Polycrystalline CuInSe2 (CISe) nanorods are promising for the fabrication of highly efficient active layers in solar cells. In this work we report on a nanocasting approach, which uses track-etched polycarbonate films as hard templates for obtaining three-dimensionally (3D) arranged CISe nanorod arrays. Copper and indium ketoacidoximato complexes and selenourea were employed as molecular precursors. Arrays of parallel isolated cylindrical pores of 100 nm nominal diameter and 5 μm length were used for the infiltration of the precursor solution under inert atmosphere, followed by drying, thermal conversion into a preceramic ‘green body’, a subsequent dissolution of the template, and a final thermal treatment at 450 °C. The nanorods that where synthesised in this way have dimensions equal to the pore sizes of the template. Investigation of the CuInSe2 nanorod samples by spectroscopic and diffraction methods confirmed a high purity and crystallinity, and a stoichiometric composition of the CISe ternary semiconductor compound.
CIS; light absorption; nanocasting; nanorod arrays; precursor synthesis
Silicon as the negative electrode material of lithium ion batteries has a very large capacity, the exploitation of which is impeded by the volume changes taking place upon electrochemical cycling. A Si electrode displaying a controlled porosity could circumvent the difficulty. In this perspective, we present a preparative method that yields ordered arrays of electrochemically competent silicon nanotubes. The method is based on the atomic layer deposition of silicon dioxide onto the pore walls of an anodic alumina template, followed by a thermal reduction with lithium vapor. This thermal reduction is quantitative, homogeneous over macroscopic samples, and it yields amorphous silicon and lithium oxide, at the exclusion of any lithium silicides. The reaction is characterized by spectroscopic ellipsometry for thin silica films, and by nuclear magnetic resonance and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy for nanoporous samples. After removal of the lithium oxide byproduct, the silicon nanotubes can be contacted electrically. In a lithium ion electrolyte, they then display the electrochemical waves also observed for other bulk or nanostructured silicon systems. The method established here paves the way for systematic investigations of how the electrochemical properties (capacity, charge/discharge rates, cyclability) of nanoporous silicon negative lithium ion battery electrode materials depend on the geometry.
atomic layer deposition; electrochemistry; lithium ion battery electrode; silica thermal reduction; silicon nanotubes
A molecular graph M is a simple graph in which atoms and chemical bonds are the vertices and edges of M, respectively. The molecular graph M is called a fullerene graph, if M is the molecular graph of a fullerene molecule. It is well-known that such molecules exist for even integers n ≥ 24 or n = 20. The aim of this paper is to investigate the topological properties of a class of fullerene molecules containing 60 + 12n carbon atoms.
edge revised Szeged index; edge Szeged index; edge topological property; fullerene; PI index
The method of successive ion layer adsorption and reaction was applied for the deposition of CdS nanoparticles onto a mesoporous In2O3 substrate. The filling of the nanopores in In2O3 films with CdS particles mainly occurs during the first 30 cycles of the SILAR deposition. The surface modification of In2O3 with CdS nanoparticles leads to the spectral sensitization of photoelectrochemical processes that manifests itself in a red shift of the long-wavelength edge in the photocurrent spectrum by 100–150 nm. Quantum-confinement effects lead to an increase of the bandgap from 2.49 to 2.68 eV when decreasing the number of SILAR cycles from 30 to 10. The spectral shift and the widening of the Raman line belonging to CdS evidences the lattice stress on the CdS/In2O3 interfaces and confirms the formation of a close contact between the nanoparticles.
cadmium sulfide (CdS); indium oxide (In2O3); nanoparticles; successive ionic layer adsorption and reaction (SILAR)
The electrical performance of indium tin oxide (ITO) coated glass was improved by including a controlled layer of carbon nanotubes directly on top of the ITO film. Multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were synthesized by chemical vapor deposition, using ultrathin Fe layers as catalyst. The process parameters (temperature, gas flow and duration) were carefully refined to obtain the appropriate size and density of MWCNTs with a minimum decrease of the light harvesting in the cell. When used as anodes for organic solar cells based on poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM), the MWCNT-enhanced electrodes are found to improve the charge-carrier extraction from the photoactive blend, thanks to the additional percolation paths provided by the CNTs. The work function of as-modified ITO surfaces was measured by the Kelvin probe method to be 4.95 eV, resulting in an improved matching to the highest occupied molecular orbital level of the P3HT. This is in turn expected to increase the hole transport and collection at the anode, contributing to the significant increase of current density and open-circuit voltage observed in test cells created with such MWCNT-enhanced electrodes.
carbon nanotubes; electrode; indium tin oxide; Kelvin probe; organic photovoltaics
We report a facile method to prepare a nanoarchitectured lithium manganate/graphene (LMO/G) hybrid as a positive electrode for Li-ion batteries. The Mn2O3/graphene hybrid is synthesized by exfoliation of graphene sheets and deposition of Mn2O3 in a one-step electrochemical process, which is followed by lithiation in a molten salt reaction. There are several advantages of using the LMO/G as cathodes in Li-ion batteries: (1) the LMO/G electrode shows high specific capacities at high gravimetric current densities with excellent cycling stability, e.g., 84 mAh·g−1 during the 500th cycle at a discharge current density of 5625 mA·g−1 (~38.01 C capacity rating) in the voltage window of 3–4.5 V; (2) the LMO/G hybrid can buffer the Jahn–Teller effect, which depicts excellent Li storage properties at high current densities within a wider voltage window of 2–4.5 V, e.g., 93 mAh·g−1 during the 300th cycle at a discharge current density of 5625 mA·g−1 (~38.01 C). The wider operation voltage window can lead to increased theoretical capacity, e.g., 148 mAh·g−1 between 3 and 4.5 V and 296 mAh·g−1 between 2 and 4.5 V; (3) more importantly, it is found that the attachment of LMO onto graphene can help to reduce the dissolution of Mn2+ into the electrolyte, as indicated by the inductively coupled plasma (ICP) measurements, and which is mainly attributed to the large specific surface area of the graphene sheets.
cathode; graphene; Li-ion battery; lithium manganate
Infections due to enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (Escherichia coli) have a low incidence but can have severe and sometimes fatal health consequences, and thus represent some of the most serious diseases due to the contamination of water and food. New, fast and simple devices that monitor these pathogens are necessary to improve the safety of our food supply chain. In this work we report on mesoporous titania thin-film substrates as sensors to detect E. coli O157:H7. Titania films treated with APTES ((3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane) and GA (glutaraldehyde) were functionalized with specific antibodies and the absorption properties monitored. The film-based biosensors showed a detection limit for E. coli of 1 × 102 CFU/mL, constituting a simple and selective method for the effective screening of water samples.
biosensors; E. coli; FTIR spectroscopy; foodborne pathogens; nanomaterials
Conducting composite films containing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were prepared by using the biopolymer kappa-carrageenan (KC) as a dispersant. Rheological studies indicated that 0.5% w/v was the appropriate KC concentration for dispersing CNTs. Our results showed that multiwalled nanotubes (MWNTs) required less sonic energy than single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs) for the dispersion process to be complete. Films prepared by vacuum filtration exhibited higher conductivity and improved mechanical characteristics compared to those prepared by evaporative casting. All composite films displayed sensitivity to water vapour, but MWNT films were more sensitive than SWNT films.
biopolymers; carbon nanotubes; carrageenan; composite materials; conductivity; mechanical; rheology
Multiwalled carbon nanotubes were used to modify the surface of a glassy carbon electrode to enhance its electroactivity. Nafion served to immobilise the carbon nanotubes on the electrode surface. The modified electrode was used to develop an analytical method for the analysis of ascorbic acid (AA) by square-wave voltammetry (SWV). The oxidation of ascorbic acid at the modified glassy carbon electrode showed a peak potential at 315 mV, about 80 mV lower than that observed at the bare (unmodified) electrode. The peak current was about threefold higher than the response at the bare electrode. Replicate measurements of peak currents showed good precision (3% rsd). Peak currents increased with increasing ascorbic acid concentration (dynamic range = 0.0047–5.0 mmol/L) and displayed good linearity (R
2 = 0.994). The limit of detection was 1.4 μmol/L AA, while the limit of quantitation was 4.7 μmol/L AA. The modified electrode was applied to the determination of the amount of ascorbic acid in four brands of commercial orange-juice products. The measured content agreed well (96–104%) with the product label claim for all brands tested. Recovery tests on spiked samples of orange juice showed good recovery (99–104%). The reliability of the SWV method was validated by conducting parallel experiments based on high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with absorbance detection. The observed mean AA contents of the commercial orange juice samples obtained by the two methods were compared statistically and were found to have no significant difference (P = 0.05).
ascorbic acid; carbon nanotubes; glassy carbon electrode; square-wave voltammetry
An anatase TiO2 material with hierarchically structured spheres consisting of ultrathin nanosheets with 100% of the  facet exposed was employed to fabricate dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). Investigation of the electron transport and back reaction of the DSCs by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy showed that the spheres had a threefold lower electron recombination rate compared to the conventional TiO2 nanoparticles. In contrast, the effective electron diffusion coefficient, D
n, was not sensitive to the variation of the TiO2 morphology. The TiO2 spheres showed the same D
n as that of the nanoparticles. The influence of TiCl4 post-treatment on the conduction band of the TiO2 spheres and on the kinetics of electron transport and back reactions was also investigated. It was found that the TiCl4 post-treatment caused a downward shift of the TiO2 conduction band edge by 30 meV. Meanwhile, a fourfold increase of the effective electron lifetime of the DSC was also observed after TiCl4 treatment. The synergistic effect of the variation of the TiO2 conduction band and the electron recombination determined the open-circuit voltage of the DSC.
dye-sensitized solar cells; electrochemical impedance spectroscopy; electron recombination; TiO2  facet; ultrathin nanosheets
ZnO nanowires are normally exposed to an oxygen atmosphere to achieve high performance in UV photodetection. In this work we present results on a UV photodetector fabricated using a flexible ZnO nanowire sheet embedded in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), a gas-permeable polymer, showing reproducible UV photoresponse and enhanced photoconduction. PDMS coating results in a reduced response speed compared to that of a ZnO nanowire film in air. The rising speed is slightly reduced, while the decay time is prolonged by about a factor of four. We conclude that oxygen molecules diffusing in PDMS are responsible for the UV photoresponse.
permeable polymer; photoresponse; polydimethylsiloxane; UV photodetection; ZnO nanowires
We have taken advantage of the native surface roughness and the iron content of AISI-316 stainless steel to grow multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) by chemical vapour deposition without the addition of an external catalyst. The structural and electronic properties of the synthesized carbon nanostructures have been investigated by a range of electron microscopy and spectroscopy techniques. The results show the good quality and the high graphitization degree of the synthesized MWCNTs. Through energy-loss spectroscopy we found that the electronic properties of these nanostructures are markedly different from those of highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG). Notably, a broadening of the π-plasmon peak in the case of MWCNTs is evident. In addition, a photocurrent was measured when MWCNTs were airbrushed onto a silicon substrate. External quantum efficiency (EQE) and photocurrent values were reported both in planar and in top-down geometry of the device. Marked differences in the line shapes and intensities were found for the two configurations, suggesting that two different mechanisms of photocurrent generation and charge collection are in operation. From this comparison, we are able to conclude that the silicon substrate plays an important role in the production of electron–hole pairs.
carbon nanotubes; electronic properties; heterojunction; photovoltaic; stainless steel
Surface coating with an organic self-assembled monolayer (SAM) can enhance surface reactions or the absorption of specific gases and hence improve the response of a metal oxide (MOx) sensor toward particular target gases in the environment. In this study the effect of an adsorbed organic layer on the dynamic response of zinc oxide nanowire gas sensors was investigated. The effect of ZnO surface functionalisation by two different organic molecules, tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane (THMA) and dodecanethiol (DT), was studied. The response towards ammonia, nitrous oxide and nitrogen dioxide was investigated for three sensor configurations, namely pure ZnO nanowires, organic-coated ZnO nanowires and ZnO nanowires covered with a sparse layer of organic-coated ZnO nanoparticles. Exposure of the nanowire sensors to the oxidising gas NO2 produced a significant and reproducible response. ZnO and THMA-coated ZnO nanowire sensors both readily detected NO2 down to a concentration in the very low ppm range. Notably, the THMA-coated nanowires consistently displayed a small, enhanced response to NO2 compared to uncoated ZnO nanowire sensors. At the lower concentration levels tested, ZnO nanowire sensors that were coated with THMA-capped ZnO nanoparticles were found to exhibit the greatest enhanced response. ΔR/R was two times greater than that for the as-prepared ZnO nanowire sensors. It is proposed that the ΔR/R enhancement in this case originates from the changes induced in the depletion-layer width of the ZnO nanoparticles that bridge ZnO nanowires resulting from THMA ligand binding to the surface of the particle coating. The heightened response and selectivity to the NO2 target are positive results arising from the coating of these ZnO nanowire sensors with organic-SAM-functionalised ZnO nanoparticles.
gas sensor; nanowire; tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane; self-assembled monolayer; zinc oxide