Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

SMART discovers breakthrough way to look at the surface of nanoparticles

06.11.2019

New method to explore the surface of nanoparticles, unlike existing chemical procedures which have severe limitations

  • The Molecular Probe Adsorption (MPA) method is substantially faster and cheaper than existing chemical methods and does not damage the nanoparticle being studied
  • It can also be used to 'characterise' nanoparticles with any geometric shape as a universal characterization technique
  • The discovery will enable SMART researchers in precision agriculture to develop new plant sensors for hormones and nanoparticle carriers for gene engineering
  • MPA will also aid researchers across all sectors to push nanoparticle research boundaries and current limits

Schematic illustration of probe adsorption influenced by an attractive interaction within the corona

Credit: SMART

Researchers from SMART, MIT's research enterprise in Singapore, have made a groundbreaking discovery that allows scientists to 'look' at the surface density of dispersed nanoparticles. This revolutionary technique enables researchers to 'characterise' or understand the properties of nanoparticles without disturbing the nanoparticle, and also at a far lower cost and far quicker too.

The new process is explained in a paper titled "Measuring the Accessible Surface Area within the Nanoparticle Corona using Molecular Probe Adsorption", published this month in the prestigious academic journal, Nano Letters. It was led by Michael Strano, co-lead principal investigator of DiSTAP and Carbon P. Dubbs Professor at MIT, and Minkyung Park, Graduate Student at MIT.

DiSTAP, the Disruptive & Sustainable Technologies for Agricultural Precision Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) is a part of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT's research enterprise in Singapore. DiSTAP IRG develops new technologies to enable Singapore, a city-state which is dependent upon imported food and produce, to improve its agriculture yield to reduce external dependencies.

The MPA method is based on a non-invasive adsorption of fluorescent probe on the surface of colloidal nanoparticles in aqueous phase. Researchers are able to calculate the surface coverage of dispersants on the nanoparticle surface - which are used to make it stable at room temperature - by the physical interaction between the probe and nanoparticle surface.

"We can now characterise the surface of the nanoparticle through its adsorption of the fluorescent probe. This allows us to understand the surface of the nanoparticle without damaging it, which is, unfortunately, the case with chemical processes widely used today," said Park. "This new method also uses machines that are readily available in labs today, opening up a new easy method for the scientific community to develop nanoparticles that can help revolutionise different sectors and disciplines."

The MPA method is also able to characterise a nanoparticle within minutes compared to several hours that the best chemical methods require today. Because it uses only fluorescent light, it is also substantially cheaper.

DiSTAP has started to use this method for nanoparticle sensors in plants and nanocarriers for delivery of molecular cargo into plants.

"We are already using the new MPA method within DiSTAP to aid us in creating sensors and nanocarriers for plants," said Strano. "It has enabled us to discover and optimize more sensitive sensors, and understand the surface chemistry, which in turn allows for greater precision when monitoring plants. With higher quality data and insight into plant biochemistry, we can ultimately provide optimal nutrient levels or beneficial hormones for healthier plants and higher yields."

###

About SMART Disruptive & Sustainable Technologies for Agricultural Precision (DiSTAP)

DiSTAP is one of the six Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs) of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART). The DiSTAP programme addresses deep problems in food production in Singapore and the world by developing a suite of impactful and novel analytical, genetic and biosynthetic technologies. The goal is to fundamentally change how plant biosynthetic pathways are discovered, monitored, engineered and ultimately translated to meet the global demand for food and nutrients. Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and National University of Singapore (NUS) are collaboratively: developing new tools for the continuous measurement of important plant metabolites and hormones for novel discovery, deeper understanding and control of plant biosynthetic pathways in ways not yet possible, especially in the context of green leafy vegetables; leveraging these new techniques to engineer plants with highly desirable properties for global food security, including high yield density production, drought and pathogen resistance and biosynthesis of high-value commercial products; developing tools for producing hydrophobic food components in industry-relevant microbes; developing novel microbial and enzymatic technologies to produce volatile organic compounds that can protect and/or promote growth of leafy vegetables; and applying these technologies to improve urban farming.

For more information, please log on to: http://distap.mit.edu/

About Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART)

Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) is MIT's Research Enterprise in Singapore, established by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in partnership with the National Research Foundation of Singapore (NRF) since 2007. SMART is the first entity in the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) developed by NRF. SMART serves as an intellectual and innovation hub for research interactions between MIT and Singapore. Cutting-edge research projects in areas of interest to both Singapore and MIT are undertaken at SMART. SMART currently comprises an Innovation Centre and six Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs): Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), BioSystems and Micromechanics (BioSyM), Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine (CAMP), Disruptive & Sustainable Technologies for Agricultural Precision (DiSTAP), Future Urban Mobility (FM) and Low Energy Electronic Systems (LEES). SMART research is funded by the National Research Foundation Singapore under the CREATE programme.

For more information, please visit - http://smart.mit.edu

For media queries, please contact:

Tazkira Sattar
SMART@bluetotem.co
+65 8280 3055

Tazkira Sattar | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b02647

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The architecture of a 'shape-shifting' norovirus
01.04.2020 | University of Leeds

nachricht Less expensive, more effective pneumonia vaccines are tested in humans
01.04.2020 | Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Blocking the Iron Transport Could Stop Tuberculosis

The bacteria that cause tuberculosis need iron to survive. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now solved the first detailed structure of the transport protein responsible for the iron supply. When the iron transport into the bacteria is inhibited, the pathogen can no longer grow. This opens novel ways to develop targeted tuberculosis drugs.

One of the most devastating pathogens that lives inside human cells is Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis. According to the...

Im Focus: Physicist from Hannover Develops New Photon Source for Tap-proof Communication

An international team with the participation of Prof. Dr. Michael Kues from the Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD at Leibniz University Hannover has developed a new method for generating quantum-entangled photons in a spectral range of light that was previously inaccessible. The discovery can make the encryption of satellite-based communications much more secure in the future.

A 15-member research team from the UK, Germany and Japan has developed a new method for generating and detecting quantum-entangled photons at a wavelength of...

Im Focus: Junior scientists at the University of Rostock invent a funnel for light

Together with their colleagues from the University of Würzburg, physicists from the group of Professor Alexander Szameit at the University of Rostock have devised a “funnel” for photons. Their discovery was recently published in the renowned journal Science and holds great promise for novel ultra-sensitive detectors as well as innovative applications in telecommunications and information processing.

The quantum-optical properties of light and its interaction with matter has fascinated the Rostock professor Alexander Szameit since College.

Im Focus: Stem Cells and Nerves Interact in Tissue Regeneration and Cancer Progression

Researchers at the University of Zurich show that different stem cell populations are innervated in distinct ways. Innervation may therefore be crucial for proper tissue regeneration. They also demonstrate that cancer stem cells likewise establish contacts with nerves. Targeting tumour innervation could thus lead to new cancer therapies.

Stem cells can generate a variety of specific tissues and are increasingly used for clinical applications such as the replacement of bone or cartilage....

Im Focus: Artificial solid fog material creates pleasant laser light

An international research team led by Kiel University develops an extremely porous material made of "white graphene" for new laser light applications

With a porosity of 99.99 %, it consists practically only of air, making it one of the lightest materials in the world: Aerobornitride is the name of the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020” takes place over the internet

26.03.2020 | Event News

Most significant international Learning Analytics conference will take place – fully online

23.03.2020 | Event News

MOC2020: Fraunhofer IOF organises international micro-optics conference in Jena

03.03.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Extreme high-frequency signals enable terabits-per-second data links

01.04.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

The architecture of a 'shape-shifting' norovirus

01.04.2020 | Life Sciences

Hubble finds best evidence for elusive mid-size black hole

01.04.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>