Home > Duke University uses Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis to characterise ‘Nanoconstructs’ for biomedical applications

Duke University uses Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis to characterise ‘Nanoconstructs’ for biomedical applications

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article image Professor Tuan Vo-Dinh discusses results from his NanoSight NS500 with Dr Hsiangkuo Yuan of his research group

Particle & Surface Sciences  announces that a research group at Duke University has applied Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) to characterise metal nanoparticle construct materials for use in biosensing, imaging and cancer therapy.

Leading manufacturer of unique nanoparticle characterization technology, NanoSight reports on the work of Professor Tuan Vo-Dinh’s group at Duke University. The Vo-Dinh Lab is a part of the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry of Duke University. The Vo-Dinh Lab is also a part of the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics where Professor Vo-Dinh is the director.

The main research goal of the group is to develop advanced techniques and methods to protect the environment (environmental sensors) and improve human health (medical diagnostics and therapy). Dr Hsiangkuo Yuan and other members of Professor Vo-Dinh’s group are involved in the design and fabrication of metal nanoparticle constructs such as gold nanostar platforms, which are characterised with UV-VIS, TEM, Raman microscope, fluorometers and other techniques.

However, to design nanoconstructs for in vivo applications, the particle size needs to be in the range of 10-100nm for lower clearance from the kidney and reticuloendothelial system (RES). It is important that the construct is in the right size range and is physiologically stable (non-aggregated) for biomedical applications such as optical imaging or nanodrug delivery where it is also critical that the nanoparticle dose administered can be determined.

To compare plasmonic properties, i.e., the enhanced electromagnetic properties of nanoparticles, they need to determine the effect of different sizes and understand in detail the profile of the particle size distribution of similar concentrations, which can be obtained using NanoSight’s NTA system.

The research group previously used TEM to check particle shape and measure particle size, which had its limitations as the surface coating or the aggregation state could not easily be investigated using just TEM. NanoSight complements the TEM in providing hydrodynamic size distribution and zeta potential. Additionally, the concentration information from NanoSight allows the research group to normalise their comparison by individual particle counting.

Commenting on the benefits of using the NanoSight alongside TEM (for size) and atomic absorption spectroscopy (for mass), Professor Vo-Dinh said that the ability to make characterisations particle by particle provides complementary information to the ensemble characterisation.

The research group reports the determination of particle hydrodynamic size distribution, zeta potential and concentration using NTA in their papers published in journals such as Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine.

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