Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Researchers discover evidence to support controversial theory of 'buckyball' formation: Discovery could have a bearing on medical imaging, cancer treatment

Harry Dorn, a professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, poses with models of "buckyballs." His research supports the theory that a soccer ball-shaped nanoparticle commonly called a buckyball is the result of a breakdown of larger structures rather than being built atom-by-atom from the ground up.

Credit: Virginia Tech
Harry Dorn, a professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, poses with models of "buckyballs." His research supports the theory that a soccer ball-shaped nanoparticle commonly called a buckyball is the result of a breakdown of larger structures rather than being built atom-by-atom from the ground up.

Credit: Virginia Tech

Abstract:
Researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have reported the first experimental evidence that supports the theory that a soccer ball-shaped nanoparticle commonly called a buckyball is the result of a breakdown of larger structures rather than being built atom-by-atom from the ground up.

Researchers discover evidence to support controversial theory of 'buckyball' formation: Discovery could have a bearing on medical imaging, cancer treatment

Blacksburg, VA | Posted on September 16th, 2013

Technically known as fullerenes, these spherical carbon molecules have shown great promise for uses in medicine, solar energy, and optoelectronics. But finding applications for these peculiar structures has been difficult because no one knows exactly how they are formed.

Two theories compete regarding the molecular mechanisms that make fullerenes. The first and oldest is the "bottom-up" theory, which says these carbon cages are built atom-by-atom, like the construction of a Lego model. The second, more recent, theory takes a "top-down" approach, suggesting that fullerenes form when much larger structures break into constituent parts.

After several years of debate with little more than computational models in support of how the top-down theory might work, researchers led by Harry Dorn, a professor at the research institute, have discovered the missing link: asymmetrical fullerenes that are formed from larger structures appear to settle into stable fullerenes.

The discovery appeared online Sept. 15 in the journal Nature Chemistry.

"Understanding the molecular mechanics of how fullerenes and their many variations are formed is not just a curiosity," said Dorn, who has been researching metallofullerenes - fullerenes with a few atoms of metal held within - for more than two decades. "It would give us insights into new, better ways to prepare them. Fullerenes and metallofullerenes are already involved in hundreds of biomedical studies. The ability to create large numbers of a wide variety of metallofullerenes would be a giant building block that would take the field to new heights."

The medicinal promise of metallofullerenes stems from the atoms of metal caged within them. Because the metal atoms are trapped in a cage of carbon, they do not react with the outside world, making their side-effect risks low in both number and intensity.

For example, one particular metallofullerene with gadolinium at its core has been shown to be up to 40 times better as a contrast agent in magnetic resonance imaging scans for diagnostic imaging than options now commercially available. Current experiments are also directed at using metallofullerenes to carry therapeutic radioactive ions to target cancer tissue.

"A better understanding of the formation of fullerenes and metallofullerenes may allow the development of new contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging at commercial-level quantities," said Jianyuan Zhang, a graduate student in Dorn's laboratory and the first author of the paper. "These larger quantities will facilitate a next generation of contrast agents with multiple targets."

Dorn's new study hinges on the isolation and purification of approximately 100 micrograms — roughly the size of several specks of pepper — of a particular metallofullerene consisting of 84 carbon atoms with two additional carbon atoms and two yttrium atoms trapped inside.

When Dorn and his colleagues determined the metallofullerene's exact structure using nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and single crystal X-ray analysis, they made a startling discovery —the asymmetrical molecule could theoretically collapse to form nearly every known fullerene and metallofullerene.

All the process would require would be a few minor perturbations — the breaking of only a few molecular bonds — and the cage would become highly symmetrical and stable.

This insight, Dorn said, supports the theory that fullerenes are formed from graphene — a single sheet of carbon just one atom thick — when key molecular bonds begin to break down. And although the study focuses on fullerenes with yttrium trapped inside, it also shows that the carbon distribution looks similar for empty cages, suggesting regular fullerenes form the same way.

"Not only are the findings presented in Dr. Dorn's paper extremely interesting, but the study represents a real milestone in the field," said Takeshi Akasaka, a professor of chemistry at the University of Tsukuba in Japan and an authority in the field of metallofullerene research, who was not involved in the study. "The study presents physical evidence for a process of metallofullerene creation that most scientists in the field initially scoffed at."

Dorn said scientists have questioned the bottom-up theory of fullerene formation ever since it was discovered that fullerenes were formed from asteroids colliding with Earth and fullerenes were found in interstellar space.

"With this study, we hope to be that much closer to understanding their formation and creating entirely new classes of fullerenes and metallofullerenes that could be useful in medicine as well as in other fields that haven't even occurred to us yet," Dorn said.

"Dr. Dorn's insight into the fundamental process whereby fullerenes are formed is a major contribution to the field," said Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. "Understanding the molecular steps in their formation is key to realizing fully the potential of this versatile and potentially potent family of chemicals in medicine. Dr. Dorn's contributions to understanding these molecules are paving the way for the formulation of targeted novel diagnostics, therapeutics, and the combination of both—theranostics. This approach will provide an important component for tomorrow's arsenal of precision medicine."

Dorn and Zhang's research collaborators include Faye Bowles, a graduate student researcher; Marilyn Olmstead, a professor of chemistry; and Alan Balch, a distinguished professor of chemistry; all from the University of California, Davis.

Also participating were Daniel Bearden, a research scientist with the Hollings Marine Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Tim Fuhrer, now an assistant professor of chemistry at Radford University.

Researchers from Virginia Tech who worked on the study include Richard Helm, an associate professor of biochemistry; W. Keith Ray, a senior research associate in biochemistry; Youqing Ye, a graduate student in chemistry; Caitlyn Dixon, an undergraduate student in chemistry; and Kim Harich, an analytical chemist senior in biochemistry.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Paula Byron

540-526-2027

Copyright © Virginia Tech

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Texas A&M Chemist Says Trapped Electrons To Blame For Lack Of Battery Efficiency: Forget mousetraps — today’s scientists will get the cheese if they manage to build a better battery June 28th, 2016

Building a smart cardiac patch: 'Bionic' cardiac patch could one day monitor and respond to cardiac problems June 28th, 2016

New, better way to build circuits for world's first useful quantum computers June 28th, 2016

Yale researchers’ technology turns wasted heat into power June 27th, 2016

Laboratories

Titan shines light on high-temperature superconductor pathway: Simulation demonstrates how superconductivity arises in cuprates' pseudogap phase June 22nd, 2016

Discovery of gold nanocluster 'double' hints at other shape-changing particles: New analysis approach brings two unique atomic structures into focus June 19th, 2016

Efficient hydrogen production made easy: Sticking electrons to a semiconductor with hydrazine creates an electrocatalyst June 17th, 2016

Discovery of gold nanocluster 'double' hints at other shape changing particles: New analysis approach brings two unique atomic structures into focus June 15th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

Ultrathin, flat lens resolves chirality and color: Multifunctional lens could replace bulky, expensive machines June 25th, 2016

Particle zoo in a quantum computer: First experimental quantum simulation of particle physics phenomena June 23rd, 2016

Titan shines light on high-temperature superconductor pathway: Simulation demonstrates how superconductivity arises in cuprates' pseudogap phase June 22nd, 2016

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Nanotubes' 'stuffing' as is: A scientist from the Lomonosov Moscow State University studied the types of carbon nanotubes' 'stuffing' June 2nd, 2016

Programmable materials find strength in molecular repetition May 23rd, 2016

Nanotubes are beacons in cancer-imaging technique: Rice University researchers use spectral triangulation to pinpoint location of tumors May 21st, 2016

Unveiling the electron's motion in a carbon nanocoil: Development of a precise resistivity measurement system for quasi-one-dimensional nanomaterials using a focused ion beam May 16th, 2016

Nanomedicine

Building a smart cardiac patch: 'Bionic' cardiac patch could one day monitor and respond to cardiac problems June 28th, 2016

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

Nanotechnology and math deliver two-in-one punch for cancer therapy resistance June 24th, 2016

Self-assembling icosahedral protein designed: Self-assembling icosahedral protein designed June 22nd, 2016

Optical computing/Photonic computing

Superheroes are real: Ultrasensitive nonlinear metamaterials for data transfer June 25th, 2016

A new trick for controlling emission direction in microlasers June 20th, 2016

A new form of hybrid photodetectors with quantum dots and graphene June 19th, 2016

New approach to microlasers: Technique for 'phase locking' arrays of tiny lasers could lead to terahertz security scanners June 17th, 2016

Discoveries

Texas A&M Chemist Says Trapped Electrons To Blame For Lack Of Battery Efficiency: Forget mousetraps — today’s scientists will get the cheese if they manage to build a better battery June 28th, 2016

Building a smart cardiac patch: 'Bionic' cardiac patch could one day monitor and respond to cardiac problems June 28th, 2016

New, better way to build circuits for world's first useful quantum computers June 28th, 2016

Yale researchers’ technology turns wasted heat into power June 27th, 2016

Materials/Metamaterials

Superheroes are real: Ultrasensitive nonlinear metamaterials for data transfer June 25th, 2016

Coexistence of superconductivity and charge density waves observed June 23rd, 2016

GraphExeter illuminates bright new future for flexible lighting devices June 23rd, 2016

Soft decoupling of organic molecules on metal June 23rd, 2016

Announcements

Texas A&M Chemist Says Trapped Electrons To Blame For Lack Of Battery Efficiency: Forget mousetraps — today’s scientists will get the cheese if they manage to build a better battery June 28th, 2016

Building a smart cardiac patch: 'Bionic' cardiac patch could one day monitor and respond to cardiac problems June 28th, 2016

New, better way to build circuits for world's first useful quantum computers June 28th, 2016

Yale researchers’ technology turns wasted heat into power June 27th, 2016

Energy

Yale researchers’ technology turns wasted heat into power June 27th, 2016

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

Researchers discover new chemical sensing technique: Technique allows sharper detail -- and more information -- with near infrared light June 24th, 2016

FEI and University of Liverpool Announce QEMSCAN Research Initiative: University of Liverpool will utilize FEI’s QEMSCAN technology to gain a better insight into oil and gas reserves & potentially change the approach to evaluating them June 22nd, 2016

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Superheroes are real: Ultrasensitive nonlinear metamaterials for data transfer June 25th, 2016

Russian physicists create a high-precision 'quantum ruler': Physicists have devised a method for creating a special quantum entangled state June 25th, 2016

Marrying superconductors, lasers, and Bose-Einstein condensates: Chapman University Institute for Quantum Studies (IQS) member Yutaka Shikano, Ph.D., recently had research published in Scientific Reports June 20th, 2016

A new trick for controlling emission direction in microlasers June 20th, 2016

Research partnerships

Superheroes are real: Ultrasensitive nonlinear metamaterials for data transfer June 25th, 2016

Soft decoupling of organic molecules on metal June 23rd, 2016

FEI and University of Liverpool Announce QEMSCAN Research Initiative: University of Liverpool will utilize FEI’s QEMSCAN technology to gain a better insight into oil and gas reserves & potentially change the approach to evaluating them June 22nd, 2016

Tailored DNA shifts electrons into the 'fast lane': DNA nanowire improved by altering sequences June 22nd, 2016

Solar/Photovoltaic

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

New generation of high-efficiency solar thermal absorbers developed June 20th, 2016

Novel capping strategy improves stability of perovskite nanocrystals: Study addresses instability issues with organometal-halide perovskites, a promising class of materials for solar cells, LEDs, and other applications June 13th, 2016

Perovskite solar cells surpass 20 percent efficiency: EPFL researchers are pushing the limits of perovskite solar cell performance by exploring the best way to grow these crystals June 13th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic