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Unveiling cathodoluminescence in ▫$Bi_2Se_3$▫ : a plasmonic signature?
Thanveer Thajudheen, Blaž Belec, Mattia Fanetti, Matjaž Valant, 2024, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Keywords: cathodoluminescence, optical properties, topological insulators
Published in RUNG: 12.06.2024; Views: 153; Downloads: 0
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Spin glass behavior and dielectric properties of ▫$Sm_2CuMnO_6$▫ perovskites
Kaipamangalath Aswathi, Matjaž Valant, Mojca Vrčon, Manoj Raama Varma, 2024, original scientific article

Keywords: magnetizem, spinska stekla, dielektriki
Published in RUNG: 22.04.2024; Views: 545; Downloads: 0
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Designing atomic interface in ▫$Sb_2S_3/CdS$▫ heterojunction for efficient solar water splitting
Minji Yang, Zeyu Fan, Jinyan Du, Chao Feng, Ronghua Li, Beibei Zhang, Nadiia Pastukhova, Matjaž Valant, Matjaž Finšgar, Andraž Mavrič, Yanbo Li, 2024, original scientific article

Abstract: In the emerging Sb2S3‐based solar energy conversion devices, a CdS buffer layer prepared by chemical bath deposition is commonly used to improve the separation of photogenerated electron‐hole pairs. However, the cation diffusion at the Sb2S3/CdS interface induces detrimental defects but is often overlooked. Designing a stable interface in the Sb2S3/CdS heterojunction is essential to achieve high solar energy conversion efficiency. As a proof of concept, this study reports that the modification of the Sb2S3/CdS heterojunction with an ultrathin Al2O3 interlayer effectively suppresses the interfacial defects by preventing the diffusion of Cd2+ cations into the Sb2S3 layer. As a result, a water‐splitting photocathode based on Ag:Sb2S3/Al2O3/CdS heterojunction achieves a significantly improved half‐cell solar‐to‐hydrogen efficiency of 2.78% in a neutral electrolyte, as compared to 1.66% for the control Ag:Sb2S3/CdS device. This work demonstrates the importance of designing atomic interfaces and may provide a guideline for the fabrication of high‐performance stibnite‐type semiconductor‐based solar energy conversion devices.
Keywords: alumina, defect passivation, interface engineering, photoelectrochemical water splitting
Published in RUNG: 11.03.2024; Views: 608; Downloads: 2
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Chemistry of the iron-chlorine thermochemical cycle for hydrogen production utilizing industrial waste heat
Matjaž Valant, Uroš Luin, 2024, original scientific article

Abstract: This research presents an inventive thermochemical cycle that utilizes a reaction between iron and HCl acid for hydrogen production. The reaction occurs spontaneously at room temperature, yielding hydrogen and a FeCl2 solution as a by-product. Exploring the thermal decomposition of the FeCl2 by-product revealed that, at conditions suitable for utilization of low-temperature industrial waste heat (250 °C), chlorine gas formation can be circumvented. Instead, the resulting by-product is HCl, which is readily soluble in water, facilitating direct reuse in subsequent cycles. The utilization of low-temperature industrial heat not only optimizes resource utilization and reduces operational costs but also aligns with environmentally sustainable production processes. From the kinetic studies the activation energy was calculated to be 45 kJ/mol and kinetics curves were constructed. They showed significant kinetics at room temperature and above but rapid decrease towards lower temperatures. This is important to consider during real-scale technology optimization. The theoretical overall energy efficiency of the cycle, with 100% and 70% heat recuperation, was calculated at 68.8% and 44.8%, respectively. In practical implementation, considering the efficiency of DRI iron reduction technology and free waste heat utilization, the cycle achieved a 41.7% efficiency. Beyond its energy storage capabilities, the Iron-chlorine cycle addresses safety concerns associated with large-scale hydrogen storage, eliminating self-discharge, reducing land usage, and employing cost-effective storage materials. This technology not only facilitates seasonal energy storage but also establishes solid-state energy reserves, making it suitable for balancing grid demands during winter months using excess renewable energy accumulated in the summer.
Keywords: chemical cycles, hydrogen production, thermal decomposition, reaction kinetics, iron, chlorine
Published in RUNG: 12.01.2024; Views: 814; Downloads: 39
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The role of lattice defects on the optical properties of TiO[sub]2 nanotube arrays for synergistic water splitting
Manel Machreki, Takwa Chouki, Georgi Tyuliev, Mattia Fanetti, Matjaž Valant, Denis Arčon, Matej Pregelj, Saim Emin, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: In this study, we report a facile one-step chemical method to synthesize reduced titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanotube arrays (NTAs) with point defects. Treatment with NaBH4 introduces oxygen vacancies (OVs) in the TiO2 lattice. Chemical analysis and optical studies indicate that the OV density can be significantly increased by changing reduction time treatment, leading to higher optical transmission of the TiO2 NTAs and retarded carrier recombination in the photoelectrochemical process. A cathodoluminescence (CL) study of reduced TiO2 (TiO2–x) NTAs revealed that OVs contribute significantly to the emission bands in the visible range. It was found that the TiO2 NTAs reduced for a longer duration exhibited a higher concentration of OVs. A typical CL spectrum of TiO2 was deconvoluted to four Gaussian components, assigned to F, F+, and Ti3+ centers.
Keywords: TiO2 nanotubes, defects, cathodoluminescence
Published in RUNG: 13.12.2023; Views: 629; Downloads: 7
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Sustained delivery of Cu(II)-based DNA intercalators by nanometer-sized cyclodextrin-based porous polymers
Tina Škorjanc, Julian Heinrich, Damjan Makuc, Nora Kulak, Matjaž Valant, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: DNA intercalators are small molecules that insert between adjacent DNA base pairs and thus disturb DNA replication and transcription, which can lead to cell death. Certain metal complexes are excellent DNA intercalators, and have shown promise in chemotherapy. Here, a cyclodextrin porous polymer was prepared, characterized, exfoliated to form nanometer-sized particles, and used as a delivery vehicle for metal-free and Cu(II)-metalated anthraquinone-based DNA intercalators with a goal to minimize side effects of the highly toxic DNA intercalators. NMR experiments, including DOSY NMR, have shown the interaction between the cyclodextrin building block and the studied DNA intercalators. Porous nature of the delivery vehicle provided ample surface area for interaction with the drug candidates, resulting in encapsulation rates of up to 56%. Sustained cargo release from the polymer was achieved over eight days, and time-dependent cytotoxicity was observed. Furthermore, optical microscopy images indicated delivery vehicle internalization as well as disturbed cellular morphology within 24 hours of incubation. We anticipate that this study will stimulate further interest in the development of polymeric delivery systems for metal complexes.
Keywords: porous organic polymers, cyclodextrin, DNA intercalators, Cu(II) complexes, metal complexes
Published in RUNG: 10.11.2023; Views: 1019; Downloads: 4
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In vitro tumor hypoxia imaging with fluorescent covalent organic frameworks
Tina Skorjanc, Dinesh Shetty, Damjan Makuc, Gregor Mali, Martina Bergant Marušič, Matjaž Valant, 2023, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Abstract: Hypoxia refers to a condition where cells and tissues experience low, inadequate levels of O2. While healthy tissues are typically supplied with sufficient O2 (normoxia), cancerous tissues commonly face hypoxia due to the tumor’s extraordinarily high demand for oxygen. Various fluorescent small-molecule probes have been designed for selective detection of hypoxia in living cells, but few nanomaterials have been investigated for this type of bioimaging. Herein, we prepare a fluorescent covalent organic framework (COF) with β-ketoenamine linkages and post-synthetically modify it to conjugate hypoxia-sensitive nitroimidazole moieties into its pores (NI-COF). Stacks of sheets in NI-COF observed under electron microscopy were exfoliated by ultrasonication, and dynamic light scattering measurements confirmed particle size of less than 200 nm. Thus-prepared material exhibited good stability in physiological conditions and low cytotoxicity in in vitro experiments. NI-COF also showed useful fluorescence properties with an emission peak at 490 nm (λex = 420 nm) at both neutral and mildly acidic pH levels that are characteristic of tumor tissues. Encouraged by the favorable properties of the material, we incubated HeLa cells pre-treated in either hypoxic or normoxic conditions with NI-COF. Fluorescence microscopy images demonstrated that the material was preferentially taken up by hypoxic cells, which showed higher fluorescence signal in their interior than cells cultured under normoxia conditions. It is anticipated that this study will stimulate further developments of COFs for imaging various biological conditions.
Keywords: hypoxia, fluorescence, covalent organic frameworks, imaging, tumor cells
Published in RUNG: 19.09.2023; Views: 1030; Downloads: 4
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Utilizing structurally disordered AlMg-oxide phase in Cu/ZnO catalyst for efficient ▫$CO_2$▫ hydrogenation to methanol
Andraž Mavrič, Gregor Žerjav, Blaž Belec, Matevž Roškarič, Matjaž Finšgar, Albin Pintar, Matjaž Valant, 2023, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Keywords: carbon dioxide, methanol, catalysis
Published in RUNG: 15.09.2023; Views: 1150; Downloads: 4
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