Micro, Volume 1, Issue 1 (September 2021) – 10 articles

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Article
Strain-Dependent Adsorption of Pseudomonas aeruginosa-Derived Adhesin-like Peptides at Abiotic Surfaces
Micro 2021, 1(1), 129-139; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/micro1010010 - 31 Jul 2021
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Abstract
Implant-associated infections are an increasingly severe burden on healthcare systems worldwide and many research activities currently focus on inhibiting microbial colonization of biomedically relevant surfaces. To obtain molecular-level understanding of the involved processes and interactions, we investigate the adsorption of synthetic adhesin-like peptide [...] Read more.
Implant-associated infections are an increasingly severe burden on healthcare systems worldwide and many research activities currently focus on inhibiting microbial colonization of biomedically relevant surfaces. To obtain molecular-level understanding of the involved processes and interactions, we investigate the adsorption of synthetic adhesin-like peptide sequences derived from the type IV pili of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains PAK and PAO at abiotic model surfaces, i.e., Au, SiO2, and oxidized Ti. These peptides correspond to the sequences of the receptor-binding domain 128–144 of the major pilin protein, which is known to facilitate P. aeruginosa adhesion at biotic and abiotic surfaces. Using quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D), we find that peptide adsorption is material- as well as strain-dependent. At the Au surface, PAO(128–144) shows drastically stronger adsorption than PAK(128–144), whereas adsorption of both peptides is markedly reduced at the oxide surfaces with less drastic differences between the two sequences. These observations suggest that peptide adsorption is influenced by not only the peptide sequence, but also peptide conformation. Our results furthermore highlight the importance of molecular-level investigations to understand and ultimately control microbial colonization of surfaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Biology and Medicines)
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Article
Sinapic Acid Release at the Cell Level by Incorporation into Nanoparticles: Experimental Evidence Using Biomembrane Models
Micro 2021, 1(1), 120-128; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/micro1010009 - 31 Jul 2021
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Abstract
Sinapic acid (SA), belonging to the phenylpropanoid family, and its derivatives are secondary metabolites found in the plant kingdom. In recent years, they have drawn attention because of their various biological activities, including neuroprotective effects. In this study, SA was incorporated into two [...] Read more.
Sinapic acid (SA), belonging to the phenylpropanoid family, and its derivatives are secondary metabolites found in the plant kingdom. In recent years, they have drawn attention because of their various biological activities, including neuroprotective effects. In this study, SA was incorporated into two different nanoparticle systems, solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN) and nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC). The influence of different concentrations of SA on the nanoparticle systems was evaluated. It was studied the efficacy of the nanoparticle systems to release the active ingredient at cell level through the use of models of biological membranes represented by multilamellar vesicles (MLV) of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) and conducting kinetic studies by placing in contact SLN and NLC, both unloaded and loaded with two different amounts of SA, with the same biological membrane model. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was used for these studies. The results indicated a different distribution of SA within the two nanoparticle systems and that NLC are able to incorporate and release SA inside the structure of the biological membrane model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Biology and Medicines)
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Article
Optimization of the Mechanical Properties of Polyolefin Composites Loaded with Mineral Fillers for Flame Retardant Cables
Micro 2021, 1(1), 102-119; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/micro1010008 - 29 Jul 2021
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Abstract
Formulations based on mineral fillers and polymeric matrices of different nature were studied to obtain halogen-free flame retardant compounds (HFFR) for cable applications. The work was carried out by comparing fire-retardant mineral fillers of natural origin with synthetic mineral ones available on the [...] Read more.
Formulations based on mineral fillers and polymeric matrices of different nature were studied to obtain halogen-free flame retardant compounds (HFFR) for cable applications. The work was carried out by comparing fire-retardant mineral fillers of natural origin with synthetic mineral ones available on the market. As a reference, a formulation based on micronized natural magnesium hydroxide (n-MDH, obtained from brucite) and an ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer with 28% by weight (11% by moles) of vinyl acetate were selected, and the mechanical and flame retardant properties compared with formulations based on secondary polymers combined with EVA, metal hydroxides, and carbonates. Notably, we found a synergistic effect in the mechanical, rheological and flame retardant properties for the composite containing a mixture of n-MDH and boehmite in a 3:1 weight ratio. Overall, the present work provided a complete and optimized recipe for the formulation of polymer composites characterized by the required flame retardant and mechanical features in electric cables applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Materials Science)
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Article
Investigation of Microwave Absorption Mechanisms in Microcellular Foamed Conductive Composites
Micro 2021, 1(1), 86-101; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/micro1010007 - 26 Jul 2021
Viewed by 182
Abstract
The paper investigates the mechanisms of microwave absorption in microcellular foamed conductive composites dedicated to protection against electromagnetic interferences (EMI). A multi-layered electromagnetic one-dimensional (1D) model mimicking the microcellular foam structure is built and validated using previous measurements carried out on various fabricated [...] Read more.
The paper investigates the mechanisms of microwave absorption in microcellular foamed conductive composites dedicated to protection against electromagnetic interferences (EMI). A multi-layered electromagnetic one-dimensional (1D) model mimicking the microcellular foam structure is built and validated using previous measurements carried out on various fabricated composite foams. Our model enables us to perform a parametric analysis of the absorption behaviour in a foamed composite, using as parameters the size of the hollow cell, the thickness of the cell’s walls and its conductivity, as well as the overall thickness of the composite and the frequency. Our investigations demonstrate that multiple reflections of the microwave signal between the cellular walls are not the main mechanism responsible for absorption, although they are often reported as a cause of enhanced absorption in the literature. On the contrary, our work demonstrates that the enhancement of the absorption observed in foamed conductive composite compared to unfoamed composite is mainly due to the presence of air in the microcells of the composite. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Materials Science)
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Review
A State-of-the-Art Review on Core–Shell Pigments Nanostructure Preparation and Test Methods
Micro 2021, 1(1), 55-85; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/micro1010006 - 09 Jul 2021
Viewed by 322
Abstract
Uses of novel technologies for improving the durability and lifespan of the construction materials have emerged as viable solutions toward the sustainable future wherein the coating industry plays a significant role in economy growth and better livelihoods. Thus, the continual innovation of various [...] Read more.
Uses of novel technologies for improving the durability and lifespan of the construction materials have emerged as viable solutions toward the sustainable future wherein the coating industry plays a significant role in economy growth and better livelihoods. Thus, the continual innovation of various technologies to introduce diverse market products has become indispensable. Properties of materials like color stability under UV, elevated temperatures and aggressive environments, and skid and abrasion resistance are the main challenges faced by commercial coating materials, leading to more demand of natural materials as sustainable agents. Lately, nanostructured core–shell pigments with unique compositions have widely been utilized in composite materials to enhance their properties. Core–shell particles exhibit smart properties and have immense benefits when combined with building materials. Based on these facts, we comprehensively overviewed the state-of-the-art research of core–shell nanomaterials in terms of their preparation and performance evaluation methods, as well as feasible applications. The first part of this article discusses effective shell materials, including most common silica and titanium oxides. In addition, nanotechnology enabling the production and patterning of low-dimensional materials for widespread applications is emphasized. The second part deals with various potential core materials used to achieve core–shell nanostructures. The third part of this paper highlights some interesting mechanisms of core–shell structures in the modified systems that display high stability, durability, efficiency, and eco-friendliness. Finally, different applications of these core–shell nanostructures are underscored together with their test methods to evaluate their performances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Materials Science)
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Article
Magnetic Aspects and Large Exchange Bias of Ni0.9Co0.1/NiCoO Multilayers
Micro 2021, 1(1), 43-54; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/micro1010005 - 02 Jul 2021
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Abstract
Ultrathin films of Ni0.9Co0.1 were grown by radio frequency magnetron sputtering. By means of a periodic natural oxidation procedure they were transformed into Ni0.9Co0.1/NiCoO multilayers. Room temperature hysteresis [...] Read more.
Ultrathin films of Ni0.9Co0.1 were grown by radio frequency magnetron sputtering. By means of a periodic natural oxidation procedure they were transformed into Ni0.9Co0.1/NiCoO multilayers. Room temperature hysteresis loops recorded via the magneto-optic Kerr effect have revealed over all in-plane magnetic anisotropy due to magnetostatic anisotropy. Mild thermal annealing at 250 °C enhanced a tendency for perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, mainly due to an increase of the uniaxial volume anisotropy term. Spin reorientation transition, exchange bias larger than 700 Oe, and strong coercivity enhancement were observed via a superconducting quantum interference device at low temperatures after field cooling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Materials Science)
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Article
Enhanced Electrochemical Performance of Li4Ti5O12 by Niobium Doping for Pseudocapacitive Applications
Micro 2021, 1(1), 28-42; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/micro1010004 - 04 Jun 2021
Viewed by 387
Abstract
Niobium-doped nanocrystalline Li4Ti5O12 (LTO) is synthesized by the solid-state reaction method, and the influence of dopant concentration (x = 2–10 mol%) on microstructural and electrochemical properties is studied. The X-ray diffraction and Raman patterns assessed the cubic [...] Read more.
Niobium-doped nanocrystalline Li4Ti5O12 (LTO) is synthesized by the solid-state reaction method, and the influence of dopant concentration (x = 2–10 mol%) on microstructural and electrochemical properties is studied. The X-ray diffraction and Raman patterns assessed the cubic spinel structure of Li4Ti5−xNbxO12 phase in all samples. Marginal changes in the lattice parameters, unit cell volume and dislocation density of LTO are observed with Nb substitution. The higher ionic radius of Nb induces a lattice expansion, which may be favorable for more ion intercalation/deintercalation. The SEM and TEM images display uniformly distributed nano-sized cubical particles. The represented (hkl) orientations of the SAED pattern and d-spacing (0.46 nm) between bright fringes confirm the well-crystallized LTO phase. The EDS and elemental mapping results demonstrate that Nb elements are uniformly doped in LTO with a proper stoichiometric ratio. The optimized 8%Nb-doped LTO electrode exhibits pseudocapacitive behavior and delivers a high specific capacitance of 497 F g−1 at a current density of 1 A g−1 with 92.3% of specific capacitance retention even after 5000 cycles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Materials Science)
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Article
Hypergolic Ignition of 1,3-Cyclodienes by Fuming Nitric Acid toward the Fast and Spontaneous Formation of Carbon Nanosheets at Ambient Conditions
Micro 2021, 1(1), 15-27; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/micro1010003 - 18 May 2021
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Abstract
A hypergolic system is a combination of organic fuel and oxidizer that ignites spontaneously upon contact without any external ignition source. Although their main usage pertains to rocket bipropellants, it is only recently that hypergolics have been established from our group as a [...] Read more.
A hypergolic system is a combination of organic fuel and oxidizer that ignites spontaneously upon contact without any external ignition source. Although their main usage pertains to rocket bipropellants, it is only recently that hypergolics have been established from our group as a revolutionary preparative method for the synthesis of different types of carbon nanostructures depending on the organic fuel-oxidizer pair. In an effort to further enrich this concept, the present work describes new hypergolic pairs based on 1,3-cyclohexadiene and 1,3-cyclooctadiene as the organic fuels and fuming nitric acid as the strong oxidizer. Both carbon-rich compounds (ca. 90% C) share a similar chemical structure with unsaturated cyclopentadiene that is also known to react hypergolically with fuming nitric acid. The particular pairs ignite spontaneously upon contact of the reagents at ambient conditions to produce carbon nanosheets in suitable yields and useful energy in the process. The nanosheets appear amorphous with an average thickness of ca. 2 nm and containing O and N heteroatoms in the carbon matrix. Worth noting, the carbon yield reaches the value of 25% for 1,3-cyclooctadiene, i.e., the highest reported so far from our group in this context. As far as the production of useful energy is concerned, the hot flame produced from ignition can be used for the direct thermal decomposition of ammonium dichromate into Cr2O3 (pigment and catalyst) or the expansion of expandable graphite into foam (absorbent and insulator), thus demonstrating a mini flame-pyrolysis burner at the spot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Materials Science)
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Article
Preparation and Characterization of Polystyrene Hybrid Composites Reinforced with 2D and 3D Inorganic Fillers
Micro 2021, 1(1), 3-14; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/micro1010002 - 07 May 2021
Viewed by 394
Abstract
Polystyrene (PS)/silicate composites were prepared with the addition of two organoclays (orgMMT and orgZenith) and two mesoporous silicas (SBA-15 and MCF) via (i) solution casting and (ii) melt compounding methods. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis evidenced an intercalated structure for PS/organoclay nanocomposites. Thermogravimetric analysis [...] Read more.
Polystyrene (PS)/silicate composites were prepared with the addition of two organoclays (orgMMT and orgZenith) and two mesoporous silicas (SBA-15 and MCF) via (i) solution casting and (ii) melt compounding methods. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis evidenced an intercalated structure for PS/organoclay nanocomposites. Thermogravimetric analysis indicated improvement in the thermal stability of PS-nanocomposites compared to the pristine polymer. This enhancement was more prevalent for the nanocomposites prepared with a lab-made organoclay (orgZenith). Tensile measurement results indicated that elastic modulus increment was more prevalent (up to 50%) for microcomposites prepared using mesoporous silicas as filler. Organoclay addition led to a decrease in oxygen transmission rate (OTR) values. This decrement reached up to 50% for high organoclay content films in comparison to pristine PS film. Decrement above 80% was measured for microcomposites with mesoporous silicas and 5 wt% filler content obtained via melt compounding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Materials Science)
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Editorial
Micro: An International Open Access Journal for All of Microscale and Nanoscale Science
Micro 2021, 1(1), 1-2; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/micro1010001 - 06 Apr 2021
Viewed by 488
Abstract
Since the late 20th century, there has been a special interest in the microscale and nanoscale research investigating and exploiting the physical, chemical, and biological properties of these length-scale systems [...] Full article
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