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Jun 2022, Volume 16 Issue 2
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    Wenbo ZHUANG, Dafeng HU, Xudong ZHANG, Kai XIONG, Xiao DING, Jian LU, Yong MAO, Peng YANG, Chao LIU, Yanfen WAN

    Silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs), relative to existing antibacterial agents, are more effective, less toxic and more economical, and have shown enormous potential for the nanomedicine application. In this work, we report a ‘green’ method for the rapid and efficient synthesis of Ag NPs using Ginkgo biloba extracts as reducing agent and capping agent. The properties of Ag NPs against fungi and bacteria were investigated. The results showed that the Ginkgo biloba extracts are crucial for the preparation of uniform and monodispersed Ag NPs. The prepared Ag NPs exhibited remarkable antibacterial activities. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of Ag NPs for Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were 0.044 and 0.088 μg·mL−1, respectively. Moreover, Ag NPs exhibited excellent bactericidal performance against MDR-Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It was found that the effect of the antibacterial activity of Ag NPs on Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus was tightly related to the reactive oxygen species accumulation. This research provides guidelines for the efficient green synthesis of Ag NPs and its antibacterial applications.

    Rengasamy DHANABAL, Suhash Ranjan DEY

    Organometallic perovskite is a new generation photovoltaic material with exemplary properties such as high absorption co-efficient, optimal bandgap, high defect tolerance factor and long carrier diffusion length. However, suitable electrodes and charge transport materials are required to fulfill photovoltaic processes where interfaces between hole transport material/perovskite and perovskite/electron transport material are affected by phenomena of charge carrier separation, transportation, collection by the interfaces and band alignment. Based on recent available literature and several strategies for minimizing the recombination of charge carriers at the interfaces, this review addresses the properties of hole transport materials, relevant working mechanisms, and the interface engineering of perovskite solar cell (PSC) device architecture, which also provides significant insights to design and development of PSC devices with high efficiency.

    Meng REN, Ying FANG, Yufan ZHANG, Heli DENG, Desuo ZHANG, Hong LIN, Yuyue CHEN, Jiaqing XIONG

    Fabrication of elastic pressure sensors with low cost, high sensitivity, and mechanical durability is important for wearables, electronic skins and soft robotics. Here, we develop high-sensitivity porous elastomeric sensors for piezoresistive and capacitive pressure detection. Specifically, a porous polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) sponge embedded with conductive fillers of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) or reduced graphene oxide (rGO) was fabricated by an in-situ sugar template strategy. The sensor demonstrates sensitive deformation to applied pressure, exhibiting large and fast response in resistance or capacitance for detection of a wide range of pressure (0‒5 kPa). PDMS, as a high-elasticity framework, enables creation of sensors with high sensitivity, excellent stability, and durability for long-term usage. The highest sensitivities of 22.1 and 68.3 kPa−1 can be attained by devices with 5% CNTs and 4% rGO, respectively. The geometrics of the sponge sensor is tailorable using tableting technology for different applications. The sensors demonstrate finger motion detection and heart-rate monitoring in real-time, as well as a capacitive sensor array for identification of pressure and shape of placed objects, exhibiting good potential for wearables and human-machine interactions.

    Yuanyuan LIU, Xin DU, Hui WANG, Yu YUAN, Liuhe WEI, Xingjiang LIU, Ailing SUN, Yuhan LI

    Self-healing polyurethane (PU) faces aging deterioration due to active dynamic bonds, which remain a challenging predicament for practical use. In this work, a novel strategy is developed to address this predicament by leveraging the hydrophobicity and gas barrier of hydrogenated hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HHPB). The dynamic oxime-carbamate bonds derived from 2, 4-pentanedione dioxime (PDO) enable the elastomer to exhibit surface self-repairability upon applied mild heat and achieve ~99.5% mechanical self-healing efficiency. The mechanical properties remained nearly intact after 30-d exposure to thermal oxidation, xenon lamp, acids, bases, and salts. Gas permeability, positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy (PALS), and contact angle measurements reveal the pivotal role of gas barrier, free volume, and hydrophobicity in blocking undesirable molecules and ions which effectively protects the elastomer from deterioration. HHPB-PU also exhibits excellent adhesion to steel substrate. The shear strength achieves (3.02 ± 0.42) MPa after heating at 80 °C for 4 h, and (3.06 ± 0.2) MPa after heating at 130 °C for 0.5 h. Regarding its outstanding anti-corrosive and weatherproof performances, this self-healable elastomer is a promising candidate in surface-protective applications.

    Chuang XIAO, Ge ZHANG, Wencheng LIANG, Zhaochuang WANG, Qiaohui LU, Weibin SHI, Yan ZHOU, Yong GUAN, Meidong LANG

    Managing wounds is a growing universal problem and developing effective wound dressings to staunch bleeding and protect wounds from bacterial infections is an increasingly serious challenge. In this work, a remolding electrospinning nanofiber three-dimensional structure wound dressing (CCP) was prepared with superhydrophilicity, high water absorption and absorbing capacity, excellent hemostatic capacity and antibacterial ability, and biocompatibility to promote wound healing. Polyhexamethylene guanidine hydrochloride (PHMG) was grafted to cellulose diacetate (CDA) wound dressing surface through an amide reaction. A water contact angle analysis demonstrated that CCP wound dressing could be beneficial to promote wound exudate management effectively with rapid absorption of water within 0.2 s. In vitro hemo- and cytocompatibility assay showed that a CCP wound dressing had no significant hemotoxicity or cytoxicity. Specifically, CCP wound dressings could be beneficial to accelerate wound hemostasis and further reduce mortality caused by uncontrolled bleeding. Furthermore, CCP wound dressings have an excellent antibacterial ability, which could be beneficial to inhibit wound inflammatory over-reaction and promote normal wound healing. Combined together, the prepared wound dressing in this research effort is expected to have high-potential in clinical applications.

    Yikun JIANG, Zhentao LEI, Zaizai TONG

    Smart drug delivery nanocarriers with high drug loading capacity are of great importance in the treatment of diseases, and can improve therapeutic effectiveness as well as alleviate side effects in patients. In this work, a pH and H2O2-responsive drug delivery platform with high doxorubicin (DOX) loading capacity has been established through coordination interaction between DOX and phenylboronic acid containing block polymer. A composited drug nanocarrier is further fabricated by growing a zeolitic imidazolate framework 8 (ZIF-8) on the surface of drug-loaded polymer micelles. The study verifies that ZIF-8 shell can act as intelligent “switch” to prevent DOX leaking from core–shell nanoparticles upon H2O2 stimulus. However, a burst drug release is detected upon pH and H2O2 stimuli due to the further disassociation of ZIF-8 in acid solution. Moreover, the in vitro anti-cancer experiments demonstrate that the DOX-loaded core–shell nanoparticles provide effective treatment towards cancer cells but have negligible effect on normal cells, which results from the high concentration of H2O2 and low pH in the microenvironment of tumor cells.

    Kevin VARGHESE, Dona Susan BAJI, Shantikumar NAIR, Dhamodaran SANTHANAGOPALAN

    Metal oxides are considered as potential anodes for sodium-ion batteries (SIBs). Nevertheless, they suffer from poor cycling and rate capability. Here, we investigate conductive polymer coating on Co3O4 nanoparticles varying with different percentages. X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy and surface chemical analysis were adopted to analyze coated and uncoated Co3O4 nanoparticles. Conducting polymer, poly(3,4-ethylene dioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS), has been utilized for coating. Improved specific capacity and rate capability for an optimal coating of 0.5 wt.% were observed. The 0.5 wt.% coated sample outperformed the uncoated one in terms of capacity, rate capability and coulombic efficiency. It delivered a reversible capacity of 561 mAh·g−1 at 100 mA·g−1 and maintained a capacity of 318 mAh·g−1 at a high rate of 1 A·g−1. Increasing the PEDOT:PSS coating percentage led to lower performance due to the thicker coating induced kinetic issues. Ex-situ analysis of the 0.5 wt.% coated sample after 100 cycles at 1 A·g−1 was characterized for performance correlation. Such a simple, cost-effective and wet-chemical approach has not been employed before for Co3O4 as the SIB anode.

    Zhiwei ZENG, Xinzhu WU, Yan LIU, Lulu LONG, Bo WANG, Lilin WANG, Gang YANG, Xiaohong ZHANG, Fei SHEN, Yanzong ZHANG

    An air superoleophobic/superhydrophilic composite coating with a unique structure was fabricated by oxidation and further modification of the copper mesh, and its design principle was clarified. This unique bird-nest-like configuration gives it instant superhydrophilicity due to the high surface roughness and high polar surface free energy components, while air superoleophobicity is caused by its extremely low dispersive surface free energy components. Furthermore, a water-resistance mechanism was proposed whereby a polyelectrolyte plays a critical role in improving the water-resistance of fluorosurfactants. It can separate oil–water mixtures with high efficiency (98.72%) and high flux (25185 L·m−2·h−1), and can be reused. In addition, our composite coating had certain anti-acid, anti-alkali, anti-salt and anti-sand impact performance. More importantly, after being soaked in water for a long time or being exposed to the air for a long time, it still retained ultra-high air oil contact angle and showed excellent stability, which provided the possibility for practical applications. Thus, these findings offer the potential for significant practical applications in managing oily wastewater and marine oil spill incidents.

    Sachin Sharma Ashok KUMAR, Shahid BASHIR, Kasi RAMESH, Subramaniam RAMESH

    During this decade, graphene which is a thin layer of carbon material along at ease with synthesis and functionalization has become a hot topic of research owing to excellent mechanical strength, very good current density, high thermal conductivity, superior electrical conductivity, large surface area, and good electron mobility. The research on graphene has exponentially accelerated specially when Geim and Novoselov developed and analyzed graphene. On this basis, for industrial application, researchers are exploring different techniques to produce high-quality graphene. Therefore, reviewed in this article is a brief introduction to graphene and its derivatives along with some of the methods developed to synthesize graphene and its prospective applications in both research and industry. In this work, recent advances on applications of graphene in various fields such as sensors, energy storage, energy harvesting, high-speed optoelectronics, supercapacitors, touch-based flexible screens, and organic light emitting diode displays have been summarized.

    Senrong QIAO, Huijun LI, Xiaoqin CHENG, Dongyu BIAN, Xiaomin WANG

    As an anode material for sodium-ion batteries (SIBs), bismuth (Bi) has attracted widespread attention due to its suitable voltage platform and high volumetric energy density. However, the severe volume expansion of Bi during charging and discharging leads to a rapid decline in battery capacity. Loading Bi on the graphene can relieve volume expansion and improve electrochemical performance. However, excessive loading of Bi on graphene will cause the porosity of the composite material to decrease, which leads to a decrease of the Na+ transmission rate. Herein, the Bi/three-dimensional porous graphene (Bi/3DPG) composite material was prepared and the pore structure was optimized to obtain the medium-load Bi/3DPG (Bi/3DPG-M) with better electrochemical performance. Bi/3DPG-M exhibited a fast kinetic process while maintaining a high specific capacity. The specific capacity still remained at 270 mA·h·g−1 (93.3%) after 500 cycles at a current density of 0.1 A·g−1. Even at 5 A·g−1, the specific capacity of Bi/3DPG-M could still reach 266.1 mA·h·g−1. This work can provide a reference for research on the use of alloy–graphene composite in the anode of SIBs.


    Ammonia borane (NH3BH3) is a reducing agent, able to trap and convert carbon dioxide. In the present work, we used a reactive solid consisting of a mixture of 90 wt.% of NH3BH3 and 10 wt.% of palladium chloride, because the mixture reacts in a fast and exothermic way while releasing H2 and generating catalytic Pd0. We took advantage of such reactivity to trap and convert CO2 (7 bar), knowing besides that Pd0 is a CO2 hydrogenation catalyst. The operation (i.e. stage 1) was effective: BNH polymers, and B−O, C=O, C−O, and C−H bonds (like in BOCH3 and BOOCH groups) were identified. We then (in stage 2) pyrolyzed the as-obtained solid at 1250 °C and washed it with water. In doing so, we isolated cyclotriboric acid H3B3O6 (stemming from B2O3 formed at 1250 °C), hexagonal boron nitride, and graphitic carbon. In conclusion, the stage 1 showed that CO2 can be ‘trapped’ and converted, resulting in the formation of BOCH3 and BOOCH groups (possible sources of methanol and formic acid), and the stage 2 showed that CO2 transforms into graphitic carbon.

    Lipsa Leena PANIGRAHI, Banishree SAHOO, Manoranjan ARAKHA

    Microbe-related, especially viral-related pandemics have currently paralyzed the world and such pathogenesis is expected to rise in the upcoming years. Although tremendous efforts are being made to develop antiviral drugs, very limited progress has been made in this direction. The nanotheranostic approach can be a highly potential rescue to combat this pandemic. Nanoparticles (NPs) due to their high specificity and biofunctionalization ability could be utilized efficiently for prophylaxis, diagnosis and treatment against microbial infections. In this context, titanium oxide, silver, gold NPs, etc. have already been utilized against deadly viruses like influenza, Ebola, HIV, and HBV. The discovery of sophisticated nanovaccines is under investigation and of prime importance to induce reproducible and strong immune responses against difficult pathogens. This review focuses on highlighting the role of various nano-domain materials such as metallic NPs, magnetic NPs, and quantum dots in the biomedical applications to combat the deadly microbial infections. Further, it also discusses the nanovaccines those are already available for various microbial diseases or are in clinical trials. Finally, it gives a perspective on the various nanotechnologies presently employed for efficient diagnosis and therapy against disease causing microbial infections, and how advancement in this field can benefit the health sector remarkably.