Shake, Graphene

There is a lot going on in Jorge Pedrós last paper: surface acoustic waves (SAWs), dynamic strain, Raman scattering and optical phonons. At the Instituto de Sistemas Optoelectrónicos y Microtecnología, UPM (together with the Paul Drude Institute in Berlin and the State University of Campinas), they’re using SAWs to modulate the properties of graphene. They’ve proven that “SAWs are powerful tools for modulating the optical and vibrational properties of supported graphene by means of the high-frequency localized deformations tailored by the acoustic transducers, which can also be extended to other 2D systems”. Straintronics, as this new technique is called, employs strain to change and modulate different properties of materials.

We did this picture, under the supervision of Jorge Pedrós, to illustrate their research.

Spin, keep it together!

The spin of electrons is the best way to storage information… theoretically. This property of electrons is so subtle and erratic that it is virtually impossible to use them in an efficient way. But as everything in science, this is changing.

At Kavli Institute of Nano­science at TU Delft,  they’re starting to control the behavior of spins. By using a thin silver thread, and a 2D material made of tungsten disul­fide, “and using circu­larly polarised light, they’ve created excitons with a specific rota­tional direction”. And what’s more impressive, this experiment works at room temperature. And finally, to make it more interesting, in this process there is no flow of electrons involved, meaning that there is a global energy reduction in the storage of data.

We made this picture to illustrate their experiment.

Nuclear Physics and Quantum Information Science

At the end of 2018, the US Congress enacted the National Quantum Initiative (NQI), making quantum information science (QIS) a high-priority research area in the United States. They’ve just published the Nuclear Sciences Advisory Committee subcommittee report on Nuclear Physics and Quantum Information Science. And this year they’ve chosen one of our images to decorate the brochure and to illustrate the exploratory aspect of this initiative.

This picture was initially made for Prof. R. Hanson at request of Michel van Baal and has been kindly lent by TU Delft to appear in this brochure by request of Prof. Douglas H. Beck.

Listen to your heart!

Topological insulators (TIs) are way beyond my understanding but at the same time I cant help but appreciate its beauty. TIs are usually associated with photonics but are showing to be useful also in the fields of acoustics and mechanics. Dr. Johan Christensen in a collaborative research between Spain and China (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Nanjing University) has “experimentally explored topologically robust corner states across three different frequency bands,  measured sound intensity concentration in the long wavelength regime comprising highly confined corner states of diameter 50 times smaller than the sound wavelength”.

As a proof of concept, they’ve designed a physical pattern that produces an intensity sound pattern in a beautiful heart shape: art and science at its best! Their research has been published in Advanced Materials. The hallmark and key manifestation of topological states is the robustness against defects. In this context, the authors additionally demonstrate that the proposed deep‐subwavelength TI displays remarkable resilience against bulk disorder over the said frequency area, making this concept remarkably robust for real world applications.

Age and friction

Friction between surfaces is of great importance and it is at the core of numerous and different phenomena: from earthquakes to the development of microelectromechanical systems. A new work involving Germany, Switzerland and Spain have studied how the role of contact aging affects this friction. In particular, they’ve shown how thermally activated bond formation dramatically changes the friction strength over time.

They’ve published their findings in Physical Review X and its work, together with an image we designed for them (with the close supervision of Dr. Guilherme de Vilhena) appears today (3/12/19) in PR-X featured papers.

Drug Transport in 3D Tumor Model

We’ve already work for Prof. Calderon and his group in the past. They seem the kind of people that work directly to enlarge our life expectancy. Their main research is focused in the delivery of drugs through physiological barriers. They’ve made an important advance recently by studying how nanogels can help in the transport of drugs inside tumor tissue.

Their research, reported in Theranostics, has been awarded with the cover of the journal.

On Wireless BioSensors!

The last paper of T. Ruzgas, J. Sotres etal at Malmö University (Sweden) starts with a disturbing statement: “It is predicted that with the development of Internet of Things technology by 2025 we expect more than 1000 connected devices per human”. With this idea in mind they are studying how to develop robust and cheap biosensors that will provide us with health information. And for that they are exploiting the ability of enzymes to “establish direct electron transfer contact with electrically conducting materials”.

 

This research, that made it to the cover of ChemElectroChem, is getting us closer to a cyborg-like healthier future.

DIPC 2018 Activity Report

One of our pictures was recently used to illustrate DIPC’s 2018 activity report. Lots of great friends there doing amazing research work!

On frogs, tadpoles and better batteries

My vast ignorance of chemistry doesn’t allow me to talk about this article, so here I leave you the abstract:

“Trapping negative charges in polymer electrolytes using a frog‐shaped, ether‐functionalized anion (EFA) is presented by H. Zhang, J. Carrasco, M. Armand, and co‐workers in their Communication on page 12070 ff. The bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide anion (TFSI), shown as a slippery tadpole, is highly mobile in poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) matrix. In contrast, the ethylene oxide legs in EFA endow trapping interactions between the anion and PEO, which suppresses mobility”. [read more]

I did this picture on request and under close supervision of Dr. Heng Zang and Dr. Javier Carrasco (CIC Energigune, Spain). It deserved the inside cover of Angewandte Chemie (two in a row!).

 

Nature already did it!

Protein based electronics. I’ll say it again. Protein based electronics. Dr. Linda Zotty and Prof. Carlos Cuevas (IFIMAC, Spain) are working in something that stills looks like science fiction to me: protein-bioelectronics.

In particular they are studying how to turn a redox protein (Cytochrome C) into a viable switch. These proteins belong to a family of redox-active proteins that act as electron carriers in biological energy conversion systems (as in those involved in cellular respiration). Together with groups from the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel) and Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic chemistry (Russia), they’ve theoretically shown how a Gold-Cytochrome-Gold structure can work as a voltage controlled switch.

Their research has been published in Angewandte Chemie and has been presented in the inside back cover.