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

A marine creature's magic trick explained: Crystal structures on the sea sapphire's back appear differently depending on the angle of reflection September 2nd, 2015

$200K Awarded to Develop In Vitro Lung Test for Toxicity of Inhaled Nanomaterials: In Vitro Lung Test Designed to Protect Human Health and Replace Animal Testing September 1st, 2015

Hot electrons point the way to perfect light absorption: Physicists study how to achieve perfect absorption of light with the help of rough ultrathin films September 1st, 2015

Using DNA origami to build nanodevices of the future September 1st, 2015

Laboratories

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets August 31st, 2015

New material science research may advance tech tools August 31st, 2015

Major innovation in molecular imaging delivers spatial and spectral info simultaneously: Berkeley Lab scientist invents technique to combine spectroscopy with super-resolution microscopy, enabling new ways to examine cell structures and study diseases August 17th, 2015

Drexel engineers 'sandwich' atomic layers to make new materials for energy storage August 15th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

A marine creature's magic trick explained: Crystal structures on the sea sapphire's back appear differently depending on the angle of reflection September 2nd, 2015

Sustainable nanotechnology center September 1st, 2015

National Science Foundation Selects SUNY Poly CNSE for Expanded $2.1M Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center: NSF Center Locates to NanoCollege in Support of Flourishing Tech Industry in NYS September 1st, 2015

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets August 31st, 2015

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

$200K Awarded to Develop In Vitro Lung Test for Toxicity of Inhaled Nanomaterials: In Vitro Lung Test Designed to Protect Human Health and Replace Animal Testing September 1st, 2015

Developing Component Scale Composites Using Nanocarbons August 26th, 2015

Southampton scientists find new way to detect ortho-para conversion in water August 25th, 2015

Revolutionary MIT-Developed Nanotechnology Company Showcases at CAMX in Dallas August 20th, 2015

Nanomedicine

Using DNA origami to build nanodevices of the future September 1st, 2015

Efficiency of Nanodrug Containing Antibiotics in Treatment of Infectious Diseases Evaluated August 31st, 2015

Researchers use DNA 'clews' to shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells August 30th, 2015

Iranian Scientists Use Artemisia Annua Plant to Produce Breast Cancer Drugs August 29th, 2015

Optical computing/ Photonic computing

Quantum diffraction at a breath of nothing: Physicists build stable diffraction structure in atomically thin graphene August 25th, 2015

A little light interaction leaves quantum physicists beaming August 25th, 2015

'Magic' sphere for information transfer: Professor at the Lomonosov Moscow State University made the «magic» sphere for information transfer August 24th, 2015

High-precision control of nanoparticles for digital applications August 19th, 2015

Discoveries

A marine creature's magic trick explained: Crystal structures on the sea sapphire's back appear differently depending on the angle of reflection September 2nd, 2015

Hot electrons point the way to perfect light absorption: Physicists study how to achieve perfect absorption of light with the help of rough ultrathin films September 1st, 2015

Using DNA origami to build nanodevices of the future September 1st, 2015

Scientists 'squeeze' light one particle at a time: A team of scientists have measured a bizarre effect in quantum physics, in which individual particles of light are said to have been 'squeezed' -- an achievement which at least one textbook had written off as hopeless September 1st, 2015

Materials/Metamaterials

Sustainable nanotechnology center September 1st, 2015

Using ultrathin sheets to discover new class of wrapped shapes: UMass Amherst materials researchers describe a new regime of wrapped shapes August 31st, 2015

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets August 31st, 2015

New material science research may advance tech tools August 31st, 2015

Announcements

A marine creature's magic trick explained: Crystal structures on the sea sapphire's back appear differently depending on the angle of reflection September 2nd, 2015

Waste coffee used as fuel storage: Scientists have developed a simple process to treat waste coffee grounds to allow them to store methane September 2nd, 2015

Using DNA origami to build nanodevices of the future September 1st, 2015

Nanotech could rid cattle of ticks, with less collateral damage September 1st, 2015

Energy

RUSNANOPRIZE Directorate Announces New Deadline for Nominations Submission – September 11, 2015 September 1st, 2015

Hot electrons point the way to perfect light absorption: Physicists study how to achieve perfect absorption of light with the help of rough ultrathin films September 1st, 2015

Artificial leaf harnesses sunlight for efficient fuel production August 30th, 2015

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

A marine creature's magic trick explained: Crystal structures on the sea sapphire's back appear differently depending on the angle of reflection September 2nd, 2015

Scientists 'squeeze' light one particle at a time: A team of scientists have measured a bizarre effect in quantum physics, in which individual particles of light are said to have been 'squeezed' -- an achievement which at least one textbook had written off as hopeless September 1st, 2015

Quantum diffraction at a breath of nothing: Physicists build stable diffraction structure in atomically thin graphene August 25th, 2015

Nanotechnology that will impact the Security & Defense sectors to be discussed at NanoSD2015 conference August 25th, 2015

Research partnerships

Sustainable nanotechnology center September 1st, 2015

$200K Awarded to Develop In Vitro Lung Test for Toxicity of Inhaled Nanomaterials: In Vitro Lung Test Designed to Protect Human Health and Replace Animal Testing September 1st, 2015

Hot electrons point the way to perfect light absorption: Physicists study how to achieve perfect absorption of light with the help of rough ultrathin films September 1st, 2015

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

Solar/Photovoltaic

Hot electrons point the way to perfect light absorption: Physicists study how to achieve perfect absorption of light with the help of rough ultrathin films September 1st, 2015

Artificial leaf harnesses sunlight for efficient fuel production August 30th, 2015

CWRU researchers efficiently charge a lithium-ion battery with solar cell: Coupling with perovskite solar cell holds potential for cleaner cars and more August 27th, 2015

Novel nanostructures for efficient long-range energy transport August 21st, 2015

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