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06-22-2011

Work of Clarkson University Researchers Featured on Wiley-VCH Materials Science News

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/tem.jpg.]

Research by Clarkson University Professor Igor Sokolov on the synthesis of fluorescent nanoparticles has been featured on the materials science news website of Wiley-VCH, one of the largest world publishers of scientific literature and the home of the top journals in material science.

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images of ultrabright silica nanoparticlesAn article written by Hilary Gallagher, assistant editor at Wiley-VCH, titled “How to Outshine a Quantum Dot," describes the recent paper by Sokolov’s group that was published in Advanced Functional Materials journal, titled "Ultrabright Fluorescent Silica Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles: Control of Particle Size and Dye Loading."

In the paper, the researchers report on a family of silica nanoparticles that is substantially brighter than quantum dots, semiconductor crystals that have been considered to be the brightest nanoparticles so far.

In the article, Gallagher explains that "biologists use fluorescent particles for the visualization and tracking of cells and proteins" and that "quantum dots are the brightest colloidal particles available." However, she notes quantum dots "can be instable in aqueous environments, are subject to 'blinking' or flickering," and possess a "potential toxicity."

She writes that "traditional fluorescent materials... are not as bright as quantum dots and suffer from photo-bleaching" and explains that Sokolov his team have both reached higher brightness than quantum dots and prevented the photobleaching of the organic dyes encapsulated inside their ultrabright particles.

Finally, she says that "the Clarkson researchers found that the relative brightness of a single [fluorescent nano]particle is equivalent to the fluorescent brightness of up to 770 free dye molecules or up to 39 quantum dots and were stable (for at least 120 days)."

The Clarkson team consists of Sokolov, who has appointments in Physics and Chemistry and Biomolecular Science; Eun-Bum Cho, a physics postdoctoral fellow, who recently became an assistant professor in Korea; and Dmytro Volkov, a physics graduate student, who recently became a postdoctoral fellow at the Air Force Research Lab.

The other members of Sokolov’s group, physics postdoctoral fellows Shajesh Palantavida and Maxim Dokukin; physics graduate students Shyuzhene Li, Nataliaa Guz and Vivekanand Kalaparthi; and undergraduate students Andrew Cardin and Kate Price work on mechanics of biological cells, biosensors, self-assembly of particles, and the study of skin aging.

The research was done within Clarkson's Nanoengineering and Biotechnology Laboratories Center (NABLAB), led by Sokolov, a unit established to promote cross-disciplinary collaborations within the University.

It comprises more than a dozen faculty members to capitalize on the expertise of Clarkson scholars in the areas of cancer cell research, fine particles for bio and medical applications, synthesis of smart materials, advancement biosensors, etc.

The article can be found at http://www.materialsviews.com/details/news/1076883/How_to_Outshine_a_Quantum_Dot.html.

The paper by Sokolov can be viewed at
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adfm.201100311/abstract.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images of ultrabright silica nanoparticles.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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