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Journal: Nanomaterials (Basel, Switzerland)


The main goal of the present work is to study the coherent phonon in strongly confined CdSe quantum dots (QDs) under varied pump fluences. The main characteristics of coherent phonons (amplitude, frequency, phase, spectrogram) of CdSe QDs under the red-edge pump of the excitonic band [1S(e)-1S3/2(h)] are reported. We demonstrate for the first time that the amplitude of the coherent optical longitudinal-optical (LO) phonon at 6.16 THz excited in CdSe nanoparticles by a femtosecond unchirped pulse shows a non-monotone dependence on the pump fluence. This dependence exhibits the maximum at pump fluence ~0.8 mJ/cm². At the same time, the amplitudes of the longitudinal acoustic (LA) phonon mode at 0.55 THz and of the coherent wave packet of toluene at 15.6, 23.6 THz show a monotonic rise with the increase of pump fluence. The time frequency representation of an oscillating signal corresponding to LO phonons revealed by continuous wavelet transform (CWT) shows a profound destructive quantum interference close to the origin of distinct (optical phonon) and continuum-like (exciton) quasiparticles. The CWT spectrogram demonstrates a nonlinear chirp at short time delays, where the chirp sign depends on the pump pulse fluence. The CWT spectrogram reveals an anharmonic coupling between optical and acoustic phonons.

Concepts: Photon, Condensed matter physics, Wave, Phase, Wavelength, Sound, Phonon, Wavelet


Heavily boron-doped silicon layers and boron etch-stop techniques have been widely used in the fabrication of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). This paper provides an introduction to the fabrication process of nanoscale silicon thermoelectric devices. Low-dimensional structures such as silicon nanowire (SiNW) have been considered as a promising alternative for thermoelectric applications in order to achieve a higher thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) than bulk silicon. Here, heavily boron-doped silicon layers and boron etch-stop processes for the fabrication of suspended SiNWs will be discussed in detail, including boron diffusion, electron beam lithography, inductively coupled plasma (ICP) etching and tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) etch-stop processes. A 7 μm long nanowire structure with a height of 280 nm and a width of 55 nm was achieved, indicating that the proposed technique is useful for nanoscale fabrication. Furthermore, a SiNW thermoelectric device has also been demonstrated, and its performance shows an obvious reduction in thermal conductivity.

Concepts: Nanotechnology, Microelectromechanical systems, Photolithography, Thermoelectric effect, Electron beam lithography, Tetramethylammonium hydroxide, Thermoelectric cooling, Dry etching


Here we report a low-cost synthetic approach for the direct fabrication of large-area Au nanourchin arrays on indium tin oxide (ITO) via a facile galvanic-cell-reaction-driven deposition in an aqueous solution of chloroauric acid and poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP). The homogeneous Au nanourchins are composed of abundant sharp nanotips, which can served as nanoantennas and increase the local electromagnetic field enhancement dramatically. Finite element theoretical calculations confirm the strong electromagnetic field can be created around the sharp nanotips and located in the nanogaps between adjacent tips of the Au nanourchins. In addition, the interparticle nanogaps between the neighboring Au nanourchins may create additional hotspots, which can induce the higher electromagnetic field intensity. By using rhodamine 6G as a test molecule, the large-area Au nanourchin arrays on ITO exhibit active, uniform, and reproducible surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) effect. To trial their practical application, the Au nanourchin arrays are utilized as SERS substrates to detect 3,3’,4,4’-tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB-77) one congener of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as a notorious class of persistent organic pollutants. The characteristic Raman peaks can be still identified when the concentration of PCB-77 is down to 5 × 10−6 M.

Concepts: Photon, Concentration, Chemistry, Indium tin oxide, Indium(III) oxide, Persistent organic pollutant, Polychlorinated biphenyl, Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins


Small fluoride nanoparticles (NPs) with strong down-conversion (DC) luminescence at 1.5 μm are quite desirable for optical fiber communication systems. Nevertheless, a problem exists regarding how to synthesize small fluoride NPs with strong DC emission at 1.5 μm. Herein, we propose an approach to improve 1.5 μm emission of BaLuF₅:Yb3+,Er3+ NPs by way of combining doping Ce3+ ions and coating multiple BaLuF₅: Yb3+ active-shells. We prepared the BaLuF₅:18%Yb3+,2%Er3+,2%Ce3+ NPs through a high-boiling solvent method. The effect of Ce3+ concentration on the DC luminescence was systematically investigated in the BaLuF₅:Yb3+,Er3+ NPs. Under a 980 nm laser excitation, the intensities of 1.53 μm emission of BaLuF₅:18%Yb3+,2%Er3+,2%Ce3+ NPs was enhanced by 2.6 times comparing to that of BaLuF₅:18%Yb3+,2%Er3+ NPs since the energy transfer between Er3+ and Ce3+ ions: Er3+:⁴I11/2 (Er3+) + ²F5/2 (Ce3+) → ⁴I13/2 (Er3+) + ²F7/2 (Ce3+). Then, we synthesized BaLuF₅:18%Yb3+,2%Er3+,2%Ce3+@BaLuF₅:5%Yb3+@BaLuF₅:5%Yb3+ core-active-shell-active-shell NPs via a layer-by-layer strategy. After coating two BaLuF₅:Yb3+ active-shell around BaLuF₅:Yb3+,Er3+,Ce3+ NPs, the intensities of the 1.53 μm emission was enhanced by 44 times compared to that of BaLuF₅:Yb3+,Er3+ core NPs, since the active-shells could be used to not only suppress surface quenching but also to transfer the pump light to the core region efficiently through Yb3+ ions inside the active-shells.


The inhibitory effect of gallium (Ga) ions on bone resorption and their superior microbial activity are attractive and sought-after features for the vast majority of implantable devices, in particular for implants used for hard tissue. In our work, for the first time, Ga ions were successfully incorporated into the surface of titanium metal (Ti) by simple and cost-effective chemical and heat treatments. Ti samples were initially treated in NaOH solution to produce a nanostructured sodium hydrogen titanate layer approximately 1 μm thick. When the metal was subsequently soaked in a mixed solution of CaCl₂ and GaCl₃, its Na ions were replaced with Ca and Ga ions in a Ga/Ca ratio range of 0.09 to 2.33. 8.0% of the Ga ions were incorporated into the metal surface when the metal was soaked in a single solution of GaCl₃ after the NaOH treatment. The metal was then heat-treated at 600 °C to form Ga-containing calcium titanate (Ga-CT) or gallium titanate (GT), anatase and rutile on its surface. The metal with Ga-CT formed bone-like apatite in a simulated body fluid (SBF) within 3 days, but released only 0.23 ppm of the Ga ions in a phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) over a period of 14 days. In contrast, Ti with GT did not form apatite in SBF, but released 2.96 ppm of Ga ions in PBS. Subsequent soaking in hot water at 80 °C dramatically enhanced apatite formation of the metal by increasing the release of Ga ions up to 3.75 ppm. The treated metal exhibited very high antibacterial activity against multidrug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MRAB12). Unlike other antimicrobial coating on titanium implants, Ga-CT and GT interfaces were shown to have a unique combination of antimicrobial and bioactive properties. Such dual activity is essential for the next generation of orthopaedic and dental implants. The goal of combining both functions without inducing cytotoxicity is a major advance and has far reaching translational perspectives. This unique dual-function biointerfaces will inhibit bone resorption and show antimicrobial activity through the release of Ga ions, while tight bonding to the bone will be achieved through the apatite formed on the surface.

Concepts: Bone, Hydrogen, Chemistry, Calcium, Sodium, Dental implant, Titanium, Acinetobacter baumannii


Even though cancer treatment has improved over the recent decades, still more specific and effective treatment concepts are mandatory. Surgical removal is not always possible, metastases are challenging and chemo- and radiotherapy can not only have severe side-effects but also resistances may occur. To cope with these challenges more efficient therapies with fewer side-effects are required. One promising approach is the use of drug delivery vehicles. Here, mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN) are discussed as biodegradable drug carrier to improve efficacy and reduce side-effects. MSN excellently fulfill the criteria for nanoparticulate carriers: their distinct structure allows high loading capacity and a plethora of surface modifications. MSN synthesis permits fine-tuning of particle and pore sizes. Moreover, drug release can be tailored through various gatekeeper systems which are for example pH-sensitive or redox-sensitive. Furthermore, MSN can either enter tumors passively by the enhanced permeability and retention effect or can be actively targeted by various ligands. PEGylation prolongs circulation time and availability. A huge advantage of MSN is their explicitly low toxic profile in vivo. Yet, clinical translation remains challenging. Overall, mesoporous silica nanoparticles are a promising tool for innovative, more efficient and safer cancer therapies.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Nanoparticle, Effectiveness, Chemotherapy, Mesoporous silica


For the last decades, nanocomposites materials have been widely studied in the scientific literature as they provide substantial properties enhancements, even at low nanoparticles content. Their performance depends on a number of parameters but the nanoparticles dispersion and distribution state remains the key challenge in order to obtain the full nanocomposites' potential in terms of, e.g., flame retardance, mechanical, barrier and thermal properties, etc., that would allow extending their use in the industry. While the amount of existing research and indeed review papers regarding the formulation of nanocomposites is already significant, after listing the most common applications, this review focuses more in-depth on the properties and materials of relevance in three target sectors: packaging, solar energy and automotive. In terms of advances in the processing of nanocomposites, this review discusses various enhancement technologies such as the use of ultrasounds for in-process nanoparticles dispersion. In the case of nanocoatings, it describes the different conventionally used processes as well as nanoparticles deposition by electro-hydrodynamic processing. All in all, this review gives the basics both in terms of composition and of processing aspects to reach optimal properties for using nanocomposites in the selected applications. As an outlook, up-to-date nanosafety issues are discussed.

Concepts: Energy, Sun, The Key, Solar energy, Solar power, Nanocomposite, Human enhancement, The Basics


In calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD), microcalcifications originating from nanoscale calcifying vesicles disrupt the aortic valve (AV) leaflets, which consist of three (biomechanically) distinct layers: the fibrosa, spongiosa, and ventricularis. CAVD has no pharmacotherapy and lacks in vitro models as a result of complex valvular biomechanical features surrounding resident mechanosensitive valvular interstitial cells (VICs). We measured layer-specific mechanical properties of the human AV and engineered a three-dimensional (3D)-bioprinted CAVD model that recapitulates leaflet layer biomechanics for the first time. Human AV leaflet layers were separated by microdissection, and nanoindentation determined layer-specific Young’s moduli. Methacrylated gelatin (GelMA)/methacrylated hyaluronic acid (HAMA) hydrogels were tuned to duplicate layer-specific mechanical characteristics, followed by 3D-printing with encapsulated human VICs. Hydrogels were exposed to osteogenic media (OM) to induce microcalcification, and VIC pathogenesis was assessed by near infrared or immunofluorescence microscopy. Median Young’s moduli of the AV layers were 37.1, 15.4, and 26.9 kPa (fibrosa/spongiosa/ventricularis, respectively). The fibrosa and spongiosa Young’s moduli matched the 3D 5% GelMa/1% HAMA UV-crosslinked hydrogels. OM stimulation of VIC-laden bioprinted hydrogels induced microcalcification without apoptosis. We report the first layer-specific measurements of human AV moduli and a novel 3D-bioprinted CAVD model that potentiates microcalcification by mimicking the native AV mechanical environment. This work sheds light on valvular mechanobiology and could facilitate high-throughput drug-screening in CAVD.


Hexagonally ordered arrays of polystyrene (PS) microspheres were prepared by a modified air-water self-assembly method. A detailed analysis of the air-water interface self-assembly process was conducted. Several parameters affect the quality of the monolayer colloidal crystals, i.e., the colloidal microsphere concentration on the latex, the surfactant concentration, the polystyrene microsphere diameter, the microsphere polydispersity, and the degree of sphericity of polystyrene microspheres. An abrupt change in surface tension was used to improve the quality of the monolayer colloidal crystal. Three typical microstructures, i.e., a cone, a pillar, and a binary structure were prepared by reactive-ion etching using a high-quality colloidal crystal mask. This study provides insight into the production of microsphere templates with flexible structures for large-area patterned materials.

Concepts: Crystal, Nanoparticle, Colloid, Materials science, Colloidal chemistry, Colloidal crystal, Photonic crystal, Crystals


Electrochemical gas sensors are often used for identifying and quantifying redox-active analyte gases in the atmosphere. However, for amperometric sensors, the current signal is usually dependent on the electroactive surface area, which can become small when using microelectrodes and miniaturized devices. Microarray thin-film electrodes (MATFEs) are commercially available, low-cost devices that give enhanced current densities compared to mm-sized electrodes, but still give low current responses (e.g., less than one nanoamp), when detecting low concentrations of gases. To overcome this, we have modified the surface of the MATFEs by depositing platinum into the recessed holes to create arrays of 3D structures with high surface areas. Dendritic structures have been formed using an additive, lead acetate (Pb(OAc)₂) into the plating solution. One-step and two-step depositions were explored, with a total deposition time of 300 s or 420 s. The modified MATFEs were then studied for their behavior towards oxygen reduction in the room temperature ionic liquid (RTIL) [N8,2,2,2][NTf₂]. Significantly enhanced currents for oxygen were observed, ranging from 9 to 16 times the current of the unmodified MATFE. The highest sensitivity was obtained using a two-step deposition with a total time of 420 s, and both steps containing Pb(OAc)₂. This work shows that commercially-available microelectrodes can be favorably modified to give significantly enhanced analytical performances.