Working electrode (WE) fabrication offers significant challenges in terms of achieving high-efficiency dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). We have combined the beneficial effects of vertical nanorods grown on conducting glass substrate for charge transport and mesoporous particles for dye loading and have achieved a high photoconversion efficiency of (η) > 11% with an internal quantum efficiency of ∼93% in electrode films of thickness ∼7 ± 0.5 μm. Controlling the interface between the vertical nanorods and the mesoporous film is a crucial step in attaining high η. We identify three parameters, viz., large surface area of nanoparticles, increased light scattering of the nanorod-nanoparticle layer, and superior charge transport of nanorods, that simultaneously contribute to the improved photovoltaic performance of the WE developed.
There has been much recent interest in the application of plasmonics to improve the efficiency of silicon solar cells. In this paper we use finite difference time domain calculations to investigate the placement of hemispherical gold nanoparticles on the rear surface of a silicon solar cell. The results indicate that nanoparticles protruding into the silicon, rather than into air, have a larger scattering efficiency and diffuse scattering into the semiconductor. This finding could lead to improved light trapping within a thin silicon solar cell device.
The effect of the recently developed graphene nanoflakes (GNFs) on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been investigated in this paper. The rationale behind the use of GNFs is their unique physical and thermal properties. Experiments show that GNFs can enhance the thermal conductivity of base fluids and results also revealed that GNFs are a potential enhancer of PCR efficiency; moreover, the PCR enhancements are strongly dependent on GNF concentration. It was found that GNFs yield DNA product equivalent to positive control with up to 65% reduction in the PCR cycles. It was also observed that the PCR yield is dependent on the GNF size, wherein the surface area increases and augments thermal conductivity. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations were performed to analyze the heat transfer through the PCR tube model in the presence and absence of GNFs. The results suggest that the superior thermal conductivity effect of GNFs may be the main cause of the PCR enhancement.
We used 40 ± 5 nm gold nanoparticles (GNPs) as colorimetric sensor to visually detect swine-specific conserved sequence and nucleotide mismatch in PCR-amplified and non-amplified mitochondrial DNA mixtures to authenticate species. Colloidal GNPs changed color from pinkish-red to gray-purple in 2 mM PBS. Visually observed results were clearly reflected by the dramatic reduction of surface plasmon resonance peak at 530 nm and the appearance of new features in the 620-800 nm regions in their absorption spectra. The particles were stabilized against salt-induced aggregation upon the adsorption of single-stranded DNA. The PCR products, without any additional processing, were hybridized with a 17-base probe prior to exposure to GNPs. At a critical annealing temperature (55 °C) that differentiated matched and mismatched base pairing, the probe was hybridized to pig PCR product and dehybridized from the deer product. The dehybridized probe stuck to GNPs to prevent them from salt-induced aggregation and retained their characteristic red color. Hybridization of a 27-nucleotide probe to swine mitochondrial DNA identified them in pork-venison, pork-shad and venison-shad binary admixtures, eliminating the need of PCR amplification. Thus the assay was applied to authenticate species both in PCR-amplified and non-amplified heterogeneous biological samples. The results were determined visually and validated by absorption spectroscopy. The entire assay (hybridization plus visual detection) was performed in less than 10 min. The LOD (for genomic DNA) of the assay was 6 µg ml(-1) swine DNA in mixed meat samples. We believe the assay can be applied for species assignment in food analysis, mismatch detection in genetic screening and homology studies between closely related species.
Low-temperature growth of indium tin oxide (ITO) nanowires (NWs) was obtained on catalyst-free amorphous glass substrates at 250 °C by Nd:YAG pulsed-laser deposition. These ITO NWs have branching morphology as grown in Ar ambient. As suggested by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), our ITO NWs have the tendency to grow vertically outward from the substrate surface, with the (400) plane parallel to the longitudinal axis of the nanowires. These NWs are low in electrical resistivity (1.6×10⁻⁴ Ω cm) and high in visible transmittance (~90–96%), and were tested as the electrode for organic light emitting devices (OLEDs). An enhanced current density of ~30 mA cm⁻² was detected at bias voltages of ~19–21 V with uniform and bright emission. We found that the Hall mobility of these NWs is 2.2–2.7 times higher than that of ITO film, which can be explained by the reduction of Coulomb scattering loss. These results suggested that ITO nanowires are promising for applications in optoelectronic devices including OLED, touch screen displays, and photovoltaic solar cells.
In this work, 18.5 microm titanium oxide (TiO(2)) nanotube arrays were formed by the anodization of titanium (Ti) foil in ethylene glycol containing 1 wt% water and 5 wt% fluoride for 60 min at 60 V. The fast growth rate of the nanotube arrays at 308 nm min(-1) was achieved due to the excess fluoride content and the limited amount of water in ethylene glycol used for anodization. Limited water content and excess fluoride in ethylene glycol inhibited the formation of a thick barrier layer by increasing the dissolution rate at the bottom of the nanotubes. This eased the transport of titanium, fluorine and oxygen ions, and allowed the nanotubes to grow deep into the titanium foil. At the same time, the neutral condition offered a protective environment along the tube wall and pore mouth, which minimized lateral and top dissolution. Results from x-ray photoelectron spectra revealed that the TiO(2) nanotubes prepared in ethylene glycol contained Ti, oxygen (O) and carbon (C) after annealing. The photocatalytic activity of the nanotube arrays produced was evaluated by monitoring the degradation of methyl orange. Results indicate that a nanotube with an average diameter of 140 nm and an optimal tube length of 18.5 microm with a thin tube wall (20 nm) is the optimum structure required to achieve high photocatalytic reaction. In addition, the existence of carbon, high degree of anatase crystallinity, smooth wall and absence of fluorine enhanced the photocatalytic activity of the sample.
The length of titania nanotubes formed by anodization of 0.1 mm thick titanium foil was found to be a strong function of the pH of the electrolyte. The longest nanotubes were formed by using an electrolyte consisting of 1 M Na(2)SO(4) plus 5 wt% NH(4)F with pH 7. At this pH, after 30 min of anodization, 3 microm length nanotubular titania arrays with top diameters of approximately 50 nm and bottom diameters of 100 nm were produced. No acid was added to this electrolyte. The formation of titania nanotubes in neutral pH systems was therefore successful due to the excess NH(4)F in the electrolyte which increases the chemical dissolution process at the metal/oxide interface. Since the pH of the electrolyte at the top part of the nanotubes is kept very high, the dissolution of the nanotubes at the surface is minimal. However, the amount is adequate to remove the initial barrier layer, forming a rather well-defined nanoporous structure. All anodized foils were weakly crystalline and the transformation to anatase phase was achieved by heat treatment at temperatures from 200 to 500 degrees C for 1 h in air. Annealing at temperatures above 500 degrees C induce rutile phase formation and annealing at higher temperatures accelerates the diffusion of Ti(4+) leading to excessive growth and the nanotubular structure diminishes.
The delivery of a full plasmid, encoding the green fluorescent protein gene into African monkey kidney (Vero3) cells, was successfully achieved using nanobiocomposites based on layered double hydroxides. This demonstrated the potential of using the system as an alternative DNA delivery vector. Intercalation of the circular plasmid DNA, pEGFP-N2, into Mg/Al-NO(3)(-) layered double hydroxides (LDH) was accomplished through anion exchange routes to form the nanobiocomposite material. The host was previously synthesized at the Mg(2+) to Al(3+) molar ratio R(i) = 2 and subsequently intercalated with plasmid DNA. Size expansion of the interlamellae host from 8.8 A in LDH to 42 A was observed in the resulting nanobiocomposite, indicating stable hybridization of the plasmid DNA. The powder x-ray diffraction (PXRD) results, supplemented with Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, compositional and electrophoresis studies confirmed the encapsulation episode of the biomaterial. In order to elucidate the use of this resulting nanobiocomposite as a delivery vector, an MTT assay was performed to determine any cytotoxic effects of the host towards cells. The intercalated pEGFP-N2 anion was later successfully recovered through acidification with HNO(3) after treatment with DNA-degrading enzymes, thus also showing the ability of the LDH host to protect the intercalated biomaterial from degradation. Cell transfection studies on Vero3 cells were then performed, where cells transfected with the nanobiocomposite exhibited fluorescence as early as 12 h post-treatment compared to naked delivery of the plasmid itself.
This work investigates the development of a nanofabrication process to achieve high aspect-ratio nanostructures on quartz substrates using electron beam lithography (EBL) patterning and fluorinated plasma etching processes. An imaging layer of a poly(methyl methacrylate) bi-layer resist was spun coated on quartz substrate and exposed by an e-beam with the designed patterns of sub-100 nm feature sizes using a Raith-150 EBL patterning tool. Additive pattern transfer was employed by depositing a 40 nm thick Nichrome layer on the resist pattern using a metal evaporator which was later lifted off by soaking in acetone. Nichrome was employed as an etch mask and an Oxford Plasmalab 80Plus reactive ion etcher was used for the etching process. The etching process was carried out in a gas mixture of CHF(3)/Ar with a flow rate ratio of 50/30 sccm, pressure of 20 mTorr, radiofrequency power of 200 W and at room temperature. These etching process parameters were found to achieve a 10 nm min(-1) etch rate and tall vertical side walls profile. An aspect-ratio of 10:1 was achieved on 60 nm feature size structures.
Nanocomposite is used as a dental filling to restore the affected tooth, especially in dental caries. The dental nanocomposite (KelFil) for tooth restoration used in this study was produced by the School of Dental Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia and is incorporated with monodispersed, spherical nanosilica fillers. The aim of the study was to determine the genotoxic effect of KelFil using in vitro genotoxicity tests. The cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of KelFil was evaluated using MTT assay, comet assay and chromosome aberration tests with or without the addition of a metabolic activation system (S9 mix), using the human lung fibroblast cell line (MRC-5). Concurrent negative and positive controls were included. In the comet assay, no comet formation was found in the KelFil groups. There was a significant difference in tail moment between KelFil groups and positive control (p < 0.05). Similarly, no significant aberrations in chromosomes were noticed in KelFil groups. The mitotic indices of treatment groups and negative control were significantly different from positive controls. Hence, it can be concluded that the locally produced dental restoration nanocomposite (KelFil) is non-genotoxic under the present test conditions.
This study describes the properties of colloidal gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) with sizes of 20, 30 and 40 nm, which were synthesized using citrate reduction or seeding-growth methods. Likewise, the conjugation of these AuNPs to mouse anti-human IgG(4) (MαHIgG(4)) was evaluated for an immunochromatographic (ICG) strip test to detect brugian filariasis. The morphology of the AuNPs was studied based on the degree of ellipticity (G) of the transmission electron microscopy images. The AuNPs produced using the seeding-growth method showed lower ellipticity (G ≤ 1.11) as compared with the AuNPs synthesized using the citrate reduction method (G ≤ 1.18). Zetasizer analysis showed that the AuNPs that were synthesized using the seeding-growth method were almost monodispersed with a lower polydispersity index (PDI; PDI≤0.079), as compared with the AuNPs synthesized using the citrate reduction method (PDI≤0.177). UV-visible spectroscopic analysis showed a red-shift of the absorbance spectra after the reaction with MαHIgG(4), which indicated that the AuNPs were successfully conjugated. The optimum concentration of the BmR1 recombinant antigen that was immobilized on the surface of the ICG strip on the test line was 1.0 mg ml(-1). When used with the ICG test strip assay and brugian filariasis serum samples, the conjugated AuNPs-MαHIgG(4) synthesized using the seeding-growth method had faster detection times, as compared with the AuNPs synthesized using the citrate reduction method. The 30 nm AuNPs-MαHIgG(4), with an optical density of 4 from the seeding-growth method, demonstrated the best performance for labelling ICG strips because it displayed the best sensitivity and the highest specificity when tested with serum samples from brugian filariasis patients and controls.
The past few years have witnessed remarkable progress in solution-processed methylammonium lead halide (CH3NH3PbX3, X = halide) perovskite solar cells (PSCs) with reported photoconversion efficiency (η) exceeding 20% in laboratory-scale devices and reaching up to 13% in their large area perovskite solar modules (PSMs). These devices mostly employ mesoporous TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) as an electron transport layer (ETL) which provides a scaffold on which the perovskite semiconductor can grow. However, limitations exist which are due to trap-limited electron transport and non-complete pore filling. Herein, we have employed TiO2 nanorods (NRs), a material offering a two-fold higher electronic mobility and higher pore-filing compared to their particle analogues, as an ETL. A crucial issue in NRs' patterning over substrates is resolved by using precise Nd:YVO4 laser ablation, and a champion device with η ∼ 8.1% is reported via a simple and low cost vacuum-vapor assisted sequential processing (V-VASP) of a CH3NH3PbI3 film. Our experiments showed a successful demonstration of NRs-based PSMs via the V-VASP technique which can be applied to fabricate large area modules with a pin-hole free, smooth and dense perovskite layer which is required to build high efficiency devices.
This study introduces a new class of heat transfer fluids by dispersing functionalised graphene oxide nanoparticles (GNPs) in ammonium and phosphonium-based deep eutectic solvents (DESs) without the aid of a surfactant. Different molar ratios of salts and hydrogen bond donors (HBD) were used to synthesise DESs for the preparation of different concentrations of graphene nanofluids (GNFs). The concentrations of GNPs were 0.01 wt%, 0.02 wt% and 0.05 wt %. Homogeneous and stable suspensions of nanofluids were obtained by high speed homogenisation and an ultrasonication process. The stability of the GNFs was determined through visual observation for 4 weeks followed by a centrifugal process (5000-20,000 rpm) for 30 min in addition to zeta potential studies. Dispersion of the GNPs in DES was observed using an optical microscope. The synthesised DES-based GNFs showed no particle agglomeration and formation of sediments in the nanofluids. Thermo-physical properties such as thermal conductivity and specific heat of the nanofluids were also investigated in this research. The highest thermal conductivity enhancement of 177% was observed. The findings of this research provide a new class of engineered fluid for heat transfer applications as a function of temperature, type and composition DESs as well as the GNPs concentration.
A stable, biocompatible and exquisite SPIONs-PEG-HER targeting complex was developed. Initially synthesized superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) were silanized using 3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane (APS) as the coupling agent in order to allow the covalent bonding of polyethylene glycol (PEG) to the SPIONs to improve the biocompatibility of the SPIONs. SPIONs-PEG were then conjugated with herceptin (HER) to permit the SPIONs-PEG-HER to target the specific receptors expressed over the surface of the HER2+ metastatic breast cancer cells. Each preparation step was physico-chemically analyzed and characterized by a number of analytical methods including AAS, FTIR spectroscopy, XRD, FESEM, TEM, DLS and VSM. The biocompatibility of SPIONs-PEG-HER was evaluated in vitro on HSF-1184 (human skin fibroblast cells), SK-BR-3 (human breast cancer cells, HER+), MDA-MB-231 (human breast cancer cells, HER-) and MDA-MB-468 (human breast cancer cells, HER-) cell lines by performing MTT and trypan blue assays. The hemolysis analysis results of the SPIONs-PEG-HER and SPIONs-PEG did not indicate any sign of lysis while in contact with erythrocytes. Additionally, there were no morphological changes seen in RBCs after incubation with SPIONs-PEG-HER and SPIONs-PEG under a light microscope. The qualitative and quantitative in vitro targeting studies confirmed the high level of SPION-PEG-HER binding to SK-BR-3 (HER2+ metastatic breast cancer cells). Thus, the results reflected that the SPIONs-PEG-HER can be chosen as a favorable biomaterial for biomedical applications, chiefly magnetic hyperthermia, in the future.
Obtaining compositional homogeneity without compromising morphological or structural quality is one of the biggest challenges in growing ternary alloy compound semiconductor nanowires. Here we report growth of Au-seeded InxGa1-xAs nanowires via metal-organic vapour phase epitaxy with uniform composition, morphology and pure wurtzite (WZ) crystal phase by carefully optimizing growth temperature and V/III ratio. We find that high growth temperatures allow the InxGa1-xAs composition to be more uniform by suppressing the formation of typically observed spontaneous In-rich shells. A low V/III ratio results in the growth of pure WZ phase InxGa1-xAs nanowires with uniform composition and morphology while a high V/III ratio allows pure zinc-blende (ZB) phase to form. Ga incorporation is found to be dependent on the crystal phase favouring higher Ga concentration in ZB phase compared to the WZ phase. Tapering is also found to be more prominent in defective nanowires hence it is critical to maintain the highest crystal structure purity in order to minimize tapering and inhomogeneity. The InP capped pure WZ In0.65Ga0.35As core-shell nanowire heterostructures show 1.54 μm photoluminescence, close to the technologically important optical fibre telecommunication wavelength, which is promising for application in photodetectors and nanoscale lasers.
In this research, novel ultrafiltration nanocomposite membranes were prepared by incorporating self-synthesized nanoporous titanium dioxide (NTiO2) nanoparticles into polysulfone. The surface of the nanoparticle was treated with a silane-based modifier to improve its distribution in the host polymer. Atomic-force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller, transmission electron microscopy, energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, porosity and contact angle tests were conducted to characterize the properties of the particles as well as the fabricated nanocomposite membranes. The effects of the nanoparticle incorporation were evaluated by conducting ultrafiltration experiments. It was reported that the membrane pure water flux was increased with increasing NTiO2 loading owing to the high porosity of the nanoparticles embedded and/or formation of enlarged pores upon addition of them. The antifouling capacity of the membranes was also tested by ultrafiltration of bovine serum albumin fouling solution. It was found that both water flux and antifouling capacity tended to reach desired level if the NTiO2 added was at optimized loading.
It is known that carbon nanotubes show desirable physical and chemical properties with a wide array of potential applications. Nonetheless, their potential has been hampered by the difficulties in acquiring high purity, chiral-specific tubes. Considerable advancement has been made in terms of the purification of carbon nanotubes, for instance chemical oxidation, physical separation, and myriad combinations of physical and chemical methods. The aqueous two-phase separation technique has recently been demonstrated to be able to sort carbon nanotubes based on their chirality. The technique requires low cost polymers and salt, and is able to sort the tubes based on their diameter as well as metallicity. In this review, we aim to provide a review that could stimulate innovative thought on the progress of a carbon nanotubes sorting method using the aqueous two-phase separation method, and present possible future work and an outlook that could enhance the methodology.
ZrO2 nanotubes (ZrNTs) were produced by anodisation of zirconium foil in H2O2/NH4F/ethylene glycol electrolyte. The as-anodised foils were then soaked in the anodising electrolyte for 12 h. Soaking weakens the adherence of the anodic layer from the substrate resulting in freestanding ZrNTs (FS-ZrNTs). Moreover, the presence of H2O2 in the electrolyte also aids in weakening the adhesion of the film from the foil, as foil anodised in electrolyte without H2O2 has good film adherence. The as-anodised FS-ZrNTs film was amorphous and crystallised to predominantly tetragonal phase upon annealing at >300 °C. Annealing must, however, be done at <500 °C to avoid monoclinic ZrO2 formation and nanotubes disintegration. FS-ZrNTs annealed at 450 °C exhibited the highest photocatalytic ability to degrade methyl orange (MO), whereby 82% MO degradation was observed after 5 h, whereas FS-ZrNTs with a mixture of monoclinic and tetragonal degraded 70% of MO after 5 h.
An ethanol gas sensor with enhanced sensor response was fabricated using Ni-doped SnO2 nanorods, synthesized via a simple hydrothermal method. It was found that the response (R = R 0/R g) of a 5.0 mol% Ni-doped SnO2 (5.0Ni:SnO2) nanorod sensor was 1.4 × 104 for 1000 ppm C2H5OH gas, which is about 13 times higher than that of pure SnO2 nanorods, (1.1 × 103) at the operating temperature of 450 °C. Moreover, for 50 ppm C2H5OH gas, the 5.0Ni:SnO2 nanorod sensor still recorded a significant response reading, namely 2.0 × 103 with a response time of 30 s and recovery time of 10 min. To investigate the effect of Ni dopant (0.5-5.0 mol%) on SnO2 nanorods, structural characterizations were demonstrated using field emission scanning electron microscopy, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and an ultraviolet-visible spectrometer. XRD results confirmed that all the samples consisted of tetragonal-shaped rutile SnO2 nanorods. It was found that the average diameter and length of the nanorods formed in 5.0Ni:SnO2 were four times smaller (∼6 and ∼35 nm, respectively) than those of the nanorods formed in pure SnO2 (∼25 and 150 nm). Interestingly, both samples had the same aspect ratio, ∼6. It is proposed that the high response of the 5.0Ni:SnO2 nanorod sensor can be attributed to the particle size, which causes an increase in the thickness of the charge depletion layer, and the presence of oxygen vacancies within the matrix of SnO2 nanorods.
Visible-light-active freestanding zirconia (ZrO2) nanotube (FSZNT) arrays were fabricated by a facile electrochemical anodization method in fluoride containing ethylene glycol electrolyte added to it was 1 vol% of potassium carbonate (K2CO3) at 60 V for 1 h. Poor adhesion at the metal∣oxide interface was induced by K2CO3 leading to the formation of FSZNT flakes. The effect of the crystal structures of the FSZNTs e.g., amorphous, amorphous/tetragonal, and tetragonal/monoclinic was investigated towards the photocatalytic reduction of 10 ppm hexavalent chromium, Cr(VI) at pH 2 under sunlight. The results demonstrate the amorphous FSZNTs exhibited the highest Cr(VI) removal efficiency than the crystalline FSZNTs (95% versus 33% after 5 h). The high photocatalytic activity of the amorphous FSZNTs can be attributed to enhanced Cr(VI) adsorption, high visible light absorption, and better charge carrier separation. The low photocatalytic activity of the crystalline FSZNTs annealed at 500 °C was mainly attributed to poor Cr(VI) adsorption, low visible light absorption, and less photoactive monoclinic-ZrO2.