595 research outputs found

    From micro to macro: Physical-chemical characterization of wheat starch-based films modified with PEG200, sodium citrate, or citric acid

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    Needing to extend the shelf-life of packaged food and the evolving consumer demands led researchers to seek innovative, eco-friendly, and biocompatible packaging solutions. Starch is among the most promising natural and renewable alternatives to non-degradable plastics. Here, we deeply study the structural features of starch films modified by adding citric acid (CA) or sodium citrate (SC) as a cross-linker and polyethylene glycol 200 (PEG200) as a plasticizer and obtained through solvent casting. The substances' influence on starch films was evaluated through Attenuated Total Reflection Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) and Solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (ss-NMR) spectroscopies. Films' macroscopic properties, such as swelling index, solubility, thermo-mechanical features, and moisture absorption, were also assessed to foresee potential applications. Proper amounts of CA, CS, and PEG200 improve film properties and inhibit starch chains' retrogradation and recrystallization. Besides, the chemical neighbourhood of nuclei observed through ss-NMR significantly changed alongside the polymer chains' mobility. The latter result indicates a different polymer chain structural organization that could justify the film's higher resistance to thermal degradation and elongation at the break. This methodological approach is effective in predicting the macroscopic behaviour of a polymeric material and could be helpful for the application of such products in food preservation

    Origin of the solid-state luminescence of MIL-53(Al) and its connection to the local crystalline structure

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    Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are extensively studied due to their unique surface properties, enabling many intriguing applications. Breathing MOFs, a subclass of MOFs, have gained recent interest for their ability to undergo structural changes based on factors like temperature, pressure, adsorbed molecules. Certain MOFs also exhibit remarkable optical properties useful for applications such as sensors, light-emitting diodes, and scintillators. The most promising MOFs possess high porosity, breathing properties, and photoluminescence activities, allowing for improved device responsiveness and selectivity. Understanding the relationship between crystal structures and photoluminescence properties is crucial in these cases. As studies on this topic are still very limited, we report for the first time an exhaustive study on the solid-state luminescence of the breathing MOF MIL-53(Al), that can stabilize in three different crystalline structures: open-pore, hydrated narrow-pore and closed-pore. We unveil a fascinating solid-state luminescence spectrum, comprising three partially overlapping bands, and elucidate the intricate electronic transitions within each band as well as their intimate correlation with the local crystalline structures. Our characterizations of spectroscopic properties and decay times provide a deeper understanding of the luminescent behaviour of MIL-53(Al) and demonstrate that is possible to identify present crystalline structures by optical measurements or to modify the optical properties inducing structural transitions for this type of materials. These insights could help to design next-generation, selective sensors or smart light emitting devices

    Present Status and Future Programs of the n_TOF Experiment

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    This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License 3.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any noncommercial medium, provided the original work is properly citedThe neutron time-of-flight facility n_TOF at CERN, Switzerland, operational since 2001, delivers neutrons using the Proton Synchrotron (PS) 20 GeV/c proton beam impinging on a lead spallation target. The facility combines a very high instantaneous neutron flux, an excellent time of flight resolution due to the distance between the experimental area and the production target (185 meters), a low intrinsic background and a wide range of neutron energies, from thermal to GeV neutrons. These characteristics provide a unique possibility to perform neutron-induced capture and fission cross-section measurements for applications in nuclear astrophysics and in nuclear reactor technology.The most relevant measurements performed up to now and foreseen for the future will be presented in this contribution. The overall efficiency of the experimental program and the range of possible measurements achievable with the construction of a second experimental area (EAR-2), vertically located 20 m on top of the n_TOF spallation target, might offer a substantial improvement in measurement sensitivities. A feasibility study of the possible realisation of the installation extension will be also presented

    Ni-62(n,gamma) and Ni-63(n,gamma) cross sections measured at the n_TOF facility at CERN

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    The cross section of the Ni-62(n,gamma) reaction was measured with the time-of-flight technique at the neutron time-of-flight facility n_TOF at CERN. Capture kernels of 42 resonances were analyzed up to 200 keV neutron energy and Maxwellian averaged cross sections (MACS) from kT = 5-100 keV were calculated. With a total uncertainty of 4.5%, the stellar cross section is in excellent agreement with the the KADoNiS compilation at kT = 30 keV, while being systematically lower up to a factor of 1.6 at higher stellar temperatures. The cross section of the Ni-63(n,gamma) reaction was measured for the first time at n_TOF. We determined unresolved cross sections from 10 to 270 keV with a systematic uncertainty of 17%. These results provide fundamental constraints on s-process production of heavier species, especially the production of Cu in massive stars, which serve as the dominant source of Cu in the solar system.Peer reviewedFinal Accepted Versio

    Measurement of the (90,91,92,93,94,96)Zr(n,gamma) and (139)La(n,gamma) cross sections at n_TOF

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    Open AccessNeutron capture cross sections of Zr and La isotopes have important implications in the field of nuclear astrophysics as well as in the nuclear technology. In particular the Zr isotopes play a key role for the determination of the neutron density in the He burning zone of the Red Giant star, while the (139)La is important to monitor the s-process abundances from Ba up to Ph. Zr is also largely used as structural materials of traditional and advanced nuclear reactors. The nuclear resonance parameters and the cross section of (90,91,92,93,94,96)Zr and (139)La have been measured at the n_TOF facility at CERN. Based on these data the capture resonance strength and the Maxwellian-averaged cross section were calculated

    Cross section measurements of 155,157Gd(n, ő≥) induced by thermal and epithermal neutrons

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    © SIF, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019Neutron capture cross section measurements on 155Gd and 157Gd were performed using the time-of-flight technique at the n_TOF facility at CERN on isotopically enriched samples. The measurements were carried out in the n_TOF experimental area EAR1, at 185 m from the neutron source, with an array of 4 C6D6 liquid scintillation detectors. At a neutron kinetic energy of 0.0253 eV, capture cross sections of 62.2(2.2) and 239.8(8.4) kilobarn have been derived for 155Gd and 157Gd, respectively, with up to 6% deviation relative to values presently reported in nuclear data libraries, but consistent with those values within 1.6 standard deviations. A resonance shape analysis has been performed in the resolved resonance region up to 181 eV and 307 eV, respectively for 155Gd and 157Gd, where on average, resonance parameters have been found in good agreement with evaluations. Above these energies and up to 1 keV, the observed resonance-like structure of the cross section has been analysed and characterised. From a statistical analysis of the observed neutron resonances we deduced: neutron strength function of 2. 01 (28) × 10 - 4 and 2. 17 (41) × 10 - 4; average total radiative width of 106.8(14) meV and 101.1(20) meV and s-wave resonance spacing 1.6(2) eV and 4.8(5) eV for n + 155Gd and n + 157Gd systems, respectively.Peer reviewedFinal Accepted Versio

    Towards the high-accuracy determination of the 238U fission cross section at the threshold region at CERN - N-TOF

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    The 238U fission cross section is an international standard beyond 2 MeV where the fission plateau starts. However, due to its importance in fission reactors, this cross-section should be very accurately known also in the threshold region below 2 MeV. The 238U fission cross section has been measured relative to the 235U fission cross section at CERN - n-TOF with different detection systems. These datasets have been collected and suitably combined to increase the counting statistics in the threshold region from about 300 keV up to 3 MeV. The results are compared with other experimental data, evaluated libraries, and the IAEA standards

    Impact of progressive global warming on the global-scale yield of maize and soybean

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    Global surface temperature is projected to warm over the coming decades, with regional differences expected in temperature change, rainfall and the frequency of extreme events. Temperature is a major determinant of crop growth and development, affecting planting date, growing season length and yield. We investigated the effects of increments of mean global temperature warming from 0.5 ¬įC to 4 ¬įC on soybean and maize development and yield, both globally and for the main producing countries, and simulated adaptation through changing planting date and variety. Increasing temperature resulted in reduced growing season lengths and ultimately reduced yields for both crops. The global yield for maize decreased as temperature increased, although the severity of the decrease was dependent on geographic region. Small temperature increases of 0.5 ¬įC had no effect on soybean yield, although yield decreased as temperature increased. These negative effects, however, were partly compensated for by the implementation of adaptation strategies including planting earlier in the season and changing variety. The degree of compensation was dependent on geographical area and crop, with maize adaptation delaying the negative effects of temperature on yield, compared to soybean adaptation which increased yield in China, India and Korea DPR as well as delaying the effects in the remaining countries. The results of this paper indicate the degree to which farmer-controlled adaptation strategies can alleviate the negative impacts of increasing temperature on two major crop species

    The impact of Mn nonstoichiometry on the oxygen mass transport properties of La0.8Sr0.2MnyO3¬Īőī thin films

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    Oxygen mass transport in perovskite oxides is relevant for a variety of energy and information technologies. In oxide thin films, cation nonstoichiometry is often found but its impact on the oxygen transport properties is not well understood. Here, we used oxygen isotope exchange depth profile technique coupled with secondary ion mass spectrometry to study oxygen mass transport and the defect compensation mechanism of Mn-deficient La0.8Sr0.2Mn (y) O-3 +/-delta epitaxial thin films. Oxygen diffusivity and surface exchange coefficients were observed to be consistent with literature measurements and to be independent on the degree of Mn deficiency in the layers. Defect chemistry modeling, together with a collection of different experimental techniques, suggests that the Mn-deficiency is mainly compensated by the formation of La-x(Mn) antisite defects. The results highlight the importance of antisite defects in perovskite thin films for mitigating cationic nonstoichiometry effects on oxygen mass transport properties
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