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 Clean without scrubbing and using chemicals
28.05.2020 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Decontaminating pesticide-polluted water using engineered nanomaterial and sunlight
16.01.2020 | Institut national de la recherche scientifique - INRS

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Black nitrogen: Bayreuth researchers discover new high-pressure material and solve a puzzle of the periodic table

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Argonne researchers create active material out of microscopic spinning particles

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Smart windows that self-illuminate on rainy days

29.05.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>