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Comparative analysis of the germination of barley seeds subjected to drying, hydrogen peroxide, or oxidative air plasma treatments

Perea-Brenes, A; Gomez-Ramirez, A; Lopez-Santos, C; Oliva-Ramirez, M; Molina, R; Cotrino, J; García, JL; Cantos, M; González-Elipe, ARA
Plasma Processes and Polymers (2022) e2200035


Acceleration in germination time by 12-24 h for barley seeds treated with atmospheric air plasmas may have a significant economic impact on malting processes. In this study, the increase in germination rate and decrease in contamination level upon plasma treatment could not be directly correlated with any significant increase in the water uptake capacity, except for seeds exposed to mild drying treatment. A variety of germination essays have been carried out with seeds impregnated with an abscisic acid solution, a retarding factor of germination, treated with a peroxide solution, and/or subjected to the plasma and drying treatments. Results suggest that plasma and hydrogen peroxide treatments induce the formation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that affects the abscisic acid factor and accelerate the germination rate.

June, 2022 | DOI: 10.1002/ppap.202200035

Thermal behaviour of the different parts of almond shells as waste biomass

Garzon, E; Arce, C; Callejon-Ferre, AJ; Perez-Falcon, JM; Sanchez-Soto, PJ
Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, (2022) 5023-5035


The main aim of this study is to investigate the thermal behaviour of the different parts of almond shells produced in an almond industry as a waste biomass. For this purpose, several experiments have been conducted under laboratory conditions. After removing the mature almonds, the waste raw materials subject of this study were treated with distilled water (10 min) and separated in several parts. Taking into account their physical characteristics, they were: (a) complete shells: exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp without grinding (Sample C); (b) ground samples of complete shells, sieved under 0.2 mm (Sample M); (c) hard layers of the endocarp (Sample E); (d) internal layers of the endocarp (Sample I); and (e) mature drupes (Sample P) or skin, being constituted by the flexible part of green colour (fresh form) or yellow (after drying). The thermal behaviour of all these sample materials has been investigated using a laboratory furnace, with determination of ash contents and mass loss by progressive heating (120 min of holding time). Elemental and DTA-TG/DTG analyses of selected sample materials have been carried out. Although a complete study can be very complex, a first approach has been performed in this investigation. Results on thermal decomposition of this biomass waste have been presented to emphasize the main differences between sample materials of almond shells. These results have demonstrated the influence of several parameters, such as the particle size, and previous treatments in the thermal behaviour of the different parts of the almond shells, as showed in this investigation. Structural analysis of almond shells allowed to determine lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose. From the lignin content, it has been predicted the higher heating value (18.24 MJkg(-1)) of this waste as by-product of industrial interest. Other linear correlations to calculate this parameter have been applied with similar results in all these samples.

June, 2022 | DOI: 10.1007/s10973-021-10940-x

Pursuing efficient systems for glucose transformation to levulinic acid: Homogeneous vs. heterogeneous catalysts and the effect of their co-action

Bounoukta, CE; Megias-Sayago, C; Ivanova, S; Ammari, F; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA
FUEL, 318 (2022) 123712


Exploring available catalytic systems to understand their behavior is a must to properly design efficient catalysts aiming to definitively drive biomass from laboratory to industrial scale. Glucose transformation to levulinic acid involves cascade reactions with specific requirements, different active sites in each case and secondary reactions hard to avoid which are intrinsically linked to the catalyst's nature and reaction conditions. In the present work, homogeneous, heterogeneous and heterogeneous/homogeneous catalysts are considered with the unique goal of improving levulinic acid yield while understanding the catalytic behaviour of cost-effective catalysts. The choice of the catalytic systems and the effect of the main reaction parameters on activity and selectivity is studied and discussed.

June, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2022.123712

Nanostructured nickel based electrocatalysts for hybrid ethanol-water anion exchange membrane electrolysis

Lopez-Fernandez, E; Gomez-Sacedon, C; Gil-Rostra, J; Espinos, JP; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Yubero, F
Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 10 (2022) 107994


Ni and Ni-Fe nanostructured layers prepared by magnetron sputtering in an oblique angle deposition configuration (MS-OAD) have been used as anode and cathode catalysts for hybrid ethanol-water electrolysis in an anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyser. Physico-chemical and electrochemical characterization in a threeelectrode cell has been carried out to determine the optimal characteristics of the anodic films. Current densities up to 434 mA cm-2 at 2.0 V in a 1.5 M EtOH and 2.0 M KOH fuel solution were achieved with excellent operational stability for 3 days. These experiments show that the oxygen evolution reaction taking place at the anode is completely replaced by the ethanol oxidation reaction under our explored reaction conditions. The obtained results evidence the interest of this kind of organic vs. pure water electrolysis to decrease the overall electrical energy consumption for the production of hydrogen.

June, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jece.2022.107994

Characterization of Re-Mo/ZSM-5 catalysts: How Re improves the performance of Mo in the methane dehydroaromatization reaction

Lopez-Martin, A; Sini, MF; Cutrufello, MG; Caballero, A; Colon, G
Applied Catalysis B-Environmental, 304 (2022) 120960


In this study, the promoting effect of rhenium addition as a co-dopant on Mo/ZSM-5 catalysts system has been analysed. Hence, bimetallic (Re-Mo/ZSM-5) catalysts have been synthesized using a sequential impregnation methodology. The catalytic performance for direct aromatization of methane reaction has been determined and correlated with their physical and chemical state combining multiple characterization techniques. An important synergy between Mo and Re, affected by the sequential impregnation, has been observed. Thus, Re1-Mo4/ZSM-5 in which Re has been incorporated first shows notably higher aromatic yields and stability against deactivation. Characterization results suggest that catalytic enhancement is due to the important effect of Re presence in close interaction with Mo. Improved evolution of ethane through C-C coupling would be correlated to this catalytic performance. As we discuss, Mo nature and location in the bimetallic systems are strongly conditioned by Re and the impregnation sequence and favours such intermediate step.

May, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2021.120960

Synthesis and characterization of alkali-activated materials containing biomass fly ash and metakaolin: effect of the soluble salt content of the residue

Jurado-Contreras, S; Bonet-Martínez, E; Sánchez-Soto, PJ; Gencel, O; Eliche-Quesada, D
Archives of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, 22 (2022) 121


The present study investigates the production and characterization of alkali-activated bricks prepared with mixing metakaolin (MK) and biomass fly ash from the combustion of a mix of pine pruning, forest residues and energy crops (BFA). To use this low cost and high availability waste, different specimens were prepared by mixing MK with different proportions of BFA (25, 50 and 75 wt%). Specimens containing only metakaolin and biomass fly ash were produced for the purpose of comparison. Effects of the alkali content of biomass fly ash, after a washing pretreatment (WBFA), as well as the concentration of NaOH solution on the physical, mechanical and microstructural properties of the alkali-activated bricks were studied. It was observed that up to 50 wt% addition of the residue increases compressive strength of alkali-activated bricks. Alkalinity and soluble salts in fly ash have a positive effect, leading materials with the improved mechanical properties. Concentration of NaOH 8 M or higher is required to obtain optimum mechanical properties. The compressive strength increases from 23.0 MPa for the control bricks to 44.0 and 37.2 MPa with the addition of 50 wt% BFA and WBFA, respectively, indicating an increase of more than 60%. Therefore, the use of biomass fly ash provides additional alkali (K) sources that could improve the dissolution of MK resulting in high polycondensation. However, to obtain optimum mechanical properties, the amount of BFA cannot be above 50 wt%.

May, 2022 | DOI: 10.1007/s43452-022-00444-2

Neodymium doped lanthanide fluoride nanoparticles as contrast agents for luminescent bioimaging and X-ray computed tomography

Gonzalez-Mancebo, D; Becerro, AI; Calderon-Olvera, RM; Cantelar, E; Corral, A; Balcerzyk, M; De la Fuente, JM; Ocaña, M
Boletin de la Sociedad Española de Ceramica y Vidrio, 61 (2022) 540-549


The synthesis of uniform neodymium-doped lanthanum trifluoride nanoparticles with lenticular shape and a mean diameter around 45 nm by using a homogeneous precipitation method is reported. The luminescent properties of the synthesized samples in terms of their emission spectra and emission lifetime are analyzed as a function of the Nd content to find the optimum phosphor and its suitability for luminescent imaging in the second biological window. The X-ray attenuation properties of the optimum phosphor are evaluated to investigate their additional ability as contrast agent for X-ray computed tomography. Finally, the colloidal stability of the obtained nanoparticles in physiological medium and their cytotoxicity are also analyzed to assess their aptness for in vivo bioimaging applications. 

May, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.bsecv.2021.07.004

Effect of sintering under CO+N-2/H-2 and CO2+air atmospheres on the physicochemical features of a commercial nano-YSZ

Colomer, M.T.; Simenas, M.; Banys, J.; Vattier, F.; Gagor, A.; Maczka, M.
Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 904 (2022) 163976


Given the need to process anodes and composites based on nano-YSZ in reducing or in air containing additional CO2 atmospheres for the fabrication of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), and solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs), we have studied the effect of the exposure to CO+N2/H2 or CO2+air mixtures during sintering of YSZ green pellets, prepared from commercial nanopowders, on their structure, microstructure, chemical composition and their electrical properties. The reduced sample shows Raman bands at 1298 and 1605 cm−1 that are assigned to the D and G bands of carbon, respectively. The bands intensity ratio ID/IG indicates a larger content of disordered carbon. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) shows that C is present in the reduced samples as reduced carbon. However, the samples sintered in CO2+air present C as carbonate-type. Impedance spectroscopy reveals that the highest total conductivity is for the reduced samples in the whole range of studied temperatures. In addition, sintering in CO2+air causes a detrimental effect on the grain boundary conductivity and therefore, on the total electrical conductivity of YSZ. It can be due to the presence of impurities such as carbonates and oxidised or even, polymerised carbonaceous species located at those areas.

May, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2022.163976

High temperature mechanical properties of polycrystalline Y2SiO5

Cabezas-Rodríguez, R; Ciria, D; Martínez-Fernandez, J; Dezanneau, G; Karolak, F; Ramirez-Rico, J
Boletin de la Sociedad Española de Ceramica y Vidrio, 61 (2022) S60-S68-228


The high temperature mechanical properties of polycrystalline Y2SiO5 were studied in compression at temperatures in the range of 1200-1400 degrees C, both in constant strain rate and constant stress experiments. To examine the effect of grain size on the plastic deformation, two routes were used for the synthesis and sintering of Y2SiO5: one of solid state reaction followed by conventional sintering in air, and one of sol-gel synthesis followed by spark-plasma sintering, resulting in starting grain sizes of 2.2 and 0.9 mu m, respectively. Ceramics obtained by these routes exhibited different high-temperature compression behavior: while the conventionally processed ceramic exhibited grain growth during mechanical testing and a stress exponent close to one, compatible with diffusional creep, the spark-plasma sintered ceramic showed no grain growth but significant cavitation, a stress exponent close to two and partially superplastic behavior. These results have implications for the design and lifetime assessment of rare earth silicate-based environmental barrier coatings. 

May, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.bsecv.2021.09.008

Role of Surface Topography in the Superhydrophobic Effect-Experimental and Numerical Studies

Ibrahim, SH; Wejrzanowski, T; Przybyszewski, B; Kozera, R; Garcia-Casas, X; Barranco, A
Materials, 15 (2022) 3112


Within these studies, the effect of surface topography for hydrophobic coatings was studied both numerically and experimentally. Chemically modified polyurethane coating was patterned by application of a laser beam. A set of patterns with variously distant linear peaks and grooves was obtained. The cross section of the pattern showed that the edges of the peaks and grooves were not sharp, instead forming a rounded, rectangle-like shape. For such surfaces, experimental studies were performed, and in particular the static contact angle (SCA), contact angle hysteresis (CAH), and roll-off angle (ROA) were measured. Profilometry was used to create a numerical representation of the surface. Finite volume method was then applied to simulate the behavior of the water droplets. The model developed herewith enabled us to reproduce the experimental results with good accuracy. Based on the verified model, the calculation was extended to study the behavior of the water droplet on the simulated patterns, both spiked and rectangular. These two cases, despite a similar SCA of the water droplet, have shown extremely different ROA. Thus, more detailed studies were dedicated to other geometrical features of such topography, such as the size and distance of the surface elements. Based on the results obtained herewith, the future design of superhydrophobic and/or icephobic topography is discussed.

May, 2022 | DOI: 10.3390/ma15093112

The SrCO3/SrO system for thermochemical energy storage at ultra-high temperature

Amghar, N; Ortiz, C; Perejon, A; Valverde, JM; Maqueda, LP; Jimenez, PES
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 238 (2022) 111632


Thermochemical energy storage (TCES) has attracted interest in the last years due to the possibility of attaining high energy densities, seasonal storage capacity and greater efficiencies than currently commercial thermal energy storage systems using molten salts. This work analyses the potential of an ultra-high temperature TCES system based on the SrCO3/SrO system. The process relies upon the reversible decomposition of SrCO3 into SrO and CO2. As proposed in previous works for the integration of the Ca-Looping process to store energy in CSP plants, both the calcination (endothermic) and carbonation (exothermic) reactions are carried out in a closed CO2 loop. At these conditions, the required temperature to attain full calcination in short residence times is around 1400 degrees C whereas carbonation takes place at about 1200 degrees C. Using this process, the energy density potentially achievable by the storage material is very high (around 2000 MJ/m(3)) while the ultra-high carbonation temperature would improve thermoelectric efficiency. The enhancement of the multicycle performance of the SrCO3/SrO system using refractory additives is also explored. Even though current commercial CSP plants with tower technology cannot yet operate at these ultra-high temperatures, recent advances in the development of high-temperature solar receivers could allow operation at 1400 degrees C in the medium term. Finally, a conceptual model of the integration of the SrCO3/SrO system in a CSP plant supports higher overall efficiency and energy density, but lower solar-to-electric efficiency due to thermal losses.

May, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.solmat.2022.111632

Analysis of the effect of cationic ratio Bi3+/Fe3+ on the magnetic and multiferroic properties of BiFeO3 nanoparticles synthesized using a sonochemical-assisted method

Palomino-Resendiz, RL; Bolarin-Miro, AM; Pedro-Garcia, F; Sanchez-De Jesus, F; Espinos-Manzorro, JP; Cortes-Escobes-Escobedo, CA
Ceramics International, 48 (2022) 14746-14753


This study examined the effects of the cationic ratio of Bi3+/Fe3+ via X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) on the magnetic and multiferroic properties of BiFeO3 nanoparticles synthesized using a sonochemical-assisted method. X-ray diffraction revealed the successful synthesis of single-phase BiFeO3 powder after annealing the sonicated material at 723 K. The powder was composed of agglomerates of rounded particles with a mean particle size of 35 nm. XPS was performed to determine the Bi3+/Fe3+ ratio as a function of the heat treatment process and its relationship with secondary phases, which can modulate the magnetic properties of the nano powders. The cationic ratio obtained by XPS confirmed that the powders obtained at 623 and 923 K have excess Bi3+ and Fe3+, respectively, which induces the formation of Bi24Fe2O39 and Bi2Fe4O9 as the majority phases. Powder annealing at 723 K revealed a ferromagnetic order with specific magnetization of 1.8 Am-2/kg. This ferromagnetic behavior was preserved after applying spark plasma sintering (SPS) at 923 K. By contrast, conventional sintering at 1023 K promotes antiferromagnetic order. In addition, the dielectric properties of the ceramic material of the sintered powders showed a behavior related to a typical ferroelectric material.

May, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.ceramint.2022.02.011

Versatile Ni-Ru catalysts for gas phase CO2 conversion: Bringing closer dry reforming, reverse water gas shift and methanation to enable end-products flexibility

Merkouri, LP; le Sache, E; Pastor-Perez, L; Duyar, MS; Reina, TR
Fuel, 315 (2022) 123097


Advanced catalytic materials able to catalyse more than one reaction efficiently are needed within the CO2 utilisation schemes to benefit from end-products flexibility. In this study, the combination of Ni and Ru (15 and 1 wt%, respectively) was tested in three reactions, i.e. dry reforming of methane (DRM), reverse water-gas shift (RWGS) and CO2 methanation. A stability experiment with one cycle of CO2 methanation-RWGS-DRM was carried out. Outstanding stability was revealed for the CO2 hydrogenation reactions and as regards the DRM, coke formation started after 10 h on stream. Overall, this research showcases that a multicomponent Ni-Ru/CeO2 -Al2O3 catalyst is an unprecedent versatile system for gas phase CO2 recycling. Beyond its excellent performance, our switchable catalyst allows a fine control of end-products selectivity.

May, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2021.123097

Insight into the role of temperature, time and pH in the effective zirconium retention using clay minerals

Pavon, E; Alba, MD
Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 308 (2022) 114635


The use of zirconium in chemical industries generates a potential risk of Zr contamination in the environment, with particular concern for the decommissioning of uranium-graphite reactors. Among the natural adsorbents employed for the treatment of nuclear waste, clay minerals showed a very high affinity adsorption for radionuclides, but the influence of the chemical composition, pressure, temperature and time reaction have not yet been analysed on deep. Thus, the objective of this research is to explore several experimental conditions for an actual prediction of the behaviour of zirconium immobilization by clay minerals. The results have shown that factors such as zirconium cation nature (Zr4+ or ZrO2+), temperature, time and pH influence the extent of zirconium immobilization by clay minerals and the zirconium phases generated. At moderate conditions, zirconium tectosilicates are formed and evolve to zircon at high temperature and a longer time reaction.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.114635

Z-scheme WO3/PANI heterojunctions with enhanced photocatalytic activity under visible light: A depth experimental and DFT studies

Y. Naciri; A.Hsini; A.Bouziani; K.Tanji; B.El Ibrahimi; M.N.Ghazza; B. Bakiz; A.Albourine; A.Benlhachemi; J.A. Navío
Chemosphere, 292 (2022) 133468


A WO3@PANI heterojunction photocatalyst with a various mass ratio of polyaniline to WO3 was obtained via the in situ oxidative deposition polymerization of aniline monomer in the presence of WO3 powder. The characterization of WO3@PANI composites was carried via X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), ultraviolet–visible diffuse reflection spectroscopy (DRS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and photoluminescence spectroscopy (PL). The photocatalytic efficiency of WO3@PANI photocatalysts was assessed by following the decomposition of the Rhodamine B (RhB) dye under visible light irradiation (λ >420 nm). The results evidenced the high efficiency of the WO3@PANI (0.5 wt %) nanocomposite in the photocatalytic degradation of RhB (90% within 120 min) under visible light irradiation 3.6 times compared to pure WO3. The synergistic effect between PANI and WO3 is the reason for the increased photogenerated carrier separation. The superior photocatalytic performance of the WO3@PANI catalyst was ascribed to the increased visible light in the visible range and the efficient charge carrier separation. Furthermore, the Density Functional Theory study (DFT) of WO3@PANI was performed at the molecular level, to find its internal nature for the tuning of photocatalytic efficiency. The DFT results indicated that the chemical bonds connected the solid-solid contact interfaces between WO3 and PANI. Finally, a plausible photocatalytic mechanism of WO3@PANI (0.5 wt %) performance under visible light illumination is suggested to guide additional photocatalytic activity development.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.133468

Insights into the physicochemical properties of Sugar Scum as a sustainable biosorbent derived from sugar refinery waste for efficient cationic dye removal

F. Atmani, M.M. Kaci, N. Yeddou-Mezenner, A. Soukeur, I. Akkari, J.A. Navío
Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery (2022)


The objective of this study was to determine the ability of sugar scum (SS), an industrial waste, as a novel biosorbent for the removal of Basic Blue 41 (BB 41) from aqueous solutions. The biosorbent was characterized by SEM/EDS, BET, FTIR, and pHpzc measurements, respectively. To reach a maximum adsorption capacity of 26.45 mg.g–1, impacting operational factors such as pH, biosorbent dose, contact duration, starting dye concentration, and temperature were adjusted, when the removal efficiency reached 84% during 60 min at pH 10, 1.5 g.L–1 of biosorbent and Co = 10 mg.L–1. The experimental data were modeled by various isotherm models, whereas the best fit was found for Freundlich with a high correlation coefficient (R2 = 0.991). Other kinetic models including pseudo-first, pseudo-second order, and intra-particle diffusion models were tested to fit the kinetic data. The biosorption of BB 41 onto SS was spontaneous (∆G° < 0) and exothermic (∆H° < 0), while the biosoprtion mechanism of BB41 over SS was proposed with repeated reuse showing that SS could be regenerated after four successive runs. Furthermore, this study revealed that sugar scum is an underutilized bioresource in Algeria, with the potential to provide low-cost environmental removal of additional contaminants in the wastewater treatment domain.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1007/s13399-022-02646-3

Insights into the structural and physicochemical properties of Zn-Bi-O composites for efficient photodegradation of caffeic acid, rhodamine B and methyl orange

F.Puga; J.A.Navío; J.M.Córdoba; F.Romero-Sarria; M.C.Hidalgo
Applied Surface Science, 581 (2022) 152351


Different Zn-Bi-O composites were synthesized following the starting chemical molar composition of ZnBi2O4 spinels by a sol–gel method, (ZnBiO)-SG, and its subsequent hydrothermal treatment, (ZnBiO)-HT. The acquired X-ray diffractograms after sequential thermal treatments at a programmed rate indicate that both precursors evolved, after calcination at 500 °C, to materials (ZnBiO) with different stoichiometry. The use of different characterization techniques (both FT-IR and TEM), allowed us to establish that, with the sol–gel process a mixed ZnO/Bi2O3 oxide is generated, while after hydrothermal process a ternary Zn-Bi-O oxide is formed, with small amounts of residual ZnO. The photocatalytic properties of the synthesized samples were evaluated using Caffeic acid, Rhodamine B and Methyl Orange as model substrates. It can be concluded that both catalysts showed excellent photocatalytic activity for the degradation of trans-caffeic acid under both UV and visible illumination. The leaching process (in particular of zinc), which is produced with the illumination time (in particular under UV illumination) in the presence of oxygen, raises the hypothesis of a foreseeable formation of complexes (photochemically stable or unstable) of caffeic acid with Zn2+ and Bi3+ ions. The plausible donor/acceptor interactions between the toxic molecules studied and the Zn2+ and Bi3+ ions, could condition the degradation processes, by means of a photoassisted process that would take place both, in the heterogeneous (photocatalytic) and homogeneous (photoassisted) phases. For the degradation processes of Rhodamine B and Methyl Orange, additional experimental conditions are studied that significantly improved their photocatalytic degradation.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2021.152351

Mesoporous Silica-Based Nanoparticles as Non-Viral Gene Delivery Platform for Treating Retinitis Pigmentosa

Valdes-Sanchez, L; Borrego-González, S; Montero-Sanchez, A; Massalini, S; De la Cerda, B; Díaz-Cuenca, A; Díaz-Corrales, FJ
Journal of Clinical Medicine, 11 (2022) 2170


Background: Gene therapy is a therapeutic possibility for retinitis pigmentosa (RP), in which therapeutic transgenes are currently delivered to the retina by adeno-associated viral vectors (AAVs). Although their safety and efficacy have been demonstrated in both clinical and preclinical settings, AAVs present some technical handicaps, such as limited cargo capacity and possible immunogenicity in repetitive doses. The development of alternative, non-viral delivery platforms like nanoparticles is of great interest to extend the application of gene therapy for RP. Methods: Amino-functionalized mesoporous silica-based nanoparticles (N-MSiNPs) were synthesized, physico-chemically characterized, and evaluated as gene delivery systems for human cells in vitro and for retinal cells in vivo. Transgene expression was evaluated by WB and immunofluorescence. The safety evaluation of mice subjected to subretinal injection was assessed by ophthalmological tests (electroretinogram, funduscopy, tomography, and optokinetic test). Results: N-MSiNPs delivered transgenes to human cells in vitro and to retinal cells in vivo. No adverse effects were detected for the integrity of the retinal tissue or the visual function of treated eyes. N-MSiNPs were able to deliver a therapeutic transgene candidate for RP, PRPF31, both in vitro and in vivo. Conclusions: N-MSiNPs are safe for retinal delivery and thus a potential alternative to viral vectors.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.3390/jcm11082170

Composition and technological features of ceramics manufactured by Benito de Valladares in the seventeenth century from the Alcazar Palace in Seville, Spain

Pérez-Rodríguez, J.L.; Robador, M.D.; Duran, A.
European Physical Journal Plus, 137 (2022) 469


The walls of the Alcazar Palace in Seville have been covered with ceramic tiles of different styles that were manufactured with different techniques. Several studies have been carried out on these ceramics, but no interest has been paid to the tiles manufactured by the workshop of the Valladares family, one of the most productive ceramic workshops in Triana (Seville). In this work, tiles that were made in the Valladares workshop are studied for the first time. The tiles from the Cenador del Leon built in 1645-1646 were chosen. The experimental studies suggest that the ceramic body was manufactured with silico-calcareous clay. This raw material was heated to a temperature of ca. 900 degrees C. A nondestructive and on-site analytical procedure was applied first. Microsamples were also taken and studied through microanalytical techniques. The maiolica style was used by Benito de Valladares for tile manufacture. The glaze phases were constituted by two layers. The pigments and doping elements used to obtain different colors were characterized. Valladares' work is considered as a continuation of Augusta's work; therefore, a comparison between both ceramists has been realized to better understand the ceramics production in southern Spain during the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1140/epjp/s13360-022-02669-9

Thin film nanostructuring at oblique angles by substrate patterning

Muñoz-Pina, S; Alcaide, AM; Limones-Ahijon, B; Oliva-Ramirez, M; Rico, V; Alcala, G; Gonzalez, MU; García-Martín, JM; Alvarez, R; Wang, D; Schaaf, P; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Palmero, A
Surface & Coatings Technology, 436 (2022) 128293


It is demonstrated that, besides classical nanocolumnar arrays, the oblique angle geometry induces the growth of singular structures in the nanoscale when using wisely designed patterned substrates. Well-ordered array of crosses, cylindrical nanorods or hole structures arranged in square or hexagonal regular geometries are reported as examples, among others. The fundamental framework connecting substrate topography and film growth at oblique angles is presented, allowing the use of substrate patterning as a feasible thin film nanostructuring technique. A systematic analysis of the growth of TiO2 thin films on 4 different lithographic patterned substrates in 4 different scale lengths is also presented. A first conclusion is the existence of a height-based selective growth in the initial stages of the deposition, by which the film preferentially develops on top of the tallest substrate features. This behavior is maintained until the film reaches a critical thickness, the so-called Oblivion Thickness, above which the film topography becomes gradually independent of the substrate features. A general formula relating the spatial features of the pattern, the coarsening exponent and the Oblivion Thickness has been deduced.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2022.128293