Carbon nanotubes can be either single-walled or multi-walled, each of which is known to have a different electron arrangement and as a result have different properties. However, the shared unique properties of both types of carbon nanotubes (CNT) allow for their potential use in various biomedical devices and therapies. Some of the most common properties of these materials include the ability to absorb near-infra-red light and generate heat, the ability to deliver drugs in a cellular environment, their light weight, and chemical stability. These properties have encouraged scientists to further investigate CNTs as a tool for thermal treatment of cancer and drug delivery agents. Various promising data have so far been obtained about the usage of CNTs for cancer treatment; however, toxicity of pure CNTs represents a major challenge for clinical application. Various techniques both in vivo and in in vitro have been conducted by a number of different research groups to establish the factors which have a direct effect on CNT-mediated cytotoxicity. The main analysis techniques include using Alamar blue, MTT, and Trypan blue assays. Successful interpretation of these results is difficult because the CNTs can significantly disrupt the emission of the certain particles, which these assays detect. In contrast, in vivo studies allow for the measurement of toxicity and pathology caused by CNTs on an organismal level. Despite the drawbacks of in vitro studies, they have been invaluable in identifying important toxicity factors, such as size, shape, purity, and functionalisation, the latter of which can attenuate CNT toxicity.
carbon nanotubes; toxicology; distribution; administration
Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have been drawing great attention recently as a material for solar energy conversion due to their versatile optical and electrical properties. The QD-sensitized solar cell (QDSC) is one of the burgeoning semiconductor QD solar cells that shows promising developments for the next generation of solar cells. This article focuses on recent developments in QDSCs, including 1) the effect of quantum confinement on QDSCs, 2) the multiple exciton generation (MEG) of QDs, 3) fabrication methods of QDs, and 4) nanocrystalline photoelectrodes for solar cells. We also make suggestions for future research on QDSCs. Although the efficiency of QDSCs is still low, we think there will be major breakthroughs in developing QDSCs in the future.
quantum dot; solar cell; quantum dot–sensitized solar cell (QDSC); quantum confinement; multiple exciton generation (MEG); photoelectrode
Hetero-junction organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells consisting of donor (D) and acceptor (A) layers have been regarded as next-generation PV cells, because of their fascinating advantages, such as lightweight, low fabrication cost, resource free, and flexibility, when compared to those of conventional PV cells based on silicon and semiconductor compounds. However, the power conversion efficiency (η) of the OPV cells has been still around 8%, though more than 10% efficiency has been required for their practical use. To fully optimize these OPV cells, it is necessary that the low mobility of carriers/excitons in the OPV cells and the open circuit voltage (V
OC), of which origin has not been understood well, should be improved. In this review, we address an improvement of the mobility of carriers/excitons by controlling the crystal structure of a donor layer and address how to increase the V
OC for zinc octaethylporphyrin [Zn(OEP)]/C60 hetero-junction OPV cells [ITO/Zn(OEP)/C60/Al]. It was found that crystallization of Zn(OEP) films increases the number of inter-molecular charge transfer (IMCT) excitons and enlarges the mobility of carriers and IMCT excitons, thus significantly improving the external quantum efficiency (EQE) under illumination of the photoabsorption band due to the IMCT excitons. Conversely, charge accumulation of photo-generated carriers in the vicinity of the donor/acceptor (D/A) interface was found to play a key role in determining the V
OC for the OPV cells.
Crystalline; molecular orientation; external quantum efficiency; intra- and inter-molecular excitons; open-circuit voltage; built-in potential
The development of specialized nanoparticles for use in the detection and treatment of cancer is increasing. Methods are being proposed and tested that could target treatments more directly to cancer cells, which could lead to higher efficacy and reduced toxicity, possibly even eliminating the adverse effects of damage to the immune system and the loss of quick replicating cells. In this mini-review we focus on recent studies that employ folate nanoconjugates to target the folate receptor. Folate receptors are highly overexpressed on the surface of many tumor types. This expression can be exploited to target imaging molecules and therapeutic compounds directly to cancerous tissues.
cancer; conjugates; doxorubicin; folate; folic acid; folate receptor; gold; nanoaggregates; 99mTc-EC20; nanotechnology
The utility of biomarker detection in tomorrow's personalized health care field will mean early and accurate diagnosis of many types of human physiological conditions and diseases. In the search for biomarkers, recombinant affinity reagents can be generated to candidate proteins or post-translational modifications that differ qualitatively or quantitatively between normal and diseased tissues. The use of display technologies, such as phage-display, allows for manageable selection and optimization of affinity reagents for use in biomarker detection. Here we review the use of recombinant antibody fragments, such as scFvs and Fabs, which can be affinity-selected from phage-display libraries, to bind with both high specificity and affinity to biomarkers of cancer, such as Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2 (HER2) and Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). We discuss how these recombinant antibodies can be fabricated into nanostructures, such as carbon nanotubes, nanowires, and quantum dots, for the purpose of enhancing detection of biomarkers at low concentrations (pg/mL) within complex mixtures such as serum or tissue extracts. Other sensing technologies, which take advantage of ‘Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering’ (gold nanoshells), frequency changes in piezoelectric crystals (quartz crystal microbalance), or electrical current generation and sensing during electrochemical reactions (electrochemical detection), can effectively provide multiplexed platforms for detection of cancer and injury biomarkers. Such devices may soon replace the traditional time consuming ELISAs and Western blots, and deliver rapid, point-of-care diagnostics to market.
phage-display; scFv; Fab; therapeutic antibody; affinity maturation; mutagenesis; nanotechnology; carbon nanotube; nanoshell; electrochemical detection
Novel thin film optoelectronic devices containing both inorganic colloidal semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) and organic semiconductor thin films have been widely investigated in recent years for a variety of applications. Here, we review one of the most versatile and successful methods developed to integrate these two dissimilar material classes into a functional multilayered device: contact printing of colloidal QD films. Experimental details regarding the contact printing process are outlined, and the key advantages of this QD deposition method over other commonly encountered techniques are discussed. The use of tapping mode atomic force microscopy (AFM) to effectively characterize QD film morphology both on an elastomeric stamp (before contact printing) and as-transferred to the organic semiconductor receiving film (after contact printing) is also described. Finally, we offer suggestions for future efforts directed toward the goal of rapid, continuous QD deposition over larger substrates for the advancement of hybrid optoelectronic thin film devices.
QD; monolayer; stamp; deposition; LED; organic semiconductor
Nanoscale novel devices have raised the demand for nanoscale thermal characterization that is critical for evaluating the device performance and durability. Achieving nanoscale spatial resolution and high accuracy in temperature measurement is very challenging due to the limitation of measurement pathways. In this review, we discuss four methodologies currently developed in nanoscale surface imaging and temperature measurement. To overcome the restriction of the conventional methods, the scanning thermal microscopy technique is widely used. From the perspective of measuring target, the optical feature size method can be applied by using either Raman or fluorescence thermometry. The near-field optical method that measures nanoscale temperature by focusing the optical field to a nano-sized region provides a non-contact and non-destructive way for nanoscale thermal probing. Although the resistance thermometry based on nano-sized thermal sensors is possible for nanoscale thermal probing, significant effort is still needed to reduce the size of the current sensors by using advanced fabrication techniques. At the same time, the development of nanoscale imaging techniques, such as fluorescence imaging, provides a great potential solution to resolve the nanoscale thermal probing problem.
nanoscale; scanning thermal microscopy; feature size; near-field; Raman spectroscopy resistance thermometry
Noble metal quantum clusters (NMQCs) are the missing link between isolated noble metal atoms and nanoparticles. NMQCs are sub-nanometer core sized clusters composed of a group of atoms, most often luminescent in the visible region, and possess intriguing photo-physical and chemical properties. A trend is observed in the use of ligands, ranging from phosphines to functional proteins, for the synthesis of NMQCs in the liquid phase. In this review, we briefly overview recent advancements in the synthesis of protein protected NMQCs with special emphasis on their structural and photo-physical properties. In view of the protein protection, coupled with direct synthesis and easy functionalization, this hybrid QC-protein system is expected to have numerous optical and bioimaging applications in the future, pointers in this direction are visible in the literature.
protein; peptide; noble metals; nano; quantum cluster; fluorescence
Photoinduced electron transfer in donor-acceptor systems composed of quantum dots (QDs) and electron donors or acceptors is a subject of considerable recent research interest due to the potential applications of such systems in both solar energy harvesting and degradation of organic pollutants. Herein, we employed single-molecule imaging and spectroscopy techniques for the detection of photochemical reactions between 1,4-diaminobutane (DAB) and CdSe/ZnS single QDs. We investigated the reactions by analyzing photoluminescence (PL) intensity and lifetime of QDs at ensemble and single-molecule levels. While DAB was applied to single QDs tethered on a cover slip or QDs dispersed in a solution, PL intensity of QD continuously decreased with a concomitant increase in the PL lifetime. Interestingly, these changes in the PL properties of QD were predominant under high-intensity photoactivation. We hypothesize that the above changes in the PL properties surface due to the transfer of an electron from DAB to Auger-ionized QD followed by elimination of a proton from DAB and the formation of a QD-DAB adduct. Thus, a continuous decrease in the PL intensity of QDs under high-intensity photoactivation is attributed to continuous photochemical reactions of DAB with single QDs and the formation of QD-(DAB)n adducts. We believe that detection and analysis of such photochemical reactions of single QDs with amines will be of considerable broad interest due to the significant impact of photoinduced electron transfer reactions in energy management and environmental remediation.
quantum dots; single-molecule; electron transfer; Auger ionization; CdSe/ZnS; photoluminescence; photochemical reaction
Epitaxial heterostructures combining ferroelectric (FE) and ferromagnetic (FiM) oxides are a possible route to explore coupling mechanisms between the two independent order parameters, polarization and magnetization of the component phases. We report on the fabrication and properties of arrays of hybrid epitaxial nanostructures of FiM NiFe2O4 (NFO) and FE PbZr0.52Ti0.48O3 or PbZr0.2Ti0.8O3, with large range order and lateral dimensions from 200 nm to 1 micron.
The structures were fabricated by pulsed-laser deposition. High resolution transmission electron microscopy and high angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy were employed to investigate the microstructure and the epitaxial growth of the structures. Room temperature ferroelectric and ferrimagnetic domains of the heterostructures were imaged by piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) and magnetic force microscopy (MFM), respectively.
PFM and MFM investigations proved that the hybrid epitaxial nanostructures show ferroelectric and magnetic order at room temperature. Dielectric effects occurring after repeated switching of the polarization in large planar capacitors, comprising ferrimagnetic NiFe2O4 dots embedded in ferroelectric PbZr0.52Ti0.48O3 matrix, were studied.
These hybrid multiferroic structures with clean and well defined epitaxial interfaces hold promise for reliable investigations of magnetoelectric coupling between the ferrimagnetic / magnetostrictive and ferroelectric / piezoelectric phases.
multiferroic composites; epitaxial nanostructures; pulsed-laser deposition; piezoresponse force microscopy; magnetic force microscopy
Photovoltaic functions in organic materials are intimately connected to interfacial morphologies of molecular packing in films on the nanometer scale and molecular levels. This review will focus on current studies on correlations of nanoscale morphologies in organic photovoltaic (OPV) materials with fundamental processes relevant to photovoltaic functions, such as light harvesting, exciton splitting, exciton diffusion, and charge separation (CS) and diffusion. Small molecule photovoltaic materials will be discussed here. The donor and acceptor materials in small molecule OPV devices can be fabricated in vacuum-deposited, multilayer, crystalline thin films, or spin-coated together to form blended bulk heterojunction (BHJ) films. These two methods result in very different morphologies of the solar cell active layers. There is still a formidable debate regarding which morphology is favored for OPV optimization. The morphology of the conducting films has been systematically altered; using variations of the techniques above, the whole spectrum of film qualities can be fabricated. It is possible to form a highly crystalline material, one which is completely amorphous, or an intermediate morphology. In this review, we will summarize the past key findings that have driven organic solar cell research and the current state-of-the-art of small molecule and conducting oligomer materials. We will also discuss the merits and drawbacks of these devices. Finally, we will highlight some works that directly compare the spectra and morphology of systematically elongated oligothiophene derivatives and compare these oligomers to their polymer counterparts. We hope this review will shed some new light on the morphology differences of these two systems.
organic photovoltaics; perylene; thiophene; charge transport; transient absorption; grazing incidence x-ray scattering
Using colloidal CdSe/ZnS quantum dots in the submicron-sized silicon disk cavity, we have developed a visible wavelength nanodisk laser that operates under extremely low threshold power at room temperature.
Time-resolved photoluminescence (PL) of QDs; nanodisk by e-beam lithography.
Observation of lasing action at 594 nm wavelength for quantum dots on a nanodisk (750 nm in diameter) cavity and an ultra-low threshold of 2.8 µW.
From QD concentration dependence studies we achieved nearly sevenfold increase in spontaneous emission (SE) rate. We have achieved high efficient and high SE coupling rate in such a QD nanodisk laser.
nanodisk; quantum dot; nanolaser; spontaneous emission; whispering galley mode
Amyloid fibrils belong to the group of ordered nanostructures that are self-assembled from a wide range of polypeptides/proteins. Amyloids are highly rigid structures possessing a high mechanical strength. Although amyloids have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several human diseases, growing evidence indicates that amyloids may also perform native functions in host organisms. Discovery of such amyloids, referred to as functional amyloids, highlight their possible use in designing novel nanostructure materials. This review summarizes recent advances in the application of amyloids for the development of nanomaterials and prospective applications of such materials in nanotechnology and biomedicine.
Nanotechnology; self-assembly; peptide/protein; fibrils; tissue engineering; stem cells; drug delivery; nanowires
There has been significant interest in the development of multicomponent nanocrystals formed by the assembly of two or more different materials with control over size, shape, composition, and spatial orientation. In particular, the selective growth of metals on the tips of semiconductor nanorods and wires can act to couple the electrical and optical properties of semiconductors with the unique properties of various metals. Here, we outline our progress on the solution-phase synthesis of metal-semiconductor heterojunctions formed by the growth of Au, Pt, or other binary catalytic metal systems on metal (Cd, Pb, Cu)-chalcogenide nanostructures. We show the ability to grow the metal on various shapes (spherical, rods, hexagonal prisms, and wires). Furthermore, manipulating the composition of the metal nanoparticles is also shown, where PtNi and PtCo alloys are our main focus. The magnetic and electrical properties of the developed hybrid nanostructures are shown.
synthesis; Hybrid Nanocrystals; Nanowires; Electrical and magnetic properties; MOCVD
Standard ab initio and density functional calculations are carried out to determine the structure, stability, and reactivity of B12N12 clusters with hydrogen doping. To lend additional support, conceptual DFT-based reactivity descriptors and the associated electronic structure principles are also used. Related cage aromaticity of this B12N12 and nH2@B12N12 are analyzed through the nucleus independent chemical shift values.
hydrogen storage; metal cluster; conceptual DFT; aromaticity
Electric-field control of ferromagnetism in magnetic semiconductors at room temperature has been actively pursued as one of the important approaches to realize practical spintronics and non-volatile logic devices. While Mn-doped III-V semiconductors were considered as potential candidates for achieving this controllability, the search for an ideal material with high Curie temperature (Tc>300 K) and controllable ferromagnetism at room temperature has continued for nearly a decade. Among various dilute magnetic semiconductors (DMSs), materials derived from group IV elements such as Si and Ge are the ideal candidates for such materials due to their excellent compatibility with the conventional complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology. Here, we review recent reports on the development of high-Curie temperature Mn0.05Ge0.95 quantum dots (QDs) and successfully demonstrate electric-field control of ferromagnetism in the Mn0.05Ge0.95 quantum dots up to 300 K. Upon the application of gate-bias to a metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) capacitor, the ferromagnetism of the channel layer (i.e. the Mn0.05Ge0.95 quantum dots) was modulated as a function of the hole concentration. Finally, a theoretical model based upon the formation of magnetic polarons has been proposed to explain the observed field controlled ferromagnetism.
diluted magnetic semiconductors; spintronics; non-volatile; Mn0.05Ge0.95; quantum dots; electric-field controlled ferromagnetism; magnetic polarons
Comprehensive knowledge over the shape of nanomaterials is a critical factor in designing devices with desired functions. Due to this reason, systematic efforts have been made to synthesize materials of diverse shape in the nanoscale regime. Anisotropic nanomaterials are a class of materials in which their properties are direction-dependent and more than one structural parameter is needed to describe them. Their unique and fine-tuned physical and chemical properties make them ideal candidates for devising new applications. In addition, the assembly of ordered one-dimensional (1D), two-dimensional (2D), and three-dimensional (3D) arrays of anisotropic nanoparticles brings novel properties into the resulting system, which would be entirely different from the properties of individual nanoparticles. This review presents an overview of current research in the area of anisotropic nanomaterials in general and noble metal nanoparticles in particular. We begin with an introduction to the advancements in this area followed by general aspects of the growth of anisotropic nanoparticles. Then we describe several important synthetic protocols for making anisotropic nanomaterials, followed by a summary of their assemblies, and conclude with major applications.
In this review we present an overview of the experimental and theoretical development on fluorescence intermittency (blinking) and the roles of electron transfer in semiconductor crystalline nanoparticles. Blinking is a very interesting phenomenon commonly observed in single molecule/particle experiments. Under continuous laser illumination, the fluorescence time trace of these single nanoparticles exhibit random light and dark periods. Since its first observation in the mid-1990s, this intriguing phenomenon has attracted wide attention among researchers from many disciplines. We will first present the historical background of the discovery and the observation of unusual inverse power-law dependence for the waiting time distributions of light and dark periods. Then, we will describe our theoretical modeling efforts to elucidate the causes for the power-law behavior, to probe the roles of electron transfer in blinking, and eventually to control blinking and to achieve complete suppression of the blinking, which is an annoying feature in many applications of quantum dots as light sources and fluorescence labels for biomedical imaging.
single molecule; confocal microscopy; quantum dot; nanoscience; fluorescence intermittency; blinking; electron transfer; Auger relaxation