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Concept: Electric charge


The negatively charged nitrogen vacancy (NV(-)) center in diamond is the focus of widespread attention for applications ranging from quantum information processing to nanoscale metrology. Although most work so far has focused on the NV(-) optical and spin properties, control of the charge state promises complementary opportunities. One intriguing possibility is the long-term storage of information, a notion we hereby introduce using NV-rich, type 1b diamond. As a proof of principle, we use multicolor optical microscopy to read, write, and reset arbitrary data sets with two-dimensional (2D) binary bit density comparable to present digital-video-disk (DVD) technology. Leveraging on the singular dynamics of NV(-) ionization, we encode information on different planes of the diamond crystal with no cross-talk, hence extending the storage capacity to three dimensions. Furthermore, we correlate the center’s charge state and the nuclear spin polarization of the nitrogen host and show that the latter is robust to a cycle of NV(-) ionization and recharge. In combination with super-resolution microscopy techniques, these observations provide a route toward subdiffraction NV charge control, a regime where the storage capacity could exceed present technologies.

Concepts: Electron, Electric charge, Photon, Fundamental physics concepts, Dimension, Microscopy, Spintronics, Computer data storage


Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are tantalizing candidates for semiconductor electronics because of their exceptional charge transport properties and one-dimensional electrostatics. Ballistic transport approaching the quantum conductance limit of 2G 0 = 4e (2)/h has been achieved in field-effect transistors (FETs) containing one CNT. However, constraints in CNT sorting, processing, alignment, and contacts give rise to nonidealities when CNTs are implemented in densely packed parallel arrays such as those needed for technology, resulting in a conductance per CNT far from 2G 0. The consequence has been that, whereas CNTs are ultimately expected to yield FETs that are more conductive than conventional semiconductors, CNTs, instead, have underperformed channel materials, such as Si, by sixfold or more. We report quasi-ballistic CNT array FETs at a density of 47 CNTs μm(-1), fabricated through a combination of CNT purification, solution-based assembly, and CNT treatment. The conductance is as high as 0.46 G 0 per CNT. In parallel, the conductance of the arrays reaches 1.7 mS μm(-1), which is seven times higher than the previous state-of-the-art CNT array FETs made by other methods. The saturated on-state current density is as high as 900 μA μm(-1) and is similar to or exceeds that of Si FETs when compared at and equivalent gate oxide thickness and at the same off-state current density. The on-state current density exceeds that of GaAs FETs as well. This breakthrough in CNT array performance is a critical advance toward the exploitation of CNTs in logic, high-speed communications, and other semiconductor electronics technologies.

Concepts: Electric charge, Carbon, Integrated circuit, Semiconductor, Silicon, Transistor, Carbon nanotube, Germanium


Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) use information from surrounding electric fields to make foraging decisions. Electroreception in air, a nonconductive medium, is a recently discovered sensory capacity of insects, yet the sensory mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we investigate two putative electric field sensors: antennae and mechanosensory hairs. Examining their mechanical and neural response, we show that electric fields cause deflections in both antennae and hairs. Hairs respond with a greater median velocity, displacement, and angular displacement than antennae. Extracellular recordings from the antennae do not show any electrophysiological correlates to these mechanical deflections. In contrast, hair deflections in response to an electric field elicited neural activity. Mechanical deflections of both hairs and antennae increase with the electric charge carried by the bumblebee. From this evidence, we conclude that sensory hairs are a site of electroreception in the bumblebee.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Electric charge, Electromagnetic field, Honey bee, Bee, Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, Bumblebees


Resveratrol (3,5,4'-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene) is a polyphenol found in various plants, especially in the skin of red grapes. The effect of resveratrol on human health is the topic of numerous studies. In fact this molecule has shown anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, blood-sugar-lowering ability and beneficial cardiovascular effects. However, for many polyphenol compounds of natural origin bioavailability is limited by low solubility in biological fluids, as well as by rapid metabolization in vivo. Therefore, appropriate carriers are required to obtain efficient therapeutics along with low administration doses.Liposomes are excellent candidates for drug delivery purposes, due to their biocompatibility, wide choice of physico-chemical properties and easy preparation.In this paper liposome formulations made by a saturated phosphatidyl-choline (DPPC) and cholesterol (or its positively charged derivative DC-CHOL) were chosen to optimize the loading of a rigid hydrophobic molecule such as resveratrol.Plain and resveratrol loaded liposomes were characterized for size, surface charge and structural details by complementary techniques, i.e. Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), Zeta potential and Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS). Nuclear and Electron Spin magnetic resonances (NMR and ESR, respectively) were also used to gain information at the molecular scale.The obtained results allowed to give an account of loaded liposomes in which resveratrol interacted with the bilayer, being more deeply inserted in cationic liposomes than in zwitterionic liposomes. Relevant properties such as the mean size and the presence of oligolamellar structures were influenced by the loading of RESV guest molecules.The toxicity of all these systems was tested on stabilized cell lines (mouse fibroblast NIH-3T3 and human astrocytes U373-MG), showing that cell viability was not affected by the administration of liposomial resveratrol.

Concepts: Electron, Electric charge, Molecule, Scattering, Resveratrol, Polyphenol antioxidant, Polyphenol, Dynamic light scattering


The flow of magnetic charge carriers (dubbed magnetic monopoles) through frustrated spin ice lattices, governed simply by Coulombic forces, represents a new direction in electromagnetism. Artificial spin ice nanoarrays realise this effect at room temperature, where the magnetic charge is carried by domain walls. Control of domain wall path is one important element of utilizing this new medium. By imaging the transit of domain walls across different connected 2D honeycomb structures we contribute an important aspect which will enable that control to be realized. Although apparently equivalent paths are presented to a domain wall as it approaches a Y-shaped vertex from a bar parallel to the field, we observe a stark non-random path distribution, which we attribute to the chirality of the magnetic charges. These observations are supported by detailed statistical modelling and micromagnetic simulations. The identification of chiral control to magnetic charge path selectivity invites analogy with spintronics.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Electric charge, Magnetic field, Magnet, Magnetism, Magnetic monopole, Topological defect


Van der Waals forces are among the weakest, yet most decisive interactions governing condensation and aggregation processes and the phase behaviour of atomic and molecular matter. Understanding the resulting structural motifs and patterns has become increasingly important in studies of the nanoscale regime. Here we measure the paradigmatic van der Waals interactions represented by the noble gas atom pairs Ar-Xe, Kr-Xe and Xe-Xe with a Xe-functionalized tip of an atomic force microscope at low temperature. Individual rare gas atoms were fixed at node sites of a surface-confined two-dimensional metal-organic framework. We found that the magnitude of the measured force increased with the atomic radius, yet detailed simulation by density functional theory revealed that the adsorption induced charge redistribution strengthened the van der Waals forces by a factor of up to two, thus demonstrating the limits of a purely atomic description of the interaction in these representative systems.

Concepts: Electric charge, Fundamental physics concepts, Atom, Van der Waals force, Gas, Helium, Noble gas, Electron shell


It is rarely the case that a single electron affects the behaviour of several hundred thousands of atoms. Here we demonstrate a phenomenon where this happens. The key role is played by topological insulators-materials that have surface states protected by time-reversal symmetry. Such states are delocalized over the surface and are immune to its imperfections in contrast to ordinary insulators. For topological insulators, the effects of these surface states will be more strongly pronounced in the case of nanoparticles. Here we show that under the influence of light a single electron in a topologically protected surface state creates a surface charge density similar to a plasmon in a metallic nanoparticle. Such an electron can act as a screening layer, which suppresses absorption inside the particle. In addition, it can couple phonons and light, giving rise to a previously unreported topological particle polariton mode. These effects may be useful in the areas of plasmonics, cavity electrodynamics and quantum information.

Concepts: Electron, Electric charge, Photon, Quantum mechanics, Fundamental physics concepts, Condensed matter physics, Surface plasmon resonance, Quasiparticle


We examined the charges, their variability, and respective payer group for diagnosis and treatment of the ten most common outpatient conditions presenting to the Emergency department (ED).

Concepts: Electric charge, Medical terms, Diagnosis, Hospital, Dublin


The development of bendable, stretchable, and transparent touch sensors is an emerging technological goal in a variety of fields, including electronic skin, wearables, and flexible handheld devices. Although transparent tactile sensors based on metal mesh, carbon nanotubes, and silver nanowires demonstrate operation in bent configurations, we present a technology that extends the operation modes to the sensing of finger proximity including light touch during active bending and even stretching. This is accomplished using stretchable and ionically conductive hydrogel electrodes, which project electric field above the sensor to couple with and sense a finger. The polyacrylamide electrodes are embedded in silicone. These two widely available, low-cost, transparent materials are combined in a three-step manufacturing technique that is amenable to large-area fabrication. The approach is demonstrated using a proof-of-concept 4 × 4 cross-grid sensor array with a 5-mm pitch. The approach of a finger hovering a few centimeters above the array is readily detectable. Light touch produces a localized decrease in capacitance of 15%. The movement of a finger can be followed across the array, and the location of multiple fingers can be detected. Touch is detectable during bending and stretch, an important feature of any wearable device. The capacitive sensor design can be made more or less sensitive to bending by shifting it relative to the neutral axis. Ultimately, the approach is adaptable to the detection of proximity, touch, pressure, and even the conformation of the sensor surface.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Electric charge, Electricity, Somatosensory system, Wearable computer, Stretching, Bending, Bend


Superoleophobic surfaces are of interest for anti-fouling, self-cleaning, anti-smudge, low-drag, anti-fog, and oil-water separation applications. Current bioinspired surfaces are of limited use due to a lack of mechanical durability. A so-called layer-by-layer approach, involving charged species with electrostatic interactions between layers, can provide the flexibility needed to improve adhesion to the substrate while providing a low surface tension coating at the air interface. In this work, a polyelectrolyte binder, SiO2 nanoparticles, and a fluorosurfactant are spray deposited separately to create a durable, superoleophobic coating. Polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride (PDDA) polyelectrolyte was complexed with a fluorosurfactant layer (FL), which provides oil repellency while being hydrophilic. This oleophobic/superhydrophilic behavior was enhanced through the use of roughening with SiO2 particles resulting in a superoleophobic coating with hexadecane contact angles exceeding 155° and tilt angles of less than 4°. The coating is also superhydrophilic, which is desirable for oil-water separation applications. The durability of these coatings was examined through the use of micro- and macrowear experiments. These coatings currently display characteristics of transparency. Fabrication of these coatings via the layer-by-layer technique results in superoleophobic surfaces displaying improved durability compared to existing work where either the durability or the oil-repellency is compromised.

Concepts: Electric charge, Improve, Layer, Wetting, Coating, Surface, Mechanical, PolyDADMAC