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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 21(22)2020 Nov 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33187392

RESUMO

Three-dimensional culture systems and suitable substrates topographies demonstrated to drive stem cell fate in vitro by mechanical conditioning. For example, the Nichoid 3D scaffold remodels stem cells and shapes nuclei, thus promoting stem cell expansion and stemness maintenance. However, the mechanisms involved in force transmission and in biochemical signaling at the basis of fate determination are not yet clear. Among the available investigation systems, confocal fluorescence microscopy using fluorescent dyes enables the observation of cell function and shape at the subcellular scale in vital and fixed conditions. Contrarily, nonlinear optical microscopy techniques, which exploit multi-photon processes, allow to study cell behavior in vital and unlabeled conditions. We apply confocal fluorescence microscopy, coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS), and second harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy to characterize the phenotypic expression of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) towards adipogenic and chondrogenic differentiation inside Nichoid scaffolds, in terms of nuclear morphology and specific phenotypic products, by comparing these techniques. We demonstrate that the Nichoid maintains a rounded nuclei during expansion and differentiation, promoting MSCs adipogenic differentiation while inhibiting chondrogenesis. We show that CARS and SHG techniques are suitable for specific estimation of the lipid and collagenous content, thus overcoming the limitations of using unspecific fluorescent probes.

2.
ACS Nano ; 2020 Oct 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33054175

RESUMO

The full control of the fundamental photophysics of nanosystems at frequencies as high as few THz is key for tunable and ultrafast nanophotonic devices and metamaterials. Here we combine geometrical and ultrafast control of the optical properties of halide perovskite nanoparticles, which constitute a prominent platform for nanophotonics. The pulsed photoinjection of free carriers across the semiconducting gap leads to a subpicosecond modification of the far-field electromagnetic properties that is fully controlled by the geometry of the system. When the nanoparticle size is tuned so as to achieve the overlap between the narrowband excitons and the geometry-controlled Mie resonances, the ultrafast modulation of the transmittivity is completely reversed with respect to what is usually observed in nanoparticles with different sizes, in bulk systems, and in thin films. The interplay between chemical, geometrical, and ultrafast tuning offers an additional control parameter with impact on nanoantennas and ultrafast optical switches.

3.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(43): 26553-26555, 2020 Oct 27.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33077586
4.
J Am Chem Soc ; 142(38): 16117-16139, 2020 Sep 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32841559

RESUMO

Computational spectroscopy is becoming a mandatory tool for the interpretation of the complex, and often congested, spectral maps delivered by modern non-linear multi-pulse techniques. The fields of Electronic Structure Methods, Non-Adiabatic Molecular Dynamics, and Theoretical Spectroscopy represent the three pillars of the virtual ultrafast optical spectrometer, able to deliver transient spectra in silico from first principles. A successful simulation strategy requires a synergistic approach that balances between the three fields, each one having its very own challenges and bottlenecks. The aim of this Perspective is to demonstrate that, despite these challenges, an impressive agreement between theory and experiment is achievable now regarding the modeling of ultrafast photoinduced processes in complex molecular architectures. Beyond that, some key recent developments in the three fields are presented that we believe will have major impacts on spectroscopic simulations in the very near future. Potential directions of development, pending challenges, and rising opportunities are illustrated.

5.
Cells ; 9(8)2020 Aug 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32796521

RESUMO

Stem cell fate and behavior are affected by the bidirectional communication of cells and their local microenvironment (the stem cell niche), which includes biochemical cues, as well as physical and mechanical factors. Stem cells are normally cultured in conventional two-dimensional monolayer, with a mechanical environment very different from the physiological one. Here, we compare culture of rat mesenchymal stem cells on flat culture supports and in the "Nichoid", an innovative three-dimensional substrate micro-engineered to recapitulate the architecture of the physiological niche in vitro. Two versions of the culture substrates Nichoid (single-layered or "2D Nichoid" and multi-layered or "3D Nichoid") were fabricated via two-photon laser polymerization in a biocompatible hybrid organic-inorganic photoresist (SZ2080). Mesenchymal stem cells, isolated from rat bone marrow, were seeded on flat substrates and on 2D and 3D Nichoid substrates and maintained in culture up to 2 weeks. During cell culture, we evaluated cell morphology, proliferation, cell motility and the expression of a panel of 89 mesenchymal stem cells' specific genes, as well as intracellular structures organization. Our results show that mesenchymal stem cells adhered and grew in the 3D Nichoid with a comparable proliferation rate as compared to flat substrates. After seeding on flat substrates, cells displayed large and spread nucleus and cytoplasm, while cells cultured in the 3D Nichoid were spatially organized in three dimensions, with smaller and spherical nuclei. Gene expression analysis revealed the upregulation of genes related to stemness and to mesenchymal stem cells' features in Nichoid-cultured cells, as compared to flat substrates. The observed changes in cytoskeletal organization of cells cultured on 3D Nichoids were also responsible for a different localization of the mechanotransducer transcription factor YAP, with an increase of the cytoplasmic retention in cells cultured in the 3D Nichoid. This difference could be explained by alterations in the import of transcription factors inside the nucleus due to the observed decrease of mean nuclear pore diameter, by transmission electron microscopy. Our data show that 3D distribution of cell volume has a profound effect on mesenchymal stem cells structure and on their mechanobiological response, and highlight the potential use of the 3D Nichoid substrate to strengthen the potential effects of MSC in vitro and in vivo.

6.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32761935

RESUMO

Heterofission is a photophysical process of fundamental and applied interest whereby an excited singlet state is converted into two triplets on chemically distinct chromophores. The potential of this process lies in the tuning of both the optical band gap and the splitting between singlet and triplet energies. Herein, we report the time-domain observation of heterofission in mixed thin films of the prototypical singlet fission chromophores pentacene and tetracene using excitation wavelengths above and below the tetracene band gap. We found a time constant of 26 ps for endothermic heterofission of a singlet exciton on pentacene in blends with low pentacene fractions, which was outcompeted by pentacene homofission for increasing pentacene concentrations. Direct excitation of tetracene lead to fast energy transfer to pentacene and subsequent singlet fission, which prevented homo- or heterofission of a singlet exciton on tetracene.

7.
Nano Lett ; 20(8): 5678-5685, 2020 Aug 12.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32574069

RESUMO

Using circularly polarized broadband transient absorption, time-resolved circular photoluminescence, and transient Faraday rotation spectroscopy, we report that spin-dependent interactions have a significant impact on exciton energies and spin depolarization times in layered Ruddlesden-Popper hybrid metal-halide perovskites. In BA2FAPb2I7, we report that room-temperature spin lifetimes are largest (3.2 ps) at a carrier density of ∼1017 cm-3 with increasing depolarization rates at higher exciton densities. This indicates that many-body interactions reduce spin-lifetimes and outcompete the effect of D'yakonov-Perel precessional relaxation that has been previously reported at lower carrier densities. We further observe a dynamic circular dichroism that arises from a photoinduced polarization in the exciton distribution between total angular momentum states. Our findings provide fundamental and application relevant insights into the spin-dependent exciton-exciton interactions in layered hybrid perovskites.

8.
New Phytol ; 2020 May 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32442330

RESUMO

The xanthophyll cycle is the metabolic process by which the carotenoid violaxanthin is de-epoxidated to zeaxanthin, a xanthophyll with a crucial photoprotective role in higher plants and mosses. The role of zeaxanthin is still unclear in green algae, and a peculiar violaxanthin de-epoxidating enzyme was found in the model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Here, we investigated the molecular details and functions of the xanthophyll cycle in the case of Chlorella vulgaris, one of the green algae most considered for industrial cultivation, where resistance to high light stress is a prerequisite for sustainable biomass production. Identification of the violaxanthin de-epoxidase enzyme in C. vulgaris was performed by genome mining and in vitro analysis of the catalytic activity of the gene product identified. The photoprotective role of zeaxanthin was then investigated in vivo and in isolated pigment-binding complexes. The results obtained demonstrate the functioning, even though with a different pH sensitivity, of a plant-like violaxanthin de-epoxidase enzyme in C. vulgaris. Differently from C. reinhardtii, zeaxanthin accumulation in C. vulgaris was found to be crucial for photoprotective quenching of excitation energy harvested by both photosystem I and II. These findings demonstrate an evolutionary divergence of photoprotective mechanisms among Chlorophyta.

9.
ACS Nano ; 14(7): 8093-8102, 2020 07 28.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32419446

RESUMO

The miniaturization of diagnostic devices that exploit optical detection schemes requires the design of light sources combining small size, high performance for effective excitation of chromophores, and mechanical flexibility for easy coupling to components with complex and nonplanar shapes. Here, ZnO nanowire-in-fiber hybrids with internal architectural order are introduced, exhibiting a combination of polarized stimulated emission, low propagation losses of light modes, and structural flexibility. Ultrafast transient absorption experiments on the electrospun material show optical gain which gives rise to amplified spontaneous emission with a threshold lower than the value found in films. These systems are highly flexible and can conveniently conform to curved surfaces, which makes them appealing active elements for various device platforms, such as bendable lasers, optical networks, and sensors, as well as for application in bioimaging, photo-cross-linking, and optogenetics.

10.
ACS Nano ; 2020 Apr 21.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32233453

RESUMO

We present a transient absorption setup combining broadband detection over the visible-UV range with high temporal resolution (∼20 fs) which is ideally suited to trigger and detect vibrational coherences in different classes of materials. We generate and detect coherent phonons (CPs) in single-layer (1L)-MoS2, as a representative semiconducting 1L-transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD), where the confined dynamical interaction between excitons and phonons is unexplored. The coherent oscillatory motion of the out-of-plane A'1 phonons, triggered by the ultrashort laser pulses, dynamically modulates the excitonic resonances on a time scale of few tens of fs. We observe an enhancement by almost 2 orders of magnitude of the CP amplitude when detected in resonance with the C exciton peak, combined with a resonant enhancement of CP generation efficiency. Ab initio calculations of the change in the 1L-MoS2 band structure induced by the A'1 phonon displacement confirm a strong coupling with the C exciton. The resonant behavior of the CP amplitude follows the same spectral profile of the calculated Raman susceptibility tensor. These results explain the CP generation process in 1L-TMDs and demonstrate that CP excitation in 1L-MoS2 can be described as a Raman-like scattering process.

11.
J Phys Chem Lett ; 11(9): 3443-3450, 2020 May 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32290662

RESUMO

Conjugated porphyrin arrays are heavily investigated as efficient molecular systems for photosynthesis and photocatalysis. Recently, a series of one-, two-, and six-zinc-porphyrin arrays, noncovalently linked through benzene-based hubs, have been synthesized with the aim of mimicking the structure and function of the bacteriochlorophyll "special pair" in photosynthetic reaction centers. The excitonically coupled porphyrin subunits are expected to activate additional excited state relaxation channels with respect to the monomer. Here, we unveil the appearance of such supramolecular electronic interactions using ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy with sub-25 fs time resolution. Upon photoexcitation of the Soret band, we resolve energy trapping within ∼150 fs in a delocalized dark excitonic manifold. Moreover, excitonic interactions promote an additional fast internal conversion from the Q-band to the ground state with an efficiency of up to 60% in the hexamer. These relaxation pathways appear to be common loss channels that limit the lifetime of the exciton states in noncovalently bound molecular aggregates.

12.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 883, 2020 Feb 14.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32060288

RESUMO

The recent development of ultrafast extreme ultraviolet (XUV) coherent light sources bears great potential for a better understanding of the structure and dynamics of matter. Promising routes are advanced coherent control and nonlinear spectroscopy schemes in the XUV energy range, yielding unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. However, their implementation has been hampered by the experimental challenge of generating XUV pulse sequences with precisely controlled timing and phase properties. In particular, direct control and manipulation of the phase of individual pulses within an XUV pulse sequence opens exciting possibilities for coherent control and multidimensional spectroscopy, but has not been accomplished. Here, we overcome these constraints in a highly time-stabilized and phase-modulated XUV-pump, XUV-probe experiment, which directly probes the evolution and dephasing of an inner subshell electronic coherence. This approach, avoiding any XUV optics for direct pulse manipulation, opens up extensive applications of advanced nonlinear optics and spectroscopy at XUV wavelengths.

13.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32052255

RESUMO

The kinetics of excited-state energy migration were investigated by femtosecond transient absorption in the isolated Photosystem I-Light-Harvesting Complex I (PSI-LHCI) supercomplex and in the isolated PSI core complex of spinach under conditions in which the terminal electron donor P700 is chemically pre-oxidised. It is shown that, under these conditions, the relaxation of the excited state is characterised by lifetimes of about 0.4 ps, 4.5 ps, 15 ps, 35 ps and 65 ps in PSI-LHCI and 0.15 ps, 0.3 ps, 6 ps and 16 ps in the PSI core complex. Compartmental spectral-kinetic modelling indicates that the most likely mechanism to explain the absence of long-lived (ns) excited states is the photochemical population of a radical pair state, which cannot be further stabilised and decays non-radiatively to the ground state with time constants in the order of 6-8 ps.

14.
Chemistry ; 2020 Jan 27.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31985891

RESUMO

The properties as well as solid-state structures, singlet fission, and organic field-effect transistor (OFET) performance of three tetrafluoropentacenes (1,4,8,11: 10, 1,4,9,10: 11, 2,3,9,10: 12) are compared herein. The novel compounds 10 and 11 were synthesized in high purity from the corresponding 6,13-etheno-bridged precursors by reaction with dimethyl 1,2,4,5-tetrazine-3,6-dicarboxylate at elevated temperatures. Although most of the molecular properties of the compounds are similar, their chemical reactivity and crystal structures differ considerably. Isomer 10 undergoes the orbital symmetry forbidden thermal [4+4] dimerization, whereas 11 and 12 are much less reactive. The isomers 11 and 12 crystallize in a herringbone motif, but 10 prefers π-π stacking. Although the energy of the first electric dipole-allowed optical transition varies only within 370 cm-1 (0.05 eV) for the neutral compounds, this amounts to roughly 1600 cm-1 (0.20 eV) for radical cations and 1300 cm-1 (0.16 eV) for dications. Transient spectroscopy of films of 11 and 12 reveals singlet-fission time constants (91±11, 73±3 fs, respectively) that are shorter than for pentacene (112±9 fs). OFET devices constructed from 11 and 12 show close to ideal thin-film transistor (TFT) characteristics with electron mobilities of 2×10-3 and 6×10-2  cm2 V-1 s-1 , respectively.

15.
Chemistry ; 26(1): 336-343, 2020 Jan 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31750960

RESUMO

Photoinduced processes in thiouracil derivatives have lately attracted considerable attention due to their suitability for innovative biological and pharmacological applications. Here, sub-20 fs broadband transient absorption spectroscopy in the near-UV are combined with CASPT2/MM decay path calculations to unravel the excited-state decay channels of water solvated 2-thio and 2,4-dithiouracil. These molecules feature linear absorption spectra with overlapping ππ* bands, leading to parallel decay routes which we systematically track for the first time. The results reveal that different processes lead to the triplet states population, both directly from the ππ* absorbing state and via the intermediate nπ* dark state. Moreover, the 2,4-dithiouracil decay pathways is shown to be strongly correlated either to those of 2- or 4-thiouracil, depending on the sulfur atom on which the electronic transition localizes.

16.
J Am Chem Soc ; 142(1): 3-15, 2020 Jan 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31800225

RESUMO

Ultrafast spectroscopy techniques use sequences of ultrashort light pulses (with femto- to attosecond durations) to study photoinduced dynamical processes in atoms, molecules, nanostructures, and solids. This field of research has experienced an impetuous growth in recent years, due to the technological progress in the generation of ultrashort light pulses and to the development of sophisticated spectroscopic techniques, which greatly increase the amount of information on the process under study. This paper aims at providing a non-exhaustive overview of the state of the art of the field and at pointing out future challenges. We first review the progress in ultrafast optics, which has enabled the generation of broadly tunable light pulses with duration down to a few optical cycles; we then discuss the pump-probe technique, showing examples of its capability to combine very high time resolution, down to the attosecond regime, with broad spectral coverage; we introduce two-dimensional spectroscopy and present results that demonstrate the additional information content provided by the combination of temporal and spectral resolution. Next, we review the achievements of ultrafast X-ray and electron diffraction, which provide time-dependent structural information on photochemical processes, and we conclude with a critical analysis of the future open challenges in the field.

17.
J Am Chem Soc ; 142(2): 777-782, 2020 Jan 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31851510

RESUMO

Metal-halide perovskites show excellent properties for photovoltaic and optoelectronic applications, with power conversion efficiencies of solar cell and LEDs exceeding 20%. Being solution processed, these polycrystalline materials likely contain a large density of defects compared to melt-grown semiconductors. Surprisingly, typical effects from defects (absorption below the bandgap, low fill factor and open circuit voltage in devices, strong nonradiative recombination) are not observed. In this work, we study thin films of metal-halide perovskites CH3NH3PbX3 (X = Br, I) with ultrafast multidimensional optical spectroscopy to resolve the dynamics of band and defect states. We observe a shared ground state between the band-edge transitions and a continuum of sub-bandgap states, which extends at least 350 meV below the band edge). We explain the comparatively large bleaching of the dark sub-bandgap states with oscillator strength borrowing from the band-edge transition. Our results show that upon valence to conduction band excitation, such subgap states are instantaneously bleached for large parts of the carrier lifetime and conversely that most dark sub-bandgap states can be populated by light excitation. This observation helps to unravel the photophysical origin of the unexpected optoelectronic properties of these materials.

18.
Nanoscale ; 11(41): 19301-19314, 2019 Nov 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31626253

RESUMO

We investigate the photocatalytic performance of composites prepared in a one-step process by liquid-phase exfoliation of graphite in the presence of TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) at atmospheric pressure and in water, without heating or adding any surfactant, and starting from low-cost commercial reagents. These show enhanced photocatalytic activity, degrading up to 40% more pollutants with respect to the starting TiO2-NPs, in the case of a model dye target, and up to 70% more pollutants in the case of nitrogen oxides. In order to understand the photo-physical mechanisms underlying this enhancement, we investigate the photo-generation of reactive species (trapped holes and electrons) by ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy. We observe an electron transfer process from TiO2 to the graphite flakes within the first picoseconds of the relaxation dynamics, which causes the decrease of the charge recombination rate, and increases the efficiency of the reactive species photo-production.

19.
Opt Express ; 27(14): 19407-19417, 2019 Jul 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31503700

RESUMO

Stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) allows chemical identification of substances based on their third-order nonlinear vibrational susceptibility χ(3)(ω). In its standard single-frequency implementation, SRS can only access the imaginary part of χ(3)(ω). Here we introduce interferometric SRS (iSRS), which has the capability to measure both the real and the imaginary parts of the nonlinear susceptibility. With respect to a standard SRS setup, iSRS simply requires the insertion of a few optical elements in the Stokes(pump) beam pathway to generate an intrinsically phase-coherent local oscillator. While preserving the acquisition speed and the simplicity of single-frequency SRS, iSRS considerably increases its information content by providing access to the vibrational phase, which allows one to distinguish overlapping species in congested spectra and is more robust with respect to noise.

20.
Sci Rep ; 9(1): 11761, 2019 08 13.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31409835

RESUMO

High quality large scale fabrication of cellular scaffolds, with three-dimensional resolution comparable to cell size, is an important task to enable regenerative medicine applications with stem cells. We are using two-photon polymerization to produce our stem cell culture substrate called Nichoid, which we already demonstrated capable of stimulating cell proliferation while maintaining their stemness, without the need of dangerous additives. Parallelization of this technique can be achieved with the use of a spatial light modulator: here we show the results obtained combining this device with fast linear stages to produce Nichoid-covered substrates by two-photon polymerization. The well-polymerized structures confirm that this approach is particularly convenient for porous structures, and allows a significant time saving by a factor of almost five, with minor design adjustments. A Live & Dead assay was performed on mesenchymal stem cells cultured into the Nichoid microstructures in order to verify that no difference in cell viability is present, compared to microstructures fabricated by a single focus. This parallel setup opens the possibility to obtain a much larger number of microstructured substrates, that are essential to test new stem cell-based therapies. This approach can be also used for the fast fabrication of other kinds of cell culture devices.

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