Nav: Home

Gold standards for nanoparticles

March 28, 2017

Expanding the potential of gold nanoparticles for a range of uses requires methods to stabilize the clusters and control their size. Researchers at KAUST reveal how simple organic citrate ions, derived from readily available citric acid, can interact with the gold atoms to yield the stable nanoparticles needed for further research.

Such clusters of gold atoms are proving increasingly useful as catalysts, drug delivery systems, anti-cancer agents and components of solar cells among other applications.

"The potential applications of gold nanoparticles could have a huge impact on society, and understanding stabilizers like citrate might be crucial to progress," said Jean-Marie Basset, Director of the KAUST Catalysis Center and Distinguished Professor of Chemical Science, and a member of the research team, Professor Luigi Cavallo.

Along with colleagues at The University's Core Labs and coworkers in UK, Switzerland and France, the researchers have shown different ways that citrate ions can bind to gold atoms at the surface of nanoparticles1. They also discovered how to influence the binding mode by controlling the ratio of the nanoparticle/citrate ions. Different modes can influence the structures and properties of nanoparticles.

"The experimental and theoretical characterization of these systems is challenging due to the flexible nature of the interaction between citrate and gold," said Basset. He explained that collaboration between KAUST teams was essential for meeting the challenges, allowing creation of the stabilized nanoparticles and their analysis and imaging at high resolution (see image).

One reason for gold's usefulness in medical applications is its chemically stable nature. Other researchers have shown that this stability allows gold to carry drugs through the body without causing chemical side effects.

Controlling the structure of gold nanoparticles could also fine tune their interaction with light to exploit a phenomenon known as surface plasmon resonance. This may allow the energy of light to be harnessed to kill cancer cells. Attaching antibodies can guide the nanoparticles to the specific cells that need treatment. The type of interaction with light depends on nanoparticle structure and could also yield applications in solar cells and micro-electronics.

The researchers consider that the insights from this work at KAUST may also be applicable to some other metals and plan to explore this as the next phase of the research. "We want to take on that wider challenge," said Basset.

-end-



King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

Related Nanoparticles Articles:

Chemists perform surgery on nanoparticles
A team of chemists led by Carnegie Mellon's Rongchao Jin has for the first time conducted site-specific surgery on a nanoparticle.
Nanoparticles remain unpredictable
The way that nanoparticles behave in the environment is extremely complex.
Gold standards for nanoparticles
KAUST researchers reveal how small organic 'citrate' ions can stabilize gold nanoparticles, assisting research on the structures' potential.
Lipid nanoparticles for gene therapy
Twenty-five years have passed since the publication of the first work on solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) and nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) as a system for delivering drugs.
Nanoparticles hitchhiking their way along strands of hair
In shampoo ads, hair always looks like a shiny, smooth surface.
Better contrast agents based on nanoparticles
Scientists at the University of Basel have developed nanoparticles which can serve as efficient contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging.
Gentle cancer treatment using nanoparticles works
Cancer treatments based on laser irridation of tiny nanoparticles that are injected directly into the cancer tumor are working and can destroy the cancer from within.
Radiation-guided nanoparticles zero in on metastatic cancer
Zap a tumor with radiation to trigger expression of a molecule, then attack that molecule with a drug-loaded nanoparticle.
Nanoparticles can grow in cubic shape
Use of nanoparticles in many applications, e.g. for catalysis, relies on the surface area of the particles.
Nanoparticles deliver anticancer cluster bombs
Scientists have devised a triple-stage 'cluster bomb' system for delivering the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, via tiny nanoparticles designed to break up when they reach a tumor.

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Oliver Sipple
One morning, Oliver Sipple went out for a walk. A couple hours later, to his own surprise, he saved the life of the President of the United States. But in the days that followed, Sipple's split-second act of heroism turned into a rationale for making his personal life into political opportunity. What happens next makes us wonder what a moment, or a movement, or a whole society can demand of one person. And how much is too much?
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Future Consequences
From data collection to gene editing to AI, what we once considered science fiction is now becoming reality. This hour, TED speakers explore the future consequences of our present actions. Guests include designer Anab Jain, futurist Juan Enriquez, biologist Paul Knoepfler, and neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris.