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Method For Rapid In Situ Detection Of Ammonia

This invention, a simple and robust method for ammonia detection, offers high-speed in situ quantification of ammonia concentrations with high sensitivity. The ammonia detection system does not require complex instrumentation, analysis, or labeling, which would allow for widespread adoption in chemistry-based fields and surrounding disciplines.

Group 13 Metals as Anolytes in Non-Aqueous, Redox Flow Batteries

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have identified earth abundant and other relatively inexpensive materials that form the basis of novel molecules (anolytes), with long lifecycles and high energy densities, to be used in redox flow batteries.

Automated Tip Conditioning ML-Based Software For Scanning Tunneling Spectroscopy

Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) techniques and associated spectroscopic (STS) methods, such as dI/dV point spectroscopy, have been widely used to measure electronic structures and local density of states of molecules and materials with unprecedented spatial and energy resolutions. However, the quality of dI/dV spectra highly depends on the shape of the probe tips, and atomically sharp tips with well-defined apex structures are required for obtaining reliable spectra. In most cases, STS measurements are performed in ultra-high vacuum  and low temperature (4 K) to minimize disturbances. Advance tip preparation and constant in situ tip conditioning are required before and during the characterization of target molecules and materials. A common way to prepare STM tips is to repetitively poke them on known and bare substrates (i.e. coinage metals or silicon) to remove contaminations and to potentially coat the tip with substrate atoms. The standard dI/dV spectra of the substrate is then used as a reference to determine whether the tip is available for further experiments. However, tip geometry changes during the poking process are unpredictable, and consequently tip conditioning is typically slow and needs to be constantly monitored. Therefore, it restricts the speed of high-quality STM spectroscopic studies. In order to make efficient use of instrument idle time and minimize the research time wasted on tip conditioning, UC Berkeley researchers developed software based on Python and machine learning that can automate the time-consuming tip conditioning processes. The program is designed to do tip conditioning on Au(111) surfaces that are clean or with low molecular coverage with little human intervention. By just one click, the program is capable of continued poking until the tip can generate near-publication quality spectroscopic data on gold surfaces. It can control the operation of a Scienta Omicron STM and automatically analyze the collected topographic images to find bare Au areas that are large enough for tip conditioning. It will then collect dI/dV spectra at selected positions and use machine learning models to determine their quality compared to standard dI/dV spectra for Au20 and determine if the tip is good enough for further STS measurements. If the tip condition is not ideal, the program will control the STM to poke at the identified positions until the machine learning model predicts the tip to be in good condition.

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.

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).  

Monodisperse Emulsions Templated By 3D-Structured Microparticles

UCLA Researchers in the Departments of Bioengineering and Mathematics have developed a method to generate uniform, thermodynamically stabilized microdroplets with digitizable solid structures.

Controlled And Efficient Synthesis Of Inorganic-Organic Composite Cementation Agents With Enhanced Strain Capacity

Researchers in the UCLA Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed an energy-saving approach to controllably fabricate cemented solids with hybrid microstructures and enhanced properties.

A New Material for Improved Energy Transfer in Photonic Devices

Prof. Ming Lee Tang and her colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have developed a promising new material for photonic devices utilizing hybrid materials composed of inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals and organic acene molecules. The material allows for photon upconversion, a promising wavelength shifting technology for photon management. This multi-photon process has potential applications in biological imaging, photocatalysis and photovoltaics. Regarding solar energy systems, the conversion of low energy near-infrared (NIR) photons to higher energy photons is particularly appealing, considering NIR radiation comprises 53% of the solar spectrum. Current solar panels are greatly limited in efficiency due to this. Reshaping the solar spectrum to match the optical properties of common semiconductors will allow the efficient use of all incident light. This holds the potential to solve the largest issue that current solar panel systems face.

Single-Atom Tailoring of Platinum Nanocatalysts for High-Performance Multifunctional Electrocatalysis

UCLA researchers in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Material Science and Engineering, have developed a single-atom tailoring method to boost the electrocatalytic activity of platinum-based catalysts with low loss of generatable current.

Automated Drosophila Maintenance System

Drosophila spp., also known as fruit flies, are widely used in genetic research. Drosophila lines (e.g. flies with a particular mutation) can only be stored as live animals – they cannot be frozen and remain viable. So to maintain the stocks, the live flies are manually transferred from an old vial to a new vial on a regular basis (every 1-2 weeks). Some Drosophila labs maintain hundreds or even thousands of individual lines and so maintenance of these lines can be very time consuming. A UC Santa Cruz Drosophila researcher has developed a simpler and more efficient method of transferring the flies that requires significantly less hands-on work.

Real-time Feature Inspection for Additive Manufacturing Systems

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is the process of making 3D objects from a computer model data by joining materials layer by layer under computer control using a 3D printer.   Poplar systems, even for home use, can be purchased that use various polymer plastics. In more robust application areas, metal alloys are required and their manufacturing is much more costly and time intensive. Metal parts created by additive manufacturing are often difficult to dimensionally characterize due to the complex surface structures created by welding phenomena present in state-of the art printing machines. The most holistic techniques involve measuring the surface of each sintered layer of powder, however, this is complicated to perform in a non-contact, non-destructive, and in-situ manner. Techniques such as Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography can be used to perform this task, but are limited to large pointwise measurement, limiting the speed and resolution of measuring the surface topography of each layer.  Due to the cost associated with additive manufacturing with alloys, reliable inspection methodologies are necessary to ensure that the part being fabricated is free of defects and meets all user specifications.

New Classes Of Cage And Polyhedron And New Classes Of Nanotube And Nanotube With Planar Faces

UCLA researchers have developed a novel algorithm that can be used to design unique self-assembled molecules and nanostructures.

New Substrate to Enhance Catalytic Activity

Researchers at UCR have developed a sulfated zirconium oxide substrate containing strong Lewis acid sites to enhance the activity and selectivity of heterogeneous catalysts. As seen in Fig 1, this new heterogeneous catalyst significantly increases catalyst activity compared to a known olefin metathesis catalyst in homogeneous solution. Fig. 1 shows the catalytic activity for the UCR supported catalyst (red dots) at ~0.001 mol % loading in the metathesis of 1-decene. The black dots are metathesis activity of the same catalyst unsupported catalyst in solution at 0.1 mol%.  

Material For Thermal Regulation

Researchers at UCI have developed a lightweight, flexible thermal material that, due to the extent that it is stretched, allows for tunable control of heat flow.

Lower Cost Method for Fabricating Porous Metal Oxide Composites

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed lower cost methods to synthesize metal oxide composites. The metal organic particles are fabricated by first dispersing a metal oxide precursor with a dispersing agent. The pH of the dispersing agent is set between 7.8 and 11. These conditions promote binding of the metal oxide and dispersing agent in solution. The resulting mixture is then heated at lower temperatures than current processes and subsequently extruded to form the desired geometry. The nanoparticles can be recovered and reused for further treatment. Metal oxides can also be fabricated into stand-alone structures, eliminating the need for nanoparticle recovery. Fig. 1 Continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) fabrication method for the metal oxide particles. Metal oxide is mixed with the dispersing agent, then washed, heat-treated and finally extruded into the desired geometry   Fig. 2 Dried cubes of TiO2 mixed with PVA dispersing agent  

Variable Friction Shoe

The Variable Friction Shoe, which ameliorates the effects of drop foot.

Iii-N Transistor With Stepped Cap Layers

A new structure for III-N transistors that is able to maintain a high breakdown and operating voltage while improving the gain of the device.

Device and Method for Microscale Chemical Reactions

UCLA researchers in the Departments of Bioengineering and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology have developed a passive microfluidic reactor chip with a simplified design that is less costly than existing microfluidic chips.

Device and Method for Accurate Sample Injection in Analytical Chemistry

Researchers in the UCLA Departments of Bioengineering and Medical and Molecular Pharmacology and the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences have developed a novel microvalve injector for capillary electrophoresis (CE) that improves injection repeatability and consistency.

Engineered Biomaterial to Prevent Endothelial Inflammation

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a biocompatible material to mimic the glycocalyx, the natural layer of molecules that coats the outside of endothelial cells. This technology can be used to treat inflammation in diseases characterized by dysfunction in leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions.

Selective Deposition Of Diamond In Thermal Vias

UCLA researchers in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering have developed a new method of diamond deposition in integrated circuit vias for thermal dissipation.

Combination of a drug with low level light therapy (LLT) for treatment of wounds

This is a combination of a drug and light technology for the purpose of accelerating the healing of wounds on the skin, ulcers, and elsewhere in the body. Both methods have been shown to accelerate wound healing, and combining the two will potentially result in more rapid healing than either would alone.  

Metal Triazolites

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a novel metal-organic framework (MOF) using triazole ligands that allows for facile modification with a variety of metals, which has unique gas separation and adsorption properties.

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