Indium gallium nitride nanocubes were syntheized via a low-temperature chemical route. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction analyses confirmed the successful fabrication of (In,Ga)N with various indium mole fractions. The bandgap of the material was tunded as a function of the indium content. The fabricated nanocubes showed a deep level photoluminescence emission at 734 nm as well as in the visible region at 435-520 nm. The Hall effect measurements showed the hole concentration to constantly increase from 6.2 × 10(16) to 2.3 × 10(18) cm(-3), while the hole mobility to decrease from 0.92 to 0.1 cm(2) /(V s) as the doping ratio increases from 0.005 to 0.025 cm(-3). The solar cell device made of nanocubes film containing 0.4 indium on flexible substrates showed a short-circuit current density of 12.47 mA/cm(2) and an open-circuit voltage (Voc) of 0.48 V with 54% fill factor. The relationship between Voc and indium content in the fabricated films was also investigated.
Morphological surface modifications have been reported to enhance the performance of biomedical implants. However, current methods of introducing graded porosity involves postprocessing techniques that lead to formation of microcracks, delamination, loss of fatigue strength, and, overall, poor mechanical properties. To address these issues, we developed a microwave sintering procedure whereby pure titanium powder can be readily densified into implants with graded porosity in a single step. Using this approach, surface topography of implants can be closely controlled to have a distinctive combination of surface area, pore size, and surface roughness. In this study, the effect of various surface topographies on in vitro response of neonatal rat calvarial osteoblast in terms of attachment and proliferation is studied. Certain graded surfaces nearly double the chance of cell viability in early stages (∼one month) and are therefore expected to improve the rate of healing. On the other hand, while the osteoblast morphology significantly differs in each sample at different periods, there is no straightforward correlation between early proliferation and quantitative surface parameters such as average roughness or surface area. This indicates that the nature of cell-surface interactions likely depends on other factors, including spatial parameters.
Here, we explore the use of two- and three-dimensional scaffolds of multiwalled-carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) for hepatocyte cell culture. Our objective is to study the use of these scaffolds in liver tissue engineering and drug discovery. In our experiments, primary rat hepatocytes, the parenchymal (main functional) cell type in the liver, were cultured on aligned nanogrooved MWNT sheets, MWNT yarns, or standard 2-dimensional culture conditions as a control. We find comparable cell viability between all three culture conditions but enhanced production of the hepatocyte-specific marker albumin for cells cultured on MWNTs. The basal activity of two clinically relevant cytochrome P450 enzymes, CYP1A2 and CYP3A4, are similar on all substrates, but we find enhanced induction of CYP1A2 for cells on the MWNT sheets. Our data thus supports the use of these substrates for applications including tissue engineering and enhancing liver-specific functions, as well as in in vitro model systems with enhanced predictive capability in drug discovery and development.
The synthesis of nanocomposite with controlled surface morphology plays a key role for pollutant removal from aqueous environments. The influence of the molecular size of the polyelectrolyte in synthesizing silica-iron oxide core-shell nanocomposite with open shell structure was investigated by using dynamic light scattering, atomic force microscopy, and quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D). Here, poly(diallydimethylammonium chloride) (PDDA) was used to promote the attachment of iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) onto the silica surface to assemble a nanocomposite with magnetic and catalytic bifunctionality. High molecular weight PDDA tended to adsorb on silica colloid, forming a more extended conformation layer than low molecular weight PDDA. Subsequent attachment of IONPs onto this extended PDDA layer was more randomly distributed, forming isolated islands with open space between them. By taking amoxicillin, an antibiotic commonly found in pharmaceutical waste, as the model system, better removal was observed for silica-iron oxide nanocomposite with a more extended open shell structure.
Calcium silicate (CaSiO3, CS) ceramics are promising bioactive materials for bone tissue engineering, particularly for bone repair. However, the low toughness of CS limits its application in load-bearing conditions. Recent findings indicating the promising biocompatibility of graphene imply that graphene can be used as an additive to improve the mechanical properties of composites. Here, we report a simple method for the synthesis of calcium silicate/reduced graphene oxide (CS/rGO) composites using a hydrothermal approach followed by hot isostatic pressing (HIP). Adding rGO to pure CS increased the hardness of the material by ∼40%, the elastic modulus by ∼52%, and the fracture toughness by ∼123%. Different toughening mechanisms were observed including crack bridging, crack branching, crack deflection, and rGO pull-out, thus increasing the resistance to crack propagation and leading to a considerable improvement in the fracture toughness of the composites. The formation of bone-like apatite on a range of CS/rGO composites with rGO weight percentages ranging from 0 to 1.5 has been investigated in simulated body fluid (SBF). The presence of a bone-like apatite layer on the composite surface after soaking in SBF was demonstrated by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM). The biocompatibility of the CS/rGO composites was characterized using methyl thiazole tetrazolium (MTT) assays in vitro. The cell adhesion results showed that human osteoblast cells (hFOB) can adhere to and develop on the CS/rGO composites. In addition, the proliferation rate and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity of cells on the CS/rGO composites were improved compared with the pure CS ceramics. These results suggest that calcium silicate/reduced graphene oxide composites are promising materials for biomedical applications.
This paper reports the utilization of ZnO nanorod arrays (NRAs) doped with various concentrations of Ga (0, 0.5, 1, 2, and 3 at %) as electron acceptors in organic solar cells. The donor, poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), was spin coated onto Ga-doped ZnO NRAs that were grown on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) substrates, followed by the deposition of a Ag electrode by a magnetron sputtering method. Adjusting the Ga precursor concentration allowed for the control of the structural and optical properties of ZnO NRAs. The short circuit current density increased with increasing Ga concentration from 0 to 1 at %, mainly because of improved exciton dissociation and increased charge extraction. Meanwhile, the reduced charge recombination and lower hole leakage current led to an increase in the open circuit voltage with Ga concentrations up to 1 at %. The device with the optimum Ga concentration of 1 at % exhibited power conversion efficiency nearly three times higher compared to the device without Ga doping. This finding suggests that the incorporation of Ga can be a simple and effective approach to improve the photovoltaic performance of organic solar cells.
A systematic investigation was carried out by incorporating an ultrathin aluminum oxide (Al2O3) as an interlayer between yttrium oxide (Y2O3) passivation layer and GaN substrate. The sandwiched samples were then subjected to postdeposition annealing in oxygen ambient from 400 to 800 °C. The Al2O3 interlayer was discovered to play a significant role in slowing down inward diffusion of oxygen through the Y2O3 passivation layer as well as in impeding outward diffusion of Ga(3+) and N(3-) from the decomposed GaN surface. These beneficial effects have suppressed subsequent formation of interfacial layer. A mechanism in association with the function of Al2O3 as an interlayer was suggested and discussed. The mechanism was explicitly described on the basis of the obtained results from X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, energy-filtered transmission electron microscopy (TEM), high resolution TEM, and electron energy loss spectroscopy line scan. A correlation between the proposed mechanism and metal-oxide-semiconductor characteristics of Y2O3/Al2O3/GaN structure has been proposed.
Highly efficient and remarkable selective acetone conversion to isopropanol has been achieved via a heterogeneous catalytic hydrogenation of acetone by NaBH4 in the presence of semihollow palladium nanoparticles (PdNPs) grown on ITO substrate. PdNPs with high surface defect grown on an indium tin oxide (ITO) surface were prepared via a simple immersion of the substrate into a solution containing K2PdCl6, sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), and formic acid for 2 h at room temperature. The sample showed remarkably high heterogeneous catalytic efficiency by producing 99.8% of isopropanol within 6 min using only 0.28 μg of PdNPs on the ITO surface. The present system exhibits heterogenenous catalytic hydrogenation efficiency 1 × 10(6) time higher than using the conventional Raney Ni system.
An ultrathin RF-magnetron sputtered Al2O3 gate on GaN subjected to postdeposition annealing at 800 °C in O2 ambient was systematically investigated. A cross-sectional energy-filtered transmission electron microscopy revealed formation of crystalline Al2O3 gate, which was supported by X-ray diffraction analysis. Various current conduction mechanisms contributing to leakage current of the investigated sample were discussed and correlated with metal-oxide-semiconductor characteristics of this sample.
Shape memory polymers (SMPs) are smart and adaptive materials able to recover their shape through an external stimulus. This functionality, combined with the good biocompatibility of polymers, has garnered much interest for biomedical applications. In this review, we discuss the design considerations critical to the successful integration of SMPs for use in vivo. We also highlight recent work on three classes of SMPs: shape memory polymers and blends, shape memory polymer composites, and shape memory hydrogels. These developments open the possibility of incorporating SMPs into device design, which can lead to vast technological improvements in the biomedical field.
Core-shell rutile TiO2@β-In2S3 and modified V-TiO2@β-In2S3 were synthesized to develop bilayer systems to uphold charge transport via an effective and stable interface. Morphological studies revealed that β-In2S3 was deposited homogeneously on V-TiO2 as compared to unmodified TiO2 nanorod arrays. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and electron energy loss spectrometry studies verified the presence of various oxidation states of vanadium in rutile TiO2 and the vanadium surface was utilized for broadening the charge collection centers in host substrate layer and hole quencher window. Subsequently, X-ray diffraction, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, and Raman spectra confirmed the rutile phases of TiO2 and modified V-TiO2 along with the phases of crystalline β-In2S3. XPS valence band study explored the interaction of valence band quazi Fermi levels of β-In2S3 with the conduction band quazi Fermi levels of modified V-TiO2 for enhanced charge collection at the interface. Photoelectrochemical studies show that the photocurrent density of V-TiO2@β-In2S3 is 1.42 mA/cm(2) (1.5AM illumination). Also, the frequency window for TiO2 was broadened by the vanadium modification in rutile TiO2 nanorod arrays, and the lifetime of the charge carrier and stability of the interface in V-TiO2@β-In2S3 were enhanced compared to the unmodified TiO2@β-In2S3. These findings highlight the significance of modifications in host substrates and interfaces, which have profound implications on interphase stability, photocatalysis and solar-fuel-based devices.
Guided bone regeneration (GBR) scaffolds are futile in many clinical applications due to infection problems. In this work, we fabricated GBR with an anti-infective scaffold by ornamenting 2D single crystalline bismuth-doped nanohydroxyapatite (Bi-nHA) rods onto segmented polyurethane (SPU). Bi-nHA with high aspect ratio was prepared without any templates. Subsequently, it was introduced into an unprecedented synthesized SPU matrix based on dual soft segments (PCL-b-PDMS) of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) and poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), by an in situ technique followed by electrospinning to fabricate scaffolds. For comparison, undoped pristine nHA rods were also ornamented into it. The enzymatic ring-opening polymerization technique was adapted to synthesize soft segments of PCL-b-PDMS copolymers of SPU. Structure elucidation of the synthesized polymers is done by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Sparingly, Bi-nHA ornamented scaffolds exhibit tremendous improvement (155%) in the mechanical properties with excellent antimicrobial activity against various human pathogens. After confirmation of high osteoconductivity, improved biodegradation, and excellent biocompatibility against osteoblast cells (in vitro), the scaffolds were implanted in rabbits by subcutaneous and intraosseous (tibial) sites. Various histological sections reveal the signatures of early cartilage formation, endochondral ossification, and rapid bone healing at 4 weeks of the critical defects filled with ornamented scaffold compared to SPU scaffold. This implies osteogenic potential and ability to provide an adequate biomimetic microenvironment for mineralization for GBR of the scaffolds. Organ toxicity studies further confirm that no tissue architecture abnormalities were observed in hepatic, cardiac, and renal tissue sections. This finding manifests the feasibility of fabricating a mechanically adequate nanofibrous SPU scaffold by a biomimetic strategy and the advantages of Bi-nHA ornamentation in promoting osteoblast phenotype progression with microbial protection (on-demand) for GBR applications.
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) based on a donor-acceptor-donor oligothienylene dye containing benzothiadiazole (T4BTD-A) were cosensitized with dyes containing cis-configured squaraine rings (HSQ3 and HSQ4). The cosensitized dyes showed incident monochromatic photon-to-current conversion efficiency (IPCE) greater than 70% in the 300-850 nm wavelength region. The individual overall conversion efficiencies of the sensitizers T4BTD-A, HSQ3, and HSQ4 were 6.4%, 4.8%, and 5.8%, respectively. Improved power conversion efficiencies of 7.0% and 7.7% were observed when T4BTD-A was cosensitized with HSQ3 and HSQ4, respectively, thanks to a significant increase in current density (JSC) for the cosensitized DSSCs. Intensity-modulated photovoltage spectroscopy results showed a longer lifetime for cosensitized T4BTD-A+HSQ3 and T4BTD-A+HSQ4 compared to that of HSQ3 and HSQ4, respectively.
A thin alginate layer induced on the surface of a commercial polysulfone membrane was used as a matrix for noncovalent immobilization of enzymes. Despite the expected decrease of flux across the membrane resulting from the coating, the initial hypothesis was that such a system should allow high immobilized enzyme loadings, which would benefit from the decreased flux in terms of increased enzyme/substrate contact time. The study was performed in a sequential fashion: first, the most suitable types of alginate able to induce a very thin, sustainable gel layer by pressure-driven membrane filtration were selected and evaluated. Then, an efficient method to make the gel layer adhere to the surface of the membrane was developed. Finally, and after confirming that the enzyme loading could remarkably be enhanced by using this method, several strategies to increase the permeate flux were evaluated. Alcohol dehydrogenase (EC 18.104.22.168), able to catalyze the conversion of formaldehyde into methanol, was selected as the model enzyme. An enzyme loading of 71.4% (44.8 μg/cm(2)) was attained under the optimal immobilization conditions, which resulted in a 40% conversion to methanol as compared to the control setup (without alginate) where only 10.8% (6.9 μg/cm(2)) enzyme was loaded, with less than 5% conversion. Such conversion increased to 60% when polyethylene glycol (PEG) was added during the construction of the gel layer, as a strategy to increase flux. No enzyme leakage was observed for both cases (with/without PEG addition). Modeling results showed that the dominant fouling mechanism during gel layer induction (involving enzyme entrapment) was cake layer formation in the initial and intermediate phases, while pore blocking was the dominant mechanism in the final phase. Such mechanisms had a direct consequence on the type of immobilization promoted in each phase. The results suggested that the strategy proposed could be efficiently used to enhance the enzyme loading on polymer membranes.
High level of phosphotungstic acid (PWA) was self-immobilized on electrospun nylon nanofiberous sheet to fabricate highly selective methanol barrier layer for sandwich structured proton conducting membranes. Simple tuning for the assembly conditions of central layer and thickness of outer Nafion layers allowed obtaining different composite membranes with superior methanol barrier properties (namely, P=3.59×10(-8) cm2 s(-1)) coupled with proton conductivities reaching 58.6 mS cm(-1) at 30 °C. Comparable activation energy for proton transport and more than 20 times higher selectivity than Nafion 115 confirm the effectiveness of the central layer and resulting membranes for application in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). When tested in DMFC single cell, the performance of hybrid membrane was far better than Nafion 115 especially at higher methanol concentrations.
Ionotropic gelation has been an attractive method for the fabrication of biopolymeric oil-core microcapsules due to its safe and mild processing conditions. However, the mandatory use of a nozzle system to form the microcapsules restricts the process scalability and the production of small microcapsules (<100 μm). We report, for the first time, a nozzleless and surfactant-free approach to fabricate oil-core biopolymeric microcapsules through ionotropic gelation at the interface of an O/W Pickering emulsion. This approach involves the self-assembly of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) nanoparticles at the interface of O/W emulsion droplets followed by the addition of a polyanionic biopolymer into the aqueous phase. Subsequently, CaCO3 nanoparticles are dissolved by pH reduction, thus liberating Ca(2+) ions to cross-link the surrounding polyanionic biopolymer to form a shell that encapsulates the oil droplet. We demonstrate the versatility of this method by fabricating microcapsules from different types of polyanionic biopolymers (i.e., alginate, pectin, and gellan gum) and water-immiscible liquid cores (i.e., palm olein, cyclohexane, dichloromethane, and toluene). In addition, small microcapsules with a mean size smaller than 100 μm can be produced by selecting the appropriate conventional emulsification methods available to prepare the Pickering emulsion. The simplicity and versatility of this method allows biopolymeric microcapsules to be fabricated with ease by ionotropic gelation for numerous applications.
This paper reports a facile, solution-phase approach to synthesizing a one-dimensional amorphous face-centered-cubic (fcc) platinum (a-Pt) nanostructure (nanofibers) directly on an indium-tin oxide (ITO) substrate. The electron microscopy analysis result shows that the a-Pt nanofiber has a diameter and length of approximately 50 nm and 1 μm, respectively, and is grown in high density on the entire surface of the ITO substrate. The X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis result further reveals that the a-Pt nanofibers feature metallic properties with highly reactive surface chemistry, promising novel performance in electrochemistry, catalysis, and sensors. A synergetic interplay between the formic acid reducing agent and the hexamethylenetetramine surfactant in the reduction of Pt ions is assumed as the driving force for the formation of the amorphous phase in the Pt nanostructure. The catalytic properties of a-Pt were examined in the acetone hydrogenation reaction under microwave irradiation. a-Pt shows excellent heterogeneous catalytic properties for converting acetone to isopropyl alcohol with turnover number and frequency as high as 400 and 140 min(-1), respectively. The preparation and formation mechanism of the a-Pt nanofibers will be discussed in detail in this paper.
Magnetite nanoparticles were successfully synthesized and effectively employed as heterogeneous catalyst for hydrogenation of ketone moiety to alcohol moiety by NaBH4 under the microwave radiation process. The improvement was achieved in percent recovery of isopropyl alcohol by varying and optimizing reaction time, power of microwave radiations and amount of catalyst. The catalytic study revealed that acetone would be converted into isopropyl alcohol (IPA) with 99.5% yield in short period of reaction time, using 10 μg of magnetite NPs (Fe3O4). It was observed that the catalytic hydrogenation reaction, followed second-order of reaction and the Langmuir-Hinshelwood kinetic mechanism, which elucidated that both reactants get adsorb onto the surface of silica coated magnetite nanocatalyst to react. Consequently, the rate-determining step was the surface reaction of acetone and sodium borohydride. The current study revealed an environment friendly conversion of acetone to IPA on the basis of its fast, efficient, and highly economical method of utilization of microwave irradiation process and easy catalyst recovery.
Thin-film lithium-ion microbatteries with a high energy density and long lifespan are exceedingly desired for developing self-powered integrated micro-nano devices and systems. However, exploring high-performance thin-film anodes still remains a challenge. Herein, a double-layer-structure diamond-like carbon-ZnS (DLC-ZnS) thin-film anode fabricated by radio frequency magnetron sputtering exhibits high specific capacity and good cycling stability up to 1000 cycles, superior to the pure ZnS thin-film anode. To understand the mechanism, the bimodal amplitude modulated-frequency modulated atomic force microscopy was used to explore the mechanical properties of the thin films, and the DLC layer shows significantly higher Young's modulus than the ZnS thin film. The DLC interface with a high Young's modulus can effectively buffer the mechanical stress originating from the huge volume changes of the ZnS layer during lithiation/delithiation processes; therefore, the DLC interface maintains the higher mechanical integrity of the DLC-ZnS thin film and improves the utilization of ZnS. In addition, the electrochemical kinetics of the DLC-ZnS and ZnS thin films were also investigated by electrochemical methods. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy tests indicate the obstacle of the DLC interface to Li+ ion diffusion in the initial charge/discharge processes; however, the DLC-ZnS thin film exhibits lower total resistance than the ZnS thin film afterward. In particular, galvanostatic intermittent titration technique tests were performed to find out the differences between the two thin films during the galvanostatical charge/discharge processes. The results demonstrate the obviously enhanced conversion reaction reversibility and decreased alloy reaction polarization of the DLC-ZnS thin film; therefore, it delivers higher reversible capacity.
Sub-5 nm ultra-fine iron phosphide (FeP) nano-dots-modified porous graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) heterojunction nanostructures are successfully prepared through the gas-phase phosphorization of Fe3O4/g-C3N4 nanocomposites. The incorporation of zero-dimensional (0D) ultra-small FeP nanodots co-catalysts not only effectively facilitate charge separation but also serve as reaction active sites for hydrogen (H2) evolution. Herein, the strongly coupled FeP/g-C3N4 hybrid systems are employed as precious-metal-free photocatalysts for H2 production under visible-light irradiation. The optimized FeP/g-C3N4 sample displays a maximum H2 evolution rate of 177.9 μmol h-1 g-1 with the apparent quantum yield of 1.57% at 420 nm. Furthermore, the mechanism of photocatalytic H2 evolution using 0D/2D FeP/g-C3N4 heterojunction interfaces is systematically corroborated by steady-state photoluminescence (PL), time-resolved PL spectroscopy, and photoelectrochemical results. Additionally, an increased donor density in FeP/g-C3N4 is evidenced from the Mott-Schottky analysis in comparison with that of parent g-C3N4, signifying the enhancement of electrical conductivity and charge transport owing to the emerging role of FeP. The density functional theory calculations reveal that the FeP/g-C3N4 hybrids could act as a promising catalyst for the H2 evolution reaction. Overall, this work not only paves a new path in the engineering of monodispersed FeP-decorated g-C3N4 0D/2D robust nanoarchitectures but also elucidates potential insights for the utilization of noble-metal-free FeP nanodots as remarkable co-catalysts for superior photocatalytic H2 evolution.