[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Efficient photocatalytic water splitting requires effective generation, separation and transfer of photo-induced charge carriers that can hardly be achieved simultaneously in a single material. Here we show that the effectiveness of each process can be separately maximized in a nanostructured heterojunction with extremely thin absorber layer. We demonstrate this concept on WO3 /BiVO4 +CoPi core-shell nanostructured photoanode that achieves near theoretical water splitting efficiency. BiVO4 is characterized by a high recombination rate of photogenerated carriers that have much shorter diffusion length than the thickness required for sufficient light absorption. This issue can be resolved by the combination of BiVO4 with more conductive WO3 nanorods in a form of core-shell heterojunction, where the BiVO4 absorber layer is thinner than the carrier diffusion length while it's optical thickness is reestablished by light trapping in high aspect ratio nanostructures. Our photoanode demonstrates ultimate water splitting photocurrent of 6.72 mA cm −2 under 1 sun illumination at 1.23 V RHE that corresponds to ~90% of the theoretically possible value for BiVO4. We also demonstrate a self-biased operation of the photoanode in tandem with a double-junction GaAs/InGaAsP photovoltaic cell with stable water splitting photocurrent of 6.56 mA cm −2 that corresponds to the solar to hydrogen generation efficiency of 8.1%.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transport and behavior of nanoparticles, viruses, and biomacromolecules in 10-1000 nm confined spaces (hereafter "extended nanospaces") is important for novel analytical devices based on nanofluidics. This study investigated the concentration and diffusion of 64-nm nanoparticles in a fused-silica nanochannel of 410 nm depth, using evanescent wave-based particle velocimetry. We found that the injection of nanoparticles into the nanochannel by pressure-driven flow was significantly inhibited and that the nanoparticle diffusion was hindered anisotropically. A 0.2-pN repulsive force induced by the interaction between the nanoparticles and the channel wall is proposed as the dominant factor governing the behavior of nanoparticles in the nanochannel, on the basis of both experimental measurements and theoretical estimations. The results of this study will greatly further our understanding of mass transfer in extended nanospaces.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding liquid structure and the electrical properties of liquids confined in extended nanospaces (10-1000 nm) is important for nanofluidics and nanochemistry. To understand these liquid properties requires determination of the dielectric constant of liquids confined in extended nanospaces. A novel dielectric constant measurement method has thus been developed for extended nanospaces using a streaming potential method. We focused on the non-steady-state streaming potential in extended nanospaces and successfully measured the dielectric constant of liquids within them without the use of probe molecules. The dielectric constant of water was determined to be significantly reduced by about 3 times compared to that of the bulk. This result contributes key information toward further understanding of the chemistry and fluidics in extended nanospaces.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An extended nanospace (10—100 nm scale) makes it possible to induce unique physicochemical properties, because scientific and technological concepts in this region are shifted from the bulk condensed phase to single molecule, and from microfluidic technology to conventional nanotechnology, respectively. In this study, the molecular structure and dynamics of water and nonaqueous solvents confined in extended nanospaces on a fused-silica substrate were examined by using NMR chemical spectra, relaxation times, and so on. The results showed that the collective properties of molecular clusters with a size range from 10 to 100 nm in a liquid phase were characterized due to the effects of charged surface SiOH groups, and that unique properties differing from bulk water and surface-adsorbing water could appear in extended nanospaces. In particular, we found that (1) inhibition of molecular translational motions, (2) localization of proton charge distribution along a linear O···H-O hydrogen bonding chain, and (3) an enhancement of proton transfer of water due to the Grotthuss mechanism; (∫SiO−···H+···H2O) + H2O→∫SiO− + (H3O+ + H2O)→∫SiO− + (H2O + H3O+), were induced in extended nanospaces. Such changes appeared for sizes smaller than 800 nm. These results suggested that a proton transfer phase, in which water molecules are loosely coupled within about 50 nm from the surface, exists in extended nanospaces. This model could be qualitatively supported by a three-phase theory invoking the bulk, proton transfer, and surface-adsorbing phases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nanostructured photoanodes based on well-separated and vertically oriented WO3 nanorods capped with extremely thin BiVO4 absorber layers are fabricated by the combination of Glancing Angle Deposition and normal physical sputtering techniques. The optimized WO3-NRs/BiVO4 photoanode modified with Co-Pi oxygen evolution co-catalyst shows remarkably stable photocurrents of 3.2 and 5.1 mA/cm2 at 1.23 V versus a reversible hydrogen electrode in a stable Na2SO4 electrolyte under simulated solar light at the standard 1 Sun and concentrated 2 Suns illumination, respectively. The photocurrent enhancement is attributed to the faster charge separation in the electronically thin BiVO4 layer and significantly reduced charge recombination. The enhanced light trapping in the nanostructured WO3-NRs/BiVO4 photoanode effectively increases the optical thickness of the BiVO4 layer and results in efficient absorption of the incident light.
Small 09/2014; 10(18). DOI:10.1002/smll.201400276 · 8.37 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a novel method to analysis clenbuterol based on a competitive microfluidic immunoassay scheme with micro-ELISA system, and obtained a limit of detection that is less than 0.1 ng/ml and a quantitative working range of 0.1 ng/ml to 27.0 ng/ml. The approach was envisaged to be a promising method for efficient onsite clenbuterol control with good sensitivity and portability.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The small length scales that make microfluidics attractive are also the source of some very stringent constraints, especially with respect to the detection approach used. The low concentrations often analyzed in microfluidic devices require highly sensitive detection methods that are effective even in vanishingly small sample volumes. Over the years many detection approaches have been developed for microfluidics. The majority of these methods rely upon optical phenomena, with the most common being fluorescence detection. Fluorescence detection is well suited to microfluidics because it is both flexible and sensitive, however, it does have shortcomings. Weak fluorescence of targets, autofluorescence of materials, and photobleaching are a few of the issues that have to be dealt with when working with fluorescence detection. Another option that eliminates all of these problems is thermal lens microscopy (TLM), a photothermal spectroscopy technique. TLM is a flexible, sensitive detection approach for nonâfluorescent molecules that is capable of carrying out single molecule detection to label free in vivo quantification. Despite the potential benefits of TLM, it is still an underutilized detection approach. We hope this review will help broaden the use of TLM for microchipâbased CE, as well as a host of other microfluidic applications. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We demonstrate a new approach to plasmonic enhanced photocatalytic water splitting by developing a novel core-shell Ti@TiO2 brush nanostructure where an elongated Ti nanorod forms a plasmonic core that concentrates light inside of a nanotubular anodic TiO2 shell. Following the ubiquitous element approach aimed at providing an enhanced device functionality without the usage of noble or rare earth elements, we utilized only inexpensive Ti to create a complex Ti@TiO2 nanostructure with an enhanced UV and Vis photocatalytic activity that emerges from the interplay between the surface plasmon resonance in the Ti core, Vis light absorption in the Ti-rich oxide layer at the Ti/TiO2 interface and UV light absorption in the nanotubular TiO2 shell.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nanofluidics in 10(1) nm space, whose scale is comparable to the electric double layer (EDL) and the size of biomolecules, promises novel functional analytical devices. However, the detection, which is indispensable to the integrated chemical system, is still challenging in such an ultra-small space. Previously, we reported a differential interference contrast thermal lens microscope (DIC-TLM) based on the photothermal interferometry principle and succeeded in detection of nonfluorescent molecules in 10(2) nm spaces. However, the thermal diffusion into substrates becomes a problem for detection in 10(1) nm spaces. The DIC-TLM signals are significantly cancelled out in spaces much smaller than the confocal length (∼10(2) nm), which makes DIC-TLM detection in 10(1) nm space quite difficult. To overcome this problem, we propose a new channel structure that benefits the thermal diffusion and sensitivity enhancement in DIC-TLM by employing TiO2 as a substrate material for compensating the signal cancellation effect. As a result, DIC-TLM detection of nonfluorescent molecules (800 molecules) was successfully demonstrated in a nanochannel with a depth of 50 nm. The developed detection method will contribute to the functional nanofluidic devices utilizing 10(1) nm spaces.
The Analyst 04/2014; 139(11). DOI:10.1039/c4an00344f · 4.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The growing need to optimize immunoassay performance driven by interest in analyzing individual cells has resulted in a decrease in the amount of sample required. Miniaturized immunoassays that use ultra-small femtoliter to attoliter sample volumes, a range known as the extended nanospace, can satisfy this analytical need; however, capturing every targeted molecule without loss in extended nanochannels for subsequent detection remains challenging. This is the first report of a successful extended nanofluidics-based quantitative immunochemical reaction capable of high capture efficiency using a femtoliter-scale sample volume. A novel patterning method using a photolithographic technique with vacuum ultraviolet light and low-temperature (100 °C) bonding enables patterning of functional groups for antibody immobilization before bonding, resulting in an immunochemical reaction space of only 86 fL. Reaction rate analyses indicate a decrease in the required sample volume to 810 fL and improvement in the limit of detection to 3 zmol, 5-6 orders of magnitude better than possible with the microfluidic immunoassay format. Highly efficient (near 100%) immunochemical reactions on a seconds time scale are possible due to the nm-scale diffusion length, which should be advantageous for the analysis of ultra-low-volume samples.
Small 04/2014; 10(8). DOI:10.1002/smll.201302709 · 8.37 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Engineering using liquids confined in channels 10-1000 nm in dimension, or "extended-nanofluidics," is the next target of microfluidic science. Liquid properties at this scale were unrevealed until recently because of the lack of fundamental technologies for investigating these ultrasmall spaces. In this article, the fundamental technologies are reviewed, and the emerging science and technology in the extended-nanospace are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The separation and sensitive detection of nonfluorescent molecules at the femtoliter (fL) scale has been achieved for the first time in a nanofluidic channel. Smaller sample volumes and higher separation efficiencies have been significant targets for liquid chromatography for many years. However, the use of packed columns hindered further miniaturization and improvement of separation efficiency. Our group recently developed a novel chromatographic method using an open nanofluidic channel to realize attoliter sample injection and a separation efficiency of several million plates per m. However, because of the extremely small optical path length, this detection method was limited to fluorescent molecules. Herein, we describe the combination of nanofluidic chromatography with differential interference contrast thermal lens microscopy (DIC-TLM), a sensitive detection method for nonfluorescent molecules developed by our group that has the ability to detect 0.61 zmol (370 molecules) with an optical path length of 350 nm. As a result, separation of a 21 fL sample containing 250 zmol was possible at the limit of detection (LOD).
The Analyst 03/2014; 139(9). DOI:10.1039/c3an02353b · 4.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The surface modification is indispensable to facilitate new functional applications of micro/nanofluidics devices. Among many modification techniques developed so far, the photo-induced chemical modification is the most versatile method in terms of robustness, process simplicity, and feasibility of chemical functionality. In particular, the method is useful for closed spaces, such as post-bonded devices. However, the limitation by optical diffraction limit is still a challenging issue in scaling down the pattern sizes to nanoscale. Here, we demonstrated a novel surface modification on sub-100 nm scale utilizing the novel optical near-field (ONF) generated on nanostructures of photocatalyst (TiO2). The minimum pattern size of 40 nm, which was much smaller than diffraction limit, was achieved using a visible light source (488 nm) and a conventional irradiation setup. The controllability of pattern size by light intensity, the feasibility of functionality, and the non-contact working mode have impacts on surface patterning of post-bonded micro/nanofluidics devices. It is also worthy to note that our results verified for the first time the ONF on nanostructures of non-metal materials and its ability to manipulate the chemical reaction on nanoscale.
Microfluidics and Nanofluidics 02/2014; 17(4). DOI:10.1007/s10404-014-1361-7 · 2.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We studied photocatalytic activity of highly porous nanotubular TiO2 films modified with nanoclusters of ubiquitous metal (Ti, Al, Zn, Sn, Cu, W) oxides prepared by chemical bath deposition and atomic layer deposition as well as nanoclusters of metal rich suboxides and mixed titania suboxides prepared by atomic layer deposition by following decomposition of methylene blue under simulated solar light. The mixed titania suboxide clusters constructed on the surface of TiO2 nanotubes by atomic layer deposition demonstrated significantly enhanced photocatalytic activity in comparison to the naked TiO2 nanotubes attributed to the better absorption of visible light due to the upward shift of the valence band near the TiO2 surface induced by the suboxide clusters that feature low valence states and metal-metal bonds.
Journal- Ceramic Society Japan 01/2014; 122(1426):393-397. DOI:10.2109/jcersj2.122.393 · 0.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) detection methods is crucial for animal food security, tackling regional FMDV epidemic, and global FMDV prognostic control. For these purposes, a fast and sensitive analysis method is required. In this study, we developed a microchip-based ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), micro-ELISA, to realize FMDV detection. Nickel(II) chelating chemistry was utilized to immobilize recombinant protein (antigen) on polystyrene micro-beads in order to determine FMDV antibodies in cattle serum samples. In addition, reaction protocol and conditions were investigated. As a result, the FMDV detection was successfully demonstrated with only a 10-μL sample volume in 25-minute assay time. Analytical sensitivity was evaluated by a maximum nominal positiveness percentage value (NPPV) of 303 and a dilution factor of 32×. The method's inter-run and intra-run CV (coefficients of variance) values were 15.5 and 17.1%, respectively, which were fully compatible with the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) principle of validation of diagnosis assays for infectious diseases. The developed method should become a powerful tool for determining other animal contagious diseases and/or zoonosis.