Tunable Negative Poisson’s Ratio in Van der Waals Superlattice

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The open access journal Research, published in association with CAST, publishes innovative, wide-ranging research in life sciences, physical sciences, engineering and applied science.

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Research's Editorial Board includes international experts in fields ranging from life sciences to physical sciences. Tianhong Cui of University of Minnesota and Wei Huang of Northwestern Polytechnical University, China serve as the Editors-in-Chief of the journal.

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Room-Temperature Phosphorescent Organic-Doped Inorganic Frameworks Showing Wide-Range and Multicolor Long-Persistent Luminescence

Long-persistent luminescence based on purely inorganic and/or organic compounds has recently attracted much attention in a wide variety of fields including illumination, biological imaging, and information safety. However, simultaneously tuning the static and dynamic afterglow performance still presents a challenge. In this work, we put forward a new route of organic-doped inorganic framework to achieve wide-range and multicolor ultralong room-temperature phosphorescence (RTP). Through a facile hydrothermal method, phosphor (tetrafluoroterephthalic acid (TFTPA)) into the CdCO3 (or Zn2(OH)2CO3) host matrix exhibits an excitation-dependent colorful RTP due to the formation of diverse molecular aggregations with multicentral luminescence. The RTP lifetime of the doped organic/inorganic hybrids is greatly enhanced (313 times) compared to the pristine TFTPA. The high RTP quantum yield (43.9%) and good stability guarantee their easy visualization in both ambient and extreme conditions (such as acidic/basic solutions and an oxygen environment). Further codoped inorganic ions (Mn2+ and Pb2+) afford the hybrid materials with a novel time-resolved tunable afterglow emission, and the excitation-dependent RTP color is highly adjustable from dark blue to red, covering nearly the whole visible spectrum and outperforming the current state-of-the-art RTP materials. Therefore, this work not only describes a combined codoping and multicentral strategy to obtain statically and dynamically tunable long-persistent luminescence but also provides great opportunity for the use of organic-inorganic hybrid materials in multilevel anticounterfeiting and multicolor display applications.

Research Article

Self-Powered Intelligent Human-Machine Interaction for Handwriting Recognition

Handwritten signatures widely exist in our daily lives. The main challenge of signal recognition on handwriting is in the development of approaches to obtain information effectively. External mechanical signals can be easily detected by triboelectric nanogenerators which can provide immediate opportunities for building new types of active sensors capable of recording handwritten signals. In this work, we report an intelligent human-machine interaction interface based on a triboelectric nanogenerator. Using the horizontal-vertical symmetrical electrode array, the handwritten triboelectric signal can be recorded without external energy supply. Combined with supervised machine learning methods, it can successfully recognize handwritten English letters, Chinese characters, and Arabic numerals. The principal component analysis algorithm preprocesses the triboelectric signal data to reduce the complexity of the neural network in the machine learning process. Further, it can realize the anticounterfeiting recognition of writing habits by controlling the samples input to the neural network. The results show that the intelligent human-computer interaction interface has broad application prospects in signature security and human-computer interaction.

Research Article

Dynamic Colloidal Photonic Crystal Hydrogels with Self-Recovery and Injectability

Simulation of self-recovery and diversity of natural photonic crystal (PC) structures remain great challenges for artificial PC materials. Motivated by the dynamic characteristics of PC nanostructures, here, we present a new strategy for the design of hydrogel-based artificial PC materials with reversible interactions in the periodic nanostructures. The dynamic PC hydrogels, derived from self-assembled microgel colloidal crystals, were tactfully constructed by reversible crosslinking of adjacent microgels in the ordered structure via phenylboronate covalent chemistry. As proof of concept, three types of dynamic colloidal PC hydrogels with different structural colors were prepared. All the hydrogels showed perfect self-healing ability against physical damage. Moreover, dynamic crosslinking within the microgel crystals enabled shear-thinning injection of the PC hydrogels through a syringe (indicating injectability or printability), followed by rapid recovery of the structural colors. In short, in addition to the great significance in biomimicry of self-healing function of natural PC materials, our work provides a facile strategy for the construction of diversified artificial PC materials for different applications such as chem-/biosensing, counterfeit prevention, optical display, and energy conversion.

Research Article

The Jahn-Teller Effect for Amorphization of Molybdenum Trioxide towards High-Performance Fiber Supercapacitor

Amorphous pseudocapacitive nanomaterials are highly desired in energy storage applications for their disordered crystal structures, fast electrochemical dynamics, and outstanding cyclic stability, yet hardly achievable using the state-of-the-art synthetic strategies. Herein, for the first time, high capacitive fiber electrodes embedded with nanosized amorphous molybdenum trioxide (A-MoO3-x) featuring an average particle diameter of ~20 nm and rich oxygen vacancies are obtained via a top-down method using α-MoO3 bulk belts as the precursors. The Jahn-Teller distortion in MoO6 octahedra due to the doubly degenerate ground state of Mo5+, which can be continuously strengthened by oxygen vacancies, triggers the phase transformation of α-MoO3 bulk belts (up to 30 μm long and 500 nm wide). The optimized fibrous electrode exhibits among the highest volumetric performance with a specific capacitance ( ) of 921.5 F cm-3 under 0.3 A cm-3, endowing the fiber-based weaveable supercapacitor superior and (energy density) of 107.0 F cm-3 and 9.5 mWh cm-3, respectively, together with excellent cyclic stability, mechanical robustness, and rate capability. This work demonstrates a promising strategy for synthesizing nanosized amorphous materials in a scalable, cost-effective, and controllable manner.


Next-Generation Prosthetic Hand: from Biomimetic to Biorealistic

Integrating a prosthetic hand to amputees with seamless neural compatibility presents a grand challenge to neuroscientists and neural engineers for more than half century. Mimicking anatomical structure or appearance of human hand does not lead to improved neural connectivity to the sensorimotor system of amputees. The functions of modern prosthetic hands do not match the dexterity of human hand due primarily to lack of sensory awareness and compliant actuation. Lately, progress in restoring sensory feedback has marked a significant step forward in improving neural continuity of sensory information from prosthetic hands to amputees. However, little effort has been made to replicate the compliant property of biological muscle when actuating prosthetic hands. Furthermore, a full-fledged biorealistic approach to designing prosthetic hands has not been contemplated in neuroprosthetic research. In this perspective article, we advance a novel view that a prosthetic hand can be integrated harmoniously with amputees only if neural compatibility to the sensorimotor system is achieved. Our ongoing research supports that the next-generation prosthetic hand must incorporate biologically realistic actuation, sensing, and reflex functions in order to fully attain neural compatibility.

Research Article

White Laser Realized via Synergic Second- and Third-Order Nonlinearities

White laser with balanced performance of broad bandwidth, high average and peak power, large pulse energy, high spatial and temporal coherence, controllable spectrum profile, and overall chroma are highly desirable in various fields of modern science. Here, for the first time, we report an innovative scheme of harnessing the synergic action of both the second-order nonlinearity (2nd-NL) and the third-order nonlinearity (3rd-NL) in a single chirped periodically poled lithium niobate (CPPLN) nonlinear photonic crystal driven by a high-peak-power near-infrared (NIR) (central wavelength~1400 nm, energy~100 μJ per pulse) femtosecond pump laser to produce visible to near infrared (vis-NIR, 400-900 nm) supercontinuum white laser. The CPPLN involves a series of reciprocal-lattice bands that can be exploited to support quasiphase matching for simultaneous broadband second- and third-harmonic generations (SHG and THG) with considerable conversion efficiency. Due to the remarkable 3rd-NL which is due to the high energy density of the pump, SHG and THG laser pulses will induce significant spectral broadening in them and eventually generate bright vis-NIR white laser with high conversion efficiency up to 30%. Moreover, the spectral profile and overall chroma of output white laser can be widely modulated by adjusting the pump laser intensity, wavelength, and polarization. Our work indicates that one can deeply engineer the synergic and collective action of 2nd-NL and 3rd-NL in nonlinear crystals to accomplish high peak power, ultrabroadband vis-NIR white laser and hopefully realize the even greater but much more challenging dream of ultraviolet-visible-infrared full-spectrum laser.