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Author ORCID ID is 0000000151749546
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  1. Combining X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, and ab initio simulations we characterize an extremely hydrogen-rich phase with the chemical formula (NH 3BH 3)(H 2) x (x = 1.5). This phase was formed by compressing ammonia borane (AB, NH 3BH 3) in an environment with an excess of molecular hydrogen (H 2). This compound can store a total of 26.8 wt% hydrogen, both as molecular hydrogen and chemically bonded hydrogen in AB, making it one of the most hydrogen-rich solids currently known. The new compound possesses a layered AB structure where additional H 2 molecules reside in channels created through the weavingmore » of AB layers. The unconventional dihydrogen bonding network of the new compound is significantly modified from its parent AB phase and contains H•••H contacts between adjacent AB molecules and between AB and H 2 molecules. H–H can be either a proton donor or a proton acceptor that forms new types of dihydrogen bonding with the host AB molecules, which are depicted as H–H•••H–B or H–H•••H–N, respectively. Furthermore, this study not only demonstrates the strategy and the promise of using pressure for new material synthesis, but also unleashes the power of combining experiments and ab initio calculations for elucidating novel structures and unusual bonding configurations in dense low-Z materials.« less
  2. Modulation of weak interlayer interactions between quasi-two-dimensional atomic planes in the transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) provides avenues for tuning their functional properties. Here we show that above-gap optical excitation in the TMDCs leads to an unexpected large-amplitude, ultrafast compressive force between the two-dimensional layers, as probed by in situ measurements of the atomic layer spacing at femtosecond time resolution. We show that this compressive response arises from a dynamic modulation of the interlayer van der Waals interaction and that this represents the dominant light-induced stress at low excitation densities. A simple analytic model predicts the magnitude and carrier density dependencemore » of the measured strains. Furthermore, this work establishes a new method for dynamic, nonequilibrium tuning of correlation-driven dispersive interactions and of the optomechanical functionality of TMDC quasi-two-dimensional materials.« less
  3. Mechanical forces affect a myriad of processes, from bone growth to material fracture to touch-responsive robotics. While nano- to micro-Newton forces are prevalent at the microscopic scale, few methods have the nanoscopic size and signal stability to measure them in vivo or in situ. Here, we develop an optical force-sensing platform based on sub-25 nm NaYF 4 nanoparticles (NPs) doped with Yb 3+, Er 3+, and Mn 2+. The lanthanides Yb 3+ and Er 3+ enable both photoluminescence and upconversion, while the energetically coupled d-metal Mn 2+ adds force tunability through its crystal field sensitivity. IN using a diamond anvilmore » cell to exert up to 3.5 GPa pressure or ~10 μN force per particle, we track stress-induced spectral responses. The red (660 nm) to green (520, 540 nm) emission ratio varies linearly with pressure, yielding an observed color change from orange to red for α-NaYF 4 and from yellow–green to green for d-metal optimized β-NaYF 4 when illuminated in the near infrared. We record consistent readouts over multiple pressure cycles and hours of illumination. With the nanoscopic size, a dynamic range of 100 nN to 10 μN, and photostability, these nanoparticles lay the foundation for visualizing dynamic mechanical processes, such as stress propagation in materials and force signaling in organisms.« less

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