Researchers produce tiny nanoparticles and reveal their inner

Tiny nanoparticles can be equipped with dyes and used for new imaging techniques as chemists and physicists at a recent study, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) show. Researchers have also been the first to completely determine the internal structure of particles. Their results were published in the famous magazine Angvende Chemi.

Single-chain nanoparticles (SCNPs) are an attractive material for chemical and biomedical applications. They are formed from a series of only one molecule that turns into a particle with a circumference of three to five nanometers. “Because they are so small, they can travel everywhere in the human body and can be used for a wide variety of purposes,” says Professor Wolfgang Binder of the Institute of Chemistry at MLU.

As this is a new field of research, some questions still remain unanswered. Until now, for example, the internal structure of particles was only assumed, but not finally resolved.

Binder and his team developed new single-chain nanoparticles that could be used in medicine, they wanted to know more about their structure. “We concluded that the nanoparticles we developed should have a special, intrinsic structure,” says Binder.

To establish this, he contacted colleagues from the Department of Chemistry and Physics at MLU. Using a combination of electron spin resonance and fluorescence spectroscopy, scientists were able to visualize the structure of a SCNP for the first time.

“They make a type of nano-pocket that can protect dye or other molecules,” Binder explains. Their findings are consistent with previous assumptions about the possible spatial structure within such small particles.

Binder’s research group aims to develop nanoparticles for clinical trials. However, the production of nanoparticles is a complex task. “They virtually have to be invisible to the body,” Justus Frederick Hoffman, a Ph.D. Students in Binder’s research group.

They cannot be destroyed by the body’s immune system and must also have the correct internal binding sites so that a dye or any other molecule can be stored and protected. In addition, they must be soluble in water so that they can be transported through the bloodstream. “They often form large clumps, but we are now able to produce individual particles,” says Hoffmann. He used a chemical trick to condense the series into the desired form.

The dye, which is incorporated during the manufacturing process, is to be used for so-called photoacoustic imaging. The process represents an alternative to computer tomography but without hazardous radiation. This allows tissue to be seen several centimeters deep from outside the body.

Binder says that dye usually perishes quickly from the body. Small nanoparticles protected the dye, which could be used, for example, in the view of tumors that would penetrate through blood vessels.

SCNPs can also be used in a wide variety of other applications. For example, they can be used as nanoreactors in which chemical reactions occur.

Single-chain nanoparticles (SCNPs) are an attractive material for chemical and biomedical applications. They are formed from a series of only one molecule that turns into a particle with a circumference of three to five nanometers.

“Because they are so small, they can travel everywhere in the human body and can be used for a wide variety of purposes,” says Professor Wolfgang Binder of the Institute of Chemistry at MLU. As this is a new field of research, some questions still remain unanswered. Until now, for example, the internal structure of particles was only assumed, but not finally resolved.

Binder and his team developed new single-chain nanoparticles that could be used in medicine, they wanted to know more about their structure. “We concluded that the nanoparticles we developed should have a special, intrinsic structure,” says Binder. To establish this, he contacted colleagues from the Department of Chemistry and Physics at MLU.

Using a combination of electron spin resonance and fluorescence spectroscopy, scientists were able to visualize the structure of a SCNP for the first time. “They make a type of nano-pocket that can protect dye or other molecules,” Binder explains. Their findings are consistent with previous assumptions about the possible spatial structure within such small particles.

Binder’s research group aims to develop nanoparticles for clinical trials. However, the production of nanoparticles is a complex task. “They have to be almost invisible to the body,” explains Justus Friedrich Hoffmann, a PhD student in Binder’s research group.

They cannot be destroyed by the body’s immune system and must also have the correct internal binding sites so that a dye or any other molecule can be stored and protected. In addition, they must be soluble in water so that they can be transported through the bloodstream.

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