Investigating the surface exchange of polymeric ligands on anisotropic gold nanostructures for biological applications

The key to controlling the nanoparticle-cell interaction is controlling their surface chemistry through the use of selective solvent exchange and polymer design.

The use of noble metal nanoparticles in biomedical applications has increased steadily over the past decade, however there are still fundamental questions regarding their interactions with cells. In order to study the nanoparticle-cell interaction, the materials are often functionalized to impart biocompatibility and stability in complex biological fluids. However, this is a challenging problem due to the strong interaction of noble metal nanoparticles with a wide variety of functional groups. Through modulation of the solvent system and the desired polymeric ligand, we can reliably tune the surface functionalization with regards to removing previous surfactant and adding new polymers. The biological impact of these novel nanomaterials is then assessed through in vitro exposure to a variety of cell types. In order to command complete control of the surface chemistry of nanoparticles, a wide variety of advanced characterization tools are employed. This allows us to study, without any ambiguity, the consequences of changing the surface ligands on the intriguing events occurring at the cell-nanoparticle interface.

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