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Cascaded Resonant Switched-Capacitor For Power Converter Architecture

Data center power demands are growing fast. To address this situation, next-generation data centers are moving to 48 V bus architectures to reduce distribution loss on the bus bar of server racks. One important research topic regarding this architecture is stepping down from 48 V to the point-of-load voltage, which is usually implemented by an intermediate bus converter followed by a voltage regulator, with the benefits of high efficiency and reutilization of 12 V legacy systems.Many topologies have been explored for the 48-to-12 V intermediate bus applications, such as inductor-based converters. However, since capacitors have higher energy densities compared with inductors, switched-capacitor based converters have the potential to achieve higher power density and have gained increasing attention in performance-driven applications. Integrating resonant conductors into cascaded switch-capacitor converters further improves performance.To address this potential, researchers at UC Berkeley developed a novel resonant switched-capacitor based converter. The Berkeley converter uses a simple structure and operation principle, and has the potential to achieve dramatic efficiency and power density improvement over existing leading alternatives.

Microchannel Polymer Heat Exchanger

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a highly efficient microchannel polymer heat exchanger in a compact and lightweight design.

Synergistic Enzyme Mixtures to Realize Near-Complete Depolymerization in Blends

In this technology, the inventors introduce additives to purposely change the morphology of polycaprolactone (PCL) by increasing the bending and twisting of crystalline lamellae. These morphological changes immobilize chain-ends preferentially at the crystalline/amorphous interfaces and limit chain-end accessibility by the embedded processive enzyme. This chain end redistribution reduces the polymer-to-monomer conversion from >95% to less than 50%, causing formation of highly crystalline plastic pieces including microplastics. By synergizing both random chain scission and processive depolymerization, it is feasible to navigate morphological changes in polymer/additive blends and to achieve near complete depolymerization. The random scission enzymes in the amorphous domains create new chain ends that are subsequently bound and depolymerized by processive enzymes. Present studies further highlight the importance to consider host polymer morphological effects on the reactions catalyzed by embedded catalytic species.This is part of a patent family in compostable plastics.  

Spray Coated Paint Based on Glass Bubbles for Buildings

Developing optical materials with a high solar reflectivity and high mid-infrared emissivity is important for coating the outdoor buildings. The authors proposed a spray coated paint based on glass bubbles which can be used to maintain the thermal environment of constructions.

Novel PET Plastic Degrading Enzyme

Prof. Adam Godzik and colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have developed an enzyme with the potential of high PET degrading ability. Based on computer modeling experiments, this enzyme has the potential of high PET degrading ability. This enzyme may be useful because it may have higher PET degrading activity than existing enzymes and could provide a less expensive and more efficient means of recycling PET plastic. Fig 1: Predicted structure of the UCR PET degrading enzyme.

Optimizing Bipolar Membrane Interfaces to Catalyze Water Dissociation

Researchers at UCI have modified current commercial membranes to enhance efficiency of water dissociation at varying conditions for electrochemical technologies geared towards renewable fuel generation.

Protein Inhibitor of Type II-A CRISPR-Cas System

The inventors have discovered three protein inhibitors of the type II-A CRISPR-Cas system that specifically inhibit Cas9 from staphylococcus aureus. This finding is of potential importance to many companies in the CRISPR space. 

Roll-To-Roll Based 3D Printing Through Computed Axial Lithography

The inventor has developed systems and methods for performing continuous 3D roll-based additive manufacturing. This invention is distinct from roll-based micro/nanomanufacturing methods such as imprint lithography, gravure printing, and photo-roll lithography because it enables production of high aspect ratio reentrant features and voids in a single step that are difficult or even impossible with the existing methods.

High Fidelity 3D Printing Through Computed Axial Lithography

The inventor has developed novel algorithms and metrology methodologies, including real-time in-situ imaging of part formation, in computed axial lithography printing (CALP). CALP is a form of continuous 3D roll-based additive manufacturing which is distinct from roll-based micro/nanomanufacturing methods such as imprint lithography, gravure printing, and photo-roll lithography because it enables production of high aspect ratio reentrant features and voids in a single step that are difficult or even impossible with the existing methods.

Protein Inhibitor of Type VI-B CRISPR-Cas System

The inventors have discovered the first protein inhibitor of the type VI-B CRISPR-Cas system. By controlling this CRISPR system, one could possibly ameliorate the toxicity and off-target cleavage activity observed with the use of the type VI CRISPR system. Moreover, these proteins can also serve as an antidote for instances where the use of CRISPR-Cas technology poses a safety risk. Additionally, this technology can also be used for engineering genetic circuits in mammalian cells. This finding is of potential importance to many companies in the CRISPR space. 

Multi-Phase Hybrid Power Converter Architecture With Large Conversion Ratios

The power demands on data centers are large and increasing rapidly. This is straining data center economic and environment impacts, and in turn driving improvements in data center power efficiencies. Data centers have been widely adopting 48 V intermediate bus architectures due to higher efficiency, good flexibility, and reduced cost. However, a major challenge in such systems is the conversion from the 48 V bus to the extreme low voltage and high current operating levels of server CPUs and GPUs.To address this challenge, UC Berkeley researchers developed a multi-phase hybrid power converter architecture. The Berkeley design uses hybrid converter topologies. A switched-capacitor network is smartly merged with a switched-inductor network, resulting in circuit component number reduction and soft-charging operation of the capacitors. Furthermore, the Berkeley architecture integrates a multi-phase control technique to achieve a higher conversion ratio of the switched-capacitor network, which can further improve the overall system efficiency without increasing the circuit size.  

Separation System Using Integrated Microwave-Infrared Technology to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Potential Pathogen Impacts Associated with Cow Manure

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a separation system using microwave-infrared technology to effectively eliminate pathogens and reduce both the moisture content and potential greenhouse gas emissions of cow manure.

Structured "Meat" Processes and Products from Cells Grown in Suspension Culture

Producing meat products using cells grown in culture (instead of via animal husbandry farming) has many benefits and great potential. Current cell-cultured approaches either: (1) use suspension culture to produce homogenous products that don't meet consumer taste expectations for a substitute meat, or (2) organ culture methods to create products that meet consumer taste expectations, but at unacceptably high prices. To address this situation, researchers at UC Berkeley have been developing a process by which cells are grown in free suspension, making possible the economies of scaling that result from using large stirred tanks. After growth, the cells can be assembled into desirable macroscopic structures by controlling the conditions under which the desired multiple cell types and scaffolds are mixed and dewatered. The macroscopic structures include features such as fat marbling and muscle fiber orientation as expected by meat consumers.

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.

Non Intrusive Workflow Assessment (NIWA) for Manufacturing Optimization

The invention is a smart non-intrusive workflow assessment platform for monitoring and optimizing manufacturing environments. The platform monitors environmental and energy metrics, and provides learning models to classify workers’ activities and relate them to the equipment utilization and performance. Correlating both stream of data enables both workers and supervisors to improve the efficiency of the whole manufacturing process and at an affordable price.

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.

A Novel Catalyst for Aqueous Chlorate Reduction with High Activity, Salt Resistance, and Stability

Prof. Jinyong Liu’s lab at UCR has developed a novel heterogeneous catalyst for aqueous ClO3− reduction. The catalyst contains earth-abundant molybdenum (Mo) and is 55-fold more active than palladium on carbon (Pd/C). Under 1 atm H2 and room temperature, the bimetallic catalyst (MoOx−Pd/C) enables rapid and complete reduction of ClO3− in a wide concentration range (e.g., 1 μM to 1 M) and exhibits strong resistance to concentrate salts such as chloride, sulfate, and bromide at 1 to 5 M. In a batch reactor setup, the catalyst was reused for twenty cycles of 0.18 M ClO3− reduction and no activity loss was observed. Fig. 1 shows the effect of concentrated salts on the reduction of 1 mM ClO3− by the MoOx-Pd/C catalyst at a loading of 0.2 g/L. The reactions were conducted at 25 oC and under 1 atm H2. Fig. 2 shows the reduction of 1 M ClO3− in DI water and the treatment of a synthetic chlor-alkali waste brine sample (0.17 M of ClO3− in 3.6 M of NaCl) by 0.5 g/L MoOx-Pd/C.   Fig. 3 shows the profiles of the reduction of 0.18M ClO3− spikes in a multiple-spike reaction series. The decrease of activity was only caused by the gradual build-up of concentrated Cl− (see details in the publication).  

Decorating Chromatin for Precise Genome Editing Using CRISPR

A novel fusion construct that fuses Cas9 to a truncated version of human PRDM9 with the purpose of improving precise genome editing via homologous direceted repair (HDR). PRDM9 is a protein that deposits histone marks H3K4me3 and H3K36me3 simultaneously during meiosis to mark recombination hot spots where crossover occurs and is resolved by homologous recombination. H3K36me3 has also been demonstrated to be required upstream of homologous recombination repair after double stranded breaks (DSBs) and during V(D)J recombination for adaptive immunity. Recent evidence suggests PRDM9 acts as a pioneer factor opening closed chromatin. The newly engineered PRDM9C-Cas9 fusion construct shows increased HDR and decreased non-homologous end joining mediated insertions and deletions (indels).

Low-Cost Paper-Based Microfluidic Diagnostic Device

Prof. Mulchandani and his colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have developed a new paper-based microfluidic platform for the simple and low-cost fabrication of single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT)-based chemiresistive nanobiosensor arrays for multianalyte sensing from a single small volume sample that may be used as point-of-care diagnostic for a variety of purposes, including healthcare, food safety, environment, etc. This device is created by utilizing a wax printer to construct well-defined hydrophobic barriers for equal splitting and delivery of fluid and an inkjet printer to fabricate chemiresistors using a water-based SWNT ink on a paper substrate. Currently, the quantitative and selective detection of both human serum albumin (HSA) and human immunoglobulin G (hIgG) simultaneously in urine has been demonstrated by UCR. This paper-based chemiresistive biosensor is easy to fabricate, and designed for cost-effective, rapid, sensitive and selective detection of  analyte(s) of interest. This technology provides a platform for automated, disposable paper-based point-of-care diagnostics with multiplexed detection capability and microfluidic controls. Fig 1: A 3D microfluidic multiplexed paper-based biosensor array device.

Novel Phage CRISPR-Cas Effectors and Uses Thereof

UC Berkeley researchers have discovered a novel family of proteins denoted Cas12L within the Type V CRISPR Cas superfamily distantly related to CasX, CasY and other published type V sequences.  These Cas12L proteins utilize a guide RNA to perform RNA-directed cleavage of DNA.

Single Conjugative Vector for Genome Editing by RNA-guided Transposition

The inventors have constructed conjugative plasmids for intra- and inter-species delivery and expression of RNA-guided CRISPR-Cas transposases for organism- and site-specific genome editing by targeted transposon insertion. This invention enables integration of large, customizable DNA segments (encoded within a transposon) into prokaryotic genomes at specific locations and with low rates of off-target integration.

System And Method For Producing Polyhydroxyalkanoates From Organic Waste

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed an efficient method for producing polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) from organic waste using a halophilic microorganism.

Covalent Organic Framework With Exceptional Water Sorption Properties

A new covalent organic framework (COF) with defective square lattice topology and exceptional water sorption properties stemming fro its unique framework structure. The COF exhibits a working capacity of 0.23 g(H2O)/g(COF) between 20 and 40% relative humidity without displaying hysteretic behavior. Furthermore, it maintains these promising water sorption properties after several uptake and release cycles. This material could be used as a sorbent for water harvesting or other water sorption related applications.

(SD2019-806) Course Description: Bending The Curve: Climate Change Solutions

“There is no single technology that will solve climate change. If we want to prepare our students to fight global warming, they need to understand the scientific and the human dimensions of the problem, and we need to give them the tools to address the problem.”     - Professor V. Ramanathan

Microfluidics Device and Methods of Detecting Airborne Agents

A microfluidic platform for real time sensing of volatile airborne agents.

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