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New method to control nano particles with light and magnet

New method to control nano particles with light and magnet

 

A team of researchers has developed particles that can glow with color-coded light and be manipulated with magnets, improving the likelihood of tracking the position of the nano particles as they move within the body or inside a cell.
 The new technology could make it possible to track the position of the nanoparticles as they move within the body or inside a cell. At the same time, the nanoparticles could be manipulated precisely by applying a magnetic field to pull them along. And finally, the particles could have a coating of a bio reactive substance that could seek out and bind with particular molecules within the body, such as markers for tumor cells or other disease agents.
 "It's been a dream of mine for many years to have a nanomaterial that incorporates both fluorescence and magnetism in a single compact object," says Moungi Bawendi, the Lester Wolfe Professor of Chemistry at MIT and senior author of the new paper. While other groups have achieved some combination of these two properties, Bawendi says that he "was never very satisfied" with results previously achieved by his own team or others. For one thing, he says, such particles have been too large to make practical probes of living tissue: "They've tended to have a lot of wasted volume," Bawendi says. "Compactness is critical for biological and a lot of other applications."
The new method produces the combination of desired properties "in as small a package as possible," Bawendi says which could help pave the way for particles with other useful properties, such as the ability to bind with a specific type of bioreceptor, or another molecule of interest. In the technique developed by Bawendi's team, led by lead author and postdoc Ou Chen, the nanoparticles crystallize such that they self-assemble in exactly the way that leads to the most useful outcome: The magnetic particles cluster at the center, while fluorescent particles form a uniform coating around them. That puts the fluorescent molecules in the most visible location for allowing the nanoparticles to be tracked optically through a microscope.
The ability to manipulate the particles with electromagnets is key to using them in biological research, Bawendi explains: The tiny particles could otherwise get lost in the jumble of molecules circulating within a cell. "Without a magnetic ‘handle,' it's like a needle in a haystack," he says. "But with the magnetism, you can find it easily."
Source: sci-tech daily (Prepared by science and technology information center)

 

13-10-2014 01:03 PM


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