Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pitt Chemists Demonstrate Nanoscale Alloys So Bright They Could Have Potential Medical Applications

15.05.2013
“Think about a particle that will not only help researchers detect cancer sooner but be used to treat the tumor, too.”
Alloys like bronze and steel have been transformational for centuries, yielding top-of-the-line machines necessary for industry. As scientists move toward nanotechnology, however, the focus has shifted toward creating alloys at the nanometer scale—producing materials with properties unlike their predecessors.

Now, research at the University of Pittsburgh demonstrates that nanometer-scale alloys possess the ability to emit light so bright they could have potential applications in medicine. The findings have been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

“We demonstrate alloys that are some of the brightest, near-infrared-light-emitting species known to date. They are 100 times brighter than what’s being used now,” said Jill Millstone, principal investigator of the study and assistant professor of chemistry in Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. “Think about a particle that will not only help researchers detect cancer sooner but be used to treat the tumor, too.”

In the paper, Millstone presents alloys with drastically different properties than before—including near-infrared (NIR) light emission—depending on their size, shape, and surface chemistry. NIR is an important region of the light spectrum and is integral to technology found in science and medical settings, said Millstone. She uses a laser pointer as an example.

“If you put your finger over a red laser [which is close to the NIR light region of the spectrum], you’ll see the red light shine through. However, if you do the same with a green laser [light in the visible region of the spectrum], your finger will completely block it,” said Millstone. “This example shows how the body can absorb visible light well but doesn’t absorb red light as well. That means that using NIR emitters to visualize cells and, ultimately parts of the body, is promising for minimally invasive diagnostics.”

In addition, Millstone’s demonstration is unique in that she was able to show—for the first time—a continuously tunable composition for nanoparticle alloys; this means the ratio of materials can be altered based on need. In traditional metallurgical studies, materials such as steels can be highly tailored toward the application, say, for an airplane wing versus a cooking pot. However, alloys at the nanoscale follow different rules, says Millstone. Because the nanoparticles are so small, the components often don’t stay together and instead quickly separate, like oil and vinegar. In her paper, Millstone describes using small organic molecules to “glue” an alloy in place, so that the two components stay mixed. This strategy led to the discovery of NIR luminescence and also paves the way for other types of nanoparticle alloys that are useful not only in imaging, but in applications like catalysis for the industrial-scale conversion of fossil fuels into fine chemicals.

Millstone says that taken together these observations provide a new platform to investigate the structural origins of small metal nanoparticles’ photoluminescence and of alloy formation in general. She believes these studies should lead directly to applications in such areas of national need as health and energy.

The paper, “Photoluminescent Gold-Copper Nanoparticle Alloys with Composition-Tunable Near-Infrared Emission,” first appeared online April 3 and later in print April 10 in JACS (Journal of the American Chemical Society). Funding was provided by the University’s Central Research Development Fund and administered by Pitt’s Office of Research and University Research Council.

B. Rose Huber | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.pitt.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht One step closer to reality
20.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie

nachricht The dark side of cichlid fish: from cannibal to caregiver
20.04.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>