Micrograph of the December from the Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

Each month, the ISGS Newsletter features an interesting and striking micrograph (or series of micrographs) chosen from a recent issue of the Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology or from unpublished sources such as PhD theses, etc (with full attribution given). If you know of any interesting images that might be suitable, please contact the ISGS Newsletter Editor for inclusion. The micrographs can be optical, SEM, TEM, AFM, etc, and a brief description of the samples should be provided.

This month’s images are taken from three different papers in the latest issue of JSST and once again highlight the breadth of sol-gel science and technology, together with the areas in which our community is making an impact.

The first is taken from the work of AL-Jawad, Imran and Aboud entitled “Synthesis and characterization of Mn:CdS nanoflower thin films prepared by hydrothermal method for photocatalytic activity” (JSST, (2021), 100, 423-429; https://doi.org/10.1007/s10971-021-05656-1), which explores the effect of Mn doping on the structural, morphological, optical and photocatalytic properties of nanoflowers produced by hydrothermal processing. The SEM micrographs illustrate the intriguing flower-like morphology of the materials, with increasing Mn doping leading to a decrease in the optical bandgap and increasing activity for the photocatalytic decomposition of dyes such as methyl blue and methyl violet.

The second micrograph is from the work of Hou, Chen, Zhao, Zou and Sun. This paper, entitled “Porous silica coated gold nanocages for chemo-photothermal combined therapy” (JSST, (2021), 100, 562-570; https:// doi.org/10.1007/s10971-021-05672-1), explores the properties of drug-delivery systems based on gold nanocages entrapped within a porous silica shell, which is further coated with n-isopropylacrylamide to produce a material suitable for containing therapeutic drugs such doxorubicin. Under suitable light irradiation (808 nm), the gold nanoparticles absorb the NIR light and the resulting heat provides both a photothermal effect and swells the organic surface layer, thus releasing the encapsulated drug. The efficacy of the combined photothermal response and controlled drug delivery for destroying Hela cells in vitro is explored.