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# Oxygen and the Degradation of Black Phosphorus

Semiconductors are a class of materials essential for the electronics industry. They have intermediate properties between conductors and insulators, which can be modified by doping with different chemical elements or by the application of electric fields or light.

Black phosphorus is a stable form of phosphorus whose crystalline structure is composed by stacking two-dimensional, one atom thick, thin layers. This material has immense potential to be used in electronic devices at the nanoscale due to its semiconductor properties, which can be adjusted by the number of atomic layers according to the need.

# New Catalysts for Hydrogen Production

The hydrogen gas ($\rm H_2$) is one of the best alternatives to fossil fuels because its combustion has as final product only water vapor. However, several technological challenges still need to be overcome in order to make it economically viable.

One way to produce hydrogen is by breaking down water molecules $\rm H_2O$, with formation of $\rm H_2$ molecules. The main reaction in this process is the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER) in which the protons in an acid medium are reduced and form hydrogen gas by electrons passed through catalysts.

# Improving the Treatment of Industrial Waste

Synthetic dyes are in constant use in a wide variety of industries, from textile to cosmetics. Both the production and use of these substances can lead to environmental problems if they are not properly degraded or removed from industrial effluents. Among the many physical, chemical or biological processes that can be used for the treatment of such wastes, the adsorption processes are noteworthy for combining low cost and high removal rates.

# Call for proposals for the LNLS beamlines

Submission period: September 1st to 30th, 2017.Beamtime: First Semester, 2018.Research proposals are submitted through the SAU Online portal.

# Improving Hydrogen Storage

The search for clean, renewable and cheap energy sources has intensified in recent years with the growing consensus that the rise in the planet's average temperature, and the consequent intensification of extreme weather events, is caused by human action.

Hydrogen ($\rm H_2$) is one of the best alternatives to fossil fuels, especially because its combustion has only water vapor as final product. However, the economic viability of the production, storage and distribution of hydrogen for power generation still requires solutions for several technological challenges.

# Applications open for the 6th SAXS School

The 6th SAXS School will be held from October 17th to 20th, 2017, in the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory and is intended to post-graduate students and early career scientists interested in the learning of Small-Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS).The main objective of the School is to provide an opportunity for young scientists who develop their research in areas related to Biology, Physical Sciences, Materials Science and Chemistry, to have a contact with SAXS technique, acquiring both theoretical and experimental skills.The courses will offer an overview of SAXS theory, data reduction and analysis tools, as well as modelling techniques. It will include tutorials and hands-on experiments at the LNLS' SAXS facilities.Applications will be received until September 11th, 2017, through the website.

# Increasing Lactase stability for industrial applications

Lactose is the main carbohydrate present in milk. To be digested and absorbed by the body, it must be broken down into its constituents: glucose and galactose. The breakdown is catalyzed by an enzyme called lactase, produced in the small intestine of young mammals especially for the digestion of the maternal milk.

The production of this enzyme decreases with time, making the body progressively incapable of digesting lactose. Thus, despite the social habit of consuming milk from other animals and dairy products after childhood, around 65% of the world population has some degree of lactose intolerance.

# Electronic Effects on the Oxidation of Ethanol

In internal combustion engines, various toxic substances - such as $\rm CO$, $\rm NO_2$ - are produced due to the incomplete breakdown of fuels. By decreasing the activation energy required for complete combustion to occur, catalysts aid in transforming these products into less toxic gases - such as carbon dioxide ($\rm CO_2$), methane ($\rm CH_4$).

Nevertheless, $\rm CO_2$ and $\rm CH_4$ produced mainly by human activity are currently considered to be responsible for the rise in the average temperature of the planet, which leads to the intensification of extreme climatic events. Hence, the search for more efficient energy sources that can significantly reduce or even eliminate the emission of these gases has intensified.

# Crystal structure of Zika virus NS5 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase

Though initially described as a mild version of dengue fever, the Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in the Americas unexpectedly revealed major neurological impacts as fetal microcephaly or other congenital brain injuries when women are infected during pregnancy and Guillain-Barre´ syndrome (a disorder in which the body's immune system damages the nerves) in adults. It can be transmitted both by the insect vector and sexual contact. Its outbreak became a global health threat of complex epidemiology and devastating neurological impacts, therefore requiring urgent efforts towards the development of novel efficacious and safe antiviral drugs.