Breakthrough in the Synthesis of Nanoparticles

Support-free mesoporous gold nanoparticles have been synthesized through a unique process developed by the researchers of the University of Debrecen. A report on this particular research project was published on the front cover of Nanomaterials, the prestigious journal of material science.

The new nanoparticles created jointly by researchers at Department of Solid State Physics (Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Debrecen) and Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry might turn out to be ideal candidates for biomedical applications, for instance, in targeted tumor therapy research.

“Our primary intention was to create porous nanoparticles on a solid substrate, which would react to certain perceptible physical factors. The size of these nanoparticles is between 50 and 500 nm, and they have ca. 20 nm (one nanometer is one hundred-thousandth the diameter of a human hair) pore sizes depending on the conditions of their preparation. Since detaching them from their support significantly enhances the scope of their application, we decided to continue our research in this direction. This decision opened up a new path for us to create a procedure that can be used in human therapy in addition to the field of energetics. The nanoparticles will be possibly administered and tracked in biological systems, like the body, where they will deliver and release drugs or produce heat and, thus, exterminate specific targeted cells,” said Zoltán Erdélyi to

The Head of the Department of Solid State Physics also added the following: the presence of gold as an inert material does not create any problems in organisms, which is why it is ideal for medical procedures. Infrared light can penetrate the human body as deep as several centimeters; thus, the nanoparticles can exert their influence at the right location prompted by NIR light sources from outside.

A participant in the research project, associate professor József Kalmár from the Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, revealed that the idea of detaching the particles from their support had been prompted by a presentation delivered at a conference hosted by the professional organization Hatvani István Szakkollégium, and that is how the cooperation between the two individual fields had started.

“The chemists developed an effective detaching technique and measured the suspensions gained through this, while the physicists worked on the creation of the nanoparticles. This lent an interdisciplinary character to this specific material science research project, which is also apparent in the fact that the report is the joint effort of the first three authors of the publication, all of whom are doctoral candidates working in hitherto different fields,” said József Kalmár.

Associate professor at the Department of Solid State Physics Csaba Cserháti added that the next step in the research process would aim at the stabilization of the particles and the fine-tuning of their characteristic features, which will hopefully be possible by creating an appropriate thin coating of only a few layers of atoms.

“On the one hand, this thin coating will facilitate stability, while on the other hand, it will greatly improve the possibility of fine-tuning the particles; thus, making it possible to apply the procedure of targeted drug delivery in a depth-selective way,” said Csaba Cserháti.

The research was supported by a GINOP-project (2.3.2-15-2016-00041) and an NKFIH OTKA project (FK_124571).

The publication appeared in the prestigious multidisciplinary journal on material science specializing on nanoparticles, on the June cover of Nanomaterials.


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