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  1. One of the current challenges of working with nanomaterials in bioapplications is having a tool that is biocompatible (non-toxic) and produces stable, intense fluorescence for bioimaging.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 4, 2024
  2. Recently, nano-based cancer therapeutics have been researched and developed, with some nanomaterials showing anticancer properties. When it comes to cancer treatment, graphene quantum dots (GQDs) contain the ability to generate 1O2, a reactive oxidative species (ROS), allowing for the synergistic imaging and photodynamic therapy (PDT) of cancer. However, due to their small particle size, GQDs struggle to remain in the target area for long periods of time in addition to being poor drug carriers. To address this limitation of GQDs, hollow mesoporous silica nanoparticles (hMSNs) have been extensively researched for drug delivery applications. This project investigates the utilization and combination of biomass-derived GQDs and Stöber silica hMSNs to make graphene quantum dots-hollow mesoporous silica nanoparticles (GQDs-hMSNs) for fluorescent imaging and dual treatment of cancer via drug delivery and photodynamic therapy (PDT). Although the addition of hMSNs made the newly synthesized nanoparticles slightly more toxic at higher concentrations, the GQDs-hMSNs displayed excellent drug delivery using fluorescein (FITC) as a mock drug, and PDT treatment by using the GQDs as a photosensitizer (PS). Additionally, the GQDs retained their fluorescence through the surface binding to hMSNs, allowing them to still be used for cell-labeling applications. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
  4. Abstract

    The purpose of this work is to develop an active self-cleaning system that removes contaminants from a solar module surface by means of an automatic, water-saving, and labor-free process. The output efficiency of a solar module can be degraded over time by dust accumulation on top of the cover glass, which is often referred to as “soiling”. This paper focuses on creating an active self-cleaning surface system using a combination of microsized features and mechanical vibration. The features, which are termed anisotropic ratchet conveyors (ARCs), consist of hydrophilic curved rungs on a hydrophobic background. Two different ARC systems have been designed and fabricated with self-assembled monolayer (SAM) silane and fluoropolymer thin film (Cytop). Fabrication processes were established to fabricate these two systems, including patterning Cytop without degrading the original Cytop hydrophobicity. Water droplet transport characteristics, including anisotropic driving force, droplet resonance mode, cleaning mechanisms, and system power consumption, were studied with the help of a high-speed camera and custom-made test benches. The droplet can be transported on the ARC surface at a speed of 27 mm/s and can clean a variety of dust particles, either water-soluble or insoluble. Optical transmission was measured to show that Cytop can improve transmittance by 2.5~3.5% across the entire visible wavelength range. Real-time demonstrations of droplet transport and surface cleaning were performed, in which the solar modules achieved a 23 percentage-point gain after cleaning.

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  5. null (Ed.)
  6. We report a digital microfluidic device to transport aqueous droplets on an open surface in air using electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) with anisotropic ratchet conveyors (ARCs). ARCs are micro-sized periodic semicircular hydrophilic regions on a hydrophobic background, providing anisotropic wettability. SiNx and Cytop are used as the dielectric layer between the water droplet and working electrodes. By adopting parylene as a stencil mask, hydrophilic patterning on the hydrophobic Cytop thin film layer is achieved without the loss of Cytop hydrophobicity. While the traditional EWOD platform requires the control of multiple electrodes to transport the droplet, our system utilizes only two controlling electrodes. We demonstrate that 15 μl water droplets are transported at a speed of 13 mm/s under 60 Vpeak sinusoid AC signal at 50 Hz. Droplet transport at 20 Hz is also presented, demonstrating that the system can operate within a range of frequencies.

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  7. We present a piezoelectric transducer for standing wave surface acoustic wave nebulization (SW-SAWN) patterned with anisotropic ratchet conveyors (ARCs) to automate the sample preparation and droplet delivery. 
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