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Journal: Nanotechnology


This paper reports the optical and thermal response of a single-walled carbon nanotube-copper sulfide nanoparticle (SWNT-CuS NP) hybrid nanomaterial and its application as a thermoelectric generator. The hybrid nanomaterial was synthesized using oleylamine molecules as the linker molecules between SWNTs and CuS NPs. Measurements found that the hybrid nanomaterial has significantly increased light absorption (up to 80%) compared to the pure SWNT. Measurements also found that the hybrid nanomaterial thin-film devices exhibit a clear optical and thermal switching effect, which can be further enhanced up to 10 ×  by asymmetric illumination of light and thermal radiation on the thin-film devices instead of symmetric illumination. A simple prototype thermoelectric generator enabled by the hybrid nanomaterials is demonstrated, indicating a new route for achieving thermoelectricity.

Concepts: Photon, Electromagnetic radiation, Sun, Nanotechnology, Nanomaterials, Carbon nanotube, Thermoelectric effect


We demonstrate the rapid and label-free capture of breast cancer cells spiked in blood using nanotube-antibody micro-arrays. 76-element single wall carbon nanotube arrays were manufactured using photo-lithography, metal deposition, and etching techniques. Anti-epithelial cell adhesion molecule (anti-EpCAM), Anti-human epithelial growth factor receptor 2 (anti-Her2) and non-specific IgG antibodies were functionalized to the surface of the nanotube devices using 1-pyrene-butanoic acid succinimidyl ester. Following device functionalization, blood spiked with SKBR3, MCF7 and MCF10A cells (100/1000 cells per 5 μl per device, 170 elements totaling 0.85 ml of whole blood) were adsorbed on to the nanotube device arrays. Electrical signatures were recorded from each device to screen the samples for differences in interaction (specific or non-specific) between samples and devices. A zone classification scheme enabled the classification of all 170 elements in a single map. A kernel-based statistical classifier for the ‘liquid biopsy’ was developed to create a predictive model based on dynamic time warping series to classify device electrical signals that corresponded to plain blood (control) or SKBR3 spiked blood (case) on anti-Her2 functionalized devices with ∼90% sensitivity, and 90% specificity in capture of 1000 SKBR3 breast cancer cells in blood using anti-Her2 functionalized devices. Screened devices that gave positive electrical signatures were confirmed using optical/confocal microscopy to hold spiked cancer cells. Confocal microscopic analysis of devices that were classified to hold spiked blood based on their electrical signatures confirmed the presence of cancer cells through staining for DAPI (nuclei), cytokeratin (cancer cells) and CD45 (hematologic cells) with single cell sensitivity. We report 55%-100% cancer cell capture yield depending on the active device area for blood adsorption with mean of 62% (∼12 500 captured off 20 000 spiked cells in 0.1 ml blood) in this first nanotube-CTC chip study.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Cancer staging, Chemotherapy, Leukemia, Pleural effusion


Many colloidal synthesis routes are not scalable to high production rates, especially for nanoparticles of complex shape or composition, due to precursor expense and hazards, low yields, and the large number of processing steps. The present work describes a strategy to synthesize hollow nanoparticles (HNPs) out of metal chalcogenides, based on the slow heating of a low-melting-point metal salt, an elemental chalcogen, and an alkylammonium surfactant in octadecene solvent. The synthesis and characterization of CdSe HNPs with an outer diameter of 15.6 ± 3.5 nm and a shell thickness of 5.4 ± 0.9 nm are specifically detailed here. The HNP synthesis is proposed to proceed with the formation of alkylammonium-stabilized nano-sized droplets of molten cadmium salt, which then come into contact with dissolved selenium species to form a CdSe shell at the droplet surface. In a reaction-diffusion mechanism similar to the nanoscale Kirkendall effect it is speculated that the cadmium migrates outwardly through this shell to react with more selenium, causing the CdSe shell to thicken. The proposed CdSe HNP structure comprises a polycrystalline CdSe shell coated with a thin layer of amorphous selenium. Photovoltaic device characterization indicates that HNPs have improved electron transport characteristics compared to standard CdSe quantum dots, possibly due to this selenium layer. The HNPs are colloidally stable in organic solvents even though carboxylate, phosphine, and amine ligands are absent; stability is attributed to octadecene-selenide species bound to the particle surface. This scalable synthesis method presents opportunities to generate hollow nanoparticles with increased structural and compositional variety.

Concepts: Nanoparticle, Quantum dot, Colloid, Solvent, Liquid, Cadmium, Solar cell, Solution


In this work, a flash light sintering process using silver nano-inks is investigated. A silver nano-ink pattern was printed on a flexible PET (polyethylene terephthalate) substrate using a gravure-offset printing system. The printed silver nano-ink was sintered at room temperature and under ambient conditions using a flash of light from a xenon lamp using an in-house flash light sintering system. In order to monitor the light sintering process, a Wheatstone bridge electrical circuit was devised and changes in the voltage difference of the silver nano-ink were recorded during the sintering process using an oscilloscope. The sheet resistance changes during the sintering process were monitored using the in situ monitoring system devised, under various light conditions (e.g. light energy, on-time and off-time duration, and pulse numbers). The microstructure of the sintered silver film and the interface between the silver film and the PET substrate were observed using a scanning electron microscope, a focused ion beam and an optical microscope. The electrical sheet resistances of the sintered silver films were measured using a four-point probe method. Using the in situ monitoring system devised, the flash light sintering mechanism was studied for each type of light pulse (e.g. evaporation of organic binder followed by the forming of a neck-like junction and its growth, etc).The optimal flash light sintering condition is suggested on the basis of the in situ monitoring results. The optimized flash light sintering process produces a silver film with a lower sheet resistance (0.95 Ω/sq) compared with that of the thermally sintered silver film (2.03 Ω/sq) without damaging the PET substrate or allowing interfacial delamination between the silver film and the PET substrate.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Microscope, Gold, Scanning electron microscope, Sintering, Electrical resistance, Focused ion beam


We report local and non-local measurements in pin-hole dominated mesoscopic multigraphene spin-valves. Local spin-valve measurements show spurious switching behavior in resistance during magnetic field sweeping similar to the signal observed due to spin injection into multigraphene. The switching behavior has been explained in terms of a local Hall effect due to a thickness irregularity of the tunnel barrier. The local Hall effect appears due to a large local magnetostatic field produced near the roughness in the AlO(x) tunnel barrier. In our samples the resistance change due to the local Hall effect remains negligibly small above 75 K. A strong local Hall effect might hinder spin injection into multigraphene, resulting in no spin signal in non-local measurements.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Spin, Electric current, Magnetism, Semiconductor, Hall effect, Magnetostatics, Current density


Coaxial nanorods with a single-crystalline core and nanocrystal sensitizer shell are a promising nanostructure to enhance the performance of semiconductor sensitized solar cells. Herein, we report the fabrication of coaxial nanorods by depositing n-type CdS and p-type CdTe nanocrystals sequentially on ZnO nanorods. We find that p-type CdTe nanocrystals can work jointly with n-type CdS nanocrystals to enhance the photocurrent and voltage, achieving a conversion efficiency more than three times that of pure ZnO/CdS nanorods. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy characterization suggests that the stepwise band structure of ZnO/CdS/CdTe is conducive to improving charge separation and extending the electron diffusion length, finally contributing to a high conversion efficiency.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Electrochemistry, Nanomaterials, Semiconductor, Solar cell, Diode, Band gap, Cadmium telluride


Microcantilever biosensors in the static operation mode translate molecular recognition into a surface stress signal. Surface stress is derived from the nanomechanical cantilever bending by applying Stoney’s equation, derived more than 100 years ago. This equation ignores the clamping effect on the cantilever deformation, which induces significant errors in the quantification of the biosensing response. This leads to discrepancies in the surface stress induced by biomolecular interactions in measurements with cantilevers with different sizes and geometries. So far, more accurate solutions have been precluded by the formidable complexity of the theoretical problem that involves solving the two-dimensional biharmonic equation. In this paper, we present an accurate and simple analytical expression to quantify the response of microcantilever biosensors. The equation exhibits an excellent agreement with finite element simulations and DNA immobilization experiments on gold-coated microcantilevers.

Concepts: Linear elasticity, Cantilever, Beam, Cantilever bridge, Fallingwater


Currently, much attention is being paid to patterned multilayer systems in which there exists a perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, because of their potential applications in spintronics devices and in a new generation of magnetic storage media. To further improve their performance, different patterning techniques can be used, which render them suitable also for other applications. Here we show that He(+) 10 keV and Ar(+) 100 keV ion bombardment of (Ni(80)Fe(20)-2 nm/Au-2 nm/Co-0.6 nm/Au-2 nm)(10) multilayers through colloidal mask enables magnetic patterning of regularly arranged cylindrical magnetic domains, with perpendicular anisotropy, embedded in a non-ferromagnetic matrix or in a ferromagnetic matrix with magnetization oriented along the normal. These domains form an almost perfect two-dimensional hexagonal lattice with a submicron period and a large correlation length in a continuous and flat multilayer system. The magnetic anisotropy of these artificial domains remains unaffected by the magnetic patterning process, however the magnetization configuration of such a system depends on the magnetic properties of the matrix. The micromagnetic simulations were used to explain some of the features of the investigated patterned structures.

Concepts: Electron, Magnetic field, Magnetism, Ferromagnetism, Artificial intelligence, The Matrix, Storage media, Domain wall


Nanostructured cubic zirconia is a strategic material for biomedical applications since it combines superior structural and optical properties with a nanoscale morphology able to control cell adhesion and proliferation. We produced nanostructured cubic zirconia thin films at room temperature by supersonic cluster beam deposition of nanoparticles produced in the gas phase. Precise control of film roughness at the nanoscale is obtained by operating in a ballistic deposition regime. This allows one to study the influence of nanoroughness on cell adhesion, while keeping the surface chemistry constant. We evaluated cell adhesion on nanostructured zirconia with an osteoblast-like cell line using confocal laser scanning microscopy for detailed morphological and cytoskeleton studies. We demonstrated that the organization of cytoskeleton and focal adhesion formation can be controlled by varying the evolution of surface nanoroughness.

Concepts: Optics, Cell biology, Condensed matter physics, Nanotechnology, Materials science, Zirconium dioxide, Cubic zirconia, Yttria-stabilized zirconia


The magnetocaloric effects and lower critical solution temperature (LCST) were investigated in a magnetothermally-responsive nanocarrier for magnetothermal drug release under alternating magnetic field (AMF). The Mn(0.2)Zn(0.8)Fe(2)O(4) nanoparticles with low T© were dispersed in a polymeric matrix consisting of N-Isopropyl acrylamide (NIPAAm) and N-hydroxymethyl acrylamide (HMAAm). The magnetocaloric effects and LCST of the nanocarriers were characterized by using high-resolution electron transmission microscopy, thermogravimetric analyses, and vibrating sample magnetometer. The maximum self-heating temperature of 42.9 °C was achieved by optimizing the Mn(0.2)Zn(0.8)Fe(2)O(4) concentration in the polymer matrix. By adjusting the NIPAAm to HMAAm ratio, the LCST was controlled at an ideal level of 40.1 °C for efficient thermosensitive drug delivery. Magnetothermally responsive drug release of Doxorubicin, an anticancer drug, was significantly enhanced by application of an external AMF on the nanocarriers. The cytotoxicity experimental results in vitro show good biocompatibility and efficient therapeutic effects in cancer treatment.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Magnetometer, Polymer, Magnetism, Lower critical solution temperature, Upper critical solution temperature, Vibrating sample magnetometer, Critical phenomena