New Method Creates Porous, Multifunctional Silica Nanoparticles

Oct 30, 2006

Silica, the mineral of which sand is made, is generally inert in the body and can be modified easily using a variety of well-established chemical reactions. As such, researchers have considered silica an ideal candidate material from which to create multifunctional nanoparticles.

Indeed, several teams of investigators have crafted porous nanoparticles and shown that these materials hold promise as drug delivery vehicles, imaging agents, and even nanoscale collection devices for cancer markers.

Now, thanks to work from Chung-Yuan Mou, Ph.D., and colleagues at the National Taiwan University in Taipei, researchers have a new method for making silica nanoparticles that not only have carefully sized pores and are of a very narrow size distribution, but that are also magnetic and luminescent. The multiple functionality could enable investigators to create nanoparticles that can both image and treat tumors simultaneously.

This work appears in the journal Chemistry of Materials.

The investigators created their silica nanoparticles by starting with size-controlled iron nanocrystals and coating them with a porous silica shell. The researchers used mild chemical conditions for the coating step, allowing them to add dye molecules to the reaction mixture. The resulting particles, which are oblong in shape, have a magnetic core, and a porous, luminous shell.

Imaging experiments with these nanoparticles showed that they contained the proper magnetic properties to function as magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents. Additional experiments showed that cancer cells grown in culture take up these nanoparticles in amounts large enough for the particles to be seen using confocal fluorescence microscopy. The particles themselves were not toxic to cells at relatively large doses.

This work is detailed in a paper titled, “Multifunctional composite nanoparticles: magnetic, luminescent, and mesoporous.” This paper was published online in advance of print publication. An abstract is available at the journal’s website.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Explore further: The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nanoparticles get a magnetic handle

Oct 09, 2014

A long-sought goal of creating particles that can emit a colorful fluorescent glow in a biological environment, and that could be precisely manipulated into position within living cells, has been achieved ...

Recommended for you

The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made

Jan 23, 2015

Theoretical physicists at Rice University are living on the edge as they study the astounding properties of graphene. In a new study, they figure out how researchers can fracture graphene nanoribbons to get ...

Nanotechnology changes behavior of materials

Jan 23, 2015

One of the reasons solar cells are not used more widely is cost—the materials used to make them most efficient are expensive. Engineers are exploring ways to print solar cells from inks, but the devices ...

Gold 'nano-drills'

Jan 22, 2015

Spherical gold particles are able to 'drill' a nano-diameter tunnel in ceramic material when heated. This is an easy and attractive way to equip chips with nanopores for DNA analysis, for example. Nanotechnologists ...

The importance of building small things

Jan 22, 2015

Strong materials, such as concrete, are usually heavy, and lightweight materials, such as rubber (for latex gloves) and paper, are usually weak and susceptible to tearing and damage. Julia R. Greer, professor ...

Graphene brings quantum effects to electronic circuits

Jan 22, 2015

Research by scientists attached to the EC's Graphene Flagship has revealed a superfluid phase in ultra-low temperature 2D materials, creating the potential for electronic devices which dissipate very little ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.