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Pitt researchers harness carbon nanomaterials for drug delivery systems, oxygen sensors
Date:8/17/2009

PITTSBURGHTwo nanoscale devices recently reported by University of Pittsburgh researchers in two separate journals harness the potential of carbon nanomaterials to enhance technologies for drug or imaging agent delivery and energy storage systems, in one case, and, in the other, bolster the sensitivity of oxygen sensors essential in confined settings, from mines to spacecrafts.

In a report published online by Advanced Materials Aug. 12, a team led by chemistry professors Alexander Star and Stphane Petoud in Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences describe the creation of nanosized capsules that are universally compatible with a range of substances, particularly related to medicine and energy. When applied to medicine, the tiny vessels can potentially carry a sizable "cargo" of anticancer drugs or medical-imaging agents, and could be steered via antibodies and biological molecules to specific locations within the human body. Energy applications include the storage of lithium and hydrogen in batteries and fuel cells. Pitt graduate chemistry student Brett Allen was the paper's lead author. The project also included chemistry graduate student Chad Shade and Adrienne Yingling, now a graduate of Pitt's PhD chemistry program.

In a separate paper appearing online in Nature Chemistry Aug. 16, another team headed by Star and Petoud revealed the development of a highly sensitive, fluorescent oxygen sensor that can detect minute amounts of the gas. Oxygen detectors are important safety devices in mines, aircraft, submarines, and other confined spaces, the researchers note. The sensor consists of carbon nanotubes coated with a luminescent compound incorporating europium, a reactive metal found in fluorescent bulbs, television/computer screens, and lasers, among other applications.

The researchers gauged oxygen levels by measuring the intensity of its glow when exposed to ultraviolent light and the tubes' change in electrical conductance.
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Contact: Morgan Kelly
mekelly@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

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