Monatomic (Fe, Co) and bimetallic (FePt and CoPt) nanoparticles were prepared by exploiting the self-organization of precursor loaded reverse micelles. Achievements and limitations of the preparation approach are critically discussed. We show that self-assembled metallic nanoparticles can be prepared with diameters d = 2–12 nm and interparticle distances D = 20–140 nm on various substrates. Structural, electronic and magnetic properties of the particle arrays were characterized by several techniques to give a comprehensive view of the high quality of the method. For Co nanoparticles, it is demonstrated that magnetostatic interactions can be neglected for distances which are at least 6 times larger than the particle diameter. Focus is placed on FePt alloy nanoparticles which show a huge magnetic anisotropy in the L10 phase, however, this is still less by a factor of 3–4 when compared to the anisotropy of the bulk counterpart. A similar observation was also found for CoPt nanoparticles (NPs). These results are related to imperfect crystal structures as revealed by HRTEM as well as to compositional distributions of the prepared particles. Interestingly, the results demonstrate that the averaged effective magnetic anisotropy of FePt nanoparticles does not strongly depend on size. Consequently, magnetization stability should scale linearly with the volume of the NPs and give rise to a critical value for stability at ambient temperature. Indeed, for diameters above 6 nm such stability is observed for the current FePt and CoPt NPs. Finally, the long-term conservation of nanoparticles by Au photoseeding is presented.
Co; CoPt; core–shell particles; FePt; magnetic anisotropy; magnetic particles; plasma etching; reverse micelles; self-assembly
We report on the fabrication of thin coatings based on polylactic acid-chitosan-magnetite-eugenol (PLA-CS-Fe3O4@EUG) nanospheres by matrix assisted pulsed laser evaporation (MAPLE). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) investigation proved that the homogenous Fe3O4@EUG nanoparticles have an average diameter of about 7 nm, while the PLA-CS-Fe3O4@EUG nanospheres diameter sizes range between 20 and 80 nm. These MAPLE-deposited coatings acted as bioactive nanosystems and exhibited a great antimicrobial effect by impairing the adherence and biofilm formation of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) bacteria strains. Moreover, the obtained nano-coatings showed a good biocompatibility and facilitated the normal development of human endothelial cells. These nanosystems may be used as efficient alternatives in treating and preventing bacterial infections.
antimicrobial; chitosan; magnetite nanoparticles; nanospheres; P. aeruginosa; polylactic acid; S. aureus
The manipulation of brain nerve terminals by an external magnetic field promises breakthroughs in nano-neurotechnology. D-Mannose-coated superparamagnetic nanoparticles were synthesized by coprecipitation of Fe(II) and Fe(III) salts followed by oxidation with sodium hypochlorite and addition of D-mannose. Effects of D-mannose-coated superparamagnetic maghemite (γ-Fe2O3) nanoparticles on key characteristics of the glutamatergic neurotransmission were analysed. Using radiolabeled L-[14C]glutamate, it was shown that D-mannose-coated γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles did not affect high-affinity Na+-dependent uptake, tonic release and the extracellular level of L-[14C]glutamate in isolated rat brain nerve terminals (synaptosomes). Also, the membrane potential of synaptosomes and acidification of synaptic vesicles was not changed as a result of the application of D-mannose-coated γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles. This was demonstrated with the potential-sensitive fluorescent dye rhodamine 6G and the pH-sensitive dye acridine orange. The study also focused on the analysis of the potential use of these nanoparticles for manipulation of nerve terminals by an external magnetic field. It was shown that more than 84.3 ± 5.0% of L-[14C]glutamate-loaded synaptosomes (1 mg of protein/mL) incubated for 5 min with D-mannose-coated γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles (250 µg/mL) moved to an area, in which the magnet (250 mT, gradient 5.5 Т/m) was applied compared to 33.5 ± 3.0% of the control and 48.6 ± 3.0% of samples that were treated with uncoated nanoparticles. Therefore, isolated brain nerve terminals can be easily manipulated by an external magnetic field using D-mannose-coated γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles, while the key characteristics of glutamatergic neurotransmission are not affected. In other words, functionally active synaptosomes labeled with D-mannose-coated γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles were obtained.
extracellular level; γ-Fe2O3; glutamate uptake and release; manipulation by an external magnetic field; D-mannose; membrane potential; nanoparticles; rat brain nerve terminals; synaptic vesicle acidification
The ion-irradiation induced synthesis of embedded Au nanoparticles (NPs) into glass from islands of Au on a glass substrate is studied in the context of recoiling atoms, sputtering and viscous flow. Cross sectional transmission electron microscopy studies revealed the formation of Au NPs embedded in the glass substrates by the 50 keV Si− ion irradiation of irregularly shaped Au nanostructures on the glass surfaces at a fluence of 3 × 1016 ions/cm2. The depth profiles of Au in the samples were obtained from high-resolution Rutherford backscattering spectrometry studies. The results from TRIDYN simulation reveal the role of various ion-induced processes during the synthesis of the embedded Au NPs, viz. sputtering and recoiling atoms. Simulation and experimental results suggest that the viscous flow is one of the major factors that are responsible for the embedding of Au nanoparticles into the glass substrate.
embedded nanoparticles; ion beam irradiation; recoil implantation
The electronic and optical properties of semiconducting silicon nanotubes (SiNTs) are studied by means of the many-body Green’s function method, i.e., GW approximation and Bethe–Salpeter equation. In these studied structures, i.e., (4,4), (6,6) and (10,0) SiNTs, self-energy effects are enhanced giving rise to large quasi-particle (QP) band gaps due to the confinement effect. The strong electron−electron (e−e) correlations broaden the band gaps of the studied SiNTs from 0.65, 0.28 and 0.05 eV at DFT level to 1.9, 1.22 and 0.79 eV at GW level. The Coulomb electron−hole (e−h) interactions significantly modify optical absorption properties obtained at noninteracting-particle level with the formation of bound excitons with considerable binding energies (of the order of 1 eV) assigned: the binding energies of the armchair (4,4), (6,6) and zigzag (10,0) SiNTs are 0.92, 1.1 and 0.6 eV, respectively. Results in this work are useful for understanding the physics and applications in silicon-based nanoscale device components.
Bethe–Salpeter equation; excitons; GW approximation; many body effects; silicon
In order to resolve substrate effects on the adlayer structure and structure formation and on the substrate–adsorbate and adsorbate–adsorbate interactions, we investigated the adsorption of thin films of the ionic liquid (IL) 1-butyl-1-methylpyrrolidinium-bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide [BMP][TFSA] on the close-packed Ag(111) and Au(111) surfaces by scanning tunneling microscopy, under ultra high vacuum (UHV) conditions in the temperature range between about 100 K and 293 K. At room temperature, highly mobile 2D liquid adsorbate phases were observed on both surfaces. At low temperatures, around 100 K, different adsorbed IL phases were found to coexist on these surfaces, both on silver and gold: a long-range ordered (‘2D crystalline’) phase and a short-range ordered (‘2D glass’) phase. Both phases exhibit different characteristics on the two surfaces. On Au(111), the surface reconstruction plays a major role in the structure formation of the 2D crystalline phase. In combination with recent density functional theory calculations, the sub-molecularly resolved STM images allow to clearly discriminate between the [BMP]+ cation and [TFSA]− anion.
adsorption; Ag; Au; [BMP][TFSA]; ionic liquids; scanning tunnelling microscopy; self-assembly
The basic idea of using hexagonally ordered arrays of Au nanoparticles (NP) on top of a given substrate as a mask for the subsequent anisotropic etching in order to fabricate correspondingly ordered arrays of nanopillars meets two serious obstacles: The position of the NP may change during the etching process and, thus, the primary pattern of the mask deteriorates or is completely lost. Furthermore, the NP are significantly eroded during etching and, consequently, the achievable pillar height is strongly restricted. The present work presents approaches on how to get around both problems. For this purpose, arrays of Au NPs (starting diameter 12 nm) are deposited on top of silica substrates by applying diblock copolymer micelle nanolithography (BCML). It is demonstrated that evaporated octadecyltrimethoxysilane (OTMS) layers act as stabilizer on the NP position, which allows for an increase of their size up to 50 nm by an electroless photochemical process. In this way, ordered arrays of silica nanopillars are obtained with maximum heights of 270 nm and aspect ratios of 5:1. Alternatively, the NP position can be fixed by a short etching step with negligible mask erosion followed by cycles of growing and reactive ion etching (RIE). In that case, each cycle is started by photochemically re-growing the Au NP mask and thereby completely compensating for the erosion due to the previous cycle. As a result of this mask repair method, arrays of silica nanopillar with heights up to 680 nm and aspect ratios of 10:1 are fabricated. Based on the given recipes, the approach can be applied to a variety of materials like silicon, silicon oxide, and silicon nitride.
Au nanoparticles; block copolymer micellar lithography; photochemical growth; reactive ion etching; self-assembly
In the search for high-energy materials, novel 3D-fluorophosphates, Li2Co1−
xFexPO4F and Li2Co1−
xMnxPO4F, have been synthesized. X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy have been applied to analyze the structural and morphological features of the prepared materials. Both systems, Li2Co1−
xFexPO4F and Li2Co1−
xMnxPO4F, exhibited narrow ranges of solid solutions: x ≤ 0.3 and x ≤ 0.1, respectively. The Li2Co0.9Mn0.1PO4F material demonstrated a reversible electrochemical performance with an initial discharge capacity of 75 mA·h·g−1 (current rate of C/5) upon cycling between 2.5 and 5.5 V in 1 M LiBF4/TMS electrolyte. Galvanostatic measurements along with cyclic voltammetry supported a single-phase de/intercalation mechanism in the Li2Co0.9Mn0.1PO4F material.
energy related; fluorophosphates; high-energy cathode materials; high-voltage electrolyte; Li-ion batteries; nanomaterials; reversible capacity
The often observed and still unexplained phenomenon of the growth of lithium peroxide crystal clusters during the discharge of Li–O2 cells is likely to happen because of self-assembling Li2O2 platelets that nucleate homogeneously right after the intermediate formation of superoxide ions by a single-electron oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). This feature limits the rechargeability of Li–O2 cells, but at the same time it can be beneficial for both capacity improvement and gain in recharge rate if a proper liquid phase mediator can be found.
lithium–air batteries; lithium peroxide; oxygen reduction reaction
Systematical studies of the electrochemical performance of CFx-derived carbon–FeF2 nanocomposites for reversible lithium storage are presented. The conversion cathode materials were synthesized by a simple one-pot synthesis, which enables a reactive intercalation of nanoscale Fe particles in a CFx matrix, and the reaction of these components to an electrically conductive C–FeF2 compound. The pretreatment and the structure of the utilized CFx precursors play a crucial role in the synthesis and influence the electrochemical behavior of the conversion cathode material. The particle size of the CFx precursor particles was varied by ball milling as well as by choosing different C/F ratios. The investigations led to optimized C–FeF2 conversion cathode materials that showed specific capacities of 436 mAh/g at 40 °C after 25 cycles. The composites were characterized by Raman spectroscopy, X-Ray diffraction measurements, electron energy loss spectroscopy and TEM measurements. The electrochemical performances of the materials were tested by galvanostatic measurements.
conducting carbon; conversion material; enregy-related; graphite fluoride; lithium battery; iron fluoride
A carbon-encapsulated Fe3O4 nanocomposite was prepared by a simple one-step pyrolysis of iron pentacarbonyl without using any templates, solvents or surfactants. The structure and morphology of the nanocomposite was investigated by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, Brunauer–Emmett–Teller analysis and Raman spectroscopy. Fe3O4 nanoparticles are dispersed intimately in a carbon framework. The nanocomposite exhibits well constructed core–shell and nanotube structures, with Fe3O4 cores and graphitic shells/tubes. The as-synthesized material could be used directly as anode in a lithium-ion cell and demonstrated a stable capacity, and good cyclic and rate performances.
electrochemistry; iron oxide; lithium-ion battery; nanoparticles; pyrolysis
The optimization of solution-processed organic bulk-heterojunction solar cells with the acceptor-substituted quinquethiophene DCV5T-Bu
4 as donor in conjunction with PC61BM as acceptor is described. Power conversion efficiencies up to 3.0% and external quantum efficiencies up to 40% were obtained through the use of 1-chloronaphthalene as solvent additive in the fabrication of the photovoltaic devices. Furthermore, atomic force microscopy investigations of the photoactive layer gave insight into the distribution of donor and acceptor within the blend. The unique combination of solubility and thermal stability of DCV5T-Bu
4 also allows for fabrication of organic solar cells by vacuum deposition. Thus, we were able to perform a rare comparison of the device characteristics of the solution-processed DCV5T-Bu
4:PC61BM solar cell with its vacuum-processed DCV5T-Bu
4:C60 counterpart. Interestingly in this case, the efficiencies of the small-molecule organic solar cells prepared by using solution techniques are approaching those fabricated by using vacuum technology. This result is significant as vacuum-processed devices typically display much better performances in photovoltaic cells.
active layer morphology; comparison vacuum-processed solar cells; maximum solubility; oligothiophene; solar cells; solution-processed bulk heterojunction; solvent additives
energy related; nanomaterials
Aprotic rechargeable Li–O2 batteries are currently receiving considerable interest because they can possibly offer significantly higher energy densities than conventional Li-ion batteries. The electrochemical behavior of Li–O2 batteries containing bis(trifluoromethane)sulfonimide lithium salt (LiTFSI)/tetraglyme electrolyte were investigated by galvanostatic cycling and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements. Ex-situ X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy were used to evaluate the formation/dissolution of Li2O2 particles at the cathode side during the operation of Li–O2 cells.
aprotic electrolyte; impedance spectroscopy; Li–O2 batteries; scanning electron microscopy
We report here a way for improving the stability of ultramicroelectrodes (UME) based on hexacyanoferrate-modified metals for the detection of hydrogen peroxide. The most stable sensors were obtained by electrochemical deposition of six layers of hexacyanoferrates (HCF), more specifically, an alternating pattern of three layers of Prussian Blue and three layers of Ni–HCF. The microelectrodes modified with mixed layers were continuously monitored in 1 mM hydrogen peroxide and proved to be stable for more than 5 h under these conditions. The mixed layer microelectrodes exhibited a stability which is five times as high as the stability of conventional Prussian Blue-modified UMEs. The sensitivity of the mixed layer sensor was 0.32 A·M−1·cm−2, and the detection limit was 10 µM. The mixed layer-based UMEs were used as sensors in scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) experiments for imaging of hydrogen peroxide evolution.
energy related; hydrogen peroxide; nanomaterials; nickel hexacyanoferrate; Prussian Blue; scanning electrochemical microscopy; ultramicroelectrodes
Atomistic and first-principles molecular dynamics simulations are employed to investigate the structure formation in a hydrated Nafion membrane and the solvation and transport of protons in the water channel of the membrane. For the water/Nafion systems containing more than 4 million atoms, it is found that the observed microphase-segregated morphology can be classified as bicontinuous: both majority (hydrophobic) and minority (hydrophilic) subphases are 3D continuous and organized in an irregular ordered pattern, which is largely similar to that known for a bicontinuous double-diamond structure. The characteristic size of the connected hydrophilic channels is about 25–50 Å, depending on the water content. A thermodynamic decomposition of the potential of mean force and the calculated spectral densities of the hindered translational motions of cations reveal that ion association observed with decreasing temperature is largely an entropic effect related to the loss of low-frequency modes. Based on the results from the atomistic simulation of the morphology of Nafion, we developed a realistic model of ion-conducting hydrophilic channel within the Nafion membrane and studied it with quantum molecular dynamics. The extensive 120 ps-long density functional theory (DFT)-based simulations of charge migration in the 1200-atom model of the nanochannel consisting of Nafion chains and water molecules allowed us to observe the bimodality of the van Hove autocorrelation function, which provides the direct evidence of the Grotthuss bond-exchange (hopping) mechanism as a significant contributor to the proton conductivity.
atomistic simulation; morphology; Nafion membrane; proton transport; quantum molecular dynamics
Nanoglasses are a new class of noncrystalline solids. They differ from today’s glasses due to their microstructure that resembles the microstructure of polycrystals. They consist of regions with a melt-quenched glassy structure connected by interfacial regions, the structure of which is characterized (in comparison to the corresponding melt-quenched glass) by (1) a reduced (up to about 10%) density, (2) a reduced (up to about 20%) number of nearest-neighbor atoms and (3) a different electronic structure. Due to their new kind of atomic and electronic structure, the properties of nanoglasses may be modified by (1) controlling the size of the glassy regions (i.e., the volume fraction of the interfacial regions) and/or (2) by varying their chemical composition. Nanoglasses exhibit new properties, e.g., a Fe90Sc10 nanoglass is (at 300 K) a strong ferromagnet whereas the corresponding melt-quenched glass is paramagnetic. Moreover, nanoglasses were noted to be more ductile, more biocompatible, and catalytically more active than the corresponding melt-quenched glasses. Hence, this new class of noncrystalline materials may open the way to technologies utilizing the new properties.
amorphous materials; ferromagnetism; nanoglasses; nanostructured materials; noncrystalline materials
The development of new types of light sources is necessary in order to meet the growing demands of consumers and to ensure an efficient use of energy. The cathodoluminescence process is still under-exploited for light generation because of the lack of cathodes suitable for the energy-efficient production of electron beams and appropriate phosphor materials. In this paper we propose a nano-graphite film material as a highly efficient cold cathode, which is able to produce high intensity electron beams without energy consumption. The nano-graphite film material was produced by using chemical vapor deposition techniques. Prototypes of cathodoluminescent lamp devices with a construction optimized for the usage of nano-graphite cold cathodes were developed, manufactured and tested. The results indicate prospective advantages of this type of lamp and the possibility to provide advanced power efficiency as well as enhanced spectral and other characteristics.
cathodoluminescence; electron field emission; light source; nano-graphite; vacuum electronics
Novel composite membranes for high temperature polymer-electrolyte fuel cells (HT-PEFC) based on a poly[oxy-3,3-bis(4′-benzimidazol-2″-ylphenyl)phtalide-5″(6″)-diyl] (PBI-O-PhT) polymer with small amounts of added Zr were prepared. It was shown in a model reaction between zirconium acetylacetonate (Zr(acac)4) and benzimidazole (BI) that Zr-atoms are capable to form chemical bonds with BI. Thus, Zr may be used as a crosslinking agent for PBI membranes. The obtained Zr/PBI-O-PhT composite membranes were examined by means of SAXS, thermomechanical analysis (TMA), and were tested in operating fuel cells by means of stationary voltammetry and impedance spectroscopy. The new membranes showed excellent stability in a 2000-hour fuel cell (FC) durability test. The modification of the PBI-O-PhT films with Zr facilitated an increase of the phosphoric acid (PA) uptake by the membranes, which resulted in an up to 2.5 times increased proton conductivity. The existence of an optimal amount of Zr content in the modified PBI-O-PhT film was shown. Larger amounts of Zr lead to a lower PA doping level and a reduced conductivity due to an excessively high degree of crosslinking.
composite; high temperature polymer-electrolyte fuel cells (HT-PEFC); impedance spectroscopy; polybenzimidazole (PBI); zirconium
We present the results of our study about the deposition rate of focused electron beam induced processing (FEBIP) as a function of the substrate temperature with the substrate being an electron-transparent amorphous carbon membrane. When W(CO)6 is used as a precursor it is observed that the growth rate is lower at higher substrate temperatures. From Arrhenius plots we calculated the activation energy for desorption, E
des, of W(CO)6. We found an average value for E
des of 20.3 kJ or 0.21 eV, which is 2.5–3.0 times lower than literature values. This difference between estimates for E
des from FEBIP experiments compared to literature values is consistent with earlier findings by other authors. The discrepancy is attributed to electron-stimulated desorption, which is known to occur during electron irradiation. The data suggest that, of the W(CO)6 molecules that are affected by the electron irradiation, the majority desorbs from the surface rather than dissociates to contribute to the deposit. It is important to take this into account during FEBIP experiments, for instance when determining fundamental process parameters such as the activation energy for desorption.
desorption energy; focused electron beam induced processing; scanning transmission electron microscopy; temperature dependence; tungsten hexacarbonyl
Based on chemically synthesized powders of FeGa3, CoGa3, as well as of a Fe0.75Co0.25Ga3 solid solution, thin films (typical thickness 40 nm) were fabricated by flash evaporation onto various substrates held at ambient temperature. In this way, the chemical composition of the powders could be transferred one-to-one to the films as demonstrated by Rutherford backscattering experiments. The relatively low deposition temperature necessary for conserving the composition leads, however, to ‘X-ray amorphous’ film structures with immediate consequences on their transport properties: A practically temperature-independent electrical resistivity of ρ = 200 μΩ·cm for CoGa3 and an electrical resistivity of about 600 μΩ·cm with a small negative temperature dependence for FeGa3. The observed values and temperature dependencies are typical of high-resistivity metallic glasses. This is especially surprising in the case of FeGa3, which as crystalline bulk material exhibits a semiconducting behavior, though with a small gap of 0.3 eV. Also the thermoelectric performance complies with that of metallic glasses: Small negative Seebeck coefficients of the order of −6 μV/K at 300 K with almost linear temperature dependence in the range 10 K ≤ T ≤ 300 K.
amorphous metal films; energy related; intermetallic compounds; nanomaterials; Seebeck coefficient; thermoelectric properties; thin metal films
xInx solid solution was prepared for x ≤ 0.5 by heating the elements in stoichiometric ratios in evacuated silica tubes at 1073 K. It crystallizes with the Ir3Ge7 crystal structure, space group Im−3m, with a unit-cell parameter a ranging from 8.716 to 8.747 Å. The crystal structure and properties were investigated for a composition with x = 0.4. It is shown that indium substitutes arsenic exclusively at one crystallographic site, such that the As–As dumbbells with d
As–As = 2.54 Å remain intact. Re3As6.6In0.4 behaves as a bad metal or heavily doped semiconductor, with electrons being the dominant charge carriers. It possesses high values of Seebeck coefficient and low thermal conductivity, but relatively low electrical conductivity, which leads to rather low values of the thermoelectric figure of merit.
band-structure calculations; energy conversion; Ir3Ge7 type; solid solution; thermoelectric material
The fabrication of periodic arrays of single metal nanoparticles is of great current interest. In this paper we present a straight-forward three-step procedure based on chemical electron beam lithography, which is capable of producing such arrays with gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). Preformed 6 nm AuNPs are immobilised on thiol patterns with a pitch of 100 nm by guided self-assembly. Afterwards, these arrays are characterised by using atomic force microscopy.
2D pattern; indium tin oxide (ITO); positioning; SAM; self-assembly