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Journal: Materials (Basel, Switzerland)


The new three-dimensional structure that the graphene connected with SWCNTs (G-CNTs, Graphene Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes) can solve graphene and CNTs' problems. A comprehensive study of the mechanical and electrical performance of the junctions was performed by first-principles theory. There were eight types of junctions that were constituted by armchair and zigzag graphene and (3,3), (4,0), (4,4), and (6,0) CNTs. First, the junction strength was investigated. Generally, the binding energy of armchair G-CNTs was stronger than that of zigzag G-CNTs, and it was the biggest in the armchair G-CNTs (6,0). Likewise, the electrical performance of armchair G-CNTs was better than that of zigzag G-CNTs. Charge density distribution of G-CNTs (6,0) was the most homogeneous. Next, the impact factors of the electronic properties of armchair G-CNTs were investigated. We suggest that the band gap is increased with the length of CNTs, and its value should be dependent on the combined effect of both the graphene’s width and the CNTs' length. Last, the relationship between voltage and current (U/I) were studied. The U/I curve of armchair G-CNTs (6,0) possessed a good linearity and symmetry. These discoveries will contribute to the design and production of G-CNT-based devices.

Concepts: Electric charge, Carbon, Carbon nanotube, Allotropes of carbon, Graphite, Graphene, Tensile strength, Charge density


The frequent instability of mandibular removable complete dentures affects patient Oral Health Related Quality of Life (OHRQoL). An innovative therapeutic strategy used to improve stability involves placing four symphyseal mini-implants. This study was aimed at assessing OHRQoL over time in subjects in which mini-implants were placed and exploring if certain parameters could predict the evolution of their OHRQoL. The OHRQoL of subjects with dentures was assessed using the Geriatric Oral Health Assessment Index (GOHAI) before (T0), 2-6 months (T1), twelve months (T2) and twenty-four or more months (T3) after mini-implant setting. Age, gender and chewing ability were tested as explanatory variables for the change in OHRQoL with time. Thirteen women and six men were included (mean age: 69 ± 10 years). After treatment, mean GOHAI scores at T1, T2 and T3 increased significantly (p < 0.001). The GOHAI-Add mean score was not affected by age or gender. Baseline chewing ability impacted the "functional" and "pain and discomfort" fields of the mean GOHAI scores (p < 0.05). The OHRQoL quickly improved after mini-implant placement in complete denture wearers and then stabilized over time. Baseline chewing ability can be used as a predictive parameter of OHRQoL.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Future, Dentistry, Dentures, Removable partial denture, Currying


The purpose of this study is to understand the basic mechanisms responsible for the synthesis of nanostructured diamond films in a microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (MPCVD) process and to identify plasma chemistry suitable for controlling the morphology and electrical properties of deposited films. The nanostructured diamond films were synthesized by MPCVD on Ti-6Al-4V alloy substrates using H₂/CH₄/N₂ precursor gases and the plasma chemistry was monitored by the optical emission spectroscopy (OES). The synthesized thin-films were characterized by x-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. The addition of B₂H₆ to the feedgas during MPCVD of diamond thin-films changes the crystal grain size from nanometer to micron scale. Nanostructured diamond films grown with H₂/CH₄/N₂ gases demonstrate a broad (111) Bragg x-ray diffraction peak (Full-Width at Half-Maximum (FWHM) = 0.93° 2θ), indicating a small grain size, whereas scans show a definite sharpening of the diamond (111) peak (FWHM = 0.30° 2θ) with the addition of boron. OES showed a decrease in CN (carbon-nitrogen) radical in the plasma with B₂H₆ addition to the gas mixture. Our study indicates that CN radical plays a critical role in the synthesis of nanostructured diamond films and suppression of CN radical by boron-addition in the plasma causes a morphological transition to microcrystalline diamond.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Diffraction, X-ray, X-ray crystallography, Gas, Chemical vapor deposition, Silicon carbide


We fabricated lithium trivanadate LiV₃O₈ (LVO) film electrodes for the first time on a garnet-type Ta-doped Li₇La₃Zr₂O12 (LLZT) solid electrolyte using the aerosol deposition (AD) method. Ball-milled LVO powder with sizes in the range of 0.5⁻2 µm was used as a raw material for LVO film fabrication via impact consolidation at room temperature. LVO film (thickness = 5 µm) formed by AD has a dense structure composed of deformed and fractured LVO particles and pores were not observed at the LVO/LLZT interface. For electrochemical characterization of LVO film electrodes, lithium (Li) metal foil was attached on the other end face of a LLZT pellet to comprise a LVO/LLZT/Li all-solid-state cell. From impedance measurements, the charge transfer resistance at the LVO/LLZT interface is estimated to be around 10³ Ω cm² at room temperature, which is much higher than at the Li/LLZT interface. Reversible charge and discharge reactions in the LVO/LLZT/Li cell were demonstrated and the specific capacities were 100 and 290 mAh g-1 at 50 and 100 °C. Good cycling stability of electrode reaction indicates strong adhesion between the LVO film electrode formed via impact consolidation and LLZT.


Rapid depletion of fossil fuel and increased energy demand has initiated a need for an alternative energy source to cater for the growing energy demand. Fuel cells are an enabling technology for the conversion of sustainable energy carriers (e.g., renewable hydrogen or bio-gas) into electrical power and heat. However, the hazardous raw materials and complicated experimental procedures used to produce electro-catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in fuel cells has been a concern for the effective implementation of these catalysts. Therefore, environmentally friendly and low-cost oxygen reduction electro-catalysts synthesised from natural products are considered as an attractive alternative to currently used synthetic materials involving hazardous chemicals and waste. Herein, we describe a unique integrated oxygen reduction three-dimensional composite catalyst containing both nitrogen-doped carbon fibers (N-CF) and carbon microspheres (N-CMS) synthesised from apricot sap from an apricot tree. The synthesis was carried out via three-step process, including apricot sap resin preparation, hydrothermal treatment, and pyrolysis with a nitrogen precursor. The nitrogen-doped electro-catalysts synthesised were characterised by SEM, TEM, XRD, Raman, and BET techniques followed by electro-chemical testing for ORR catalysis activity. The obtained catalyst material shows high catalytic activity for ORR in the basic medium by facilitating the reaction via a four-electron transfer mechanism.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Enzyme, Hydrogen, Electrochemistry, Catalysis, Nitrogen, Carbon, Energy development


Lipid droplets (LDs) are organelles that serve as the storage of intracellular neutral lipids. LDs regulate many physiological processes. They recently attracted attention after extensive studies showed their involvement in metabolic disorders and diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Therefore, it is of the highest importance to have reliable imaging tools. In this review, we focus on recent advances in the development of selective fluorescent probes for LDs. Their photophysical properties are described, and their advantages and drawbacks in fluorescence imaging are discussed. At last, we review the reported applications using these probes including two-photon excitation, in vivo and tissue imaging, as well as LDs tracking.


Vancomycin is the treatment of choice for infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Clinically, combinations of vancomycin (VAN) and beta-lactams have been shown to improve patient outcomes compared to VAN alone for the treatment of MRSA bloodstream infections. However, VAN is known to cause nephrotoxicity, which could be ameliorated using biocompatible lipid drug delivery systems or liposomes. Previous attempts have been made for encapsulation of VAN in liposomes; however, drug loading has been poor, mainly because of the high aqueous solubility of VAN. In this study, we report a robust method to achieve high loading of VAN and cefazolin (CFZ) in unilamellar liposomes. Liposomes of sizes between 170⁻198 nm were prepared by modified reverse phase evaporation method and achieved high loading of 40% and 26% (weight/weight) for VAN and CFZ, respectively. Liposomal VAN reduced minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values 2-fold in comparison to commercial VAN. The combination of liposomal VAN (LVAN) and liposomal CFZ (LCFZ) demonstrated a 7.9-fold reduction compared to LVAN alone. Rhodamine dye-loaded liposomes demonstrated superior cellular uptake in macrophage-like RAW 264.7 cells. Fluorescent images of LVAN-encapsulating near-infrared (NIR) dye, S0456 (LVAN-S0456) clearly indicated that LVAN-S0456 had reduced renal excretion with very low fluorescent intensity in the kidneys. It is anticipated that the long circulation and reduced kidney clearance of LVAN-S0456 compared to VAN-S0456 injected in mice can lead to enhanced efficacy against MRSA infections with reduced nephrotoxicity. Overall, our developed formulations of VAN when administered alone or in combination with CFZ, provide a rational approach for combating MRSA infections.


The eye has many barriers with specific anatomies that make it difficult to deliver drugs to targeted ocular tissues, and topical administration using eye drops or ointments usually needs multiple instillations to maintain the drugs’ therapeutic concentration because of their low bioavailability. A drug-eluting contact lens is one of the more promising platforms for controllable ocular drug delivery, and, among various manufacturing methods for drug-eluting contact lenses, incorporation of novel polymeric vehicles with versatile features makes it possible to deliver the drugs in a sustained and extended manner. Using the diverse physicochemical properties of polymers for nanoparticles or implants that are selected according to the characteristics of drugs, enhancement of encapsulation efficiency and prolonged drug release are possible. Even though therapeutic contact lenses with polymeric vehicles allow us to achieve sustained ocular drug delivery, drug leaching during storage and distribution and the possibility of problems related to surface roughness due to the incorporated vehicles still need to be discussed before application in a real clinic. This review highlights the overall trends in methodology to develop therapeutic contact lenses with polymeric vehicles and discusses the limitations including comparison to cosmetically tinted soft contact lenses.


The gap of standardization for conducted and field coupled electromagnetic interferences (EMI) in the 2-150 kHz frequency range can lead to Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) problems. This is caused by power systems such as Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) controlled rectifiers, photovoltaic inverters or charging battery units in electric vehicles. This is a very important frequency spectral due to interferences generated in a wide range of devices and, specifically, communication problems in the new technologies and devices incorporated to the traditional grid to convert it into a Smart Grid. Consequently, it is necessary to provide new solutions to attenuate this kind of interference, which involves finding new materials that are able to filter the electromagnetic noise. This contribution is focused on characterizing the performance of a novel material based on nanocrystalline and comparing it to most common material compositions such as MnZn and NiZn. This research is carried out from the point of view of the manufacturing process, magnetic properties and EMI suppression ability. This last item is carried out through two analysis procedures: a theoretical method by determining the attenuation ratio by measuring impedance parameter and proposing a new empirical technique based on measuring directly the insertion loss parameter. Therefore, the main aim of this characterization process is to determine the performance of nanocrystalline compared to traditional cable ferrite compositions to reduce the interferences in this controversial frequency range. From the results obtained, it is possible to deduce that nanocrystalline cable ferrite provides the best performance to filter the electromagnetic noise in the 2-150 kHz frequency range.

Concepts: Electromagnetic radiation, Materials science, Frequency, Hertz, Wavelength, Sound, Electromagnetic interference, Pulse-width modulation


Biomass energy with CO₂ capture could achieve net negative emissions, vital for meeting carbon budgets and emission targets. However, biomass often has significant quantities of light metals/inorganics that cause issues for boiler operation and downstream processes; including deposition, corrosion, and solvent degradation. This study investigated the pilot-scale combustion of a typical biomass used for power generation (white wood) and assessed the variations in metal aerosol release compared to bituminous coal. Using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry, it was found that K aerosol levels were significantly greater for biomass than coal, on average 6.5 times, with peaks up to 10 times higher; deposition could thus be more problematic, although Na emissions were only 20% of those for coal. Transition metals were notably less prevalent in the biomass flue gas; with Fe and V release in particular much lower (3⁻4% of those for coal). Solvent degradation may therefore be less severe for biomass-generated flue gases. Furthermore, aerosol emissions of toxic/heavy metals (As/Cd/Hg) were absent from biomass combustion, with As/Cd also not detected in the coal flue gas. Negligible Cr aerosol concentrations were found for both. Overall, except for K, metal aerosol release from biomass combustion was considerably reduced compared to coal.