The method, detailed in the current issue of Nature Nanotechnology, uses scanning near-field ultrasonic holography to clearly see nanoparticles residing within cells of laboratory mice that had inhaled single-walled carbon nanohorns. Nanohorns are short, horn-shaped tubular structures capped with a conical tip.
“While carbon-based materials have countless potential uses, we need to know how they interact within a cell – and whether they are able to penetrate cells,” said Laurene Tetard, lead author and a member of ORNL’s Biosciences Division. “We found that these nanohorns can indeed get into cells.”
With this new tool, researchers will be able to determine whether a cell’s shape changes because of nanomaterials such as the nanohorns used for this study. Tetard and co-authors expect this work to be of significant benefit to scientists studying drug delivery systems, nanotoxicology and interactions between engineered nanomaterials and biological systems.
“The rising commercial use of engineered nanoparticles and the ensuing need for large-scale production pose a risk of unintended human exposure that may impact health,” the authors wrote. “Central to this issue is the ability to determine the fate of nanoparticles in biological systems and in more details their route after inhalation.”
In contrast to conventional imaging techniques, scanning near-field ultrasonic holography provides a detailed look inside a cell, providing nanometer resolution.
“Conventional atomic force microscopy using a cantilever tip can only probe the surface of a specimen, making it difficult to analyze structures that are inside a cell,” Tetard said. “Our method benefits from all of the advantages of a standard atomic force microscope but provides access to some of the features buried inside the cell.”
Ultimately, this new imaging capability could help advance the field of nanoparticles-cell interactions. In addition to the high-resolution subsurface imaging and localization of nanoparticles in biological samples, scanning near-field ultrasonic holography allows for minimal sample preparation and requires no labeling with radioisotopes. The technique also offers relatively high throughput sample analysis, which enables researchers to image many cells quickly.
“The scanning near-field ultrasonic holography method should be especially useful for determining the efficacy of cell type-specific drug targeting, which is a critical goal for medical uses of nanomaterial,” wrote the authors, who expect their results to help resolve critical questions about the fate and potential toxicity of nanoparticles within the body.
Co-authors of the paper, titled “Imaging nanoparticles in cells by nanomechanical holography,” are Ali Passian, Katherine Venmar, Rachel Lynch, Brynn Voy and Thomas Thundat of ORNL and Gajendra Shekhawat and Vinayak Dravid of Northwestern University. Researchers at ORNL’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences provided nanohorns for this work.
Funding was provided by the Department of Energy Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research and by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program. UT-Battelle manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Department of Energy.
Polymers get caught up in love-hate chemistry of oil and water
28.02.2020 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
How do zebrafish get their stripes? New data analysis tool could provide an answer
28.02.2020 | Brown University
Researchers at the University of Bayreuth have discovered an unusual material: When cooled down to two degrees Celsius, its crystal structure and electronic properties change abruptly and significantly. In this new state, the distances between iron atoms can be tailored with the help of light beams. This opens up intriguing possibilities for application in the field of information technology. The scientists have presented their discovery in the journal "Angewandte Chemie - International Edition". The new findings are the result of close cooperation with partnering facilities in Augsburg, Dresden, Hamburg, and Moscow.
The material is an unusual form of iron oxide with the formula Fe₅O₆. The researchers produced it at a pressure of 15 gigapascals in a high-pressure laboratory...
Study by Mainz physicists indicates that the next generation of neutrino experiments may well find the answer to one of the most pressing issues in neutrino physics
Among the most exciting challenges in modern physics is the identification of the neutrino mass ordering. Physicists from the Cluster of Excellence PRISMA+ at...
Fraunhofer researchers are investigating the potential of microimplants to stimulate nerve cells and treat chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. Find out what makes this form of treatment so appealing and which challenges the researchers still have to master.
A study by the Robert Koch Institute has found that one in four women will suffer from weak bladders at some point in their lives. Treatments of this condition...
The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.
Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...
Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.
Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...
12.02.2020 | Event News
16.01.2020 | Event News
15.01.2020 | Event News
28.02.2020 | Materials Sciences
28.02.2020 | Life Sciences
28.02.2020 | Architecture and Construction