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Remote-control closed system invented for inserting radio-active atoms inside fullerenes
Date:7/7/2009

Blacksburg, Va. Virginia Tech chemistry Professor Harry C. Dorn, Emory and Henry College chemistry Professor James Duchamp, and Panos Fatouros, professor and chair of the Division of Radiation Physics and Biology at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine have co-invented a hands-off process for filling fullerenes with radio-active material.

Fullerenes are hollow carbon molecules. Dorn has created new materials by filling them with atoms of various metals. An important example is a fullerene that encases a sensitive contrast agent (gadolinium) for MRI applications, including as a diagnostic and therapeutic agent for brain tumors. Dorn and Fatouros at VCU have funding from the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute (NCI) to further develop, produce, and test fullerene nanoparticles that can identify brain tumor cells and selectively target them for radiation therapy.

What if the radioactive material could also be encased in a carbon cage? Dorn asked himself several years ago. With more funding from NCI and Virginia's Commonwealth Technology Research Fund (CTRF), he set out to do it.

Now Dorn and Duchamp have invented a generator that makes the new material by remote control. "The new materials come out the bottom like a beer product," Dorn said. The golden liquid is not dispensed into an open cup, of course.

Basically, rods about three times the size of a pencil lead that are made up of graphite and lutetium (Lu) are inserted into big jar through a tube on one side and moved slowly toward a source of electricity on the other side. The jolted rod burns dramatically and the inside of the jar is coated with ash. A nozzle kind of like a miniature carwash wand is lowered from the top to rinse the soot to the bottom and out through a filter. The soot is trapped and the resulting beer-colored solution contains Lu atoms bound to nitrogen inside of fullerenes. This radiolabeled nanomaterial is the
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Contact: Susan Trulove
STrulove@vt.edu
540-231-5646
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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