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1.  Selective aggregation of PAMAM dendrimer nanocarriers and PAMAM/ZnPc nanodrugs on human atheromatous carotid tissues: a photodynamic therapy for atherosclerosis 
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) involves the action of photons on photosensitive molecules, where atomic oxygen or OH− molecular species are locally released on pathogenic human cells, which are mainly carcinogenic, thus causing cell necrosis. The efficacy of PDT depends on the local nanothermodynamic conditions near the cell/nanodrug system that control both the level of intracellular translocation of nanoparticles in the pathogenic cell and their agglomeration on the cell membrane. Dendrimers are considered one of the most effective and promising drug carriers because of their relatively low toxicity and negligible activation of complementary reactions. Polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrite delivery of PDT agents has been investigated in the last few years for tumour selectivity, retention, pharmacokinetics and water solubility. Nevertheless, their use as drug carriers of photosensitizing molecules in PDT for cardiovascular disease, targeting the selective necrosis of macrophage cells responsible for atheromatous plaque growth, has never been investigated. Furthermore, the level of aggregation, translocation and nanodrug delivery efficacy of PAMAM dendrimers or PAMAM/zinc phthalocyanine (ZnPc) conjugates on human atheromatous tissue and endothelial cells is still unknown.
In this work, the aggregation of PAMAM zero generation dendrimers (G0) acting as drug delivery carriers, as well as conjugated G0 PAMAM dendrimers with a ZnPc photosensitizer, to symptomatic and asymptomatic human carotid tissues was investigated by using atomic force microscopy (AFM). For the evaluation of the texture characteristics of the AFM images, statistical surface morphological and fractal analytical methodologies and Minkowski functionals were used. All statistical quantities showed that the deposition of nanodrug carriers on healthy tissue has an inverse impact when comparing to the deposition on atheromatous tissue with different aggregation features between G0 and G0/ZnPc nanoparticles and with considerably larger G0/ZnPc aggregations on the atheromatous plaque. The results highlight the importance of using PAMAM dendrimer carriers as a novel and promising PDT platform for atherosclerosis therapies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s11671-015-0904-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4431993  PMID: 25991914
Nanodrugs; Dendrimers; Nanoparticle aggregation; AFM; Fractal analysis; Biosurfaces; Atheromatous plaque; Photodynamic therapy; Cardiovascular; Surface roughness parameters
2.  Charge transport mechanisms and memory effects in amorphous TaNx thin films 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2013;8(1):432.
Amorphous semiconducting materials have unique electrical properties that may be beneficial in nanoelectronics, such as low leakage current, charge memory effects, and hysteresis functionality. However, electrical characteristics between different or neighboring regions in the same amorphous nanostructure may differ greatly. In this work, the bulk and surface local charge carrier transport properties of a-TaNx amorphous thin films deposited in two different substrates are investigated by conductive atomic force microscopy. The nitride films are grown either on Au (100) or Si [100] substrates by pulsed laser deposition at 157 nm in nitrogen environment. For the a-TaNx films deposited on Au, it is found that they display a negligible leakage current until a high bias voltage is reached. On the contrary, a much lower threshold voltage for the leakage current and a lower total resistance is observed for the a-TaNx film deposited on the Si substrate. Furthermore, I-V characteristics of the a-TaNx film deposited on Au show significant hysteresis effects for both polarities of bias voltage, while for the film deposited on Si hysteresis, effects appear only for positive bias voltage, suggesting that with the usage of the appropriate substrate, the a-TaNx nanodomains may have potential use as charge memory devices.
PMCID: PMC4016540  PMID: 24134740
Nitrides; TaNx thin films; Amorphous semiconductors; Nanoelectronics; Memory effects; Conductive-AFM
3.  Long-term oxidization and phase transition of InN nanotextures 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2011;6(1):387.
The long-term (6 months) oxidization of hcp-InN (wurtzite, InN-w) nanostructures (crystalline/amorphous) synthesized on Si [100] substrates is analyzed. The densely packed layers of InN-w nanostructures (5-40 nm) are shown to be oxidized by atmospheric oxygen via the formation of an intermediate amorphous In-Ox-Ny (indium oxynitride) phase to a final bi-phase hcp-InN/bcc-In2O3 nanotexture. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, electron energy loss spectroscopy and selected area electron diffraction are used to identify amorphous In-Ox-Ny oxynitride phase. When the oxidized area exceeds the critical size of 5 nm, the amorphous In-Ox-Ny phase eventually undergoes phase transition via a slow chemical reaction of atomic oxygen with the indium atoms, forming a single bcc In2O3 phase.
PMCID: PMC3211480  PMID: 21711908

Results 1-3 (3)