Nanofountain Pen Can Place Nanodiamonds with 1000 Times Higher Resolution and inject Single Cells with Functionalized Nanodiamonds

Nanofountain pen can use functionalized nanodiamonds for many applications. The placement of nanodiamonds is one thousand times more precise than previous methods.

Nanodiamonds are rapidly emerging as promising carriers for next-generation therapeutics and drug delivery. However, developing future nanoscale devices and arrays that harness these nanoparticles will require unrealized spatial control. Furthermore, single-cell in vitro transfection methods lack an instrument that simultaneously offers the advantages of having nanoscale dimensions and control and continuous delivery via microfluidic components. To address this, two modes of controlled delivery of functionalized diamond nanoparticles are demonstrated using a broadly applicable nanofountain probe, a tool for direct-write nanopatterning with sub-100-nm resolution and direct in vitro single-cell injection. This study demonstrates the versatility of the nanofountain probe as a tool for high-fidelity delivery of functionalized nanodiamonds and other agents in nanomanufacturing and single-cell biological studies. These initial demonstrations of controlled delivery open the door to future studies examining the nanofountain probe’s potential in delivering specific doses of DNA, viruses, and other therapeutically relevant biomolecules.

Chemistry world has coverage of this work.

Researchers in the US have created a ‘fountain pen’ probe that can pattern nanodiamonds at high resolution and inject them into single cells. The probe could be used as a research and development tool for creating nanodiamond devices and exploring the effect of single cells carrying medical drugs.

Horacio Espinosa and others at Northwestern University in Evanston, US, have created a tool that they say offers more control over nanodiamond placement. It consists of the probe of an atomic force microscope that has been modified to house a reservoir filled with an ‘ink’ of nanodiamonds in solution. ‘It’s just like a fountain pen,’ said Owen Loh, a member of the group.

Such nanofountain probes have been employed for placement of nanoparticles before, but never with nanodiamonds. In one mode, the Northwestern group’s probe can pattern nanodiamonds onto a substrate with a resolution better than 100nm, three orders of magnitude finer than previously achievable. Loh told Chemistry World this ability could help seed the growth of nanodiamond thin films. In the past, nanodiamond thin films have been shown, for example, to prevent the re-growth of tumours when combined with anti-cancer drugs and implanted into the human body.

In a second mode, the probe can inject nanodiamonds into single cells. Until now it had only been possible to test nanodiamond drug delivery on populations of cells, and Loh said that the potential for more precise application will help scientists understand how drug-laden cells interact with their neighbours.

The group is presently collaborating with biologists and focusing on how to exploit the benefits of single-cell injection. ‘The key part is that [both modes] are in the same tool, so researchers only need to familiarise themselves with one tool,’ Loh added.

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  1. How is biomass defined in the Miscanthus-Switchgrass-Corn study? Do they account for the corn’s cellulose and oil? Or are they just counting the starch? Corn is unfairly compared to sugarcane due to the way it’s harvested (feild fractionated grain vs whole stalk that is easily burned at the ethanol plant eg corn saves energy during harvest while sugarcane gains energy at the biorefinery), so I wouldn’t be surprised some funky statistics and damned lies are in play here. And how much protein per acre do they think replacing corn with miscanthus will produce?

    The “take 25 percent of current U.S. cropland out of food production” is an obvious red flag that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    I don’t see much point in growing what amounts to STRAW when nearly a billion acres of harvested crops NOW produce and endless supply of cellulosic biomass (stover, straw, bran). And then there’s forestry, livestock manure, urban waste….

  2. The reason why environmentalists can recommend draft animals even though they are less efficient than biofuels is that in the end their view of the future has nothing to do with efficiency of productivity or development but with creating a past life of lovable peasants and noble savages. Everyone will spin their own clothes, churn their own butter. It will always be spring time and no one will ever age, or get parasites because we will rediscover all the magic herbal potions that our ancestors new of. How beautiful.

  3. I saw your post on TOD, and I was disagreeing with some (unrelated) things about that article as well.

    You make some good points. There seems to be a broader debate surrounding this about whether running out of oil means we go to higher technology or lower technology.

    Of course, I would prefer to move to higher, rather than lower technology. But I think it’s true one way or the other that lower technology is more damaging to the Earth (unless there’s mass death, which some people also advocate). I think that’s clear.

    The only point where I can see ‘lower’ technology being more ‘environmental’ is eliminating transportation, but not always. I don’t even understand how environmentalists can advocate CHP with a straight face. Electricity is one case where more centralization reduces the environmental footprint. Yeah… draft animals are worse than what we have now by a long shot.


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