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Charged Membranes Incorporated With Porous Polymer Frameworks

Ion-exchange membranes have been established for a variety of industrial applications, including energy and environmental technologies related to water treatment, fuel cells, and flow batteries. However, the limited tunability and adverse ion permeability-selectivity tradeoff exhibited by traditional ion-exchange membranes limit their development. To address this limitation, researchers at UC Berkeley developed a new class of composite ion-exchange membrane materials incorporated with highly tunable porous aromatic frameworks (PAFs). The Berkeley researchers show that an assortment of PAF variants can be easily embedded into charged membranes, where the choice of PAF filler can be used to optimize the physical, ion transport, and adsorptive properties of the membrane according to their targeted application. Material characterizations indicate that numerous charged membranes embedded with PAFs exhibit excellent dispersibility, interfacial compatibility, structural flexibility, and pH stability. Proton conductivity and water uptake measurements also indicate that the exceptionally high porosity of PAFs enhances ion diffusion in membranes, while abundant, favorable PAF-polymer interactions decrease non-selective swelling pathways typically observed in highly charged ion-exchange membranes. Furthermore, adsorption experiments demonstrate that ion-selective PAFs can be embedded into charged membranes to tune the ion selectivity of the membrane and also enable their use as membrane adsorbents. Test show promise for technology to improve the general performance and tunability of ion-exchange membrane technologies.

Multifunctional Separations Using Adsorbent-Based Membranes

The selective separation of trace components of interest from various mixtures (e.g., micropollutants from groundwater, lithium or uranium from seawater, carbon dioxide from air) presents an especially pressing technological challenge. Established materials and separation processes seldom meet the performance standards needed to efficiently isolate these trace species for proper disposal or re-use. To address this issue, researchers at UC Berkeley developed a novel separation strategy in which highly selective and tunable adsorbents or adsorption sites are embedded into membranes. In this approach, the minor target species are selectively captured by the embedded adsorbents or adsorption sites while the species transport through the membrane. Simultaneously, the mixture can be purified through traditional membrane separation mechanisms. As a proof-of-concept, the researchers incorporated Hg2+-selective adsorbents into electrodialysis membranes that can simultaneously capture Hg2+ via an adsorption mechanism while desalinating water through an electrodialysis mechanism. Adsorption studies demonstrated that the embedded adsorbents maintain rapid, selective, regenerable, and high-capacity Hg2+ binding capabilities within the membrane matrix. Furthermore, when inserted into an electrodialysis setup, the composite membranes successfully capture all Hg2+ from various Hg2+-spiked water sources while permeating all other competing cations to simultaneously enable desalination. Finally, using an array of other ion-selective adsorbents, the Berkeley team showed that this strategy can in principle be applied generally to any target ion present in any water source. This multifunctional separation strategy can be applied to existing membrane processes to efficiently capture targeted species of interest, without the need for additional expensive equipment or processes such as fixed-bed adsorption columns.

Processes For Microfluidic Fabrication

A method is provided to prepare one or more microfluidic channels on a receptive material by applying an image-forming material to a heat sensitive thermoplastic receptive material in a designed pattern and heating the material under conditions that reduce the size of the thermoplastic receptive material by at least about 60%. In an alternative aspect, the microfluidic channels on receptive material are prepared by etching a designed pattern into a heat sensitive thermoplastic material support and then heating the material under conditions that reduce the size of the thermoplastic receptive material by at least about 60%.

Athermal Nanophotonic Lasers

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a nanolaser platform built from materials that do not exhibit optical gain.

Higher-Speed and More Energy-Efficient Signal Processing Platform for Neural Networks

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a nanophotonic-based platform for signal processing and optical computing in algorithm-based neural networks that is faster and more energy-efficient than current technologies.

Shape-Controlled Particles Having Subparticle Geometrical Features

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a photolithographic method for the high-throughput, parallel production of microscale and nanoscale objects with tailored shapes and dimensions using a single photomask.

Hydrogel For Endogenous Neuronal Progenitor Cells (NPC) Recruitment

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering have developed a novel hydrogel that aids in neuronal regeneration post stroke or disease.

Micro- and Nanocomposite Support Structures for Reverse Osmosis Thin Film Membranes

UCLA researchers in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have invented a novel nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) composite membrane for water desalination applications.

Controlling Magnetization Using Patterned Electrodes on Piezoelectrics

UCLA researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed a novel piezoelectric thin film that can control magnetic properties of individual magnetic islands.

High Stability PtNiX-M Electrochemical Catalyst

UCLA researchers in the Department of Material Science and Engineering have invented a novel and highly stable platinum-based catalyst material for fuel cell technologies.

Half-Virtual-Half-Physical Microactuator

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a half-virtual-half-physical microactuator that utilizes a combination of computational models and microelectromechanical systems for use in medical devices and mechanical systems.

Anti-Ferromagnetic Magneto-Electric Spin-Orbit Read Logic

UCLA researchers in the department of Electrical Engineering have developed a novel magetoelectric device for use as a spin transistor.

Mobile Phone Based Fluorescence Multi-Well Plate Reader

UCLA researchers have developed a novel mobile phone-based fluorescence multi-well plate reader.

Diels-Alder Chemistry for Bioconjugation and Incorporation into Non-Natural Amino Acids

A bioconjugation method to covalently link molecular entities to polypeptides such as antibodies using a simple one-pot process.

Novel Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Fungal Nanopillared Surface

Medical devices are susceptible to contamination by harmful microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, which form biofilms on device surfaces. These biofilms are often resistant to antibiotics and other current treatments, resulting in over 2 million people per year suffering from diseases related to these contaminating microbes. Death rates for many of these diseases are high, often exceeding 50%. Researchers at UCI have developed a novel anti-bacterial and anti-fungal biocomposite that incorporates a nanopillared surface structure that can be applied as a coating to medical devices.

Biologically Applicable Water-Soluble Heterogeneous Catalysts For Parahydrogen-Induced Polarization

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a novel method of parahydrogen-induced polarization in water using heterogeneous catalysts.

Rapid, Portable And Cost-Effective Yeast Cell Viability And Concentration Analysis Using Lensfree On-Chip Microscopy And Machine Learning

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a new portable device to rapidly measure yeast cell viability and concentration using a lab-on-chip design.

Process For Recycling Surfactant In Nanoemulsion Production

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a novel method to separate and recycle surfactants used in the manufacturing of nanoemulsions.

Mechanical Process For Creating Particles Using Two Plates

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry & Physics and Astronomy have developed a novel method to lithograph two polished solid surfaces by using a simple mechanical alignment jig with piezoelectric control and a method of pressing them together and solidifying a material.

A General Method For Designing Self-Assembling Protein Nanomaterials

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry have developed a novel computational method for designing proteins that self-assemble to a desired symmetric architecture. This method combines symmetrical docking with interface design, and it can be used to design a wide variety of self-assembling protein nanomaterials. 

Tunable Thz Generation In Chip-Scale Graphene

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a novel tunable and efficient terahertz (THz) plasmon generation on-chip via graphene monolayers.

Determining Oil Well Connectivity Using Nanoparticles

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry have developed a method of using nanowires to detect underground fluid reservoir interconnectivities and reservoir contents with high accuracy.

New Method to Increase the Rate of Protein Ligation Catalyzed by the S. Aureus Sortase A Enzyme

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a new method to increase the rate of ligation catalyzed by the S. aureus Sortase A enzyme

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