Hybrid aeromaterials for enhanced and rapid volumetric photothermal response
Lena M. Saure, Niklas Kohlmann, Haoyi Qiu, Shwetha Shetty, Ali Shaygan Nia, Narayanan Ravishankar, Xinliang Feng, Alexander Szameit, Lorenz Kienle, Rainer Adelung & Fabian Schütt


Conversion of light into heat is essential for a broad range of technologies such as solar thermal heating, catalysis and desalination. Three-dimensional (3D) carbon nanomaterial-based aerogels have shown to hold great promise as photothermal transducer materials. However, till now, their light-to-heat conversion is limited by surface-near absorption, resulting in a strong heat localization only at the illuminated surface region, while most of the aerogel volume remains unused. We present an innovative fabrication concept for highly porous (>99.9%) photothermal hybrid aeromaterials, that enable an ultra-rapid and volumetric photothermal response with an enhancement by a factor of around 2.5 compared to the pristine variant. The hybrid aeromaterial is based on strongly light-scattering framework structures composed of interconnected hollow silicon dioxide (SiO2) microtubes, which are functionalized with extremely low amounts (in order of a few μg cm3) of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanosheets, acting as photothermal agents. Tailoring the density of rGO within the framework structure enables us to control both, light scattering and light absorption, and thus the volumetric photothermal response. We further show that by rapid and repeatable gas activation these transducer materials expand the field of photothermal applications, like untethered light-powered and -controlled microfluidic pumps and soft pneumatic actuators.

A benchmark of hemoglobin blocking during library preparation for mRNA-Sequencing of human blood samples
Florian Uellendahl-Werth, Markus Wolfien, Andre Franke, Olaf Wolkenhauer, & David Ellinghaus

Scientific Reports

RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq) of peripheral blood can be a valuable source of information for investigating the status and mechanism of diseases. However, blood contains 50–80% unwanted hemoglobin (Hb) transcripts. Lexogen’s QuantSeq mRNA-Seq-Kit for Illumina RNA-Seq features a ‘Globin Block’ (GB) module that depletes Hb cDNAs during library preparation. Here, we aimed to assess GB’s effectiveness and checked for technical biases attributable to GB. Using whole blood total RNA samples of 91 healthy individuals, we sequenced 91 pairs of GB and non-blocked samples (noGB) on Illumina HiSeq2500 and 8 pairs of GB/noGB technical replicates on HiSeq4000. GB reduced the fraction of Hb transcripts from 43% (s.d. 14%) to 8.0% (s.d. 4.3%). From GB samples we detected 1,397 more expressed genes at approximately 11 million reads per RNA-isolate. Enrichment and differential expression analyses did not reveal significant differences for GB and noGB samples with respect to molecular function. In contrast to results from studies that have examined the performance of GB during RNA isolation, we were able to assign GB to corresponding noGB samples (from multiple sequencing runs on HiSeq2500) with at least 89.8% accuracy from the complete correlation matrix of all GB/GB, noGB/noGB and GB/noGB pairs. However, the use of different sequencers (HiSeq2500 vs HiSeq4000) impaired assignment of technical replicates, whereas assignment of GB to corresponding noGB samples worked perfectly when sequencing on one lane on HiSeq4000. Lexogen’s GB RNA-Seq module is a valuable addition during mRNA-Seq library preparation which works even with low amounts of input total RNA (50 ng per sample). GB facilitated the detection of low abundant transcripts and yielded more non-hemoglobin reads, while preserving biological information. We observed that differences in sequencing run and platform have a far greater effect on technical variation than the use of GB.

Fast corroding, thin magnesium coating displays antibacterial effects and low cytotoxicity

Sarah Zaatreh, David Haffner, Madlen Strauß, Katharina Wegner, Mareike Warkentin, Claudia Lurtz, Christiane Zamponi, Wolfram Mittelmeier, Bernd Kreikemeyer, Regine Willumeit-Römer, Eckhard Quandt & Rainer Bader


Bacterial colonisation and biofilm formation are characteristics of implant-associated infections. In search of candidates for improved prosthetic materials, fast corroding Mg-based coatings on titanium surfaces were examined for their cytotoxic and antimicrobial properties. Human osteoblasts and Staphylococcus epidermidis were each cultured on cylindrical Ti samples coated with a thin layer of Mg/Mg45Zn5Ca, applied via magnetron sputtering. Uncoated titanium samples served as controls. S. epidermidis was quantified by counting colony forming units. The biofilm-bound fraction was isolated via ultrasonic treatment, and the planktonic fraction via centrifugation. Biofilm-bound S. epidermidis was significantly decreased by approximately four to five orders of magnitude in both Mg- and Mg45Zn5Ca-coated samples after seven days compared to the control. The osteoblast viability was within the tolerance threshold of 70% stated in DIN EN ISO 10993-5:2009-10 for Mg (~80%) but not for Mg45Zn5Ca (~25%). Accordingly, Mg-coated titanium was identified as a promising candidate for an implant material with antibacterial properties and low cytotoxicity levels. The approach of exploiting fast corrosion contrasts with existing methods, which have generally focused on reducing corrosion.


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Smart transformer

… for a realiable and resilient energy grid of the future.

© AG Marco Liserre, CAU

Super-HEART targets the development of a high availability power converter for multi-source integration, for applications that are critical and have high downtime-costs. The project is based on the results of the HEART and U-HEART projects conducted by the Chair of Power Electrics of Kiel University, combined with developments towards high power and high density super-capacitors, from the Functional Nanomaterial Chair (Prof. Adelung) of Kiel University and Trinity College Dublin (Prof. Nicolosi). The project is supported by Fraunhofer ISIT.

Deep brain stimulation

Treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Since its introduction at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel in 1998, deep brain stimulation has been a profile-forming scientific and clinical focus of the hospital and the Neurocentre Kiel. Close cooperation between the disciplines involved (neurology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology) has made it possible to establish a high standard of patient care and to implement interdisciplinary research projects.
interdisciplinary research projects could be implemented. By the end of 2017, a stimulator had been implanted in 923 patients in Kiel. The working group improves therapy with its studies. Nationally, it works closely with the participating disciplines of the Neurocentre and with the Faculty of Engineering of CAU. The group is working on sub-project B5 in CRC 1261 (Biomagnetic Sensing) and is involved in numerous international collaborations.

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