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Each year, the Microscopy Society of America (MSA) provides several major awards for outstanding contributions to the fields of microscopy and microanalysis and for service to the Society. While recipients of these awards are listed under the tab Awards & Scholarships – Society Awards | Microscopy Society of America on the MSA homepage, little information as to why awards were bestowed is provided. In this initial installment of what will become an annual contribution to Microsocopy Today, Miaofang Chi, Chair of the MSA Awards Committee, and I provide a perspective on the important contributions of the 2020 Award winners. The information presented here represents a short summary of information provided in the awardees’ nomination packages. Guidelines, including deadlines for nominating individuals for these and other MSA awards, can be found by following the above link.
Engineering the surface structure, together with the incorporation of a second metal, is an effective strategy for boosting the catalytic activities of Pt-based catalysts toward various reactions. Here, we report a facile approach to the synthesis of Pt–Ag octahedral and tetrahedral nanocrystals covered by concave surfaces. The presence of the Ag(I) precursor not only facilitated the reduction of the Pt(IV) precursor but also led to the formation of concaved facets on the Pt–Ag nanocrystals. Besides, poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP) was demonstrated to serve as a co-reductant, in addition to its role as a colloidal stabilizer. Using PVP with different molecular weights, we were able to tune the size of the Pt–Ag nanocrystals in the range of 9–25 and 14–32 nm for the octahedral and tetrahedral shapes, respectively. The Pt–Ag nanocrystals exhibited 4.6- and 2.0-fold enhancements in terms of specific and mass activities, respectively, toward methanol oxidation, when benchmarked against the commercial Pt/C catalyst. After 1000 cycles of the accelerated tests, the specific and mass activities of the Pt–Ag nanocrystals were still 3.6 and 1.6 times as high as those of the original commercial Pt/C.
The origin of ionic conductivity in bulk lithium lanthanum titanate, a promising solid electrolyte for Li-ion batteries, has long been under debate, with experiments showing lower conductivity than predictions. Using first-principles-based calculations, we find that experimentally observed type I boundaries are more stable compared with the type II grain boundaries, consistent with their observed relative abundance. Grain boundary stability appears to strongly anti-correlate with the field strength as well as the spatial extent of the space charge region. Ion migration is faster along type II grain boundaries than across, consistent with recent experiments of increased conductivity when type II densities were increased.