Micrograph of the June 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(or series of micrographs) chosen from a recent issue of the Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology or from unpublished sources such as PhD theses, etc (with full attribution given).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 were again taken from two 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 El-Shafey, El Din, Abdelazim, Mamdouh, Salah, El-Dek and Zaki entitled “Innovative biotemplates for the synthesis of ZnO nanoparticles with versatile morphologies” (JSST, (2021), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10971-021-05546-6), which explores the effect of different biotemplates on the morphology of the ZnO particles obtained, and the photocatalytic activity of the resulting materials. The micrographs on the left illustrate the coral-like morphology of the materials obtained in the absence of biotemplate, while those on the right show the striking differences obtained using clove as a biotemplate (with all processing conditions otherwise comparable), where ZnO ribbons are obtained.

The second series of micrographs is from the work of Padilla-Hernández, Medina-Ramirez, Avila-Ortega, Barrón-Zambrano, Muñoz-Rodríguez, Carrera-Figueiras and Pérez-Padilla entitled “Synthesis of hybrid polymeric fibers of different functionalized alkoxysilane coupling agents obtained via sol–gel and electrospinning technique: effect on the morphology by addition of PVA” (JSST, (2021), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10971021-05567-1). This paper describes the effect of processing parameters on the formation of electrospun hybrids produced from PVA/PDMS-OH mixtures incorporating different coupling agents. The upper-left micrograph shows the cross-linked fibres obtained from a 50:50 (v:v) mixture of PDMS and PVA, with 3cyanopropyl(triethoxy)silane as coupling agent. The lower-left and -right images illustrate the corresponding branched fibres obtained from a 30:70 (v:v) mixture of PDMS and PVA, with 3-aminopropyl(triethoxy)silane as coupling agent. The lower-right image was obtained using a five-fold increase in electrospinning flow rate.