Home > Nanoparticle tracking analysis used at Illinois State University in development of novel bioanalytical assays

Nanoparticle tracking analysis used at Illinois State University in development of novel bioanalytical assays

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article image PhD student, Andre James, from the Driskell group at Illinois State University uses the NanoSight NTA system

Particle & Surface Sciences  and NanoSight report on how Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) is being used in the development of novel bioanalytical assays at Illinois State University.

NTA is primarily used for the characterisation of gold nanoparticles and differentiation between monodisperse samples from small numbers of aggregated materials.

Speeding up the detection and identification of viruses is one of the areas of new research of Illinois State University Assistant Professor of Chemistry Jeremy Driskell, and has been recognised by the US Department of Defense in their recent award of a major grant. Reliable and accurate nanoparticle composition is important in such work.

Describing his current work, Dr Driskell explains that his research group is focused on the development of novel bioanalytical assays, which includes detection of nucleic acids, proteins, and whole viruses. While other groups aim to improve assay sensitivity or detection limits, their central focus is on reducing assay speed and complexity.

His group is currently using gold nanoparticles and gold filters to develop assays utilising surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy for detection. In the process of characterising the gold nanoparticles and monitoring the modification steps required for the SERS assays, they found that particle sizing techniques such as Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) and Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) could also be used for assay readout.

The research group began by using DLS to characterise gold nanoparticles that they modified with Raman reporter molecules and antibodies. This was a simple means of detecting particle aggregation as a result of surface modification and more sensitive than colorimetric detection, which was not useful for conditions that invoked slight aggregation.

When they learned of NanoSight and NTA, they compared the data to DLS and found that NTA gave a much more accurate representation of the actual particle sizes in their solutions, leading them to the conclusion that it was a better technique to provide a better understanding of nanoparticle composition in terms of absolute numbers.

Particle & Surface Sciences represents NanoSight throughout Australia and New Zealand. 

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