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Contribution of black carbon and desert dust to aerosol absorption in the atmosphere of the Eastern Arabian Peninsula
Mohamed M. K. Mahfouz, Gregor Skok, Jean Sciare, Michael Pikridas, M. R. Alfarra, Shamjad Moosakutty, Bálint Alföldy, Matic Ivančič, Martin Rigler, Asta Gregorič, Rok Podlipec, Griša Močnik, 2024, original scientific article

Abstract: Discriminating the absorption coefficients of aerosol mineral dust and black carbon (BC) in different aerosol size fractions is a challenge because of BC's large mass absorption cross-section compared to dust. Ambient aerosol wavelength dependent absorption coefficients in supermicron and submicron size fractions were determined with a high time resolution. The measurements were performed simultaneously using identical systems at an urban and a regional background site in Qatar. At each site, measurements were taken by co-located Aethalometers, one with a virtual impactor (VI) and the other with a PM1 cyclone to respectively collect super-micron-enhanced and submicron fractions. The combined measurement of aerosol absorption and scattering coefficients enabled the particles to be classified based on their optical properties' wavelength dependence. The classification reveals the presence of BC internally/externally mixed with different aerosols. Helium ion microscopy images provided information concerning the extent of mineral dust in the submicron fraction. The determination of absorption coefficients during dust storms and non-dust periods was used to establish the absorption Ångström exponent for dust and BC. Non-parametric wind regression, potential source contribution function and back-trajectory analysis reveal major regional sources of desert dust associated with north-westerly winds and a minor local dust contribution. In contrast, major BC sources found locally were associated with south-westerly winds with a smaller contribution made by offshore emissions transported by north-easterly and easterly winds. The use of a pair of Aethalometers with VI and PM1 inlets separates contributions of BC and dust to the aerosol absorption coefficient.
Keywords: aerosol absorption, black carbon, mineral dust, desert dust, Arabian Peninsula
Published in RUNG: 29.02.2024; Views: 316; Downloads: 3
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Insight into the interdependence of Ni and Al in bifunctional Ni/ZSM-5 catalysts by Ni K-edge XAS analysis
Iztok Arčon, Hue-Tong Vu, Goran Dražić, Janez Volavšek, Gregor Mali, Nataša Zabukovec Logar, Nataša Novak Tušar, 2023, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Abstract: Catalyst design is crucial for improving catalytic activity and product selectivity. In a bifunctional Ni/ZSM-5 zeolite type catalyst, catalytic properties are usually tuned via varying Al and Ni contents [1]. While changes in acid properties associated with Al sites are usually closely investigated, Ni phases, however, receive inadequate attention. Herein, we present a systematic structural study of Ni in the Ni/ZSM-5 materials by Ni K-edge XANES (X-ray absorption near edge structure) and EXAFS (extended X-ray absorption fine structure) analyses, to monitor the local structure and chemical state of Ni species in the catalysts. In combination with XRD and TEM we resolved the changes in the local environment of Ni species induced by the different Al contents of the parent ZSM-5 prepared by a “green”, template free technique [2]. Ni species in Ni/ZSM-5 exist as NiO crystals (3–50 nm) and as charge compensating Ni2+ cations. The Ni Kedge XANES and EXAFS results enabled the quantification of Ni-containing species. At a low Al to Si ratio (nAl/nSi < 0.04), the NiO nanoparticles predominate in the samples and account for over 65% of Ni phases. However, NiO is outnumbered by Ni2+ cations attached to the zeolite framework in ZSM-5 with a high Al to Si ratio (nAl/nSi = 0.05) due to a higher number of framework negative charges imparted by Al. The obtained results show that the number of highly reducible and active NiO crystals is strongly correlated with the framework Al sites present in ZSM-5 zeolites, which depend greatly on the synthesis conditions. Therefore, this kind of study is beneficial for any further investigation of the catalytic activities of Ni/ZSM-5 and other metal-modified bifunctional catalysts.
Keywords: Ni/ZSM-5 catalysts, Ni EXAFS, XANES
Published in RUNG: 19.09.2023; Views: 728; Downloads: 3
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In vitro tumor hypoxia imaging with fluorescent covalent organic frameworks
Tina Skorjanc, Dinesh Shetty, Damjan Makuc, Gregor Mali, Martina Bergant Marušič, Matjaž Valant, 2023, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Abstract: Hypoxia refers to a condition where cells and tissues experience low, inadequate levels of O2. While healthy tissues are typically supplied with sufficient O2 (normoxia), cancerous tissues commonly face hypoxia due to the tumor’s extraordinarily high demand for oxygen. Various fluorescent small-molecule probes have been designed for selective detection of hypoxia in living cells, but few nanomaterials have been investigated for this type of bioimaging. Herein, we prepare a fluorescent covalent organic framework (COF) with β-ketoenamine linkages and post-synthetically modify it to conjugate hypoxia-sensitive nitroimidazole moieties into its pores (NI-COF). Stacks of sheets in NI-COF observed under electron microscopy were exfoliated by ultrasonication, and dynamic light scattering measurements confirmed particle size of less than 200 nm. Thus-prepared material exhibited good stability in physiological conditions and low cytotoxicity in in vitro experiments. NI-COF also showed useful fluorescence properties with an emission peak at 490 nm (λex = 420 nm) at both neutral and mildly acidic pH levels that are characteristic of tumor tissues. Encouraged by the favorable properties of the material, we incubated HeLa cells pre-treated in either hypoxic or normoxic conditions with NI-COF. Fluorescence microscopy images demonstrated that the material was preferentially taken up by hypoxic cells, which showed higher fluorescence signal in their interior than cells cultured under normoxia conditions. It is anticipated that this study will stimulate further developments of COFs for imaging various biological conditions.
Keywords: hypoxia, fluorescence, covalent organic frameworks, imaging, tumor cells
Published in RUNG: 19.09.2023; Views: 758; Downloads: 3
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Utilizing structurally disordered AlMg-oxide phase in Cu/ZnO catalyst for efficient ▫$CO_2$▫ hydrogenation to methanol
Andraž Mavrič, Gregor Žerjav, Blaž Belec, Matevž Roškarič, Matjaž Finšgar, Albin Pintar, Matjaž Valant, 2023, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Keywords: carbon dioxide, methanol, catalysis
Published in RUNG: 15.09.2023; Views: 811; Downloads: 4
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Winning combination of Cu and Fe oxide clusters with an alumina support for low-temperature catalytic oxidation of volatile organic compounds
Tadej Žumbar, Iztok Arčon, Petar Djinović, Giuliana Aquilanti, Gregor Žerjav, Albin Pintar, Alenka Ristić, Goran Dražić, Janez Volavšek, Gregor Mali, Margarita Popova, Nataša Zabukovec Logar, Nataša Novak Tušar, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: A γ-alumina support functionalized with transition metals is one of the most widely used industrial catalysts for the total oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as air pollutants at higher temperatures (280−450 °C). By rational design of a bimetal CuFe-γ-alumina catalyst, synthesized from a dawsonite alumina precursor, the activity in total oxidation of toluene as a model VOC at a lower temperature (200−380 °C) is achieved. A fundamental understanding of the catalyst and the reaction mechanism is elucidated by advanced microscopic and spectroscopic characterizations as well as by temperature-programmed surface techniques. The nature of the metal−support bonding and the optimal abundance between Cu−O−Al and Fe−O−Al species in the catalysts leads to synergistic catalytic activity promoted by small amounts of iron (Fe/Al = 0.005). The change in the metal oxide−cluster alumina interface is related to the nature of the surfaces to which the Cu atoms attach. In the most active catalyst, the CuO6 octahedra are attached to 4 Al atoms, while in the less active catalyst, they are attached to only 3 Al atoms. The oxidation of toluene occurs via the Langmuir−Hinshelwood mechanism. The presented material introduces a prospective family of low-cost and scalable oxidation catalysts with superior efficiency at lower temperatures.
Keywords: Iron oxide clusters, copper oxide clusters, alumina support, synergistic effect, low-temperature total catalytic oxidation, toluene, Cu, Fe XANES, EXAFS
Published in RUNG: 06.07.2023; Views: 1024; Downloads: 13
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Covalent organic frameworks for fluorescent imaging of hypoxia
Tina Škorjanc, Dinesh Shetty, Gregor Mali, Damjan Makuc, Martina Bergant Marušič, Matjaž Valant, 2023, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Keywords: hypoxia, covalent organic frameworks, imaging, fluorescence, post-synthetic modification
Published in RUNG: 06.06.2023; Views: 1009; Downloads: 2
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Structural disorder of AlMg-oxide phase supporting Cu/ZnO catalyst improves efficiency and selectivity for ▫$CO_2$▫ hydrogenation to methanol
Andraž Mavrič, Gregor Žerjav, Blaž Belec, Matevž Roškarič, Matjaž Finšgar, Albin Pintar, Matjaž Valant, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: The performance of the Cu/ZnO catalyst system with the AlMg-oxide phase is studied for CO2 hydrogenation to methanol. The catalyst is prepared by thermal treatment of the hydrotalcite phase containing intimately mixed metal cations in the hydroxide form. CuO in the presence of ZnO and disordered AlMg-oxide phase gets easily reduced to Cu during the hydrogenation reaction. Its catalytic activity at relatively low Cu metal content (∼14 at.%) remains stable during 100 hours on stream at 260 °C with constant space-time yield for methanol (∼1.8 gMeOH gcat−1 h−1) and high methanol selectivity (>85 %) The improved performance is attributed to the neutralization of surface acidity, increased number of weak basic sites in the disordered phase, and lower tendency for coke formation.
Keywords: carbon dioxide hydrogenation, heterogenous catalysis, methanol, reducibility
Published in RUNG: 02.06.2023; Views: 997; Downloads: 14
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