Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UMass team develops novel self-assembly processes for nanotech applications

10.01.2003


Details published in Jan. 10 issue of the journal Science

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a series of novel techniques in nanotechnology that hold promise for applications ranging from highly targeted pharmaceutical therapies, to development of nutrition-enhanced foods known as "nutraceuticals," to nanoscopic sensors that might one day advance medical imaging and diagnostics. The research, published in the Jan. 10 issue of Science, was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

The team included faculty members Thomas Russell and Todd Emrick of the department of polymer science and engineering, and Anthony Dinsmore of the department of physics, and graduate students Yao Lin and Habib Skaff, both of polymer science and engineering. "Our findings open new avenues to revolutionize technology by the controlled fabrication of nanoscopic materials having unique optical, magnetic and electronic properties," said Russell.



The study details three major findings:

- A novel method to create robust capsules from nanometer-sized particles;
- A new technique to make nanoscopic particles water-soluble and
- Functionalizing regions of the capsules with tailored properties, such as luminescence.

Emrick’s research explores the behavior of nanoparticles to which ligands – organic molecules and polymers – have been attached. Russell is an expert in the surface and interfacial properties of polymers, and polymer-based nanostructures. Dinsmore specializes in colloidal assemblies and interface physics. "This is a productive collaboration in that we really have all the bases covered in terms of synthesis, understanding of interfacial activity and mediation, and the physics issues including surface tension and particle interactions," Emrick said.

The study details a new method for assembling nanoparticles into robust, three-dimensional structures by encapsulating and stabilizing water droplets. Nanoparticles suspended in oil will self-assemble around a droplet of water, fully coating it with a shell. Although scientists have long known that particles tend to assemble at fluid interfaces, "the idea of using liquid interfaces as scaffolds is exciting and tremendously useful since researchers can tailor or modify the nanoparticles from both sides of the interface," explained Dinsmore. "We have much more surface area to work with for adding or removing specific particles."

"Nanoparticles have exciting properties due to their small size, and they can be prepared in various shapes and sizes. What’s really key is that you attach ligands that extend from the nanoparticles like hairs, in order to preserve the nanoscopic integrity of the particles and prevent them from clustering," Emrick said. "Changing the nature of these organic ligands can really modify the behavior of the particles. You can endow the nanoparticles, and thus the capsules that they form upon interfacial assembly, with a wide range of properties based on which ligands are attached." The effect of the ligands on the interactions of nanoparticles with the surrounding environment is crucial in medical applications. "These organic molecules will dictate the solubility, miscibility, and charge transport properties of the particles," Emrick said.

UMass researchers also developed a method to take these nanoparticles, which are oil-soluble, and make them water-soluble, simply by shining light on them. "Developing nanoparticles that are water-soluble has significant implications for medicine in the biosensors area," Emrick said. "Using luminescent material, as we did, could lead to advances in very sophisticated medical-imaging techniques as the fluorescent nature of these particles allows them to be viewed and tracked over time."

Finally, the UMass team discovered that when nanoparticles of different sizes compete for assembly at the interface, the bigger ones win, and segregate or cluster into patches on the droplet surface. "This opens a range of possibilities for developing nanoscopic capsules that have certain properties in specific areas," said Dinsmore. "You could build in an area with permeability, magnetism, or conductivity, so that one area would be functionally distinct."

Elizabeth Luciano | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umass.edu/

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Quick, Precise, but not Cold
17.05.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht A laser for divers
03.05.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making Waves

Computer scientists use wave packet theory to develop realistic, detailed water wave simulations in real time. Their results will be presented at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference.

Think about the last time you were at a lake, river, or the ocean. Remember the ripples of the water, the waves crashing against the rocks, the wake following...

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanostructures taste the rainbow

29.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique unveils 'matrix' inside tissues and tumors

29.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways

29.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>