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  1. null (Ed.)
    Bismuth oxide is an important bismuth compound having applications in electronics, photo-catalysis and medicine. At the nanoscale, bismuth oxide experiences a variety of new physico-chemical properties because of its increased surface to volume ratio leading to potentially new applications. In this manuscript, we report for the very first time the synthesis of bismuth oxide (Bi 2 O 3 ) nano-flakes by pulsed laser ablation in liquids without any external assistance (no acoustic, electric field, or magnetic field). The synthesis was performed by irradiating, pure bismuth needles immerged in de-ionized water, at very high fluence ∼160 J cm −2 in order to be highly selective and only promote the growth of two-dimensional structures. The x - and y -dimensions of the flakes were around 1 μm in size while their thickness was 47.0 ± 12.7 nm as confirmed by AFM analysis. The flakes were confirmed to be α- and γ-Bi 2 O 3 by SAED and Raman spectroscopy. By using this mixture of flakes, we demonstrated that the nanostructures can be used as antimicrobial agents, achieving a complete inhibition of Gram positive (MSRA) and Gram negative bacteria (MDR-EC) at low concentration, ∼50 ppm. 
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  2. Abstract

    Pancreatic cancer is one of the most complex types of cancers to detect, diagnose, and treat. However, the field of nanomedicine has strong potential to address such challenges. When evaluating the diffusion and penetration of theranostic nanoparticles, the extracellular matrix (ECM) is of crucial importance because it acts as a barrier to the tumor microenvironment. In the present study, the penetration of functionalized, fluorescent gold nanorods into large (>500 μm) multicellular 3D tissue spheroids was studied using a multimodal imaging approach. The spheroids were generated by co-culturing pancreatic cancer cells and pancreatic stellate cells in multiple ratios to mimic variable tumor-stromal compositions and to investigate nanoparticle penetration. Fluorescence live imaging, photothermal, and photoacoustic analysis were utilized to examine nanoparticle behavior in the spheroids. Uniquely, the nanorods are intrinsically photoacoustic and photothermal, enabling multi-imaging detection even when fluorescence tracking is not possible or ideal.

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  3. Abstract

    Supercapacitors are beneficial as energy storage devices and can obtain high capacitance values greater than conventional capacitors and high power densities compared to batteries. However, in order to improve upon the overall cost, energy density, and charge-discharge rates, the electrode material of supercapacitors needs to be fine-tuned with an inexpensive, high conducting source. We prepared a Co(III) complex and polypyrrole (PPy) composite thin films (CoN4-PPy) that was electrochemically deposited on the surface of a glassy carbon working electrode. Cyclic voltammetry studies indicate the superior performance of CoN4-PPy in charge storage in acidic electrolyte compared to alkaline and organic solutions. The CoN4-PPy material generated the highest amount of specific capacitance (up to 721.9 F/g) followed by Co salt and PPy (Co-PPy) material and PPy alone. Cyclic performance studies showed the excellent electrochemical stability of the CoN4-PPy film in the acidic medium. Simply electrochemically depositing an inexpensive Co(III) complex with a high electrically conducting polymer of PPy delivered a superior electrode material for supercapacitor applications. Therefore, the results indicate that novel thin films derived from Co(III) metal complex and PPy can store a large amount of energy and maintain high stability over many cycles, revealing its excellent potential in supercapacitor devices.

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  4. Abstract

    The use of synthetic materials for biomedical applications is ever expanding. One of the major requirements for these materials is biocompatibility, which includes prevention of immune system responses. Due to the inherent complexity of their structural composition, the polyurethane (PU) family of polymers is being used in a variety of medical applications, from soft and hard tissue scaffolds to intricate coatings on implantable devices. Herein, we investigated whether two polymer materials, D3 and D7, induced an immune response, measured by their effects on a dendritic cell (DC) line, JAWS II. Using a lactate dehydrogenase cytotoxicity assay and Annexin V/PI staining, we found that the PU materials did not induce cytotoxicity in DC cells. Using confocal microscopy, we also showed that the materials did not induce activation or maturation, as compared to positive controls. This was confirmed by looking at various markers, CD80, CD86, MHC class I, and MHC class II, via flow cytometry. Overall, the results indicated that the investigated PU films are biocompatible in terms of immunotoxicology and immunogenicity and show great promise for use in regenerative medicine.

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