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McKemmish L.K.,University College LondonLondon | McKemmish L.K.,Australian National University | Gilbert A.T.B.,Australian National University
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation | Year: 2015

Electron densities at nuclei are difficult to calculate accurately with all-Gaussian basis sets because they lack an electron-nuclear cusp. The newly developed mixed ramp-Gaussian basis sets, such as R-31G, possess electron-nuclear cusps due to the presence of ramp functions in the basis. The R-31G basis set is a general-purpose mixed ramp-Gaussian basis set modeled on the 6-31G basis set. The prediction of electron densities at nuclei using R-31G basis sets for Li-F outperforms Dunning, Pople, and Jensen general purpose all-Gaussian basis sets of triple-ζ quality or lower and the cc-pVQZ basis set. It is of similar quality to the specialized pcJ-0 basis set which was developed with partial decontraction of core functions and extra high exponent s-Gaussians to predict electron density at the nucleus. These results show significant advantages in the properties of mixed ramp-Gaussian basis sets compared to all-Gaussian basis sets. © 2015 American Chemical Society. Source

Suttipong M.,University College LondonLondon | Striolo A.,University College LondonLondon
RSC Advances | Year: 2015

In our previous simulation study [J. Phys. Chem. C, 2011, 115, 17286], branched sodium dodecyl benzene-sulfonate (SDBS) surfactants showed self-assembled structures on single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) that were strongly dependent on tube diameter. Those results suggested that branched SDBS, as opposed to their linear counterparts, could specifically stabilize SWNTs of narrow diameter. Experimental data, however, show that SDBS stabilizes aqueous SWNTs of many diameters. This discrepancy between simulated and experimental results could be explained by the fact that experimental SDBS samples are isomeric mixtures. To test this possibility we report here molecular dynamics (MD) simulation results for equimolar mixtures of aqueous linear and branched SDBS on (6,6) and (20,20) SWNTs at ambient conditions. Our results suggest that there is no strong effect due to nanotube diameter on the morphology of mixed SDBS surfactant aggregates, although the adsorbed aggregate structure strongly depends on surfactant coverage. In-plane radial distribution functions suggest that linear and branched molecules distribute evenly onto the surfaces of (6,6) SWNTs, while some evidence of segregation, in which branched SDBS predominantly pack near other branched molecules, was obtained on (20,20) SWNTs at high surface coverage. These results suggest that the lack of specificity in stabilizing aqueous dispersions of carbon nanotubes using SDBS surfactants is probably due to the presence of multiple isomeric molecules in commercial surfactant samples. Perhaps more importantly, these simulations suggest that using mixtures of surfactants could affect the structure of the adsorbed aggregates, and the stability of aqueous dispersion of carbon nanotubes. © The Royal Society of Chemistry. Source

Cortese-Krott M.M.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | Kuhnle G.G.C.,University of Reading | Dyson A.,University College LondonLondon | Fernandez B.O.,University of Southampton | And 14 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

Experimental evidence suggests that nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) signaling pathways are intimately intertwined, with mutual attenuation or potentiation of biological responses in the cardiovascular system and elsewhere. The chemical basis of this interaction is elusive. Moreover, polysulfides recently emerged as potential mediators of H2S/sulfide signaling, but their biosynthesis and relationship to NO remain enigmatic. We sought to characterize the nature, chemical biology, and bioactivity of key reaction products formed in the NO/sulfide system. At physiological pH, we find that NO and sulfide form a network of cascading chemical reactions that generate radical intermediates as well as anionic and uncharged solutes, with accumulation of three major products: nitrosopersulfide (SSNO-), polysulfides, and dinitrososulfite [N-nitrosohydroxylamine-N-sulfonate (SULFI/NO)], each with a distinct chemical biology and in vitro and in vivo bioactivity. SSNO- is resistant to thiols and cyanolysis, efficiently donates both sulfane sulfur and NO, and potently lowers blood pressure. Polysulfides are both intermediates and products of SSNO- synthesis/decomposition, and they also decrease blood pressure and enhance arterial compliance. SULFI/NO is a weak combined NO/nitroxyl donor that releases mainly N2O on decomposition; although it affects blood pressure only mildly, it markedly increases cardiac contractility, and formation of its precursor sulfite likely contributes to NO scavenging. Our results unveil an unexpectedly rich network of coupled chemical reactions between NO and H2S/sulfide, suggesting that the bioactivity of either transmitter is governed by concomitant formation of polysulfides and anionic S/N-hybrid species. This conceptual framework would seem to offer ample opportunities for the modulation of fundamental biological processes governed by redox switching and sulfur trafficking. Source

Arya C.,University College LondonLondon | Amiri A.,University College LondonLondon | Vassie P.,University College LondonLondon
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Structures and Buildings | Year: 2015

Civil infrastructure projects such as bridges can have a major impact on many of the issues relevant to sustainability and it is therefore important that civil and structural engineers have methods at their disposal that will help them deliver sustainable designs. This paper describes a new model for appraising the sustainability of bridges. The indictors used to assess sustainability are climate change, resource use, waste, biodiversity and heritage, noise, dust, vibration, aesthetics, employment and businesses, construction costs, maintenance costs and user delay costs. The paper describes the aim of each indicator and provides details of the methods of measurement. The paper also presents the results of a case study on the appraisal of three alternative designs of an over-bridge for a dual twolane motorway to discover which option is the most sustainable. Details of the key input parameters are provided. The way in which individual impacts are combined to produce an overall sustainability score for a given structure is highlighted. The paper concludes with a discussion on interpreting the results and ways of further improving the sustainability of the selected design. © ICE Publishing: All rights reserved. Source

Gentsch A.,University College LondonLondon | Panagiotopoulou E.,University College LondonLondon | Fotopoulou A.,University College LondonLondon
Current Biology | Year: 2015

Summary Social touch plays a powerful role in human life, with important physical and mental health benefits in development and adulthood. Touch is central in building the foundations of social interaction, attachment, and cognition [1-5], and early, social touch has unique, beneficial neurophysiological and epigenetic effects [6-9]. The recent discovery of a separate neurophysiological system for affectively laden touch in humans has further kindled scientific interest in the area [10, 11]. Remarkably, however, little is known about what motivates and sustains the human tendency to touch others in a pro-social manner. Given the importance of social touch, we hypothesized that active stroking elicits more sensory pleasure when touching others' skin than when touching one's own skin. In a set of six experiments (total N = 133) we found that healthy participants, mostly tested in pairs to account for any objective differences in skin softness, consistently judged another's skin as feeling softer and smoother than their own skin. We further found that this softness illusion appeared selectively when the touch activated a neurophysiological system for affective touch in the receiver. We conclude that this sensory illusion underlies a novel, bodily mechanism of socio-affective bonding and enhances our motivation to touch others. © 2015 The Authors. Source

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