This property of silver has caused great interest especially as new resistant strains of bacteria have become a serious problem in public health.
Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) image of silver nanoparticles produced by the Leicester source with an average diameter of about 15nm (1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair). The average size of the particles emerging from the machine can be controlled in the range 5nm - 20nm.
For example MRSA bacteria kill 5,000 hospital patients a year in the UK alone and any method of attacking them, not involving normal antibiotics, is becoming increasingly important.
Silver in the form of nanoparticles is even more effective, partly because of the high surface/volume fraction so that a large proportion of silver atoms are in direct contact with their environment. In addition, nanoparticles are sufficiently small to pass through outer cell membranes and enter cells’ inner mechanisms.
A recent medical study showed that only silver nanoparticles with sizes less than 10 nm (1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair) were able to enter cells and disrupt them. The same study showed that silver nanoparticles are highly toxic to the bacteria that colonise the lungs of cystic fibrosis sufferers often with fatal consequences.
Another study indicated that there may be a role for nanoparticles in the fight against AIDS by showing that silver nanoparticles of the same size attach themselves to structures on the surface of the HIV virus and prevent it from binding to host cells.
Professor of Nanoscience at the University of Leicester, Chris Binns, commented: “Clearly there are important medical treatments using silver nanoparticles and this is just one of the examples of how nanotechnology shows great promise in healthcare.
“One of the problems, however, is in getting assemblies of nanoparticles of the same size into the right environment, for example on the surface of a wound dressing or in a colloidal suspension that can either be turned into an aerosol or injected into the body.
“The medical studies carried out so far acknowledge that in existing commercially available nanoparticle suspensions, only 1% of the material consists of nanoparticles of the right size. The Condensed Matter Physics group in Leicester has many years’ experience in designing and building sources of size-selected metal nanoparticles.
“With support from the “Higher Education Reach –Out to Business and the Community Innovation and Regional Fund” (HIRF) this is now being put to good use to develop a machine specifically to produce nanoparticle assemblies for medical applications. The impressive uniformity of silver nanoparticles produced by the source is illustrated in the figure (available on request) and the design enables the nanoparticles to either be coated onto a solid surface or incorporated into a liquid suspension.”
Trials of the anti-microbial effectiveness of the nanoparticle suspensions will begin shortly.
Alex Jelley | alfa
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy