Should I say:
I am aware of no independent research on the topic.
I am not aware of any independent research on the topic.?
I would naturally opt for the second form, but I've seen and heard the first one used as well. What are the differences between these two sentences and are they both correct? One can be aware of the absence of something (so I could say "I'm aware of the lack of research on the topic" or "I'm aware of the absence of research on the topic") but can one be aware of something that doesn't exist?