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Nanomaterials, Volume 7, Issue 11 (November 2017)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Mesoporous Cu-doped SnO2 powders are satisfactorily prepared by hard-templating from KIT-6 silica. [...] Read more.
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Open AccessReview Review of the Functions of Archimedes’ Spiral Metallic Nanostructures
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110405
Received: 28 September 2017 / Revised: 16 November 2017 / Accepted: 18 November 2017 / Published: 22 November 2017
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Abstract
Here, we have reviewed some typical plasmonic structures based on Archimedes’ spiral (AS) architectures, which can produce polarization-sensitive focusing phenomenon and generate plasmonic vortices (PVs) carrying controllable orbital angular momentum (OAM) because of the relation between the incident polarized states and the chiralities
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Here, we have reviewed some typical plasmonic structures based on Archimedes’ spiral (AS) architectures, which can produce polarization-sensitive focusing phenomenon and generate plasmonic vortices (PVs) carrying controllable orbital angular momentum (OAM) because of the relation between the incident polarized states and the chiralities of the spiral structures. These features can be used to analyze different circular polarization states, which has been one of the rapidly developing researching topics in nanophotonics in recent years. Many investigations demonstrate that the multifunctional spiral-based plasmonic structures are excellent choices for chiral selection and generating the transmitted field with well-defined OAM. The circular polarization extinction ratio, as an evaluation criterion for the polarization selectivity of a designed structure, could be effectively improved by properly modulating the parameters of spiral structures. Such functional spiral plasmonic nanostructures are promising for applications in analyzing circular polarization light, full Stokes vector polarimetric sensors, near-field imaging, and so on. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Metallic Nanomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle Enhanced Oxygen Reduction Reaction by In Situ Anchoring Fe2N Nanoparticles on Nitrogen-Doped Pomelo Peel-Derived Carbon
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110404
Received: 17 October 2017 / Revised: 14 November 2017 / Accepted: 17 November 2017 / Published: 22 November 2017
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Abstract
The development of effective oxygen electrode catalysts for renewable energy technologies such as metal-air batteries and fuel cells remains challenging. Here, we prepared a novel high-performance oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalyst comprised of Fe2N nanoparticles (NPs) in situ decorated over an
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The development of effective oxygen electrode catalysts for renewable energy technologies such as metal-air batteries and fuel cells remains challenging. Here, we prepared a novel high-performance oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalyst comprised of Fe2N nanoparticles (NPs) in situ decorated over an N-doped porous carbon derived from pomelo peel (i.e., Fe2N/N-PPC). The decorated Fe2N NPs provided large quantities of Fe-N-C bonding catalytic sites. The as-obtained Fe2N/N-PPC showed superior onset and half-wave potentials (0.966 and 0.891 V, respectively) in alkaline media (0.1 M KOH) compared to commercial Pt/C through a direct four-electron reaction pathway. Fe2N/N-PPC also showed better stability and methanol tolerance than commercial Pt/C. The outstanding ORR performance of Fe2N/N-PPC was attributed to its high specific surface area and the synergistic effects of Fe2N NPs. The utilization of agricultural wastes as a precursor makes Fe2N/N-PPC an ideal non-precious metal catalyst for ORR applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials Based Fuel Cells and Supercapacitors)
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Open AccessArticle Comparison of Anionic, Cationic and Nonionic Surfactants as Dispersing Agents for Graphene Based on the Fluorescence of Riboflavin
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 403; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110403
Received: 23 October 2017 / Revised: 14 November 2017 / Accepted: 16 November 2017 / Published: 22 November 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3148 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Fluorescence quenching is a valuable tool to gain insight about dynamic changes of fluorophores in complex systems. Graphene (G), a single-layered 2D nanomaterial with unique properties, was dispersed in surfactant aqueous solutions of different nature: non-ionic polyoxyethylene-23-lauryl ether (Brij L23), anionic sodium dodecylsulphate
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Fluorescence quenching is a valuable tool to gain insight about dynamic changes of fluorophores in complex systems. Graphene (G), a single-layered 2D nanomaterial with unique properties, was dispersed in surfactant aqueous solutions of different nature: non-ionic polyoxyethylene-23-lauryl ether (Brij L23), anionic sodium dodecylsulphate (SDS), and cationic hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and dodecyltrimethylammonium bromide (DTAB). The influence of the surfactant type, chain length and concentration, G total concentration and G/surfactant weight ratio on the fluorescence intensity of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) was investigated. The quality of the different G dispersions was assessed by scanning and transmission electron microscopies (SEM and TEM). A quenching phenomenon of the fluorescence of riboflavin was found for G dispersions in all the surfactants, which generally becomes stronger with increasing G/surfactant weight ratio. For dispersions in the ionic surfactants, the quenching is more pronounced as the surfactant concentration raises, whilst the non-ionic one remains merely unchanged for the different G/Brij L23 weight ratios. More importantly, results indicate that DTAB solutions are the optimum media for dispersing G sheets, leading to an up to 16-fold drop in the fluorescence intensity. Understanding the mechanism in fluorescence quenching of G dispersions in surfactants could be useful for several optical applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Biomass-Derived Oxygen and Nitrogen Co-Doped Porous Carbon with Hierarchical Architecture as Sulfur Hosts for High-Performance Lithium/Sulfur Batteries
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110402
Received: 2 October 2017 / Revised: 6 November 2017 / Accepted: 10 November 2017 / Published: 21 November 2017
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Abstract
In this work, a facile strategy to synthesize oxygen and nitrogen co-doped porous carbon (ONPC) is reported by one-step pyrolysis of waste coffee grounds. As-prepared ONPC possesses highly rich micro/mesopores as well as abundant oxygen and nitrogen co-doping, which is applied to sulfur
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In this work, a facile strategy to synthesize oxygen and nitrogen co-doped porous carbon (ONPC) is reported by one-step pyrolysis of waste coffee grounds. As-prepared ONPC possesses highly rich micro/mesopores as well as abundant oxygen and nitrogen co-doping, which is applied to sulfur hosts as lithium/sulfur batteries’ appropriate cathodes. In battery testing, the sulfur/oxygen and nitrogen co-doped porous carbon (S/ONPC) composite materials reveal a high initial capacity of 1150 mAh·g−1 as well as a reversible capacity of 613 mAh·g−1 after the 100th cycle at 0.2 C. Furthermore, when current density increases to 1 C, a discharge capacity of 331 mAh·g−1 is still attainable. Due to the hierarchical porous framework and oxygen/nitrogen co-doping, the S/ONPC composite exhibits a high utilization of sulfur and good electrochemical performance via the immobilization of the polysulfides through strong chemical binding. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An In Vitro Study of the Photodynamic Effectiveness of GO-Ag Nanocomposites against Human Breast Cancer Cells
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 401; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110401
Received: 18 August 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 4 October 2017 / Published: 21 November 2017
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Abstract
Graphene-based materials have garnered significant attention because of their versatile bioapplications and extraordinary properties. Graphene oxide (GO) is an extremely oxidized form of graphene accompanied by the functional groups of oxygen on its surface. GO is an outstanding platform on which to pacify
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Graphene-based materials have garnered significant attention because of their versatile bioapplications and extraordinary properties. Graphene oxide (GO) is an extremely oxidized form of graphene accompanied by the functional groups of oxygen on its surface. GO is an outstanding platform on which to pacify silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs), which gives rise to the graphene oxide-silver nanoparticle (GO-Ag) nanocomposite. In this experimental study, the toxicity of graphene oxide-silver (GO-Ag) nanocomposites was assessed in an in vitro human breast cancer model to optimize the parameters of photodynamic therapy. GO-Ag was prepared using the hydrothermal method, and characterization was done by X-ray diffraction, field-emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM), transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive X-rays Analysis (EDAX), atomic force microscopy and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy. The experiments were done both with laser exposure, as well as in darkness, to examine the phototoxicity and cytotoxicity of the nanocomposites. The cytotoxicity of the GO-Ag was confirmed via a methyl-thiazole-tetrazolium (MTT) assay and intracellular reactive oxygen species production analysis. The phototoxic effect explored the dose-dependent decrease in the cell viability, as well as provoked cell death via apoptosis. An enormously significant escalation of 1O2 in the samples when exposed to daylight was perceived. Statistical analysis was performed on the experimental results to confirm the worth and clarity of the results, with p-values < 0.05 selected as significant. These outcomes suggest that GO-Ag nanocomposites could serve as potential candidates for targeted breast cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Graphene and Nanotube Based Devices)
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Open AccessArticle Self-Assembled InAs Nanowires as Optical Reflectors
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110400
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 11 November 2017 / Accepted: 16 November 2017 / Published: 21 November 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4659 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Subwavelength nanostructured surfaces are realized with self-assembled vertically-aligned InAs nanowires, and their functionalities as optical reflectors are investigated. In our system, polarization-resolved specular reflectance displays strong modulations as a function of incident photon energy and angle. An effective-medium model allows one to rationalize
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Subwavelength nanostructured surfaces are realized with self-assembled vertically-aligned InAs nanowires, and their functionalities as optical reflectors are investigated. In our system, polarization-resolved specular reflectance displays strong modulations as a function of incident photon energy and angle. An effective-medium model allows one to rationalize the experimental findings in the long wavelength regime, whereas numerical simulations fully reproduce the experimental outcomes in the entire frequency range. The impact of the refractive index of the medium surrounding the nanostructure assembly on the reflectance was estimated. In view of the present results, sensing schemes compatible with microfluidic technologies and routes to innovative nanowire-based optical elements are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Synthesis and Swelling Behavior of pH-Sensitive Semi-IPN Superabsorbent Hydrogels Based on Poly(acrylic acid) Reinforced with Cellulose Nanocrystals
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110399
Received: 11 October 2017 / Revised: 13 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 20 November 2017
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Abstract
pH-sensitive poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) hydrogel reinforced with cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) was prepared. Acrylic acid (AA) was subjected to chemical cross-linking using the cross-linking agent MBA (N,N-methylenebisacrylamide) with CNC entrapped in the PAA matrix. The quantity of CNC was varied
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pH-sensitive poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) hydrogel reinforced with cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) was prepared. Acrylic acid (AA) was subjected to chemical cross-linking using the cross-linking agent MBA (N,N-methylenebisacrylamide) with CNC entrapped in the PAA matrix. The quantity of CNC was varied between 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 wt %. X-ray diffraction (XRD) data showed an increase in crystallinity with the addition of CNC, while rheology tests demonstrated a significant increase in the storage modulus of the hydrogel with an increase in CNC content. It was found that the hydrogel reached maximum swelling at pH 7. The potential of the resulting hydrogels to act as drug carriers was then evaluated by means of the drug encapsulation efficiency test using theophylline as a model drug. It was observed that 15% CNC/PAA hydrogel showed the potential to be used as drug carrier system. Full article
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Open AccessReview Fabrication of Semiconductor ZnO Nanostructures for Versatile SERS Application
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 398; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110398
Received: 1 October 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 6 November 2017 / Published: 19 November 2017
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Abstract
Since the initial discovery of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) in the 1970s, it has exhibited a huge potential application in many fields due to its outstanding advantages. Since the ultra-sensitive noble metallic nanostructures have increasingly exposed themselves as having some problems during application,
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Since the initial discovery of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) in the 1970s, it has exhibited a huge potential application in many fields due to its outstanding advantages. Since the ultra-sensitive noble metallic nanostructures have increasingly exposed themselves as having some problems during application, semiconductors have been gradually exploited as one of the critical SERS substrate materials due to their distinctive advantages when compared with noble metals. ZnO is one of the most representative metallic oxide semiconductors with an abundant reserve, various and cost-effective fabrication techniques, as well as special physical and chemical properties. Thanks to the varied morphologies, size-dependent exciton, good chemical stability, a tunable band gap, carrier concentration, and stoichiometry, ZnO nanostructures have the potential to be exploited as SERS substrates. Moreover, other distinctive properties possessed by ZnO such as biocompatibility, photocatcalysis and self-cleaning, and gas- and chemo-sensitivity can be synergistically integrated and exerted with SERS activity to realize the multifunctional potential of ZnO substrates. In this review, we discuss the inevitable development trend of exploiting the potential semiconductor ZnO as a SERS substrate. After clarifying the root cause of the great disparity between the enhancement factor (EF) of noble metals and that of ZnO nanostructures, two specific methods are put forward to improve the SERS activity of ZnO, namely: elemental doping and combination of ZnO with noble metals. Then, we introduce a distinctive advantage of ZnO as SERS substrate and illustrate the necessity of reporting a meaningful average EF. We also summarize some fabrication methods for ZnO nanostructures with varied dimensions (0–3 dimensions). Finally, we present an overview of ZnO nanostructures for the versatile SERS application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZnO and TiO2 Based Nanostructures)
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Open AccessArticle Plasmonic Spectral Splitting in Ring/Rod Metasurface
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110397
Received: 6 October 2017 / Revised: 6 November 2017 / Accepted: 16 November 2017 / Published: 19 November 2017
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Abstract
We report spectral splitting behaviors based on Fano resonances in a novel simple planar metasurface composed of gold nanobars and nanorings. Multiple plasmonic modes and sharp Fano effects are achieved in a broadband transmittance spectrum by exploiting the rotational symmetry of the metasurface.
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We report spectral splitting behaviors based on Fano resonances in a novel simple planar metasurface composed of gold nanobars and nanorings. Multiple plasmonic modes and sharp Fano effects are achieved in a broadband transmittance spectrum by exploiting the rotational symmetry of the metasurface. The transmission properties are effectively modified and tuned by modulating the structural parameters. The highest single side Q-factor and FoM which reaches 196 and 105 are observed at Fano resonances. Our proposed design is relatively simple and can be applied for various applications such as multi-wavelength highly sensitive plasmonic sensors, switching, and slow light devices. Full article
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Open AccessReview Nanostructured MnO2 as Electrode Materials for Energy Storage
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110396
Received: 14 October 2017 / Revised: 31 October 2017 / Accepted: 5 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
Manganese dioxides, inorganic materials which have been used in industry for more than a century, now find great renewal of interest for storage and conversion of energy applications. In this review article, we report the properties of MnO2 nanomaterials with different morphologies.
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Manganese dioxides, inorganic materials which have been used in industry for more than a century, now find great renewal of interest for storage and conversion of energy applications. In this review article, we report the properties of MnO2 nanomaterials with different morphologies. Techniques used for the synthesis, structural, physical properties, and electrochemical performances of periodic and aperiodic frameworks are discussed. The effect of the morphology of nanosized MnO2 particles on their fundamental features is evidenced. Applications as electrodes in lithium batteries and supercapacitors are examined. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Preparation of Solution Blown Polyamic Acid Nanofibers and Their Imidization into Polyimide Nanofiber Mats
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110395
Received: 6 October 2017 / Revised: 6 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
Solution blow spinning (SBS) is an innovative process for spinning micro/nanofibers. In this paper, polyamic acid (PAA) nanofibers were fabricated via a SBS apparatus and then imidized into polyimide (PI) nanofibers via thermal process. The morphology and diameter distributions of PAA nanofibers were
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Solution blow spinning (SBS) is an innovative process for spinning micro/nanofibers. In this paper, polyamic acid (PAA) nanofibers were fabricated via a SBS apparatus and then imidized into polyimide (PI) nanofibers via thermal process. The morphology and diameter distributions of PAA nanofibers were determined by scanning electron microscope (SEM) and Image Tool software, the processing parameters, including PAA concentration, solution feeding rate, gas pressure, nozzle size, and receiving distance were investigated in details. The fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) was used to characterize the chemical changes in the nanofibers after thermal imidization. The results showed that the solution concentration exhibited a notable correlation with spinnability, and the formation of bead defects in PAA nanofibers. Solution feeding rate, gas pressure, nozzle size, and receiving distance affected nanofiber production efficiency and diameter distribution. The average diameters of fibers produced ranged from 129.6 to 197.7 nm by varying SBS parameters. Precisely, PAA nanofibers with good morphology were obtained and the average diameter of nanofibers was 178.2 nm with optimum process parameter. After thermal imidization, the PI nanofibers exhibited obvious adhesion morphology among interconnected fibers, with an increased average diameter of 209.1 nm. The tensile strength of resultant PI nanofiber mat was 12.95 MPa. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mechanical, Corrosion and Biological Properties of Room-Temperature Sputtered Aluminum Nitride Films with Dissimilar Nanostructure
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 394; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110394
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 13 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
Aluminum Nitride (AlN) has been long time being regarded as highly interesting material for developing sensing applications (including biosensors and implantable sensors). AlN, due to its appealing electronic properties, is envisaged lately to serve as a multi-functional biosensing platform. Although generally exploited for
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Aluminum Nitride (AlN) has been long time being regarded as highly interesting material for developing sensing applications (including biosensors and implantable sensors). AlN, due to its appealing electronic properties, is envisaged lately to serve as a multi-functional biosensing platform. Although generally exploited for its intrinsic piezoelectricity, its surface morphology and mechanical performance (elastic modulus, hardness, wear, scratch and tensile resistance to delamination, adherence to the substrate), corrosion resistance and cytocompatibility are also essential features for high performance sustainable biosensor devices. However, information about AlN suitability for such applications is rather scarce or at best scattered and incomplete. Here, we aim to deliver a comprehensive evaluation of the morpho-structural, compositional, mechanical, electrochemical and biological properties of reactive radio-frequency magnetron sputtered AlN nanostructured thin films with various degrees of c-axis texturing, deposited at a low temperature (~50 °C) on Si (100) substrates. The inter-conditionality elicited between the base pressure level attained in the reactor chamber and crystalline quality of AlN films is highlighted. The potential suitability of nanostructured AlN (in form of thin films) for the realization of various type of sensors (with emphasis on bio-sensors) is thoroughly probed, thus unveiling its advantages and limitations, as well as suggesting paths to safely exploit the remarkable prospects of this type of materials. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Evaluation of Different Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Surface Coatings for Single-Particle Tracking Applications in Biological Environments
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110393
Received: 10 October 2017 / Revised: 7 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 16 November 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1692 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fluorescence imaging of biological systems down to the single-molecule level has generated many advances in cellular biology. For applications within intact tissue, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are emerging as distinctive single-molecule nanoprobes, due to their near-infrared photoluminescence properties. For this, SWCNT surfaces must
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Fluorescence imaging of biological systems down to the single-molecule level has generated many advances in cellular biology. For applications within intact tissue, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are emerging as distinctive single-molecule nanoprobes, due to their near-infrared photoluminescence properties. For this, SWCNT surfaces must be coated using adequate molecular moieties. Yet, the choice of the suspension agent is critical since it influences both the chemical and emission properties of the SWCNTs within their environment. Here, we compare the most commonly used surface coatings for encapsulating photoluminescent SWCNTs in the context of bio-imaging applications. To be applied as single-molecule nanoprobes, encapsulated nanotubes should display low cytotoxicity, and minimal unspecific interactions with cells while still being highly luminescent so as to be imaged and tracked down to the single nanotube level for long periods of time. We tested the cell proliferation and cellular viability of each surface coating and evaluated the impact of the biocompatible surface coatings on nanotube photoluminescence brightness. Our study establishes that phospholipid-polyethylene glycol-coated carbon nanotube is the best current choice for single nanotube tracking experiments in live biological samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials with Functional Polymer Elements)
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Open AccessArticle Templated Sphere Phase Liquid Crystals for Tunable Random Lasing
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110392
Received: 30 September 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 15 November 2017
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Abstract
A sphere phase liquid crystal (SPLC) composed of three-dimensional twist structures with disclinations among them exists between isotropic phase and blue phase in a very narrow temperature range, about several degrees centigrade. A low concentration polymer template is applied to improve the thermal
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A sphere phase liquid crystal (SPLC) composed of three-dimensional twist structures with disclinations among them exists between isotropic phase and blue phase in a very narrow temperature range, about several degrees centigrade. A low concentration polymer template is applied to improve the thermal stability of SPLCs and broadens the temperature range to more than 448 K. By template processing, a wavelength tunable random lasing is demonstrated with dye doped SPLC. With different polymer concentrations, the reconstructed SPLC random lasing may achieve more than 40 nm wavelength continuous shifting by electric field modulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials in Liquid Crystals)
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Open AccessArticle Synergistic Effect of Fluorinated and N Doped TiO2 Nanoparticles Leading to Different Microstructure and Enhanced Photocatalytic Bacterial Inactivation
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 391; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano7110391
Received: 9 October 2017 / Revised: 9 November 2017 / Accepted: 10 November 2017 / Published: 15 November 2017
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Abstract
This work focuses on the development of a facile and scalable wet milling method followed by heat treatment to prepare fluorinated and/or N-doped TiO2 nanopowders with improved photocatalytic properties under visible light. The structural and electronic properties of doped particles were investigated
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This work focuses on the development of a facile and scalable wet milling method followed by heat treatment to prepare fluorinated and/or N-doped TiO2 nanopowders with improved photocatalytic properties under visible light. The structural and electronic properties of doped particles were investigated by various techniques. The successful doping of TiO2 was confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and the atoms appeared to be mainly located in interstitial positions for N whereas the fluorination is located at the TiO2 surface. The formation of intragap states was found to be responsible for the band gap narrowing leading to the faster bacterial inactivation dynamics observed for the fluorinated and N doped TiO2 particles compared to N-doped TiO2. This was attributed to a synergistic effect. The results presented in this study confirmed the suitability of the preparation approach for the large-scale production of cost-efficient doped TiO2 for effective bacterial inactivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antibacterial Activity of Nanomaterials)
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