Although interfaces between metals and water are the local areas where crucial processes of energy technologies like water splitting take place, little is known so far about their structure and changes during such processes. For more than 100 years, the scientific description of such interfaces has been dominated by the model of the so-called electrochemical double layer. It states that charge carriers of an aqueous solution are increasingly arranged in the boundary region to the metal in order to compensate for excess electrical charges on the metal side. In the process, the opposing charges are separated by water molecules. Similar to a technical plate capacitor, this nanoscopic charge separation in the interface allows energy to be stored and retrieved later. Processes in which the molecular structure of the electrochemical double layer changes are relevant to many green technologies, such as supercapacitors and fuel cells.
A thousand times smaller than the diameter of a hair
Nanoparticles that are a thousand times smaller than the diameter of a human hair are increasingly being studied for such technical applications. Because of their advantageous ratio of process-relevant surface area to volume, they offer particularly good conditions for this. “In order to get to the bottom of the capacitance and rearrangement processes in the electrochemical bilayer on platinum and gold nanoparticles, it was crucial to develop a method with which precise discharge currents can be measured on individual nanoparticles in solution,” reports Kristina Tschulik. Otherwise, it would not be possible to distinguish effects related to the double layer from effects caused by the interaction of nanoparticles, such as billions of them present on a conventional electrode.
The Iranian scientist Dr. Mahnaz Azimzadeh Sani, who was funded by the German Academic Exchange Service, used so-called colloidal nanoparticle dispersions. There, nanoparticles are separated from each other and finely distributed in aqueous solution and randomly strike a microelectrode under voltage every now and then. With the help of computer-aided molecular dynamics simulations, on which researchers from the RUB and the Université Paris-Saclay and Sorbonne Université in Paris worked, it was possible to interpret similarities and differences in voltage-dependent measured capacitive currents of different types of nanoparticle dispersions.
The unexpectedly high capacitances are attributed to dissolved charged particles that increasingly accumulate in interstices of a compact water layer bound to platinum (and more weakly to gold) and an adjacent water layer of a different arrangement.In the future, the RUB scientists want to find out whether and why the double-layer structure is different at large electrodes consisting of many nanoparticles, in order to make the findings technically useful.
“Furthermore, water molecules are detached from the metal surface when more negative voltage is applied.”
– Dr. Julia Linnemann, team leader
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Stabilization of plastic exhaust systems during implementation
According to the exhaust specialist ATEC from Neu Wulmstorf, the Vario roof flange can be mounted on all roofs with high fitting accuracy. The selection is based on the roof pitch and the required nominal size. In addition, the flange is suitable for temperature classes T200 and T250 – and ATEC has had this certified with a general design approval.
The new product combines two components: first, the flange itself, which provides a stable connection between the roof elevation and the roof structure, and second, the optional seal, a self-adhesive vapor retarder. The company provides two versions: for roof pitches between 0° and 30°, and from 30° to 60°, each in eight nominal sizes between DN60/100 and DN250/315. It is also compatible with plastic and metal exhaust systems up to a nominal operating temperature of ≤ 250 °C.
The flange consists of a stainless steel clamp to which two retaining lugs/articulated brackets are welded at the factory. This is accompanied by a cover plate measuring 450 x 450 mm and 0.5 mm thick. With the help of malleable perforated strips, the exhaust pipe together with the Vario roof flange is screwed into place. This allows the Vario to be used flexibly both in new buildings and in existing properties.
Modern user interface impresses international jury
SIG’s new intuitive Human Machine Interface (HMI) “SIG CRUISER” has been awarded the prestigious iF DESIGN AWARD 2022 in Gold – one of the most important design awards in the world. This part of SIG’s next-generation filling technology enables customers to easily control their entire production process. The user interface is designed to make the operator’s job much easier, while reducing the need for training and prior experience.
The award has been presented annually since 1954 by the iF Industrie Forum Design for outstanding achievements in product design. The company impressed the 132-member jury, which is made up of independent design experts from around the world, and won the award in the “User Interface (UI)” category. Out of nearly 11,000 entries, SIG CRUISER was awarded gold as one of 73 outstanding design achievements.
The judges made the following statement, “With a user-centric approach and sound development methodology, SIG CRUISER provides consistency from the store floor to the top floor, ensuring quick response times and convenience for both the operator and the service team. The user interface is exceptionally simple and user-friendly in terms of operations, layout and graphics, allowing a single operator to control the entire line.”
Today’s competitive environment requires companies to increase production and margins and optimize available equipment. To get the most out of filling lines, it is critical to reduce the risk of downtime and to interconnect, automate and monitor lines for maximum efficiency. The new user interface makes it possible to control the entire filling line. It displays KPIs in an intuitive way.
“This prestigious global design award is the result of the good cooperation between SIG and our partner, HMI Project GmbH. We are very proud that SIG CRUISER stood out from thousands of submissions and convinced the 132-member jury to award an iF DESIGN AWARD in Gold.”
– Stefan Mergel, Senior Product Manager Equipment
Innovative insights into emergence and classification into subtypes
One of the deadliest tumor types is pancreatic cancer . The disease is often only discovered in locally advanced or metastasized tumor stages, when surgical intervention comes too late. Researchers led by Dr. Ivonne Regel of LMU Klinikum in Munich have now gained important new insights into the causes of tumor development. They have also succeeded in defining different tumor subtypes based on differences in their metabolic programs. Funded by the Wilhelm Sander Foundation, they are thus making a significant contribution to early detection and to individualized medicine in order to improve the chances of recovery for pancreatic cancer patients.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, also known as pancreatic cancer, is a relatively rare but particularly malignant disease. It represents the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the European Union, and only about 10 percent of patients survive the first five years after diagnosis. This is due to aggressive growth and late diagnosis of the tumor. Pancreatic cancer often manifests itself only after other organs have already been affected and metastases are present. To improve the chance of cure for pancreatic cancer patients, it is of great urgency to find new biomarkers for early detection. Another essential step is to identify tumor-specific signaling pathways that cause aggressive disease progression in order to identify new targets for therapeutic approaches.
TLR3/IRF3/IRF7 signaling pathway critical for pancreatic cancer development
Pancreatic cancer development is a dynamic process involving tissue damage and inflammatory response in the pancreas. When pancreatitis occurs, the organ has a self-healing mechanism. Normal pancreatic cells can divide to replace damaged tissue. Molecules released during inflammatory and tissue-damaging processes are recognized by cell receptors, relaying signals that promote cell survival and division.
However, in pancreatic cells, this can contribute to cell degeneration and promote the development of pancreatic cancer. Researchers led by Dr. Ivonne Regel were able to show for the first time that the signaling pathway plays an important role in inflammatory responses not only in immune cells, but is also active in pancreatic cells of precursor lesions and tumor cells. This activation of the signaling pathway has an important function in pancreatic cancer development. Genetically-altered mice lacking a functional signaling pathway are unable to develop pancreatic carcinomas (see Figure). Similarly, it was genetically knocked out in pancreatic tumor cells using CRISPR/Cas9 gene scissors. These genetically modified tumor cells exhibited significantly less aggressive behavior in cell culture experiments and also showed greatly reduced metastasis in animal models.
“For the first time, we were able to demonstrate that an active signaling pathway in pancreatic cells contributes to the development of pancreatic cancer and also supports the formation of metastases.”
– Ivonne Regel
Dr. Regel’s team has made another exciting discovery: In pancreatic tumor cells, the signaling pathway surprisingly does not regulate known target genes; instead, evidence was found for epigenetic modifications. These are regulatory modifications to DNA and packaging proteins (histones) that influence the activity of genes. Thus, the current research results indicate that activation of the signaling pathway in tumor cells leads to high levels of transcription of specific tumor-promoting genes.
These genes primarily regulate tumor cell metabolism. This is particularly important because metabolites of tumor cells can be found in the blood of patients and can be used as biomarkers. “My team and I have succeeded in identifying different subtypes of pancreatic cancer from the blood of cancer patients based on differences in their metabolic programs” said Dr. Regel. “In further studies, we now want to find out to what extent the development of pancreatic cancer subtypes is regulated by the signaling pathway.”