Carbon-rich monolayers on ITO as highly sensitive platforms for detecting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in water: The case of pyrene

Jose Muñoz, Núria Crivillers and Marta Mas-Torrent, Chem. Eur. J. (2017) 10.1002/chem.201703264

The determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in water at low levels is a current challenge given their great impact on the health and safety of the public. Here, a novel pyrene-based self-assembled monolayer (SAM) platform is exploited as PAH sensing recognition device. Interestingly, the formation of π–π sandwich complexes between PAHs and the recognition element switches the surface electron transfer capability. The unique supramolecular interaction between identical aromatic molecules provides a highly sensitive and selective sensor for pyrene in the order of part per trillion. Accordingly, and using pyrene as a proof-of-concept, this work presents the basis for an ‘at-point-of-use’ impedimetric sensor focused on a highly sensitive carbon-rich SAM for PAHs determination in water at ultra-trace levels.

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NANOMOL collaborates with Almirall and Leitat Technology Center in Nanomedicine applied to Dermatology

NANOMOL launch the Nano4Derm project in collaboration with Almirall, and Leitat Technology Center, focused in nanomedicine applied to treat dermatological diseases. Within the framework of this research project, new innovative formulations containing nanoencapsulated active ingredients will be developed for the topical treatment of inflammatory skin conditions, such as Acne and Psoriasis.

Nano4Derm involves the development and physico-chemical and biological characterisation of nanocapsules containing active ingredients, and the generation of scalable formulation prototypes for manufacturing nanoformulations suitable for clinical trials. These innovative formulations will address current unmet needs and challenges, such as antimicrobial resistance, and provide improved topical treatments for Acne and Psoriasis, in terms of side effects, instability of active ingredients, and skin penetration.

Under the terms of the agreement, ICMAB-CSIC and Leitat research centers will be in charge of developing the different prototypes of nanocapsules containing the active ingredients while Almirall will be responsible for the development of formulations containing the encapsulated actives. Furthermore, Almirall and Leitat will evaluate in preclinical studies both the new nanocapsules and formulations in order to select the best solution to address the unmet medical needs in the topical treatment of Acne and Psoriasis.

This agreement will lead to the development of two types of nanocapsules: Quatsomes and Polymeric Nanocapsules. Quatsomes are lipid nanoparticles with higher colloidal stability than liposomes, which favors the production of high quality, pharmaceutical formulations. They are obtained from the DELOS-SUSP, a technology developed by researchers from the NANOMOL group based on the use of supercritical fluids such as CO2. This technology has advantages over other manufacturing methodologies in terms of homogeneity and scalability, as it replaces the use of organic solvents by green solvents. Polymeric Nanocapsules are developed by the Leitat Technology Center, and provide versatility to the project as they can be designed with different drug release profiles depending on the needs being addressed.

This project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO) through the announcement of the State Program for R&D&i (2016), orientated to the Society Challenges, modality RETOS-Collaboration 2016, and co-financed by FEDER funds from the European Commission.




Conflicting evidence for ferroelectricity

Researchers from ICMAB (CSIC)/CIBER-BBN, in collaboration with others from the Universities of Liège, Mons, Grenoble-Alpes, Parma, Augsburg, Girona and CNR-IOM (SISSA), have published in the journal Nature (G. D'Avino et al., Nature, 547, E9-E10, 2017) an article where they question the presence of ferroelectricity at room temperature in organic transfer crystals generated by supramolecular techniques, which was previously published in the same journal (Tayi et al, Nature, 488, 485-489, 2012), by a team led by Prof. J. Fraser Stoddart (Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2016) and Prof. Samuel I. Stupp of the University of Northwestern.

G. D'Avino et al, Nature 547, E9-E10 (13 July 2017). DOI: 10.1038/nature22801

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Control of Polymorphism and Morphology in Solution Sheared Organic Field-Effect Transistors

Adv. Funct. Mater. 2017, 1700526; DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201700526

Sergi Galindo, Adrián Tamayo, Francesca Leonardi, and Marta Mas-Torrent

Organic molecule semiconductors can be designed to be soluble in a variety of solvents so then they can be printed employing roll-to-roll techniques. However, one of the major drawbacks is to achieve high reproducibility of the electronic devices. Organic molecules, oppositely to inorganic materials, are bound to each other by weak intermolecular forces (i.e., van der Waals interactions). This makes molecules highly sensitive to structural modifications; that is, one molecular building block can lead to different crystal structures (i.e., polymorphs), which in turn will strongly affect the device electrical properties. Thus, the control of organic molecules organisation, both thin film morphology and crystal structure, is key to achieve a high device-to-device reproducibility.


Congratulations to Manel Souto, runner-up to the award of best PhD thesis NANOMATMOL

30th June 2017

Manel Souto has been awarded the runner-up prize from the Specialized Group in Nanoscience and Molecular Materials (NANOMATMOL) from the RSEQ and RSEF, for this PhD thesis "Multifunctional Materials based on TTFPTM dyads: towards new Molecular Switches, Conductors and Rectifiers", supervised by Jaume Veciana and Imma Ratera.

Out of the 13 thesis presented, Manel Souto has obtained the second position. The awards were announced during the XXXVI Biennial Meeting of the Royal Spanish Society of Chemistry (RSEQ) in Sitges, on June 26, 2017.


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