Archive for August, 2011

Exciting prospects for strongly correlated materials

Strongly correlated materials (SCMs) – those for which the electronic and magnetic structure cannot be fully understood using single-particle band structure – display lots of interesting properties from large magnetoresistance to  high temperature superconductivity.

Jiang Wei and Douglas Natelson have written a review of SCMs covering developments in the field and exciting opportunities for future research.

Read the Nanoscale review here:

Nanostructure studies of strongly correlated materials
Jiang Wei and Douglas Natelson
Nanoscale, 2011
DOI: 10.1039/C1NR10457H

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Zinc oxide nanocrystals could kill cancer cells

Nair, Koyakutty and coworkers introduced zinc oxide nanocrystals (ZnO NCs) into the environment around normal and cancer cells. They found found the ZnO NCs were toxic to cancer cell lines, while normal human primary cells remained less affected.

They found that the acidic microenvironment around the cancer cells was crucial to this effect as the ZnO NCs were more soluble under these conditions resulting in elevated levels of free Zn2+ ions that impaired the normal functioning of the cells’ mitochondria leading to apoptosis.

Read the Nanoscale article here:

Rapid dissolution of ZnO nanocrystals in acidic cancer microenvironment leading to preferential apoptosis
Abhilash Sasidharan, Parwathy Chandran, Deepthy Menon, Sreerekha Raman, Shantikumar Nair and Manzoor Koyakutty
Nanoscale, 2011
DOI: 10.1039/C1NR10272A

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HOT article: Graphene-modified TiO2 nanosheets with enhanced photocatalytic activity

Graphene-modified TiO2 nanosheet composites with 0.2–2.0 wt% graphene, prepared by a microwave-hydrothermal method, exhibit an enhanced photocatalytic H2-production activity.

This work shows the possibility that low cost graphene sheets as a substitute for noble metals (e.g. Pt) could be used in the photocatalytic production of hydrogen. The results also demonstrate significant enhancement in the H2-production activity by using metal-free carbon material as an effective co-catalyst.

Read the Nanoscale article:

Enhanced photocatalytic H2-production activity of graphene-modified titania nanosheets
Quanjun Xiang, Jiaguo Yu and Mietek Jaroniec
Nanoscale, 2011, DOI: 10.1039/C1NR10610D

graphene nanosheets

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Nanoscale Review: Nanoengineering photovoltaics

Read this ‘HOT’ Nanoscale Review which discusses the use of atomic layer deposition to nanoengineer photovoltaics:

Nanoengineering and interfacial engineering of photovoltaics by atomic layer deposition
Jonathan R. Bakke, Katie L. Pickrahn, Thomas P. Brennan and Stacey F. Bent
Nanoscale, 2011, DOI: 10.1039/C1NR10349K

atomic layer deposition for PV

Primary uses of atomic layer deposition for PV include formation of absorbing QDs at low cycle number (left), coatings on nanostructured substrates (middle), and growth of thin films (right).

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