Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Klein bottle


Natural composites exhibit exceptional mechanical performance that often arises from complex fiber arrangements within continuous matrices. Inspired by these natural systems, we developed a rotational 3D printing method that enables spatially controlled orientation of short fibers in polymer matrices solely by varying the nozzle rotation speed relative to the printing speed. Using this method, we fabricated carbon fiber-epoxy composites composed of volume elements (voxels) with programmably defined fiber arrangements, including adjacent regions with orthogonally and helically oriented fibers that lead to nonuniform strain and failure as well as those with purely helical fiber orientations akin to natural composites that exhibit enhanced damage tolerance. Our approach broadens the design, microstructural complexity, and performance space for fiber-reinforced composites through site-specific optimization of their fiber orientation, strain, failure, and damage tolerance.

Concepts: Group, Orientation, Classical mechanics, Paper, Rotation, Rigid body, Klein bottle, Fiberglass


Recent studies have shown that frost can grow in a suspended Cassie state on nanostructured superhydrophobic surfaces. During defrosting, the melting sheet of Cassie frost spontaneously dewets into quasi-spherical slush droplets that are highly mobile. Promoting Cassie frost would therefore seem advantageous from a defrosting standpoint; however, nobody has systematically compared the efficiency of defrosting Cassie ice versus defrosting conventional surfaces. Here, we characterize the defrosting of an aluminum plate, one half of which exhibits a superhydrophobic nanostructure while the other half is smooth and hydrophobic. For thick frost sheets (> 1 mm), the superhydrophobic surface was able to dynamically shed the meltwater, even at very low tilt angles. In contrast, the hydrophobic surface was unable to shed any appreciable meltwater even at a 90° tilt angle. For thin frost layers (≤ 1 mm), not even the superhydrophobic surface could mobilize the meltwater. We attribute this to the large apparent contact angle of the meltwater, which for small amounts of frost serves to minimize coalescence events and prevent droplets from approaching the capillary length. Finally, we demonstrate a new mode of dynamic defrosting using an upside-down surface orientation, where the melting frost was able to uniformly detach from the superhydrophobic side and subsequently pull the frost from the hydrophobic side in a chain reaction. Treating surfaces to enable Cassie frost is therefore very desirable for enabling rapid and low-energy thermal defrosting, but only for frost sheets that are sufficiently thick.

Concepts: Hydrophobe, Liquid, Surface tension, Surface, Angle, Klein bottle, Torus


Fiber tractography plays an important role in exploring the architectural organization of fiber trajectories, both in fundamental neuroscience and in clinical applications. With the advent of diffusion MRI (dMRI) approaches that can also model “crossing fibers”, the complexity of the fiber network as reconstructed with tractography has increased tremendously. Many pathways interdigitate and overlap, which hampers an unequivocal 3D visualization of the network and impedes an efficient study of its organization. We propose a novel fiber tractography visualization approach that interactively and selectively adapts the transparency rendering of fiber trajectories as a function of their orientation to enhance the visibility of the spatial context. More specifically, pathways that are oriented (locally or globally) along a user-specified opacity axis can be made more transparent or opaque. This substantially improves the 3D visualization of the fiber network and the exploration of tissue configurations that would otherwise be largely covered by other pathways. We present examples of fiber bundle extraction and neurosurgical planning cases where the added benefit of our new visualization scheme is demonstrated over conventional fiber visualization approaches.

Concepts: Magnetic resonance imaging, The Network, Computer graphics, 2D computer graphics, Visualization, Klein bottle, Bundle, Möbius strip


We show that substrates with nonzero Gaussian curvature influence the organization of stress fibers and direct the migration of cells. To study the role of Gaussian curvature, we developed a sphere-with-skirt surface in which a positive Gaussian curvature spherical cap is seamlessly surrounded by a negative Gaussian curvature draping skirt, both with principal radii similar to cell-length scales. We find significant reconfiguration of two subpopulations of stress fibers when fibroblasts are exposed to these curvatures. Apical stress fibers in cells on skirts align in the radial direction and avoid bending by forming chords across the concave gap, whereas basal stress fibers bend along the convex direction. Cell migration is also strongly influenced by the Gaussian curvature. Real-time imaging shows that cells migrating on skirts repolarize to establish a leading edge in the azimuthal direction. Thereafter, they migrate in that direction. This behavior is notably different from migration on planar surfaces, in which cells typically migrate in the same direction as the apical stress fiber orientation. Thus, this platform reveals that nonzero Gaussian curvature not only affects the positioning of cells and alignment of stress fiber subpopulations but also directs migration in a manner fundamentally distinct from that of migration on planar surfaces.

Concepts: Surface, Sphere, Differential geometry, Curvature, Klein bottle, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Gaussian curvature, Torus


In organic electronics the functionalization of dielectric substrates with self-assembled monolayers is regarded as an effective surface modification strategy that may significantly improve the resulting device performance. However, this technique is not suitable for polymer substrates typically used in flexible electronics. Here, we report organic modifiers based on a paraffinic tripodal triptycene, which self-assembles into a completely oriented two-dimensional hexagonal triptycene array and one-dimensional layer stacking structure on polymer surfaces. Such few-layer films are analogous to conventional self-assembled monolayers on inorganic substrates in that they neutralize the polymer surface. Furthermore, the triptycene films significantly improve the crystallinity of an organic semiconductor and the overall performance of organic thin-film transistors, therefore enabling the fabrication of high-performance organic complementary circuits on polymer substrates with high oscillation speeds and low operation voltage.

Concepts: Semiconductor, Transistor, Manifold, Surface, Surfaces, Klein bottle, Thin films, Orientability


Low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy measurements and first principles calculations are employed to characterize edge structures observed for graphene nanoislands grown on the Co(0001) surface. Images of these nanostructures reveal straight well-ordered edges with zigzag orientation, which are characterized by a distinct peak at low bias in tunneling spectra. Density functional theory based calculations are used to discriminate between candidate edge structures. Several zigzag oriented edge structures have lower formation energy than armchair oriented edges. Of these, the lowest formation energy configurations are a zigzag and a Klein edge structure, each with the final carbon atom over the hollow site in the Co(0001) surface. In the absence of hydrogen, the interaction with the Co(0001) substrate plays a key role in stabilizing these edge structures and determines their local conformation and electronic properties. The calculated electronic properties for the low energy edge structures are consistent with the measured scanning tunneling images.

Concepts: Chemical bond, Carbon, Density functional theory, Surface, Klein bottle, Orientability, Möbius strip, Real projective plane


CdTe wires have been fabricated via a catalyst free method using the industrially scalable physical vapor deposition technique close space sublimation. Wire growth was shown to be highly dependent on surface roughness and deposition pressure, with only low roughness surfaces being capable of producing wires. Growth of wires is highly (111) oriented and is inferred to occur via a vapor-solid-solid growth mechanism, wherein a CdTe seed particle acts to template the growth. Such seed particles are visible as wire caps and have been characterized via energy dispersive X-ray analysis to establish they are single phase CdTe, hence validating the self-catalysation route. Cathodoluminescence analysis demonstrates that CdTe wires exhibited a much lower level of recombination when compared to a planar CdTe film, which is highly beneficial for semiconductor applications.

Concepts: Ice, X-ray crystallography, Chemical vapor deposition, Surface, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Vacuum, Klein bottle, Torus


Generating physical or chemical gradients in thin-film scaffolds is an efficient approach for screening and optimizing an interfacial structure or chemical functionality to create tailored surfaces that are useful because of their wetting, antifouling, or barrier properties. The relationship between the structure of poly(2-vinyl-4,4-dimethyl azlactone) (PVDMA) brushes created by the preferential assembly of poly(glycidyl methacrylate)- block-PVDMA diblock copolymers and the ability to chemically modify the PVDMA chains in situ to create a gradient in functionality are examined to investigate how the extent of functionalization affects the interfacial and surface properties. The introduction of a chemical gradient by controlled immersion allows reactive modification to generate position-dependent properties that are assessed by ellipsometry, attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, contact angle measurements, and atomic force microscopy imaging. After functionalization of the azlactone rings with n-alkyl amines, ellipsometry confirms an increase in thickness and contact angle measurements support an increase in hydrophobicity along the substrate. These results are used to establish relationships between layer thickness, reaction time, position, and the extent of functionalization and demonstrate that gradual immersion into the functionalizing solution results in a linear change in chemical functionality along the surface. These findings broadly support efforts to produce tailored surfaces by in situ chemical modification, having application as tailored membranes, protein resistant surfaces, or sensors.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Chemistry, Copolymer, Surface, Angle, Contact angle, Thin film, Klein bottle


Recent work has suggested that coupled silicon dangling bonds sharing an excess electron may serve as building blocks for quantum-cellular-automata cells and quantum computing schemes when constructed on hydrogen-terminated silicon surfaces. In this work, we employ ab initio density-functional theory to examine the details associated with the coupling between two dangling bonds sharing one excess electron and arranged in various configurations on models of phosphorous-doped hydrogen-terminated silicon (100) surfaces. Our results show that the coupling strength depends strongly on the relative orientation of the dangling bonds on the surface and on the separation between them. The orientation of dangling bonds is determined by the anisotropy of the silicon (100) surface, so this feature of the surface is a significant contributing factor to variations in the strength of coupling between dangling bonds. The results demonstrate that simple models for approximating tunneling, such as the Wentzel-Kramer-Brillouin method, which do not incorporate the details of surface structure, are incapable of providing reasonable estimates of tunneling rates between dangling bonds. The results provide guidance to efforts related to the development of dangling-bond based computing elements.

Concepts: Surface, Klein bottle, Torus


The present paper highlights the application of bacterial surface (S-) layer proteins as versatile components for the fabrication of biosensors. One technologically relevant feature of S-layer proteins is their ability to self-assemble on many surfaces and interfaces to form a crystalline two-dimensional (2D) protein lattice. The S-layer lattice on the surface of a biosensor becomes part of the interface architecture linking the bioreceptor to the transducer interface, which may cause signal amplification. The S-layer lattice as ultrathin, highly porous structure with functional groups in a well-defined special distribution and orientation and an overall anti-fouling characteristics can significantly raise the limit in terms of variety and the ease of bioreceptor immobilization, compactness of bioreceptor molecule arrangement, sensitivity, specificity, and detection limit for many types of biosensors. The present paper discusses and summarizes examples for the successful implementation of S-layer lattices on biosensor surfaces in order to give a comprehensive overview on the application potential of these bioinspired S-layer protein-based biosensors.

Concepts: Vector space, Real number, Surface, Object-oriented programming, Analytic geometry, Klein bottle, Torus