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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


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


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


In recent years, organo-halide perovskite solar cells have garnered a surge of interest due to their high performance and low-cost fabrication processing. Owing to the multilayer architecture of perovskite solar cells, interface not only has a pivotal role to play in performance, but also influences long-term stability. Here we have employed diverse morphologies of electron selective layer (ESL) to elucidate charge extraction behavior in perovskite solar cells. The TiO₂ mesoporous structure (three-dimensional) having varied thickness, and nanocolumns (1-dimensional) with tunable length were employed. We found that a TiO₂ electron selective layer with thickness of about c.a. 100 nm, irrespective of its microstructure, was optimal for efficient charge extraction. Furthermore, by employing impedance spectroscopy at different excitation wavelengths, we studied the nature of recombination and its dependence on the charge generation profile, and results showed that, irrespective of the wavelength region, the fresh devices do not possess any preferential recombination site, and recombination process is governed by the bulk of the perovskite layer. Moreover, depending on the type of ESL, a different recombination mechanism was observed that influences the final behavior of the devices.


Thermo-responsive hydrogel is an important smart material. However, its slow thermal response rate limits the scope of its applications. Boron nitride nanosheet-reinforced thermos-responsive hydrogels, which can be controlled by heating, were fabricated by in situ polymerization of N-isopropylacrylamide in the presence of boron nitride nanosheets. The hydrogels exhibit excellent thermo-responsiveness and much enhanced thermal response rate than that of pure poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) hydrogels. Interestingly, the hydrogels can be driven to move in aqueous solution by heating. Importantly, the composite hydrogel is hydrophilic at a temperature below lower critical solution temperature (LCST), while it is hydrophobic at a temperature above LCST. Therefore, it can be used for quick absorption and release of dyes and oils from water. All these properties demonstrate the potential of hydrogel composites for water purification and treatment.


In this study, a previously known high-affinity silica binding protein (SB) was genetically engineered to fuse with an integrin-binding peptide (RGD) to create a recombinant protein (SB-RGD). SB-RGD was successfully expressed in Escherichia coli and purified using silica beads through a simple and fast centrifugation method. A further functionality assay showed that SB-RGD bound to the silica surface with an extremely high affinity that required 2 M MgCl₂ for elution. Through a single-step incubation, the purified SB-RGD proteins were noncovalently coated onto an electrospun silica nanofiber (SNF) substrate to fabricate the SNF-SB-RGD substrate. SNF-SB-RGD was characterized by a combination of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and immunostaining fluorescence microscopy. As PC12 cells were seeded onto the SNF-SB-RGD surface, significantly higher cell viability and longer neurite extensions were observed when compared to those on the control surfaces. These results indicated that SB-RGD could serve as a noncovalent coating biologic to support and promote neuron growth and differentiation on silica-based substrates for neuronal tissue engineering. It also provides proof of concept for the possibility to genetically engineer protein-based signaling molecules to noncovalently modify silica-based substrates as bioinspired material.


In a recent report, the World Health Organisation (WHO) classified antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest threats to global health, food security, and development. Methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus(MRSA) remains at the core of this threat, with persistent and resilient strains detectable in up to 90% ofS. aureusinfections. Unfortunately, there is a lack of novel antibiotics reaching the clinic to address the significant morbidity and mortality that MRSA is responsible for. Recently, nanomedicine strategies have emerged as a promising therapy to combat the rise of MRSA. However, these approaches have been wide-ranging in design, with few attempts to compare studies across scientific and clinical disciplines. This review seeks to reconcile this discrepancy in the literature, with specific focus on the mechanisms of MRSA infection and how they can be exploited by bioactive molecules that are delivered by nanomedicines, in addition to utilisation of the nanomaterials themselves as antibacterial agents. Finally, we discuss targeting MRSA biofilms using nano-patterning technologies and comment on future opportunities and challenges for MRSA treatment using nanomedicine.

Concepts: Bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Vancomycin, Penicillin


The present work was targeted to design a surface against cell seeding and adhering of bacteria, Bacillus subtilis. A multi-walled carbon nanotube/titanium dioxide nano-power was produced via simple mixing of carbon nanotube and titanium dioxide nanoparticles during the sol-gel process followed by heat treatment. Successfully, quercetin was immobilized on the nanocomposite via physical adsorption to form a quercetin/multi-walled carbon nanotube/titanium dioxide nanocomposite. The adhesion of bacteria on the coated-slides was verified after 24 h using confocal laser-scanning microscopy. Results indicated that the quercetin/multi-walled carbon nanotube/titanium dioxide nanocomposite had more negativity and higher recovery by glass surfaces than its counterpart. Moreover, coating surfaces with the quercetin-modified nanocomposite lowered both hydrophilicity and surface-attached bacteria compared to surfaces coated with the multi-walled carbon nanotubes/titanium dioxide nanocomposite.

Concepts: Bacteria, Carbon, Nanomaterials, Sol-gel, Carbon nanotube, Materials science, Bacillus, Titanium dioxide