Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Cobalt Ferrite Nanoparticles for Tumor Therapy: Effective Heating versus Possible Toxicity
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(1), 38; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano12010038 - 23 Dec 2021
Abstract
Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) are widely considered for cancer treatment, in particular for magnetic hyperthermia (MHT). Thereby, MNPs are still being optimized for lowest possible toxicity on organisms while the magnetic properties are matched for best heating capabilities. In this study, the biocompatibility of [...] Read more.
Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) are widely considered for cancer treatment, in particular for magnetic hyperthermia (MHT). Thereby, MNPs are still being optimized for lowest possible toxicity on organisms while the magnetic properties are matched for best heating capabilities. In this study, the biocompatibility of 12 nm cobalt ferrite MNPs, functionalized with citrate ions, in different dosages on mice and rats of both sexes was investigated for 30 days after intraperitoneal injection. The animals’ weight, behavior, and blood cells changes, as well as blood biochemical parameters are correlated to histological examination of organs revealing that cobalt ferrite MNPs do not have toxic effects at concentrations close to those used previously for efficient MHT. Moreover, these MNPs demonstrated high specific loss power (SLP) of about 400 W g−1. Importantly the MNPs retained their magnetic properties inside tumor tissue after intratumoral administration for several MHT cycles within three days. Thus, cobalt ferrite MNPs represent a perspective platform for tumor therapy by MHT due to their ability to provide effective heating without exerting a toxic effect on the organism. This opens up new avenues for smaller MNPs sizes while their heating efficiency is maintained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Magnetic Nanoparticles: Synthesis and Biomedical Applications)
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Article
Boron Nitride Nanotube-Based Separator for High-Performance Lithium-Sulfur Batteries
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(1), 11; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano12010011 - 21 Dec 2021
Abstract
To prevent global warming, ESS development is in progress along with the development of electric vehicles and renewable energy. However, the state-of-the-art technology, i.e., lithium-ion batteries, has reached its limitation, and thus the need for high-performance batteries with improved energy and power density [...] Read more.
To prevent global warming, ESS development is in progress along with the development of electric vehicles and renewable energy. However, the state-of-the-art technology, i.e., lithium-ion batteries, has reached its limitation, and thus the need for high-performance batteries with improved energy and power density is increasing. Lithium-sulfur batteries (LSBs) are attracting enormous attention because of their high theoretical energy density. However, there are technical barriers to its commercialization such as the formation of dendrites on the anode and the shuttle effect of the cathode. To resolve these issues, a boron nitride nanotube (BNNT)-based separator is developed. The BNNT is physically purified so that the purified BNNT (p−BNNT) has a homogeneous pore structure because of random stacking and partial charge on the surface due to the difference of electronegativity between B and N. Compared to the conventional polypropylene (PP) separator, the p−BNNT loaded PP separator prevents the dendrite formation on the Li metal anode, facilitates the ion transfer through the separator, and alleviates the shuttle effect at the cathode. With these effects, the p−BNNT loaded PP separators enable the LSB cells to achieve a specific capacity of 1429 mAh/g, and long-term stability over 200 cycles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Nanomaterials for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries and Beyond II)
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Article
Scintillation Response Enhancement in Nanocrystalline Lead Halide Perovskite Thin Films on Scintillating Wafers
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(1), 14; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano12010014 - 21 Dec 2021
Abstract
Lead halide perovskite nanocrystals of the formula CsPbBr3 have recently been identified as potential time taggers in scintillating heterostructures for time-of-flight positron emission tomography (TOF-PET) imaging thanks to their ultrafast decay kinetics. This study investigates the potential of this material experimentally. We [...] Read more.
Lead halide perovskite nanocrystals of the formula CsPbBr3 have recently been identified as potential time taggers in scintillating heterostructures for time-of-flight positron emission tomography (TOF-PET) imaging thanks to their ultrafast decay kinetics. This study investigates the potential of this material experimentally. We fabricated CsPbBr3 thin films on scintillating GGAG:Ce (Gd2.985Ce0.015Ga2.7Al2.3O12) wafer as a model structure for the future sampling detector geometry. We focused this study on the radioluminescence (RL) response of this composite material. We compare the results of two spin-coating methods, namely the static and the dynamic process, for the thin film preparation. We demonstrated enhanced RL intensity of both CsPbBr3 and GGAG:Ce scintillating constituents of a composite material. This synergic effect arises in both the RL spectra and decays, including decays in the short time window (50 ns). Consequently, this study confirms the applicability of CsPbBr3 nanocrystals as efficient time taggers for ultrafast timing applications, such as TOF-PET. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin Films Based on Nanocomposites)
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Article
Crystallization in Zirconia Film Nano-Layered with Silica
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3444; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123444 - 19 Dec 2021
Abstract
Gravitational waves are detected using resonant optical cavity interferometers. The mirror coatings’ inherent thermal noise and photon scattering limit sensitivity. Crystals within the reflective coating may be responsible for either or both noise sources. In this study, we explored crystallization reduction in zirconia [...] Read more.
Gravitational waves are detected using resonant optical cavity interferometers. The mirror coatings’ inherent thermal noise and photon scattering limit sensitivity. Crystals within the reflective coating may be responsible for either or both noise sources. In this study, we explored crystallization reduction in zirconia through nano-layering with silica. We used X-ray diffraction (XRD) to monitor crystal growth between successive annealing cycles. We observed crystal formation at higher temperatures in thinner zirconia layers, indicating that silica is a successful inhibitor of crystal growth. However, the thinnest barriers break down at high temperatures, thus allowing crystal growth beyond each nano-layer. In addition, in samples with thicker zirconia layers, we observe that crystallization saturates with a significant portion of amorphous material remaining. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metallic Oxide Nanostructures)
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Article
The Effects of the Binder and Buffering Matrix on InSb-Based Anodes for High-Performance Rechargeable Li-Ion Batteries
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3420; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123420 - 17 Dec 2021
Abstract
C-decorated intermetallic InSb (InSb–C) was developed as a novel high-performance anode material for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). InSb nanoparticles synthesized via a mechanochemical reaction were characterized using X-ray diffraction (XRD), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and [...] Read more.
C-decorated intermetallic InSb (InSb–C) was developed as a novel high-performance anode material for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). InSb nanoparticles synthesized via a mechanochemical reaction were characterized using X-ray diffraction (XRD), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). The effects of the binder and buffering matrix on the active InSb were investigated. Poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) was found to significantly improve the cycling stability owing to its strong hydrogen bonding. The addition of amorphous C to InSb further enhanced mechanical stability and electronic conductivity. As a result, InSb–C demonstrated good electrochemical Li-ion storage performance: a high reversible specific capacity (878 mAh·g−1 at 100 mA·g−1 after 140 cycles) and good rate capability (capacity retention of 98% at 10 A·g−1 as compared to 0.1 A·g−1). The effects of PAA and C were comprehensively studied using cyclic voltammetry, differential capacity plots, ex-situ SEM, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). In addition, the electrochemical reaction mechanism of InSb was revealed using ex-situ XRD. InSb–C exhibited a better performance than many recently reported Sb-based electrodes; thus, it can be considered as a potential anode material in LIBs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials for Ion Battery Applications)
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Article
Preparation and Characterization of Photocatalytically Active Antibacterial Surfaces Covered with Acrylic Matrix Embedded Nano-ZnO and Nano-ZnO/Ag
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3384; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123384 - 14 Dec 2021
Abstract
In the context of healthcare-acquired infections, microbial cross-contamination and the spread of antibiotic resistance, additional passive measures to prevent pathogen carryover are urgently needed. Antimicrobial high-touch surfaces that kill microbes on contact or prevent their adhesion could be considered to mitigate the spread. [...] Read more.
In the context of healthcare-acquired infections, microbial cross-contamination and the spread of antibiotic resistance, additional passive measures to prevent pathogen carryover are urgently needed. Antimicrobial high-touch surfaces that kill microbes on contact or prevent their adhesion could be considered to mitigate the spread. Here, we demonstrate that photocatalytic nano-ZnO- and nano-ZnO/Ag-based antibacterial surfaces with efficacy of at least a 2.7-log reduction in Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus viability in 2 h can be produced by simple measures using a commercial acrylic topcoat for wood surfaces. We characterize the surfaces taking into account cyclic wear and variable environmental conditions. The light-induced antibacterial and photocatalytic activities of the surfaces are enhanced by short-term cyclic wear, indicating their potential for prolonged effectivity in long-term use. As the produced surfaces are generally more effective at higher relative air humidity and silver-containing surfaces lost their contact-killing properties in dry conditions, it is important to critically evaluate the end-use conditions of materials and surfaces to be tested and select application-appropriate methods for their efficacy assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Nano Coatings)
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Article
The Sensitization of Scintillation in Polymeric Composites Based on Fluorescent Nanocomplexes
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3387; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123387 - 14 Dec 2021
Abstract
The sensitization of scintillation was investigated in crosslinked polymeric composite materials loaded with luminescent gold clusters aggregates acting as sensitizers, and with organic dye rhodamine 6G as the emitting species. The evolution in time of the excited states population in the systems is [...] Read more.
The sensitization of scintillation was investigated in crosslinked polymeric composite materials loaded with luminescent gold clusters aggregates acting as sensitizers, and with organic dye rhodamine 6G as the emitting species. The evolution in time of the excited states population in the systems is described by a set of coupled rate equations, in which steady state solution allowed obtainment of an expression of the sensitization efficacy as a function of the characteristic parameters of the employed luminescent systems. The results obtained indicate that the realization of sensitizer/emitter scintillating complexes is the strategy that must be pursued to maximize the sensitization effect in composite materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Nanomaterials for Radiation Applications)
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Article
Analytical Performance and Validation of a Reliable Method Based on Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry for the Determination of Gold Nanoparticles in Biological Tissues
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3370; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123370 - 12 Dec 2021
Abstract
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have a wide-ranging application and are widespread in samples with complex matrices; thus, efficient analytical procedures are necessary to identify and characterize this analyte. A sensitive analytical method for determination of AuNPs content in biological tissues, based on microwave-assisted acid [...] Read more.
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have a wide-ranging application and are widespread in samples with complex matrices; thus, efficient analytical procedures are necessary to identify and characterize this analyte. A sensitive analytical method for determination of AuNPs content in biological tissues, based on microwave-assisted acid wet digestion and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS) validated in accordance with the requirements of Eurachem guideline and ISO 17025 standard, is presented in this study. The digestion procedure was optimized, and the figures of merit such as selectivity, limit of detection (0.43 µg L−1), limit of quantification (1.29 µg L−1, corresponding to 12.9 µg kg−1 in tissue sample, considering the digestion), working range, linearity, repeatability ((RSDr 4.15%), intermediate precision (RSDR 8.07%), recovery in accuracy study (97%), were methodically evaluated. The measurement uncertainty was assessed considering the main sources of uncertainties and the calculated relative expanded uncertainty (k = 2) was 12.5%. The method was applied for the determination of AuNPs in six biological tissues (liver, small intestine, heart, lungs, brain and kidneys) and the found concentrations were generally at low levels, close or lower than LOQ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theranostic Nanomedicine and Nanomaterials)
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Article
Cation Crosslinking-Induced Stable Copper Nanoclusters Powder as Latent Fingerprints Marker
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3371; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123371 - 12 Dec 2021
Abstract
Luminescent copper nanoclusters (Cu NCs) have shown great potential in light-emitting devices (LEDs), chemical sensing, catalysis and biological fields. However, their practical use has been restricted by poor stability, and study on the stability of Cu NCs solid powder along with the mechanism [...] Read more.
Luminescent copper nanoclusters (Cu NCs) have shown great potential in light-emitting devices (LEDs), chemical sensing, catalysis and biological fields. However, their practical use has been restricted by poor stability, and study on the stability of Cu NCs solid powder along with the mechanism is absent. In this study, stablized Cu NCs powder was first obtained by cation crosslinking method. Compared with the powder synthesized by solvent precipitation method, the stability of Cu NCs powder crosslinked by ionic inducer Ce3+ was enhanced around 100-fold. The storage time when the fluorescence intensity decreased to 85% (T85) was improved from 2 h to 216 h, which is the longest so far. The results of characterizations indicated that the aggregation structure was formed by the binding of Ce3+ with the capping ligands of Cu NCs, which helped in obtaining Ce-Cu NCs powder from aggregate precipitation in solution. Furthermore, this compact structure could avoid the destruction of ambient moisture resulting in long-lasting fluorescence and almost unchanged physical form. This demonstrated that phosphor, with excellent characteristics of unsophisticated synthesis, easy preservation and stable fluorescence, showed great potential in light sources, display technology and especially in latent fingerprints visualization on different substrates for forensic science. Full article
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Article
Facile Fabrication of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube/Anatase Composite Thin Film on Quartz Glass Substrate for Translucent Conductive Photoelectrode
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3352; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123352 - 10 Dec 2021
Abstract
A single-walled carbon nanotube/anatase (SWCNT/anatase) composite thin film with a transmittance of over 70% in the visible-light region was fabricated on a quartz glass substrate by heat treating a precursor film at 500 °C in air. The precursor film was formed by spin [...] Read more.
A single-walled carbon nanotube/anatase (SWCNT/anatase) composite thin film with a transmittance of over 70% in the visible-light region was fabricated on a quartz glass substrate by heat treating a precursor film at 500 °C in air. The precursor film was formed by spin coating a mixed solution of the titania molecular precursor and well-dispersed SWCNTs (0.075 mass%) in ethanol. The anatase crystals and Ti3+ ions in the composite thin films were determined by X-ray diffraction and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, respectively. The effect of the heating process on the SWCNTs was analyzed using Raman spectroscopy. The composite film showed an even surface with a scratch resistance of 4H pencil hardness, as observed using field-emission scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. The electrical resistivity and optical bandgap energy of the composite thin film with a thickness of 100 nm were 6.6 × 10−2 Ω cm and 3.4 eV, respectively, when the SWCNT content in the composite thin film was 2.9 mass%. An anodic photocurrent density of 4.2 μA cm−2 was observed under ultraviolet light irradiation (16 mW cm−2 at 365 nm) onto the composite thin film, thus showing excellent properties as a photoelectrode without conductive substrates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research of Carbon Nanomaterials and Nanocomposites)
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Article
Structural and Surfacial Modification of Carbon Nanofoam as an Interlayer for Electrochemically Stable Lithium-Sulfur Cells
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3342; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123342 - 09 Dec 2021
Abstract
Electrochemical lithium-sulfur batteries engage the attention of researchers due to their high-capacity sulfur cathodes, which meet the increasing energy-density needs of next-generation energy-storage systems. We present here the design, modification, and investigation of a carbon nanofoam as the interlayer in a lithium-sulfur cell [...] Read more.
Electrochemical lithium-sulfur batteries engage the attention of researchers due to their high-capacity sulfur cathodes, which meet the increasing energy-density needs of next-generation energy-storage systems. We present here the design, modification, and investigation of a carbon nanofoam as the interlayer in a lithium-sulfur cell to enable its high-loading sulfur cathode to attain high electrochemical utilization, efficiency, and stability. The carbon-nanofoam interlayer features a porous and tortuous carbon network that accelerates the charge transfer while decelerating the polysulfide diffusion. The improved cell demonstrates a high electrochemical utilization of over 80% and an enhanced stability of 200 cycles. With such a high-performance cell configuration, we investigate how the battery chemistry is affected by an additional polysulfide-trapping MoS2 layer and an additional electron-transferring graphene layer on the interlayer. Our results confirm that the cell-configuration modification brings major benefits to the development of a high-loading sulfur cathode for excellent electrochemical performances. We further demonstrate a high-loading cathode with the carbon-nanofoam interlayer, which attains a high sulfur loading of 8 mg cm−2, an excellent areal capacity of 8.7 mAh cm−2, and a superior energy density of 18.7 mWh cm−2 at a low electrolyte-to-sulfur ratio of 10 µL mg−1. Full article
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Article
Direct Plasmonic Solar Cell Efficiency Dependence on Spiro-OMeTAD Li-TFSI Content
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3329; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123329 - 08 Dec 2021
Abstract
The proliferation of the internet of things (IoT) and other low-power devices demands the development of energy harvesting solutions to alleviate IoT hardware dependence on single-use batteries, making their deployment more sustainable. The propagation of energy harvesting solutions is strongly associated with technical [...] Read more.
The proliferation of the internet of things (IoT) and other low-power devices demands the development of energy harvesting solutions to alleviate IoT hardware dependence on single-use batteries, making their deployment more sustainable. The propagation of energy harvesting solutions is strongly associated with technical performance, cost and aesthetics, with the latter often being the driver of adoption. The general abundance of light in the vicinity of IoT devices under their main operation window enables the use of indoor and outdoor photovoltaics as energy harvesters. From those, highly transparent solar cells allow an increased possibility to place a sustainable power source close to the sensors without significant visual appearance. Herein, we report the effect of hole transport layer Li-TFSI dopant content on semi-transparent, direct plasmonic solar cells (DPSC) with a transparency of more than 80% in the 450–800 nm region. The findings revealed that the amount of oxidized spiro-OMeTAD (spiro+TFSI) significantly modulates the transparency, effective conductance and conditions of device performance, with an optimal performance reached at around 33% relative concentration of Li-TFSI concerning spiro-OMeTAD. The Li-TFSI content did not affect the immediate charge extraction, as revealed by an analysis of electron–phonon lifetime. Hot electrons and holes were injected into the respective layers within 150 fs, suggesting simultaneous injection, as supported by the absence of hysteresis in the I–V curves. The spiro-OMeTAD layer reduces the Au nanoparticles’ reflection/backscattering, which improves the overall cell transparency. The results show that the system can be made highly transparent by precise tuning of the doping level of the spiro-OMeTAD layer with retained plasmonics, large optical cross-sections and the ultrathin nature of the devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Photonics and Plasmonics)
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Article
Aptamer Conjugated Indium Phosphide Quantum Dots with a Zinc Sulphide Shell as Photoluminescent Labels for Acinetobacter baumannii
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3317; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123317 - 07 Dec 2021
Abstract
Acinetobacter baumannii is a remarkable microorganism known for its diversity of habitat and its multi-drug resistance, resulting in hard-to-treat infections. Thus, a sensitive method for the identification and detection of Acinetobacter baumannii is vital. However, current methods used for the detection of pathogens [...] Read more.
Acinetobacter baumannii is a remarkable microorganism known for its diversity of habitat and its multi-drug resistance, resulting in hard-to-treat infections. Thus, a sensitive method for the identification and detection of Acinetobacter baumannii is vital. However, current methods used for the detection of pathogens have not improved in the past decades and suffer from long process times and low detection limits. A cheap, quick, and easy detection mechanism is needed. In this work, we successfully prepared indium phosphide quantum dots with a zinc sulphide shell, conjugated to a targeting aptamer ligand, to specifically label Acinetobacter baumannii. The system retained both the photophysical properties of the quantum dots and the folded structure and molecular recognition function of the aptamer, therefore successfully targeting Acinetobacter baumannii. Confocal microscopy and transmission electron microscopy showed the fluorescent quantum dots surrounding the Acinetobacter baumannii cells confirming the specificity of the aptamer conjugated to indium phosphide quantum dots with a zinc sulphide shell. Controls were undertaken with a different bacteria species, showing no binding of the aptamer conjugated quantum dots. Our strategy offers a novel method to detect bacteria and engineer a scalable platform for fluorescence detection, therefore improving current methods and allowing for better treatment. Full article
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Article
Band Structure and Energy Level Alignment of Chiral Graphene Nanoribbons on Silver Surfaces
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3303; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123303 - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Chiral graphene nanoribbons are extremely interesting structures due to their narrow band gaps and potential development of spin-polarized edge states. Here, we study their band structure on low work function silver surfaces. The use of a curved Ag single crystal provides, within the [...] Read more.
Chiral graphene nanoribbons are extremely interesting structures due to their narrow band gaps and potential development of spin-polarized edge states. Here, we study their band structure on low work function silver surfaces. The use of a curved Ag single crystal provides, within the same sample, regions of disparate step structure and step density. Whereas the former leads to distinct azimuthal growth orientations of the graphene nanoribbons atop, the latter modulates the substrate’s work function and thereby the interface energy level alignment. In turn, we disclose the associated charge transfer from the substrate to the ribbon and assess its effect on the nanoribbon’s properties and the edge state magnetization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On-Surface Synthesis of Low-Dimensional Organic Nanostructures)
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Article
Quantitative Assessment of Chirality of Protein Secondary Structures and Phenylalanine Peptide Nanotubes
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3299; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123299 - 05 Dec 2021
Abstract
In this study we consider the features of spatial-structure formation in proteins and their application in bioengineering. Methods for the quantitative assessment of the chirality of regular helical and irregular structures of proteins are presented. The features of self-assembly of phenylalanine (F) into [...] Read more.
In this study we consider the features of spatial-structure formation in proteins and their application in bioengineering. Methods for the quantitative assessment of the chirality of regular helical and irregular structures of proteins are presented. The features of self-assembly of phenylalanine (F) into peptide nanotubes (PNT), which form helices of different chirality, are also analyzed. A method is proposed for calculating the magnitude and sign of the chirality of helix-like peptide nanotubes using a sequence of vectors for the dipole moments of individual peptides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Simulation and Modeling of Nanomaterials)
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Article
Comparison of Different Commercial Nanopolystyrenes: Behavior in Exposure Media, Effects on Immune Function and Early Larval Development in the Model Bivalve Mytilus galloprovincialis
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3291; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123291 - 04 Dec 2021
Abstract
In the absence of standard methods for the detection/quantification of nanoplastics (NPs) in environmental samples, commercial nanopolymers are utilized as proxies for toxicity testing and environmental risk assessment. In marine species, a considerable amount of data are now available on the effects of [...] Read more.
In the absence of standard methods for the detection/quantification of nanoplastics (NPs) in environmental samples, commercial nanopolymers are utilized as proxies for toxicity testing and environmental risk assessment. In marine species, a considerable amount of data are now available on the effects of nanopolystyrene (PS-NPs) of different size/surface characteristics. In this work, amino modified PS-NPs (PS-NH2) (50 and 100 nm), purchased from two different companies, were compared in terms of behavior in exposure media and of biological responses, from molecular to organism level, in the model marine bivalve Mytilus. Different PS-NH2 showed distinct agglomeration and surface charge in artificial sea water (ASW) and hemolymph serum (HS). Differences in behavior were largely reflected by the effects on immune function in vitro and in vivo and on early larval development. Stronger effects were generally observed with PS-NH2 of smaller size, showing less agglomeration and higher positive charge in exposure media. Specific molecular interactions with HS components were investigated by the isolation and characterization of the NP-corona proteins. Data obtained in larvae demonstrate interference with the molecular mechanisms of shell biogenesis. Overall, different PS-NH2 can affect the key physiological functions of mussels at environmental concentrations (10 µg/L). However, detailed information on the commercial NPs utilized is required to compare their biological effects among laboratory experiments. Full article
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Article
The Applications of Ultra-Thin Nanofilm for Aerospace Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3282; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123282 - 03 Dec 2021
Abstract
With the development of industrial civilization, advanced manufacturing technology has attracted widespread concern, including in the aerospace industry. In this paper, we report the applications of ultra-thin atomic layer deposition nanofilm in the advanced aerospace manufacturing industry, including aluminum anti-oxidation and secondary electron [...] Read more.
With the development of industrial civilization, advanced manufacturing technology has attracted widespread concern, including in the aerospace industry. In this paper, we report the applications of ultra-thin atomic layer deposition nanofilm in the advanced aerospace manufacturing industry, including aluminum anti-oxidation and secondary electron suppression, which are critical in high-power and miniaturization development. The compact and uniform aluminum oxide film, which is formed by thermal atomic layer deposition (ALD), can prevent the deep surface oxidation of aluminum during storage, avoiding the waste of material and energy in repetitive production. The total secondary electron yield of the C/TiN component nanofilm, deposited through plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition, decreases 25% compared with an uncoated surface. The suppression of secondary electron emission is of great importance in solving the multipactor for high-power microwave components in space. Moreover, the controllable, ultra-thin uniform composite nanofilm can be deposited directly on the complex surface of devices without any transfer process, which is critical for many different applications. The ALD nanofilm shows potential for promoting system performance and resource consumption in the advanced aerospace manufacturing industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials for Membranes, Membrane Reactors and Catalyst Systems)
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Article
Extra-Low Dosage Graphene Oxide Cementitious Nanocomposites: A Nano- to Macroscale Approach
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3278; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123278 - 02 Dec 2021
Abstract
The impact of extra-low dosage (0.01% by weight of cement) Graphene Oxide (GO) on the properties of fresh and hardened nanocomposites was assessed. The use of a minimum amount of 2-D nanofiller would minimize costs and sustainability issues, therefore encouraging the market uptake [...] Read more.
The impact of extra-low dosage (0.01% by weight of cement) Graphene Oxide (GO) on the properties of fresh and hardened nanocomposites was assessed. The use of a minimum amount of 2-D nanofiller would minimize costs and sustainability issues, therefore encouraging the market uptake of nanoengineered cement-based materials. GO was characterized by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), X-ray Diffraction (XRD), and Raman spectroscopy. GO consisted of stacked sheets up to 600 nm × 800 nm wide and 2 nm thick, oxygen content 31 at%. The impact of GO on the fresh admixtures was evaluated by rheology, flowability, and workability measurements. GO-modified samples were characterized by density measurements, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analysis, and compression and bending tests. Permeability was investigated using the boiling-water saturation technique, salt ponding test, and Initial Surface Absorption Test (ISAT). At 28 days, GO-nanocomposite exhibited increased density (+14%), improved compressive and flexural strength (+29% and +13%, respectively), and decreased permeability compared to the control sample. The strengthening effect dominated over the adverse effects associated with the worsening of the fresh properties; reduced permeability was mainly attributed to the refining of the pore network induced by the presence of GO. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Cementitious Materials for Sustainable Building Engineering)
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Article
The High Coercivity Field in Chemically Bonded WSe2/MoSe2 Powder
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3263; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123263 - 01 Dec 2021
Abstract
We studied the magnetic properties of WSe2/MoSe2 powder. The coercivity field reaches 2600 Oe at 5 K, 4233 Oe at 100 K and 1300 Oe at 300 K. These are the highest values reported for two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides. This [...] Read more.
We studied the magnetic properties of WSe2/MoSe2 powder. The coercivity field reaches 2600 Oe at 5 K, 4233 Oe at 100 K and 1300 Oe at 300 K. These are the highest values reported for two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides. This study is different from the widely reported vacancy and zigzag structure-induced ferromagnetism studies. Importantly, a Raman peak red shift was observed, and that supports the chemical bonding at the interface between WSe2 and MoSe2. The large coercivity field originates from the chemical bonding-induced structural distortion at the interface between WSe2 and MoSe2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Advances and Applications of 2D Materials)
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Article
Gold Nanostars Embedded in PDMS Films: A Photothermal Material for Antibacterial Applications
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3252; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123252 - 30 Nov 2021
Abstract
Bacteria infections and related biofilms growth on surfaces of medical devices are a serious threat to human health. Controlled hyperthermia caused by photothermal effects can be used to kill bacteria and counteract biofilms formation. Embedding of plasmonic nano-objects like gold nanostars (GNS), able [...] Read more.
Bacteria infections and related biofilms growth on surfaces of medical devices are a serious threat to human health. Controlled hyperthermia caused by photothermal effects can be used to kill bacteria and counteract biofilms formation. Embedding of plasmonic nano-objects like gold nanostars (GNS), able to give an intense photothermal effect when irradiated in the NIR, can be a smart way to functionalize a transparent and biocompatible material like polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). This process enables bacteria destruction on surfaces of PDMS-made medical surfaces, an action which, in principle, can also be exploited in subcutaneous devices. We prepared stable and reproducible thin PDMS films containing controllable quantities of GNS, enabling a temperature increase that can reach more than 40 degrees. The hyperthermia exerted by this hybrid material generates an effective thermal microbicidal effect, killing bacteria with a near infrared (NIR) laser source with irradiance values that are safe for skin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Noble Metal Nanoparticles)
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Article
Nanocone-Shaped Carbon Nanotubes Field-Emitter Array Fabricated by Laser Ablation
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3244; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123244 - 29 Nov 2021
Abstract
The nanocone-shaped carbon nanotubes field-emitter array (NCNA) is a near-ideal field-emitter array that combines the advantages of geometry and material. In contrast to previous methods of field-emitter array, laser ablation is a low-cost and clean method that does not require any photolithography or [...] Read more.
The nanocone-shaped carbon nanotubes field-emitter array (NCNA) is a near-ideal field-emitter array that combines the advantages of geometry and material. In contrast to previous methods of field-emitter array, laser ablation is a low-cost and clean method that does not require any photolithography or wet chemistry. However, nanocone shapes are hard to achieve through laser ablation due to the micrometer-scale focusing spot. Here, we develop an ultraviolet (UV) laser beam patterning technique that is capable of reliably realizing NCNA with a cone-tip radius of ≈300 nm, utilizing optimized beam focusing and unique carbon nanotube–light interaction properties. The patterned array provided smaller turn-on fields (reduced from 2.6 to 1.6 V/μm) in emitters and supported a higher (increased from 10 to 140 mA/cm2) and more stable emission than their unpatterned counterparts. The present technique may be widely applied in the fabrication of high-performance CNTs field-emitter arrays. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Research Related to Nanomaterial Cold Cathode)
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Article
Amorphous MoSxOy/h-BNxOy Nanohybrids: Synthesis and Dye Photodegradation
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3232; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123232 - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Molybdenum sulfide is a very promising catalyst for the photodegradation of organic pollutants in water. Its photocatalytic activity arises from unsaturated sulfur bonds, and it increases with the introduction of structural defects and/or oxygen substitutions. Amorphous molybdenum sulfide (a-MoSxO [...] Read more.
Molybdenum sulfide is a very promising catalyst for the photodegradation of organic pollutants in water. Its photocatalytic activity arises from unsaturated sulfur bonds, and it increases with the introduction of structural defects and/or oxygen substitutions. Amorphous molybdenum sulfide (a-MoSxOy) with oxygen substitutions has many active sites, which create favorable conditions for enhanced catalytic activity. Here we present a new approach to the synthesis of a-MoSxOy and demonstrate its high activity in the photodegradation of the dye methylene blue (MB). The MoSxOy was deposited on hexagonal boron oxynitride (h-BNO) nanoflakes by reacting h-BNO, MoCl5, and H2S in dimethylformamide (DMF) at 250 °C. Both X-ray diffraction analysis and high-resolution TEM show the absence of crystalline order in a-MoSxOy. Based on the results of Raman and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, as well as analysis by the density functional theory (DFT) method, a chain structure of a-MoSxOy was proposed, consisting of MoS3 clusters with partial substitution of sulfur by oxygen. When a third of the sulfur atoms are replaced with oxygen, the band gap of a-MoSxOy is approximately 1.36 eV, and the valence and conduction bands are 0.74 eV and −0.62 eV, respectively (relative to a standard hydrogen electrode), which satisfies the conditions of photoinduced splitting of water. When illuminated with a mercury lamp, a-MoSxOy/h-BNxOy nanohybrids have a specific mass activity in MB photodegradation of approximately 5.51 mmol g−1 h−1, which is at least four times higher than so far reported values for nonmetal catalysts. The photocatalyst has been shown to be very stable and can be reused. Full article
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Article
In Vitro Toxicity of Industrially Relevant Engineered Nanoparticles in Human Alveolar Epithelial Cells: Air–Liquid Interface versus Submerged Cultures
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3225; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123225 - 27 Nov 2021
Abstract
Diverse industries have already incorporated within their production processes engineered nanoparticles (ENP), increasing the potential risk of worker inhalation exposure. In vitro models have been widely used to investigate ENP toxicity. Air–liquid interface (ALI) cell cultures have been emerging as a valuable alternative [...] Read more.
Diverse industries have already incorporated within their production processes engineered nanoparticles (ENP), increasing the potential risk of worker inhalation exposure. In vitro models have been widely used to investigate ENP toxicity. Air–liquid interface (ALI) cell cultures have been emerging as a valuable alternative to submerged cultures as they are more representative of the inhalation exposure to airborne nano-sized particles. We compared the in vitro toxicity of four ENP used as raw materials in the advanced ceramics sector in human alveolar epithelial-like cells cultured under submerged or ALI conditions. Submerged cultures were exposed to ENP liquid suspensions or to aerosolised ENP at ALI. Toxicity was assessed by determining LDH release, WST-1 metabolisation and DNA damage. Overall, cells were more sensitive to ENP cytotoxic effects when cultured and exposed under ALI. No significant cytotoxicity was observed after 24 h exposure to ENP liquid suspensions, although aerosolised ENP clearly affected cell viability and LDH release. In general, all ENP increased primary DNA damage regardless of the exposure mode, where an increase in DNA strand-breaks was only detected under submerged conditions. Our data show that at relevant occupational concentrations, the selected ENP exert mild toxicity to alveolar epithelial cells and exposure at ALI might be the most suitable choice when assessing ENP toxicity in respiratory models under realistic exposure conditions. Full article
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One-Step Solution Deposition of Antimony Selenoiodide Films via Precursor Engineering for Lead-Free Solar Cell Applications
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3206; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123206 - 26 Nov 2021
Abstract
Ternary chalcohalides are promising lead-free photovoltaic materials with excellent optoelectronic properties. We propose a simple one-step solution-phase precursor-engineering method for antimony selenoiodide (SbSeI) film fabrication. SbSeI films were fabricated by spin-coating the precursor solution, and heating. Various precursor solutions were synthesized by adjusting [...] Read more.
Ternary chalcohalides are promising lead-free photovoltaic materials with excellent optoelectronic properties. We propose a simple one-step solution-phase precursor-engineering method for antimony selenoiodide (SbSeI) film fabrication. SbSeI films were fabricated by spin-coating the precursor solution, and heating. Various precursor solutions were synthesized by adjusting the molar ratio of two solutions based on SbCl3-selenourea and SbI3. The results suggest that both the molar ratio and the heating temperature play key roles in film phase and morphology. Nanostructured SbSeI films with a high crystallinity were obtained at a molar ratio of 1:1.5 and a temperature of 150 °C. The proposed method could be also used to fabricate (Bi,Sb)SeI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nanomaterials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Examining the Transmission of Visible Light through Electrospun Nanofibrous PCL Scaffolds for Corneal Tissue Engineering
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3191; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123191 - 25 Nov 2021
Abstract
The transparency of nanofibrous scaffolds is of highest interest for potential applications like corneal wound dressings in corneal tissue engineering. In this study, we provide a detailed analysis of light transmission through electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds. PCL scaffolds were produced via electrospinning, with [...] Read more.
The transparency of nanofibrous scaffolds is of highest interest for potential applications like corneal wound dressings in corneal tissue engineering. In this study, we provide a detailed analysis of light transmission through electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds. PCL scaffolds were produced via electrospinning, with fiber diameters in the range from (35 ± 13) nm to (167 ± 35) nm. Light transmission measurements were conducted using UV–vis spectroscopy in the range of visible light and analyzed with respect to the influence of scaffold thickness, fiber diameter, and surrounding medium. Contour plots were compiled for a straightforward access to light transmission values for arbitrary scaffold thicknesses. Depending on the fiber diameter, transmission values between 15% and 75% were observed for scaffold thicknesses of 10 µm. With a decreasing fiber diameter, light transmission could be improved, as well as with matching refractive indices of fiber material and medium. For corneal tissue engineering, scaffolds should be designed as thin as possible and fabricated from polymers with a matching refractive index to that of the human cornea. Concerning fiber diameter, smaller fiber diameters should be favored for maximizing graft transparency. Finally, a novel, semi-empirical formulation of light transmission through nanofibrous scaffolds is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Nanomaterials for Tissue Engineering Applications)
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Bright Silicon Carbide Single-Photon Emitting Diodes at Low Temperatures: Toward Quantum Photonics Applications
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3177; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123177 - 24 Nov 2021
Abstract
Color centers in silicon carbide have recently emerged as one of the most promising emitters for bright single-photon emitting diodes (SPEDs). It has been shown that, at room temperature, they can emit more than 109 photons per second under electrical excitation. However, [...] Read more.
Color centers in silicon carbide have recently emerged as one of the most promising emitters for bright single-photon emitting diodes (SPEDs). It has been shown that, at room temperature, they can emit more than 109 photons per second under electrical excitation. However, the spectral emission properties of color centers in SiC at room temperature are far from ideal. The spectral properties could be significantly improved by decreasing the operating temperature. However, the densities of free charge carriers in SiC rapidly decrease as temperature decreases, which reduces the efficiency of electrical excitation of color centers by many orders of magnitude. Here, we study for the first time the temperature characteristics of SPEDs based on color centers in 4H-SiC. Using a rigorous numerical approach, we demonstrate that although the single-photon electroluminescence rate does rapidly decrease as temperature decreases, it is possible to increase the SPED brightness to 107 photons/s at 100 K using the recently predicted effect of hole superinjection in homojunction p-i-n diodes. This gives the possibility to achieve high brightness and good spectral properties at the same time, which paves the way toward novel quantum photonics applications of electrically driven color centers in silicon carbide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Silicon Carbide Nanomaterials)
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Article
Morphological Studies of Composite Spin [email protected]2 Nanoparticles
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3169; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11123169 - 23 Nov 2021
Abstract
Spin crossover (SCO) iron (II) 1,2,4-triazole-based coordination compounds in the form of composite [email protected]2 nanoparticles were prepared using a reverse microemulsion technique. The thickness of the silica shell and the morphology of the as obtained [email protected] nanoparticles were studied by modifying the [...] Read more.
Spin crossover (SCO) iron (II) 1,2,4-triazole-based coordination compounds in the form of composite [email protected]2 nanoparticles were prepared using a reverse microemulsion technique. The thickness of the silica shell and the morphology of the as obtained [email protected] nanoparticles were studied by modifying the polar phase/surfactant ratio (ω), as well as the quantity and the insertion phase (organic, aqueous and micellar phases) of the tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) precursor, the quantity of ammonia and the reaction temperature. The morphology of the nanoparticles was monitored by transmission electron microscopy (TEM/HRTEM) while their composition probed by combined elemental analyses, thermogravimetry and EDX analyses. We report that not only the particle size can be controlled but also the size of the silica shell, allowing for interesting perspectives in post-synthetic modification of the shell. The evolution of the spin crossover properties associated with the change in morphology was investigated by variable temperature optical and magnetic measurements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Emulsions: Fabrication and Applications)
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Article
Novel Pastes Containing Polymeric Nanoparticles for Dentin Hypersensitivity Treatment: An In Vitro Study
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3150; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11113150 - 22 Nov 2021
Abstract
Tubule occlusion and remineralization are considered the two main goals of dentin hypersensitivity treatment. The objective is to assess the ability of dentifrices containing zinc-doped polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) to enduringly occlude the dentinal tubules, reinforcing dentin’s mechanical properties. Fifteen dentin surfaces were acid-treated [...] Read more.
Tubule occlusion and remineralization are considered the two main goals of dentin hypersensitivity treatment. The objective is to assess the ability of dentifrices containing zinc-doped polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) to enduringly occlude the dentinal tubules, reinforcing dentin’s mechanical properties. Fifteen dentin surfaces were acid-treated for dentinal tubule exposure and brushed with (1) distilled water, or with experimental pastes containing (2) 1% of zinc-doped NPs, (3) 5% of zinc-doped NPs, (4) 10% of zinc-doped NPs or (5) Sensodyne®. Topographical and nanomechanical analyses were performed on treated dentin surfaces and after a citric acid challenge. ANOVA and Student–Newman–Keuls tests were used (p < 0.05). The main results indicate that all pastes produced tubule occlusion (100%) and reinforced mechanical properties of intertubular dentin (complex modulus was above 75 GPa). After the citric acid challenge, only those pastes containing zinc-doped NPs were able to maintain tubular occlusion, as specimens treated with Sensodyne® have around 30% of tubules opened. Mechanical properties were maintained for dentin treated with Zn-doped NPs, but in the case of specimens treated with Sensodyne®, complex modulus values were reduced below 50 GPa. It may be concluded that zinc-doped NPs at the lowest tested concentration produced acid-resistant tubular occlusion and increased the mechanical properties of dentin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials in Dentistry)
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Article
Plasmonic Gold Nanoisland Film for Bacterial Theranostics
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3139; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11113139 - 21 Nov 2021
Abstract
Plasmonic nanomaterials have been intensively explored for applications in biomedical detection and therapy for human sustainability. Herein, plasmonic gold nanoisland (NI) film (AuNIF) was fabricated onto a glass substrate by a facile seed-mediated growth approach. The structure of the tortuous gold NIs of [...] Read more.
Plasmonic nanomaterials have been intensively explored for applications in biomedical detection and therapy for human sustainability. Herein, plasmonic gold nanoisland (NI) film (AuNIF) was fabricated onto a glass substrate by a facile seed-mediated growth approach. The structure of the tortuous gold NIs of the AuNIF was demonstrated by scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Based on the ultraviolet-visible spectrum, the AuNIF revealed plasmonic absorption with maximum intensity at 624 nm. With the change to the surface topography created by the NIs, the capture efficiency of Escherichia coli (E. coli) by the AuNIF was significantly increased compared to that of the glass substrate. The AuNIF was applied as a surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrate to enhance the Raman signal of E. coli. Moreover, the plasmonic AuNIF exhibited a superior photothermal effect under irradiation with simulated AM1.5 sunlight. For photothermal therapy, the AuNIF also displayed outstanding efficiency in the photothermal killing of E. coli. Using a combination of SERS detection and photothermal therapy, the AuNIF could be a promising platform for bacterial theranostics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antibacterial Applications of Nanomaterials)
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Article
Geometrical Nonlinearity for a Timoshenko Beam with Flexoelectricity
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3123; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11113123 - 19 Nov 2021
Abstract
The Timoshenko beam model is applied to the analysis of the flexoelectric effect for a cantilever beam under large deformations. The geometric nonlinearity with von Kármán strains is considered. The nonlinear system of ordinary differential equations (ODE) for beam deflection and rotation are [...] Read more.
The Timoshenko beam model is applied to the analysis of the flexoelectric effect for a cantilever beam under large deformations. The geometric nonlinearity with von Kármán strains is considered. The nonlinear system of ordinary differential equations (ODE) for beam deflection and rotation are derived. Moreover, this nonlinear system is linearized for each load increment, where it is solved iteratively. For the vanishing flexoelectric coefficient, the governing equations lead to the classical Timoshenko beam model. Furthermore, the influence of the flexoelectricity coefficient and the microstructural length-scale parameter on the beam deflection and the induced electric intensity is investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Theory and Simulation of Nanostructures)
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Article
Anisotropic Optical and Vibrational Properties of GeS
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3109; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11113109 - 18 Nov 2021
Abstract
The optical response of bulk germanium sulfide (GeS) is investigated systematically using different polarization-resolved experimental techniques, such as photoluminescence (PL), reflectance contrast (RC), and Raman scattering (RS). It is shown that while the low-temperature (T = 5 K) optical band-gap absorption is [...] Read more.
The optical response of bulk germanium sulfide (GeS) is investigated systematically using different polarization-resolved experimental techniques, such as photoluminescence (PL), reflectance contrast (RC), and Raman scattering (RS). It is shown that while the low-temperature (T = 5 K) optical band-gap absorption is governed by a single resonance related to the neutral exciton, the corresponding emission is dominated by the disorder/impurity- and/or phonon-assisted recombination processes. Both the RC and PL spectra are found to be linearly polarized along the armchair direction. The measured RS spectra over a broad range from 5 to 300 K consist of six Raman peaks identified with the help of Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations: Ag1, Ag2, Ag3, Ag4, B1g1, and B1g2, which polarization properties are studied under four different excitation energies. We found that the polarization orientations of the Ag2 and Ag4 modes under specific excitation energy can be useful tools to determine the GeS crystallographic directions: armchair and zigzag. Full article
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Article
Traceable Nanoscale Measurements of High Dielectric Constant by Scanning Microwave Microscopy
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3104; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11113104 - 17 Nov 2021
Abstract
The importance of high dielectric constant materials in the development of high frequency nano-electronic devices is undeniable. Their polarization properties are directly dependent on the value of their relative permittivity. We report here on the nanoscale metrological quantification of the dielectric constants of [...] Read more.
The importance of high dielectric constant materials in the development of high frequency nano-electronic devices is undeniable. Their polarization properties are directly dependent on the value of their relative permittivity. We report here on the nanoscale metrological quantification of the dielectric constants of two high-κ materials, lead zirconate titanate (PZT) and lead magnesium niobate-lead titanate (PMN-PT), in the GHz range using scanning microwave microscopy (SMM). We demonstrate the importance of the capacitance calibration procedure and dimensional measurements on the weight of the combined relative uncertainties. A novel approach is proposed to correct lateral dimension measurements of micro-capacitive structures using the microwave electrical signatures, especially for rough surfaces of high-κ materials. A new analytical expression is also given for the capacitance calculations, taking into account the contribution of fringing electric fields. We determine the dielectric constant values εPZT = 445 and εPMN-PT = 641 at the frequency around 3.6 GHz, with combined relative uncertainties of 3.5% and 6.9% for PZT and PMN-PT, respectively. This work provides a general description of the metrological path for a quantified measurement of high dielectric constants with well-controlled low uncertainty levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanometrology)
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Article
Quantitative Estimation of Cell-Associated Silver Nanoparticles using the Normalized Side Scattering Intensities of Flow Cytometry
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3079; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11113079 - 15 Nov 2021
Abstract
Quantification of cellular nanoparticles (NPs) is one of the most important steps in studying NP–cell interactions. Here, a simple method for the estimation of cell-associated silver (Ag) NPs in lung cancer cells (A549) is proposed based on their side scattering (SSC) intensities measured [...] Read more.
Quantification of cellular nanoparticles (NPs) is one of the most important steps in studying NP–cell interactions. Here, a simple method for the estimation of cell-associated silver (Ag) NPs in lung cancer cells (A549) is proposed based on their side scattering (SSC) intensities measured by flow cytometry (FCM). To estimate cellular Ag NPs associated with A549 cells over a broad range of experimental conditions, we measured the normalized SSC intensities (nSSC) of A549 cells treated with Ag NPs with five different core sizes (i.e., 40–200 nm, positively charged) under various exposure conditions that reflect different situations of agglomeration, diffusion, and sedimentation in cell culture media, such as upright and inverted configurations with different media heights. Then, we correlated these nSSC values with the numbers of cellular Ag NPs determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) as a well-established cross-validation method. The different core sizes of Ag NPs and the various exposure conditions tested in this study confirmed that the FCM-SSC intensities are highly correlated with their core sizes as well as the amount of cellular Ag NPs over a linear range up to ~80,000 Ag NPs/cell and ~23 nSSC, which is significantly broader than those of previous studies. Full article
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Article
Bioactivity of PEGylated Graphene Oxide Nanoparticles Combined with Near-Infrared Laser Irradiation Studied in Colorectal Carcinoma Cells
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3061; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11113061 - 14 Nov 2021
Abstract
Central focus in modern anticancer nanosystems is given to certain types of nanomaterials such as graphene oxide (GO). Its functionalization with polyethylene glycol (PEG) demonstrates high delivery efficiency and controllable release of proteins, bioimaging agents, chemotherapeutics and anticancer drugs. GO–PEG has a good [...] Read more.
Central focus in modern anticancer nanosystems is given to certain types of nanomaterials such as graphene oxide (GO). Its functionalization with polyethylene glycol (PEG) demonstrates high delivery efficiency and controllable release of proteins, bioimaging agents, chemotherapeutics and anticancer drugs. GO–PEG has a good biological safety profile, exhibits high NIR absorbance and capacity in photothermal treatment. To investigate the bioactivity of PEGylated GO NPs in combination with NIR irradiation on colorectal cancer cells we conducted experiments that aim to reveal the molecular mechanisms of action of this nanocarrier, combined with near-infrared light (NIR) on the high invasive Colon26 and the low invasive HT29 colon cancer cell lines. During reaching cancer cells the phototoxicity of GO–PEG is modulated by NIR laser irradiation. We observed that PEGylation of GO nanoparticles has well-pronounced biocompatibility toward colorectal carcinoma cells, besides their different malignant potential and treatment times. This biocompatibility is potentiated when GO–PEG treatment is combined with NIR irradiation, especially for cells cultured and treated for 24 h. The tested bioactivity of GO–PEG in combination with NIR irradiation induced little to no damages in DNA and did not influence the mitochondrial activity. Our findings demonstrate the potential of GO–PEG-based photoactivity as a nanosystem for colorectal cancer treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological and Toxicological Studies of Nanoparticles)
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Article
Eliciting Specific Electrochemical Reaction Behavior by Rational Design of a Red Phosphorus Electrode for Sodium-Ion Batteries
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3053; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11113053 - 13 Nov 2021
Abstract
Due to the demand to upgrade from lithium-ion batteries (LIB), sodium-ion batteries (SIB) have been paid considerable attention for their high-energy, cost-effective, and sustainable battery system. Red phosphorus is one of the most promising anode candidates for SIBs, with a high theoretical specific [...] Read more.
Due to the demand to upgrade from lithium-ion batteries (LIB), sodium-ion batteries (SIB) have been paid considerable attention for their high-energy, cost-effective, and sustainable battery system. Red phosphorus is one of the most promising anode candidates for SIBs, with a high theoretical specific capacity of 2596 mAh g−1 and in the discharge potential range of 0.01–0.8 V; however, it suffers from a low electrical conductivity, a substantial expansion of volume (~300%), and sluggish electron/ion kinetics. Herein, we have designed a well-defined electrode, which consists of red phosphorus, nanowire arrays encapsulated in the vertically aligned carbon nanotubes ([email protected] NWs), which were fabricated via a two-step, anodized-aluminum oxide template. The designed anode achieved a high specific capacity of 2250 mAh g−1 (87% of the theoretical capacity), and a stepwise analysis of the reaction behavior between sodium and red phosphorus was demonstrated, both of which have not been navigated in previous studies. We believe that our rational design of the red phosphorus electrode elicited the specific reaction mechanism revealed by the charge–discharge profiles, rendered excellent electrical conductivity, and accommodated volume expansion through the effective nano-architecture, thereby suggesting an efficient structure for the phosphorus anode to advance in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy and Catalysis)
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Article
Stable Field Emission from Vertically Oriented SiC Nanoarrays
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3025; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11113025 - 11 Nov 2021
Abstract
Silicon carbide (SiC) nanostructure is a type of promising field emitter due to high breakdown field strength, high thermal conductivity, low electron affinity, and high electron mobility. However, the fabrication of the SiC nanotips array is difficult due to its chemical inertness. Here [...] Read more.
Silicon carbide (SiC) nanostructure is a type of promising field emitter due to high breakdown field strength, high thermal conductivity, low electron affinity, and high electron mobility. However, the fabrication of the SiC nanotips array is difficult due to its chemical inertness. Here we report a simple, industry-familiar reactive ion etching to fabricate well-aligned, vertically orientated SiC nanoarrays on 4H-SiC wafers. The as-synthesized nanoarrays had tapered base angles >60°, and were vertically oriented with a high packing density >107 mm−2 and high-aspect ratios of approximately 35. As a result of its high geometry uniformity—5% length variation and 10% diameter variation, the field emitter array showed typical turn-on fields of 4.3 V μm−1 and a high field-enhancement factor of ~1260. The 8 h current emission stability displayed a mean current fluctuation of 1.9 ± 1%, revealing excellent current emission stability. The as-synthesized emitters demonstrate competitive emission performance that highlights their potential in a variety of vacuum electronics applications. This study provides a new route to realizing scalable field electron emitter production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Research Related to Nanomaterial Cold Cathode)
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Article
Solar Light-Induced Methylene Blue Removal over TiO2/AC Composites and Photocatalytic Regeneration
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3016; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11113016 - 10 Nov 2021
Abstract
TiO2-containing photocatalysts, which combine TiO2 with carbon-based materials, are promising materials for wastewater treatment due to synergistic photodegradation and adsorption phenomena. In this work, TiO2/AC composites were produced by the in situ immobilization of TiO2 nanoparticles over [...] Read more.
TiO2-containing photocatalysts, which combine TiO2 with carbon-based materials, are promising materials for wastewater treatment due to synergistic photodegradation and adsorption phenomena. In this work, TiO2/AC composites were produced by the in situ immobilization of TiO2 nanoparticles over activated carbon (AC) derived from spent coffee grains, using different TiO2/AC proportions. The TiO2/AC composites were tested as adsorbents (dark) and as photocatalysts in a combined adsorption+photocatalytic process (solar irradiation) for methylene blue (MB) removal from ultrapure water, and from a secondary effluent (SecEf) of an urban wastewater treatment plant. All the materials were characterized by XRD (X-ray powder diffraction), N2 adsorption–desorption isotherms at −196 °C, SEM (scanning electron microscopy), UV-Vis diffuse reflectance, FTIR (Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy), TPD (temperature programmed desorption), XPS (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) and TGA (thermogravimetric analysis). The TiAC60 (60% C) composite presented the lowest band gap (1.84 eV), while, for TiAC29 (29% C), the value was close to that of bare TiO2 (3.18 vs. 3.17 eV). Regardless of the material, the solar irradiation improved the percentage of MB discolouration when compared to adsorption in dark conditions. In the case of simultaneous adsorption+photocatalytic assays performed in ultrapure water, TiAC29 presented the fastest MB removal. Nevertheless, both TiAC29 and TiAC60 led to excellent MB removal percentages (96.1–98.1%). UV-induced photoregeneration was a promising strategy to recover the adsorption capacity of the materials, especially for TiAC60 and AC (>95%). When the assays were performed in SecEf, all the materials promoted discolouration percentages close to those obtained in ultrapure water. The bulk water parameters revealed that TiAC60 allowed the removal of a higher amount of MB, associated with the overall improvement of the SecEf quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoporous Carbon: Synthesis, Characterization, and Applications)
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Article
Optimization of Oxygen Evolution Reaction with Electroless Deposited Ni–P Catalytic Nanocoating
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3010; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11113010 - 09 Nov 2021
Abstract
The low efficiency of water electrolysis mostly arises from the thermodynamic uphill oxygen evolution reaction. The efficiency can be greatly improved by rationally designing low-cost and efficient oxygen evolution anode materials. Herein, we report the synthesis of Ni–P alloys adopting a facile electroless [...] Read more.
The low efficiency of water electrolysis mostly arises from the thermodynamic uphill oxygen evolution reaction. The efficiency can be greatly improved by rationally designing low-cost and efficient oxygen evolution anode materials. Herein, we report the synthesis of Ni–P alloys adopting a facile electroless plating method under mild conditions on nickel substrates. The relationship between the Ni–P properties and catalytic activity allowed us to define the best conditions for the electroless synthesis of highperformance Ni–P catalysts. Indeed, the electrochemical investigations indicated an increased catalytic response by reducing the thickness and Ni/P ratio in the alloy. Furthermore, the Ni–P catalysts with optimized size and composition deposited on Ni foam exposed more active sites for the oxygen evolution reaction, yielding a current density of 10 mA cm−2 at an overpotential as low as 335 mV, exhibiting charge transfer resistances of only a few ohms and a remarkable turnover frequency (TOF) value of 0.62 s−1 at 350 mV. The present study provides an advancement in the control of the electroless synthetic approach for the design and large-scale application of high-performance metal phosphide catalysts for electrochemical water splitting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocatalysts for Electro-Oxidation)
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Article
Spatial Period of Laser-Induced Surface Nanoripples on PET Determines Escherichia coli Repellence
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 3000; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11113000 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
Bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation on surfaces are associated with persistent microbial contamination, biofouling, and the emergence of resistance, thus, calling for new strategies to impede bacterial surface colonization. Using ns-UV laser treatment (wavelength 248 nm and a pulse duration of 20 ns), [...] Read more.
Bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation on surfaces are associated with persistent microbial contamination, biofouling, and the emergence of resistance, thus, calling for new strategies to impede bacterial surface colonization. Using ns-UV laser treatment (wavelength 248 nm and a pulse duration of 20 ns), laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS) featuring different sub-micrometric periods ranging from ~210 to ~610 nm were processed on commercial poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) foils. Bacterial adhesion tests revealed that these nanorippled surfaces exhibit a repellence for E. coli that decisively depends on the spatial periods of the LIPSS with the strongest reduction (~91%) in cell adhesion observed for LIPSS periods of 214 nm. Although chemical and structural analyses indicated a moderate laser-induced surface oxidation, a significant influence on the bacterial adhesion was ruled out. Scanning electron microscopy and additional biofilm studies using a pili-deficient E. coli TG1 strain revealed the role of extracellular appendages in the bacterial repellence observed here. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanopatterning of Bionic Materials)
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Article
Accumulation and Effect of Silver Nanoparticles Functionalized with Spirulina platensis on Rats
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 2992; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11112992 - 07 Nov 2021
Abstract
The effect of unmodified and functionalized Spirulina platensis biomass silver nanoparticles on rats during prolonged oral administration was assessed. Silver nanoparticles were characterized by using transmission electron microscopy, while their uptake by the biomass was confirmed using scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive [...] Read more.
The effect of unmodified and functionalized Spirulina platensis biomass silver nanoparticles on rats during prolonged oral administration was assessed. Silver nanoparticles were characterized by using transmission electron microscopy, while their uptake by the biomass was confirmed using scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive analysis. The content of silver in the different organs of rats after a period of administration (28 days) or after an additional clearance period (28 days) was ascertained by using neutron activation analysis. In animals administrated with the unmodified nanoparticles, the highest content of silver was determined in the brain and kidneys, while in animals administrated with AgNP-Spirulina, silver was mainly accumulated in the brain and testicles. After the clearance period, silver was excreted rapidly from the spleen and kidneys; however, the excretion from the brain was very low, regardless of the type of nanoparticles. Hematological and biochemical tests were performed in order to reveal the effect of nanoparticles on rats. The difference in the content of eosinophils in the experimental and control groups was statistically significant. The hematological indices of the rats did not change significantly under the action of the silver nanoparticles except for the content of reticulocytes and eosinophils, which increased significantly. Changes in the biochemical parameters did not exceed the limits of normal values. Silver nanoparticles with the sizes of 8–20 nm can penetrate the blood–brain barrier, and their persistence after a period of clearance indicated the irreversibility of this process. Full article
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Article
Ultra-Low-Loss Mid-Infrared Plasmonic Waveguides Based on Multilayer Graphene Metamaterials
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 2981; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11112981 - 06 Nov 2021
Abstract
Manipulating optical signals in the mid-infrared (mid-IR) range is a highly desired task for applications in chemical sensing, thermal imaging, and subwavelength optical waveguiding. To guide highly confined mid-IR light in photonic chips, graphene-based plasmonics capable of breaking the optical diffraction limit offer [...] Read more.
Manipulating optical signals in the mid-infrared (mid-IR) range is a highly desired task for applications in chemical sensing, thermal imaging, and subwavelength optical waveguiding. To guide highly confined mid-IR light in photonic chips, graphene-based plasmonics capable of breaking the optical diffraction limit offer a promising solution. However, the propagation lengths of these materials are, to date, limited to approximately 10 µm at the working frequency f = 20 THz. In this study, we proposed a waveguide structure consisting of multilayer graphene metamaterials (MLGMTs). The MLGMTs support the fundamental volume plasmon polariton mode by coupling plasmon polaritons at individual graphene sheets over a silicon nano-rib structure. Benefiting from the high conductivity of the MLGMTs, the guided mode shows ultralow loss compared with that of conventional graphene-based plasmonic waveguides at comparable mode sizes. The proposed design demonstrated propagation lengths of approximately 20 µm (four times the current limitations) at an extremely tight mode area of 10−6A0, where A0 is the diffraction-limited mode area. The dependence of modal characteristics on geometry and material parameters are investigated in detail to identify optimal device performance. Moreover, fabrication imperfections are also addressed to evaluate the robustness of the proposed structure. Moreover, the crosstalk between two adjacent present waveguides is also investigated to demonstrate the high mode confinement to realize high-density on-chip devices. The present design offers a potential waveguiding approach for building tunable and large-area photonic integrated circuits. Full article
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Article
Structure–Activity Relationship of Graphene-Based Materials: Impact of the Surface Chemistry, Surface Specific Area and Lateral Size on Their In Vitro Toxicity
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 2963; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11112963 - 04 Nov 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Predictive toxicity and structure–activity relationships (SARs) are raising interest since the number of nanomaterials has become unmanageable to assess their toxicity with a classical case-by-case approach. Graphene-based materials (GBMs) are among the most promising nanomaterials of this decade and their application might lead [...] Read more.
Predictive toxicity and structure–activity relationships (SARs) are raising interest since the number of nanomaterials has become unmanageable to assess their toxicity with a classical case-by-case approach. Graphene-based materials (GBMs) are among the most promising nanomaterials of this decade and their application might lead to several innovations. However, their toxicity impact needs to be thoroughly assessed. In this regard, we conducted a study on 22 GBMs to investigate their potential SARs by performing a complete physicochemical characterization and in vitro toxicity assessment (on RAW264.7 cells). We used GBMs of variable lateral size (0.5–38 µm), specific surface area (SSA, 30–880 m²/g), and surface oxidation (2–17%). We observed that reduced graphene oxides (RGOs) were more reactive than graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs), potentially highlighting the role of GBM’s surface chemistry and surface defects density in their biological impact. We also observed that for GNPs, a smaller lateral size caused higher cytotoxicity. Lastly, GBMs showing a SSA higher than 200 m²/g were found to induce a higher ROS production. Mechanistic explanations are proposed in the discussion. In conclusion, pairing a full physicochemical characterization with a standardized toxicity assessment of a large set of samples allowed us to clarify SARs and provide an additional step toward safe-by-design GBMs. Full article
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Article
Metamaterial-Engineered Silicon Beam Splitter Fabricated with Deep UV Immersion Lithography
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 2949; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11112949 - 03 Nov 2021
Abstract
Subwavelength grating (SWG) metamaterials have garnered a great interest for their singular capability to shape the material properties and the propagation of light, allowing the realization of devices with unprecedented performance. However, practical SWG implementations are limited by fabrication constraints, such as minimum [...] Read more.
Subwavelength grating (SWG) metamaterials have garnered a great interest for their singular capability to shape the material properties and the propagation of light, allowing the realization of devices with unprecedented performance. However, practical SWG implementations are limited by fabrication constraints, such as minimum feature size, that restrict the available design space or compromise compatibility with high-volume fabrication technologies. Indeed, most successful SWG realizations so far relied on electron-beam lithographic techniques, compromising the scalability of the approach. Here, we report the experimental demonstration of an SWG metamaterial engineered beam splitter fabricated with deep-ultraviolet immersion lithography in a 300-mm silicon-on-insulator technology. The metamaterial beam splitter exhibits high performance over a measured bandwidth exceeding 186 nm centered at 1550 nm. These results open a new route for the development of scalable silicon photonic circuits exploiting flexible metamaterial engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silicon Photonics: Synthesis and Applications)
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Article
Coating of Magnetite Nanoparticles with Fucoidan to Enhance Magnetic Hyperthermia Efficiency
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 2939; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11112939 - 02 Nov 2021
Abstract
Magnetic nanoparticles (NP), such as magnetite, have been the subject of research for application in the biomedical field, especially in Magnetic Hyperthermia Therapy (MHT), a promising technique for cancer therapy. NP are often coated with different compounds such as natural or synthetic polymers [...] Read more.
Magnetic nanoparticles (NP), such as magnetite, have been the subject of research for application in the biomedical field, especially in Magnetic Hyperthermia Therapy (MHT), a promising technique for cancer therapy. NP are often coated with different compounds such as natural or synthetic polymers to protect them from oxidation and enhance their colloidal electrostatic stability while maintaining their thermal efficiency. In this work, the synthesis and characterization of magnetite nanoparticles coated with fucoidan, a biopolymer with recognized biocompatibility and antitumoral activity, is reported. The potential application of NP in MHT was evaluated through the assessment of Specific Loss Power (SLP) under an electromagnetic field amplitude of 14.7 kA m−1 and at 276 kHz. For fucoidan-coated NP, it was obtained SLP values of 100 and 156 W/g, corresponding to an Intrinsic Loss Power (ILP) of 1.7 and 2.6 nHm2kg−1, respectively. These values are, in general, higher than the ones reported in the literature for non-coated magnetite NP or coated with other polymers. Furthermore, in vitro assays showed that fucoidan and fucoidan-coated NP are biocompatible. The particle size (between ca. 6 to 12 nm), heating efficiency, and biocompatibility of fucoidan-coated magnetite NP meet the required criteria for MHT application. Full article
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Article
Silicon-Based All-Dielectric Metasurface on an Iron Garnet Film for Efficient Magneto-Optical Light Modulation in Near IR Range
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 2926; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11112926 - 01 Nov 2021
Abstract
All-dielectric nanostructures provide a unique low-loss platform for efficiently increasing light-matter interaction via excitation of the localized or propagating optical modes. Here, we report on the transverse magneto-optical Kerr effect enhancement in an all-dielectric metasurface based on a two-dimensional array of Si nanodisks [...] Read more.
All-dielectric nanostructures provide a unique low-loss platform for efficiently increasing light-matter interaction via excitation of the localized or propagating optical modes. Here, we report on the transverse magneto-optical Kerr effect enhancement in an all-dielectric metasurface based on a two-dimensional array of Si nanodisks on a cerium substituted dysprosium iron garnet thin film. We observed up to 15% light intensity modulation under TM modes excitation. The observed magneto-optical effect is nearly independent of the rotation of the light incidence plane with respect to the metasurface. Being compatible with conventional semiconductor technology, our structure holds promise for device applications, such as light modulators, magnetic and chemical sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanophotonic and Optical Nanomaterials)
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Article
Computational Modeling of Hybrid Carbon Fiber/Epoxy Composites Reinforced with Functionalized and Non-Functionalized Graphene Nanoplatelets
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 2919; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11112919 - 31 Oct 2021
Abstract
The mechanical properties of aerospace carbon fiber/graphene nanoplatelet/epoxy hybrid composites reinforced with pristine graphene nanoplatelets (GNP), highly concentrated graphene oxide (GO), and Functionalized Graphene Oxide (FGO) are investigated in this study. By utilizing molecular dynamics data from the literature, the bulk-level mechanical properties [...] Read more.
The mechanical properties of aerospace carbon fiber/graphene nanoplatelet/epoxy hybrid composites reinforced with pristine graphene nanoplatelets (GNP), highly concentrated graphene oxide (GO), and Functionalized Graphene Oxide (FGO) are investigated in this study. By utilizing molecular dynamics data from the literature, the bulk-level mechanical properties of hybrid composites are predicted using micromechanics techniques for different graphene nanoplatelet types, nanoplatelet volume fractions, nanoplatelet aspect ratios, carbon fiber volume fractions, and laminate lay-ups (unidirectional, cross-ply, and angle-ply). For the unidirectional hybrid composites, the results indicate that the shear and transverse properties are significantly affected by the nanoplatelet type, loading and aspect ratio. For the cross-ply and angle ply hybrid laminates, the effect of the nanoplate’s parameters on the mechanical properties is minimal when using volume fractions and aspect ratios that are typically used experimentally. The results of this study can be used in the design of hybrid composites to tailor specific laminate properties by adjusting nanoplatelet parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposite Materials—Spotlight on Early Career Investigators)
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Article
Simulation of Solar Cells with Integration of Optical Nanoantennas
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 2911; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11112911 - 30 Oct 2021
Abstract
The evolution of nanotechnology has provided a better understanding of light-matter interaction at a subwavelength scale and has led to the development of new devices that can possibly play an important role in future applications. Nanoantennas are an example of such devices, having [...] Read more.
The evolution of nanotechnology has provided a better understanding of light-matter interaction at a subwavelength scale and has led to the development of new devices that can possibly play an important role in future applications. Nanoantennas are an example of such devices, having gained interest in recent years for their application in the field of photovoltaic technology at visible and infrared wavelengths, due to their ability to capture and confine energy of free-propagating waves. This property results from a unique phenomenon called extraordinary optical transmission (EOT) where, due to resonant behavior, light passing through subwavelength apertures in a metal film can be transmitted in greater orders of magnitude than that predicted by classical theories. During this study, 2D and 3D models featuring a metallic nanoantenna array with subwavelength holes coupled to a photovoltaic cell are simulated using a Finite Element Tool. These models present with slight variations between them, such as the position of the nanoantenna within the structure, the holes’ geometry and the type of cell, in order to verify how its optical response is affected. The results demonstrate that the coupling of nanoantennas to solar cells can be advantageous and improve the capture and absorption of radiation. It is concluded that aperture nanoantennas may concentrate radiation, meaning that is possible to tune the electric field peak and adjust absorption on the main layers. This may be important because it might be possible to adjust solar cell performance to the global regions’ solar spectrum by only adjusting the nanoantenna parameters. Full article
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Article
Designing a Graphene Coating-Based Supercapacitor with Lithium Ion Electrolyte: An Experimental and Computational Study via Multiscale Modeling
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 2899; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11112899 - 29 Oct 2021
Abstract
Graphene electrodes are investigated for electrochemical double layer capacitors (EDLCs) with lithium ion electrolyte, the focus being the effect of the pore size distribution (PSD) of electrode with respect to the solvated and desolvated electrolyte ions. Two graphene electrode coatings are examined: a [...] Read more.
Graphene electrodes are investigated for electrochemical double layer capacitors (EDLCs) with lithium ion electrolyte, the focus being the effect of the pore size distribution (PSD) of electrode with respect to the solvated and desolvated electrolyte ions. Two graphene electrode coatings are examined: a low specific surface area (SSA) xGNP-750 coating and a high SSA coating based on a-MWGO (activated microwave expanded graphene oxide). The study comprises an experimental and a computer modeling part. The experimental part includes fabrication, material characterization and electrochemical testing of an EDLC with xGNP-750 coating electrodes and electrolyte 1M LiPF6 in EC:DMC. The computational part includes simulations of the galvanostatic charge-discharge of each EDLC type, based on a continuum ion transport model taking into account the PSD of electrodes, as well as molecular modeling to determine the parameters of the solvated and desolvated electrolyte ions and their adsorption energies with each type of electrode pore surface material. Predictions, in agreement with the experimental data, yield a specific electrode capacitance of 110 F g−1 for xGNP-750 coating electrodes in electrolyte 1M LiPF6 in EC:DMC, which is three times higher than that of the high SSA a-MWGO coating electrodes in the same lithium ion electrolyte. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials for Green Energy Applications)
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Article
Influence of Coating and Size of Magnetic Nanoparticles on Cellular Uptake for In Vitro MRI
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 2888; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11112888 - 28 Oct 2021
Abstract
Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) are suitable materials for contrast enhancement in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Their potential clinical applications range from diagnosis to therapy and follow-up treatments. However, a deeper understanding of the interaction between IONPs, culture media and cells is necessary for [...] Read more.
Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) are suitable materials for contrast enhancement in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Their potential clinical applications range from diagnosis to therapy and follow-up treatments. However, a deeper understanding of the interaction between IONPs, culture media and cells is necessary for expanding the application of this technology to different types of cancer therapies. To achieve new insights of these interactions, a set of IONPs were prepared with the same inorganic core and five distinct coatings, to study their aggregation and interactions in different physiological media, as well as their cell labelling efficiency. Then, a second set of IONPs, with six different core sizes and the same coating, were used to study how the core size affects cell labelling and MRI in vitro. Here, IONPs suspended in biological media experience a partial removal of the coating and adhesion of molecules. The FBS concentration alters the labelling of all types of IONPs and hydrodynamic sizes ≥ 300 nm provide the greatest labelling using the centrifugation-mediated internalization (CMI). The best contrast for MRI results requires a core size range between 12–14 nm coated with dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) producing R2* values of 393.7 s−1 and 428.3 s−1, respectively. These findings will help to bring IONPs as negative contrast agents into clinical settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Magnetic Nanowires and Nanotubes)
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Article
Stable Aqueous Colloidal Solutions of Nd3+: LaF3 Nanoparticles, Promising for Luminescent Bioimaging in the Near-Infrared Spectral Range
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(11), 2847; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11112847 - 26 Oct 2021
Abstract
Two series of stable aqueous colloidal solutions of Nd3+: LaF3 single-phase well-crystallized nanoparticles (NPs), possessing a fluorcerite structure with different activator concentrations in each series, were synthesized. A hydrothermal method involving microwave-assisted heating (HTMW) in two Berghof speedwave devices equipped [...] Read more.
Two series of stable aqueous colloidal solutions of Nd3+: LaF3 single-phase well-crystallized nanoparticles (NPs), possessing a fluorcerite structure with different activator concentrations in each series, were synthesized. A hydrothermal method involving microwave-assisted heating (HTMW) in two Berghof speedwave devices equipped with one magnetron (type I) or two magnetrons (type II) was used. The average sizes of NPs are 15.4 ± 6 nm (type I) and 21 ± 7 nm (type II). Both types of NPs have a size distribution that is well described by a double Gaussian function. The fluorescence kinetics of the 4F3/2 level of the Nd3+ ion for NPs of both types, in contrast to a similar bulk crystal, demonstrates a luminescence quenching associated not only with Nd–Nd self-quenching, but also with an additional Nd–OH quenching. A method has been developed for determining the spontaneous radiative lifetime of the excited state of a dopant ion, with the significant contribution of the luminescence quenching caused by the presence of the impurity OH– acceptors located in the bulk of NPs. The relative quantum yield of fluorescence and the fluorescence brightness of an aqueous colloidal solution of type II NPs with an optimal concentration of Nd3+ are only 2.5 times lower than those of analogous Nd3+: LaF3 single crystals. Full article
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