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Concept: Strontium


Highly dispersive strontium carbonate (SrCO3) nanostructures with uniform dumbbell, ellipsoid, and rod-like morphologies were synthesized in methanol solution without any additives. These SrCO3 were characterized by X-ray diffraction, field emission scanning electron microscopy, and N2 adsorption-desorption. The results showed that the reaction temperature and the methanol/water ratio had important effects on the morphologies of SrCO3 particles. The dumbbell-like SrCO3 exhibited a Broader-Emmett-Teller surface area of 14.9 m2 g-1 and an average pore size of about 32 nm with narrow pore size distribution. The formation mechanism of the SrCO3 crystal was preliminary presented.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Strontium, X-ray, Chemical reaction, Calcium carbonate, Scanning electron microscope, Strontianite


Materials with persistent photoconductivity (PPC) experience an increase in conductivity upon exposure to light that persists after the light is turned off. Although researchers have shown that this phenomenon could be exploited for novel memory storage devices, low temperatures (below 180 K) were required. In the present work, two-point resistance measurements were performed on annealed strontium titanate (SrTiO3, or STO) single crystals at room temperature. After illumination with sub-gap light, the resistance decreased by three orders of magnitude. This markedly enhanced conductivity persisted for several days in the dark. Results from IR spectroscopy, electrical measurements, and exposure to a 405 nm laser suggest that contact resistance plays an important role. The laser was then used as an “optical pen” to write a low-resistance path between two contacts, demonstrating the feasibility of optically defined, transparent electronics.

Concepts: Strontium, Energy, Optics, Light, Optical fiber, Computer storage, Infrared, Strontium titanate


Strontium ranelate is an approved pharmacotherapy for osteoporosis in Europe and Australia, but not in Canada or the United States. Strontium citrate, an alternative strontium salt, however, is available for purchase over-the-counter as a nutritional supplement. The effects of strontium citrate on bone are largely unknown. The study’s objectives were 1) to quantify bone strontium accumulation in female Sprague Dawley rats administered strontium citrate (N=7) and compare these levels to rats administered strontium ranelate (N=6) and vehicle (N=6) over 8weeks, and 2) to verify an in vivo X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) system for measurement of bone strontium in the rat. Daily doses of strontium citrate and strontium ranelate were determined with the intention to achieve equivalent amounts of elemental strontium. However, post-hoc analyses of each strontium compound conducted using energy dispersive spectrometry microanalysis revealed a higher elemental strontium concentration in strontium citrate than strontium ranelate. Bone strontium levels were measured at baseline and 8weeks follow-up using a unique in vivo XRF technique previously used in humans. XRF measurements were validated against ex vivo measurements of bone strontium using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Weight gain in rats in all three groups was equivalent over the study duration. A two-way ANOVA was conducted to compare bone strontium levels amongst the three groups. Bone strontium levels in rats administered strontium citrate were significantly greater (p<0.05) than rats administered strontium ranelate and vehicle. ANCOVA analyses were performed with Sr dose as a covariate to account for differences in strontium dosing. The ANCOVA revealed differences in bone strontium levels between the strontium groups were not significant, but that bone strontium levels were still very significantly greater than vehicle.

Concepts: Fluorescence, Spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence, Strontium, In vivo, Rat, Laboratory rat, Strontium ranelate


Low persistence with osteoporosis medication is associated with higher fracture risk. Previous studies estimated that 1-year persistence with osteoporosis medication is low. Our aim was to study persistence with osteoporosis medication among patients with long-term follow-up (to 5 years). The InterAction Database (IADB) was used to analyze persistence of 8610 Dutch patients initiating osteoporosis drugs between 2003 and 2011. Drugs under study were alendronate, risedronate, ibandronate, etidronate, raloxifene and strontium ranelate. Cumulative persistence rates were calculated after different time frames (3 months-5 years) using survival analysis. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard analyses were used to identify determinants of non-persistence. Furthermore, switching rates of persistent patients who initiated bisphosphonate therapy were analyzed. Persistence with osteoporosis therapy was 70.7 % (95 % CI, 69.7-71.7), 58.5 % (95 % CI, 57.4-59.6 %), 25.3 % (95 % CI, 24.1-26.5) after 6 months, 1 and 5 years, respectively. Determinants associated with higher risk to non-persistence within the first year were daily dosing regimen [HR, 1.76 (95 % CI, 1.46-2.14)], age <60 years [HR, 1.26 (95 % CI, 1.19-1.34)] and use of glucocorticoids [HR, 1.16 (95 % CI, 1.07-1.26)]. Monthly dosing schedule and use of generic brands of alendronate did not show a significant association with non-persistence. Approximately 4.0 % of patients initiating therapy with weekly alendronate or weekly risedronate switched therapy. Persistence with osteoporosis medication is low. Because low persistence is strongly associated with higher fracture risk, interventions to improve persistence are recommended. This study identified several patient groups in whom such interventions may be most relevant.

Concepts: Bisphosphonate, Osteoporosis, Bisphosphonates, Strontium, Proportional hazards models, Initiation, Approximation, Strontium ranelate


This study was designed to compare the effects of alendronate (ALN), strontium ranelate (SR), and zoledronic acid (ZOL) on bone-implant osseointegration in ovariectomized rats. Histological examination and biomechanical tests show that ZOL, ALN, and SR enhance bone-implant osseointegration; ALN and SR have similar effects, while ZOL enhances bone-implant osseointegration more than ALN and SR INTRODUCTION: This study aims to compare the effects of ALN, SR, and ZOL on bone-implant osseointegration in ovariectomized rats. METHODS: Sixty female Sprague-Dawley rats were included in this study. Of them, 48 rats were ovariectomized (OVX) and assigned to four groups: OVX (OVX + Veh), ALN (OVX + ALN), SR (OVX + SR), and ZOL (OVX + ZOL). And another 12 rats were sham-operated as a control group (Sham). Four weeks after ovariectomy, HA-coated titanium implants were inserted into the tibias bilaterally in all rats. Then the rats in groups ALN, SR, and ZOL were systemically administrated with alendronate (7 mg/kg/week, orally), strontium ranelate (500 mg/kg/day, orally), or a single injection of zoledronic acid (0.1 mg/kg, iv), respectively. Twelve weeks after implantation, all rats were sacrificed to get the femurs and tibias. Histological examination and biomechanical tests were used to evaluate bone-implant osseointegration in all groups. RESULTS: ALN, SR, and ZOL significantly increased distal femoral BMD when compared with group OVX; ZOL increased BMD significantly more than ALN and SR (P < 0.05). Significant increase of bone-to-implant contact and peri-implant bone fraction were observed in groups ALN, SR, and ZOL when compared with group OVX (P < 0.05). Groups ALN and SR were inferior to groups ZOL and Sham (P < 0.05) in bone-to-implant contact and peri-implant bone fraction. Similar results were found in biomechanical testing (max pushout force). CONCLUSIONS: In rats losing bone rapidly after ovariectomy, systemic administration of ZOL, ALN, and SR causes better bone-implant osseointegration when compared to OVX; ALN and SR have similar positive effects on osseointegration, while ZOL, that was given in a dose with more positive BMD effect than that of ALN or SR, causes better osseointegration than either ALN or SR.

Concepts: Strontium, Histology, Dental implant, Strontium ranelate


The interactions between electric field and the mechanical properties of materials are important for the applications of microelectromechanical and nanoelectromechanical systems, but relatively unexplored for nanoscale materials. Here, we observe an apparent correlation between the change of the fractured topography of Nb-doped SrTiO3 (Nb:STO) within the presence of a built-in electric field resulting from the Schottky contact at the interface of a metallic LaNiO3 thin film utilizing cross-sectional scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy. The change of the inter-atomic bond length mechanism is argued to be the most plausible origin. This picture is supported by the strong-electric-field-dependent permittivity in STO and the existence of the dielectric dead layer at the interfaces of STO with metallic films. These results provided direct evidence and a possible mechanism for the interplay between the electric field and the mechanical properties on the nanoscale for perovskite materials.

Concepts: Electron, Strontium, Nanotechnology, Microscopy, Microelectromechanical systems, Object-oriented programming, Permittivity, Strontium titanate


The enhancement of the functional properties of materials at reduced dimensions is crucial for continuous advancements in nanoelectronic applications. Here, we report that the scale reduction leads to the emergence of an important functional property, ferroelectricity, challenging the long-standing notion that ferroelectricity is inevitably suppressed at the scale of a few nanometers. A combination of theoretical calculations, electrical measurements, and structural analyses provides evidence of room-temperature ferroelectricity in strain-free epitaxial nanometer-thick films of otherwise nonferroelectric strontium titanate (SrTiO3). We show that electrically induced alignment of naturally existing polar nanoregions is responsible for the appearance of a stable net ferroelectric polarization in these films. This finding can be useful for the development of low-dimensional material systems with enhanced functional properties relevant to emerging nanoelectronic devices.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Strontium, Hydrogen, Diamond simulant, Polarization, Ferroelectricity, Electrical phenomena, Strontium titanate


The atomic-level sculpting of 3D crystalline oxide nanostructures from metastable amorphous films in a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) is demonstrated. Strontium titanate nanostructures grow epitaxially from the crystalline substrate following the beam path. This method can be used for fabricating crystalline structures as small as 1-2 nm and the process can be observed in situ with atomic resolution. The fabrication of arbitrary shape structures via control of the position and scan speed of the electron beam is further demonstrated. Combined with broad availability of the atomic resolved electron microscopy platforms, these observations suggest the feasibility of large scale implementation of bulk atomic-level fabrication as a new enabling tool of nanoscience and technology, providing a bottom-up, atomic-level complement to 3D printing.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Strontium, Microscope, Atom, Oxide, Transmission electron microscopy, Scanning electron microscope


Two-dimensional electron gases (2DEGs) forming at the interfaces of transition metal oxides exhibit a range of properties, including tunable insulator-superconductor-metal transitions, large magnetoresistance, coexisting ferromagnetism and superconductivity, and a spin splitting of a few meV (refs , ). Strontium titanate (SrTiO3), the cornerstone of such oxide-based electronics, is a transparent, non-magnetic, wide-bandgap insulator in the bulk, and has recently been found to host a surface 2DEG (refs , , , ). The most strongly confined carriers within this 2DEG comprise two subbands, separated by an energy gap of 90 meV and forming concentric circular Fermi surfaces. Using spin- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (SARPES), we show that the electron spins in these subbands have opposite chiralities. Although the Rashba effect might be expected to give rise to such spin textures, the giant splitting of almost 100 meV at the Fermi level is far larger than anticipated. Moreover, in contrast to a simple Rashba system, the spin-polarized subbands are non-degenerate at the Brillouin zone centre. This degeneracy can be lifted by time-reversal symmetry breaking, implying the possible existence of magnetic order. These results show that confined electronic states at oxide surfaces can be endowed with novel, non-trivial properties that are both theoretically challenging to anticipate and promising for technological applications.

Concepts: Electron, Magnetic field, Strontium, Fundamental physics concepts, Spin, Condensed matter physics, Magnetism, Semiconductor


Resistive switches based on anionic electronic conducting oxides are promising devices to replace transistor-based memories due to their excellent scalability and low power consumption. In this study, we create a model switching system by manufacturing resistive switches based on ultra-thin 5 nm, epitaxial and grain boundary-free strontium titanate thin films with sub-nanometer surface roughness. For our model devices, we unveil two competing non-volatile resistive switching processes being of different polarity - one switching in clockwise and the other in counter-clockwise direction. They can be activated selectively with respect to the effective switching voltage and time applied to the device. Combined analysis of both processes with electrical DC-methods and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy reveals that the 1(st) resistive switching process is filament-based and exhibits counter-clockwise bipolar resistive switching. The ROFF/RON resistance ratio of this process is extremely stable and can be tuned in the range 5-25 depending on the switching-voltage and time. Excitingly, at high electric field strength a novel 2nd bipolar resistive switching process was found. This process is clockwise and, therefore, reveals the opposite polarity switching direction when compared to the 1(st) one. Both processes do not obstruct each other, consequently, stable 1, 2 or even 3 crossover current-voltage (I-V) characteristics can be addressed for the memory bits. Equivalent circuit model analysis and fitting of impedance characteristics unequivocally show for the created grain boundary free switches that the oxide’s defects and its carrier distribution close to the electrode interface contribute to the resistive switching mechanism. The addressability of two sets of resistive ON and OFF states in one device through electric field strength and switching time offers exciting new operation schemes for memory devices.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Strontium, Fundamental physics concepts, Electrochemistry, Oxide, Permittivity