced Materials, 30(3):1704507, January 2018 (article)

Abstract
Acoustic assembly promises a route toward rapid parallel fabrication of whole objects directly from solution. This study reports the contact-free and maskless assembly, and fixing of silicone particles into arbitrary 2D shapes using ultrasound fields. Ultrasound passes through an acoustic hologram to form a target image. The particles assemble from a suspension along lines of high pressure in the image due to acoustic radiation forces and are then fixed (crosslinked) in a UV-triggered reaction. For this, the particles are loaded with a photoinitiator by solvent-induced swelling. This localizes the reaction and allows the bulk suspension to be reused. The final fabricated parts are mechanically stable and self-supporting.

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link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]


{Direct observation of Zhang-Li torque expansion of magnetic droplet solitons}
Direct observation of Zhang-Li torque expansion of magnetic droplet solitons

Chung, S., Tuan Le, Q., Ahlberg, M., Awad, A. A., Weigand, M., Bykova, I., Khymyn, R., Dvornik, M., Mazraati, H., Houshang, A., Jiang, S., Nguyen, T. N. A., Goering, E., Schütz, G., Gräfe, J., \AAkerman, J.

{Physical Review Letters}, 120(21), American Physical Society, Woodbury, N.Y., 2018 (article)

Abstract
Magnetic droplets are nontopological dynamical solitons that can be nucleated in nanocontact based spin torque nano-oscillators (STNOs) with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy free layers. While theory predicts that the droplet should be of the same size as the nanocontact, its inherent drift instability has thwarted attempts at observing it directly using microscopy techniques. Here, we demonstrate highly stable magnetic droplets in all-perpendicular STNOs and present the first detailed droplet images using scanning transmission X-ray microscopy. In contrast to theoretical predictions, we find that the droplet diameter is about twice as large as the nanocontact. By extending the original droplet theory to properly account for the lateral current spread underneath the nanocontact, we show that the large discrepancy primarily arises from current-in-plane Zhang-Li torque adding an outward pressure on the droplet perimeter. Electrical measurements on droplets nucleated using a reversed current in the antiparallel state corroborate this picture.

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


{Transmission x-ray microscopy at low temperatures: Irregular supercurrent flow at small length scales}
Transmission x-ray microscopy at low temperatures: Irregular supercurrent flow at small length scales

Simmendinger, J., Ruoss, S., Stahl, C., Weigand, M., Gräfe, J., Schütz, G., Albrecht, J.

{Physical Review B}, 97(13), American Physical Society, Woodbury, NY, 2018 (article)

Abstract
Scanning transmission x-ray microscopy has been used to image electric currents in superconducting films at temperatures down to 20 K. We detect significant deviations from a regular current path driven by macroscopic geometrical constraints. The magnetic stray field of supercurrents in a thin YBaCuO film is mapped into a soft-magnetic coating of permalloy. The so-created local magnetization of the ferromagnetic film can be detected by dichroic absorption of polarized x rays. To enable high-quality measurements in transmission geometry, the whole heterostructure of ferromagnet, superconductor, and single-crystalline substrate has been thinned to an overall thickness of less than 1 µm. With this technique, local supercurrents can be analyzed in a wide range of temperatures and magnetic fields. The less than 100 nm spatial resolution of the magnetic signal together with simultaneously obtained nanostructural data allow the correlation of local supercurrents with the micro- and nanostructure of the superconducting film.

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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A physical model for efficient ranking in networks

De Bacco, C., Larremore, D. B., Moore, C.

Science Advances, 4(7), American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2018 (article)

pio

Code Preprint link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]

Code Preprint link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Assessment methodology of promising porous materials for near ambient temperature hydrogen storage applications

Minuto, F. D., Balderas-Xicohténcatl, R., Policicchio, A., Hirscher, M., Agostino, R. G.

{International Journal of Hydrogen Energy}, 43(31):14550-14556, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2018 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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AreWater Smart Landscapes’ Contagious? An epidemic approach on networks to study peer effects

Brelsford, C., De Bacco, C.

Networks and Spatial Economics (NETS), pages: 1572-9427, 2018 (article)

pio

Preprint link (url) [BibTex]

Preprint link (url) [BibTex]


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Incorporation of Terbium into a Microalga Leads to Magnetotactic Swimmers

Santomauro, G., Singh, A., Park, B. W., Mohammadrahimi, M., Erkoc, P., Goering, E., Schütz, G., Sitti, M., Bill, J.

Advanced Biosystems, 2(12):1800039, 2018 (article)

mms pi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Thermodynamics, kinetics and selectivity of H2 and D2 on zeolite 5A below 77K

Xiong, R., Balderas-Xicohténcatl, R., Zhang, L., Li, P., Yao, Y., Sang, G., Chen, C., Tang, T., Luo, D., Hirscher, M.

{Microporous and Mesoporous Materials}, 264, pages: 22-27, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2018 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Volumetric hydrogen storage capacity in metal-organic frameworks

Balderas-Xicohténcatl, R., Schlichtenmayer, M., Hirscher, M.

{Energy Technology}, 6(3):578-582, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2018 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]