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Engineering Nanomaterials towards Energy Harvesting and Virological Applications


Nanomaterials, defined as the materials with critical dimensions less than 100 nm, often exhibit unique properties in comparison with their bulk counterparts. The capability to synthesize huge families of nanomaterials provides human being with unprecedented opportunities towards a more glory civilization. Focusing on nanomaterial synthesis and engineering of the nanocrystal-nanocrystal interface, virus-nanocrystal interface, and virus-polymer interface, this dissertation mainly contains three topics that are related to energy harvesting and health care, including:

1) The synthesis of thermoelectric nanocomposites from dissimilar nanocrystals as building blocks for energy harvesting. Lead telluride and titanium oxide nanocrystals were synthesized and phonon-glass electron-crystal structure was achieved from their homogeneous mixture. As a result, thermal conductivity was extremely suppressed which was similar to that of a superlattice structure and approached the lowest theoretical calculated result.

2) The synthesis of self-disinfection coatings from photoactive copper indium zinc sulfide nanocrystals and non-stoichiometric perovskite-structured lanthanum manganese oxide for preventing rapid and large-scale spread and outbreak of viral diseases. Influenza A virus was employed as the demonstration and more than 75% of virus would be disinfected within 15 min on both kinds of self-disinfecting coatings.

3) The construction of virus-polymer nanoparticles with significantly enhanced stability for gene delivery and other biomedical applications. Non-covalent electrical interaction was engineered as anchors and acid-degradable polymer shell was conjugated onto adenovirus. As a result, more than 11 folds of enhanced stability has been observed after 12 days storage at 4 °C.

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