Within the prestigious Comprehensive Analytical Chemistry series, volume 93, the Elsevier has published the book Analysis and Characterization of Metal-Based Nanomaterials, edited by the co-workers of the Department of Environmental Sciences of the Jožef Stefan Institute prof. dr. Radmila Milačič, prof. dr. Janez Ščančar and dr. Janja Vidmar, and dr. Heidi Goenaga-Infante from LGC, UK. The book summarizes recent progress in analytical methodologies for detection, characterization and quantification of metal-based nanomaterials (NMs) in a variety of complex samples. The use of establish validated analytical methods is of paramount importance in the evaluation of the risk that metal nanoparticles (NPs) may pose to the environment and human health. The book importantly contributes to the treasury of knowledge in the field of analytical chemistry and ranks Slovenian researchers among the world's top scientists in the field of NMs research. Along with renowned world scientists, promising young researchers from the Jožef Stefan Institute also contributed their chapters: Janez Zavašnik, Andreja Šestan, Vasyl Shvalya, Nina Kostevšek, Igor Serša and Janja Vidmar.
Researchers from Jožef Stefan Institute (Electronic Ceramics Department), National Institute of Chemistry, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Materials Center Leoben and Tokyo Institute of Technology published a study in Nature Communications entitled Atomic scale symmetry and polar nanoclusters in the paraelectric phase of ferroelectric materials.The study provides structural details of polar nanoscale clusters whose hypothetical presence in the paraelectric phase of perovskite ferroelectrics has been discussed for decades. Using an atomic-resolution study by scanning transmission electron microscopy complemented by Raman spectroscopy, they directly reveal, visualize, and quantitatively describe static 2-4 nm large polar nanoclusters in the nominally nonpolar cubic phases of barium titanate based ceramics. The probable reason for the stabilization is the presence of local strains, which originate from the size difference between additives, vacancies and host ions. These results have implications for understanding the atomic-scale structure of disordered materials and may help clarify ambiguities about the dynamic-versus- static nature of nano-sized clusters.
Horacio V. Guzman from the Department of Theoretical Physics and his collaborators published an article in Nanoscale with the title "Quantitative determination of mechanical stability in the novel coronavirus spike protein". The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 (CoV2) is required for cell entry and is the primary target for vaccine and therapy development. Unveiling molecular-scale mechanisms relevant to the diffusion of viral-particles and their encounter with the cell membrane receptor (ACE2) is a daunting task. They report on the gain in nanomechanical stability of the CoV2 spike protein in comparison with SARS-CoV from 2002. This result confirms that the receptor-binding domain (RBD only ∼200 amino acids) makes a significant contribution to the mechanical stability of the full spike homotrimer. The RBD plays a fundamental role as a damping element of the massive virus particle’s motion prior to cell recognition while also facilitating viral attachment, fusion, and entry. Their findings add a novel way to address the development of therapies aimed at destabilizing specific key contacts of the protein spike, which are responsible for the increased nanomechanical stability.
On the 16 of April 2021, the SRIP FoF Center started the implementation of a new Go-DIP project with the aim of developing new knowledge in companies in the field of digital intellectual property management, use, sharing and protection of digital data. Questions addressed will be which digital data is the subject of contracts, which digital data can be commercialized, how digital data is valued in due diligence of companies and simmilar. The project will involve 60 small and medium-sized enterprises from three countries. Guidelines will be produced with examples of company practices, expert opinions, examples of B2B solutions and templates for improved management of digital data as SME’s underutilized capital. The project partners are Hub Inovazione Trentino from Italy and Innosquare from Frieburg in Switzerland. The total value of the project is EUR 50,000, co-financing is 100%. The project lasts one year.