Disorder-mediated crowd control in an active matter system

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Dr Giorgio Volpe

Many living systems, such as bacterial colonies, exhibit collective and dynamic behaviours that are sensitive to the change in environmental conditions. Here, the authors show that a colloidal active matter system switches between gathering and dispersal of individuals in response to a disordered potential.

The Howorka Group create synthentic ion channels

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Howorka Group create Synthetic ion channels

In work featured on the cover of Nature Nanotechnology, the Howorka group has created a synthetic ion channels. Natural ion channels are essential components of cells and regulate the transport of ions across biological membranes. The synthetic channel is made of folded DNA and hence much easier to design than natural protein channels. It may be applied to create drug-delivery vehicles or synthetic cells, as described in Nature.

Effective Renewable Carbon for Carbon Capture

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Carbon capture and storage is one of the effective remedies to reduce excessive CO2 emission and mitigate climate change. Highly porous carbon is a promising candidate for such purposes, particularly if it can be made from renewable resources. Prof. Zheng Xiao Guo and Dr. Bing Jun Zhu have recently demonstrated that such effective materials can be generated from spruce cones. The results was recently published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering and featured in ACS Chemical & Engineering News.

The use of time resolved aerosol assisted chemical vapour deposition in mapping metal oxide thin film growth and fine tuning functional properties

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Chemical Vapour Deposition

by Nicholas P. Chadwick,   Sanjayan Sathasivam,   Salem M. Bawaked,   Mohamed Mokhtar,   Shaeel A. Althabaiti,   Sulaiman N. Basahel,   Ivan P. Parkin and   Claire J. Carmalt.  

First ever Feature Article

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PVC Featured Article

James Suter, Derek Groen and Peter Coveney have published a paper - the first ever Feature Article - in Advanced Materials on "Chemically specific multiscale modeling of clay-polymer nanocomposites reveals intercalation dynamics, tactoid self-assembly and emergent materials properties". You can read more about the article here. The paper features on the front cover of Volume 27, Issue 6 of Advanced Materials.

RSC PCCP Hot Article: Perspective on Bioglass Simulations

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Electrical Control of Single Atom Magnets

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The energy needed to change the magnetic orientation of a single atom – which determines its magnetic stability and therefore its usefulness in a variety of future device applications – can be modified by varying the atom’s electrical coupling to nearby metals.

Lithium and oxygen adsorption at MnO2 (110) surface

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R. Grau-Crespo, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013, 1, 14879

The adsorption and co-adsorption of lithium and oxygen at the surface of rutile-like manganese dioxide (β-MnO2), which are important in the context of Li–air batteries, are investigated using density functional theory. In the absence of lithium, the most stable surface of β-MnO2, the (110), adsorbs oxygen in the form of peroxo groups bridging between two manganese cations. Conversely, in the absence of excess oxygen, lithium atoms adsorb on the (110) surface at two different sites, which are both tri-coordinated to surface oxygen anions, and the adsorption always involves the transfer of one electron from the adatom to one of the five-coordinated manganese cations at the surface, creating (formally) Li+ and Mn3+ species. The co-adsorption of lithium and oxygen leads to the formation of a surface oxide, involving the dissociation of the O2 molecule, where the O adatoms saturate the coordination of surface Mn cations and also bind to the Li adatoms. This process is energetically more favourable than the formation of gas-phase lithium peroxide (Li2O2) monomers, but less favourable than the formation of Li2O2 bulk. These results suggest that the presence of β-MnO2 in the cathode of a non-aqueous Li–O2 battery lowers the energy for the initial reduction of oxygen during cell discharge.

Designer Piercings: New membrane pores with DNA nanotechnology

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DNA nanopore anchored in a lipid bilayer. Credit: Angewandte Chemie

5 November 2013

The DNA nanopore (in blue) is a tube formed of folded strands of DNA. The porphyrin anchors, in red, anchor it securely between the two layers of the cell membrane (in grey), which is shown in cross-section.

Au- and Pt-Nanoparticle-Functionalized Tungsten Oxide Nanoneedles for Selective Gas Microsensor Arrays

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C.Blackman, Adv. Funct. Mater., 2013, 23, 1313-1322; DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201201871

Chris Blackman demonstrates a new gas-phase method for the one-step synthesis of metal nanoparticles supported on nanostructured metal oxides as a featured cover article in Advanced Functional Materials. With no requirement for substrate pre-treatment, this provides for direct integration of the co-deposited nanomaterial with device structures and it is utilized for the fabrication of selective gas microsensor arrays based on gold and platinum decorated tungsten oxide nanorods.

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