Solution synthesis of germanium nanowires using a Ge2+ alkoxide precursor.
A simple solution synthesis of germanium (Ge0) nanowires under mild conditions (<400 degrees C and 1 atm) was demonstrated using germanium 2,6-dibutylphenoxide, Ge(DBP)2 (1), as the precursor where DBP = 2,6-OC6H3(C(CH3)3)2. Compound 1, synthesized from Ge(NR2)2 where R = SiMe3 and 2 equiv of DBP-H, was characterized as a mononuclear species by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. Dissolution of 1 in oleylamine, followed by rapid injection into a 1-octadecene solution heated to 300 degrees C under an atmosphere of Ar, led to the formation of Ge0 nanowires. The Ge0 nanowires were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction analysis, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. These characterizations revealed that the nanowires are single crystalline in the cubic phase and coated with oleylamine surfactant. We also observed that the nanowire length (0.1-10 microm) increases with increasing temperature (285-315 degrees C) and time (5-60 min). Two growth mechanisms are proposed based on the TEM images intermittently taken during the growth process as a function of time: (1) self-seeding mechanism where one of two overlapping nanowires serves as a seed, while the other continues to grow as a wire; and (2) self-assembly mechanism where an aggregate of small rods (<50 nm in diameter) recrystallizes on the tip of a longer wire, extending its length. (+info)
Biofilm and nanowire production leads to increased current in Geobacter sulfurreducens fuel cells.
Geobacter sulfurreducens developed highly structured, multilayer biofilms on the anode surface of a microbial fuel cell converting acetate to electricity. Cells at a distance from the anode remained viable, and there was no decrease in the efficiency of current production as the thickness of the biofilm increased. Genetic studies demonstrated that efficient electron transfer through the biofilm required the presence of electrically conductive pili. These pili may represent an electronic network permeating the biofilm that can promote long-range electrical transfer in an energy-efficient manner, increasing electricity production more than 10-fold. (+info)
Distance-dependent emission from dye-labeled oligonucleotides on striped Au/Ag nanowires: effect of secondary structure and hybridization efficiency.
When fluorescently tagged oligonucleotides are located near metal surfaces, their emission intensity is impacted by both electromagnetic effects (i.e., quenching and/or enhancement of emission) and the structure of the nucleic acids (e.g., random coil, hairpin, or duplex). We present experiments exploring the effect of label position and secondary structure in oligonucleotide probes as a function of hybridization buffer, which impacts the percentage of double-stranded probes on the surface after exposure to complementary DNA. Nanowires containing identifiable patterns of Au and Ag segments were used as the metal substrates in this work, which enabled us to directly compare different dye positions in a single multiplexed experiment and differences in emission for probes attached to the two metals. The observed metal-dye separation dependence for unstructured surface-bound oligonucleotides is highly sensitive to hybridization efficiency, due to substantial changes in DNA extension from the surface upon hybridization. In contrast, fluorophore labeled oligonucleotides designed to form hairpin secondary structures analogous to solution-phase molecular beacon probes are relatively insensitive to hybridization efficiency, since the folded form is quenched and therefore does not appreciably impact the observed distance-dependence of the response. Differences in fluorescence patterning on Au and Ag were noted as a function of not only chromophore identity but also metal-dye separation. For example, emission intensity for TAMRA-labeled oligonucleotides changed from brighter on Ag for 24-base probes to brighter on Au for 48-base probes. We also observed fluorescence enhancement at the ends of nanowires and at surface defects where heightened electromagnetic fields affect the fluorescence. (+info)
DNA nanowire sensitive to the surrounding condition.
We designed and synthesized an artificial DNA that undergoes a structural transition induced by metal ions. A 2, 2'-bipyridine unit was incorporated into the main chain of d(G4T4G4) instead of thymine. Structural analyses of the artificial DNA with and without metal ions demonstrated that micromolar concentrations of metal ions can induce a structural transition of antiparallel G-quadruplex to a G-wire, which shows the DNA is promising as a controllable and switchable supramolecular device. (+info)
Quantitative real-time measurements of DNA hybridization with alkylated nonoxidized silicon nanowires in electrolyte solution.
The quantitative, real-time detection of single-stranded oligonucleotides with silicon nanowires (SiNWs) in physiologically relevant electrolyte solution is demonstrated. Debye screening of the hybridization event is circumvented by utilizing electrostatically adsorbed primary DNA on an amine-terminated NW surface. Two surface functionalization chemistries are compared: an amine-terminated siloxane monolayer on the native SiO2 surface of the SiNW, and an amine-terminated alkyl monolayer grown directly on a hydrogen-terminated SiNW surface. The SiNWs without the native oxide exhibit improved solution-gated field-effect transistor characteristics and a significantly enhanced sensitivity to single-stranded DNA detection, with an accompanying 2 orders of magnitude improvement in the dynamic range of sensing. A model for the detection of analyte by SiNW sensors is developed and utilized to extract DNA-binding kinetic parameters. Those values are directly compared with values obtained by the standard method of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and demonstrated to be similar. The nanowires, however, are characterized by higher detection sensitivity. The implication is that SiNWs can be utilized to quantitate the solution-phase concentration of biomolecules at low concentrations. This work also demonstrates the importance of surface chemistry for optimizing biomolecular sensing with silicon nanowires. (+info)
Direct-current nanogenerator driven by ultrasonic waves.
We have developed a nanowire nanogenerator that is driven by an ultrasonic wave to produce continuous direct-current output. The nanogenerator was fabricated with vertically aligned zinc oxide nanowire arrays that were placed beneath a zigzag metal electrode with a small gap. The wave drives the electrode up and down to bend and/or vibrate the nanowires. A piezoelectric-semiconducting coupling process converts mechanical energy into electricity. The zigzag electrode acts as an array of parallel integrated metal tips that simultaneously and continuously create, collect, and output electricity from all of the nanowires. The approach presents an adaptable, mobile, and cost-effective technology for harvesting energy from the environment, and it offers a potential solution for powering nanodevices and nanosystems. (+info)
Highly ordered nanowire arrays on plastic substrates for ultrasensitive flexible chemical sensors.
The development of a robust method for integrating high-performance semiconductors on flexible plastics could enable exciting avenues in fundamental research and novel applications. One area of vital relevance is chemical and biological sensing, which if implemented on biocompatible substrates, could yield breakthroughs in implantable or wearable monitoring systems. Semiconducting nanowires (and nanotubes) are particularly sensitive chemical sensors because of their high surface-to-volume ratios. Here, we present a scalable and parallel process for transferring hundreds of pre-aligned silicon nanowires onto plastic to yield highly ordered films for low-power sensor chips. The nanowires are excellent field-effect transistors, and, as sensors, exhibit parts-per-billion sensitivity to NO2, a hazardous pollutant. We also use SiO2 surface chemistries to construct a 'nano-electronic nose' library, which can distinguish acetone and hexane vapours via distributed responses. The excellent sensing performance coupled with bendable plastic could open up opportunities in portable, wearable or even implantable sensors. (+info)
Magnetic microposts as an approach to apply forces to living cells.
Cells respond to mechanical forces whether applied externally or generated internally via the cytoskeleton. To study the cellular response to forces separately, we applied external forces to cells via microfabricated magnetic posts containing cobalt nanowires interspersed among an array of elastomeric posts, which acted as independent sensors to cellular traction forces. A magnetic field induced torque in the nanowires, which deflected the magnetic posts and imparted force to individual adhesions of cells attached to the array. Using this system, we examined the cellular reaction to applied forces and found that applying a step force led to an increase in local focal adhesion size at the site of application but not at nearby nonmagnetic posts. Focal adhesion recruitment was enhanced further when cells were subjected to multiple force actuations within the same time interval. Recording the traction forces in response to such force stimulation revealed two responses: a sudden loss in contractility that occurred within the first minute of stimulation or a gradual decay in contractility over several minutes. For both types of responses, the subcellular distribution of loss in traction forces was not confined to locations near the actuated micropost, nor uniformly across the whole cell, but instead occurred at discrete locations along the cell periphery. Together, these data reveal an important dynamic biological relationship between external and internal forces and demonstrate the utility of this microfabricated system to explore this interaction. (+info)