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Zinc Ferrite Photoanode Nanomorphologies with Favorable Kinetics for Water-Splitting. A. G. Hufnagel, K. Peters, A. Müller, C. Scheu, D. Fattakhova-Rohlfing and T. Bein, Advanced Functional Materials 26 (2016) 4435-4443. [link]

The n-type semiconducting spinel zinc ferrite (ZnFe2O4) is used as a photoabsorber material for light-driven water-splitting. It is prepared for the first time by atomic layer deposition. Using the resulting well-defined thin films as a model system, the performance of ZnFe2O4 in photoelectrochemical water oxidation is characterized. Compared to benchmark α-Fe2O3 (hematite) films, ZnFe2O4 thin films achieve a lower photocurrent at the reversible potential. However, the oxidation onset potential of ZnFe2O4 is 200 mV more cathodic, allowing the water-splitting reaction to proceed at a lower external bias and resulting in a maximum applied-bias power efficiency (ABPE) similar to that of Fe2O3. The kinetics of the water oxidation reaction are examined by intensity-modulated photocurrent spectroscopy. The data indicate a considerably higher charge transfer efficiency of ZnFe2O4 at potentials between 0.8 and 1.3 V versus the reversible hydrogen electrode, attributable to significantly slower surface charge recombination. Finally, nanostructured ZnFe2O4 photoanodes employing a macroporous antimony-doped tin oxide current collector reach a five times higher photocurrent than the flat films. The maximum ABPE of these host–guest photoanodes is similarly increased.


Intracellular chromobody delivery by mesoporous silica nanoparticles for antigen targeting and visualization in real time. H.-Y. Chiu, W. Deng, H. Engelke, J. Helma, H. Leonhardt and T. Bein, Scientific Reports 6 (2016) 25019. [link]

Chromobodies have recently drawn great attention as bioimaging nanotools. They offer high antigen binding specificity and affinity comparable to conventional antibodies, but much smaller size and higher stability. Chromobodies can be used in live cell imaging for specific spatio-temporal visualization of cellular processes. To date, functional application of chromobodies requires lengthy genetic manipulation of the target cell. Here, we develop multifunctional large-pore mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) as nanocarriers to directly transport chromobodies into living cells for antigen-visualization in real time. The multifunctional large-pore MSNs feature high loading capacity for chromobodies, and are efficiently taken up by cells. By functionalizing the internal MSN surface with nitrilotriacetic acid-metal ion complexes, we can control the release of His6-tagged chromobodies from MSNs in acidified endosomes and observe successful chromobody-antigen binding in the cytosol. Hence, by combining the two nanotools, chromobodies and MSNs, we establish a new powerful approach for chromobody applications in living cells.


Hybrid Perovskite/Perovskite Heterojunction Solar Cells. Y. Hu, J. Schlipf, M. Wussler, M. L. Petrus, W. Jaegermann, T. Bein, P. Muller-Buschbaum and P. Docampo, ACS Nano 10 (2016) 5999-6007. [link]

Recently developed organic–inorganic hybrid perovskite solar cells combine low-cost fabrication and high power conversion efficiency. Advances in perovskite film optimization have led to an outstanding power conversion efficiency of more than 20%. Looking forward, shifting the focus toward new device architectures holds great potential to induce the next leap in device performance. Here, we demonstrate a perovskite/perovskite heterojunction solar cell. We developed a facile solution-based cation infiltration process to deposit layered perovskite (LPK) structures onto methylammonium lead iodide (MAPI) films. Grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering experiments were performed to gain insights into the crystallite orientation and the formation process of the perovskite bilayer. Our results show that the self-assembly of the LPK layer on top of an intact MAPI layer is accompanied by a reorganization of the perovskite interface. This leads to an enhancement of the open-circuit voltage and power conversion efficiency due to reduced recombination losses, as well as improved moisture stability in the resulting photovoltaic devices.