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Feb 2023 • Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)

Peptide Bond Formation in the Protonated Serine Dimer Following Vacuum UV Photon‐Induced Excitation

Ori Licht, Dario Barreiro-Lage, Patrick Rousseau, Alexandre Giuliani, Aleksandar Milosavljevic, Avinoam Isaak, Yitzhak Mastai, Amnon Albeck, Raj Singh, Vy Nguyen, Laurent Nahon, Lara Martinez, Sergio Díaz-Tendero, Yoni Toker

Possible routes for intra-cluster bond formation (ICBF) in protonated serine dimers have been studied. We found no evidence of ICBF following low energy collision induced dissociation (in correspondence with previous works), however, we do observe clear evidence for ICBF following photon absorption in the eV range. Moreover, the comparison of photon induced dissociation measurements of the protonated serine dimer to those of a protonated serine dipeptide provides evidence that ICBF, in this case, involves peptide bond formation (PBF). The experimental results are supported by {\it ab initio} molecular dynamics and exploration of several excited state potential energy surfaces, unravelling a pathway for PBF following photon absorption. The combination of experiments and theory provides insight into the PBF mechanisms in clusters of amino acids, and reveals the importance of electronic excited states reached upon UV/VUV light excitation.

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Feb 2023 • Journal of Power Sources

Lignin-derived bimetallic platinum group metal-free oxygen reduction reaction electrocatalysts for acid and alkaline fuel cells

Mohsin Muhyuddin, Ariel Friedman, Federico Poli, Elisabetta Petri, Hilah Honig, Francesco Basile, Andrea Fasolini, Roberto Lorenzi, Enrico Berretti, Marco Bellini, Alessandro Lavacchi, Lior Elbaz, Carlo Santoro, Francesca Soavi

Metal-nitrogen-carbons (M-N-Cs) as a reliable substitution for platinum-group-metals (PGMs) for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) are emerging candidates to rationalize the technology of fuel cells. The development of M-N-Cs can further be economized by consuming waste biomass as an inexpensive carbon source for the electrocatalyst support. Herein, we report the simple fabrication and in-depth characterization of electrocatalysts using lignin-derived activated char. The activated char (LAC) was functionalized with metal phthalocyanine (FePc and MnPc) via atmosphere-controlled pyrolysis to produce monometallic M-N-Cs (L_Mn and L_Fe) and bimetallic M1-M2-N-Cs (L_FeMn) electrocatalysts. Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed a defect-rich architecture. XPS confirmed the coexistence of various nitrogen-containing active moieties. L_Fe and L_FeMn demonstrated …

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Feb 2023 • Cold Spring Harbor Protocols

Female fly postmating behaviors

Anne C von Philipsborn, Galit Shohat-Ophir, Carolina Rezaval

Upon copulation, females undergo a switch-like change in their behavior and physiology, known as “postmating responses.” These strong behavioral and physiological changes are triggered by the transfer of male seminal proteins during copulation. Postmating response is associated with strong reduction in receptivity, indicated by the females kicking their legs toward the suitor and curving their abdomen downward to hide their genitalia from them and extruding their ovipositor at the tip of the abdomen, which physically prevents copulation. The transfer of male-specific pheromones, such as 11-cis-vaccenyl-acetate, during copulation further reduces female attractiveness. In addition, mated females exhibit increased ovulation, egg-laying behavior, enhanced feeding behavior, and changes in food preference. However, females increase their rate of remating when they are in social groups or in the presence of food …

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Feb 2023 • Batteries 9 (2), 110, 2023

Recent Progress in Solid Electrolytes for All-Solid-State Metal (Li/Na)–Sulfur Batteries

Ravindra Kumar Bhardwaj, David Zitoun

Metal–sulfur batteries, especially lithium/sodium–sulfur (Li/Na-S) batteries, have attracted widespread attention for large-scale energy application due to their superior theoretical energy density, low cost of sulfur compared to conventional lithium-ion battery (LIBs) cathodes and environmental sustainability. Despite these advantages, metal–sulfur batteries face many fundamental challenges which have put them on the back foot. The use of ether-based liquid electrolyte has brought metal–sulfur batteries to a critical stage by causing intermediate polysulfide dissolution which results in poor cycling life and safety concerns. Replacement of the ether-based liquid electrolyte by a solid electrolyte (SEs) has overcome these challenges to a large extent. This review describes the recent development and progress of solid electrolytes for all-solid-state Li/Na-S batteries. This article begins with a basic introduction to metal–sulfur batteries and explains their challenges. We will discuss the drawbacks of the using liquid organic electrolytes and the advantages of replacing liquid electrolytes with solid electrolytes. This article will also explain the fundamental requirements of solid electrolytes in meeting the practical applications of all solid-state metal–sulfur batteries, as well as the electrode–electrolyte interfaces of all solid-state Li/Na-S batteries.

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Feb 2023 • arXiv preprint arXiv:2302.00705

Quantum circuits measuring weak values and Kirkwood-Dirac quasiprobability distributions, with applications

Rafael Wagner, Zohar Schwartzman-Nowik, Ismael L Paiva, Amit Te'eni, Antonio Ruiz-Molero, Rui Soares Barbosa, Eliahu Cohen, Ernesto F Galvão

Weak values and Kirkwood--Dirac (KD) quasiprobability distributions have been independently associated with both foundational issues in quantum theory and advantages in quantum metrology. We propose simple quantum circuits to measure weak values, KD distributions, and density matrix spectra without the need for post-selection. This is achieved by measuring unitary-invariant, relational properties of quantum states, as functions of Bargmann invariants. Our circuits also enable direct experimental implementation of various applications of KD distributions, such as out-of-time-ordered correlators (OTOCs) and the quantum Fisher information in post-selected parameter estimation, among others. This results in a unified view of nonclassicality in all those tasks. In particular, we discuss how negativity and imaginarity of Bargmann invariants relate to set coherence.

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Feb 2023 • npj Quantum Information

Fundamental quantum limits of magnetic nearfield measurements

Chen Mechel, Jonathan Nemirovsky, Eliahu Cohen, Ido Kaminer

Major advances in the precision of magnetic measurements bring us closer to quantum detection of individual spins at the single-atom level. On the quest for reducing both classical and quantum measurement noise, it is intriguing to look forward and search for precision limits arising from the fundamental quantum nature of the measurement process itself. Here, we present the limits of magnetic quantum measurements arising from quantum information considerations, and apply these limits to a concrete example of magnetic force microscopy (MFM). We show how such microscopes have a fundamental limit on their precision arising from the theory of imperfect quantum cloning, manifested by the entanglement between the measured system and the measurement probe. We show that counterintuitively, increasing the probe complexity decreases both the measurement noise and back action, and a judicious design …

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Feb 2023 • arXiv preprint arXiv:2202.03640

Designing exceptional-point-based graphs yielding topologically guaranteed quantum search

Quancheng Liu, David A Kessler, Eli Barkai

We design monitored quantum walks with the aim of optimizing state transfer and target search. We show how to construct walks with the property that all the eigenvalues of the non-Hermitian survival operator, describing the mixed effect of unitary dynamics and the back-action of measurement, coalesce to zero, corresponding to an exceptional point whose degree is the size of the Hilbert space. Generally, this search is guaranteed to succeed in a bounded time for any initial condition. It also performs better than the classical random walk search or quantum search on typical graphs. For example, a crawler can be designed such that, starting on a node of the graph, the walker is detected on any of the nodes with probability one at predetermined times. It also allows perfect quantum state transfer from one node of the system to any other, with or without monitoring. Interestingly, this crawler is described as a massless Dirac quasi-particle.

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Feb 2023 • Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)

Peptide Bond Formation in the Protonated Serine Dimer Following Vacuum UV Photon‐Induced Excitation

Ori Licht, Dario Barreiro-Lage, Patrick Rousseau, Alexandre Giuliani, Aleksandar Milosavljevic, Avinoam Isaak, Yitzhak Mastai, Amnon Albeck, Raj Singh, Vy Nguyen, Laurent Nahon, Lara Martinez, Sergio Díaz-Tendero, Yoni Toker

Possible routes for intra-cluster bond formation (ICBF) in protonated serine dimers have been studied. We found no evidence of ICBF following low energy collision induced dissociation (in correspondence with previous works), however, we do observe clear evidence for ICBF following photon absorption in the eV range. Moreover, the comparison of photon induced dissociation measurements of the protonated serine dimer to those of a protonated serine dipeptide provides evidence that ICBF, in this case, involves peptide bond formation (PBF). The experimental results are supported by {\it ab initio} molecular dynamics and exploration of several excited state potential energy surfaces, unravelling a pathway for PBF following photon absorption. The combination of experiments and theory provides insight into the PBF mechanisms in clusters of amino acids, and reveals the importance of electronic excited states reached upon UV/VUV light excitation.

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Feb 2023 • Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Selective excitation with recoupling pulse schemes uncover properties of disordered mineral phases in bone-like apatite grown with bone proteins

Irina Matlahov, Alex Kulpanovich, Taly Iline-Vul, Merav Nadav-Tsubery, Gil Goobes

Bone construction has been under intensive scrutiny for many years using numerous techniques. Solid-state NMR spectroscopy helped unravel key characteristics of the mineral structure in bone owing to its capability of analyzing crystalline and disordered phases at high-resolution. This has invoked new questions regarding the roles of persistent disordered phases in structural integrity and mechanical function of mature bone as well as regarding regulation of early events in formation of apatite by bone proteins which interact intimately with the different mineral phases to exert biological control.Here, spectral editing tethered to standard NMR techniques is employed to analyze bone-like apatite minerals prepared synthetically in the presence and absence of two non-collagenous bone proteins, osteocalcin and osteonectin. A 1H spectral editing block allows excitation of species from the crystalline and disordered …

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Feb 2023 • Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery

Biomass-derived Carbon dots and their coated surface as a potential antimicrobial agent

R Blessy Pricilla, Moorthy Maruthapandi, Arulappan Durairaj, Ivo Kuritka, John HT Luong, Aharon Gedanken

Carbon dots (CDs) with an average diameter of 6.3 nm were synthesized from the medicinal seed extract of Syzygium cumini L. using one-pot hydrothermal synthesis. The prepared CDs exhibited excitation-dependent emission characteristics with photoluminescence (PL) emission maxima at an excitation of 340 nm. The CDs at 500 µg/mL displayed antimicrobial activities against four common pathogens. Both Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis were completely eradicated by CDs within 12 h, compared to 24 h for Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumonia. The release of various oxygen species (ROS) was postulated to play a critical role in bacterial eradication. The CDs decorated on cotton fabric by ultrasonication also displayed good antibacterial activities against the above bacteria. The finding opens a plausible use of CDs in biomedical textiles with potent antimicrobial properties against both Gram …

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Feb 2023 • Physical Review Letters

Restart expedites quantum walk hitting times

Ruoyu Yin, Eli Barkai

Classical first-passage times under restart are used in a wide variety of models, yet the quantum version of the problem still misses key concepts. We study the quantum hitting time with restart using a monitored quantum walk. The restart strategy eliminates the problem of dark states, ie, cases where the particle evades detection, while maintaining the ballistic propagation which is important for a fast search. We find profound effects of quantum oscillations on the restart problem, namely, a type of instability of the mean detection time, and optimal restart times that form staircases, with sudden drops as the rate of sampling is modified. In the absence of restart and in the Zeno limit, the detection of the walker is not possible, and we examine how restart overcomes this well-known problem, showing that the optimal restart time becomes insensitive to the sampling period.

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Feb 2023 • Nanophotonics

Digital laser-induced printing of MoS2

Adamantia Logotheti, Adi Levi, Doron Naveh, Leonidas Tsetseris, Ioanna Zergioti

Due to their atomic-scale thickness, handling and processing of two-dimensional (2D) materials often require multistep techniques whose complexity hampers their large-scale integration in modern device applications. Here we demonstrate that the laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT) method can achieve the one-step, nondestructive printing of the prototypical 2D material MoS2. By selecting the optimal LIFT experimental conditions, we were able to transfer arrays of MoS2 pixels from a metal donor substrate to a dielectric receiver substrate. A combination of various characterization techniques has confirmed that the transfer of intact MoS2 monolayers is not only feasible, but it can also happen without incurring significant defect damage during the process. The successful transfer of MoS2 shows the broad potential the LIFT technique has in the emerging field of printed electronics, including printed devices based …

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Feb 2023 • arXiv preprint arXiv:2302.00726

Quantum Engines and Refrigerators

Loris Maria Cangemi, Chitrak Bhadra, Amikam Levy

Engines are systems and devices that convert one form of energy into another, typically into a more useful form that can perform work. In the classical setup, physical, chemical, and biological engines largely involve the conversion of heat into work. This energy conversion is at the core of thermodynamic laws and principles and is codified in textbook material. In the quantum regime, however, the principles of energy conversion become ambiguous, since quantum phenomena come into play. As with classical thermodynamics, fundamental principles can be explored through engines and refrigerators, but, in the quantum case, these devices are miniaturized and their operations involve uniquely quantum effects. Our work provides a broad overview of this active field of quantum engines and refrigerators, reviewing the latest theoretical proposals and experimental realizations. We cover myriad aspects of these devices, starting with the basic concepts of quantum analogs to the classical thermodynamic cycle and continuing with different quantum features of energy conversion that span many branches of quantum mechanics. These features include quantum fluctuations that become dominant in the microscale, non-thermal resources that fuel the engines, and the possibility of scaling up the working medium's size, to account for collective phenomena in many-body heat engines. Furthermore, we review studies of quantum engines operating in the strong system-bath coupling regime and those that include non-Markovian phenomena. Recent advances in thermoelectric devices and quantum information perspectives, including quantum measurement …

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Feb 2023 • Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery

Biomass-derived Carbon dots and their coated surface as a potential antimicrobial agent

R Blessy Pricilla, Moorthy Maruthapandi, Arulappan Durairaj, Ivo Kuritka, John HT Luong, Aharon Gedanken

Carbon dots (CDs) with an average diameter of 6.3 nm were synthesized from the medicinal seed extract of Syzygium cumini L. using one-pot hydrothermal synthesis. The prepared CDs exhibited excitation-dependent emission characteristics with photoluminescence (PL) emission maxima at an excitation of 340 nm. The CDs at 500 µg/mL displayed antimicrobial activities against four common pathogens. Both Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis were completely eradicated by CDs within 12 h, compared to 24 h for Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumonia. The release of various oxygen species (ROS) was postulated to play a critical role in bacterial eradication. The CDs decorated on cotton fabric by ultrasonication also displayed good antibacterial activities against the above bacteria. The finding opens a plausible use of CDs in biomedical textiles with potent antimicrobial properties against both Gram …

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Feb 2023 • Cold Spring Harbor Protocols

Single-pair courtship and competition assays in Drosophila

Anne C von Philipsborn, Galit Shohat-Ophir, Carolina Rezaval

Courtship in Drosophila melanogaster involves a series of innate, complex behaviors that allow male and female flies to exchange sensory information and assess the quality of a potential mate. Although highly robust and stereotypical, courtship behaviors can be modulated by internal state and experience. This protocol describes methods for designing and carrying out experiments that measure courtship performance in single-pair assays, in which a male is paired with a female, or in competitive assays, in which a male is presented with a female and with a male competitor. It also includes approaches for measuring female sexual receptivity during courtship.

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Feb 2023 • Physical Review Research

Countering a fundamental law of attraction with quantum wave-packet engineering

Gal Amit, Yonathan Japha, Tomer Shushi, Ron Folman, Eliahu Cohen

Cold atoms hold much promise for the realization of quantum technologies, but still encounter many challenges. In this work we show how the fundamental Casimir-Polder force, by which atoms are attracted to a surface, may be temporarily suppressed by utilizing a specially designed quantum potential, which is familiar from the hydrodynamic or Bohmian reformulations of quantum mechanics. We show that when harnessing the quantum potential via suitable atomic wave-packet engineering, the absorption by the surface can be dramatically reduced. As a result, the probing time of the atoms as sensors can increase. This is proven both analytically and numerically. Furthermore, an experimental scheme is proposed for achieving the required shape for the atomic wave packet. All these may assist existing applications of cold atoms in metrology and sensing and may also enable prospective ones. Finally, these …

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Feb 2023 • Pharmaceutics 15 (2), 686, 2023

Bioimaging probes based on magneto-fluorescent nanoparticles

Sayan Ganguly, Shlomo Margel

Novel nanomaterials are of interest in biology, medicine, and imaging applications. Multimodal fluorescent-magnetic nanoparticles demand special attention because they have the potential to be employed as diagnostic and medication-delivery tools, which, in turn, might make it easier to diagnose and treat cancer, as well as a wide variety of other disorders. The most recent advancements in the development of magneto-fluorescent nanocomposites and their applications in the biomedical field are the primary focus of this review. We describe the most current developments in synthetic methodologies and methods for the fabrication of magneto-fluorescent nanocomposites. The primary applications of multimodal magneto-fluorescent nanoparticles in biomedicine, including biological imaging, cancer treatment, and drug administration, are covered in this article, and an overview of the future possibilities for these technologies is provided.

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Feb 2023 • Cold Spring Harbor Protocols

Probing acoustic communication during fly reproductive behaviors

Anne C von Philipsborn, Galit Shohat-Ophir, Carolina Rezaval

During reproduction, male and female flies use wing vibration to generate different acoustic signals. Males produce a courtship song before copulation that is easily recognized by unilateral wing vibration. In copula, females produce a distinct sound pattern (copulation song) with both wings. Sexual rejection of immature virgins and aggressive encounters between males are also accompanied by sound pulses generated by wing flicks. Fly song has frequency ranges audible to the human ear and can be directly listened to after appropriate amplification. When displayed in an oscillogram, audio recordings can be mapped on wing-movement patterns and thus provide a fast and precise method to sample and quantify motor behaviors with high temporal resolution. After recording different fly sounds, their effect on behavior can be tested in playback experiments.

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Feb 2023 • Cold Spring Harbor Protocols

Measurement of Drosophila Reproductive Behaviors

Anne C von Philipsborn, Galit Shohat-Ophir, Carolina Rezaval

Courtship behaviors in Drosophila melanogaster are innate and contain highly stereotyped but also experience-and state-dependent elements. They have been the subject of intense study for more than 100 years. The power of Drosophila as a genetic experimental system has allowed the dissection of reproductive behaviors at a molecular, cellular, and physiological level. As a result, we know a great deal about how flies perceive sensory cues from potential mates, how this information is integrated in higher brain centers to execute reproductive decisions, and how state and social contexts modulate these responses. The simplicity of the assay has allowed for its broad application. Here, we introduce methods for studying male and female innate reproductive behaviors as well as their plastic responses.

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Feb 2023 • Nano-Structures & Nano-Objects

Nano-apertures vs. nano-barriers: Surface scanning through obstacles and super-resolution in AFM-NSOM dual-mode

Jérémy Belhassen, David Glukhov, Matityahu Karelits, Zeev Zalevsky, Avi Karsenty

As part of the performance characterization of a combined and enhanced new AFM-NSOM tip-photo-detector, diffraction limitations were studied on two complementary samples: a nano-barrier embedded between two nano-apertures and one nano-aperture embedded between two nano-barriers. These consecutive multiple-obstacle scanning paths are part of this challenging specifications study of a new conical-shaped and drilled tip-photodetector, sharing a subwavelength aperture. A super-resolution algorithm feature was added in order to overcome possible obstacles, while scanning the same object with several small angles. The new multi-mode system includes scanning topography, optical imaging and an obstacle-overcoming algorithm. The present article study emphasizes the complexity of nano-scanning multiple-apertures/barriers. Both complementary analytical (Python) and numerical (Comsol …

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Feb 2023 • Physical Review Research

Countering a fundamental law of attraction with quantum wave-packet engineering

Gal Amit, Yonathan Japha, Tomer Shushi, Ron Folman, Eliahu Cohen

Cold atoms hold much promise for the realization of quantum technologies, but still encounter many challenges. In this work we show how the fundamental Casimir-Polder force, by which atoms are attracted to a surface, may be temporarily suppressed by utilizing a specially designed quantum potential, which is familiar from the hydrodynamic or Bohmian reformulations of quantum mechanics. We show that when harnessing the quantum potential via suitable atomic wave-packet engineering, the absorption by the surface can be dramatically reduced. As a result, the probing time of the atoms as sensors can increase. This is proven both analytically and numerically. Furthermore, an experimental scheme is proposed for achieving the required shape for the atomic wave packet. All these may assist existing applications of cold atoms in metrology and sensing and may also enable prospective ones. Finally, these …

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