Archive for the ‘Hot Article’ Category

Journal of Materials Chemistry A, B and C – Hot Article Highlights

graphical abstractBidirectional acceleration of carrier separation spatially via N-CQDs/atomically-thin BiOI nanosheets nanojunctions for manipulating active species in a photocatalytic process
Jun Di, Jiexiang Xia,* Mengxia Ji, Li Xu, Sheng Yin, Zhigang Chen and Huaming Li*
J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C6TA00284F

Nitrogen-doped carbon quantum dots (N-CQDs) modified atomically-thin BiOI nanosheets nanojunctions have been controllably prepared. The obtained BiOI consisted of 1–2 [Bi–O–I] units, which is the thinnest BiOX material reported so far. The atomically-thin structure was designed to accelerate carrier transfer among the BiOI nanosheet interior while the N-CQDs were constructed to facilitate surface charge carrier separation. Bidirectional acceleration of carrier separation can be achieved via this unique structure for both the materials interior and the surface.

Click here to read more hot articles from Journal of Materials Chemistry A

graphical abstract
Philip R. Miller, Roger J. Narayan* and Ronen Polsky*
J. Mater. Chem. B, 2016, 4, 1379-1383
DOI: 10.1039/C5TB02421H

Recently microneedles have been explored for transdermal monitoring of biomarkers with the goal to achieve time-sensitive clinical information for routine point-of-care health monitoring. In this highlight we provide a general overview of recent progress in microneedle-based sensing research, including: (a) glucose monitoring, (b) ex vitro microneedle diagnostic systems for general health monitoring with an emphasis on sensor construction, and (c) in vivo use of microneedle sensors.

Click here to read more hot articles from Journal of Materials Chemistry B


Yang Zhou, Dan-Dan Zhou, Bo-Mei Liu, Li-Na Li, Zi-Jun Yong, Hao Xing, Yong-Zheng Fang, Jing-Shan Hou and Hong-Tao Sun*
J. Mater. Chem. C, 2016, 4, 2295-2301
DOI: 10.1039/C5TC04333F

Bismuth doped materials with near infrared (NIR) photoluminescence (PL) have recently attracted tremendous attention because of their great potential for photonic and optoelectronic devices that could find broad applications in modern optical telecommunications. However, the mechanistic studies of the NIR PL from these materials still significantly lag behind, which imposes substantial limitations in rationally discovering and designing new materials. In this contribution, we investigated the optical and structural properties of Bi doped CsPbI3 using a diverse range of experimental techniques.

Click here to read more hot articles from Journal of Materials Chemistry C
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2016 JMC HOT papers collection

Take a look at our 2016 Journal of Materials Chemistry A, B & C HOT papers collection which is now online. These on-going web collections features articles marked as HOT as recommended by our referees.

Each journal has a separate collection which is available for viewing below and all articles are free to access for 4 weeks. Congratulations once again to all authors whose articles are featured!

2016 Journal of Materials Chemistry A HOT papers

2016 Journal of Materials Chemistry B HOT papers

2016 Journal of Materials Chemistry C HOT papers

We hope that you enjoy reading these and keep an eye on them as these will be regularly updated.

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A highly novel class of luminescent material

Despite the wordy and jargon laden title this paper by Wang et al presents interesting work on a highly novel class of luminescent material.

It is generally understood that when chromophores aggregate their emission is quenched, an event know as aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ). The main problem with this ACQ occurring is that it limits the use of these luminescent molecules in applications such as bio-imaging and sensors where brightness is key.

In response to this many research groups have focused on developing materials that are the exact opposite of ACG’s and where aggregation of the chromophores will actually promote luminescence. This phenomenon is referred to as aggregation-induced emission (AIE).

This paper presents work about a novel type of AIE material that overcomes the shortfalls of ACG and some other previous AIE luminogens. A red-emissive barbituic acid-functionalized TPE derivative (TPE-HPh-Bar) was designed and synthesized, the resulting material exhibits both AIE and also twisted intramolecular charge transfer (TICT). By altering the method of synthesis the TPE-HPh-Bar is capable of self-assembling into nanospheres, -rods and -tubes. All of these exciting characteristics indicate that this novel material could be used in a wide range of applications from biological imaging to optoelectronic nano-devices in the future.

Twisted intramolecular charge transfer, aggregation-induced emission, supramolecular self-assembly and the optical waveguide of barbituic acid-functionalized tetraphenylethene
Erjing Wang, Jacky W. Y. Lam, Rongrong Hu, Chuang Zhang, Yong Sheng Zhao and Ben Zhong Tang
J. Mater. Chem. C, 2014, 2, 1801-1807. C3TC32161D

H. L. Parker is a guest web writer for the Journal of Materials Chemistry blog. She currently works at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, the University of York.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest research, sign-up to our RSS feed or Table of contents alert.

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“Fingerprinting” chemical contaminants using light?? Awesome!!

“What? Why? How?” All kinds of “wh” questions I bombarded at my buddy Marc when he apprised me that he is not going to make it to the long awaited trip. “Somebody tried to poison me” followed by guffaw was the jocular repartee from Marc. After a demented pause from my side, Marc cleared the air of confusion and sickeningly reported that he is suffering from food poisoning. The next morning I drove down to his place to see how he is doing. In one of the friendly banters which we always indulge into, he said” Non sense, this food poisoning man, I wish I could have some device like a phone which can detect the contaminants in food right away, so that I can make store owner eat that food once I find it’s contaminated” followed by burst of  laughter. “Typical Marc” I muttered with smirk. But on my way back home that ‘device’ thought of Marc’s stuck in my head and being a chemist I started screening all the techniques used for the detecting chemicals and asked myself which technique can be exploited to make such a handy device to detect chemical contaminants. The answer came without a waste of second, its Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering(SERS)!

(more…)

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Working out outside?.. check the humidity level first..!!!

The audience at Arthur Ashe Arena at Flushing Meadows were on their feet with a huge round of applause after the scintillating first set of tennis between Shui Peng and Caroline Wosniacki at the US Open 2014, one of the biggest and most renowned stages for tennis championships. It was 82F(29 oC) out there with grueling conditions for playing. One of the finest tennis contests was being produced until suddenly Shui was struck by cramp in her left leg which is a symptom of  many heat related illnesses. After 10 minutes of  high drama in the presence of nearly 20000 tennis frenzied crowds, Shaui Peng had to retire after several futile attempts to pursue her quest for the US open title. Multiple events of this sort have  prevailed in the history of the sports, also cases where athletes have withdrawn from competitions because of grueling weather forecasts are omnipresent . Being a sport enthusiast, I was forced to wonder, is it just temperature that is a culprit for heat illness or there is something else as a “partner in crime”?!

(more…)

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Self-assembled growth of Sn@CNTs on vertically aligned graphene for binder-free high Li-storage and excellent stability

The first thing I did after reading this article was google Li-ion batteries. I know the general stuff about them but I wanted to know more – typical scientist. They really are pretty fantastic, even lithium itself is rather special. I have never really thought about it before but lithium is the lightest of all the metals yet it has the greatest electrochemical potential and provides the largest energy density for weight. Although Li-ion does have a slightly lower energy density than lithium metal it makes a safer battery, especially where recharging is concerned. Sony were the first to commercialise the use of the Li-ion battery in 1991 and they are still the battery of choice especially for tech items such as mobile phones.
Anyway enough of a history lesson. Despite being an incredily promising battery there are drawbacks to the use of Li-ion batteries. One of which is addressed in this work by Li et al is the lack of suitable electrodes with enhanced energy and power density, cycling stability, energy efficiency and cycling life. Metallic Sn has attracted significant attention as a promising anode material that over comes some of these issues. This paper reports for the first time a new stratergy to grow  self-assembled tin carbon nanotubes on vertically aligned graphene. The work uses microwave plasma irradiation to produce the encapsulated Sn nanoparticles in the CNTs.

The resulting Sn anode is shown to give the best performance values of any other Sn anode to date. The authors write that they “expect the proposed route to be adopted by the rapidly growing energy storage research community” and with these results they might not be far off the mark.

Self-assembled growth of Sn@CNTs on vertically aligned graphene for binder-free high Li-storage and excellent stability
Na Li, Huawei Song, Hao Cui, Guowei Yang and Chengxin Wang
J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014, 2, 2526-2537. C3TA14217E

H. L. Parker is a guest web writer for the Journal of Materials Chemistry blog. She currently works at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, the University of York.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest research, sign-up to our RSS feed or Table of contents alert.

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Ever heard of useful collision? Here it is!!

“It’s cold and white everywhere. What else can you expect on early January’s very snowy evening!” I mumbled to myself and was heading towards home exhausted when I witnessed the almost ungovernable sliding inevitable collision of two nice looking vehicles with people on driving seats trying hard to salvage the situation. It was not a gratifying view for the spectators let alone for the vehicle owners and insurance companies (of course). Knowing that not much could be done from my side, I resumed my meticulous “frictionless” walk but this time pondering over the collisions.

(more…)

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Hot Article: The role of material structure and mechanical properties in cell-matrix interactions

When thinking about movement of the human body it is often thought about it in terms of muscles contracting and relaxing, joints bending and straightening, but I don’t think I have ever thought about movement on a cellular level.

During movement cells in our bodies are subject to mechanical force and as a result they are stretched, sheared and compressed. Many cells passively experience this force and some have even evolved to be particularly sensitive to it and act as sensors – such as the tiny hairs present inside the human ear.

However, some cells are a bit more active and can actually exert their own mechanical force on the environment around them. This interaction is used to achieve various physiological functions like the healing of tissue, fighting infection and growth and differentiation of cells. In order to carry out these functions the cells must be able to sense and understand the mechanical context of the world around them.

This review summarises the evolution of the area of science focused on understanding the mechanobiology of cells and tissues and how different properties of their surrounding environment can be analysed both scientifically and by the cell itself. It also goes further to discuss of different material properties effect the mechanosensing of cells.  Whilst this is still a developing field this review gives a good overview of where our present understanding is at and what limitations there are to overcome in the future.

The role of material structure and mechanical propertie in cell-matrix interactions
Nicholas D. Evans and Eileen Gentleman
J. Mater. Chem. B, 2014, 2, 2345-2356. C3TB21604G

H. L. Parker is a guest web writer for the Journal of Materials Chemistry blog. She currently works at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, the University of York.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest research, sign-up to our RSS feed or Table of contents alert.

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NIR Luminescent Nanomaterials for Biomedical Imaging

Commonly in my household the phrase “you make a better door than you do a window” is often fired at whichever thoughtless member is blocking the latest episode of whatever intelligence diluting programme is being watched at the time. However, this same, seemingly mundane problem, of human solidity is also being suffered by scientists developing new techniques for biomedical imaging.

Luminescent labels have been widely used for biological applications, primarily bioimaging and assays. They offer advantages over tomographic imaging techniques (e.g. CT, PET and MRI) including fast feedback and high selectivity and resolution. Unfortunately, adsorption and scattering of the photos emitted by these labels caused by biological tissue and water inside the body create problems such as weak signals and limited depth of detection.

Luckily, there are some wavelengths of light that are not adsorbed by the body and fall into what is known as the “biological transparency window”. There are two ranges: NIR I 650 – 900 nm and NIR II 1000 – 1450 nm. Since the discovery of these NIR regions research has increased with the focus of developing nanomaterials that can be excited or emitted within these wavelengths. The main content of this review written by Wang and Zhang is an overview of these novel nanomaterials, divided into four main species: lanthanide based nanomaterials, carbon based nanomaterials, quantum dots and noble metal nanoparticles. Covering their fabrication and application and also their shortcomings and what challenges and opportunities there are in the future.

NIR Luminescent Nanomaterials for Biomedical Imaging
Rui Wang and Fan Zhang
J. Mater Chem. B, 2014, 2, 2422-2443. C3TB21447H


H. L. Parker is a guest web writer for the Journal of Materials Chemistry blog. She currently works at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, the University of York.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest research, sign-up to our RSS feed or Table of contents alert.

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Hot Article: A simple, low-cost CVD route to thin films of BiFeO3 for efficient water photo-oxidation

Hydrogen holds immeasurable promise in our search for alternative, sustainable, cleaner fuels. However, the simple, cheap production of hydrogen is still proving a problem. Water photolysis is a great way to achieve pure H2 and as O2 is the only side product it does not result in the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that arise from using hydrocarbons to produce H2. Unfortunately, the generation of H2 by water photolysis is challenging as the reaction that forms O2 is much slower than the H2 forming reaction. The use of an efficient photocatalyst can significantly improve the success of this process.

This paper by Moniz et al. details the development of just such a photocatalyst. In this work a bimetallic BiFeO3 catalyst is prepared using a novel method of Aerosol Assisted Chemical Vapour Deposition (AA CVD). This is the first time that this method has been used to prepare a photocatalyst of this type. The team go on to test this photocatalyst for the electrolysis of water using both UV and solar irridation and encouragingly, activity is confirmed for the BiFeO3 catalyst. Even more impressively the catalyst greatly outperforms both a commercially available photocatalyst (TiO2 Activ® glass) and another recently published photocatalyst (B-doped TiO2 films).

The novel synthetic methodology presented in this paper enables large area thin film deposition and as a result has potential for high volume applications in the future.

A simple, low-cost CVD route to thin films of BiFeO3 for efficient water photo-oxidation

Savio J. A. Moniz, Raul Quessada-Cabrera, Christopher S. Blackman, Junwang Tang, Paul Southern, Paul M. Weaver and Claire J. Carmalt,
J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014, 2, 2922-2927 C3TA14824F

H. L. Parker is a guest web writer for the Journal of Materials Chemistry blog. She currently works at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, the University of York.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest research, sign-up to our

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