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Women in Materials Science: special RSC collection with ICMABers

In line with the International Women’s Day 2023, the Royal Society of Chemistry highlights some of the excellent female researchers publishing impactful work in materials science in a special collection. 

Anna May
08 March 2023

The collection showcases a selection of the work published in Materials HorizonsJournal of Materials Chemistry AB and C and Materials Advances led by female scientists around the world and highlights the impact these leading individuals have on the research published within these materials journals.

The collection features a mix of some of the journals' most popular articles from the past couple of years and publications authored by female corresponding authors who have been more closely involved with the journals in recent years.

The articles are open and free to read until 8 April 2023. 

From ICMAB, there are two featured articles, one with corresponding author Clara Viñas on boron clusters as radiosensitizers, and another one with corresponding author Marta Mas-Torrent on organic field effect transistors:

Boron clusters (ferrabisdicarbollides) shaping the future as radiosensitizers for multimodal (chemo/radio/PBFR) therapy of glioblastoma

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and fatal primary brain tumor, and is highly resistant to conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Therefore, the development of multidrug resistance and tumor recurrence are frequent. Given the poor survival with the current treatments, new therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. Radiotherapy (RT) is a common cancer treatment modality for GBM.

However, there is still a need to improve RT efficiency, while reducing the severe side effects. Radiosensitizers can enhance the killing effect on tumor cells with less side effects on healthy tissues. Herein, we present our pioneering study on the highly stable and amphiphilic metallacarboranes, ferrabis(dicarbollides) ([o-FESAN] and [8,8′-I2-o-FESAN]), as potential radiosensitizers for GBM radiotherapy. We propose radiation methodologies that utilize secondary radiation emissions from iodine and iron, using ferrabis(dicarbollides) as iodine/iron donors, aiming to achieve a greater therapeutic effect than that of a conventional radiotherapy. As a proof-of-concept, we show that using 2D and 3D models of U87 cells, the cellular viability and survival were reduced using this treatment approach. We also tested for the first time the proton boron fusion reaction (PBFR) with ferrabis(dicarbollides), taking advantage of their high boron (11B) content.

The results from the cellular damage response obtained suggest that proton boron fusion radiation therapy, when combined with boron-rich compounds, is a promising modality to fight against resistant tumors. Although these results are encouraging, more developments are needed to further explore ferrabis(dicarbollides) as radiosensitizers towards a positive impact on the therapeutic strategies for GBM.

This article was highlighted in the journal cover. 

J. Mater. Chem. B, 2022,10, 9794-9815


Graphical abstract of the article on Boron clusters published in J. Mater. Chem. B

Binder polymer influence on the electrical and UV response of organic field-effect transistors

The use of blends of small molecule organic semiconductors (OSCs) with insulating binding polymers has been shown to be a promising route to facilitate the processing of OSCs over large areas using printing techniques. Here we fabricated organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) and phototransistors using the benchmark OSC 7-decyl-2-phenyl[1]benzothieno[3,2-b][1]benzothiophene (Ph-BTBT-10) and blends of this material with polystyrene (PS), poly(pentafluorostyrene) (PFS) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). We show that the nature of the binding polymer has a significant impact on the device performance.

The OFETs showing the best performance are the ones based on blends of PS since they reveal less interfacial traps, leading to devices with higher mobility, threshold voltage close to zero and high bias stress stability. The lowest OFET performance is found in the devices based on PMMA blends due to the higher density of majority charge carrier (i.e., holes) traps. On the other hand, regarding the response of the devices to UV light, the PFS and pristine films exhibited the highest photoresponse, which was attributed to the higher density of minority charge carrier (i.e., electrons) traps. Therefore, this work demonstrates that the binding polymer is a useful tool to optimise the OFET electrical characteristics as well as its photoresponsivity.

DOI: 10.1039/d2tc05066h

toc ofets

Graphical abstract of the article on OFETs published in J. Mater. Chem. C

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