Electrochemically Synthesized Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Nanowires as Photosensitive Neuronal Interfaces

Poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), a hole-conducting polymer, generates a lot of interest especially because of its excellent optoelectronic properties (such as good electrical conductivity and high extinction coefficient) and good processability, which make this polymer an excellent choice for building organic optoelectronic devices (e.g., organic solar cells). *

P3HT films and nanoparticles have also been used to restore the photosensitivity of retinal neurons. *

For their article “Electrochemically Synthesized Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Nanowires as Photosensitive Neuronal Interfaces” Szilveszter Gáspár, Tiziana Ravasenga, Raluca-Elena Munteanu, Sorin David, Fabio Benfenati, and Elisabetta Colombo investigated the template-assisted electrochemical synthesis of P3HT nanowires doped with tetrabutylammonium hexafluorophosphate (TBAHFP) and their biocompatibility with primary neurons. *

They were able to show that template-assisted electrochemical synthesis can relatively easily turn 3-hexylthiophene (3HT) into longer (e.g., 17 ± 3 µm) or shorter (e.g., 1.5 ± 0.4 µm) P3HT nanowires with an average diameter of 196 ± 55 nm (determined by the used template) and that the nanowires produce measurable photocurrents following illumination. *

The fact that template-assisted electrochemical synthesis combines polymerization, doping, and polymer nanostructuring into one, relatively simple step is the most important advantage of this method. The possibility of easily tuning the length of the produced nanowires represents another important advantage. *

The authors were also able to demonstrate that primary cortical neurons can be grown onto P3HT nanowires drop-casted on a glass substrate without relevant changes in their viability and electrophysiological properties, indicating that P3HT nanowires obtained by template-assisted electrochemical synthesis represent a promising neuronal interface for photostimulation. *

Szilveszter Gáspár  et al. proved the biocompability of the obtained P3HT nanowires upon incubation for different periods with primary neuronal cultures. They demonstrated that their presence does not affect the membrane properties of the neurons or the excitability of the neurons as evaluated by patch-clamp experiments. These results show the potential of the described synthesis methodology to fabricate injectable P3HT-based photosensitive nanowires with high biocompatibility, ultimately paving the way for their exploitation for neuronal photostimulation. *

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) was used to characterize P3HT nanowires drop-casted onto glass coverslips. *

The Atomic Force Microscopy images were obtained in air and in intermittent contact-mode using line rates as slow as 0.2 Hz and NanoWorld Pointprobe® NCSTR silicon soft-tapping AFM probes (typical values: resonant frequency 160 kHz, force constant 7.2 N m). The ratio between the set-point amplitude and the free amplitude of the AFM cantilever was set to 0.5–0.6. The obtained AFM images were used to determine both the lengths and the diameters of the nanowires. *

Figure 3 from “Electrochemically Synthesized Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Nanowires as Photosensitive Neuronal Interfaces” by Szilveszter Gáspár et al.: AFM images of “long” P3HT nanowires (A) and of “short” P3HT nanowires (B). NanoWorld Pointprobe NCSTR soft-tapping mode probes were used.
Figure 3 from “Electrochemically Synthesized Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Nanowires as Photosensitive Neuronal Interfaces” by Szilveszter Gáspár et al.:
AFM images of “long” P3HT nanowires (A) and of “short” P3HT nanowires (B).

*Szilveszter Gáspár, Tiziana Ravasenga, Raluca-Elena Munteanu, Sorin David, Fabio Benfenati, and Elisabetta Colombo
Electrochemically Synthesized Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Nanowires as Photosensitive Neuronal Interfaces
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4761, Special Issue Advanced Designs of Materials, Devices and Techniques for Biosensing
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164761 (please follow this external link to read the full article.)

Open Access The article “Electrochemically Synthesized Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Nanowires as Photosensitive Neuronal Interfaces” by Szilveszter Gáspár, Tiziana Ravasenga, Raluca-Elena Munteanu, Sorin David, Fabio Benfenati, and Elisabetta Colombo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Amphiphilic Poly(dimethylsiloxane-ethylene-propylene oxide)-polyisocyanurate Cross-Linked Block Copolymers in a Membrane Gas Separation

Block copolymers, including multiblock copolymers of an amphiphilic nature, because of their ability to form various supramolecular structures are attracting a lot of research interest these days. The direct influence on the supramolecular organization of block copolymers is a way of controlling both the mechanical and physicochemical properties of polymer materials obtained on this basis. *

In the article “Amphiphilic Poly(dimethylsiloxane-ethylene-propylene oxide)-polyisocyanurate Cross-Linked Block Copolymers in a Membrane Gas Separation” Ilsiya M. Davletbaeva, Ilgiz M. Dzhabbarov, Askhat M. Gumerov, Ilnaz I. Zaripov, Ruslan S. Davletbaev, Artem A. Atlaskin, Tatyana S. Sazanova and Ilya V. Vorotyntsev describe how they investigated Multiblock copolymers obtained based on PPEG, D4 (octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane ) and TDI ( 2,4-toluene diisocyanate ).*

The authors studied the realized polymers as membrane materials for the separation of gas mixtures containing CO2/CH4 and CO2/N2 and went on to show that polymers with a cellular supramolecular structure exhibit lower permeability for CO2 in comparison with polymeric film materials whose supramolecular structure is constructed on the basis of the “core-shell” principle. *

It was shown in the above mentioned article that polymers are promising as silica-based membrane materials for the separation of gas mixtures containing CO2/CH4 and CO2/N2. *

As the polymer material investigated for this article is rather soft NanoWorld Pointprobe® FMR AFM probes with a typical force constant of around 2.8 N/m were used for the analysis by atomic force microscopy of the membrane surface.*

Figure 15 from Ilsiya M. Davletbaeva et al “Amphiphilic Poly(dimethylsiloxane-ethylene-propylene oxide)-polyisocyanurate Cross-Linked Block Copolymers in a Membrane Gas Separation”:
AFM Images. (a): [PPEG]:[TDI] = 1:10; (b): [PPEG]:[D4]:[TDI] = 1:15:10; (c): [PPEG]:[D4]:[TDI] = 1:15:10 [ASiP] = 0.2 wt.%, (d): [PPEG]:[D4]:[TDI] = 1:15:10 [ASiP] = 0.4 wt.%.
NanoWorld Pointprobe® FMR AFM probes were used.
Figure 15 from Ilsiya M. Davletbaeva et al “Amphiphilic Poly(dimethylsiloxane-ethylene-propylene oxide)-polyisocyanurate Cross-Linked Block Copolymers in a Membrane Gas Separation”:
AFM Images. (a): [PPEG]:[TDI] = 1:10; (b): [PPEG]:[D4]:[TDI] = 1:15:10; (c): [PPEG]:[D4]:[TDI] = 1:15:10 [ASiP] = 0.2 wt.%, (d): [PPEG]:[D4]:[TDI] = 1:15:10 [ASiP] = 0.4 wt.%.

*Ilsiya M. Davletbaeva, Ilgiz M. Dzhabbarov, Askhat M. Gumerov, Ilnaz I. Zaripov, Ruslan S. Davletbaev, Artem A. Atlaskin, Tatyana S. Sazanova, and Ilya V. Vorotyntsev
Amphiphilic Poly(dimethylsiloxane-ethylene-propylene oxide)-polyisocyanurate Cross-Linked Block Copolymers in a Membrane Gas Separation
Membranes 2021, 11(2), 94
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11020094

Please follow this external link to read the full article: https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0375/11/2/94/htm#

Open Access : The article “Amphiphilic Poly(dimethylsiloxane-ethylene-propylene oxide)-polyisocyanurate Cross-Linked Block Copolymers in a Membrane Gas Separation” by Ilsiya M. Davletbaeva, Ilgiz M. Dzhabbarov, Askhat M. Gumerov, Ilnaz I. Zaripov, Ruslan S. Davletbaev, Artem A. Atlaskin, Tatyana S. Sazanova, and Ilya V. Vorotyntsev is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Electrochromic switching of tungsten oxide films grown by reactive ion-beam sputter deposition

Because of the global climate change, energy-saving and sustainable technologies are becoming more and more important. Therefore, the demands on technologies for the conversion, storage and use of renewable energies are constantly growing. *

The building sector plays an important role in terms of energy saving potential. *

In particular, the class of so-called smart windows offers an approach to save energy in the building sector by efficiently regulating incident light. *

Chromogenic thin films are crucial building blocks in smart windows to modulate the flux of visible light and heat radiation into buildings. *

Due to their diversity in composition and structure as well as their superior performance, electrochromism based on thin film transition metal oxides has become increasingly important in the last decade. *

Electrochromic materials such as tungsten oxide are well established in those devices. Sputter deposition offers a well-suited method for the production of such layers, which can also be used on an industrial scale. *

The EC properties of tungsten oxide layers depend on the composition, the crystal structure and the morphology. *

The film characteristics are strongly dependent on the growth technique. *

In the article “Electrochromic switching of tungsten oxide films grown by reactive ion-beam sputter deposition” Mario Gies, Fabian Michel, Christian Lupó, Derck Schlettwein, Martin Becker and Angelika Polity describe how Tungsten oxide thin films were grown by ion-beam sputter deposition (IBSD), a less common sputtering variant. *

They then show the possibility of influencing technologically relevant samples characteristics by using different preparation parameters (e.g., gas mixture or growth temperature). This allows to tune the elemental composition, optical properties or to influence the structure and the degree of crystallization in the resulting thin films. *

The high reproducibility as well as the high purity of IBSD-grown layers render ion-beam sputter deposition a suitable candidate for growth of tungsten oxide and, most likely, other chromogenic materials. *

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were conducted to analyze the crystallite surface structure.

For the AFM investigations in air NanoWorld® Pointprobe® SEIHR AFM probes designed for soft non-contact mode imaging were used. (typical resonance frequency 130 kHz, typical force constant 15 N/m ). *

Figure 2 g, h and i from "Electrochromic switching of tungsten oxide films grown by reactive ion-beam sputter deposition" by Miario Gies et al. In Fig. 2 g, the surface of a sample deposited at RT and a moderate O2 flux of 5.15 sccm is shown as analyzed by Atomic Force Microscopy ( AFM ). Individual grains of about 0.2 μm size appear interconnected without sharply defined grain boundaries. The root-mean-square surface roughness was determined to be around 9 nm. In comparison, Fig. 2h shows the morphology of a sample synthesized at RT under oxygen-poor conditions. Again, no sharply defined grains are recognizable. However, the grains seem to be a bit more extended. The determined roughness of the surface is approximately 7 nm. At an increased deposition temperature of 400 ∘C, larger round-shaped grains of about 0.5 μm lateral expansion were obtained, cf. Fig. 2i, leading to an increased roughness of around 20 nm, much higher than for the unheated samples. NanoWorld Pointprobe SEIHR AFM probes were used.
Figure 2 g, h and i from “Electrochromic switching of tungsten oxide films grown by reactive ion-beam sputter deposition” by Mario Gies et al.:
AFM images of samples, deposited at room temperature under a moderate O2 flux of 5.15 sccm (g) and under oxygen-poor conditions (h). Compared to the surface of a sample grown at 400 ∘C (i), the surface roughness is significantly smoother. For the full figure please refer to the full article: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10853-020-05321-y

*Mario Gies, Fabian Michel, Christian Lupó, Derck Schlettwein, Martin Becker and Angelika Polity
Electrochromic switching of tungsten oxide films grown by reactive ion-beam sputter deposition
Journal of Materials Science (2020)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-020-05321-y

Please follow this external link to read the full article: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10853-020-05321-y

Open Access : The article “Electrochromic switching of tungsten oxide films grown by reactive ion-beam sputter deposition” by Mario Gies, Fabian Michel, Christian Lupó, Derck Schlettwein, Martin Becker and Angelika Polity is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.