Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists image nanoparticles in action

Date:
April 25, 2013
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
Scientists have invented a technique for imaging nanoparticle dynamics with atomic resolution as these dynamics occur in a liquid environment. The results will allow, for the first time, the imaging of nanoscale processes, such as the engulfment of nanoparticles into cells.

For the first time, scientists are able to image nanoparticles in action in a liquid environment.
Credit: Image courtesy of Virginia Tech

The macroscopic effects of certain nanoparticles on human health have long been clear to the naked eye. What scientists have lacked is the ability to see the detailed movements of individual particles that give rise to those effects.

In a recently published study, scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute invented a technique for imaging nanoparticle dynamics with atomic resolution as these dynamics occur in a liquid environment. The results will allow, for the first time, the imaging of nanoscale processes, such as the engulfment of nanoparticles into cells.

"We were stunned to see the large-ranged mobility in such small objects," said Deborah Kelly, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. "We now have a system to watch the behaviors of therapeutic nanoparticles at atomic resolution."

Nanoparticles are made of many materials and come in different shapes and sizes. In the new study, Kelly and her colleagues chose to make rod-shaped gold nanoparticles the stars of their new molecular movies. These nanoparticles, roughly the size of a virus, are used to treat various forms of cancer. Once injected, they accumulate in solid tumors. Infrared radiation is then used to heat them and destroy nearby cancerous cells.

To take an up-close look at the gold nanoparticles in action, the researchers made a vacuum-tight microfluidic chamber by pressing two silicon-nitride semiconductor chips together with a 150-nanometer spacer in between. The microchips contained transparent windows so the beam from a transmission electron microscope could pass through to create an atomic-scale image.

Using the new technique, the scientists created two types of visualizations. The first included pictures of individual nanoparticles' atomic structures at 100,000-times magnification -- the highest resolution images ever taken of nanoparticles in a liquid environment.

The second visualization was a movie captured at 23,000-times magnification that revealed the movements of a group of nanoparticles reacting to an electron beam, which mimics the effects of the infrared radiation used in cancer therapies.

In the movie, the gold nanoparticles can be seen surfing nanoscale tidal waves.

"The nanoparticles behaved like grains of sand being concentrated on a beach by crashing waves," said Kelly. "We think this behavior may be related to why the nanoparticles become concentrated in tumors. Our next experiment will be to insert a cancer cell to study the nanoparticles' therapeutic effects on tumors."

The team is also testing the resolution of the microfluidic system with other reagents and materials, bringing researchers one step closer to viewing live biological mechanisms in action at the highest levels of resolution possible.

The study appeared in the April 14 print edition of Chemical Communications in the article "Visualizing Nanoparticle Mobility in Liquid at Atomic Resolution," by Madeline Dukes, an applications scientist at Protochips Inc. in Raleigh, N.C.; Benjamin Jacobs, an applications scientist at Protochips; David Morgan, assistant manager of the Cryo-Transmission Electron Microscopy Facility at Indiana University Bloomington; Harshad Hegde, a computer scientist at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute; and Kelly, who is also an assistant professor of biological sciences in the College of Science at Virginia Tech.

Video: http://research.vtc.vt.edu/videos/2013/apr/11/nanoparticles-action/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. The original article was written by Ken Kingery. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Madeline J. Dukes, Benjamin W. Jacobs, David G. Morgan, Harshad Hegde, Deborah F. Kelly. Visualizing nanoparticle mobility in liquid at atomic resolution. Chemical Communications, 2013; 49 (29): 3007 DOI: 10.1039/C3CC41136B

Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Scientists image nanoparticles in action." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142436.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2013, April 25). Scientists image nanoparticles in action. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142436.htm
Virginia Tech. "Scientists image nanoparticles in action." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142436.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 29, 2014) CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, celebrates 60 years of bringing nations together through science. As Joanna Partridge reports from inside the famous science centre it's also planning to turn the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator back on after an upgrade. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) Researchers from the University of Rochester have created a type of invisibility cloak with simple focal lenses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Corvette Can Secretly Record Convos And Get You Arrested

New Corvette Can Secretly Record Convos And Get You Arrested

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) The 2015 Corvette features valet mode – which allows the owner to secretly record audio and video – but in many states that practice is illegal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins