Nanotechnology´s ability to shape matter on the scale of biomolecules is opening the door to a new generation of diagnostics, therapeutics, imaging agents and drugs for detecting and treating of a number of physiological disorders at their earliest stages.
A significant advancement in Nanotechnology that was made by a biophysicist in Zurich will mean an even better and more efficient use of the technology.
Nanotechnology (sometimes shortened to “nanotech”) is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Nanotechnology works with materials, devices, and other structures with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres.
What is a nanoparticle?
A nanoparticle (or nanopowder or nanocluster or nanocrystal) is a microscopic particle with at least one dimension less than 100 nm.
Did you know that the most common use of nanoparticles is in sunscreen? Many sunscreens use tiny Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide nanoparticles to block the sun.
A significant advancement in Nanotechnology has been made by Prof. Madhavi Krishnan, a biophysicist at the University of Zurich. He has developed a new method that measures not only the size of the particles but also their electrostatic charge.
Measuring the electrostatic charge
The charge of a nanoparticle plays a major role in nano drugs packages, as the electrical charge allows a fluid solution to remain stable and not to develop a lumpy consistency.
One example is the manufacture of medicines that have to be administered in precise doses over a longer period using drug-delivery systems. In this context, nanoparticles act as “packages” that transport the drugs to where they need to take effect. Very often, it is their electrical charge that allows them to pass through tissue and cell membranes in the body unobstructed and so to take effect. “That’s why it is so important to be able to measure their charge. So far most of the results obtained have been imprecise”, the researcher tells us.