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[en] Electrodes fabricated using commercially available silver nanowires (AgNWs) and single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) produced sheet resistances in the range 4–24 Ω □−1 with specular transparencies up to 82 %. Increasing the aqueous dispersibility of SWCNTs decreased the bundle size present in the film resulting in improved SWCNT surface dispersion in the films without compromising transparency or sheet resistance. In addition to providing conduction pathways between the AgNW network, the SWCNTs also provide structural support, creating stable self-supporting films. Entanglement of the AgNWs and SWCNTs was demonstrated to occur in solution prior to deposition by monitoring the transverse plasmon resonance mode of the AgNWs during processing. The interwoven AgNW/SWCNT structures show potential for use in optoelectronic applications as transparent electrodes and as an ITO replacement. (paper)
[en] We present our recent results on Pt nanoparticles on graphene sheets (Pt-NPs/G), a nanocomposite prepared with microwave assistance in ionic liquid 2-hydroxyethanaminiumformate. Preparation of Pt-NPs/G was achieved without the addition of extra reductant such as hydrazine or ethylene glycol. The Pt nanoparticles on graphene have a cubic-like shape (about 60 wt% Pt loading, Pt-NPs/G) and the particle size is 6 ± 3 nm from transmission electron microscopy results. Electrochemical cyclic voltammetry studies in 0.5 M aqueous H2SO4 were performed using Pt-NPs/G and separately, for comparison, using a commercially available electrocatalyst (60 wt% Pt loading, Pt/C). The electrochemical surface ratio of Pt-NPs/G to Pt/C is 0.745. The results of a methanol oxidation reaction (MOR) in 0.5 M aqueous H2SO4 + 1.0 M methanol for the two samples are presented. The MOR results show that the ratios of the current density of oxidation (If) to the current density of reduction (Ib) are 3.49 (Pt-NPs/G) and 1.37 (Pt/C), respectively, with a preference by 2.55 times favoring Pt-NPs/G. That is, the tolerance CO poisoning of Pt-NPs/G is better than that of commercial Pt/C. (paper)
[en] We have developed composite hydrogels of chitosan (CS) and mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) in this study. The gelation rate, gel strength, drug delivery behavior and chondrocyte proliferation properties were investigated. The introduction of MSNs into CS accelerated the gelation process at body temperature and also increased the elastic modulus G′ from 1000 to 1800 Pa. When we used gentamicin (GS) and bovine serum albumin (BSA) as model small chemical drugs and biomacromolecules, respectively, the CS/MSN hydrogels released GS and BSA in a sustained manner simultaneously, but the CS hydrogels only showed sustained BSA release. Furthermore, in vitro chondrocyte culture showed that the CS/MSN composite hydrogels indeed performed much better in supporting chondrocyte growth and maintaining chondrocytic phenotype compared to the CS hydrogels. Therefore, the results suggest that the CS/MSN composite hydrogels can be potentially very useful for cartilage regeneration. (paper)
[en] Solid State Ionics has its roots essentially in Europe. First foundations were laid by Michael Faraday who discovered the solid electrolytes Ag2S and PbF2 and coined terms such as cation and anion, electrode and electrolyte. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the main lines of development toward Solid State Ionics, pursued in Europe, concerned the linear laws of transport, structural analysis, disorder and entropy and the electrochemical storage and conversion of energy. Fundamental contributions were then made by Walther Nernst, who derived the Nernst equation and detected ionic conduction in heterovalently doped zirconia, which he utilized in his Nernst lamp. Another big step forward was the discovery of the extraordinary properties of alpha silver iodide in 1914. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the concept of point defects was established by Yakov Il'ich Frenkel, Walter Schottky and Carl Wagner, including the development of point-defect thermodynamics by Schottky and Wagner. In terms of point defects, ionic (and electronic) transport in ionic crystals became easy to visualize. In an ‘evolving scheme of materials science’, point disorder precedes structural disorder, as displayed by the AgI-type solid electrolytes (and other ionic crystals), by ion-conducting glasses, polymer electrolytes and nano-composites. During the last few decades, much progress has been made in finding and investigating novel solid electrolytes and in using them for the preservation of our environment, in particular in advanced solid state battery systems, fuel cells and sensors. Since 1972, international conferences have been held in the field of Solid State Ionics, and the International Society for Solid State Ionics was founded at one of them, held at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in 1987. (review)
[en] We review the solvothermal synthesis, using a mixture of ethylene glycol (EG) and water as the solvent, of zinc oxide (ZnO) particles having spherical and flower-like shapes and hierarchical nanostructures. The preparation conditions of the ZnO particles and the microscopic characterization of the morphology are summarized. We found the following three effects of the ratio of EG to water on the formation of hierarchical structures: (i) EG restricts the growth of ZnO microcrystals, (ii) EG promotes the self-assembly of small crystallites into spheroidal particles and (iii) the high water content of EG results in hollow spheres. (topical review)
[en] Electroactive one-dimensional (1D) nano-objects possess inherent unidirectional charge and energy transport capabilities along with anisotropic absorption and emission of light, which are of great advantage for the development of nanometer-scale electronics and optoelectronics. In particular, molecular nanowires formed by self-assembly of π-conjugated molecules attract increasing attention for application in supramolecular electronics. This review introduces recent topics related to electroactive molecular nanowires. The nanowires are classified into four categories with respect to the electronic states of the constituent molecules: electron donors, acceptors, donor–acceptor pairs and miscellaneous molecules that display interesting electronic properties. Although many challenges still remain for practical use, state-of-the-art 1D supramolecular nanomaterials have already brought significant advances to both fundamental chemical sciences and technological applications. (topical review)
[en] We report TiO2 patterns obtained by a soft-lithographic technique called 'micromolding in capillaries' using sol–gel and dispersion solutions. A comparison between patterning with a sol–gel and dispersion solutions has been performed. The patterns obtained from sol–gel solutions showed good adhesion to the substrate and uniform shapes, but large shrinkage, whereas those obtained from dispersion solution had high solid content, but exhibited poor adhesion and non-uniform shapes. A fabrication method of a layer-by-layer structured pattern is also demonstrated. This type of pattern may find application in sensors, waveguides and other photonics elements. The occurrence of an undesirable residue layer, which hinders the fabrication of isolated patterns, is highlighted and a method of prevention is suggested.
[en] Most materials expand upon heating. However, although rare, some materials contract upon heating. Such negative thermal expansion (NTE) materials have enormous industrial merit because they can control the thermal expansion of materials. Recent progress in materials research enables us to obtain materials exhibiting negative coefficients of linear thermal expansion over −30 ppm K−1. Such giant NTE is opening a new phase of control of thermal expansion in composites. Specifically examining practical aspects, this review briefly summarizes materials and mechanisms of NTE as well as composites containing NTE materials, based mainly on activities of the last decade. (topical review)
[en] The feasibility of laboratory-synthesized polyurethane-based shape-memory polymer (SMPU) actuators has been investigated for possible application in medical pressure bandages where gradient pressure is required between the ankle and the knee for treatment of leg ulcers. In this study, using heat as the stimulant, SMPU strip actuators have been subjected to gradual and cyclic stresses; their recovery force, reproducibility and reusability have been monitored with respect to changes in temperature and circumference of a model leg, and the stress relaxation at various temperatures has been investigated. The findings suggest that SMPU actuators can be used for the development of the next generation of pressure bandages.
[en] Stem cells are known for their potential to repair damaged tissues. The adhesion, growth and differentiation of stem cells are likely controlled by the surrounding microenvironment which contains both chemical and physical cues. Physical cues in the microenvironment, for example, nanotopography, were shown to play important roles in stem cell fate decisions. Thus, controlling stem cell behavior by nanoscale topography has become an important issue in stem cell biology. Nanotechnology has emerged as a new exciting field and research from this field has greatly advanced. Nanotechnology allows the manipulation of sophisticated surfaces/scaffolds which can mimic the cellular environment for regulating cellular behaviors. Thus, we summarize recent studies on nanotechnology with applications to stem cell biology, including the regulation of stem cell adhesion, growth, differentiation, tracking and imaging. Understanding the interactions of nanomaterials with stem cells may provide the knowledge to apply to cell–scaffold combinations in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. (review)