Chemistry of Materials

Published by American Chemical Society
Online ISSN: 1520-5002
Publications
Article
Anatase films exhibiting ~100% (001) reactive facets at the surface were grown hydrothermally on gold substrate from a homogeneous solution of TiF(4) and NaF. In addition to NaF, it was found that TiO(2) films with very similar properties could be prepared with the fluoride salts LiF, CsF, HF, NH(4)F, and N(CH(2)CH(3))(4)F. The polycrystalline anatase films are continuous, approximately 1 μm thick, and evenly coat the substrate. The surface grain size is ~400 nm. Grazing angle XRD measurements show that the films exhibit a high degree of preferred orientation with the c-axis normal to the substrate surface. SEM images reveal that the grains span the thickness of the films. Annealing the films at 500 °C removes fluorine and causes crystallites within the grains to restructure as shown by SEM, XRD, and Raman spectroscopy. Supported anatase films grown from this one-pot method may serve as oxidative photocatalysts and electrodes for photoelectrochemical applications such as solar cells and hydrogen evolution.
 
Article
The ability to rapidly detect biologically and environmentally significant metal ions such as zinc and mercury is important to study a number of important cellular and environmental processes. Hydrophilic bis(1,2,3-triazolyl)fluorene-based derivatives, containing a 1,2,3-triazole-based recognition moiety, were synthesized through Click chemistry and characterized by UV-vis absorption, fluorescence emission, and two-photon absorption as new fluorescence sensing probes, selective for Zn(2+) and Hg(2+) ions. The UV-vis absorption and fluorescence emission spectra of the complexes exhibited blue-shifted absorption and emission spectra upon chelation to Zn(2+) and Hg(2+) ions, resulting in ca. two-fold enhancement in fluorescence. Fluorometric titration revealed that 1:2 and 1:3 ligand to metal complexes formed with binding constants of 10(8) and 10(16) for Zn(2+) and Hg(2+), respectively. The two-photon absorption cross sections for the probes and probe-metal ion complexes ranged from 200-350 GM at 800 nm. These novel fluorescent compounds may have potential as new metal ion sensors to probe cellular and biological environments.
 
Article
Titration curves show that the layered double hydroxide Zn2Cr(OH)(6)Cl, unlike Zn2Fe(OH)(6)Cl (shown) or Zn2Al(OH)(6)Cl (not shown) forms directly from solution, without the intermediacy of "M-III(OH)(3)", when a mixture of metal chlorides is treated with base. Co(II), Ni(II), and Cu(II) behave similarly. Spectroscopic and titrimetric data show that Zn2Cr(OH)(6)Cl is formed initially from mixed solutions of various stoichiometries and suggest that the Zn(II) and Cr(III) ions may be locally ordered.
 
Article
Reaction of Cd(OAc)2·2H2O and selenourea in primary-amine/secondary-amine cosolvent mixtures affords crystalline CdSe quantum platelets at room temperature. Their crystallinity is established by X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and their sharp extinction and photoluminescence spectra. Reaction monitoring establishes the magic-size nanocluster (CdSe)34 to be a key intermediate in the growth process, which converts to CdSe quantum platelets by first-order kinetics with no induction period. The results are interpreted to indicate that the critical crystal-nucleus size for CdSe under these conditions is in the range of (CdSe)34 to (CdSe)68. The nanocluster is obtained in isolated form as [(CdSe)34(n-octylamine)16(di-n-pentylamine)2], which is proposed to function as crystal nuclei that may be stored in a bottle.
 
Article
Click chemistry offers highly selective and orthogonal reactions that proceed rapidly and under a variety of mild conditions with the opportunity to create highly defined and multifunctional materials. This work illustrates a strategy where step-growth networks are formed rapidly via a copper-free, azide-alkyne click chemistry between tetrafunctional poly(ethylene glycol) molecules and difunctionalized synthetic polypeptides. The molecular weight of the polymer precursors (10, 15, or 20 kDa PEG) and the stoichiometry of reactive end group functionalities (1.5:1 to 1:1.5) provide control over the material cross-linking density, enabling elastic materials with tunable moduli (G' = 1000-6000 Pa). A sequential photochemically activated thiol-ene chemistry allows subsequent functionalization of the network through reaction with pendant alkene moieties on the peptide. Because the thiol-ene reaction is light-driven, the degree of modification is directly related to the dosage of light delivered to the system (0-6 J cm(-2)). We exploit this feature to create complex biochemical gradients of multiple peptides with well-defined magnitude and slope throughout the three-dimensional (3D) network. Since both reactions can occur in the presence of cells, this material ultimately enables independent and in situ tuning of biochemical and biomechanical properties of biomaterial networks, suggesting an avenue to direct cell function throughout specific regions within a 3D material.
 
Article
The effect of molecular topology, and conformation on the dynamics of photoinduced electron transfer (ET) processes has been studied in interlocked electron donor-acceptor systems, specifically rotaxanes with zinc(II)-tetraphenylporphyrin (ZnP) electron donor and [60]fullerene (C(60)) as the electron acceptor. Formation or cleavage of coordinative bonds was used to induce major topological and conformational changes in the interlocked architecture. In the first approach, the tweezers-like structure created by the two ZnP stopper groups on the thread was used as a recognition site for complexation of 1,4-diazabicyclo[2.2.2]octane (DABCO), which creates a bridge between the two ZnP moieties on the rotaxane, generating a catenane structure. The photoinduced processes in the DABCO-complexed (ZnP)(2)-[2]catenate-C(60) system were compared with those of the (ZnP)(2)-rotaxane-C(60) precursor and the previously reported ZnP-[2]catenate-C(60). Steady-state emission and transient absorption studies showed that a similar multistep ET pathway emerged for rotaxanes and catenanes upon photoexcitation at various wavelengths, ultimately resulting in a long-lived ZnP(•+)/C(60) (•-) charge separated radical pair state. However, the decay kinetics of the latter states clearly reflect the topological differences between the rotaxane, the catenate, and DABCO-complexed-catenate architectures. The lifetime of the long-distance ZnP(•+)-[Cu(I)phen(2)](+)-C(60) (•-) charge separated state is more than four times longer in 3 (1.03 µs) than in 1 (0.24 µs) and approaches that in catenate 2 (1.1 µs). The results clearly showed that adoption of a catenane from a rotaxane topology inhibits the charge recombination process. In a second approach, the Cu(I) ion used as template to assemble the (ZnP)(2)-[Cu(I)phen(2)](+)-C(60) rotaxane was removed, and structural analysis suggested a major topographical change occurred, such that charge separation between the chromophores was no longer observed upon photoexcitation in nonpolar as well as polar solvents. Only ZnP and C(60) triplet excited states were observed upon laser excitation. These results highlighted the critical importance of the central Cu(I) ion for long range ET processes in these large interlocked electron donor-acceptor systems.
 
Article
We report the first use of a non-frustrated block terpolymer for the synthesis of highly ordered oxide nanocomposites containing multiple plies. The morphological behavior of 15 ISO-oxide nanocomposites was investigated spanning a large range of compositions along the ƒ(I)=ƒ(S) isopleth using aluminosilicate and niobia sols. Morphologies were determined by TEM and SAXS measurements. Four morphologies were identified, including core-shell hexagonal, core-shell double gyroid, three-domain lamellae, and core-shell inverse-hexagonal, in order of increasing O+oxide vol fraction. All of the resulting nanocomposites had three- or five-ply morphologies containing domains that were continuous in one, two, or three dimensions. The five-ply core-shell double gyroid phase was only found to be stable when the O+oxide domain was a minority. Removal of the polymer enabled simple and direct synthesis of mesoporous oxide materials while retaining the ordered network structure. We believe that advances in the synthesis of multi-ply nanocomposites will lead to advanced materials and devices containing multiple plies of functional materials.
 
Article
We report a method for fabrication of free-standing porous gold material with high surface area, and well-defined, tunable pore morphology. Porous gold is formed via a simple procedure which involves an acidic treatment of a commercially available complex white-gold alloy. We used SEM and AFM techniques to characterize the surface morphology, size and shape of the meso-pores as well as the surface roughness of the prepared porous gold samples. Formation of self-assembled monolayers of a flavin sulfide on the gold surface was used to estimate the total surface area of porous gold material. The monolayers were found to be electrochemically active by cyclic and square-wave voltammetry. It was found that 24 hour HNO(3) treatment gave a 12,400 times surface enlargement and resulted in a surface area of 14.2 m(2)/g, whereas 72 hour HNO(3) treatment resulted in a 6900 times surface enlargement and a surface area of 8.7 m(2)/g. In addition, the enzyme acetylcholine esterase was immobilized on the different porous gold surfaces in order to demonstrate biocompatibility of the porous gold material. Kinetic parameters and the amount of the immobilized acetylcholine esterase were determined.
 
Article
This paper describes a new bioassay surface chemistry that effectively inhibits non-specific biomolecular and cell binding interactions, while providing a capacity for specific immobilization of desired biomolecules. Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) as the primary component in nonfouling film chemistry is well-established, but the multicomponent formulation described here is unique in that it (1) is applied in a single, reproducible, solution-based coating step; (2) can be applied to diverse substrate materials without the use of special primers; and (3) is readily functionalized to provide specific attachment chemistries. Surface analysis data are presented, detailing surface roughness, polymer film thickness, and film chemistry. Protein non-specific binding assays demonstrate significant inhibition of serum, fibrinogen, and lysozyme adsorption to coated glass, indium tin oxide, and tissue culture polystyrene dishes. Inhibition of S. aureus and K. pneumoniae microbial adhesion in a microfluidic flow cell, and inhibition of fibroblast cell adhesion from serum-based cell culture is shown. Effective functionalization of the coating is demonstrated by directing fibroblast adhesion to polymer surfaces activated with an RGD peptide. Batch-to-batch reproducibility data are included. The in situ cross-linked PEG-based coating chemistry is unique in its formulation, and its surface properties are attractive for a broad range of in vitro bioassay applications.
 
Article
As a cathode material, silver vanadium phosphorous oxide (Ag(2)VO(2)PO(4)) displays several notable electrochemical properties: large capacity, high current capability, and an effective delivery of high current pulses. These cell performance characteristics can be attributed to the presence of silver nanoparticles formed in-situ during the electrochemical reduction of Ag(2)VO(2)PO(4). Specifically, changes in the composition and structure of Ag(2)VO(2)PO(4) with reduction, especially the formation of silver nanoparticles, are detailed to rationalize a 15,000 fold increase in conductivity with initial discharge, which can be related to the power characteristics associated with Ag(2)VO(2)PO(4) cathodes in primary lithium batteries.
 
Article
Nanomaterials with mixed composition, in particular magnetic spinel ferrites, are emerging as efficient contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Many factors, including size, composition, atomic structure, and surface properties are crucial in the design of such nanoparticle-based probes due to their influence on the magnetic properties. Silica-coated iron oxide (IO-SiO(2)) and cobalt ferrite (CoIO-SiO(2)) nanoparticles were synthesized using standard high temperature thermal decomposition and base-catalyzed water-in-oil microemulsion techniques. Under neutral aqueous conditions, it was found that 50-75% of the cobalt content in the CoIO-SiO(2) nanoparticles leached out of the core structure. Leaching caused a 7.2-fold increase in longitudinal relaxivity and an increase in the saturation magnetization from ~48 emu/g core to ~65 emu/g core. X-ray absorption fine structure studies confirmed that the atomic structure of the ferrite core was altered following leaching, while TEM and DLS confirmed that the morphology and size of the nanoparticle remained unchanged. The CoIO-SiO(2) nanoparticles converted from a partially inverted spinel cation arrangement (unleached state) to an inverse spinel arrangement (leached state). The control IO-SiO(2) nanoparticles remained stable with no change in structure and negligible changes in magnetic behavior. This detailed analysis highlights how important understanding the properties of nanomaterials is in the development of reliable agents for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
 
Article
Inorganic nanoscale X-ray contrast agents (XCAs) offer many potential advantages over currently used intravascular molecular contrast agents, including longer circulation and retention times, lower administration volumes, and greater potential for site directed imaging. Elemental bismuth nanoparticles (BiNPs) are particularly attractive candidate XCAs due to the low cost, the high atomic number and high density of bismuth, and the likelihood that BiNPs will oxidatively decompose to biocompatible bismuth(III) ions at controlled rates for renal excretion. Herein we describe the synthesis of ultrahigh payload BiNPs in 1,2-propanediol using a borane reducing agent and glucose as a biocompatible surface stabilizer. Both synthetic solvent (1,2-propanediol) and surfactant (glucose) are evident on the BiNP surfaces when analyzed by (1)H NMR and FT-IR spectroscopies. These particles contain ∼6 million Bi atoms per NP and have large inorganic cores (74 nm by TEM) compared to their hydrodynamic size (86 nm by DLS). Thus, the dense BiNP core constitutes the majority (∼60%) of each particle's volume, a necessary property to realize the full potential of nanoscale XCAs. Using quantitative computed tomography in phantom and in vitro imaging studies, we demonstrate that these BiNPs have greater X-ray opacity than clinical small molecule iodinated contrast agents at the same concentrations. We furthermore demonstrate a favorable biocompatibility profile for these BiNPs in vitro. Altogether, these studies indicate that these ultrahigh payload BiNPs, synthesized from known biocompatible components, have promising physical and cytotoxicological properties for use as XCAs.
 
Article
The importance of long wavelength and near infra-red (NIR) imaging has dramatically increased due to the desire to perform whole animal and deep tissue imaging. The adoption of NIR imaging is also growing rapidly due to the availability of targeted biological agents for diagnosis and basic medical research that can be imaged in vivo. The wavelength range of 650-1450 nm falls in the region of the spectrum with the lowest absorption in tissue and therefore enables the deepest tissue penetration. This is the wavelength range we focus on with this review. To operate effectively the imaging agents must both be excited and must emit in this long-wavelength window. We review the agents used both for imaging by absorption, scattering, and excitation (such as fluorescence). Imaging agents comprise both aqueous soluble and insoluble species, both organic and inorganic, and unimolecular and supramolecular constructs. The interest in multi-modal imaging, which involves delivery of actives, targeting, and imaging, requires nanocarriers or supramolecular assemblies. Nanoparticles for diagnostics also have advantages in increasing circulation time and increased imaging brightness relative to single molecule imaging agents. This has led to rapid advances in nanocarriers for long-wavelength, NIR imaging.
 
Article
In-situ TOPO decomposition was accomplished by applying a vacuum at elevated temperatures to a precursor solution in the presence of oxygen, leading TOPO to oxidize to di-n-octylphosphinic acid (DOPA) and octylphosphonic acid (OPA). The mixed ligand system of tetradecylphosphonic acid (TDPA), DOPA and OPA produced CdSe QRs on the order of 4 nm in diameter and 20 nm in length. Solvent and ligand identification was performed by mass spectrometry and (31)P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was utilized to determine the morphology, size and crystal growth of the CdSe QRs. This method of CdSe QR synthesis is unique in that the phosphonic acids responsible for anisotropic growth are formed in situ, prior to the nucleation and growth of the nanorods. Without the oxidation of TOPO, CdSe quantum dots (QDs) were synthesized instead, as reported previously. This discovery reinforces the efficacy of DOPA and OPA molecules as critical ligands in the formation of 1-dimensional (1D) nanostructures.
 
Article
Natural tissues, such as bone, tendon, and muscle, have well defined hierarchical structures, which are crucial for their biological and mechanical functions. However, mimicking these structural features still remains a great challenge. In this study, we use ice-templated assembly and UV-initiated cryo-polymerization to fabricate a novel kind of composite hydrogel which have both aligned macroporous structure at micrometer scale and a nacre-like layered structure at nanoscale. Such hydrogels are macroporous, thermoresponsive, and exhibit excellent mechanical performance (tough and high stretchable), attractive properties that are of significant impact on the wide applications of composite hydrogels, especially as tissue-engineering scaffolds. The fabrication method in this study including freeze-casting and cryo-polymerization can also be applied to other materials, which makes it promising for designing and developing smart and multifunctional composite hydrogels with hierar chical structures.
 
a) Low-magnification TEM images of fd-phage bundles (Ca 2+ -phage) induced by addition of CaCl 2 solution (0.2 M) to phage solution. b) High-magnification TEM images of the Ca 2+ -(fd)phage bundles. c) EDS analysis of the formed Ca 2+ -(fd)phage bundles, which shows the presence of Ca and P. d) ζ potential of fd phage in aqueous solution under different concentrations of Ca 2+ , which shows a rapid decrease of ζ potential with increasing concentration of Ca 2+ .
Left: Comparison of SAXS profiles of pure fd phage (bottom) and Ca 2+ -(fd)phage bundles (top) in water. The amplified version of the SAXS profile of pure fd phage (bottom) is shown in Figure S4. Right: diagram illustrating a Ca 2+ -(fd)phage bundle where phage and Ca 2+ layer are organized into an ordered layer structure, which explains the new peak in the SAXS profile of the Ca 2+ -phage bundles (see text).
TEM images and corresponding SAED patterns of HAP-phage nanocomposites. (a) wider and (b) narrower HAP-fd phage bundles. Insets are the SAED patterns taken from the highlighted sections. (c) EDS analysis of the HAP-phage bundle in (a). It should be noted that phages in these images are not visible under TEM because they are not stained.
Article
Inorganic ions may direct the self-assembly of biomacromolecules into nanostructures which can further be used as a reactant and matrix for nanomaterials synthesis and assembly. Here we use bone mineral and filamentous bacteriophage as a model to demonstrate this concept. Divalent calcium ions are found to trigger the electrostatic self-assembly of anionic nanofiber-like bacteriophages into bundle structures where calcium ions are pre-organized between bacteriophage nanofibers. The resultant Ca(2+)-bacteriophage bundles can be separated and purified from the aqueous solution. The nanostructures of the bundles are verified by zeta potential analysis, small angle x-ray scattering and transmission electron microscopy. Because of the transcription of the bacteriophage chiral surface to the periodic alignment of pre-loaded Ca(2+), the Ca(2+)-bacteriphage bundles can serve as both Ca sources and biotemplates to initiate the oriented nucleation and growth of nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite in phosphate solution or in simulated body fluid. This work provides new insights into biomineralization and represents a new approach to the fabrication of biomolecular-inorganic hybrid layered nanostructures.
 
Article
That the cationic polyelectrolyte poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) exerts a significant influence on CaCO3 precipitation challenges the idea that only anionic additives have this effect. Here, we show that in common with anionic polyelectrolytes such as poly(aspartic acid), PAH supports the growth of calcite thin films and abundant nanofibers. While investigating the formation of these structures, we also perform the first detailed structural analysis of the nanofibers by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and selected area electron diffraction. The nanofibers are shown to be principally single crystal, with isolated domains of polycrystallinity, and the single crystal structure is even preserved in regions where the nanofibers dramatically change direction. The formation mechanism of the fibers, which are often hundreds of micrometers long, has been the subject of intense speculation. Our results suggest that they form by aggregation of amorphous particles, which are incorporated into the fibers uniquely at their tips, before crystallizing. Extrusion of polymer during crystallization may inhibit particle addition at the fiber walls and result in local variations in the fiber nanostructure. Finally, we investigate the influence of Mg(2+) on CaCO3 precipitation in the presence of PAH, which gives thinner and smoother films, together with fibers with more polycrystalline, granular structures.
 
Article
Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) are promising solid supports for controlled anticancer drug delivery. Herein, we report biocompatible layer-by-layer (LbL) coated MSNs (LbL-MSNs) that are designed and crafted to release encapsulated anticancer drugs, e.g., doxorubicin hydrochloride (DOX), by changing the pH or by adding competitive agents. The LbL coating process comprises bis-aminated poly(glycerol methacrylate)s (BA-PGOHMAs) and cucurbit[7]uril (CB[7]), where CB[7] serves as a molecular bridge holding two different bis-aminated polymeric layers together by means of host-guest interactions. This integrated nanosystem is tuned to respond under specific acidic conditions or by adding adamantaneamine hydrochloride (AH), attributed to the competitive binding of hydronium ions or AH to CB[7] with BA-PGOHMAs. These LbL-MSN hybrids possess excellent biostability, negligible premature drug leakage at pH 7.4, and exceptional stimuli-responsive drug release performance. The pore sizes of the MSNs and bis-aminated compounds (different carbon numbers) of BA-PGOHMAs have been optimized to provide effective integrated nanosystems for the loading and release of DOX. Significantly, the operating pH for the controlled release of DOX matches the acidifying endosomal compartments of HeLa cancer cells, suggesting that these hybrid nanosystems are good candidates for autonomous anticancer drug nanocarriers actuated by intracellular pH changes without any invasive external stimuli. The successful cellular uptake and release of cargo, e.g., propidium iodide (PI), in human breast cancer cell line MDA-231 from PI-loaded LbL-MSNs have been confirmed by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), while the cytotoxicities of DOX-loaded LbL-MSNs have been quantified by the Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) viability assay against HeLa cell lines and fibroblast L929 cell lines. The uptake of DOX-loaded LbL-MSNs by macrophages can be efficiently reduced by adding biocompatible hydrophilic poly(ethylene glycol) or CB[7] without destroying the capping. In vivo tumor-growth inhibition experiments with BALB/c nude mice demonstrated a highly efficient tumor-growth inhibition rate of DOX-loaded LbL-MSNs, suggesting that the novel type of LbL-MSN materials hold great potentials in anticancer drug delivery.
 
Article
Hydrogels capable of releasing growth factors from very precise 3D structures to be placed on neural electrodes were microfabricated by two-photon lithography in aqueous solution. Hydrophobic chromophores with a large two-photon absorption cross section were solubilized using a nonionic surfactant and the resulting complex were applied with an oil soluble photoradical initiator to fabricate hydrogel microstructures. The results show that hydrogel microstructures are formed when the initiator 2,2-dimethoxy-2-phenyl acetophenone (Irgacure 651) and the 2-photon sensitive chromophore are present in the polymerizable mixture. The presence of water in the prepolymer solution helps in controlling important properties of the resulting structure such as modulus and the pore size which can be fine-tuned for its intended application.
 
Article
The introduction of three-dimensional (3D) architecture to functional materials allows for the addition of unique characteristics such as special deformation patterns, negative Poison's ratio, negative thermal expansion, controlled biological interactions, and mass transport properties. It also aids in bridging the dimensional gap between layer-by-layer (LBL) assembled nanocomposites and macroscale applications while retaining the advantages of their nanoscale organization. Fabrication of 3D microscale features by traditional techniques are often restricted to a limited variety of materials and do not include hybrid organic-inorganic nanocomposites. This work describes a new method to synthesize macroscale materials with hierarchically controlled architecture by using LBL deposition in the voids of hexagonally packed arrays of uniform microspheres and can be potentially extended to a large variety of materials. Establishing systematic techniques to produce materials with hierarchical architecture involving nano-, micro-, and potentially millimeter scale features with fairly independent control at all levels, allows for the investigation of structural influences on material properties and for the development of new practical applications due to the unusual combinations of properties that can be achieved.
 
Article
We physically cross-linked a thermoreversible poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogel (TG) within a crystalline colloidal array (CCA) to form an enabling photonic crystal material. The TG consists of a physically cross-linked network formed in a process reminiscent of the well-known freeze-thaw physically cross-linking process, but which avoids solvent freezing which invariably disorders the CCA. These TGCCA can be inexpensively fabricated in any large volume and shape by avoiding the previous covalently polymerized CCA constraints that required thin sheet geometries to enable penetration of the UV light used to photopolymerize the system. This TG hydrogel enables rigidificaton of CCA crystals and subsequent chemical functionalization. In addition, an additional interpenetrating hydrogel can be polymerized within the TGPCCA. The TG can then be dissolved away by simply increasing the temperature. The TGCCA photonic crystal diffraction is highly efficient and similar to previously demonstrated PCCA with covalent cross-links. These TGCCA are stable for weeks or longer at room temperature and can be utilized as photonic crystal materials. They also can be irreversibly covalently cross-linked by using gluteraldehyde. These gluteraldehyde cross-linked TGCCA can be made into chemically responsive sensor photonic crystals by functionalizing the PVA hydroxyl groups with chemical recognition agents. We demonstrate low and high pH sensing by functionalizing with carboxylates and phenol derivatives, respectively.
 
Article
Surface patterns with prescribed structures and properties are highly desirable for a variety of applications. Increasing the heterogeneity of surface patterns is frequently required. This work opens a new avenue toward creating nanoparticle arrays with multiple periodicities by combining two generally separately applied modalities (i.e., scaffolding and masking) of a monolayer colloidal crystal (MCC) template. Highly ordered, loosely packed binary and ternary surface patterns are realized by a single-step thermal treatment of a gold thin-film-coated MCC and a nonclose-packed MCC template. Our approach enables control of the parameters defining these nanoscale binary and ternary surface patterns, such as particle size, shape, and composition, as well as the interparticle spacing. This technique enables preparation of well-defined binary and ternary surface patterns to achieve customized plasmonic properties. Moreover, with their easy programmability and excellent scalability, the binary and ternary surface patterns presented here could have valuable applications in nanophotonics and biomedicine. Specific examples include biosensing via surface-enhanced Raman scattering, fabrication of plasmonic-enhanced solar cells, and water splitting.
 
Article
We report an approach to the in situ synthesis of oligonucleotide arrays on surfaces coated with crosslinked polymer multilayers. Our approach makes use of methods for the 'reactive' layer-by-layer assembly of thin, amine-reactive multilayers using branched polyethyleneimine (PEI) and the azlactone-functionalized polymer poly(2-vinyl-4,4'-dimethylazlactone) (PVDMA). Post-fabrication treatment of film-coated glass substrates with d-glucamine or 4-amino-1-butanol yielded hydroxyl-functionalized films suitable for the Maskless Array Synthesis (MAS) of oligonucleotide arrays. Glucamine-functionalized films yielded arrays of oligonucleotides with fluorescence intensities and signal-to-noise ratios (after hybridization with fluorescently labeled complementary strands) comparable to those of arrays fabricated on conventional silanized glass substrates. These arrays could be exposed to multiple hybridization-dehybridization cycles with only moderate loss of hybridization density. The versatility of the layer-by-layer approach also permitted synthesis directly on thin sheets of film-coated poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) to yield flexible oligonucleotide arrays that could be readily manipulated (e.g., bent) and cut into smaller arrays. To our knowledge, this work presents the first use of polymer multilayers as a substrate for the multi-step synthesis of complex molecules. Our results demonstrate that these films are robust and able to withstand the ~450 individual chemical processing steps associated with MAS (as well as manipulations required to hybridize, image, and dehybridize the arrays) without large-scale cracking, peeling, or delamination of the thin films. The combination of layer-by-layer assembly and MAS provides a means of fabricating functional oligonucleotide arrays on a range of different materials and substrates. This approach may also prove useful for the fabrication of supports for the solid-phase synthesis and screening of other macromolecular or small-molecule agents.
 
Article
The growth of gold nanorods can be arrested at intermediate stages by treatment with Na(2)S, providing greater control over their optical resonances. Nanorods prepared by the seeded reduction of AuCl(4) in aqueous cetyltrimethylammonium bromide solutions in the presence of AgNO(3) typically exhibit a gradual blueshift in longitudinal plasmon resonance, over a period of hours to days. This "optical drift" can be greatly reduced by adding millimolar concentrations of Na(2)S to quench nanorod growth, with an optimized sulfur:metal ratio of 4:1. The sulfide-treated nanorods also experience a marked redshift as a function of Na(2)S concentration to produce stable plasmon resonances well into the near-infrared. Sulfide treatment permitted a time-resolved analysis of nanorod growth by transmission electron microscopy, revealing two distinct periods: an initial growth burst (t < 15 min) that generates dumbbell-shaped nanorods with flared ends and a slower phase (t > 30 min) favoring growth around the midsection, leading to nanorods with the more familiar oblate geometry. The blueshift in plasmon resonance that accompanies the dumbbell-to-oblate shape transition correlates more strongly with changes in the length-to-midsection (L/D(1)) ratio rather than the length-to-end width (L/D(2)) ratio, based on the empirical relationship introduced by El-Sayed and co-workers.
 
Article
In the past several years we have demonstrated the metal-enhanced fluorescence (MEF) and the significant changes in the photophysical properties of fluorophores in the presence of metallic nanostructures and nanoparticles. MEF is largely dependent on several factors, such as chemical nature, size, shape of the nanostructure, and its distance from the interrogating fluorophore. Herein, we elucidate the potential of layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly to understand the distance dependence nature of MEF from sulforhodamine B (SRB) assembled on the plasmonic nanostructured surfaces [in the form of Silver Islands films (SIFs)]. The varied proximity of fluorophores from the SIF surfaces was controlled by constructing different numbers of alternate layers of poly(styrene sulfonate) (PSS) and poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH). An anionic laser dye SRB could be electrostatically attached to the positively charged PAH layer. Orientation of the SRB probe molecule adsorbed in PSS/PAH-layered assembly was determined by polarized absorption spectroscopy. The observed tilt angle of the probe transition dipole moment with respect to the surface normal was 40°. Our results show that MEF is indeed distance-dependent. Accordingly, we observed a maximum of a ~6-fold increase in the fluorescence intensity from a monolayer of the SRB at a distance of ~9 nm from the metal-nanostructured surface, with the enhancement decreasing down to ~1.5-fold at about a 30 nm separation distance. Consistently, the minimum lifetimes were about 4-fold shorter than those on glass slides without silver, with the lifetimes being about nearly the same for 15 layers of the PSS/PAH assembly. The intensity-time decays were analyzed with a lifetime distribution model to underpin the distance effect on the metal-fluorophore interaction in the nanometric range. The present study provides improved understanding of the interaction between plasmonic nanostructures and fluorophores and, more importantly, their distance dependence nature, where we used a robust, easy, and inexpensive alternate electrostatic LbL assembly as a bottom-up nanofabrication technique to control the probe distance from the surface.
 
Article
We report an approach to the fabrication of superhydrophobic thin films that is based on the 'reactive' layer-by-layer assembly of azlactone-containing polymer multilayers. We demonstrate that films fabricated from alternating layers of the azlactone functionalized polymer poly(2-vinyl-4,4-dimethylazlactone) (PVDMA) and poly(ethyleneimine) (PEI) exhibit micro- and nanoscale surface features that result in water contact angles in excess of 150º. Our results reveal that the formation of these surface features is (i) dependent upon film thickness (i.e., the number of layers of PEI and PVDMA deposited) and (ii) that it is influenced strongly by the presence (or absence) of cyclic azlactone-functionalized oligomers that can form upon storage of the 2-vinyl-4,4-dimethylazlactone (VDMA) used to synthesize PVDMA. For example, films fabricated using polymers synthesized in the presence of these oligomers exhibited rough, textured surfaces and superhydrophobic behavior (i.e., advancing contact angles in excess of 150º). In contrast, films fabricated from PVDMA polymerized in the absence of this oligomer (e.g., using freshly distilled monomer) were smooth and only moderately hydrophobic (i.e., advancing contact angles of ~75º). The addition of authentic, independently synthesized oligomer to samples of distilled VDMA at specified and controlled concentrations permitted reproducible fabrication of superhydrophobic thin films on the surfaces of a variety of different substrates. The surfaces of these films were demonstrated to be superhydrophobic immediately after fabrication, but they became hydrophilic after exposure to water for six days. Additional experiments demonstrated that it was possible to stabilize and prolong the superhydrophobic properties of these films (e.g., advancing contact angles in excess of 150° even after complete submersion in water for at least six weeks) by exploiting the reactivity of residual azlactones to functionalize the surfaces of the films using hydrophobic amines (e.g., aliphatic or semi-fluorinated aliphatic amines). Our results demonstrate a straightforward and substrate-independent approach to the design of superhydrophobic and reactive polymer-based coatings of potential use in a broad range of fundamental and applied contexts.
 
Article
A process for 3D programmed self-assembly of lithographically printable microscale polymer particles using ssDNA hybridization as the associative force is described. We report our progress in establishing the unit processes required for 3D programmed self-assembly and demonstrate the successful fabrication and sequence-specific self-assembly of covalent ssDNA-functionalized parallelepipeds with dimensions in the sub 10 μm regime characterized by optical microscopy and imaging flow cytometry. This technology has the potential to produce parallelepiped particles with different ssDNA on each facet.
 
Article
Ligand-stabilized platinum nanoparticles (Pt NPs) were self-assembled with poly(isoprene-block-dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate) (PI-b-PDMAEMA) block copolymers to generate organic-inorganic hybrid materials. High loadings of NPs in hybrids were achieved through usage of N,N-di-(2-(allyloxy)ethyl)-N-3-mercaptopropyl-N-3-methylammonium chloride as the ligand, which provided high solubility of NPs in various solvents as well as high affinity to PDMAEMA. From NP synthesis, existence of sub-1 nm Pt NPs was confirmed by high-angle annular dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) images. Estimations of the Pt NP ligand head group density based on HAADF-STEM images and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) data yielded results comparable to what has been found for alkanethiol self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on flat Pt {111} surfaces. Changing the volume fraction of Pt NPs in block copolymer-NP composites yielded hybrids with spherical micellar, wormlike micellar, lamellar and inverse hexagonal morphologies. Disassembly of hybrids with spherical, wormlike micellar, and lamellar morphologies generated isolated metal-NP based nano-spheres, cylinders and sheets, respectively. Results suggest the existence of powerful design criteria for the formation of metal-based nanostructures from designer blocked macromolecules.
 
Article
A study was conducted to demonstrate the size and concentration effect of gold nanoparticles (GNPs) on X-ray attenuation measured by computed tomography (CT). The GNPs were prepared by borohydride reduction of gold salts in the presence of sodium citrate. The X-ray attenuation of GNPs at different concentrations was compared with a commercial iodinated-contrast agent, Omnipaque. It was observed that on increasing the concentration of GNPs, gold dominates the X-ray attenuation due to the high X-ray attenuation effect of gold. It is investigated that the smaller GNPs showed greater X-ray attenuation than either the large ones. It is concluded that the MSA-coated GNPs with size ranging from 4 to 60 nm are stable in physiological conditions and are nontoxic to HeLa S3 cells. The X-ray attenuation from GNPs is both size and concentration dependent with smaller GNPs at higher concentration exhibiting greater effect.
 
Article
At the level of a single particle, nanocrystal quantum dots (NQDs) are observed to fluoresce intermittently or "blink." They are also characterized by an efficient non-radiative recombination process known as Auger Recombination (AR). Recently, new approaches to NQD heterostructuring have been developed that directly impact both blinking and AR, resulting in dramatic suppression of these unwanted processes. The three successful hetero-NQD motifs are reviewed here: (1) interfacial alloying, (2) thick or "giant" shells, and (3) specific type-II electronic structures. These approaches, which rely on modifying or tuning internal NQD core/shell structures, are compared with alternative strategies for blinking suppression that rely, instead, on surface modifications or surface-mediated interactions. Finally, in each case, the unique synthetic approaches or challenges addressed that have driven the realization of novel and important functionality are discussed, along with the implications for development of a comprehensive 'materials design' strategy for blinking and AR-suppressed heterostructured NQDs.
 
Article
We have synthesized three new isoindigo-based small molecules by extending the conjugated length through the incorporation of octyl-thiophene units between the isoindigo core and benzothiophene terminal units. Both UV-vis and Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction experiments show that such extension of the π-conjugated backbone can induce H-aggregation, and enhance crystallinity and molecular ordering of these isoindigo-based small molecules in the solid state. Compared to two other isoindigo-based derivatives in the series, the derivative with two octyl-thiophene units, BT-T2-ID, is the most crystalline and ordered, and its molecular packing motif appears to be substantially different. Devices utilizing these new extended isoindigo-based small molecules as the electron donor exhibit higher performance than those utilizing nonextended BT-ID as the electron donor. Particularly, devices containing BT-T2-ID in an as-cast blend with PC61BM show power conversion efficiencies up to 3.4%, which is comparable to the best devices containing isoindigo-based molecular semiconductors and is a record among devices containing isoindigo-based small molecules that were processed in the absence of any additives.
 
Article
Amorphous mixed metal oxides are emerging as high performance semiconductors for thin film transistor (TFT) applications, with indium gallium zinc oxide, InGaZnO (IGZO), being one of the most widely studied and best performing systems. Here, we investigate alkaline earth (barium or strontium) doped InBa(Sr)ZnO as alternative, semiconducting channel layers and compare their performance of the electrical stress stability with IGZO. In films fabricated by solution-processing from metal alkoxide precursors and annealed to 450 °C we achieve high field-effect electron mobility up to 26 cm(2) V(-1) s(-1). We show that it is possible to solution-process these materials at low process temperature (225-200 °C yielding mobilities up to 4.4 cm(2) V(-1) s(-1)) and demonstrate a facile "ink-on-demand" process for these materials which utilizes the alcoholysis reaction of alkyl metal precursors to negate the need for complex synthesis and purification protocols. Electrical bias stress measurements which can serve as a figure of merit for performance stability for a TFT device reveal Sr- and Ba-doped semiconductors to exhibit enhanced electrical stability and reduced threshold voltage shift compared to IGZO irrespective of the process temperature and preparation method. This enhancement in stability can be attributed to the higher Gibbs energy of oxidation of barium and strontium compared to gallium.
 
Article
Elastic and anelastic properties of a member of the BiFeO3-CaFeO2.5 perovskite solid solution (BCFO), which is known to have multiple instabilities, have been investigated by resonant ultrasound spectroscopy. This phase, with 64% Bi and 36% Ca on the A site, is antiferromagnetic (T N ∼650 K) and has an ordered arrangement of oxygen vacancies with tetragonal lattice geometry. The inverse mechanical quality factor, Q (-1), has a maximum near 100 K, correlating closely with a peak in dielectric loss, reported previously, consistent with a loss mechanism that involves the movement of oxygen vacancies accompanied by local lattice distortion. At higher temperature, there is a further acoustic loss peak that is correlated with complex impedance anomalies. There is no clear relationship to the magnetic transition, and the observations are interpreted as relating to ionic conductivity. A small stiffening, scaling with the square of the magnetic order parameter below T N, indicates that the main coupling with strain is biquadratic, confirming that conventional coupling of magnetic order with symmetry-breaking shear strains is weak in BCFO. Data from the literature for BCFO indicates that local strain fields are likely to be responsible for suppressing the spin cycloid present in BiFeO3.
 
Article
A simple scalable method to fabricate luminescent monodisperse 200 nm europium doped hollow TiO(2) nanoshell particles is reported. Fluorophore reporter, Eu(3+) ions, are incorporated directly in the NS matrix, leaving the surface free for functionalization and the core free for payload encapsulation. Amine functionalized polystyrene beads were used as templates, and the porous walls of europium doped titania nanoshells were synthesized using titanium(IV) t-butoxide and europium(III) nitrate as reactants. X-ray diffraction analysis identified anatase as the predominant titania phase of the rigid nanoshell wall structure, and photoluminescence spectra showed that the Eu(III) doped TiO(2) nanoshells exhibited a red emission at 617 nm due to an atomic f-f transition. Nanoshell interactions with HeLa cervical cancer cells in vitro were visualized using two-photon microscopy of the Eu(III) emission, and studied using a luminescence ratio analysis to assess nanoshell adhesion and endocytosis.
 
Article
In this report the synthesis, characterization, and functional evaluation of a multimodal nanoparticulate contrast agent for noninvasive imaging through both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and photoacoustic tomography (PAT) is presented. The nanoparticles described herein enable high resolution and highly sensitive three-dimensional diagnostic imaging through the synergistic coupling of MRI and PAT capabilities. Gadolinium (Gd)-doped gold-speckled silica (GSS) nanoparticles, ranging from 50 to 200 nm, have been prepared in a simple one-pot synthesis using nonionic microemulsions. The photoacoustic signal is generated from a nonuniform, discontinuous gold nanodomains speckled across the silica surface, whereas the MR contrast is provided through Gd incorporated in the silica matrix. The presence of a discontinuous speckled surface, as opposed to a continuous gold shell, allows sufficient bulk water exchange with the Gd ions to generate a strong MR contrast. The dual imaging capabilities of the particles have been demonstrated through in silicio and in vitro methods. The described particles also have the capacity for therapeutic applications including the thermal ablation of tumors through the absorption of irradiated light.
 
Article
Liquid crystals have a long history of use as materials that respond to external stimuli (e.g., electrical and optical fields). More recently, a series of investigations have reported the design of liquid crystalline materials that undergo ordering transitions in response to a range of biological interactions, including interactions involving proteins, nucleic acids, viruses, bacteria and mammalian cells. A central challenge underlying the design of liquid crystalline materials for such applications is the tailoring of the interface of the materials so as to couple targeted biological interactions to ordering transitions. This review describes recent progress toward design of interfaces of liquid crystalline materials that are suitable for biological applications. Approaches addressed in this review include the use of lipid assemblies, polymeric membranes containing oligopeptides, cationic surfactant-DNA complexes, peptide-amphiphiles, interfacial protein assemblies and multi-layer polymeric films.
 
Article
A group of new fluorescent dye materials for single-molecule imaging applications comprised of an amine donor, a π-system comprised of phenyl and thiophene rings and a 2-dicyanomethylene-3-cyano-2,5-dihydrofuran acceptor group have been synthesized. Relative to comparable single-ring compounds these doubly aromatic conjugated fluorophores have red-shifted absorption and emission usually accompanied by significantly increased quantum yields. Solvatochromism studies indicate that the photophysical properties of these dyes are sensitive to the solvent polarity and environmental rigidity. Photophysical studies demonstrate that these DCDHF dye materials are strong single-molecule emitters and the total number of detected photons per molecule is among the highest thus far for this family of fluorophores.
 
Article
We present a versatile strategy to prepare a range of nanostructured poly(styrene)-block-poly(2-vinyl pyridine) copolymer particles with tunable interior morphology and controlled size by a simple solvent exchange procedure. A key feature of this strategy is the use of functional block copolymers incorporating reactive pyridyl moieties which allow the absorption of metal salts and other inorganic precursors to be directed. Upon reduction of the metal salts, well-defined hybrid metal nanoparticle arrays could be prepared, while the use of oxide precursors followed by calcination permits the synthesis of silica and titania particles. In both cases, ordered morphologies templated by the original block copolymer domains were obtained.
 
Article
A new oxygen sensor, compound 2, was synthesized through a chemical modification of a popularly used oxygen sensor of platinum(II)-5,10,15,20-tetrakis-(2,3,4,5,6-pentafluorophenyl)-porphyrin (PtTFPP). The new sensor compound 2 possesses four crosslinkable methacrylate functional moieties, enabling it to be polymerized and crosslinked with other monomers for polymer sensing film (also called membrane) preparation. Using this characteristic, compound 2 was covalently bonded to hydrophilic poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate)-co-polyacrylamide (referred to as PHEMA to simplify) and hydrophobic polystyrene (PS) films. To better understand the advantages and disadvantages of chemical crosslinking approaches and the influence of polymer matrices on sensing performance, PtTFPP was physically incorporated into the same PHEMA and PS matrices to compare. Response to dissolved oxygen (DO), leaching of the sensor molecules from their matrices, photostability of the sensors, and response time to DO changes were studied. It was concluded that the chemical crosslinking of the sensor compound 2 in polymer matrices: (i) alleviated the leaching problem of sensor molecules which usually occurred in the physically doped sensing systems and (ii) significantly improved sensors' photostability. The PHEMA matrix was demonstrated to be more suitable for oxygen sensing than PS, because for the same sensor molecule, the oxygen sensitivity in PHEMA film was higher than that in PS and response time to DO change in the PHEMA film was faster than that in PS. It was the first time oxygen sensing films were successfully prepared using biocompatible hydrophilic PHEMA as a matrix, which does not allow leaching of the sensor molecules from the polymer matrix, has a faster response to DO changes than that of PS, and does not present cytotoxicity to human lung adenocarcinoma epithelial cells (A549). It is expected that the new sensor compound 2 and its similar compounds with chemically crosslinking characteristics can be widely applied to generate many interesting oxygen sensing materials for studying biological phenomena.
 
Article
The biomimetic design of silk/silica fusion proteins was carried out, combining the self assembling domains of spider dragline silk (Nephila clavipes) and silaffin derived R5 peptide of Cylindrotheca fusiformis that is responsible for silica mineralization. Genetic engineering was used to generate the protein-based biomaterials incorporating the physical properties of both components. With genetic control over the nanodomain sizes and chemistry, as well as modification of synthetic conditions for silica formation, controlled mineralized silk films with different silica morphologies and distributions were successfully generated; generating 3D porous networks, clustered silica nanoparticles (SNPs), or single SNPs. Silk serves as the organic scaffolding to control the material stability and multiprocessing makes silk/silica biomaterials suitable for different tissue regenerative applications. The influence of these new silk-silica composite systems on osteogenesis was evaluated with human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) subjected to osteogenic differentiation. hMSCs adhered, proliferated, and differentiated towards osteogenic lineages on the silk/silica films. The presence of the silica in the silk films influenced osteogenic gene expression, with the upregulation of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), bone sialoprotein (BSP), and collagen type 1 (Col 1) markers. Evidence for early bone formation as calcium deposits was observed on silk films with silica. These results indicate the potential utility of these new silk/silica systems towards bone regeneration.
 
Article
Using a combination of complementary in situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, we study the fundamental mechanisms underlying the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) on polycrystalline Cu. The nucleation and growth of h-BN layers is found to occur isothermally, i.e., at constant elevated temperature, on the Cu surface during exposure to borazine. A Cu lattice expansion during borazine exposure and B precipitation from Cu upon cooling highlight that B is incorporated into the Cu bulk, i.e., that growth is not just surface-mediated. On this basis we suggest that B is taken up in the Cu catalyst while N is not (by relative amounts), indicating element-specific feeding mechanisms including the bulk of the catalyst. We further show that oxygen intercalation readily occurs under as-grown h-BN during ambient air exposure, as is common in further processing, and that this negatively affects the stability of h-BN on the catalyst. For extended air exposure Cu oxidation is observed, and upon re-heating in vacuum an oxygen-mediated disintegration of the h-BN film via volatile boron oxides occurs. Importantly, this disintegration is catalyst mediated, i.e., occurs at the catalyst/h-BN interface and depends on the level of oxygen fed to this interface. In turn, however, deliberate feeding of oxygen during h-BN deposition can positively affect control over film morphology. We discuss the implications of these observations in the context of corrosion protection and relate them to challenges in process integration and heterostructure CVD.
 
Article
Interdisciplinary investigation at the interface of chemistry, engineering, and medicine has enabled the development of self-assembled nanomaterials with novel biochemical and electro-optical properties. We have recently shown that emissive polymersomes, polymer vesicles incorporating porphyrin-based fluorophores, feature large integrated-emission oscillator strengths and narrow emission bands; these nanoscale assemblies can be further engineered to fluoresce at discrete wavelengths throughout the visible and near-infrared (NIR) spectral domains. As such, emissive polymersomes effectively define an organic-based family of soft-matter quantum-dot analogs that possess not only impressive optical properties, but also tunable physical and biomaterial characteristics relative to inorganic fluorescent nanoparticles.Here, we expand upon our initial studies on poly(ethyleneoxide)-block-poly(butadiene)-based vesicles to examine fluorophore membrane-loading in other polymersome systems. Through modulation of fluorophore ancilliary group substituents and choice of polymer chain chemistries, we are able to predictably control intramembranous polymer-fluorophore interactions; these phenomena, in turn, influence the nature of fluorophore solvation, local dielectric environment, and emission quantum yield within emissive polymersome assemblies. By utilizing different classes of vesicle-generating diblock copolymers, including bioresorbable poly(ethyleneoxide)-block-poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PEO-b-PCL) and poly(ethyleneoxide)-block-poly(gamma-methyl-epsilon-caprolactone) (PEO-b-PMCL), we ascertain general principles important for engineering nanoscale optical vesicles. Further, this work heralds the first generation of fully-biodegradable fluorescent nanoparticles suitable for deep-tissue in vivo imaging.
 
Article
We report on nanothin multilayer hydrogels of cross-linked poly(N-vinylcaprolactam) (PVCL) that exhibit distinctive and reversible thermoresponsive behavior. The single-component PVCL hydrogels were produced by selective cross-linking of PVCL in layer-by-layer films of PVCL-NH(2) copolymers assembled with poly(methacrylic acid) (PMAA) via hydrogen bonding. The degree of the PVCL hydrogel film shrinkage, defined as the ratio of wet thicknesses at 25°C to 50°C, was demonstrated to be 1.9±0.1 and 1.3±0.1 for the films made from PVCL-NH(2)-7 and PVCL-NH(2)-14 copolymers, respectively. No temperature-responsive behavior was observed for non-cross-linked two-component films due to the presence of PMAA. We also demonstrated that temperature-sensitive PVCL capsules of cubical and spherical shapes could be fabricated as hollow hydrogel replicas of inorganic templates. The cubical (PVCL)(7) capsules retained their cubical shape when temperature was elevated from 25°C to 50°C exhibiting 21±1% decrease in the capsule size. Spherical hydrogel capsules demonstrated similar shrinkage of 23±1%. The temperature-triggered capsule size changes were completely reversible. Our work opens new prospects for developing biocompatible and nanothin hydrogel-based coatings and containers for temperate-regulating drug delivery, cellular uptake, sensing, and transport behavior in microfluidic devices.
 
Cross-sectional STEM images of (a) Ti 3 AlC 2 , (b) Ti 3 C 2 T x , (c) and Ti 3 C 2 T x -IC fi lms (60 nm nominal thickness) grown on a sapphire substrate with a TiC incubation layer. Insets show SAED of the fi lm and the substrate. The subscripts A and T correspond to Al 2 O 3 and Ti 3 AlC 2 , respectively. High-resolution STEM images of (d) Ti 3 AlC 2 , (e) Ti 3 C 2 T x , and (f) Ti 3 C 2 T x -IC fi lms along the [112 0] zone axis. The inset in panel d shows Ti, Al, and C atoms in yellow, gray, and black, respectively. Scale bars for low resolution (a, b, and c) and high-resolution (d, e, and f) images 
(a) Transmittance spectra and visual images (on right) for (I) Ti 3 AlC 2 , (II) Ti 3 C 2 T x , and (III) Ti 3 C 2 T x -IC fi lms of 15 nm nominal thickness. The fi lms are ≈ 1 × 1 cm 2 in area; (b) light absorbance at wavelengths of 240 and 800 nm vs thickness of Ti 3 C 2 T x and Ti 3 C 2 T x -IC fi lms. 
Dependence of the electrical behavior of Ti 3 AlC 2 , Ti 3 C 2 T x , and Ti 3 C 2 T x -IC fi lms on temperature and magnetic fi eld. (a) Resistivity vs temperature for Ti 3 AlC 2 , Ti 3 C 2 T x , and Ti 3 C 2 T x − IC fi lms of 20 nm nominal thickness. (b) Resistivity vs temperature for Ti 3 C 2 T x of 28 nm nominal thickness. Inset shows fi tting of resistivity, over the temperature range of 2 to 74 K, to the weak localization model ( ρ ∼ ln T). (c) Comparison of normalized magnetoresistance curves for Ti 3 C 2 T x of 28 nm nominal thickness at various temperatures ranging from 2.5 to 200 K. R H=0 refers to the fi lm resistance in the absence of applied magnetic fi eld. 
Scheme 1. Steps Used to Produce Epitaxial MXene Films a
Article
Since the discovery of graphene, the quest for two-dimensional (2D) materials has intensified greatly. Recently, a new family of 2D transition metal carbides and carbonitrides (MXenes) was discovered that is both conducting and hydrophilic, an uncommon combination. To date MXenes have been produced as powders, flakes, and colloidal solutions. Herein, we report on the fabrication of ∼1 × 1 cm(2) Ti3C2 films by selective etching of Al, from sputter-deposited epitaxial Ti3AlC2 films, in aqueous HF or NH4HF2. Films that were about 19 nm thick, etched with NH4HF2, transmit ∼90% of the light in the visible-to-infrared range and exhibit metallic conductivity down to ∼100 K. Below 100 K, the films' resistivity increases with decreasing temperature and they exhibit negative magnetoresistance-both observations consistent with a weak localization phenomenon characteristic of many 2D defective solids. This advance opens the door for the use of MXenes in electronic, photonic, and sensing applications.
 
Article
Carbon deposition following thermal methane decomposition under dry and steam reforming conditions has been studied on yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ), Y2O3, and ZrO2 by a range of different chemical, structural, and spectroscopic characterization techniques, including aberration-corrected electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, electric impedance spectroscopy, and volumetric adsorption techniques. Concordantly, all experimental techniques reveal the formation of a conducting layer of disordered nanocrystalline graphite covering the individual grains of the respective pure oxides after treatment in dry methane at temperatures T ≥ 1000 K. In addition, treatment under moist methane conditions causes additional formation of carbon-nanotube-like architectures by partial detachment of the graphite layers. All experiments show that during carbon growth, no substantial reduction of any of the oxides takes place. Our results, therefore, indicate that these pure oxides can act as efficient nonmetallic substrates for methane-induced growth of different carbon species with potentially important implications regarding their use in solid oxide fuel cells. Moreover, by comparing the three oxides, we could elucidate differences in the methane reactivities of the respective SOFC-relevant purely oxidic surfaces under typical SOFC operation conditions without the presence of metallic constituents.
 
Article
A novel strategy was developed to synthesize polymer-coated metal nanoparticles (NPs) through reduction of metal cations with 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA)-containing polyethylene glycol (PEG) polymers. Catechol redox chemistry was used to both synthesize metal NPs and simultaneously form a cross-linked shell of PEG polymers on their surfaces. DOPA reduced gold and silver cations into neutral metal atoms, producing reactive quinones that covalently cross-linked the PEG molecules around the surface of the NP. Importantly, these PEG-functionalized metal NPs were stable in physiological ionic strengths and under centrifugation, and hold broad appeal since they absorb and scatter light in aqueous solutions.
 
Article
It was recently shown that, by controlling the O(2) concentration, the seeded-growth of CdSe nanocrystals (NC) can be manipulated to proceed either unidirectionally (from the (0001) facet) or three-dimensionally. In this contribution, we investigate two new Se precursors (i.e. SeO(2) and NaHSe) and compare them with Se obtained from etching of smaller NC seeds. Under anaerobic conditions, both precursors led to successful 3-dimensional (3D) NC growth. At high O(2) concentrations, the seeded growth of rods was enhanced by the NaHSe precursor, while impeded by the use of SeO(2). Mechanistic studies showed that the reduction of SeO(2) to Se(2-) produces an excessive amount of O(2). This leads to rod fragmentation due to etching as well as the production of deep traps that quench their luminescence. These new precursors, along with a heightened understanding of oxygen's role, expand the synthetic repertoire of the redox-assisted, seeded-growth of CdSe and better position this low temperature (125 °C) methodology towards realizing advanced NC heterostructures.
 
Article
We have developed a versatile, one-step melt synthesis of water-soluble, highly emissive silicon nanoparticles using bi-functional, low-melting solids (such as glutaric acid) as reaction media. Characterization through transmission electron microscopy, selected area electron diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy shows that the one-step melt synthesis produces nanoscale Si cores surrounded by a silicon oxide shell. Analysis of the nanoparticle surface using FT-IR, zeta potential, and gel electrophoresis indicates that the bi-functional ligand used in the one-step synthesis is grafted onto the nanoparticle, which allows for tuning of the particle surface charge, solubility, and functionality. Photoluminescence spectra of the as-prepared glutaric acid-synthesized silicon nanoparticles show an intense blue-green emission with a short (ns) lifetime suitable for biological imaging. These nanoparticles are found to be stable in biological media and have been used to examine cellular uptake and distribution in live N2a cells.
 
Article
For the first time tungsten based nanoparticles (WNPs) of scheelite (MWO(4); M = Ca, Sr, Ba, Pb), wolframite (MWO(4); M = Mn, Fe, Zn & (Mg(0.60)Mn(0.17)Fe(0.26))WO(4)), and the oxide (WO(3) and W(18)O(49)) were synthesized from solution precipitation (i.e.,trioctylamine or oleic acid) and solvothermal (i.e., benzyl alcohol) routes. The resultant WNPs were prepared directly from tungsten (VI) ethoxide (W(OCH(2)CH(3))(6), 1) and stoichiometeric mixtures of the following precursors: [Ca(N(SiMe(3))(2))(2)](2) (2), Pb(N(SiMe(3))(2))(2) (3), Mn[(mu-Mes)(2)Mn(Mes)](2) (4), [Fe(mu-Mes)(Mes)](2) (5), Fe(CO)(5) (6), H(+)[Ba(2)(mu(3)-ONep)(mu-ONep)(2)(ONep)(ONep)(3)(py)](-) (2) (7), H(+)[Sr(5)(mu(4)-O)(mu(3)-ONep)(4)(mu-ONep)(4)(ONep)(py)(4)](-) (8), and [Zn(Et)(ONep)(py)](2) (9) where Mes = C(6)H(2)(CH(3))(3)-2,4,6, ONep = OCH(2)CMe(3), Et = CH(2)CH(3), and py = pyridine. Through these routes, the WNP morphologies were found to be manipulated by the processing conditions, while precursor selection influenced the final phase observed. For the solution precipitation route, 1 yielded (5 x 100 nm) W(18)O(49) rods while stochiometeric reactions between 1 and (2 - 9) generated homogenous sub 30 nm nano-dots, -diamonds, -rods, and -wires for the MWO(4) systems. For the solvothermal route, 1 was found to produce wires of WO(3) with aspect ratios of 20 while (1 & 2) formed 10 - 60 nm CaWO(4) nanodots. Room temperature photoluminescent (PL) emission properties of select WNPs were also examined with fluorescence spectroscopy (lambda(ex) = 320 nm). Broad PL emissions = 430, 420, 395, 420 nm were noted for 5 x 100 nm W(18)O(49) rods, 5 x 15 nm, CaWO(4) rods, 10 - 30 nm CaWO(4) dots, and 10 nm BaWO(4) diamonds, respectively.
 
Article
Layered α-zirconium(IV) phosphonates were prepared from novel ether-terminal alkyl phosphonic acids, providing nanoplatelets with brush-like polar surfaces. The precursor materials were characterized by NMR, mass spectrometry, and elemental analysis. The derived nanoparticles were examined by XRD, TEM, TGA, and elemental analysis. The experimental compositions were slightly rich in organophosphorus content. In general, the layered materials had good crystallinity, with layer reflections appearing up to (005) and d-spacings consistent with the anticipated α-phase structure. Computer simulations suggest that tailored surface chemistries, including ether functionalities, will offer favorable thermodynamic interactions with polyester polymer matrices.
 
Top-cited authors
Dongyuan Zhao
  • Monash University (Australia)
Dong Gu
  • Wuhan University
Joseph Hupp
  • Northwestern University
Joon I. Jang
  • Sogang University
Constantinos C. Stoumpos
  • University of Crete