Skip to main content

Nanoengineered Nanoparticles and Quantum Dots for Sensor and Machinery Applications

Final Report Summary - NANOSENSOMACH (Nanoengineered Nanoparticles and Quantum Dots for Sensor and Machinery Applications)

The research program addressed three main goals, including the development of new sensitive sensing platforms, the assembly of structures exhibiting novel optical properties, and the design of new stimuli-responsive materials. Naturally, such broad activities include fundamental, basic science, challenges as well as application perspectives for the benefit of the society.
Within the sensors topic, the program led to an innovative method to generate imprinted sensing sites for analytes in Au nanoparticle aggregates, to apply chemically modified semiconductor quantum dots or luminescent Ag nanoclusters for the optical sensitive detection of analytes (explosives, genes and environmentally toxic ions). The second topic addressed in the program included the development of chemical switches using externally triggered DNA scaffolds, photoelectrochemical switches and the application of dynamically triggered DNA scaffolds for the programmed organization of plasmonic nanoparticles. An interesting accomplishment in this part of the program has involved the development of a concept for the programmed, dictated, assembly of chiral Au nanoparticle structures, exhibiting chiroplasmonic properties. Such optical switches and plasmonic functions are expected to be important components for information storage and processing as well as information transfer units (waveguides).
The third topic that was addressed in the research program included the development of stimuli-responsive materials and nanocomposites. Within this effort, a new class of DNA hydrogels undergoing signal-triggered phase transitions between hydrogel and quasi-liquid states was developed. Our success to apply the stimuli-responsive hydrogels to design shape-memory hydrogels represents a major advance in the rapidly developing area of shape-memory polymers. These materials are anticipated to be promising matrices for inscription of information. The results obtained in the research program provided guidelines to construct stimuli-responsive drug-loaded hydrogel microcapsules as drug carriers for controlled release. Also, stimuli-responsive gated drug-loaded SiO2 nanoparticles were prepared as carriers of drugs for targeted release. Specifically, chemotherapeutic drugs were incorporated into the carriers, and the nanoparticles were unlocked by biomarker agents characteristic to cancer cells. Excellent, selective cytotoxic effects on cancer cells were demonstrated. The concepts and systems provide a very promising approach for advanced cancer therapy.