Well-defined palladium–gold nanoparticles (PdAuNPs) with randomly alloyed structures and broadly tunable compositions were studied in catalytic nitrite (NO2–) reduction. The catalysts were synthesized using a microwave-assisted polyol coreduction method. PdxAu100–xNPs with systematically varied compositions (x = 18–83) were supported on amorphous silica (SiO2) and studied as model catalysts for aqueous NO2– reduction in a batch reactor, using H2 as the electron donor. The reactions followed pseudo-first-order kinetics for ≥80% NO2– conversion. The PdxAu100–xNP-SiO2 catalysts showed a volcano-like correlation between NO2– reduction activity and x; the highest activity was observed for Pd53Au47, with an associated first-order rate constant of 5.12 L min–1 gmetal–1. Alloy NPs with greater proportions of Au were found to reduce the loss in catalytic activity due to sulfide fouling. Density functional theory calculations indicate that this is because Au weakens sulfur binding at PdAuNP surfaces due to atomic ensemble, electronic, and strain effects and thus reduces sulfur poisoning. The environmental relevance of the most active supported catalyst was evaluated by subjecting it to five cycles of catalytic NO2– reduction. The catalytic activity decreased over multiple cycles, but analysis of the postreaction PdxAu100–xNP-SiO2 materials using complementary techniques indicated that there were no significant structural changes. Most importantly, we show that PdxAu100–xNP-SiO2 alloys are significantly more active NO2– reduction catalysts in comparison to pure Pd catalysts.
Aromatic molecules with pi electrons are commonly involved in chemical and biological recognitions. For example, nucleobases play central roles in DNA/RNA structure and their interactions with proteins. The delocalization of the pi electrons is responsible for the high polarizability of aromatic molecules. In this work, the AMOEBA force field has been developed and applied to 5 regular nucleobases and 12 aromatic molecules. The permanent electrostatic energy is expressed as atomic multipole interactions between atom pairs, and many-body polarization is accounted for by mutually induced atomic dipoles. We have systematically investigated aromatic ring stacking and aromatic-water interactions for nucleobases and aromatic molecules, as well as base-base hydrogen-bonding pair interactions, all at various distances and orientations. van der Waals parameters were determined by comparison to the quantum mechanical interaction energy of these dimers and fine-tuned using condensed phase simulation. By comparing to quantum mechanical calculations, we show that the resulting classical potential is able to accurately describe molecular polarizability, molecular vibrational frequency, and dimer interaction energy of these aromatic systems. Condensed phase properties, including hydration free energy, liquid density, and heat of vaporization, are also in good overall agreement with experimental values. The structures of benzene liquid phase and benzene-water solution were also investigated by simulation and compared with experimental and PDB structure derived statistical results.
Raman spectroscopy (RS) has shown great potential in noninvasive cancer screening. Statistically based algorithms, such as principal component analysis, are commonly employed to provide tissue classification; however, they are difficult to relate to the chemical and morphological basis of the spectroscopic features and underlying disease. As a result, we propose the first Raman biophysical model applied to in vivo skin cancer screening data. We expand upon previous models by utilizing in situ skin constituents as the building blocks, and validate the model using previous clinical screening data collected from a Raman optical fiber probe. We built an 830nm confocal Raman microscope integrated with a confocal laser-scanning microscope. Raman imaging was performed on skin sections spanning various disease states, and multivariate curve resolution (MCR) analysis was used to resolve the Raman spectra of individual in situ skin constituents. The basis spectra of the most relevant skin constituents were combined linearly to fit in vivo human skin spectra. Our results suggest collagen, elastin, keratin, cell nucleus, triolein, ceramide, melanin and water are the most important model components. We make available for download (see supplemental information) a database of Raman spectra for these eight components for others to use as a reference. Our model reveals the biochemical and structural makeup of normal, nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancers, and precancers and paves the way for future development of this approach to noninvasive skin cancer diagnosis.
Physical, chemical, and biological interactions between groundwater and sedimentary rock directly control the fundamental subsurface properties such as porosity, permeability, and flow. This is true for a variety of subsurface scenarios, ranging from shallow groundwater aquifers to deeply buried hydrocarbon reservoirs. Microfluidic flow cells are now commonly being used to study these processes at the pore scale in simplified pore structures meant to mimic subsurface reservoirs. However, these micromodels are typically fabricated from glass, silicon, or polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), and are therefore incapable of replicating the geochemical reactivity and complex three-dimensional pore networks present in subsurface lithologies. To address these limitations, we developed a new microfluidic experimental test bed, herein called the Real Rock-Microfluidic Flow Cell (RR-MFC). A porous 500 μm-thick real rock sample of the Clair Group sandstone from a subsurface hydrocarbon reservoir of the North Sea was prepared and mounted inside a PDMS microfluidic channel, creating a dynamic flow-through experimental platform for real-time tracking of subsurface reactive transport. Transmitted and reflected microscopy, cathodoluminescence microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and confocal laser microscopy techniques were used to (1) determine the mineralogy, geochemistry, and pore networks within the sandstone inserted in the RR-MFC, (2) analyze non-reactive tracer breakthrough in two- and (depth-limited) three-dimensions, and (3) characterize multiphase flow. The RR-MFC is the first microfluidic experimental platform that allows direct visualization of flow and transport in the pore space of a real subsurface reservoir rock sample, and holds potential to advance our understandings of reactive transport and other subsurface processes relevant to pollutant transport and cleanup in groundwater, as well as energy recovery.
Optical manipulation of biological cells and nanoparticles is significantly important in life sciences, early disease diagnosis, and nanomanufacturing. However, low-power and versatile all-optical manipulation has remained elusive. Herein, we have achieved light-directed versatile thermophoretic manipulation of biological cells at an optical power 100–1000 times lower than that of optical tweezers. By harnessing the permittivity gradient in the electric double layer of the charged surface of the cell membrane, we succeed at the low-power trapping of suspended biological cells within a light-controlled temperature gradient field. Furthermore, through dynamic control of optothermal potentials using a digital micromirror device, we have achieved arbitrary spatial arrangements of cells at a resolution of ∼100 nm and precise rotation of both single and assemblies of cells. Our thermophoretic tweezers will find applications in cellular biology, nanomedicine, and tissue engineering.
The capabilities of the polarizable force fields for alchemical free energy calculations have been limited by the high computational cost and complexity of the underlying potential energy functions. In this work, we present a GPU-based general alchemical free energy simulation platform for polarizable potential AMOEBA. Tinker-OpenMM, the OpenMM implementation of the AMOEBA simulation engine has been modified to enable both absolute and relative alchemical simulations on GPUs, which leads to a similar to 200-fold improvement in simulation speed over a single CPU core. We show that free energy values calculated using this platform agree with the results of Tinker simulations for the hydration of organic compounds and binding of host-guest systems within the statistical errors. In addition to absolute binding, we designed a relative alchemical approach for computing relative binding affinities of ligands to the same host, where a special path was applied to avoid numerical instability due to polarization between the different ligands that bind to the same site. This scheme is general and does not require ligands to have similar scaffolds. We show that relative hydration and binding free energy calculated using this approach match those computed from the absolute free energy approach. (C) 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
We introduce a new class of methods, denoted as Truncated Conjugate Gradient(TCG), to solve the many-body polarization energy and its associated forces in molecular simulations (i.e. molecular dynamics (MD) and Monte Carlo). The method consists in a fixed number of Conjugate Gradient (CG) iterations. TCG approaches provide a scalable solution to the polarization problem at a user-chosen cost and a corresponding optimal accuracy. The optimality of the CG-method guarantees that the number of the required matrix-vector products are reduced to a minimum compared to other iterative methods. This family of methods is non-empirical, fully adaptive, and provides analytical gradients, avoiding therefore any energy drift in MD as compared to popular iterative solvers. Besides speed, one great advantage of this class of approximate methods is that their accuracy is systematically improvable. Indeed, as the CG-method is a Krylov subspace method, the associated error is monotonically reduced at each iteration. On top of that, two improvements can be proposed at virtually no cost: (i) the use of preconditioners can be employed, which leads to the Truncated Preconditioned Conjugate Gradient (TPCG); (ii) since the residual of the final step of the CG-method is available, one additional Picard fixed point iteration ("peek"), equivalent to one step of Jacobi Over Relaxation (JOR) with relaxation parameter omega, can be made at almost no cost. This method is denoted by TCG-n(omega). Black-box adaptive methods to find good choices of omega are provided and discussed. Results show that TPCG-3(omega) is converged to high accuracy (a few kcal/mol) for various types of systems including proteins and highly charged systems at the fixed cost of four matrix-vector products: three CG iterations plus the initial CG descent direction. Alternatively, T(P)CG-2(omega) provides robust results at a reduced cost (three matrix-vector products) and offers new perspectives for long polarizable MD as a production algorithm. The T(P)CG-1(omega) level provides less accurate solutions for inhomogeneous systems, but its applicability to well-conditioned problems such as water is remarkable, with only two matrix-vector product evaluations.
Implanted brain electrodes construct the only means to electrically interface with individual neurons in vivo, but their recording efficacy and biocompatibility pose limitations on scientific and clinical applications. We showed that nanoelectronic thread (NET) electrodes with subcellular dimensions, ultraflexibility, and cellular surgical footprints form reliable, glial scar–free neural integration. We demonstrated that NET electrodes reliably detected and tracked individual units for months; their impedance, noise level, single-unit recording yield, and the signal amplitude remained stable during long-term implantation. In vivo two-photon imaging and postmortem histological analysis revealed seamless, subcellular integration of NET probes with the local cellular and vasculature networks, featuring fully recovered capillaries with an intact blood-brain barrier and complete absence of chronic neuronal degradation and glial scar.
A nonintrusive measure of the exhaust plume and immediate sound field produced by a cluster of two thrust optimized parabolic contour nozzles is studied during two steady-state conditions. The first condition is at a nozzle pressure ratio of 25, at which point the flow is in a restricted-shock separated state. The second condition is at a nozzle pressure ratio of 37 and is when the flow and internal shock pattern transition rapidly between free-shock separated flow and the end-effects regime. These end-effects regime pulsations produce significant vibroacoustic loads due to the intermittent breathing of the last trapped annular separation bubble with the ambient. The exhaust plumes and surrounding sound field are first visualized by way of retroreflective shadowgraphy. Radon transforms of the spatially resolved shadowgraphy images are then used to characterize the statistical behavior of the acoustic wave fronts that reside within the hydrodynamic periphery of the nozzle flow. The findings reveal quantitative evidence of the sources of most intense vibroacoustic loads during the end-effects regime of clustered rockets.