Here’s our latest hot articles – Free until 31st August

CdSe-sensitized mesoscopic TiO2 solar cells exhibiting >5% efficiency: redundancy of CdS buffer layer CdSe-sensitized mesoscopic TiO2 solar cells exhibiting >5% efficiency: redundancy of CdS buffer layer
Good progress has been made in improving the power conversion efficiency of semiconductor-sensitized solar cells over the last few years; however, it is unclear exactly what role the buffer layer plays in CdS/CdSe sensitized cells. In this hot paper a team from National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University fabricated CdSe-sensitized TiO2 electrodes with nearly identical optical density to the best-performing CdS/CdSe electrodes. A careful comparison between CdSe and CdS/CdSe sensitized cells reveals that the CdSe-sensitized solar cells offer a better performance when light absorption is identical to that of CdS/CdSe cells, making the CdS buffer layer redundant. (J. Mater. Chem., 2012, 22, 16235-16242)

Electrochemically stimulated release of lysozyme from an alginate matrix cross-linked with iron cationsElectrochemically stimulated release of lysozyme from an alginate matrix cross-linked with iron cations
Electrochemically controlled drug release from stimuli-responsive materials offers a convenient method to control dosage for personalised medicine; however this requires the development of biologically safe, intelligent materials, to act as delivery systems. In this hot paper Evgeny Katz and co-workers at Clarkson University, USA, report an alginate matrix cross-linked with Fe3+ cations that releases lysozyme when an electrochemical signal is applied. The released lysozyme retains it biological activity and could be replaced in the system with protein-based drugs. The team say the switchable behaviour of the alginate hydrogel is based on the different interaction of Fe3+ and Fe2+ cations with alginate. (J. Mater. Chem., 2012, DOI: 10.1039/C2JM32008H, Advance Article)

Anisotropic volume change of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-based hydrogels with an aligned dual-network microstructureAnisotropic volume change of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-based hydrogels with an aligned dual-network microstructure
Stimuli-responsive hydrogels have the ability to reversibly alter their properties such as shape or volume in response to changes in their environment; however these types of hydrogels typically show an isotropic three-dimensional volume change– meaning the swelling/shrinkage along different directions is equal. In this hot communication Jingjun Wu, Yuteng Lin and Jianzhong Sun at Zhejiang University, China, fabricated a macroscopically anisotropic PEG–PNIPA hydrogel which displays a unique anisotropic two-dimensional shrinkage in response to a temperature increase. (J. Mater. Chem., 2012, DOI: 10.1039/C2JM34010K, Advance Article)

Nanocomposite Al–Ge–N thin films and their mechanical and optical propertiesNanocomposite Al–Ge–N thin films and their mechanical and optical properties
Thin-film nanocomposites are used in wide range of applications including scratch resistant coatings. In this hot paper Erik Lewin, Magdalena Parlinska-Wojtan and Jörg Patscheider Empa, Switzerland, synthesized previously unstudied thin films made of Al–Ge–N through reactive DC magnetron sputtering. These ternary coatings are hard (18 and 24 GPa) and transparent with a tunable absorption edge (260 to 350 nm). (J. Mater. Chem., 2012, 22, 16761-16773)

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