Rice University research develops nanostarfruits for research
Rice University research lab announced the development of starfruit-shaped gold nanorods to assist researchers in medical imaging and chemical sensing.
The nanorods were synthesized by chemist Eugene Zubarev and Leonid Vigderman, a graduate student at Rice's BioScience Research Collaborative. The results of their research were published in the American Chemical Society journal Langmuir. An abstract and links to the article may be found at pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/la300218z.
Nanorods such as those synthesized by the team at Rice are used to detect small amounts of organic molecules found in bodily fluids through surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), which can help detect the presence of particular diseases. These star-shaped nanorods have returned detection signals up to 25 times stronger than similar nanorods with smooth surfaces.
"SERS takes advantage of the ability of gold to enhance electromagnetic fields locally," said Zubarev in a release from Rice. "Fields will concentrate at specific defects, like the sharp edges of our nanostarfruits, and that could help detect the presence of organic molecules at very low concentration."
The nanostarfruits are synthesized by placing pentagonal cross-sections of highly purified gold nanorods in a 24-hour chemical bath. However, exactly why the particles take on the star shape is unknown.
"If we can modify the surface roughness such that biological molecules of interest will adsorb selectively on the surface of our rugged nanorods, then we can start looking at very low concentrations of DNA or cancer biomarkers," remarked Zubarev in the release. "There are many cancers where the diagnostics depend on the lowest concentration of the biomarker that can be detected."
Rice University is located at 6100 Main St. in Houston. For more information, visit rice.edu.
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