Publications by authors named "Zhen Cao"

243 Publications

Superconductivity and High-Pressure Performance of 2D MoC Crystals.

J Phys Chem Lett 2021 Feb 26:2219-2225. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Division of Physical Science and Engineering (PSE), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia.

Two-dimensional (2D) materials have attracted significant attention for their ability to support novel magneto-electrical transport and their optical and magnetic properties, of which their superconductivity is particularly of interest. Here we report on the behavior of superconductivity in 2D MoC crystals when hydrostatic pressure is applied, which has not yet been described in the literature. We found that the localization of boundary atoms disorder-induced Cooper pairs can suppress the superconducting transition temperature () as effectively as a magnetic field and current. We observed that the initially decreased as the pressure increased to 1.75 GPa but then began to increase as the pressure increased further to 2.5 GPa. Our density functional theory calculations revealed that this behavior was linked to the modulation of the strength of the electron-phonon coupling and the electron property, which was triggered by compression of the lattice under high pressure. We attributed the inflection point in the hydrostatic pressure-dependent curve to the structural phase transition of MoC from a hexagonal to an orthorhombic structure. This work presents a new avenue for the study of the superconductivity of MoC, which can be extended to apply to other 2D superconductors to modulate their electronic states.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.1c00071DOI Listing
February 2021

Sertoli cell-derived exosomal MicroRNA-486-5p regulates differentiation of spermatogonial stem cell through PTEN in mice.

J Cell Mol Med 2021 Feb 19. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Department of Cell Biology & Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Bioengineering Medicine, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China.

Self-renewal and differentiation of spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) are critical for male fertility and reproduction, both of which are highly regulated by testicular microenvironment. Exosomal miRNAs have emerged as new components in intercellular communication. However, their roles in the differentiation of SSC remain unclear. Here, we observed miR-486-5p enriched in Sertoli cell and Sertoli cell-derived exosomes. The exosomes mediate the transfer of miR-486-5p from Sertoli cells to SSCs. Exosomes release miR-486-5p, thus up-regulate expression of Stra8 (stimulated by retinoic acid 8) and promote differentiation of SSC. And PTEN was identified as a target of miR-486-5p. Overexpression of miR-486-5p in SSCs down-regulates PTEN expression, which up-regulates the expression of STRA8 and SYCP3, promotes SSCs differentiation. In addition, blocking the exosome-mediated transfer of miR-486-5p inhibits differentiation of SSC. Our findings demonstrate that miR-486-5p acts as a communication molecule between Sertoli cells and SSCs in modulating differentiation of SSCs. This provides a new insight on molecular mechanisms that regulates SSC differentiation and a basis for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of male infertility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcmm.16347DOI Listing
February 2021

Microstructural and Cerebral Blood Flow Abnormalities in Subjective Cognitive Decline Plus: Diffusional Kurtosis Imaging and Three-Dimensional Arterial Spin Labeling Study.

Front Aging Neurosci 2021 1;13:625843. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Medical Imaging Center, Shenzhen Hospital, Southern Medical University, Shenzhen, China.

To explore microstructural and cerebral blood flow (CBF) abnormalities in individuals with subjective cognitive decline plus (SCD plus) using diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI) and three-dimensional (3D) arterial spin labeling (ASL). Twenty-seven patients with SCD plus, 31 patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), and 33 elderly controls (ECs) were recruited and underwent DKI and 3D ASL using a GE 3.0-T MRI. Mean kurtosis (MK), fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), and CBF values were acquired from 24 regions of interest (ROIs) in the brain, including the bilateral hippocampal (Hip) subregions (head, body, and tail), posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), precuneus, dorsal thalamus subregions (anterior nucleus, ventrolateral nucleus, and medial nucleus), lenticular nucleus, caput nuclei caudati, white matter (WM) of the frontal lobe, and WM of the occipital lobe. Pearson's correlation analysis was performed to assess the relationships among the DKI-derived parameters, CBF values, and key neuropsychological tests for SCD plus. Compared with ECs, participants with SCD plus showed a significant decline in MK and CBF values, mainly in the Hip head and PCC, and participants with aMCI exhibited more significant abnormalities in the MK and CBF values than individuals with ECs and SCD plus in multiple regions. Combined MK values showed better discrimination between patients with SCD plus and ECs than that obtained using CBF levels, with areas under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) of 0.874 and 0.837, respectively. Similarly, the AUC in discriminating SCD plus from aMCI patients obtained using combined MK values was 0.823, which was also higher than the combined AUC of 0.779 obtained using CBF values. Moreover, MK levels in the left Hip (h) and left PCC positively correlated with the auditory verbal learning test-delayed recall (AVLT-DR) score in participants with SCD plus. By contrast, only the CBF value in the left Hip head positively correlated with the AVLT-DR score. Our results provide new evidence of microstructural and CBF changes in patients with SCD plus. MK may be used as an early potential neuroimaging biomarker and may be a more sensitive DKI parameter than CBF at the very early stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2021.625843DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7882515PMC
February 2021

Complete plastome sequence of (Rosaceae), a species endemic in west of China.

Mitochondrial DNA B Resour 2021 Jan 20;6(1):234-235. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

College of Life Sciences, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, China.

The Chinese endemic species is of great importance biogeographically, and is distributed in the edge of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Here, the complete chloroplast genome sequence of was assembled based on the Illumina reads. The complete plastome is 158,740 bp in length, with a large single-copy (87,206 bp) region, a small single-copy (18,884 bp) region, and two inverted repeat (26,325 bp) regions. The plastome contains 134 genes. Complete chloroplast genome sequence of will provide irreplaceable information in rebuilding the evolutionary history of the clade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23802359.2020.1861995DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7832505PMC
January 2021

Unveiling the Role of Sulfur in Rapid Defluorination of Florfenicol by Sulfidized Nanoscale Zero-Valent Iron in Water under Ambient Conditions.

Environ Sci Technol 2021 Feb 2;55(4):2628-2638. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

College of Environmental and Resource Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China.

Groundwater contamination by halogenated organic compounds, especially fluorinated ones, threatens freshwater sources globally. Sulfidized nanoscale zero-valent iron (SNZVI), which is demonstrably effective for dechlorination of groundwater contaminants, has not been well explored for defluorination. Here, we show that SNZVI nanoparticles synthesized via a modified post-sulfidation method provide rapid dechlorination (∼1100 μmol m day) and relatively fast defluorination (∼6 μmol m day) of a halogenated emerging contaminant (florfenicol) under ambient conditions, the fastest rates that have ever been reported for Fe-based technologies. Batch reactivity experiments, material characterizations, and theoretical calculations indicate that coating S onto the metallic Fe surface provides a highly chemically reactive surface and changes the primary dechlorination pathway from atomic H for nanoscale zero-valent iron (NZVI) to electron transfer for SNZVI. S and Fe sites are responsible for the direct electron transfer and atomic H-mediated reaction, respectively, and β-elimination is the primary defluorination pathway. Notably, the Cl atoms in florfenicol make the surface more chemically reactive for defluorination, either by increasing florfenicol adsorption or by electronic effects. The defluorination rate by SNZVI is ∼132-222 times higher with chlorine attached compared to the absence of chlorine in the molecule. These mechanistic insights could lead to new SNZVI materials for in situ groundwater remediation of fluorinated contaminants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c07319DOI Listing
February 2021

Hsa_circ_0020095 Promotes Oncogenesis and Cisplatin Resistance in Colon Cancer by Sponging miR-487a-3p and Modulating SOX9.

Front Cell Dev Biol 2020 15;8:604869. Epub 2021 Jan 15.

Department of Gastrointestinal Cancer Surgery, Shandong Cancer Hospital and Institute, Shandong First Medical University and Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, Jinan, China.

Objectives: Colon cancer (CC) currently ranks as the third most common human cancer worldwide with an increasing incidence and a poor prognosis. Recently, circular RNAs have been reported to regulate the progression of diverse human cancers. However, the role of circRNA hsa_circ_0020095 in CC remains largely unclear.

Methods: Expression levels of the related circRNAs, microRNAs and mRNA in CC tissues and cells were determined. The impacts of circ_0020095 or miR-487a-3p on CC cells were examined at the indicated times after transfection. Meanwhile, a luciferase-reporter experiment was employed to validate the interplay between miR-487a-3p and circ_002009695 or SOX9. Moreover, the tumor growth assay was applied to further evaluate the effects of circ_0020095 knockdown on CC progression.

Results: We demonstrated that circ_0020095 was highly expressed in CC tissues and cells. The proliferation, migration, invasion, and cisplatin resistance of CC were suppressed by silencing circ_0020095 and or by ectopic expression of miR-487a-3p . Mechanistically, circ_0020095 could directly bind to miR-487a-3p and subsequently act as a miR-487a-3p sponge to modulate the activity by targeting the 3'-UTR of SOX9. Interestingly, overexpression of circ_0020095 dramatically reversed the suppressive effects of miR-487a-3p mimics on CC cells.

Conclusion: Circ_0020095 functions as an oncogene to accelerate CC cell proliferation, invasion, migration and cisplatin resistance through the miR-487a-3p/SOX9 axis, which could be a promising target for CC treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.604869DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7844065PMC
January 2021

Electrolyte-Mediated Stabilization of High-Capacity Micro-Sized Antimony Anodes for Potassium-Ion Batteries.

Adv Mater 2021 Feb 20;33(8):e2005993. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

State Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Resource Utilization, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, CAS, Changchun, 130022, China.

Alloying anodes exhibit very high capacity when used in potassium-ion batteries, but their severe capacity fading hinders their practical applications. The failure mechanism has traditionally been attributed to the large volumetric change and/or their fragile solid electrolyte interphase. Herein, it is reported that an antimony (Sb) alloying anode, even in bulk form, can be stabilized readily by electrolyte engineering. The Sb anode delivers an extremely high capacity of 628 and 305 mAh g at current densities of 100 and 3000 mA g , respectively, and remains stable for more than 200 cycles. Interestingly, there is no need to do nanostructural engineering and/or carbon modification to achieve this excellent performance. It is shown that the change in K solvation structure, which is tuned by electrolyte composition (i.e., anion, solvent, and concentration), is the main reason for achieving this excellent performance. Moreover, an interfacial model based on the K -solvent-anion complex behavior is presented. The electronegativity of the K -solvent-anion complex, which can be tuned by changing the solvent type and anion species, is used to predict and control electrode stability. The results shed new light on the failure mechanism of alloying anodes, and provide a new guideline for electrolyte design that stabilizes metal-ion batteries using alloying anodes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.202005993DOI Listing
February 2021

Nanoparticle-Assisted Pool Boiling Heat Transfer on Micro-Pin-Fin Surfaces.

Langmuir 2021 Jan 8;37(3):1089-1101. Epub 2021 Jan 8.

Heat Transfer Division, Department of Energy Sciences, Lund University, Box 118, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden.

Boiling heat transfer intensification is of significant relevance to energy conversion and various cooling processes. This study aimed to enhance the saturated pool boiling of FC-72 (a dielectric liquid) by surface modifications and explore mechanisms of the enhancement. Specifically, circular and square micro pin fins were fabricated on silicon surfaces by dry etching and then copper nanoparticles were deposited on the micro-pin-fin surfaces by electrostatic deposition. Experimental results indicated that compared with a smooth surface, the micro pin fins increased the heat transfer coefficient and the critical heat flux by more than 200 and 65-83%, respectively, which were further enhanced by the nanoparticles up to 24% and more than 20%, respectively. Correspondingly, the enhancement mechanism was carefully explored by high-speed bubble visualizations, surface wickability measurements, and model analysis. It was quantitatively found that small bubble departure diameters with high bubble departure frequencies promoted high heat transfer coefficients. The wickability, which characterizes the ability of a liquid to rewet a surface, played an important role in determining the critical heat flux, but further analyses indicated that evaporation beneath bubbles was also essential and competition between the wicking and the evaporation finally triggered the critical heat flux.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.0c02860DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7880573PMC
January 2021

Continuous Similarity Learning with Shared Neural Semantic Representation for Joint Event Detection and Evolution.

Comput Intell Neurosci 2020 12;2020:8859407. Epub 2020 Dec 12.

Beijing Key Lab of Intelligent Telecommunication Software and Multimedia, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Beijing, China.

In the era of the rapid development of today's Internet, people often feel overwhelmed by vast official news streams or unofficial self-media tweets. To help people obtain the news topics they care about, there is a growing need for systems that can extract important events from this amount of data and construct the evolution procedure of events logically into a story. Most existing methods treat event detection and evolution as two independent subtasks under an integrated pipeline setting. However, the interdependence between these two subtasks is often ignored, which leads to a biased propagation. Besides, due to the limitations of news documents' semantic representation, the performance of event detection and evolution is still limited. To tackle these problems, we propose a Joint Event Detection and Evolution (JEDE) model, to detect events and discover the event evolution relationships from news streams in this paper. Specifically, the proposed JEDE model is built upon the Siamese network, which first introduces the bidirectional GRU attention network to learn the vector-based semantic representation for news documents shared across two subtask networks. Then, two continuous similarity metrics are learned using stacked neural networks to judge whether two news documents are related to the same event or two events are related to the same story. Furthermore, due to the limited available dataset with ground truths, we make efforts to construct a new dataset, named EDENS, which contains valid labels of events and stories. The experimental results on this newly created dataset demonstrate that, thanks to the shared representation and joint training, the proposed model consistently achieves significant improvements over the baseline methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2020/8859407DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7752253PMC
December 2020

An optimized LC-MS/MS workflow for evaluating storage stability of fluroxypyr and halosulfuron-methyl in maize samples.

J Environ Sci Health B 2021 25;56(1):64-72. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Institute of Quality Standards & Testing Technology for Agro-Products, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China.

Pesticide registration ensures the safety of agricultural products; however, the backlog of field samples often requires lengthy storage periods. Thus, the stability of pesticide residues in stored samples is required information for pesticide registration. We monitored the degradation rates of fluroxypyr and halosulfuron-methyl in maize straw, mature maize grain, and fresh corn matrices to evaluate their storage stability. Analytes were extracted and cleaned up with a modified Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, and Safe (QuEChERS) method and then detected with liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry. We optimized the workflow by testing different clean-up sorbents, LC columns, and chromatographic methods. The linearity correlation coefficients of fluroxypyr and halosulfuron-methyl in the three matrices were ≥0.994. At three fortification levels, the mean recoveries of fluroxypyr and halosulfuron-methyl were 84.2-114.8% and 83.8-105.5% with relative standard deviations of 2.4-9.4% and 2.7-10.2%, respectively. Degradation of the two herbicides in the three matrices was less than 30% over the 70-day storage period, indicating fluroxypyr and halosulfuron-methyl are stable in the tested maize matrices when stored at -20 °C for at least 70 days. This study provides a reference method for pesticide residue analysis and can be used as a guide to develop accurate and reasonable pesticide registration procedures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03601234.2020.1838826DOI Listing
November 2020

From a bulk to nanoconfined water chain: bridge water at the pore of the (6,6) carbon nanotube.

Phys Chem Chem Phys 2020 Nov;22(44):25747-25759

Institute of New Energy Material Chemistry, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China.

Hydrophobic porous materials with nano-pores are critical in many processes such as water desalination and biological membrane transportation. Herein, we performed molecular dynamics (MD) simulations on a prototypical hydrophobic nanochannel consisting of a (6,6) carbon nanotube (CNT) of 4.12 Å in radius and 13.72 Å in length immersed in water. The simulation shows that there are two major filling numbers of water N = 5 and N = 6, with the former being the most stable one. The confined waters form a single-file water chain with two hydrogen bonds per water. An extending water chain is formed for N = 5, with a bridge water near the pore of the CNT linking the water confined inside the CNT and hydration layer around the pore of the CNT. The bridge water can be considered as intermediate water characterized by three hydrogen bonds that distinguish from the confined water and bulk water. On the other hand, the hydration layer is depleted from the pore when N = 6. The analyses of the correlation of the bond order for the adjacent hydrogen bond pair of the hydration layer around the pore of the CNT does not show apparent difference from that of bulk water, though the former is slightly ordered. van Hove analysis of the bridge water shows that it tends to move inside the CNT when N < 5, in order to maintain the chemical equilibrium between the confined water and bulk water. This study highlights the unique structure of water around the hydrophobic pore of a sub-nanometer nanochannel.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d0cp02531cDOI Listing
November 2020

Ground fused silica processed by combined chemical etching and CO laser polishing with super-smooth surface and high damage resistance.

Opt Lett 2020 Nov;45(21):6014-6017

Laser damage in fused silica, particularly ultraviolet laser damage, is still a key problem limiting the development of high-power laser systems. In this Letter, a combined process of chemical etching and laser polishing was applied to ground fused silica. A super-smooth surface with a root-mean-square roughness of 0.25 nm was achieved through this combined process. Furthermore, the combined process can reduce the introduction of photoactive metal impurity elements, destructive defects, and chemical-structure defects, resulting in a 0% probability damage threshold nearly 33% higher than a conventional chemical mechanical polished sample for a 7.6 ns pulse at a wavelength of 355 nm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.409857DOI Listing
November 2020

Silica-Supported Phosphine-Gold Complexes as an Efficient Catalytic System for a Dearomative Spirocyclization.

Chemistry 2021 Jan 30;27(1):427-433. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Institut des Sciences Moléculaires, UMR CNRS 5255, Université de Bordeaux, 351 cours de la Libération, 33405, Talence, France.

The combination of metal catalyst and inorganic silica frameworks provides a greener approach to recyclable catalysis. In this study, three phosphine-gold chloride complexes have been successfully covalently grafted onto chiral silica nanohelices. The resulting 3D ensembles showed chiroptical properties that allowed the monitoring of the supported ligands. The heterogeneous gold chloride catalysts in cooperation with silver triflate exhibited high reactivity in various reactions, especially in the spirocyclization of aryl alkynoate esters, for which a catalytic loading of 0.05 mol % could be employed. The heterogeneous catalysts could be easily recovered and recycled seven or eight times without any loss of efficiency. By adding more silver triflate, 25 cycles with full conversion were achieved owing to a complex catalytic system based on silica and metallic species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.202004251DOI Listing
January 2021

Absorption, translocation, and effects of Bt Cry1Ac peptides from transgenic cotton to the intercrops and soil functional bacteria.

Sci Rep 2020 10 14;10(1):17294. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Yuanmingyuan west road No.2, Beijing, 100193, China.

Insecticidal proteins encoded by the truncated genes from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) in transgenic crops are released into soil mainly through root exudate and crop residues. In the present study, Bt Cry1Ac protein was hydrolyzed by pronase that was secreted by the soil bacterium Streptomyces griseus. Six peptides were identified as the products of enzymatic hydrolysis by nano liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). One of the six peptides was labeled with radioactive isotope iodine-125 and then purified. The I-peptide solution was irrigated to the rhizosphere soil of watermelon seedlings (Citrullus lanatus L.) and wheat seedlings (Triticum aestivum L.), which the two crops usually intercrop with cotton in China. Detection of radioactivity in both plant tissues within one hour proved adsorption, uptake and translocation of the peptide into watermelon and wheat seedlings. Three of the identified peptides were sprayed onto the seedling leaves of watermelon, wheat and maize (Zea mays L.) in the field or the growth chamber. No significant effects on plant growth were observed. These peptides also did not affect growth of organic phosphate-dissolving, nitrogen-fixing, and potassium-dissolving bacteria in the culture. This study provides a new view of GMO risk assessment methodology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73375-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7557920PMC
October 2020

Correlation between the Serum Platelet-Derived Growth Factor, Angiopoietin-1, and Severity of Coronary Heart Disease.

Cardiol Res Pract 2020 10;2020:3602608. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

Department of Geriatric Cardiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.

Background: The expression of the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) in patients with coronary artery disease of different studies was inconsistent. This study was to investigate the expression of the PDGF and Ang-1 in peripheral blood and coronary artery in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and the relationship between the expression of the PDGF and Ang-1 and the severity of coronary artery disease.

Methods: A total of 81 patients with acute coronary syndrome undergoing coronary angiography were enrolled from September 2012 to December 2013. Patients with ACS included 61 patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI group) and 20 patients with unstable angina pectoris (UAP group). The 29 patients who were hospitalized for chest pain undergoing coronary angiography without stenosis and with TIMI level 3 blood flow were selected as the control group. During coronary arteriography (CAG) or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), blood in the peripheral artery and in the local coronary artery was collected from all the patients. Serum PDGF and Ang-1 levels were measured by ELISA. We calculated the Gensini score of each patient with CHD according to the result of CAG. Patients with ACS were followed up, and the major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular adverse events were recorded.

Results: In peripheral blood, the concentration of the PDGF was significantly elevated in the ACS group than that of the control group. The level of the PDGF in the AMI group was significantly higher than that in the UAP group. In coronary artery blood, the level of the PDGF in the ACS group was significantly higher than that of the UAP group. There was no significant difference in the concentration of Ang-1 in peripheral blood between patients with coronary heart disease and the control group. The concentration of Ang-1 in the coronary artery was significantly lower than that in peripheral blood. The coronary Ang-1 concentrations in the ACS group were significantly higher than those in the UAP group. The concentrations of the PDGF and Ang-1 in peripheral and coronary artery blood were positively correlated with the severity of coronary lesions. Patients with MACCE had higher PDGF and Ang-1 levels in the coronary sinus.

Conclusion: The serum PDGF concentration in patients with acute coronary syndrome was significantly increased, especially in the local coronary artery. The serum Ang-1 in the coronary artery was significantly increased in patients with acute myocardial infarction and was related to the degree of coronary artery stenosis. Coronary sinus PDGF and Ang-1 levels can reflect the severity of lesions in patients with acute coronary syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2020/3602608DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7501570PMC
September 2020

Modified cornstalk biochar can reduce ammonia emissions from compost by increasing the number of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and decreasing urease activity.

Bioresour Technol 2021 Jan 14;319:124120. Epub 2020 Sep 14.

Guangdong Laboratory for Lingnan Modern Agriculture, College of Animal Science, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China; Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Agro-Animal Genomics and Molecular Breeding, and Key Laboratory of Chicken Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction, Ministry of Agriculture, Guangzhou 510642, Guangdong, China; Ministry of Agriculture Key Laboratory of Tropical Agricultural Environment, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China; Guangdong Engineering Technology Research Center of Harmless Treatment and Resource Utilization of Livestock Waste, Yunfu, Xinxing 527400, China. Electronic address:

This study examined how the addition of modified cornstalk biochar (CB) affected ammonia (NH) emissions during composting. Four treatments were established, including a control (CK) with layer manure and sawdust only, and the CK mixtures adding 10% HNO CB (NA), 10% HO CB (HP) and 10% HNO- HO CB (MI). As the results showed, NH emissions was reduced by 47.83% (NA), 61.69% (HP) and 45.69% (MI) when the modified CB used as a compost additive (P < 0.05). According to the data analysis, the addition of modified CB significantly increased the number of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), inhibited urease activity and decreased the abundance of narG and nirS at rising temperatures and high temperatures (P < 0.05). Redundancy analysis demonstrated a negative correlation between NH emissions and AOB and a positive correlation with urease activity, narG and nirS. Thus, the modified CB helped reduce NH emissions by regulating nitrification processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2020.124120DOI Listing
January 2021

The CASP13-CAPRI targets as case studies to illustrate a novel scoring pipeline integrating CONSRANK with clustering and interface analyses.

BMC Bioinformatics 2020 Sep 16;21(Suppl 8):262. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Department of Sciences and Technologies, University of Naples "Parthenope", Centro Direzionale - Isola C4, 80143, Naples, Italy.

Background: Properly scoring protein-protein docking models to single out the correct ones is an open challenge, also object of assessment in CAPRI (Critical Assessment of PRedicted Interactions), a community-wide blind docking experiment. We introduced in the field CONSRANK (CONSensus RANKing), the first pure consensus method. Also available as a web server, CONSRANK ranks docking models in an ensemble based on their ability to match the most frequent inter-residue contacts in it. We have been blindly testing CONSRANK in all the latest CAPRI rounds, where we showed it to perform competitively with the state-of-the-art energy and knowledge-based scoring functions. More recently, we developed Clust-CONSRANK, an algorithm introducing a contact-based clustering of the models as a preliminary step of the CONSRANK scoring process. In the latest CASP13-CAPRI joint experiment, we participated as scorers with a novel pipeline, combining both our scoring tools, CONSRANK and Clust-CONSRANK, with our interface analysis tool COCOMAPS. Selection of the 10 models for submission was guided by the strength of the emerging consensus, and their final ranking was assisted by results of the interface analysis.

Results: As a result of the above approach, we were by far the first scorer in the CASP13-CAPRI top-1 ranking, having high/medium quality models ranked at the top-1 position for the majority of targets (11 out of the total 19). We were also the first scorer in the top-10 ranking, on a par with another group, and the second scorer in the top-5 ranking. Further, we topped the ranking relative to the prediction of binding interfaces, among all the scorers and predictors. Using the CASP13-CAPRI targets as case studies, we illustrate here in detail the approach we adopted.

Conclusions: Introducing some flexibility in the final model selection and ranking, as well as differentiating the adopted scoring approach depending on the targets were the key assets for our highly successful performance, as compared to previous CAPRI rounds. The approach we propose is entirely based on methods made available to the community and could thus be reproduced by any user.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12859-020-03600-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7493188PMC
September 2020

Ledge-directed epitaxy of continuously self-aligned single-crystalline nanoribbons of transition metal dichalcogenides.

Nat Mater 2020 Dec 7;19(12):1300-1306. Epub 2020 Sep 7.

Physical Sciences and Engineering Division, KAUST Solar Centre, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenide nanoribbons are touted as the future extreme device downscaling for advanced logic and memory devices but remain a formidable synthetic challenge. Here, we demonstrate a ledge-directed epitaxy (LDE) of dense arrays of continuous, self-aligned, monolayer and single-crystalline MoS nanoribbons on β-gallium (III) oxide (β-GaO) (100) substrates. LDE MoS nanoribbons have spatial uniformity over a long range and transport characteristics on par with those seen in exfoliated benchmarks. Prototype MoS-nanoribbon-based field-effect transistors exhibit high on/off ratios of 10 and an averaged room temperature electron mobility of 65 cm V s. The MoS nanoribbons can be readily transferred to arbitrary substrates while the underlying β-GaO can be reused after mechanical exfoliation. We further demonstrate LDE as a versatile epitaxy platform for the growth of p-type WSe nanoribbons and lateral heterostructures made of p-WSe and n-MoS nanoribbons for futuristic electronics applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41563-020-0795-4DOI Listing
December 2020

Comprehensive circRNA expression profile and function network in osteoblast-like cells under simulated microgravity.

Gene 2021 Jan 2;764:145106. Epub 2020 Sep 2.

College of Biotechnology of Guilin Medical University, Guilin 541199, China. Electronic address:

Background: Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a new class of non-coding RNA with a stable structure formed by special loop splicing. Research increasingly suggests that circRNAs play a vital role in the pathogenesis and progression of various diseases. However, the roles of circRNAs in osteoblast differentiation under microgravity remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated the roles and mechanobiological response of circRNAs in osteoblasts under simulated microgravity.

Methods: Differential circRNA and mRNA expression profiles of MC3T3-E1 cells during exposure to microgravity were screened by RNA transcriptome sequencing technology (RNA-seq). The selected RNAs were validated using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) were applied for gene function analyses.

Results: A total of 427 circRNAs and 1912 mRNAs were differentially expressed along with osteogenic differentiation in the simulated microgravity group (SMG) compared to the control group (CON). Of these, 232 circRNAs and 991 mRNAs were upregulated, whereas 95 circRNAs and 921 mRNAs were downregulated (fold change ≥ 2, p < 0.05). The results showed that the parental genes of circRNAs and mRNAs were mainly enriched in anatomical structure morphogenesis, anchoring junction and protein binding. KEGG analysis results showed that the differentially expressed mRNAs were enriched in the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton, focal adhesion, and Ras signalling pathway. Subsequently, 9 core regulatory genes, including 6 mRNAs and 3 circRNAs, were identified based on their possible function in osteoblast differentiation. Based on this analysis, circ_014154 was selected as the target circRNA, which likely plays important roles in osteogenic differentiation processes under microgravity. The circRNA-miRNA-mRNA network showed that circRNAs might act as miRNA sponges to regulate osteoblast differentiation.

Conclusion: By presenting a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of genes and circRNAs in simulated microgravity, the present study will provide a novel view of circRNAs in the regulation of osteogenic differentiation and bone formation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2020.145106DOI Listing
January 2021

PT-symmetric phonon laser under gain saturation effect.

Opt Express 2020 Jul;28(15):22580-22593

As an analog of optical laser, phonon laser has potential applications in various areas. We study a type of phonon laser implemented by two coupled micro-cavities, one of which carries optical gain medium. The phonon laser operation is under a blue detuned external drive leading to dynamical instability. The saturation of the optical gain is considered, and its induced nonlinearity results in more complicated behaviors in stimulated phonon emission. To deal with such complex dynamics, we apply a composite numerical approach, in addition to a previously used dynamical approach, to the time evolution of the system. The workable phonon laser operation is found to be achievable by choosing the proper system parameters. Moreover, low threshold for the phonon laser operation is possible with the suitable coupling between the cavities and an optimum damping rate in one cavity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.396893DOI Listing
July 2020

An Overview on the Mechanisms and Applications of Enzyme Inhibition-Based Methods for Determination of Organophosphate and Carbamate Pesticides.

J Agric Food Chem 2020 Jul 2;68(28):7298-7315. Epub 2020 Jul 2.

Agro-products Quality Safety and Testing Technology Research Institute, Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 53003, Nanning, China.

Acetylcholinesterase inactivating compounds, such as organophosphate (OP) and carbamate (CM) pesticides, are widely used in agriculture to ensure sustainable production of food and feed. As a consequence of their applications, they would result in neurotoxicity, even death. In this essence, the development of enzyme inhibition methods still shows great significance as rapid detection techniques for on-site large-scale screening of OPs and CMs. Initially, mechanisms and applications of various enzyme-inhibition-based methods and devices, including optical colorimetric assay, fluorometric assays, electrochemical biosensors, rapid test card, and microfluidic device, are highlighted in the present overview. Further, to enhance the enzyme sensitivity for detection; alternative enzyme sources or high yield enrichment methods (such as abzyme, artificial enzyme, and recombinant enzyme), as well as enzyme reactivation and identification, are also addressed in this comprehensive overview.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.0c01962DOI Listing
July 2020

Lineage Reversion Drives WNT Independence in Intestinal Cancer.

Cancer Discov 2020 Oct 16;10(10):1590-1609. Epub 2020 Jun 16.

Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, New York.

The WNT pathway is a fundamental regulator of intestinal homeostasis, and hyperactivation of WNT signaling is the major oncogenic driver in colorectal cancer. To date, there are no described mechanisms that bypass WNT dependence in intestinal tumors. Here, we show that although WNT suppression blocks tumor growth in most organoid and colorectal cancer models, the accumulation of colorectal cancer-associated genetic alterations enables drug resistance and WNT-independent growth. In intestinal epithelial cells harboring mutations in or , together with disruption of and , transient TGFβ exposure drives YAP/TAZ-dependent transcriptional reprogramming and lineage reversion. Acquisition of embryonic intestinal identity is accompanied by a permanent loss of adult intestinal lineages, and long-term WNT-independent growth. This work identifies genetic and microenvironmental factors that drive WNT inhibitor resistance, defines a new mechanism for WNT-independent colorectal cancer growth, and reveals how integration of associated genetic alterations and extracellular signals can overcome lineage-dependent oncogenic programs. SIGNIFICANCE: Colorectal and intestinal cancers are driven by mutations in the WNT pathway, and drugs aimed at suppressing WNT signaling are in active clinical development. Our study identifies a mechanism of acquired resistance to WNT inhibition and highlights a potential strategy to target those drug-resistant cells..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-19-1536DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7541594PMC
October 2020

A Testis-Derived Hydrogel as an Efficient Feeder-Free Culture Platform to Promote Mouse Spermatogonial Stem Cell Proliferation and Differentiation.

Front Cell Dev Biol 2020 19;8:250. Epub 2020 May 19.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Bioengineering Medicine, Department of Cell Biology, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China.

Fertility preservation and assisted reproductive medicine require effective culture systems for the successful proliferation and differentiation of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). Many SSC culture systems require the addition of feeder cells at each subculture, which is tedious and inefficient. Here, we prepared decellularized testicular matrix (DTM) from testicular tissue, which preserved essential structural proteins of testis. The DTM was then solubilized and induced to form a porous hydrogel scaffold with randomly oriented fibrillar structures that exhibited good cytocompatibility. The viability of SSCs inoculated onto DTM hydrogel scaffolds was significantly higher than those inoculated on Matrigel or laminin, and intracellular gene expression and DNA imprinting patterns were similar to that of native SSCs. Additionally, DTM promoted SSC differentiation into round spermatids. More importantly, the DTM hydrogel supported SSC proliferation and differentiation without requiring additional somatic cells. The DTM hydrogel scaffold culture system provided an alternative and simple method for culturing SSCs that eliminates potential variability and contamination caused by feeder cells. It might be a valuable tool for reproductive medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.00250DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7248195PMC
May 2020

3D Crumpled Ultrathin 1T MoS for Inkjet Printing of Mg-Ion Asymmetric Micro-supercapacitors.

ACS Nano 2020 Jun 8;14(6):7308-7318. Epub 2020 Jun 8.

Physical Science and Engineering (PSE) Division, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia.

Metallic molybdenum disulfide (MoS), .., 1T phase, is touted as a highly promising material for energy storage that already displays a great capacitive performance. However, due to its tendency to aggregate and restack, it remains a formidable challenge to assemble a high-performance electrode without scrambling the intrinsic structure. Here, we report an electrohydrodynamic-assisted fabrication of 3D crumpled MoS (c-MoS) and its formation of an additive-free stable ink for scalable inkjet printing. The 3D c-MoS powders exhibited a high concentration of metallic 1T phase and an ultrathin structure. The aggregation-resistant properties of the 3D crumpled particles endow the electrodes with open space for electrolyte ion transport. Importantly, we experimentally discovered and theoretically validated that 3D 1T c-MoS enables an extended electrochemical stable working potential range and enhanced capacitive performance in a bivalent magnesium-ion aqueous electrolyte. With reduced graphene oxide (rGO) as the positive electrode material, we inkjet-printed 96 rigid asymmetric micro-supercapacitors (AMSCs) on a 4-in. Si/SiO wafer and 100 flexible AMSCs on photo paper. These AMSCs exhibited a wide stable working voltage of 1.75 V and excellent capacitance retention of 96% over 20 000 cycles for a single device. Our work highlights the promise of 3D layered materials as well-dispersed functional materials for large-scale printed flexible energy storage devices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.0c02585DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7467814PMC
June 2020

Transanal total mesorectal excision (TaTME) using flexible endoscope with laparoscopic assistance: a pilot study in porcine models.

Updates Surg 2020 Sep 12;72(3):845-850. Epub 2020 May 12.

Department of Gastroenterology, Air Force Medical Center PLA, Fucheng Road 30, Beijing, 100142, China.

Background: Transanal total mesorectal excision (TaTME) is routinely performed to excise low rectal tumors. TaTME often relies on transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) or transanal minimally invasive surgery (TAMIS) platform, all using rigid endoscopes. Our study reported a novel approach to TaTME which was completed using flexible endoscope, and we named it F-TaTME.

Methods: The feasibility of rectum resection using F-TaTME was evaluated in five pigs. Firstly, the superior rectal artery and vein were managed under the assistance of laparoscopy. Secondly, the flexible endoscope was used to complete the full-thickness rectotomy and rectal mobilization. Finally, the specimen was removed and the manual colon-rectal anastomosis was performed under direct vision.

Results: F-TaTME was accomplished in all 5 pigs. The mean procedure time was 136.6 min (97-162 min). The mean length from the lower edge of the lesion to circumferential dissection line was 1.4 cm (1.0-1.8 cm) and mean length of exteriorized rectum was 12.6 cm (11-14 cm). No injury to colorectal wall, adjacent pelvic or abdominal organs was found.

Conclusions: Our preliminary data suggested that F-TaTME may be a feasible method for TaTME.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13304-020-00768-9DOI Listing
September 2020

Somatic Tissue Engineering in Mouse Models Reveals an Actionable Role for WNT Pathway Alterations in Prostate Cancer Metastasis.

Cancer Discov 2020 Jul 6;10(7):1038-1057. Epub 2020 May 6.

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.

To study genetic factors influencing the progression and therapeutic responses of advanced prostate cancer, we developed a fast and flexible system that introduces genetic alterations relevant to human disease directly into the prostate glands of mice using tissue electroporation. These electroporation-based genetically engineered mouse models (EPO-GEMM) recapitulate features of traditional germline models and, by modeling genetic factors linked to late-stage human disease, can produce tumors that are metastatic and castration-resistant. A subset of tumors with alterations acquired spontaneous WNT pathway alterations, which are also associated with metastatic prostate cancer in humans. Using the EPO-GEMM approach and an orthogonal organoid-based model, we show that WNT pathway activation drives metastatic disease that is sensitive to pharmacologic WNT pathway inhibition. Thus, by leveraging EPO-GEMMs, we reveal a functional role for WNT signaling in driving prostate cancer metastasis and validate the WNT pathway as therapeutic target in metastatic prostate cancer. SIGNIFICANCE: Our understanding of the factors driving metastatic prostate cancer is limited by the paucity of models of late-stage disease. Here, we develop EPO-GEMMs of prostate cancer and use them to identify and validate the WNT pathway as an actionable driver of aggressive metastatic disease..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-19-1242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7334089PMC
July 2020

Genome wide identification, characterization and expression analysis of HD-ZIP gene family in Cucumis sativus L. under biotic and various abiotic stresses.

Int J Biol Macromol 2020 May 3. Epub 2020 May 3.

College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China. Electronic address:

Information retrieved from genomic assembly may provide important clues and various molecular aspects in plants. Our research identified 40 CsHDZ genes in the Cucumber genome database. Subsequently; we performed the conserved motif and domain analysis of CsHDZ proteins. The phylogeny of the CsHDZ proteins further divides into 4 subfamilies (HD-ZIP I, HD-ZIP II, HD-ZIP III, and HD-ZIP IV) based on the structural similarities and functional diversities. The GO (Gene ontology) analysis of CsHDZ proteins showed that they are responsive to environmental stimuli and involved in numerous growth and developmental processes. The qRT-PCR analysis of 11 CsHDZ genes showed that they are expressed in all the tested tissues of Cucumis sativus. The differential expression pattern of CsHDZ genes unfolded their possible involvement in responding to various abiotic stresses and powdery mildew stress. It has been found that the CsHDZ22 localized in the nucleus which possibly participates in the regulatory mechanisms of various biological and cellular processes. In the light of above-mentioned outcomes, it has been deducted that CsHDZ genes in the Cucumis sativus genome play an important role in mediating the resistance to various abiotic stresses and powdery mildew stress as well as provide significant clues for functional studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2020.04.124DOI Listing
May 2020

Porcine Small Intestinal Submucosa Mesh to Treat Inguinal Hernia in Young Adults Using Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repair: A Retrospective Controlled Study.

Surg Laparosc Endosc Percutan Tech 2020 Aug;30(4):367-370

Department of Hernia and Abdominal Wall Surgery, Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, Capital Medical University.

Background: The authors evaluated the effects and clinical value of small intestinal submucosa (SIS) mesh to treat inguinal hernia in young adults by the laparoscopic method.

Methods: The clinical data of 357 cases with inguinal hernia using SIS mesh in our hospital were analyzed retrospectively from June 2014 to June 2018. All cases were divided into 2 groups according to the surgical method. Operation time, hospital stay, cost, postoperative complications, and complications during follow-up were analyzed.

Results: Of the 357 patients, 202 (56.6%) underwent Lichtenstein repair and 155 (43.4%) underwent transabdominal preperitoneal (TAPP) repair. Operation time and hospital costs of the Lichtenstein group were significantly lower compared with the TAPP group (P<0.05). The incidence of seroma in the Lichtenstein group was lower than that in the TAPP group at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months postoperatively with significant differences (P<0.05). Perioperative pain scores in the Lichtenstein group were higher than the TAPP group (P<0.05). No statistical difference was observed for hospital stay between 2 groups (P>0.05). In the Lichtenstein group, 1 case recurred during the follow-up period (0.5%). No intestinal obstruction or intestinal fistula occurred in any patient during the follow-up period.

Conclusion: The effect of SIS mesh was positive whether the patient underwent a Lichtenstein or TAPP method. Seroma was more common in the TAPP method that may cause lower postoperative pain. Therefore, we recommend individualized treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SLE.0000000000000806DOI Listing
August 2020

Engineering Sodium-Ion Solvation Structure to Stabilize Sodium Anodes: Universal Strategy for Fast-Charging and Safer Sodium-Ion Batteries.

Nano Lett 2020 May 27;20(5):3247-3254. Epub 2020 Apr 27.

State Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Resource Utilization, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, CAS, Changchun 130022, China.

Sodium-ion batteries are promising alternatives for lithium-ion batteries due to their lower cost caused by global sodium availability. However, the low Coulombic efficiency (CE) of the sodium metal plating/stripping process represents a serious issue for the Na anode, which hinders achieving a higher energy density. Herein, we report that the Na solvation structure, particularly the type and location of the anions, plays a critical role in determining the Na anode performance. We show that the low CE results from anion-mediated corrosion, which can be tackled readily through tuning the anion interaction at the electrolyte/anode interface. Our strategy thus enables fast-charging Na-ion and Na-S batteries with a remarkable cycle life. The presented insights differ from the prevailing interpretation that the failure mechanism mostly results from sodium dendrite growth and/or solid electrolyte interphase formation. Our anionic model introduces a new guideline for improving the electrolytes for metal-ion batteries with a greater energy density.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b05355DOI Listing
May 2020