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1.  Transformations of PTCDA structures on rutile TiO2 induced by thermal annealing and intermolecular forces 
Transformations of molecular structures formed by perylene-3,4,9,10-tetracarboxylic dianhydride (PTCDA) molecules on a rutile TiO2(110) surface are studied with low-temperature scanning tunnelling microscopy. We demonstrate that metastable molecular assemblies transform into differently ordered structures either due to additional energy provided by thermal annealing or when the influence of intermolecular forces is increased by the enlarged amount of deposited molecules. Proper adjustment of molecular coverage and substrate temperature during deposition allows for fabrication of desired assemblies. Differences between PTCDA/TiO2(110) and PTCDA/TiO2(011) systems obtained through identical experimental procedures are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4505301  PMID: 26199854
PTCDA, TiO2, rutile, self-assembly, STM
2.  Current–voltage characteristics of manganite–titanite perovskite junctions 
After a general introduction into the Shockley theory of current voltage (J–V) characteristics of inorganic and organic semiconductor junctions of different bandwidth, we apply the Shockley theory-based, one diode model to a new type of perovskite junctions with polaronic charge carriers. In particular, we studied manganite–titanate p–n heterojunctions made of n-doped SrTi1− yNbyO3, y = 0.002 and p-doped Pr1− xCaxMnO3, x = 0.34 having a strongly correlated electron system. The diffusion length of the polaron carriers was analyzed by electron beam-induced current (EBIC) in a thin cross plane lamella of the junction. In the J–V characteristics, the polaronic nature of the charge carriers is exhibited mainly by the temperature dependence of the microscopic parameters, such as the hopping mobility of the series resistance and a colossal electro-resistance (CER) effect in the parallel resistance. We conclude that a modification of the Shockley equation incorporating voltage-dependent microscopic polaron parameters is required. Specifically, the voltage dependence of the reverse saturation current density is analyzed and interpreted as a voltage-dependent electron–polaron hole–polaron pair generation and separation at the interface.
PMCID: PMC4505172  PMID: 26199851
current–voltage characteristics; perovskites; photovoltaics; polarons
3.  Atomic force microscopy as analytical tool to study physico-mechanical properties of intestinal cells 
The small intestine is a complex system that carries out various functions. The main function of enterocytes is absorption of nutrients, whereas membranous cells (M cells) are responsible for delivering antigens/foreign substances to the mucosal lymphoid tissues. However, to get a fundamental understanding of how cellular structures contribute to physiological processes, precise knowledge about surface morphologies, cytoskeleton organizations and biomechanical properties is necessary. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used here as a powerful tool to study surface topographies of Caco-2 cells and M cells. Furthermore, cell elasticity (i.e., the mechanical response of a cell on a tip indentation), was elucidated by force curve measurements. Besides elasticity, adhesion was evaluated by recording the attraction and repulsion forces between the tip and the cell surface. Organization of F-actin networks were investigated via phalloidin labeling and visualization was performed with confocal laser scanning fluorescence microscopy (CLSM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results of these various experimental techniques revealed significant differences in the cytoskeleton/microvilli arrangements and F-actin organization. Caco-2 cells displayed densely packed F-actin bundles covering the entire cell surface, indicating the formation of a well-differentiated brush border. In contrast, in M cells actins were arranged as short and/or truncated thin villi, only available at the cell edge. The elasticity of M cells was 1.7-fold higher compared to Caco-2 cells and increased significantly from the cell periphery to the nuclear region. Since elasticity can be directly linked to cell adhesion, M cells showed higher adhesion forces than Caco-2 cells. The combination of distinct experimental techniques shows that morphological differences between Caco-2 cells and M cells correlate with mechanical cell properties and provide useful information to understand physiological processes/mechanisms in the small intestine.
PMCID: PMC4505173  PMID: 26199850
atomic force microscopy; Caco-2 cells; elasticity; M cells; mechanical properties
4.  Improved atomic force microscopy cantilever performance by partial reflective coating 
Optical beam deflection systems are widely used in cantilever based atomic force microscopy (AFM). Most commercial cantilevers have a reflective metal coating on the detector side to increase the reflectivity in order to achieve a high signal on the photodiode. Although the reflective coating is usually much thinner than the cantilever, it can still significantly contribute to the damping of the cantilever, leading to a lower mechanical quality factor (Q-factor). In dynamic mode operation in high vacuum, a cantilever with a high Q-factor is desired in order to achieve a lower minimal detectable force. The reflective coating can also increase the low-frequency force noise. In contact mode and force spectroscopy, a cantilever with minimal low-frequency force noise is desirable. We present a study on cantilevers with a partial reflective coating on the detector side. For this study, soft (≈0.01 N/m) and stiff (≈28 N/m) rectangular cantilevers were used with a custom partial coating at the tip end of the cantilever. The Q-factor, the detection and the force noise of fully coated, partially coated and uncoated cantilevers are compared and force distance curves are shown. Our results show an improvement in low-frequency force noise and increased Q-factor for the partially coated cantilevers compared to fully coated ones while maintaining the same reflectivity, therefore making it possible to combine the best of both worlds.
PMCID: PMC4505110  PMID: 26199849
cantilever; force noise; partial coating; Q-factor
5.  Enhanced fullerene–Au(111) coupling in (2√3 × 2√3)R30° superstructures with intermolecular interactions 
Disordered and uniform (2√3 × 2√3)R30° superstructures of fullerenes on the Au(111) surface have been studied using scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy. It is shown that the deposition and growth process of a fullerene monolayer on the Au(111) surface determine the resulting superstructure. The supply of thermal energy is of importance for the activation of a Au vacancy forming process and thus, one criterion for the selection of the respective superstructure. However, here it is depicted that a vacancy–adatom pair can be formed even at room temperature. This latter process results in C60 molecules that appear slightly more bright in scanning tunnelling microscopy images and are identified in disordered (2√3 x 2√3)R30° superstructures based on a detailed structure analysis. In addition, these slightly more bright C60 molecules form uniform (2√3 x 2√3)R30° superstructures, which exhibit intermolecular interactions, likely mediated by Au adatoms. Thus, vacancy–adatom pairs forming at room temperature directly affect the resulting C60 superstructure. Differential conductivity spectra reveal a lifting of the degeneracy of the LUMO and LUMO+1 orbitals in the uniform (2√3 x 2√3)R30° superstructure and in addition, hybrid fullerene–Au(111) surface states suggest partly covalent interactions.
PMCID: PMC4505183  PMID: 26199846
adatom–vacancy mechanism; differential conductance; fullerene; Ising model; scanning tunnelling microscopy
6.  Electron and heat transport in porphyrin-based single-molecule transistors with electro-burnt graphene electrodes 
We have studied the charge and thermal transport properties of a porphyrin-based single-molecule transistor with electro-burnt graphene electrodes (EBG) using the nonequilibrium Green’s function method and density functional theory. The porphyrin-based molecule is bound to the EBG electrodes by planar aromatic anchor groups. Due to the efficient π–π overlap between the anchor groups and graphene and the location of frontier orbitals relative to the EBG Fermi energy, we predict HOMO-dominated transport. An on–off ratio as high as 150 is predicted for the device, which could be utilized with small gate voltages in the range of ±0.1 V. A positive thermopower of +280 μV/K is predicted for the device at the theoretical Fermi energy. The sign of the thermopower could be changed by tuning the Fermi energy. By gating the junction and changing the Fermi energy by +10 meV, this can be further enhanced to +475 μV/K. Although the electrodes and molecule are symmetric, the junction itself can be asymmetric due to different binding configurations at the electrodes. This can lead to rectification in the current–voltage characteristic of the junction.
PMCID: PMC4505091  PMID: 26199845
electro-burnt graphene electrodes; nanoelectronics; porphyrin; single-molecule transistor
7.  Peptide-equipped tobacco mosaic virus templates for selective and controllable biomineral deposition 
The coating of regular-shaped, readily available nanorod biotemplates with inorganic compounds has attracted increasing interest during recent years. The goal is an effective, bioinspired fabrication of fiber-reinforced composites and robust, miniaturized technical devices. Major challenges in the synthesis of applicable mineralized nanorods lie in selectivity and adjustability of the inorganic material deposited on the biological, rod-shaped backbones, with respect to thickness and surface profile of the resulting coating, as well as the avoidance of aggregation into extended superstructures. Nanotubular tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) templates have proved particularly suitable towards this goal: Their multivalent protein coating can be modified by high-surface-density conjugation of peptides, inducing and governing silica deposition from precursor solutions in vitro. In this study, TMV has been equipped with mineralization-directing peptides designed to yield silica coatings in a reliable and predictable manner via precipitation from tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) precursors. Three peptide groups were compared regarding their influence on silica polymerization: (i) two peptide variants with alternating basic and acidic residues, i.e. lysine–aspartic acid (KD)x motifs expected to act as charge-relay systems promoting TEOS hydrolysis and silica polymerization; (ii) a tetrahistidine-exposing polypeptide (CA4H4) known to induce silicification due to the positive charge of its clustered imidazole side chains; and (iii) two peptides with high ZnO binding affinity. Differential effects on the mineralization of the TMV surface were demonstrated, where a (KD)x charge-relay peptide (designed in this study) led to the most reproducible and selective silica deposition. A homogenous coating of the biotemplate and tight control of shell thickness were achieved.
PMCID: PMC4505087  PMID: 26199844
biomineralization; charge-relay system; peptide; silica; tobacco mosaic virus (TMV)
8.  Thermal treatment of magnetite nanoparticles 
This paper presents the results of a thermal treatment process for magnetite nanoparticles in the temperature range of 50–500 °C. The tested magnetite nanoparticles were synthesized using three different methods that resulted in nanoparticles with different surface characteristics and crystallinity, which in turn, was reflected in their thermal durability. The particles were obtained by coprecipitation from Fe chlorides and decomposition of an Fe(acac)3 complex with and without a core–shell structure. Three types of ferrite nanoparticles were produced and their thermal stability properties were compared. In this study, two sets of unmodified magnetite nanoparticles were used where crystallinity was as determinant of the series. For the third type of particles, a Ag shell was added. By comparing the coated and uncoated particles, the influence of the metallic layer on the thermal stability of the nanoparticles was tested. Before and after heat treatment, the nanoparticles were examined using transmission electron microscopy, IR spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, X-ray diffraction and Mössbauer spectroscopy. Based on the obtained results, it was observed that the fabrication methods determine, to some extent, the sensitivity of the nanoparticles to external factors.
PMCID: PMC4505171  PMID: 26199842
high temperature corrosion; internal oxidation; IR spectroscopy; metal matrix composites; Mössbauer spectroscopy; X-ray diffraction
9.  Scalable, high performance, enzymatic cathodes based on nanoimprint lithography 
Here we detail high performance, enzymatic electrodes for oxygen bio-electroreduction, which can be easily and reproducibly fabricated with industry-scale throughput. Planar and nanostructured electrodes were built on biocompatible, flexible polymer sheets, while nanoimprint lithography was used for electrode nanostructuring. To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the first reports concerning the usage of nanoimprint lithography for amperometric bioelectronic devices. The enzyme (Myrothecium verrucaria bilirubin oxidase) was immobilised on planar (control) and artificially nanostructured, gold electrodes by direct physical adsorption. The detailed electrochemical investigation of bioelectrodes was performed and the following parameters were obtained: open circuit voltage of approximately 0.75 V, and maximum bio-electrocatalytic current densities of 18 µA/cm2 and 58 µA/cm2 in air-saturated buffers versus 48 µA/cm2 and 186 µA/cm2 in oxygen-saturated buffers for planar and nanostructured electrodes, respectively. The half-deactivation times of planar and nanostructured biocathodes were measured to be 2 h and 14 h, respectively. The comparison of standard heterogeneous and bio-electrocatalytic rate constants showed that the improved bio-electrocatalytic performance of the nanostructured biocathodes compared to planar biodevices is due to the increased surface area of the nanostructured electrodes, whereas their improved operational stability is attributed to stabilisation of the enzyme inside nanocavities.
PMCID: PMC4505184  PMID: 26199841
bilirubin oxidase; bio-electrocatalysis; direct electron transfer; nanoimprint lithography; oxygen reduction reaction
10.  Alternative types of molecule-decorated atomic chains in Au–CO–Au single-molecule junctions 
We investigate the formation and evolution of Au–CO single-molecule break junctions. The conductance histogram exhibits two distinct molecular configurations, which are further investigated by a combined statistical analysis. According to conditional histogram and correlation analysis these molecular configurations show strong anticorrelations with each other and with pure Au monoatomic junctions and atomic chains. We identify molecular precursor configurations with somewhat higher conductance, which are formed prior to single-molecule junctions. According to detailed length analysis two distinct types of molecule-affected chain-formation processes are observed, and we compare these results to former theoretical calculations considering bridge- and atop-type molecular configurations where the latter has reduced conductance due to destructive Fano interference.
PMCID: PMC4505099  PMID: 26199840
atomic chains; break junction; carbon monoxide; correlation analysis; gold
11.  Formation of substrate-based gold nanocage chains through dealloying with nitric acid 
Metal nanocages have raised great interest because of their new properties and wide applications. Here, we report on the use of galvanic replacement reactions to synthesize substrate-supported Ag–Au nanocages from silver templates electrodeposited on transparent indium tin oxide (ITO) film coated glass. The residual Ag in the composition was dealloyed with 10% nitric acid. It was found that chains of Au nanocages were formed on the substrate surface during dealloying. When the concentration of HNO3 increased to 20%, the structures of nanocages were damaged and formed crescent or semi-circular shapes. The transfer process on the substrate surface was discussed.
PMCID: PMC4505098  PMID: 26199839
dealloying; gold nanocage chains; nitric acid; solid substrate
12.  Nanomechanical humidity detection through porous alumina cantilevers 
We present here the behavior of the resonance frequency of porous anodic alumina cantilever arrays during water vapor adsorption and emphasize their possible use in the micromechanical sensing of humidity levels at least in the range of 10–22%. The sensitivity of porous anodic aluminium oxide cantilevers (Δf/Δm) and the humidity sensitivity equal about 56 Hz/pg and about 100 Hz/%, respectively. The approach presented here for the design of anodic alumina cantilever arrays by the combination of anodic oxidation and photolithography enables easy control over porosity, surface area, geometric and mechanical characteristics of the cantilever arrays for micromechanical sensing.
PMCID: PMC4505083  PMID: 26199836
anodic aluminium oxide; atomic force microscopy (AFM); cantilever arrays; humidity; mechanical sensor; porous alumina
13.  Influence of the shape and surface oxidation in the magnetization reversal of thin iron nanowires grown by focused electron beam induced deposition 
Iron nanostructures grown by focused electron beam induced deposition (FEBID) are promising for applications in magnetic sensing, storage and logic. Such applications require a precise design and determination of the coercive field (H C), which depends on the shape of the nanostructure. In the present work, we have used the Fe2(CO)9 precursor to grow iron nanowires by FEBID in the thickness range from 10 to 45 nm and width range from 50 to 500 nm. These nanowires exhibit an Fe content between 80 and 85%, thus giving a high ferromagnetic signal. Magneto-optical Kerr characterization indicates that H C decreases for increasing thickness and width, providing a route to control the magnetization reversal field through the modification of the nanowire dimensions. Transmission electron microscopy experiments indicate that these wires have a bell-type shape with a surface oxide layer of about 5 nm. Such features are decisive in the actual value of H C as micromagnetic simulations demonstrate. These results will help to make appropriate designs of magnetic nanowires grown by FEBID.
PMCID: PMC4505150  PMID: 26199835
coercive field; focused electron beam induced deposition; iron nanowires; magnetization reversal; magneto-optical Kerr effect; transmission electron microscopy
14.  PLGA nanoparticles as a platform for vitamin D-based cancer therapy 
Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles were studied as drug delivery vehicles for calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D3. In vitro effects of calcitriol encapsulated in PLGA nanoparticles were evaluated with respect to free calcitriol on human pancreatic cell lines, S2-013 and hTERT-HPNE, and the lung cancer cell line A549. Encapsulated calcitriol retained its biological activity, reducing the cell growth. Cytotoxicity assays demonstrated that encapsulation of calcitriol enhanced its inhibitory effect on cell growth at a concentration of 2.4 μM for the S2-013 cells (91%) and for A549 cells (70%) comparared to the free calcitriol results. At this concentration the inhibitory effect on nontumor cells (hTERT-HPNE) decreased to 65%. This study highlights the ability of PLGA nanoparticles to deliver vitamin D3 into cancer cells, with major effects regarding cancer cell cycle arrest and major changes in the cell morphological features.
PMCID: PMC4505177  PMID: 26199834
1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3; calcitriol; cancer therapy; drug delivery; poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)
15.  Structural transitions in electron beam deposited Co–carbonyl suspended nanowires at high electrical current densities 
Suspended nanowires (SNWs) have been deposited from Co–carbonyl precursor (Co2(CO)8) by focused electron beam induced deposition (FEBID). The SNWs dimensions are about 30–50 nm in diameter and 600–850 nm in length. The as-deposited material has a nanogranular structure of mixed face-centered cubic (FCC) and hexagonal close-packed (HCP) Co phases, and a composition of 80 atom % Co, 15 atom % O and 5 atom % C, as revealed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis and by energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy, respectively. Current (I)–voltage (V) measurements with current densities up to 107 A/cm2 determine different structural transitions in the SNWs, depending on the I–V history. A single measurement with a sudden current burst leads to a polycrystalline FCC Co structure extended over the whole wire. Repeated measurements at increasing currents produce wires with a split structure: one half is polycrystalline FCC Co and the other half is graphitized C. The breakdown current density is found at 2.1 × 107 A/cm2. The role played by resistive heating and electromigration in these transitions is discussed.
PMCID: PMC4505147  PMID: 26199833
cobalt; electromigration; focused electron beam induced deposition (FEBID); metallic nanowires
16.  Heterometal nanoparticles from Ru-based molecular clusters covalently anchored onto functionalized carbon nanotubes and nanofibers 
Heterometal clusters containing Ru and Au, Co and/or Pt are anchored onto carbon nanotubes and nanofibers functionalized with chelating phosphine groups. The cluster anchoring yield is related to the amount of phosphine groups available on the nanocarbon surface. The ligands of the anchored molecular species are then removed by gentle thermal treatment in order to form nanoparticles. In the case of Au-containing clusters, removal of gold atoms from the clusters and agglomeration leads to a bimodal distribution of nanoparticles at the nanocarbon surface. In the case of Ru–Pt species, anchoring occurs without reorganization through a ligand exchange mechanism. After thermal treatment, ultrasmall (1–3 nm) bimetal Ru–Pt nanoparticles are formed on the surface of the nanocarbons. Characterization by high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and high angle annular dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) confirms their bimetal nature on the nanoscale. The obtained bimetal nanoparticles supported on nanocarbon were tested as catalysts in ammonia synthesis and are shown to be active at low temperature and atmospheric pressure with very low Ru loading.
PMCID: PMC4505093  PMID: 26199832
ammonia synthesis; cluster; nanofibers; nanoparticles; nanotubes
17.  Growth and morphological analysis of segmented AuAg alloy nanowires created by pulsed electrodeposition in ion-track etched membranes 
Background: Multicomponent heterostructure nanowires and nanogaps are of great interest for applications in sensorics. Pulsed electrodeposition in ion-track etched polymer templates is a suitable method to synthesise segmented nanowires with segments consisting of two different types of materials. For a well-controlled synthesis process, detailed analysis of the deposition parameters and the size-distribution of the segmented wires is crucial.
Results: The fabrication of electrodeposited AuAg alloy nanowires and segmented Au-rich/Ag-rich/Au-rich nanowires with controlled composition and segment length in ion-track etched polymer templates was developed. Detailed analysis by cyclic voltammetry in ion-track membranes, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy was performed to determine the dependency between the chosen potential and the segment composition. Additionally, we have dissolved the middle Ag-rich segments in order to create small nanogaps with controlled gap sizes. Annealing of the created structures allows us to influence their morphology.
Conclusion: AuAg alloy nanowires, segmented wires and nanogaps with controlled composition and size can be synthesised by electrodeposition in membranes, and are ideal model systems for investigation of surface plasmons.
PMCID: PMC4505191  PMID: 26199830
AuAg alloy; cyclic voltammetry; electrodeposition; ion-track technology; nanogaps; segmented nanowires
18.  Preparation of Ni/Cu composite nanowires 
Ni/Cu composite nanowires were synthesized in an aqueous solution for the first time. The synthetic process consisted of two steps. Firstly, pure nickel nanowires were prepared through chemical reduction in solution under a magnetic field. Secondly, copper was reduced on the surface of the nickel nanowires, during which Ni/Cu composite nanowires with an average length of 80 µm and diameter of about 200 nm were synthesized. The products were characterized by XRD, SEM and TEM. The method has notable advantages: It is template-free, inexpensive, easy-to-operate, and it only needs a short reaction time, which makes it suitable for large-scale preparation.
PMCID: PMC4464325  PMID: 26171302
copper nanoparticles; nickel nanowires; Ni/Cu composite nanowires
19.  Can molecular projected density of states (PDOS) be systematically used in electronic conductance analysis? 
Using benzenediamine and benzenedithiol molecular junctions as benchmarks, we investigate the widespread analysis of the quantum transport conductance in terms of the projected density of states (PDOS) onto molecular orbitals (MOs). We first consider two different methods for identifying the relevant MOs: (1) diagonalization of the Hamiltonian of the isolated molecule and (2) diagonalization of a submatrix of the junction Hamiltonian constructed by considering only basis elements localized on the molecule. We find that these two methods can lead to substantially different MOs and hence PDOS. Furthermore, within Method 1, the PDOS can differ depending on the isolated molecule chosen to represent the molecular junction (e.g., with or without dangling bonds); within Method 2, the PDOS depends on the chosen basis set. We show that these differences can be critical when the PDOS is used to provide a physical interpretation of the conductance (especially when its value is small, as it happens typically at zero bias). In this work, we propose a new approach in an attempt to reconcile the two traditional methods. Although some improvements were achieved, the main problems remain unsolved. Our results raise more general questions and doubts on a PDOS-based analysis of the conductance.
PMCID: PMC4463971  PMID: 26171300
benzene-diamine; benzene-dithiol; DFT-Landauer; molecular electronics; nanoelectronics; quantum transport
20.  Addition of Zn during the phosphine-based synthesis of indium phospide quantum dots: doping and surface passivation 
Zinc-doped InP(Zn) colloidal quantum dots (QDs) with narrow size distribution and low defect concentration were grown for the first time via a novel phosphine synthetic route and over a wide range of Zn doping. We report the influence of Zn on the optical properties of the obtained quantum dots. We propose a mechanism for the introduction of Zn in the QDs and show that the incorporation of Zn atoms into the InP lattice leads to the formation of Zn acceptor levels and a luminescence tail in the red region of the spectra. Using photochemical etching with HF, we confirmed that the Zn dopant atoms are situated inside the InP nanoparticles. Moreover, doping with Zn is accompanied with the coverage of the QDs by a zinc shell. During the synthesis Zn myristate covers the QD nucleus and inhibits the particle growth. At the same time the zinc shell leads to an increase of the luminescence quantum yield through the reduction of phosphorous dangling bonds. A scenario for the growth of the colloidal InP(Zn) QDs was proposed and discussed.
PMCID: PMC4463492  PMID: 26114082
core–shell nanoparticles; doped semiconductor nanocrystals; InP(Zn) quantum dots; luminescence; zinc
21.  Nano-contact microscopy of supracrystals 
Background: Highly ordered three-dimensional colloidal crystals (supracrystals) comprised of 7.4 nm diameter Au nanocrystals (with a 5% size dispersion) have been imaged and analysed using a combination of scanning tunnelling microscopy and dynamic force microscopy.
Results: By exploring the evolution of both the force and tunnel current with respect to tip–sample separation, we arrive at the surprising finding that single nanocrystal resolution is readily obtained in tunnelling microscopy images acquired more than 1 nm into the repulsive (i.e., positive force) regime of the probe–nanocrystal interaction potential. Constant height force microscopy has been used to map tip–sample interactions in this regime, revealing inhomogeneities which arise from the convolution of the tip structure with the ligand distribution at the nanocrystal surface.
Conclusion: Our combined STM–AFM measurements show that the contrast mechanism underpinning high resolution imaging of nanoparticle supracrystals involves a form of nanoscale contact imaging, rather than the through-vacuum tunnelling which underpins traditional tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy.
PMCID: PMC4462851  PMID: 26114081
dynamic force microscopy; nanoparticle; non-contact atomic force microscopy; point contact imaging; scanning probe microscopy; supracrystal
22.  Attenuation, dispersion and nonlinearity effects in graphene-based waveguides 
We simulated and analyzed in detail the behavior of ultrashort optical pulses, which are typically used in telecommunications, propagating through graphene-based nanoribbon waveguides. In this work, we showed the changes that occur in the Gaussian and hyperbolic secant input pulses due to the attenuation, high-order dispersive effects and nonlinear effects. We concluded that it is possible to control the shape of the output pulses with the value of the input signal power and the chemical potential of the graphene nanoribbon. We believe that the obtained results will be highly relevant since they can be applied to other nanophotonic devices, for example, filters, modulators, antennas, switches and other devices.
PMCID: PMC4464088  PMID: 26171299
graphene; nanophotonics; waveguide
23.  Synthesis, characterization and in vitro effects of 7 nm alloyed silver–gold nanoparticles 
Alloyed silver–gold nanoparticles were prepared in nine different metal compositions with silver/gold molar ratios of ranging from 90:10 to 10:90. The one-pot synthesis in aqueous medium can easily be modified to gain control over the final particle diameter and the stabilizing agents. The purification of the particles to remove synthesis by-products (which is an important factor for subsequent in vitro experiments) was carried out by multiple ultracentrifugation steps. Characterization by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), differential centrifugal sedimentation (DCS), dynamic light scattering (DLS), UV–vis spectroscopy and atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) showed spherical, monodisperse, colloidally stable silver–gold nanoparticles of ≈7 nm diameter with measured molar metal compositions very close to the theoretical values. The examination of the nanoparticle cytotoxicity towards HeLa cells and human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) showed that the toxicity is not proportional to the silver content. Nanoparticles with a silver/gold molar composition of 80:20 showed the highest toxicity.
PMCID: PMC4464341  PMID: 26171298
cytotoxicity; gold; nanoalloys; nanoparticles; silver
24.  Polymer blend lithography for metal films: large-area patterning with over 1 billion holes/inch2  
Polymer blend lithography (PBL) is a spin-coating-based technique that makes use of the purely lateral phase separation between two immiscible polymers to fabricate large area nanoscale patterns. In our earlier work (Huang et al. 2012), PBL was demonstrated for the fabrication of patterned self-assembled monolayers. Here, we report a new method based on the technique of polymer blend lithography that allows for the fabrication of metal island arrays or perforated metal films on the nanometer scale, the metal PBL. As the polymer blend system in this work, a mixture of polystyrene (PS) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), dissolved in methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) is used. This system forms a purely lateral structure on the substrate at controlled humidity, which means that PS droplets are formed in a PMMA matrix, whereby both phases have direct contact both to the substrate and to the air interface. Therefore, a subsequent selective dissolution of either the PS or PMMA component leaves behind a nanostructured film which can be used as a lithographic mask. We use this lithographic mask for the fabrication of metal patterns by thermal evaporation of the metal, followed by a lift-off process. As a consequence, the resulting metal nanostructure is an exact replica of the pattern of the selectively removed polymer (either a perforated metal film or metal islands). The minimum diameter of these holes or metal islands demonstrated here is about 50 nm. Au, Pd, Cu, Cr and Al templates were fabricated in this work by metal PBL. The wavelength-selective optical transmission spectra due to the localized surface plasmonic effect of the holes in perforated Al films were investigated and compared to the respective hole diameter histograms.
PMCID: PMC4464460  PMID: 26171297
localized surface plasmonic resonance; metal islands; metal nanostructures; metal polymer blend lithography (metal PBL); nano-patterned template; nanoscale discs; optical transmission; perforated metal film; polymer phase separation; poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA); polystyrene (PS); self-assembly; spin-coating; surface plasmons
25.  Improved optical limiting performance of laser-ablation-generated metal nanoparticles due to silica-microsphere-induced local field enhancement 
For practical application, optical limiting materials must exhibit a fast response and a low threshold in order to be used for the protection of the human eye and electro-optical sensors against intense light. Many nanomaterials have been found to exhibit optical limiting properties. Laser ablation offers the possibility of fabricating nanoparticles from a wide range of target materials. For practical use of these materials, their optical limiting performance, including optical limiting threshold and the ability to efficiently attenuate high intensity light, needs to be improved. In this paper, we fabricate nanoparticles of different metals by laser ablation in liquid. We study the optical nonlinear properties of the laser-generated nanoparticle dispersion. Silica microspheres are used to enhance the optical limiting performance of the nanoparticle dispersion. The change in the optical nonlinear properties of the laser-generated nanoparticle dispersion caused by silica microspheres is studied. It is found that the incident laser beam is locally focused by the microspheres, leading to an increased optical nonlinearity of the nanoparticle dispersion.
PMCID: PMC4464471  PMID: 26171296
laser ablation; local field enhancement; microspheres; nanoparticles; optical limiting

Results 1-25 (610)