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Concept: Van der Waals force


Since its discovery, the wetting transparency of graphene, the transmission of the substrate wetting property over graphene coating, has gained significant attention due to its versatility for potential applications. Yet, there have been debates on the interpretation and validity of the wetting transparency. Here, we present a theory taking two previously disregarded factors into account and elucidate the origin of the partial wetting transparency. We show that the liquid bulk modulus is crucial to accurately calculate the van der Waals interactions between the liquid and the surface, and that various wetting states on rough surfaces must be considered to understand a wide range of contact angle measurements that cannot be fitted with a theory considering the flat surface. In addition, we reveal that the wetting characteristic of the substrate almost vanishes when covered by any coating as thick as graphene double layers. Our findings reveal a more complete picture of the wetting transparency of graphene as well as other atomically thin coatings, and can be applied to study various surface engineering problems requiring wettability-tuning.

Concepts: Van der Waals force, Wetting, Surface tension, Coating, Surface, Angle, Young's modulus, Contact angle


A cationic bis-imidazolium-based amphiphile was used to form thermoreversible nanostructured supramolecular hydrogels incorporating neutral and cationic drugs for the topical treatment of rosacea. The concentration of the gelator and the type and concentration of the drug incorporated were found to be factors that strongly influenced the gelling temperature, gel-formation period, and overall stability and morphology. The incorporation of brimonidine tartrate resulted in the formation of the most homogeneous material of the three drugs explored, whereas the incorporation of betamethasone resulted in a gel with a completely different morphology comprising linked particles. NMR spectroscopy studies proved that these gels kept the drug not only at the interstitial space but also within the fibers. Due to the design of the gelator, drug release was up to 10 times faster and retention of the drug within the skin was up to 20 times more effective than that observed for commercial products. Experiments in vivo demonstrated the rapid efficacy of these gels in reducing erythema, especially in the case of the gel with brimonidine. The lack of coulombic attraction between the gelator-host and the guest-drug seemed particularly important in highly effective release, and the intermolecular interactions operating between them were found to lie at the root of the excellent properties of the materials for topical delivery and treatment of rosacea.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Drug, Chemistry, Van der Waals force, Intermolecular force, Gel, Brimonidine, Interstitial


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


Van der Waals heterostructures are comprised of stacked atomically thin two-dimensional crystals and serve as novel materials providing unprecedented properties. However, the random natures in positions and shapes of exfoliated two-dimensional crystals have required the repetitive manual tasks of optical microscopy-based searching and mechanical transferring, thereby severely limiting the complexity of heterostructures. To solve the problem, here we develop a robotic system that searches exfoliated two-dimensional crystals and assembles them into superlattices inside the glovebox. The system can autonomously detect 400 monolayer graphene flakes per hour with a small error rate (<7%) and stack four cycles of the designated two-dimensional crystals per hour with few minutes of human intervention for each stack cycle. The system enabled fabrication of the superlattice consisting of 29 alternating layers of the graphene and the hexagonal boron nitride. This capacity provides a scalable approach for prototyping a variety of van der Waals superlattices.

Concepts: Van der Waals force, Graphite, Assembly language, Diamond, Problem solving, Searching, Cycle, Boron nitride


Semiconductor heterostructures form the cornerstone of many electronic and optoelectronic devices and are traditionally fabricated using epitaxial growth techniques. More recently, heterostructures have also been obtained by vertical stacking of two-dimensional crystals, such as graphene and related two-dimensional materials. These layered designer materials are held together by van der Waals forces and contain atomically sharp interfaces. Here, we report on a type-II van der Waals heterojunction made of molybdenum disulfide and tungsten diselenide monolayers. The junction is electrically tunable and under appropriate gate bias, an atomically thin diode is realized. Upon optical illumination, charge transfer occurs across the planar interface and the device exhibits a photovoltaic effect. Advances in large-scale production of two-dimensional crystals could thus lead to a new photovoltaic solar technology.

Concepts: Electric charge, Fundamental physics concepts, Van der Waals force, Molybdenum, Semiconductor, Solar cell, Photodiode, Heterojunction


The design of stacks of layered materials in which adjacent layers interact by van der Waals forces has enabled the combination of various two-dimensional crystals with different electrical, optical and mechanical properties as well as the emergence of novel physical phenomena and device functionality. Here, we report photoinduced doping in van der Waals heterostructures consisting of graphene and boron nitride layers. It enables flexible and repeatable writing and erasing of charge doping in graphene with visible light. We demonstrate that this photoinduced doping maintains the high carrier mobility of the graphene/boron nitride heterostructure, thus resembling the modulation doping technique used in semiconductor heterojunctions, and can be used to generate spatially varying doping profiles such as p-n junctions. We show that this photoinduced doping arises from microscopically coupled optical and electrical responses of graphene/boron nitride heterostructures, including optical excitation of defect transitions in boron nitride, electrical transport in graphene, and charge transfer between boron nitride and graphene.

Concepts: Physics, Light, Van der Waals force, Semiconductor, Boron, Boron nitride, P-n junction, Heterojunction


With recent advances in nanotechnology, environmental and health consequences of nanomaterial disposal merit close attention. In the search for environmentally-friendly reagent, this study investigates the use of humic acid (HA) as an assist of dissolved air flotation (DAF) in the TiO2 nanoparticle (TNP) elimination. To determine mechanisms of TNPs interacting with HA, surface modification experiments were firstly carried out; thereafter, laboratory scaled DAF tests were applied to remove TNPs with HA assisting. Results of surface modification experiments showed that the zeta potential of TNP suspension system had a reversal trend due to counter ions of TNP and anions offered by the HA stock solution. The surface modified suspension was not easy to restabilize because of the close combination of TNPs and HA through sphere linkages or hydrogen-bonded surface complexes. Agglomeration took place more readily along with increasing HA concentration in the optimum dosage range (7.8-9.15mg/L DOC). The flotation performance revealed that HA could improve the DAF efficiency in the optimum dosage range of HA. The interaction between TNPs and HA (Na(+)-humate), including surface charge neutralization (electrostatic interactions), sphere linkages or hydrogen-bonded surface complexes, hydrophobic interactions, and van der Waals interactions, played dominant roles.

Concepts: Chemistry, Interaction, Nanotechnology, Van der Waals force, Colloid, Water treatment, Dissolved air flotation, Flotation process


In Parkinson’s disease, the motor impairments are mainly caused by the death of dopaminergic neurons. Among the enzymes which are involved in the biosynthesis and catabolism of dopamine, monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) has been a therapeutic target of Parkinson’s disease. However, due to the undesirable adverse effects, development of alternative MAO-B inhibitors with greater optimal therapeutic potential towards Parkinson’s disease is urgently required. In this study, we designed and synthesized the oxazolopyridine and thiazolopyridine derivatives, and biologically evaluated their inhibitory activities against MAO-B. Structure-activity relationship study revealed that the piperidino group was the best choice for the R(1) amino substituent to the oxazolopyridine core structure and the activities of the oxazolopyridines with various phenyl rings were between 267.1 and 889.5nM in IC50 values. Interestingly, by replacement of the core structure from oxazolopyrine to thiazolopyridine, the activities were significantly improved and the compound 1n with the thiazolopyridine core structure showed the most potent activity with the IC50 value of 26.5nM. Molecular docking study showed that van der Waals interaction in the human MAO-B active site could explain the enhanced inhibitory activities of thiazolopyridine derivatives.

Concepts: Parkinson's disease, Van der Waals force, Enzyme inhibitor, Neurotransmitter, Dopamine, Monoamine oxidase, Rasagiline, Monoamine oxidase B


Intermolecular interaction in the 1,2,5-chalcogenadiazole dimers was studied by ab initio molecular orbital calculations. Estimated CCSD(T) interaction energies for the thia-, selena- and tellura-diazole dimers are -3.14, -5.29 and -12.42 kcal/mol, respectively. The electrostatic and dispersion interactions are the major sources of the attraction in the dimers, although it was claimed that the orbital mixing (charge-transfer interaction) was the most prominent contribution to the stabilization. The induction (induced polarization) interaction also contributes largely to the attraction in the telluradiazole dimer. The large electrostatic and induction interactions are responsible for the strong attraction in the telluradiazole dimer. On the other hand, the short-range (orbital-orbital) interaction (sum of the exchange-repulsion and charge-transfer interactions) is repulsive. The directionality of the interactions increases in order of S < Se < Te. The electrostatic interaction is mainly responsible for the directionality. The strong directionality suggests that the chalcogen-nitrogen interaction plays important roles in controlling the orientation of molecules in those organic crystals. The nature of the chalcogen-nitrogen interaction in the chalcogenadiazole dimers is similar to that of the halogen bond, which is electrostatically-driven noncovalent interaction.

Concepts: Electron, Fundamental physics concepts, Maxwell's equations, Molecule, Chemistry, Van der Waals force, Chemical bonding, Macromolecule


In flexible 2D-devices, strain transfer between different van-der Waals stacked layers is expected to play an important role in determining their optoelectronic performances and mechanical stability. Using a 2D non-linear shear-lag model, we demonstrate that only 1-2% strain can be transferred between adjacent layers of different 2d-materials, depending on the strength of the interlayer vdW interaction and the elastic modulus of the individual layers. Beyond this critical strain, layers begin to slip with respect to each other. We further show that due to the symmetry of the periodic interlayer shear potential, stacked structures form strain solitons with alternating AB/BA or AB/AB stacking which are separated by incommensurate domain walls. The extent and the separation distance of these commensurate domains are found to be determined by the degree of the applied strain, and their magnitudes are calculated for several 2D heterostructures and bilayers including MoS2/WS2, MoSe2/WSe2, Graphene/Graphene and MoS2/MoS2 using a multiscale method. As bilayer structures have been shown to exhibit stacking-dependent electronic bandgap and quantum transport properties, the predictions of our study will not only be crucial in determining the mechanical stability of flexible 2D devices but will also help to better understand optoelectronic response of flexible devices.

Concepts: Van der Waals force, Semiconductor, Young's modulus, Determinacy, Solid mechanics, Debut albums, Legal separation, Wadge hierarchy