Rok: 2023

Ag2O nanocrystals prepared by mechanochemical decomposition of Ag7O8NO3

Martin Škrátek, Mária Čaplovičová, Ľubomír Čaplovič, Patrícia Petrisková, Erik Šimon, Erik Rakovský, Peter Billik

In: Materials Letters. Vol. 348, (2023)


Our work focuses on the preparation of nanocrystalline Ag2O (n-Ag2O) by mechanochemical decomposition (MCD) of a paramagnetic compound of an empirical formula Ag7O8NO3. Electrochemically prepared millimetre-long needles of Ag7O8NO3 were high-energy ball milled (HEM) for 1 min, 3 min and 5 min. A gradual decomposition of Ag7O8NO3 to n-Ag2O and AgNO3 was observed. Ag2O nanocrystals form in an aggregated and spherical morphology with crystallite sizes ranging from ∼10 – 30 nm. n-Ag2O displayed weak ferromagnetism with the saturation magnetisation of 5×10–3 emu/g. The MCD of Ag7O8NO3 can be estimated as follows: 2Ag7O8NO3 → 6Ag2O + 2AgNO3 + 5O2.

Cobalt-doped WSe2@conducting polymer nanostructures as bifunctional electrocatalysts for overall water splitting

Sadik Cogal, Gamze Celik Cogal, Matej Mičušík, Mário Kotlár, Maria Omastová

In: International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, (2023)


Designing of high-performance, low-cost, and nonprecious metal-based bifunctional electrocatalysts is highly significant for the development of water splitting process and expanding the practical application of green hydrogen production. Transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) with intrinsic physical and chemical properties have been considered potential catalytic materials for electrode fabrication. However, it has remained challenging to develop TMD catalysts that have bifunctional properties for overall water splitting. Herein, WSe2, as a typical representative of TMDs, was utilized to design electrocatalysts using polypyrrole (PPy) or polyaniline (PANI) as a conducting polymer (CP) and cobalt doping. A facile hydrothermal preparation of WSe2 in the presence of CP enabled the construction of cobalt-doped WSe2@CP electrocatalysts. Morphological analysis indicated that the CP played an important role as a conductive template to enhance the distribution of WSe2 nanosheets, leading to higher surface area. In addition, cobalt doping led to the formation of defect structures and boosted the electrocatalytic activities of the catalysts for oxygen evolution reaction (OER).

Tailoring the electronic properties of the SnO2 nanoparticle layer for n-i-p perovskite solar cells by Ti3C2TX MXene

Muhammad Faraz Ud Din, Shima Sousani, Mário Kotlár, Sami Ullah, Maros Gregor, Tomas Scepka, Yaryna Soyka, Anastasiia Stepura, Ashin Shaji, Femi Igbari, Karol Vegso, Vojtech Nadazdy, Peter Siffalovic, Matej Jergel, Maria Omastova, Eva Majkova

In: Materials Today Communications, Volume 36, (2023)


The effect of the Ti3C2Tx MXene modification of the SnO2 electron transport layer (ETL) was studied for the concentration range 0–7.4 wt% MXene. The electronic properties of the MXene-modified ETL were studied by the electrical conductivity measurements, density of states mapping by the energy-resolved electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy, and photoluminescence. The structure and morphology of the MXene-modified ETL and the top perovskite layer were analyzed by the scanning electron microscopy (SEM), scanning transmission electron microscopy, grazing-incidence X-ray diffraction and in situ grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering (GIWAXS). The increased electrical conductivity and electron selectivity for the MXene-modified SnO2 ETL was confirmed up to 1 wt% MXene. For 7.4 wt% MXene, significant suppression of the hole blocking property of the ETL was found. The in situ GIWAXS was performed during the post-deposition annealing of the perovskite layer. The increased perovskite grain size on the SnO2 ETL modified by MXene compared to the pure SnO2 ETL visible by SEM was confirmed. The uniaxial texture of the perovskite crystals was revealed in both cases with an increased misorientation angle for the MXene-modified ETL. The grain size and misorientation angle do not exhibit any systematic temporal changes during the post-deposition annealing. The increasing number of the grains during the annealing was observed. These results are explained using the nucleation and growth model. The increased power conversion efficiency from 17.4% to 18.3% of the archetypal methylammonium-lead-iodide perovskite solar cell after the modification of the SnO2 ETL with 0.1 wt% MXene is the effect of two contributions – increased electrical conductivity of the ETL and improved crystallinity and larger grain size compared to the pure SnO2 ETL, which lowers the total boundary area and charge recombination at trap states typically formed at grain boundaries.

Thermoplastic starch/bentonite clay nanocomposite reinforced with vitamin B2: Physicochemical characteristics and release behavior

Abolfazl Heydari, Milad KhajeHassani, Haniyeh Daneshafruz, Sepideh Hamedi, Faeze Dorchei, Mário Kotlár, Fahimeh Kazeminava, Samahe Sadjadi, Farideh Doostan, Ivan Chodak, Hassan Sheibani

In: International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. Vol. 242, (2023)


This study presents the development and characterization of a nanocomposite material, consisting of thermoplastic starch (TPS) reinforced with bentonite clay (BC) and encapsulated with vitamin B2 (VB). The research is motivated by the potential of TPS as a renewable and biodegradable substitute for petroleum-based materials in the biopolymer industry. The effects of VB on the physicochemical properties of TPS/BC films, including mechanical and thermal properties, water uptake, and weight loss in water, were investigated. In addition, the surface morphology and chemical composition of the TPS samples were analyzed using high-resolution SEM microscopy and EDS, providing insight into the structure-property relationship of the nanocomposites. The results showed that the addition of VB significantly increased the tensile strength and Young’s modulus of TPS/BC films, with the highest values observed for nanocomposites containing 5 php of VB and 3 php of BC. Furthermore, the release of VB was controlled by the BC content, with higher BC content leading to lower VB release. These findings demonstrate the potential of TPS/BC/VB nanocomposites as environmentally friendly materials with improved mechanical properties and controlled release of VB, which can have significant applications in the biopolymer industry.

GaAs ablation with ultrashort laser pulses in ambient air and water environments

Edgaras Markauskas,  Laimis Zubauskas, Arnas Naujokaitis, Bronislovas Čechavičius, Martynas Talaikis, Gediminas Niaura, Mária Čaplovičová, Viliam Vretenár, Tadas Paulauskas

In: Journal of Applied Physics. Vol. 133, iss. 23 (2023)


Water-assisted ultrashort laser pulse processing of semiconductor materials is a promising technique to diminish heat accumulation and improve process quality. In this study, we investigate femtosecond laser ablation of deep trenches in GaAs, an important optoelectronic material, using water and ambient air environments at different laser processing regimes. We perform a comprehensive analysis of ablated trenches, including surface morphological analysis, atomic-resolution transmission electron microscopy imaging, elemental mapping, photoluminescence, and Raman spectroscopy. The findings demonstrate that GaAs ablation efficiency is enhanced in a water environment while heat-accumulation-related damage is reduced. Raman spectroscopy reveals a decrease in the broad feature associated with amorphous GaAs surface layers during water-assisted laser processing, suggesting that a higher material quality in deep trenches can be achieved using a water environment.

Performance assessment of a triple-junction solar cell with 1.0 eV GaAsBi absorber

Tadas Paulauskas, Vaidas Pačebutas, Viktorija Strazdienė, Andrejus Geižutis, Jan Devenson, Mindaugas Kamarauskas, Martynas Skapas, Rokas Kondrotas, Mantas Drazdys, Matas Rudzikas, Benjaminas Šebeka, Viliam Vretenár, Arūnas Krotkus

In: Discover Nano. Vol. 18, iss. 1 (2023)

 doi: 10.1186/s11671-023-03865-x


Group III-V semiconductor multi-junction solar cells are widely used in concentrated-sun and space photovoltaic applications due to their unsurpassed power conversion efficiency and radiation hardness. To further increase the efficiency, new device architectures rely on better bandgap combinations over the mature GaInP/InGaAs/Ge technology, with Ge preferably replaced by a 1.0 eV subcell. Herein, we present a thin-film triple-junction solar cell AlGaAs/GaAs/GaAsBi with 1.0 eV dilute bismide. A compositionally step-graded InGaAs buffer layer is used to integrate high crystalline quality GaAsBi absorber. The solar cells, grown by molecular-beam epitaxy, achieve 19.1% efficiency at AM1.5G spectrum, 2.51 V open-circuit voltage, and 9.86 mA/cm2 short-circuit current density. Device analysis identifies several routes to significantly improve the performance of the GaAsBi subcell and of the overall solar cell. This study is the first to report on multi-junctions incorporating GaAsBi and is an addition to the research on the use of bismuth-containing III-V alloys in photonic device applications.

Polycaprolactone–MXene Nanofibrous Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering

Kateryna Diedkova, Alexander D. Pogrebnjak, Sergiy Kyrylenko, Kateryna Smyrnova, Vladimir V. Buranich, Pawel Horodek, Pawel Zukowski, Tomasz N. Koltunowicz, Piotr Galaszkiewicz, Kristina Makashina, Vitaly Bondariev, Martin Sahul, Mária Čaplovičová, Yevheniia Husak, Wojciech Simka, Viktoriia Korniienko, Agnieszka Stolarczyk, Agata Blacha-Grzechnik, Vitalii Balitskyi, Veronika Zahorodna, Ivan Baginskiy, Una Riekstina, Oleksiy Gogotsi, Yury Gogotsi, and Maksym Pogorielov

In: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Vol. 15, iss. 11 (2023)


New conductive materials for tissue engineering are needed for the development of regenerative strategies for nervous, muscular, and heart tissues. Polycaprolactone (PCL) is used to obtain biocompatible and biodegradable nanofiber scaffolds by electrospinning. MXenes, a large class of biocompatible 2D nanomaterials, can make polymer scaffolds conductive and hydrophilic. However, an understanding of how their physical properties affect potential biomedical applications is still lacking. We immobilized Ti3C2Tx MXene in several layers on the electrospun PCL membranes and used positron annihilation analysis combined with other techniques to elucidate the defect structure and porosity of nanofiber scaffolds. The polymer base was characterized by the presence of nanopores. The MXene surface layers had abundant vacancies at temperatures of 305–355 K, and a voltage resonance at 8 × 104 Hz with the relaxation time of 6.5 × 106 s was found in the 20–355 K temperature interval. The appearance of a long-lived component of the positron lifetime was observed, which was dependent on the annealing temperature. The study of conductivity of the composite scaffolds in a wide temperature range, including its inductive and capacity components, showed the possibility of the use of MXene-coated PCL membranes as conductive biomaterials. The electronic structure of MXene and the defects formed in its layers were correlated with the biological properties of the scaffolds in vitro and in bacterial adhesion tests. Double and triple MXene coatings formed an appropriate environment for cell attachment and proliferation with mild antibacterial effects. A combination of structural, chemical, electrical, and biological properties of the PCL–MXene composite demonstrated its advantage over the existing conductive scaffolds for tissue engineering.

Electrochemical modified Pt nanoflower @ rGO for non- enzymatic electrochemical sensing of glucose

Saravanan Gengan, R.M. Gnanamuthu, Sanjay Sankaranarayanan, Venumbaka Maneesh Reddy, Bhanu Chandra Marepally, Ravi Kumar Biroju

In: Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, Volume 353, (2023)


Since lower danger of biorecognition element degradation, enzymes-less glucose have the potential for more reliable in vivo activity, but it suffers due to lack of linear response and poor selectivity. We made attempt to improve selectivity, linear response and stability, environmentally benign electrochemical method adopted to fabricate Pt nanoflowers (PtNF) anchored on rGO modified GCE (PtNF-rGO/GCE). The PtNF-rGO/GCE electrode demonstrated good glucose electrooxidation in alkaline solution, with a linear range, sensitivity and detection limit are up to 3.5 mM, 335.5 μA mM−1 cm−1 and 53 μM (S/N = 3) respectively. The PtNF-rGO/GCE electrode is not only selective also inhibit interfering molecules like uric, dopamine, ascorbic acid. This allows for broadly sensitive, work at low-potential, stable, and quick glucose current detection, which is capable for the expansion of non-enzymatic glucose detectors.

Defective Graphene/Plasmonic Nanoparticle Hybrids for Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Sensors

Biroju Ravi K., Marepally Bhanu Chandra, Malik Pariksha, Dhara Soumen, Gengan Saravanan, Maity Dipak, Narayanan Tharangattu N., Giri Pravat K.

ACS Omega 2023, 8, 4, 4344–4356, (2023)


Two-dimensional–zero-dimensional plasmonic hybrids involving defective graphene and transition metals (DGR-TM) have drawn significant interest due to their near-field plasmonic effects in the wide range of the UV–vis–NIR spectrum. In the present work, we carried out extensive investigations on resonance Raman spectroscopy (RRS) and localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) from the various DGR-TM hybrids (Au, Ag, and Cu) using micro-Raman, spatial Raman mapping analysis, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), and LSPR absorption measurements on defective CVD graphene layers. Further, electric field (E) mappings of samples were calculated using the finite domain time difference (FDTD) method to support the experimental findings. The spatial distribution of various in-plane and edge defects and defect-mediated interaction of plasmonic nanoparticles (NPs) with graphene were investigated on the basis of the RRS and LSPR and correlated with the quantitative analysis from HRTEM, excitation wavelength-dependent micro-Raman, and E-field enhancement features of defective graphene and defective graphene-Au hybrids before and after rapid thermal annealing (RTA). Excitation wavelength-dependent surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and LSPR-induced broadband absorption from DGR-Au plasmonic hybrids reveal the electron and phonon interaction on the graphene surface, which leads to the charge transfer from TM NPs to graphene. This is believed to be responsible for the reduction in the SERS signal, which was observed from the wavelength-dependent Raman spectroscopy/mappings. We implemented defective graphene and DGR-Au plasmonic hybrids as efficient SERS sensors to detect the Fluorescein and Rhodamine 6G molecules with a detection limit down to 10–9 M. Defective graphene and Au plasmonic hybrids showed an impressive Raman enhancement in the order of 108, which is significant for its practical application.

Effect of surface roughness on laser surface alloying of additively manufactured 17-4PH stainless steel

Chaus Alexander, DEVOINO O.G., Sahul Martin, Vančo Ľubomír, Buranský Ivan, Kusý Martin

In: Surface & Coatings Technology. Vol. 454, (2023)


In the present work, the evolution of the final microstructure in 17-4PH stainless steel additively manufactured and subjected to the laser surface alloying with boron and nitrogen is described with special emphasis on the influence of surface topography and roughness. It was shown that character of the surface topography, and hence the surface roughness of the additively manufactured samples plays a major role in the development of microstructure during laser surface alloying. Dendritic microstructure of a solid solution with a small amount of eutectic in the interdendritic space was observed in a laser-melted zone (LMZ) of so-called smooth samples. In contrast, fully eutectic microstructure was revealed in the LMZ of the rough samples. This resulted in significantly different microhardness of the LMZ of both samples, i.e. 317.0 ± 12.7 and 636.7 ± 18.5 HV0.1 for the smooth and rough samples. The microstructural features and varying microhardness were found to be attributed to the different degree of the steel alloying primarily with boron in the LMZ, significantly affected by the initial roughness of the sample surface. This mechanism can be used to enhance laser surface alloying of the additively manufactured products.