Friday, June 19, 2015

How to make carbon nano particles in the kitchen

Stuff the naked chef Jamie Oliver - Welcome to the first season of The Bald Swedish Chef - humpee, dumpee dump - put the chicken in the pot. In our first show we will take a closer look on how you can make car con nano particles at home in your kitchen.

Some background information - why do we need nano sized carbon particles in the first case? As reported here in Science Daily, researchers have found an easy way to produce carbon nanoparticles that are small enough to evade the body's immune system, reflect light in the near-infrared range for easy detection, and carry payloads of pharmaceutical drugs to targeted tissues. 

University of Illinois postdoctoral researcher Prabuddha Mukherjee, left, bioengineering professors Rohit Bhargava and Dipanjan Pan, and postdoctoral researcher Santosh Misra, right, report the development of a new class of carbon nanoparticles for biomedical use.

The researchers form Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new approach that generates the particles in a few hours and uses only a handful of ingredients, including store-bought molasses.

"If you have a microwave and honey or molasses, you can pretty much make these particles at home," Pan said. "You just mix them together and cook it for a few minutes, and you get something that looks like char, but that is nanoparticles with high luminescence. This is one of the simplest systems that we can think of. It is safe and highly scalable for eventual clinical use."

The nanoparticles also can be made quite small, less than eight nanometers in diameter.

"Our immune system fails to recognize anything under 10 nanometers," Pan said. "So, these tiny particles are kind of camouflaged, I would say; they are hiding from the human immune system."

So guys, I am off on a camping trip to South of France and if I come across any of that grandma´s Molasses at Carrefour I intend to report back on the experimental procedure. Stay tuned. I did however forget to pack the TEM grids so the verification of the results have to wait until I am back in the lab. Unless there is an optical scattering method that can be used to detect those particles...

The abstract to the paper where the research above has been reported:

Tunable Luminescent Carbon Nanospheres with Well-Defined Nanoscale Chemistry for Synchronized Imaging and Therapy

Prabuddha Mukherjee, Santosh K. Misra, Mark C. Gryka, Huei-Huei Chang, Saumya Tiwari, William L. Wilson,  John W. Scott, Rohit Bhargava and Dipanjan Pan
Article first published online: 20 MAY 2015

In this work, we demonstrate the significance of defined surface chemistry in synthesizing luminescent carbon nanomaterials (LCN) with the capability to perform dual functions (i.e., diagnostic imaging and therapy). The surface chemistry of LCN has been tailored to achieve two different varieties: one that has a thermoresponsive polymer and aids in the controlled delivery of drugs, and the other that has fluorescence emission both in the visible and near-infrared (NIR) region and can be explored for advanced diagnostic modes. Although these particles are synthesized using simple, yet scalable hydrothermal methods, they exhibit remarkable stability, photoluminescence and biocompatibility. The photoluminescence properties of these materials are tunable through careful choice of surface-passivating agents and can be exploited for both visible and NIR imaging. Here the synthetic strategy demonstrates the possibility to incorporate a potent antimetastatic agent for inhibiting melanomas in vitro. Since both particles are Raman active, their dispersion on skin surface is reported with Raman imaging and utilizing photoluminescence, their depth penetration is analysed using fluorescence 3D imaging. Our results indicate a new generation of tunable carbon-based probes for diagnosis, therapy or both.

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