Open Access Publications

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Open access publications by faculty, postdocs, and graduate students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.


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    Propulsive performance of oscillating plates with time-periodic flexibility
    (Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2023-03-22) Yudin, David; Floryan, Daniel; Van Buren, Tyler
    We use small-amplitude inviscid theory to study the swimming performance of a flexible flapping plate with time-varying flexibility. The stiffness of the plate oscillates at twice the frequency of the kinematics in order to maintain a symmetric motion. Plates with constant and time-periodic stiffness are compared over a range of mean plate stiffnesses, oscillating stiffness amplitudes and oscillating stiffness phases for isolated heaving, isolated pitching and combined leading-edge kinematics. We find that there is a profound impact of oscillating stiffness on the thrust, with a lesser impact on propulsive efficiency. Thrust improvements of up to 35 % relative to a constant-stiffness plate are observed. For large enough frequencies and amplitudes of the stiffness oscillation, instabilities emerge. The unstable regions may confer enhanced propulsive performance; this hypothesis must be verified via experiments or nonlinear simulations.
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    Estimating ground reaction force with novel carbon nanotube-based textile insole pressure sensors
    (Wearable Technologies, 2023-03-02) Burch, Kaleb; Doshi, Sagar; Chaudhari, Amit; Thostenson, Erik; Higginson, Jill
    This study presents a new wearable insole pressure sensor (IPS), composed of fabric coated in a carbon nanotube-based composite thin film, and validates its use for quantifying ground reaction forces (GRFs) during human walking. Healthy young adults (n = 7) walked on a treadmill at three different speeds while data were recorded simultaneously from the IPS and a force plate (FP). The IPS was compared against the FP by evaluating differences between the two instruments under two different assessments: (1) comparing the two peak forces at weight acceptance and push-off (2PK) and (2) comparing the absolute maximum (MAX) of each gait cycle. Agreement between the two systems was evaluated using the Bland–Altman method. For the 2PK assessment, the group mean of differences (MoD) was −1.3 ± 4.3% body weight (BW) and the distance between the MoD and the limits of agreement (2S) was 25.4 ± 11.1% BW. For the MAX assessment, the average MoD across subjects was 1.9 ± 3.0% BW, and 2S was 15.8 ± 9.3% BW. The results of this study show that this sensor technology can be used to obtain accurate measurements of peak walking forces with a basic calibration and consequently open new opportunities to monitor GRF outside of the laboratory.
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    Online Self-Calibration for Visual-Inertial Navigation: Models, Analysis, and Degeneracy
    (IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 2023-06-07) Yang, Yulin; Geneva, Patrick; Zuo, Xingxing; Huang, Guoquan
    As sensor calibration plays an important role in visual-inertial sensor fusion, this article performs an in-depth investigation of online self-calibration for robust and accurate visual-inertial state estimation. To this end, we first conduct complete observability analysis for visual-inertial navigation systems (VINS) with full calibration of sensing parameters, including inertial measurement unit (IMU)/camera intrinsics and IMU-camera spatial-temporal extrinsic calibration, along with readout time of rolling shutter (RS) cameras (if used). We study different inertial model variants containing intrinsic parameters that encompass most commonly used models for low-cost inertial sensors. With these models, the observability analysis of linearized VINS with full sensor calibration is performed. Our analysis theoretically proves the intuition commonly assumed in the literature—that is, VINS with full sensor calibration has four unobservable directions, corresponding to the system's global yaw and position, while all sensor calibration parameters are observable given fully excited motions. Moreover, we, for the first time, identify degenerate motion primitives for IMU and camera intrinsic calibration, which, when combined, may produce complex degenerate motions. We compare the proposed online self-calibration on commonly used IMUs against the state-of-art offline calibration toolbox Kalibr, showing that the proposed system achieves better consistency and repeatability. Based on our analysis and experimental evaluations, we also offer practical guidelines to effectively perform online IMU-camera self-calibration in practice.
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    Visual accuracy dominates over haptic speed for state estimation of a partner during collaborative sensorimotor interactions
    (Journal of Neurophysiology, 2023-07-01) Lakesh, Rakshith; Sullivan, Seth R.; Germain, Laura St.; Roth, Adam M.; Calalo, Jan A.; Buggeln, John; Ngo, Truc; Marchhart, Vanessa R. F.; Carter, Michael J.; Cashaback, Joshua G. A.
    We routinely have physical interactions with others, whether it be handing someone a glass of water or jointly moving a heavy object together. These sensorimotor interactions between humans typically rely on visual feedback and haptic feedback. Recent single-participant studies have highlighted that the unique noise and time delays of each sense must be considered to estimate the state, such as the position and velocity, of one’s own movement. However, we know little about how visual feedback and haptic feedback are used to estimate the state of another person. Here, we tested how humans utilize visual feedback and haptic feedback to estimate the state of their partner during a collaborative sensorimotor task. Across two experiments, we show that visual feedback dominated haptic feedback during collaboration. Specifically, we found that visual feedback led to comparatively lower task-relevant movement variability, smoother collaborative movements, and faster trial completion times. We also developed an optimal feedback controller that considered the noise and time delays of both visual feedback and haptic feedback to estimate the state of a partner. This model was able to capture both lower task-relevant movement variability and smoother collaborative movements. Taken together, our empirical and modeling results support the idea that visual accuracy is more important than haptic speed to perform state estimation of a partner during collaboration. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Physical collaboration between two or more individuals involves both visual and haptic feedback. Here, we investigated how visual and haptic feedback is used to estimate the movements of a partner during a collaboration task. Our experimental and computational modeling results parsimoniously support the notion that greater visual accuracy is more important than faster yet noisier haptic feedback when estimating the state of a partner.
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    Carbon Additive Manufacturing with a Near-Replica “Green-to-Brown” Transformation
    (Advanced Materials, 2023-05-30) Zhang, Chunyan; Shi, Baohui; He, Jinlong; Zhou, Lyu; Park, Soyeon; Doshi, Sagar; Shang, Yuanyuan; Deng, Kaiyue; Giordano, Marc; Qi, Xiangjun; Cui, Shuang; Liu, Ling; Ni, Chaoying; Fu, Kun Kelvin
    Nanocomposites containing nanoscale materials offer exciting opportunities to encode nanoscale features into macroscale dimensions, which produces unprecedented impact in material design and application. However, conventional methods cannot process nanocomposites with a high particle loading, as well as nanocomposites with the ability to be tailored at multiple scales. A composite architected mesoscale process strategy that brings particle loading nanoscale materials combined with multiscale features including nanoscale manipulation, mesoscale architecture, and macroscale formation to create spatially programmed nanocomposites with high particle loading and multiscale tailorability is reported. The process features a low-shrinking (<10%) “green-to-brown” transformation, making a near-geometric replica of the 3D design to produce a “brown” part with full nanomaterials to allow further matrix infill. This demonstration includes additively manufactured carbon nanocomposites containing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and thermoset epoxy, leading to multiscale CNTs tailorability, performance improvement, and 3D complex geometry feasibility. The process can produce nanomaterial-assembled architectures with 3D geometry and multiscale features and can incorporate a wide range of matrix materials, such as polymers, metals, and ceramics, to fabricate nanocomposites for new device structures and applications.
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    Extrusion-Based Additively Manufactured PAEK and PAEK/CF Polymer Composites Performance: Role of Process Parameters on Strength, Toughness and Deflection at Failure
    (Journal of Composites Science, 2023-04-11) Sharafi, S.; Santare, M. H.; Gerdes, J.; Advani, S. G.
    Poly aryl-ether-ketone (PAEK) belongs to a family of high-performance semicrystalline polymers exhibiting outstanding material properties at high temperatures, making them suitable candidates for metallic part replacement in different industries such as aviation, oil and gas, chemical, and biomedical. Fused filament fabrication is an additive manufacturing (AM) method that can be used to produce intricate PAEK and PAEK composite parts and to tailor their mechanical properties such as stiffness, strength and deflection at failure. In this work, we present a methodology to identify the layer design and process parameters that will have the highest potential to affect the mechanical properties of additively manufactured parts, using our previously developed multiscale modeling framework. Five samples for each of the ten identified process conditions were fabricated using a Roboze-Argo 500 version 2 with heated chamber and dual extruder nozzle. The manufactured PAEK and PAEK/carbon fiber samples were tested until failure in an Instron, using a video extensometer system. Each sample was prepared with a speckle pattern for post analysis using digital image correlation (DIC) to measure the strain and displacement over its entire surface. The raster angle and the presence of fibers had the largest influence on the mechanical properties of the AM manufactured parts, and the resulting properties were comparable to the mechanical properties of injection molded parts.
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    A traveler-centric mobility game: Efficiency and stability under rationality and prospect theory
    (PLOS ONE, 2023-05-05) Chremos, Ioannis Vasileios; Malikopoulos, Andreas A.
    In this paper, we study a routing and travel-mode choice problem for mobility systems with a multimodal transportation network as a “mobility game” with coupled action sets. We formulate an atomic routing game to focus on the travelers’ preferences and study the impact on the efficiency of the travelers’ behavioral decision-making under rationality and prospect theory. To control the innate inefficiencies, we introduce a mobility “pricing mechanism,” in which we model traffic congestion using linear cost functions while also considering the waiting times at different transport hubs. We show that the travelers’ selfish actions lead to a pure-strategy Nash equilibrium. We then perform a Price of Anarchy and Price of Stability analysis to establish that the mobility system’s inefficiencies remain relatively low and the social welfare at a NE remains close to the social optimum as the number of travelers increases. We deviate from the standard game-theoretic analysis of decision-making by extending our mobility game to capture the subjective behavior of travelers using prospect theory. Finally, we provide a detailed discussion of implementing our proposed mobility game.
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    The nervous system tunes sensorimotor gains when reaching in variable mechanical environments
    (iScience, 2023-06-16) Maurus, Philipp; Jackson, Kuira; Cashaback, Joshua G.A.; Cluff, Tyler
    Highlights: • The control of reaching is altered when facing time-varying physical disturbances • The changes in control increase responses to proprioceptive and visual feedback • Responses to feedback are tuned to the variability of the time-varying disturbances Summary: Humans often move in the presence of mechanical disturbances that can vary in direction and amplitude throughout movement. These disturbances can jeopardize the outcomes of our actions, such as when drinking from a glass of water on a turbulent flight or carrying a cup of coffee while walking on a busy sidewalk. Here, we examine control strategies that allow the nervous system to maintain performance when reaching in the presence of mechanical disturbances that vary randomly throughout movement. Healthy participants altered their control strategies to make movements more robust against disturbances. The change in control was associated with faster reaching movements and increased responses to proprioceptive and visual feedback that were tuned to the variability of the disturbances. Our findings highlight that the nervous system exploits a continuum of control strategies to increase its responsiveness to sensory feedback when reaching in the presence of increasingly variable physical disturbances. Graphical abstract available at:
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    Bladder expandable robotic system and UV materials for rapid internal pipeline repair
    (SAMPE Conference Proceedings 2023, 2023-04-18) Tierney, John J.; Vanarelli, Alex; Fuessel, Lukas; Abu-Obaid, Ahmad; Sauerbrunn, Steve; Das, Shagata; Deitzel, Joseph; Tatar, Jovan; Heider, Dirk; Shenton, Harry W. III; Kloxin, Christopher J.; Sung, Dae Han; Thostenson, Erik; Gillespie, John W. Jr.
    This paper describes a novel composite placement process to fabricate stand-alone structural pipe within existing legacy pipelines—with no disruption in gas service. The process utilizes low-cost, UV-curable, glass fiber reinforced plastics (GFRP) for discrete preforms made from continuous fiber fabrics. These sections are designed to meet 50-year service life by addressing the unique loading conditions of the pipe repair allowing for the design customization of the preforms to accommodate the state of pipe corrosion, access points or other local features that may vary along the length of the pipe. The approach offers maximum design flexibility and customization while minimizing installation time and cost. The preforms are fabricated above ground using rapid automated manufacturing methods for quality control. The preforms are transported by a tethering system to the robot. The robot is comprised of a self-propelled dual inflation expandable bladder system that places, consolidates, and cures standard or custom composite sections along the entire pipe length in a continuous co-cure process. This system is designed to adapt to pipe features that include lateral tees, service connections, joints, gaps, and irregular cross sections. In addition, variable thickness composite sections can be placed along the pipe where exposed to high external loads under railroads, highways, airports or where soil erosion and movement occurs. This paper presents the robot design, assessment of UV curable resins, embedded sensing methods, and fabrication of pipe sections with this system.
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    Near Zero-Threshold Voltage P-N Junction Diodes Based on Super-Semiconducting Nanostructured Ag/Al Arrays
    (Advanced Materials, 2023-03-29) Li, Zhigang; Li, Jiteng; Wang, Weike; Yan, Qijie; Zhou, Yongrui; Zhu, Luping; Cao, Bingqiang; Wei, Bingqing
    Semiconductor devices are currently one of the most common energy consumption devices. Significantly reducing the energy consumption of semiconductor devices with advanced energy-efficient technologies is highly desirable. The discovery of super-semiconductors (SSCs) based on metallic bi-layer shell arrays provides an opportunity to realize ultra-low-power consumption semiconductor devices. As an example, the achievement of near zero-threshold voltage in p-n junction diodes based on super-semiconducting nanostructured Ag/Al arrays is reported, realizing ultra-low-power p-n junction diodes: ≈3 W per trillion diodes with a working voltage of 1 V or 30 mW per trillion diodes with an operating voltage of 0.1 V. In addition, the p-n junction diodes exhibit a high breakdown field of ≈1.1 × 106 V cm−1, similar to that of SiC and GaN, due to a robust built-in field driven by infrared light photons. The SSC p-n diodes with near zero-threshold voltage and high breakdown field allow access to ultra-low-power semiconducting transistors, integrated circuits, chips, etc.
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    On the inviscid energetics of Mack’s first mode instability
    (Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics, 2022-12-22) Liang, Tony; Kafle, Sulav; Khan, Arham Amin; Paredes, Pedro; Kuehl, Joseph
    High-speed boundary layer transition is dominated by the modal, exponential amplification of the oblique Mack’s first mode waves in two-dimensional boundary layers from Mach 1 up to freestream Mach numbers of 4.5 to 6.5 depending on the wall-to-adiabatic temperature ratio. At higher Mach numbers, the acoustic, planar Mack’s second mode waves become dominant. Although many theoretical, computational and experimental studies have focused on the supersonic boundary layer transition due to the oblique Mack’s first mode, several fundamental questions about the source of this instability and the reasons for its obliqueness remain unsolved. Here, we perform an inviscid energetics investigation and classify disturbances based on their energetics signature on a Blasius boundary layer for a range of Mach numbers. This approach builds insight into the fundamental mechanisms governing various types of instability. It is shown that first mode instability is distinct from Tollmien–Schlichting instability, being driven by a phase shifting between streamwise velocity and pressure perturbations in the vicinity of the generalized inflection point and insensitive to the viscous no-slip condition. Further, it is suggested that the obliqueness of the first mode is associated with an inviscid flow invariant.
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    Non-Monotonic Capacitance Change of Layered Ti3C2Tx MXene Film Structures under Increasing Compressive Stress
    (Advanced Functional Materials, 2022-12-09) Zhang, Qing; Ning, Ran; Cao, Jinxin; Song, Qingrui; Ye, Jiaxin; Wei, Bingqing
    The progress in advanced electronic devices has imposed a great demand for developing flexible electrochemical power devices, which requires a comprehensive understanding of the mechanical–electrochemical coupling behavior of various energy storage materials. Unlike a monotonic capacitance increase of carbon-based double-layer supercapacitors, MXene-based flexible supercapacitors demonstrate a non-monotonic, i.e., “increase-then-decrease” capacitance behavior under the pressure range of 8488 kPa. This non-monotonic capacitance response to pressure is intrinsic to the MXene film as its charge storage is primarily determined by the surface activity, which can be readily affected by pressure-induced dissociation of functionalities, as well as the charge transporting kinetics as limited by the inherent layered structure. The findings described in this study not only expand the knowledge of mechanical–electrochemical coupling to layered MXenes under pressure, but also give a vital design guideline for flexible/stretchable MXene-based energy storage devices or other electronics.
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    Resilient Ground Vehicle Autonomous Navigation in GPS-denied Environments
    (Guidance, Navigation and Control, 2022-11-23) Baxevani, Kleio; Yadav, Indrajeet; Yang, Yulin; Sebok, Michael; Tanner, Herbert G.; Huang, Guoquan
    Co-design and integration of vehicle navigation and control and state estimation is key for enabling field deployment of mobile robots in GPS-denied cluttered environments, and sensor calibration is critical for successful operation of both subsystems. This paper demonstrates the potential of this co-design approach with field tests of the integration of a reactive receding horizon-based motion planner and controller with an inertial aided multi-sensor calibration scheme. The reported method provides accurate calibration parameters that improve the performance of the state estimator, and enable the motion controller to generate smooth and continuous minimal-jerk trajectories based on local LiDAR data. Numerical simulations in Unity, and real-world experimental results from the field corroborate the claims of efficacy for the reported autonomous navigation computational pipeline.
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    Development and Validation of a Framework for Predictive Simulation of Treadmill Gait
    (Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 2022-07-14) Pariser, Kayla M.; Higginson, Jill S.
    Treadmill training is a common intervention to promote healthy walking function for individuals with pathological gait. However, because of the heterogeneity of many patient populations, determining how an individual will respond to new treadmill protocols may require extensive trial and error, causing increased patient fatigue. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a framework for predictive simulation of treadmill gait, which may be used in the design of treadmill training protocols. This was accomplished through three steps: predict motion of a simple model of a block relative to a treadmill, create a predictive framework to estimate gait with a two-dimensional (2D) lower limb musculoskeletal model on a treadmill, and validate the framework by comparing predicted kinematics, kinetics, and spatiotemporal parameters across three belts speeds and between speed-matched overground and treadmill predictive simulations. Predicted states and ground reaction forces for the block-treadmill model were consistent with rigid body dynamics, and lessons learned regarding ground contact model and treadmill motion definition were applied to the gait model. Treadmill simulations at 0.7, 1.2, and 1.8 m/s belt speeds resulted in predicted sagittal plane joint angles, ground reaction forces, step length, and step time that closely matched experimental data at similar speeds. Predicted speed-matched overground and treadmill simulations resulted in small root-mean-square error (RMSE) values within standard deviations for healthy gait. These results suggest that this predictive simulation framework is valid and can be used to estimate gait adaptations to various treadmill training protocols.
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    Comparison of Existing Methods for Characterizing Bi-Linear Natural Ankle Quasi-Stiffness
    (Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 2022-07-01) Nigro, Luke; Arch, Elisa S.
    Natural ankle quasi-stiffness (NAS) is a mechanical property of the ankle joint during dynamic motion. NAS has been historically calculated as the average slope (linear regression) of the net ankle moment versus ankle angle during discrete phases of stance. However, recent work has shown that NAS is nonlinear during the stance phase. Specifically, during the loading phase of stance (∼10 to 60% of total stance), plantarflexion moment increases at an accelerating rate compared to dorsiflexion angle. Updated models have been developed to better capture this inherent nonlinearity. One type of model called bi-linear NAS (BL-NAS) divides the loading phase of stance into two subphases, called early loading (EL) and late loading (LL) NAS. Two papers, written by Crenna and Frigo (2011, “Dynamics of the Ankle Joint Analyzed Through Moment-Angle Loops During Human Walking: Gender and Age Effects,” Hum. Mov. Sci., 30(6), pp. 1185–1198) and Shamaei et al. (2013, “Estimation of Quasi-Stiffness and Propulsive Work of the Human Ankle in the Stance Phase of Walking,” PLoS One, 8(3), p. e59935), outline different BL-NAS models. Both models fit measured data better (lower root-mean-squared error (RMSE)) than standard single linear NAS (SL-NAS) models but have not been widely adopted, possibly because of methodological discrepancies and lack of applicability to physical devices at the time. This paper compares and contrasts these existing BL-NAS models and translates those findings to possible orthotic device designs. Results showed that both BL-NAS models had lower RMSE than SL-NAS, EL-NAS was not significantly different across walking speeds, and LL-NAS increased significantly at faster walking speeds. These improved models of NAS much better approximate natural human movement than commonly used SL-NAS models, and thus provide a basis to design ankle-foot devices with multiple stiffness properties to emulate and facilitate natural human motion.
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    Metatarsophalangeal Joint Dynamic Stiffness During Toe Rocker Changes With Walking Speed
    (Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 2022-09-12) Nigro, Luke; Arch, Elisa S.
    Dynamic joint stiffness (or simply “stiffness”) is a customization criteria used to tune mechanical properties of orthotic and prosthetic devices. This study examines metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint stiffness during the toe-rocker phase of barefoot walking and establishes baseline characteristics of MTP joint stiffness. Ten healthy individuals walked at 4 speeds (0.4, 0.6, 0.8, and 1.0 statures·s−1) over level ground. MTP sagittal plane joint angles and moments were calculated during the toe-rocker phase of stance. Least-squares linear regressions were conducted on the MTP moment versus angle curve to determine joint stiffness during early toe rocker and late toe rocker. Multilevel linear models were used to test for statistically significant differences between conditions. Early toe rocker stiffness was positive, while late toe rocker was negative. Both early toe rocker and late toe rocker stiffness increased in magnitude significantly with speed. This study establishes baseline characteristics of MTP joint stiffness in healthy walking, which previously had not been examined through a range of controlled walking speeds. This information can be used in the future as design criteria for orthotic and prosthetic ankle and ankle–foot devices that can imitate, support, and facilitate natural human foot motion during walking better than existing devices.
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    A Sequential MPC Approach to Reactive Planning for Bipedal Robots Using Safe Corridors in Highly Cluttered Environments
    (IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 2022-09-05) Narkhede, Kunal S.; Kulkarni, Abhijeet M.; Thanki, Dhruv A.; Poulakakis, Ioannis
    This letter presents a sequential Model Predictive Control (MPC) approach to reactive motion planning for bipedal robots in highly cluttered environments with moving obstacles. The approach relies on a directed convex decomposition of the free space, which provides a safe corridor in the form of an ordered collection of mutually intersecting obstacle-free polytopes and waypoints. These are subsequently used to define a corresponding sequence of MPC programs that drive the system to a goal location avoiding static and moving obstacles. This way, the planner focuses on the free space in the vicinity of the robot, thus alleviating the need to consider all the obstacles simultaneously and reducing computational time. We verify the efficacy of our approach in high-fidelity simulations with the bipedal robot Digit, demonstrating robust reactive planning and trajectory realization amidst static and moving obstacles.
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    Navigation Functions with Moving Destinations and Obstacles
    (Autonomous Robots, 2022) Wei, Cong; Chen, Chuchu; Tanner, Herbert G.
    Dynamic environments challenge existing robot navigation methods, necessitating either stringent assumptions on workspace variation or sacrificing collision avoidance and convergence guarantees. This paper shows that the navigation function methodology can preserve such guarantees in a dynamic sphere-world with moving obstacles and a time-varying goal, without prior knowledge of environment variation. Assuming bounds on speeds of robot destination and obstacles, and sufficiently higher maximum robot speed, the navigation function gradient can be used produce robot feedback laws that guarantee obstacle avoidance, and theoretical guarantees of bounded tracking errors and eventual convergence to the target in the case where the latter seizes to move. The efficacy of the gradient-based feedback controller derived from the new navigation function construction is demonstrated both in numerical simulations as well as experimentally.
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    Polysulfide Speciation in Li–S Battery Electrolyte via In-Operando Optical Imaging and Ex-Situ UV-vis Spectra Analysis
    (Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 2022-09-13) Taiwo, Gbenga S.; Rashti, Ali; Mishra, Mritunjay; Yao, Koffi P. C.
    Lithium sulfur (Li–S) batteries have received significant attention as one of the energy storage systems with excellent prospects for emerging applications due to their high energy density and low-cost. However, there are fundamental challenges impeding the commercialization of Li–S batteries. Notorious among those challenges is the "polysulfide shuttle" consisting of the dissolution into the electrolyte solvent and subsequent crossover to the anode of long-chain lithium polysulfides. Sparingly solvating electrolytes have been exploited as an approach to reduce the dissolution of polysulfides and thereby the shuttle effect. Using an optical in operando lithium-sulfur cell and ex situ UV–vis spectroscopy, we elucidate the speciation of polysulfides in fully and sparingly solvating electrolytes for Li–S batteries. Extensive literature meta-analysis reveals that the most unambiguous effect of sparingly solvating solvent is in improving the coulombic efficiency of sulfur-cells. Experimental optical imaging and UV–vis characterization elucidate a shift towards shorter-chain polysulfides in electrolytes with increasing lithium-salt concentration (more sparingly solvating). The shift to shorter-chain polysulfides corresponds to a reduction of polysulfide species participating in shuttling which corroborate the increased coulombic efficiency in sparingly-solvating electrolytes.
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    Plasmon-induced super-semiconductor at room temperature in nanostructured bimetallic arrays
    (Applied Physics Reviews, 2022-05-17) Li, Zhigang; Cui, Xiangke; Wang, Xiaowei; Wang, Zongpeng; Fang, Minghu; Feng, Shangshen; Liu, Yanping; Chen, Jigen; Wang, Tianle; Liu, Hengji; Xia, Zhenhai; Wei, Bingqing
    Solid-state electrical conducting materials can be roughly categorized as superconductors, conductors, and semiconductors, depending on their conducting carriers, resistance, and band structures. This research reports the discovery of super-semiconductors, whose resistivity is 3–10 orders of magnitude lower than conventional semiconductors at room temperature. In addition, there is a transition from a metal state to a super-semiconducting state at near room temperatures, which is accompanied by an increase in hole carrier density and the mobility increase in electrons. For the first time, a hole-dominated carrier metal is observed in nanostructured bimetallic arrays near room temperature, and no other special conditions are required. Such a behavior is due to the generation of hot electrons and holes induced by metal plasmon resonance in the infrared range in the nanostructured bimetallic arrays. Our research empowers metals with semiconductor features and paves the way to realize ultra-low-power metal-based semiconductor devices.
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