Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Properties of water at nanoscale will help to design innovative biomedical and energy technologies

Abstract:
Scientists from Politecnico di Torino (Turin, Italy) and Houston Methodist Research Institute (Houston, USA) have just proposed on Nature Communications a novel understanding of unexpected water properties at the nanoscale in the close proximity of solid surfaces. More rationally designed contrast agents for improved Magnetic Resonance Imaging performances are the first applications of the discovery.

Properties of water at nanoscale will help to design innovative biomedical and energy technologies

Turin, Italy | Posted on April 30th, 2014

Mechanical engineers from both Department of Energy at Politecnico di Torino and Translational Imaging Department at Houston Methodist Research Institute have modeled and provided a novel insight of the surprising water properties at the nanoscale, even if many other intriguing water characteristics are still far to be fully unveiled. A broad range of technological applications may benefit from these findings, from engineering to biomedical field, as recently shown in a scientific paper published on Nature Communications [*].

Swimming in a honey pool. That's the sensation a water molecule should "feel" while approaching a solid surface within a nanometer (i.e. less than a ten-thousandth of hair diameter). The reduction in water mobility in the very close proximity of surfaces at the nanoscale is the well-known phenomenon of "nanoconfinement", and it is due to both electrostatic and van der Waals attractive forces ruling matter interactions at that scale.

In this context, scientists from Politecnico di Torino and Houston Methodist Research Institute have taken a further step forward, by formulating a quantitative model and a physical interpretation able of predicting the nanoconfinement effect in a rather general framework. In particular, geometric and chemical characteristics as well as physical conditions of diverse nanoconfining surfaces (e.g. proteins, carbon nanotubes, silica nanopores or iron oxide nanoparticles) have been quantitatively related to mobility reduction and "supercooling" conditions of water, namely the persistence of water in a liquid state at temperatures far below 0°C, when close to a solid surface.

This result has been achieved after two years of in silico (i.e. computer-based) and in vitro (i.e. experiment-driven) activities by Eliodoro Chiavazzo, Matteo Fasano, Pietro Asinari (Multi-Scale Modelling Lab [**], Department of Energy at Politecnico di Torino) and Paolo Decuzzi (Center for the Rational Design of Multifunctional Nanoconstructs [***] at Houston Methodist Research Institute).

This study may soon find applications in the optimization and rational design of a broad variety of novel technologies ranging from applied physics (e.g. "nanofluids", suspensions made out of water and nanoparticles for enhancing heat transfer) to sustainable energy (e.g. thermal storage based on nanoconfined water within sorbent materials); from detection and removal of pollutant from water (e.g. molecular sieves) to nanomedicine.

The latter is the field where the research has indeed found a first important application. Every year, almost sixty millions of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans are performed, with diagnostic purposes. In the past decade, MRI technology benefitted from various significant scientific advances, which allowed more precise and sharper images of pathological tissues. Among other, contrast agents (i.e. substances used for improving contrast of structures or fluids within the body) importantly contributed in enhancing MRI performances.

This research activity has been able to explain and predict the increase in MRI performances due to nanoconfined contrast agents, which are currently under development at the Houston Methodist Research Institute. Hence, the discovery paves the way to further increase in the quality of MRI images, in order to possibly improve chances of earlier and more accurate detection of diseases in millions of patients, every year.

Additional results and applications of nanoconfinement effect on nanomedicine will be published soon, thanks to a multidisciplinary collaboration between biomedical (Houston Methodist), engineering (Politecnico di Torino) and chemical (Rice University, Houston-TX) research groups. In particular, iron oxide contrast agents loaded in silicon or polymeric nanovectors are currently investigated, because they can be first magnetically concentrated in human diseased tissues and then employed for enhancing MRI performances. Moreover, such a nanoconstructs own theranostic properties, which means that they can be used for diagnostic (i.e. MRI) and therapeutic (i.e. temperature triggered drug release or hyperthermia treatments) purposes at the same time, which is a significant step forward in the war on cancer.

####

About Politecnico di Torino
The Politecnico di Torino, founded in 1906 from the roots of the Technical School for Engineers created in 1859, has a long-standing tradition of leadership of polytechnic culture. It is one of the most important universities in Europe for engineering and architecture studies, strongly committed to collaboration with industry.

The Politecnico offers excellence in technology and promotes the ability to carry out theoretical or applied research and also the capacity to achieve concrete and reliable productive processes or organise services and facilities. By the end of his or her degree, a Politecnico di Torino graduate has gained a vast, multifaceted range of skills and knowledge. Students acquire competence in the interdisciplinary nature of the various fields of the contemporary scientific world, while still aware of the needs of people and society.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Tiziana Vitrano

Copyright © AlphaGalileo

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 Links

Full bibliographic information

Related News Press

News and information

Nano-microscope gives first direct observation of the magnetic properties of 2D materials: Discovery means new class of materials and technologies September 18th, 2020

Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller September 18th, 2020

Shape matters for light-activated nanocatalysts - Study: Pointed tips on aluminum 'octopods' increase catalytic reactivity September 18th, 2020

Aberrant electronic and structural alterations in pressure tuned perovskite NaOsO3 September 18th, 2020

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead ARO-AAT Phase 2 Interim Results in Patients with Alpha-1 Liver Disease Demonstrate Improvements in Key Parameters after Six Months of Treatment September 16th, 2020

Gentle probes could enable massive brain data collection: National Institutes of Health backing Rice’s Chong Xie to refine flexible nanoelectronics thread September 14th, 2020

Understanding electron transport in graphene nanoribbons: New understanding of the electrical properties of graphene nanoribbons (GRBs), when bounded with aromatic molecules, could have significant benefits in the development of chemosensors and personalized medicine September 11th, 2020

Dipanjan Pan demonstrates new method to produce gold nanoparticles in cancer cells: Possible applications in x-ray imaging, cancer treatment September 11th, 2020

Discoveries

Nano-microscope gives first direct observation of the magnetic properties of 2D materials: Discovery means new class of materials and technologies September 18th, 2020

Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller September 18th, 2020

Shape matters for light-activated nanocatalysts - Study: Pointed tips on aluminum 'octopods' increase catalytic reactivity September 18th, 2020

Aberrant electronic and structural alterations in pressure tuned perovskite NaOsO3 September 18th, 2020

Announcements

Nano-microscope gives first direct observation of the magnetic properties of 2D materials: Discovery means new class of materials and technologies September 18th, 2020

Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller September 18th, 2020

Shape matters for light-activated nanocatalysts - Study: Pointed tips on aluminum 'octopods' increase catalytic reactivity September 18th, 2020

Aberrant electronic and structural alterations in pressure tuned perovskite NaOsO3 September 18th, 2020

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers/Posters

Who stole the light? Self-induced ultrafast demagnetization limits the amount of light diffracted from magnetic samples at soft x-ray energies September 18th, 2020

Nano-microscope gives first direct observation of the magnetic properties of 2D materials: Discovery means new class of materials and technologies September 18th, 2020

Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller September 18th, 2020

Shape matters for light-activated nanocatalysts - Study: Pointed tips on aluminum 'octopods' increase catalytic reactivity September 18th, 2020

Energy

Shedding Light on the Development of Efficient Blue-Emitting Semiconductors September 18th, 2020

An improved wearable, stretchable gas sensor using nanocomposites August 28th, 2020

UCF researchers generate attosecond light from industrial laser: The ultrafast measurement of the motion of electrons inside atoms, molecules and solids at their natural time scale is known as attosecond science and could have important implications in power generation, chemical- August 25th, 2020

Synthesis of organophilic carbon nanodots with multi-band emission from tomato leaves August 21st, 2020

Water

Layer of nanoparticles could improve LED performance and lifetime August 7th, 2020

Study: Mapping crystal shapes could fast-track 2D materials: Experts call for global effort to clear hurdles to mass production July 27th, 2020

Purifying water with the help of wood, bacteria and the sun July 10th, 2020

Two is better than one: Scientists fit two co-catalysts on one nanosheet for better water purification April 16th, 2020

Research partnerships

Gentle probes could enable massive brain data collection: National Institutes of Health backing Rice’s Chong Xie to refine flexible nanoelectronics thread September 14th, 2020

Boundaries no barrier for thermoelectricity: Rice researchers find potentially useful electrical phenomenon in gold nanowires September 8th, 2020

CEA-Leti X-Ray Photon-Counting Detector Modules Target Improved Medical Diagnoses: Clinical Trials Show Higher Spatial Resolution, Less Noise, Fewer Artifacts, And Color Capabilities in Patients’ Images September 3rd, 2020

Oxford Instruments partners with the £10 million consortium, to launch the first commercial quantum computer in UK September 2nd, 2020

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




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project