Matching Items (10)

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Construct Design, Protein Expression, and Purification of a Human Dopamine Receptor

Description

The dopamine 2 receptor (D2R) is a Class A GPCR which is essential for signaling in the nervous system, and has been implicated in numerous illnesses. While there are over

The dopamine 2 receptor (D2R) is a Class A GPCR which is essential for signaling in the nervous system, and has been implicated in numerous illnesses. While there are over 50 currently approved drugs which act on D2R, the structure has never been determined in detail. Although crystallography has historically been difficult with GPCRs, in recent years many structures have been solved using lipidic cubic phase (LCP) crystallization techniques. Sample preparation for LCP crystallization typically requires optimization of genetic constructs, recombinant expression, and purification techniques in order to produce a sample with sufficient stability and homogeneity. This study compares several genetic constructs utilizing different promoters, fusion proteins, fusion positions, and truncations in order to determine a high quality construct for LCP crystallization of
D2R. All constructs were expressed using the Bac-to-bac baculovirus expression system, then extracted with n-Dodecyl-β-D-Maltoside (DDM) and purified using metal affinity chromatography. Samples were then tested for quantity, purity, and homogeneity using SDS-PAGE, western blot, and size-exclusion chromatography. High quality samples were chosen based on insect cell expression levels, purification yield, and stability estimated by the levels of homomeric protein relative to aggregated protein. A final construct was chosen with which to continue future studies in optimization of thermal stability and crystallization conditions. Future work on this project is required to produce a sample amenable to crystallization. Screening of ligands for co-crystallization,
thermostabilizing point mutations, and potentially optimization of extraction and purification techniques prior to crystallization trials. Solving the D2R structure will lead to an increased understanding of its signaling mechanism and the mechanisms of currently approved drugs, while also providing a basis for more effective structure-based drug design.

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  • 2016-12

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Aptamer-functionalized Hydrogel for the Capture and Release of CCRF-CEM Leukemia Cancer Cells

Description

The main objective of this project is to create a hydrogel based material system to capture and release CCRF-CEM Leukemia cancer cells via chemo-mechanical modulation. This system is composed of

The main objective of this project is to create a hydrogel based material system to capture and release CCRF-CEM Leukemia cancer cells via chemo-mechanical modulation. This system is composed of an aptamer-functionalized hydrogel thin film at the bottom of a microfluidic channel, which changes its film thickness as the temperature of the fluid in the system changes. The functionalized hydrogel film has been created as the primary steps to creating the microfluidic device that could capture and release leukemia cells by turning the temperature of the fluid and length of exposure. Circulating tumor cells have recently become a highly studied area since they have become associated with the likelihood of patient survival. Further, circulating tumor cells can be used to determine changes in the genome of the cancer leading to targeted treatment. First, the aptamers were attached onto the hydrogel through an EDC/NHS reaction. The aptamers were verified to be attached onto the hydrogel through FTIR spectroscopy. The cell capture experiments were completed by exposing the hydrogel to a solution of leukemia cells for 10 minutes at room temperature. The cell release experiments were completed by exposing the hydrogel to a 40°C solution. Several capture and release experiments were completed to measure how many cells could be captured, how quickly, and how many cells captured were released. The aptamers were chemically attached to the hydrogel. 300 cells per square millimeter could be captured at a time in a 10 minute time period and released in a 5 minute period. Of the cells captured, 96% of them were alive once caught. 99% of cells caught were released once exposed to elevated temperature. The project opens the possibility to quickly and efficiently capture and release tumor cells using only changes in temperature. Further, most of the cells that were captured were alive and nearly all of those were released leading to high survival and capture efficiency.

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  • 2016-12

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Studies of origami and kirigami and their applications

Description

Origami and Kirigami are two traditional art forms in the world. Origami, from

‘ori’ meaning folding, and ‘kami’ meaning paper is the art of paper folding. Kirigami, from ‘kiri’ meaning cutting,

Origami and Kirigami are two traditional art forms in the world. Origami, from

‘ori’ meaning folding, and ‘kami’ meaning paper is the art of paper folding. Kirigami, from ‘kiri’ meaning cutting, is the art of the combination of paper cutting and paper folding. In this dissertation, Origami and kirigami concepts were successively utilized in making stretchable lithium ion batteries and three-dimensional (3D) silicon structure which both provide excellent mechanical characteristics.

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  • 2016

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Synthesis and characterization of novel silicone graft copolymers

Description

Silicone compounds have a very low surface energy due to highly flexible Si-O-Si backbone and large number of –CH3 groups, but these compounds are extremely hydrophobic and thus have limited

Silicone compounds have a very low surface energy due to highly flexible Si-O-Si backbone and large number of –CH3 groups, but these compounds are extremely hydrophobic and thus have limited applications in aqueous formulations. Modification of such silicone compounds by grafting hydrophilic chains provides a wide range of silicone products called "Silicone Surfactants". Silicone surfactants are surface active agents which get adsorbed at the air-water interface thereby, reducing the interfacial tension. Some of the larger applications of silicone surfactant are in the manufacture of plastic foams, in personal care products and as spreading and wetting agents (Hill, R.M, 2002).

In this thesis, a series of silicone surfactant graft copolymers were synthesized via hydrosilylation reaction. Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) of different chain length was grafted to a hydrophobic Poly(methylhydrosiloxane) (PMHS) backbone to improve the final hydrophilicity. Also, a positively charged quaternary ammonium salt (allyltriethylammonium bromide) was grafted to the PMHS backbone. The objective of this thesis was to synthesize polymers in predefined ratios of the above mentioned side groups and utilize these polymers to-

1) Study the effect of PEG chain length and its composition on the hydrophilicity of the polymer.

2) Study the effect of PEG: ammonium salt ratio on the surface tension of aqueous systems.

Analysis of FT-IR and 1H NMR spectra of the polymers confirmed the predicted structure. The absence of characteristic Si-H absorbance peak at 2160 cm-1 in FT-IR spectra indicates consumption of silane groups along the polymer backbone. The actual moles of the side chain grafted on the backbone are calculated by 1H NMR peak integration. The results of contact angle studies indicated an increase in hydrophilicity with an increase in the composition of PEG in molecule. A 2*2 factorial DOE analysis reported that the fraction of Si-H bonds converted to PEG grafts was the critical factor towards increasing the hydrophilicity (p value of 0.015). Surface tension studies report that the air-water interfacial tension of the synthesized polymers is between 28mN/m – 45mN/m. The amount of Si-H was concluded to be the deciding factor in lowering the surface tension.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Artificial phototropism based on a photo-thermo-responsive hydrogel

Description

Solar energy is leading in renewable energy sources and the aspects surrounding the efforts to harvest light are gaining importance. One such aspect is increasing the light absorption, where heliotropism

Solar energy is leading in renewable energy sources and the aspects surrounding the efforts to harvest light are gaining importance. One such aspect is increasing the light absorption, where heliotropism comes into play. Heliotropism, the ability to track the sun across the sky, can be integrated with solar cells for more efficient photon collection and other optoelectronic systems. Inspired by plants, which optimize incident sunlight in nature, several researchers have made artificial heliotropic and phototropic systems. This project aims to design, synthesize and characterize a material system and evaluate its application in a phototropic system. A gold nanoparticle (Au NP) incorporated poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) hydrogel was synthesized as a photo-thermo-responsive material in our phototropic system. The Au NPs generate heat from the incident via plasmonic resonance to induce a volume phase change of the thermo-responsive hydrogel PNIPAAm. PNIPAAm shrinks or swells at temperature above or below 32°C. Upon irradiation, the Au NP-PNIPAAm micropillar actuates, specifically bending toward the incident light and precisely following the varying incident angle.

Swelling ratio tests, bending angle tests with a static incident light and bending tests with varying angles were carried out on hydrogel samples with varying Au NP concentrations. Swelling ratios ranging from 1.45 to 2.9 were recorded for pure hydrogel samples and samples with very low Au NP concentrations. Swelling ratios of 2.41 and 3.37 were calculated for samples with low and high concentrations of Au NPs, respectively. A bending of up to 88° was observed in Au NP-hydrogel pillars with a low Au NP concentration with a 90° incident angle. The light tracking performance was assessed by the slope of the pillar Bending angle (response angle) vs. Incident light angle plot. A slope of 1 indicates ideal tracking with top of the pillar being normal to the incident light, maximizing the photon absorption. Slopes of 0.82 and 0.56 were observed for the low and high Au NP concentration samples. The rapid and precise incident light tracking of our system has shown the promise in phototropic applications.

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  • 2016

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Study of CdTe/MgxCd1-xTe double heterostructures and their application in high efficiency solar cells and in luminescence refrigeration

Description

CdTe/MgxCd1-xTe double heterostructures (DHs) have been grown on lattice matched InSb (001) substrates using Molecular Beam Epitaxy. The MgxCd1-xTe layers, which have a wider bandgap and type-I band edge alignment

CdTe/MgxCd1-xTe double heterostructures (DHs) have been grown on lattice matched InSb (001) substrates using Molecular Beam Epitaxy. The MgxCd1-xTe layers, which have a wider bandgap and type-I band edge alignment with CdTe, provide sufficient carrier confinement to CdTe, so that the optical properties of CdTe can be studied. The DH samples show very strong Photoluminescence (PL) intensity, long carrier lifetimes (up to 3.6 μs) and low effective interface recombination velocity at the CdTe/MgxCd1 xTe heterointerface (~1 cm/s), indicating the high material quality. Indium has been attempted as an n-type dopant in CdTe and it is found that the carriers are 100% ionized in the doping range of 1×1016 cm-3 to 1×1018 cm-3. With decent doping levels, long minority carrier lifetime, and almost perfect surface passivation by the MgxCd1-xTe layer, the CdTe/MgxCd1-xTe DHs are applied to high efficiency CdTe solar cells. Monocrystalline CdTe solar cells with efficiency of 17.0% and a record breaking open circuit voltage of 1.096 V have been demonstrated in our group.

Mg0.13Cd0.87Te (1.7 eV), also with high material quality, has been proposed as a current matching cell to Si (1.1 eV) solar cells, which could potentially enable a tandem solar cell with high efficiency and thus lower the electricity cost. The properties of Mg0.13Cd0.87Te/Mg0.5Cd0.5Te DHs and solar cells have been investigated. Carrier lifetime as long as 0.56 μs is observed and a solar cell with 11.2% efficiency and open circuit voltage of 1.176 V is demonstrated.

The CdTe/MgxCd1-xTe DHs could also be potentially applied to luminescence refrigeration, which could be used in vibration-free space applications. Both external luminescence quantum efficiency and excitation-dependent PL measurement show that the best quality samples are almost 100% dominated by radiative recombination, and calculation shows that the internal quantum efficiency can be as high as 99.7% at the optimal injection level (1017 cm-3). External luminescence quantum efficiency of over 98% can be realized for luminescence refrigeration with the proper design of optical structures.

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  • 2016

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Sustainable new energy materials: design and discovery of novel materials and architectures for lithium ion batteries and solar energy conversion

Description

There is a fundamental attractiveness about harnessing renewable energy in an age when sustainability is an ethical norm. Lithium ion batteries and hydrogen fuels are considered the most promising energy

There is a fundamental attractiveness about harnessing renewable energy in an age when sustainability is an ethical norm. Lithium ion batteries and hydrogen fuels are considered the most promising energy source instead of fossil fuels. This work describes the investigation of new cathode materials and devices architectures for lithium ion batteries, and photocatalysts for their usage in water splitting and waste water treatment.

LiCoO2 and LiNi1/3Mn1/3Co1/3O2 were exfoliated into nanosheets using electrochemical oxidation followed by intercalation of tetraethylammonium cations. The nanosheets were purified using dialysis and electrophoresis. The nanosheets were successfully restacked into functional cathode materials with microwave hydrothermal assistance, indicating that new cathodes can be obtained by reassembling nanosheets. This method can pave the way for the synthesis of materials with novel structures and electrochemical properties, as well as facilitate the fabrication of hybrid and composite structures from different nanosheets as building blocks.

Paper folding techniques are used in order to compact a Li-ion battery and increase its energy per footprint area. Full cells were prepared using Li4Ti5O12 and LiCoO2 powders deposited onto current collectors consisting of paper coated with carbon nanotubes. Folded cells showed higher areal capacities compared to the planar versions. Origami lithium-ion battery made in this method that can be deformed at an unprecedented high level, including folding, bending and twisting.

Spray pyrolysis was used to prepare films of AgInS2 with and without Sn as an extrinsic dopant. The photoelectrochemical performance of these films was evaluated after annealing under a N2 or S atmosphere with different amounts of the Sn dopant. Density Function Theory (DFT) was used to calculate the band structure of AgInS2 and understand the role of Sn doping in the observed properties.

Cr(VI) removal was investigated using multiple oxide photocatalyst and additives. The efficiency for Cr(VI) removal using these photocatalysts was investigated in synthetic neutral and alkaline water, as well as in cooling tower blowdown water. While sulfite alone can chemically reduce Cr(VI), sulfite in combination with a photocatalyst resulted in faster and complete removal of Cr(VI) in 10 min using a SO32−/Cr(VI) ratio >35 in pH ∼ 8 solutions.

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  • 2016

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Raman and photoluminescence studies of in-plane anisotropic layered materials

Description

This thesis presents systematic studies on angle dependent Raman and Photoluminescence (PL) of a new class of layered materials, Transition Metal Trichalcogenides (TMTCs), which are made up of layers possessing

This thesis presents systematic studies on angle dependent Raman and Photoluminescence (PL) of a new class of layered materials, Transition Metal Trichalcogenides (TMTCs), which are made up of layers possessing anisotropic structure within the van-der-Waals plane. The crystal structure of individual layer of MX3 compounds consists of aligned nanowire like 1D chains running along the b-axis direction. The work focuses on the growth of two members of this family - ZrS3 and TiS3 - through Chemical Vapor Transport Method (CVT), with consequent angle dependent Raman and PL studies which highlight their in-plane optically anisotropic properties. Results highlight that the optical properties of few-layer flakes are highly anisotropic as evidenced by large PL intensity variation with polarization direction (in ZrS3) and an intense variation in Raman intensity with variation in polarization direction (in both ZrS3 and TiS3).

Results suggest that light is efficiently absorbed when E-field of the polarized incident excitation laser is polarized along the chain (b-axis). It is greatly attenuated and absorption is reduced when field is polarized perpendicular to the length of 1D-like chains, as wavelength of the exciting light is much longer than the width of each 1D chain. Observed PL variation with respect to the azimuthal flake angle is similar to what has been previously observed in 1D materials like nanowires. However, in TMTCs, since the 1D chains interact with each other, it gives rise to a unique linear dichroism response that falls between 2D and 1D like behavior. These results not only mark the very first demonstration of high PL polarization anisotropy in 2D systems, but also provide a novel insight into how interaction between adjacent 1D-like chains and the 2D nature of each layer influences the overall optical anisotropy of Quasi-1D materials. The presented results are anticipated to have impact in technologies involving polarized detection, near-field imaging, communication systems, and bio-applications relying on the generation and detection of polarized light.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Conductive polymeric binder for lithium-ion battery anode

Description

Tin (Sn) has a high-specific capacity (993 mAhg-1) as an anode material for Li-ion batteries. To overcome the poor cycling performance issue caused by its large volume expansion and pulverization

Tin (Sn) has a high-specific capacity (993 mAhg-1) as an anode material for Li-ion batteries. To overcome the poor cycling performance issue caused by its large volume expansion and pulverization during the charging and discharging process, many researchers put efforts into it. Most of the strategies are through nanostructured material design and introducing conductive polymer binders that serve as matrix of the active material in anode. This thesis aims for developing a novel method for preparing the anode to improve the capacity retention rate. This would require the anode to have high electrical conductivity, high ionic conductivity, and good mechanical properties, especially elasticity. Here the incorporation of a conducting polymer and a conductive hydrogel in Sn-based anodes using a one-step electrochemical deposition via a 3-electrode cell method is reported: the Sn particles and conductive component can be electrochemically synthesized and simultaneously deposited into a hybrid thin film onto the working electrode directly forming the anode. A well-defined three dimensional network structure consisting of Sn nanoparticles coated by conducting polymers is achieved. Such a conductive polymer-hydrogel network has multiple advantageous features: meshporous polymeric structure can offer the pathway for lithium ion transfer between the anode and electrolyte; the continuous electrically conductive polypyrrole network, with the electrostatic interaction with elastic, porous hydrogel, poly (2-acrylamido-2-methyl-1-propanesulfonic acid-co-acrylonitrile) (PAMPS) as both the crosslinker and doping anion for polypyrrole (PPy) can decrease the volume expansion by creating porous scaffold and softening the system itself. Furthermore, by increasing the amount of PAMPS and creating an interval can improve the cycling performance, resulting in improved capacity retention about 80% after 20 cycles, compared with only 54% of that of the control sample without PAMPS. The cycle is performed under current of 0.1 C.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Polymer-gold composite particles: synthesis, characterization, application, and beyond

Description

Polymer-gold composite particles are of tremendous research interests. Contributed by their unique structures, these particles demonstrate superior properties for optical, catalytic and electrical applications. Moreover, the incorporation of “smart” polymers

Polymer-gold composite particles are of tremendous research interests. Contributed by their unique structures, these particles demonstrate superior properties for optical, catalytic and electrical applications. Moreover, the incorporation of “smart” polymers into polymer-gold composite particles enables the composite particles synergistically respond to environment-stimuli like temperature, pH and light with promising applications in multiple areas.

A novel Pickering emulsion polymerization route is found for synthesis of core-shell structured polymer-gold composite particles. It is found that the surface coverage of gold nanoparticles (AuNP) on a polystyrene core is influenced by gold nanoparticle concentration and hydrophobicity. More importantly, the absorption wavelength of polystyrene-gold composite particles is tunable by adjusting AuNP interparticle distance. Further, core-shell structured polystyrene-gold composite particles demonstrate excellent catalyst recyclability.

Asymmetric polystyrene-gold composite particles are successfully synthesized via seeded emulsion polymerization, where AuNPs serve as seeds, allowing the growth of styrene monomers/oligomers on them. These particles also demonstrate excellent catalyst recyclability. Further, monomers of “smart” polymers, poly (N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAm), are successfully copolymerized into asymmetric composite particles, enabling these particles’ thermo-responsiveness with significant size variation around lower critical solution temperature (LCST) of 31°C. The significant size variation gives rise to switchable scattering intensity property, demonstrating potential applications in intensity-based optical sensing.

Multipetal and dumbbell structured gold-polystyrene composite particles are also successfully synthesized via seeded emulsion polymerization. It is intriguing to observe that by controlling reaction time and AuNP size, tetrapetal-structured, tripetal-structured and dumbbell-structured gold-polystyrene are obtained. Further, “smart” PNIPAm polymers are successfully copolymerized into dumbbell-shaped particles, showing significant size variation around LCST. Self-modulated catalytic activity around LCST is achieved for these particles. It is hypothesized that above LCST, the significant shrinkage of particles limits diffusion of reaction molecules to the surface of AuNPs, giving a reduced catalytic activity.

Finally, carbon black (CB) particles are successfully employed for synthesis of core- shell PNIPAm/polystyrene-CB particles. The thermo-responsive absorption characteristics of PNIPAm/polystyrene-CB particles enable them potentially suitable to serve as “smart” nanofluids with self-controlled temperature. Compared to AuNPs, CB particles provide desirable performance here, because they show no plasmon resonance in visible wavelength range, whereas AuNPs’ absorption in the visible wavelength range is undesirable.

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Date Created
  • 2015